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March 14, 2006

Spanier, "Encountering the Biological Sciences"

How persuasive do you find Spanier's argument that both the style and content of biological discourse contributes to the exclusion of women and minorities from scientific fields and that writing projects assigned in science classrooms can have a transformative effect on these inequities? What relevance does this argument have for those of you who are not teaching science courses?

One of the ways that Spanier challenges the exclusivity of traditional scientific discourse is by writing in first person and asking her students to do the same. How effective is this strategy likely to be---what are its benefits and liabilities?

What is your reaction to this passage: "Scientists, as a group, are less apt to embrace the view that scientific knowledge, like all knowledge, is socially constructed by, for the most part, a small part of the population and that it reflects the experiences, beliefs, and biases that serve that tiny but powerful population; scientists, that is, tend to embrace a positivist notion of truth rather than an understanding of scientific knowledge as highly political" (328) ?