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An Entrepreneurial CultureKudos to Provost Robert Chernow and Trustee Paul Severino for their efforts in building an entrepreneurial culture at RPI (“Ideas in Action”). It takes a while to make it happen, but it will build like a snowball rolling downhill.
Having started as an entrepreneur in 1968 and part of the startup in Silicon Valley in the 1970s, I know it takes a number of factors to grow the culture. A strong university base, a free enterprise system, good ideas well presented, the willingness to work long hours, venture capital, good marketing, good people, a network of like-minded peers, and some luck are some of the ingredients necessary to be successful globally.
The greatest contributions the United States can make to the world economy are teams of highly educated entrepreneurs who dream up the high value ideas that make the world take notice tomorrow. Bono said it best: “The USA is not just a place, it is an idea.”
Don Seehusen ’61
While we wish miscarriage did not exist, the fact of the matter is it does and it is common. With Our Hope Place we aim to provide women with some peace of mind, some help, some sisterhood, and hope. We applaud Linda Layne’s work. Her tireless advocacy to bring better support and care options to women who have experienced a loss gives us hope every day.
Sharon (Lichten) Stenger ’87 and Laura (Sveda) Racanelli ’88
Lou Lilley ’93
Since everything in reality has a specific nature, in principle science is capable of explaining everything. Everything leaves a “footprint” in reality - something that can be studied, analyzed, and understood. And everything we’ve discovered so far has been understandable. Science has proven itself time and again, from the smallest particles to entire cosmos, across civilizations and across millennia. Why can’t science know everything? Rather than going through a linguistic rollercoaster to refute this idea, there’s a much simpler way; give us an example. Five letters attacking science and yet not one gives a single example of something science cannot understand.
Examples in that exist in reality, that is. Ghosts, goblins, and God don’t have any referents in reality, no footprint, nothing to study or point to as evidence. So science has nothing to analyze from them. But, science does have something to say about things for which there is no evidence they don’t exist.
If RPI truly wanted to be a leader, rather than just swallowing whole the latest politically correct fad such as worshiping the “beauty” of religious diversity I would teach that reason is man’s sole means to knowledge, his primary means of survival, and the only basis for science.
Daniel Caless ’85
I suspect if one asked the proponents of intelligent design to list the top 10 reasons why there must be an intelligent designer, that within 50 years, science, if properly funded and inappropriately distracted, could logically explain each reason. However, I’m equally sure that another comfortable concept, perhaps “pre-conceptual brainstorming,” would surface and provide the necessary basis for another 50 years of smoke.
Randy Brown ’76
People might disagree over whether science can explain everything but the essential issue, here, is whether anything other than science can explain anything.
People of faith say “yes.” Scientists say “no.” The rhetoric may continue, but evidence is on the side of the scientists faith rejects evidence.
The idea that a scientific explanation is better than an appeal to faith was, and should continue to be, a cornerstone of Rensselaer’s culture. Some people may choose faith as a means of coping with the as-yet-unexplained, but it is arbitrary for them to claim, then, that science’s power to explain is inherently limited. All that has been explained has been explained by science.
We should celebrate science rather than condemning it for not giving us what faith promises: a magical means of knowledge.
John Paquette ’85
Some additional thoughts:
Throughout my education I learned many principles that would keep me from making such a bold and absurd statement. Here are just a few:
Professor Sloboda’s statement really expresses a narrow view of knowledge and how we know. Science has provided only a very small portion of what we know and not necessarily the most valuable portion. What about the historical method used to know and write history? Do we not learn about beauty and emotion from the work of poets, musicians, and artists? What part did science play in what we know about ethics and moral values?
Perhaps Professor Sloboda’s statement was meant to be taken only in the context of the origin and development of life. But even then, he must realize that information needed to reconstruct the past is relentlessly degraded over time and can never be fully recovered.
Surprisingly missing in the letter’s section is a response from Professor Sloboda either retracting his statement or further explaining it. Was he given an opportunity to respond?
George Zinsmeister ‘61
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