The Value Of Science

Submitted By ADUNN1718
Words: 1346
Pages: 6

Interpretive Essay What is the value of science? This question could have very many answers, which one could use a very scientific language to describe the value. Richard Feynman’s “The Value of Science” has a much different approach to answering this very complex question. Through critical interpretive analysis of Feynman’s writing, I communicate what is at stake from this writing.
Richard Feynman begins his essay very unique way for being a science based essay in which he controls the purpose throughout the entire essay. “From time to time, people suggest me that scientists ought to give more consideration to social problems – especially that they should be more responsible in considering the impact of science upon society.”(63) Feynman begins his essay with this statement to build on why Scientist should not be concerned on social issues but, should be focusing on the future of science and developing through open-minded thought process. Feynman supports his statement with reasons the value of science and scientist should not focus on social issues. The first reason value of science is “scientific knowledge enable us to do all kinds of things.” (64) Scientist create through experiments and imagination, it is up to the scientist to create for good versus bad. “Scientific knowledge is an enabling power to do either good or bad – but it does not carry instructions on how to use it.”(64) Feynman supports
This statement with a very interesting quote “To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven; the same key opens the gates of hell.”(64) My interpretation of this quote and how Feynman is relating the quote to value of science, it is humans who have to decide how to get to either heaven or hell based on the instructions they create from themselves. Scientist must do the same when creating scientific knowledge, they must create instructions to how to use the scientific knowledge for good versus evil (heaven verses hell).
The second reason for the value of science is intellectual enjoyment. (65) Enjoyment of science is “working in it” (65) verse reading and learning. Scientist find intellectual enjoyment working on scientific experiments and building scientific knowledge through learning as they go. Scientist search for answers and are driven by intellectual enjoyment of science. With this, the value of science is to continue to look for answers, never assume the answer has been defined. “For instance, how much more remarkable is it for us all to be stuck – half of us upside down – by a mysterious attraction, to a spinning ball that has been swinging in space for billions of years, than to be carried on the back of an elephant supported on the tortoise swimming in a bottomless sea.”(65) Feynman is making a point that science allows humans to look at scientific subjects that actually have value to understanding against thinking about something unrealistic such as a being carried on the back of elephant supported by tortoise swimming through an sea. This is impossible and scientist should not waste time thinking about it, however, studying the plant that humans have a very little understanding about, there is a great value.
Richard Feynman continues to support value of science by breaking into a poetic format. “For instance, I stand at the seashore, alone, and start to think. There are the rushing wave . . . mountains of molecule, each stupidly minding its own business . . . trillion apart . . . yet forming white surf in unison. Ages on ages . . . before any eyes could see . . . year after year . . . thunderously pounding the shore as now. For whom, for what? . . . on a dead planet, with no life to entertain. Never at rest . . . tortured by energy . . . wasted prodigiously by the sun . . . poured into space. A mite makes the sea roar. Deep in the sea, all the molecules repeat the patterns of one another till complex new ones are formed. They make other like themselves . . . and a new dance starts. Growing in size