Unanswered [2] | Urgent [0]

Home / Writing Feedback   % width Posts: 5

Issue with the accidental findings of many important discoveries or creations.

dunguyen 9 / 19 6  
May 7, 2015   #1
Hello, please help to evaluate my essay. If possible, please grade it on the 6 point scale. Thank you very much!

Many important discoveries or creations are accidental: it is usually while seeking the answer to one question that we come across the answer to another.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

The ways we perceive an important discovery or creation as accidental or not depend on considerations of the whole research process. If scientists have transparent goals and orientations prior to their research, then any unexpected finding should only be considered soon-or-later discoveries. Otherwise, their discoveries can be deemed fortuitous. Because the statement is equivocal in this regard, I cannot fully contend to its idea.

First of all, the ambiguous tone in the first half of the statement makes it unpalatable. Discoveries are direct outcomes of meticulous processes including prior plans and subsequent efforts. Any accidental finding that deemed important should only be understood as an attribution and an obvious result along the processes. Issac Newton founded the idea of gravity after fortuitously hit by a falling apple, The accident seemingly attributes to this important discovery in physics and astronomy; however, we cannot neglect the fact that Newton himself was a physicist and he had always oriented his research to answer the operational mechanisms of the earth. His discovery and consequently the foundation of gravity theory was a rising finding during his research progress, and since it was significantly substantial, many is flawed to refer to the theory as an accidental discovery.

The statement is also specious if we acknowledge a fact that important discoveries or creations - though accidentally founded - are not the final answers of a well-planned research, but are merely unexpected results. Early 1900s a group of scientists were assigned the task to search for medical substances that could eradicate infectious bacteria. The scientists had worked hardly, and unexpectedly along the progress they found penicillin - a mild substance that profoundly used to kill minor bacteria. Or Marrie Currie, the famous Poland female chemist, who spent most of life to extract pure Uranium, but "accidentally" garnered Radium. If one solely looks at these substantially findings, it is intuitive to think they are all some luckily creations. Yet further examination of the whole process will prove the otherwise: such important findings are unpredicted outcomes of a meticulous and purpose-driven process. This notion gainsays the ambivalent idea implied by the word "accidental" in the statement.

For proponents of the statement, there are some critical discoveries that are purported purely accidental. Christopher Columbus discovered Americas while his initial plan was to find West India, or Mendel initiated the idea of genes while simply working as a botanist in a garden. Nevertheless, such discoveries were not in any relation with prior intention of researchers because there seemed to be no questions or hypotheses formed at the onset of the research. On the other word, these great discoverers did not have lucid and elaborate plan in advance of their research. Columbus merely sailed cross the sea without any firm evidence that West India might exist. Mendel purely studied characteristics of plants as his job routines required. In essence, their research lacked the clear orientation that should be conspicuous in any formal research. Consequently, we perhaps should not attribute their discoveries as "a crossing accident" while searching for another answer.

Research must always be purpose-driven and well-oriented in order to yield meaningful findings. Any fortuitous finding along the research process, whether it is important or not, should be conceived as a soon-or-later and obvious outcome of the whole process. The statement failed to capture this notion because it presents a sense that many important discoveries and creations are purely accidental. I employed evidence with relevant arguments to delineate its flaw.

ChristineB - / 108 55  
May 8, 2015   #2
Hi, dunguyen. I'm not sure what the 6-point scale is, but I'll try to help you with your essay anyway.

I need to clarify exactly what it is you want to say in each paragraph. I'll try to do this for you, but I think it would be best if you did it yourself:

Paragraph 1: You disagree with calling discoveries or creations accidental because good scientists will view all experimental results as important results, whether they were expected or not.

Paragraph 2: You repeat the sentiments expressed in Paragraph 1, this time using Isaac Newton as an example.

Paragraph 3: To me, the first sentence of this paragraph contradicts your thesis - it needs to be reworded to maintain consistency. You go on to use penicillin's and radium's discoveries as examples of how results are not "accidents," just unexpected results that are valuable to the learning process

Paragraph 4: Here, you try to show support for the other side of the argument, using Columbus and Mendel as examples of how discoveries can be "accidental." I think you need to work more on explaining why you think these two examples support the other side of the argument. To me, these examples are no different from the ones you mentioned earlier (Newton, penicillin, radium). Make your argument more solid.

Paragraph 5: A rehash of your theory that all results are meaningful (never "accidents").

If I understand you right, you are arguing that good scientists don't make "accidental discoveries." Good scientists are ready and able to make use of any and all gathered information, whether it was expected or not. It is not fair to say that scientists "usually" find answers to questions they weren't asking because good scientists don't prepare experiments with just one question in mind - they maintain an "open mind" with regard to their questions and the possible outcomes, making "accidental discoveries" impossible. Is that correct?

Once we have a clearer understanding of your thesis, we'll be better able to help.
OP dunguyen 9 / 19 6  
May 11, 2015   #3
Hi, Christine. Thank you very much for showing me exactly what I wanted to express but couldn't be able to find words to describe them.

I actually disagree with the main idea of the statement but since the prompt asks to consider ways in which the statement might not hold true so I have to answer this part with paragraph 4 (examples of Mendel and Columbus). I also feel the tenuous arguments using these two examples. Could you suggest any other way to counter this particular prompt? I am always weak at finding and using counter examples to my main thesis.
ChristineB - / 108 55  
May 11, 2015   #4
If I was writing this essay from the point of view of someone who disagrees with the statement (as you do), I would compose it this way:

1. Express my point of view: that good scientists are always ready to accept unexpected findings about their study subjects, making "accidental" discoveries about their subjects impossible

2. Provide examples of scientists who found something unexpected about the subjects they were studying. The key is that they discover something they weren't expecting about a topic they were already researching. A pretend example would be a scientist who is testing his hypothesis that "gene XYZ" causes lung cancer and, in doing so, figures out that his hypothesis is wrong and, instead, "gene XYZ" causes diabetes. He discovered something new and unexpected, but it wasn't an accident because he was studying "gene XYZ" to understand what disease it causes and simply uncovered something previously unknown about it.

3. Admit that there are examples of people who make completely accidental discoveries, but point out that these discoveries pertained to subjects that were not being studied - that's why they are accidental. A pretend example would be that a scientist is studying "gene XYZ" to determine if it causes lung cancer and, while he's mixing chemicals to do the necessary tests on "gene XYZ," he discovers that the chemicals combine together to make chocolate. That is an accidental discovery because the scientist was not intending to study the effect of mixing together the chemicals needed to process "gene XYZ" - it just happened by accident.

4. Restate my point of view that "accidental" discoveries are not truly accidental if the scientist is discovering something about a subject he was already studying.

Does that make sense?
OP dunguyen 9 / 19 6  
May 12, 2015   #5
Your points are brilliant. Thank you very much Christine! That are kind of the ways I want to direct the essay. I will revise my essay based on your suggestions. Thanks again!

Home / Writing Feedback / Issue with the accidental findings of many important discoveries or creations.