Write. With a Point of View

What do you think of this sentiment: “Science writing and science communication should be neutral, objective, and devoid of human elements of emotion or point of view”? You might agree. I don’t, and I encourage your openness to my perspective here.

It is not possible (nor desirable) for a human to become a computer when selecting a research topic, designing a study, interpreting results, or writing. Indeed, there is no way that a computer could do these things. There is simply too much intention, awareness, accumulated lived experience, and understanding of the human world required to do these things. So, if it is not possible (nor desirable) to strip out the human element, what is a researcher to do to put ethical, balanced work into the world? (Side note. “Science” has f-ed up in so many big and small ways. If you find this a surprising sentiment, educate yourself about this).

It’s about awareness of yourself and your motivation. Are you going for fame? Are you out to get “the man”? Are you putting one foot in front of the other to earn a paycheck? Are you trying to “one up” other researchers that have come before? Are you entirely confused about your motivations? Do you have a burning hypothesis that you are out to prove, whether true or not? Are you running scared, obfuscating what you are doing, fearing that others will find out you aren’t measuring up?

Don’t despair if you see yourself in any of the previous questions. We are all human, and embody the mixture that is “human nature”. But be honest. Recognize where you may have work to do to bolster the better human elements inside you.

Surround yourself with others who want to contribute. Enhance your tolerance for revealing your weaknesses, or for not seeming cool. Aim for the truth. Strengthen your desire to make the world a better place, and your confidence that your small acts are a meaningful part of a collective effort to do this.

So here’s the idea. You cannot strip out your point of view. So be aware of it, strive to make it something you can be proud of, and when you write, let these points of view guide all of it.