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Why scientists need empathy
Mar 30, 2018
"Science and math training are important for those hoping to work in STEM fields. But what about empathy? Do scientists and engineers need to develop emotional intelligence?"

"The primatologist sat down with MNN, sharing her thoughts on climate change, compassion and a dog named Rusty.

"You've said your appreciation for animal sentience began with Rusty, a dog you befriended as a child in England. In what ways could you sense his sentience? Do you think growing up with pets is a good way for children to learn empathy for other animals?"

"I think it's desperately important for a child to grow up with a pet, providing there's somebody to make sure that they understand how the animal should be treated. And, you know, Rusty worked out problems. He worked out that if he was hot, he could trot down the road, down to the chine and have a little swim and come back. He even did pretend games. He was unlike any other dog I've ever had."



"in this wonderful short video from NOVA’s series The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers, Dr. Goodall considers how empathy for other animals brings us closer to our highest human potentiality:

“I was told you have to give them numbers because you've got to be objective as a scientist, and you mustn't empathize with your subjects and I feel this is where science has gone wrong. To have this coldness, this lack of empathy has enabled some scientist to do unethical behavior.

Moreover, why deny a perfectly respectable tool? I think those two are behaving like that because that’s how I would behave if I was in that situation, that’s empathy. Once you've worked out why you think they are doing that, then you can start testing that. Am I right? Is this a valid assumption or not? But it gives you the groundwork for asking questions,

I think empathy is really important and I think only when our clever brain and our human heart work together in harmony can we achieve our full potential. “ Jane Goodall
by Maria Popova


Jane Goodall & the Lack of Empathy in Science
"Pioneer primatologist Jane Goodall was highlighted in Nova's web series 'The Secret Lives of Scientists & Engineers', and in the clip above she talks about some of the ways in which Science has gone wrong: namely, its lack of empathy and its confusing of coldness for 'objectivity.'

At the beginning of her career, she was heavily criticized for naming the chimpanzees she was observing. "I was told you have to give them numbers because you have to be objective as a scientist," Goodall says in the video, "and you mustn’t empathize with your subject. And I feel this is where science has gone wrong. To have this coldness, this lack of empathy, has enabled some scientists to do unethical behavior." It was precisely her ability to connect & empathize with her observation subjects, what enabled her to do the groundbreaking work she's famous for, which eventually help revolutionize our understanding of social groups in primates & other animals."


 Being with Jane Goodall