Though science is often considered a field for those who want concrete answers and find speculation something beneath them, John M. Barry reveals quite the opposite. Through this passage, Barry shows his reader through numerous rhetorical strategies that scientific research is actually a field for the daring and courageous willing to be left unsure of most answers and rely on faith that someday their work will yield something of importance on the subject.
Barry’s initial juxtaposition of “certainty” and “uncertainty” allows the reader to empathize with and begin to respect those who are uncertain. His antithesis concerning what scientists possess courage for highlights his point that he leaves inexplicably clear in his allusion to Claude Bernard who said “Science teaches us to doubt.” A second allusion to Albert Einstein reinforces his assertion that often scientist do not want to believe in what they uncover and are courageous when they do so anyway. The third paragraph effectively characterizes scientist ideologically as individuals who are courageous because of their resilience despite uncertainty.
The beginning of the conceit regarding scientists in the wilderness emphasizes that the environment they work in is dangerous and unchartered. The step off of the metaphorical cliff can end in failure for the scientist and dramatically provides imagery of a scientist’s job. The parasprodokian employed at the beginning of the fourth paragraph emphasizes how independent and inventive scientists have to be. By describing their figurative “tools” and problems, Barry shows his reader that a scientist is forced to make difficult decisions with a large amount of uncertainty. The rhetorical questions concluding the paragraph allow the reader to enter the mind of the scientist questioning, unsure, and faced with a dilemma, yet preserving in a quest for a solution, all going back to characterizing scientific research as a field for the daring despite un-surety.
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