Here’s a question I have been mulling over for the past several months: to what extent does my scientific education influence my non-academic, non-professional life?
I have always taken pride in being a rational person, but over the last two years of my life, I realize that I have become extremely methodical in my approach to things outside of my textbooks too. My general approach to a situation now boils down to the following three questions:
a) what is the question I am trying to answer,
b) what information is available and what is the a priori probability of it being correct (call me a Bayesian if you will),
c) and what inferences can I draw from that information.
I am not being Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory. All I am saying is that this necessity to strip a problem down to its bones now spills over to everything in my life, for example when I argue with my husband about something.
Now here’s a question I want to throw at the world-wide web, hoping someone will have an answer, and that someone would care to throw it back at me. The question is this: can it be otherwise anyway? Can someone carrying out meticulous research approach any situation without anything approaching a semblance of logic and reason?
Of course I understand that reason is not the monopoly of scientists. But to me the more important question is: does the reverse implication hold? If I run into a person who claims to be a student of science, but is anything but rational in his dealings with me, would it be fair on my part to question his professional credentials? Can a scientist be unscientific in any aspect of his/her life? Can a boring teacher be an exciting and interesting person? How does one separate work and non-work into such air-tight compartments so that nothing in one is allowed to influence anything in the other?
Unless someone tells me better, I am going to think that this absence of reason is a strong evidence of its absence. If I am wrong, I hope to God I find that out sooner rather than later.