I think if you see a cool post and wish to learn more, the wording needs to be careful to not sound like "citation needed" and more like "Ooooo, I really like this and wish to learn more! Can you teach me, or maybe you have some favorite books or web sites? I'm off to give google a workout on this topic!"
"Ooooo, I really like this and wish to learn more! Can you teach me, or maybe you have some favorite books or web sites? I'm off to give google a workout on this topic!"
OK, I'll admit I probably come across a little blunter than that, but one of my angles is usually, "Do you have a source you trust for more info?" The very discussion taking place in this thread is one of the reasons I'm often looking for info that has hopefully been vetted by people more knowledgeable than myself.
I totally agree that if people are sharing their experiences, they should be supported and encouraged. I personally *really* appreciate it when people give enough detail that if I want to try to replicate what they've done, I have enough info to do so. That way permies can build a box full of real world "science" which is messy, situationally dependent, and resilient.
I think it is worth noting that when research is being conducted and theories are proposed, reproducible data from many sources is generally not supposed to be dismissed by the community, because of the following:
-It is generally our understanding of reality that is flawed and not reality that is flawed. So no matter how good "theories" are, they do not usually matter unless there is sufficient data backing it up.
-Observation is mostly what makes good proper science in its purest form. I appreciated what my physics professor said in response to a student's question about why something occurred: "We do not know why, and that's okay. We have plenty of empirical data that demonstrates a pattern we can reduce into a useable equation. All that really matters is we found something that we can do stuff with." It's this practicality that I love about good science and permaculture people!!!
-Many times all of the possible questions have not been asked, and many times the right question has not been asked. So, incorrect conclusions and assumptions are made.
And as a final note on my thoughts about this matter is that I blatantly disregard and dismiss many studies, because many laboratory experiments are removed and isolated from the greater whole, which forgoes the dynamic and complicated interactions that yield emergent properties. So, some of the "findings" in research are not applicable to the real-world, because they were not performed under real-world conditions that involve the greater whole of systems. Things usually behave differently when they are isolated than when they are grouped together. For example, I most certainly behave differently when I am isolated from others than when I am with other people.
Dave Burton wrote:"We do not know why, and that's okay. We have plenty of empirical data that demonstrates a pattern we can reduce into a usable equation. All that really matters is we found something that we can do stuff with."
I agree this is what it boils down to. And it is on this exact point that "conventional" and "alternative" medicine (for instance) come to loggerheads. Clinical trials may not be perfect -- and it happens sometimes that a drug gets FDA approval, only to be recalled as unsafe later -- but one advantage they have is that they provide the aforementioned empirical data that demonstrate a pattern we can use.
I hear the term "flawed science" thrown around in controversial areas. But my take on it is this:
Scientists are well aware of the dangers of flawed science, which is why research has certain practices structured into it intended to minimize the risk of flawed science. Peer review is essentially the last line of defense after everything else. Yes, flawed science does occasionally slip through (the persistent "8 glasses of water" advice comes to mind); but in my experience, most people use the term "flawed science" to mean "science that draws conclusions I don't like." If someone tells me that a given statement is "flawed science," I would reply by asking something along the lines of, can you tell me what the flaw in it is?
paul wheaton wrote:I think there is a big difference between "i came to my position thanks to these whitepapers" and "this whitepaper says you are wrong."
With one, we are sharing. With the other, we are suggesting that somebody on permies is less than perfect (wrong).
Quite simple really.
Thank you for this, it's excellent! A light bulb moment for me! It's really that simple
People in scientific communities use many different versions of "this whitepaper says you are wrong." I've witnessed university professors getting as upset with each other as little children at playground and I have not been able to tell where the conversation went wrong. To me it sounded like normal scientific discussion that you see in scientific papers too: "Smith and Jones reported X. However, they had the following flaws in their methodology: [...] In this paper, we will present our results, which show Y."
The light bulb moment for me is that:
There is no need to mention what Smith and Jones got "wrong", AT ALL. Just state my position, and give the examples and citates if I have them. I can mention the results of Smith and Jones, if necessary, but I don't have to comment on them.
a wee bit from the empire
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