This subject already seems to have come up, so let's discuss it.
I love scientific studies. I have read many of them on many subjects from cover to cover. There is much to be learned by them. I often disagree with the conclusions drawn by the researchers though.
"Post hoc ergo procto hoc" (After this therefore because of this) is the primary error in logic and is a trap fallen into by humans and animals alike. The big temptation of this error is that "Post hoc erog procto hoc" is a good basis for a theory. The error isn't using it for a theory it's using it as proof.
Let's examine the error of this, first. Every morning at my house, the roosters crow. Every morning after the roosters crow, the sun comes up. Does this mean that the roosters cause the sun to come up? Because we can't see any mechanism to connect them other than the sequence of events, most of us would assume that the roosters are not the cause.
Every culture I know of has folk tales and or jokes to make fun of this error. One in our culture is "pull my finger". Because you pull the finger and immediately afterwards something happens, your brain makes a connection and for a second you fall prey to this error. Then after a second or two you brain catches up with itÂ’s processing and the absurdity of that connection hits you and you laugh. The Africans often tell the Â“roosters causing the sun to come upÂ” story and the Lakota tell it as the horses whinnying. Foolish anthropologists often record these stories as if the people telling them believe this connection, but my experience with primitive cultures is that they tell these stories to teach the error of that way of thinking. Of course they watch to see if the anthropologists believe the foolish conclusion and after watching them diligently write it down without so much as a comment, or a chuckle the natives shake their heads at the foolishness.
I have done things while driving that were immediately followed by some noise. My first conclusion is that I caused the noise and IÂ’m wondering what it is IÂ’ve caused. After trying a couple of more times and the noise does not follow it, I find out it was one of my children making the noise. It was mere coincidence that they happened simultaneously.
Any Â“statistical proofÂ” really constitutes no proof. As I collect a larger and larger sample it becomes more and more likely that what IÂ’m seeing statistically is an actual connection and not a coincidence, but it never constitutes analytical proof. Unless I have a mechanism and can prove that mechanism is the cause, by some means other than simple statistics, then I only have an increasing likelihood.
I can prove this to anyone who understands basic probability. What are the odds that if I flip this quarter it will land on heads? 50/50. So I flip it and it comes up heads. What are the odds if I flip this quarter again that it will come up heads again? 50/50 same as before. So I flip it and it comes up heads. I personally have flipped a quarter 27 times in a row and got heads every time. Does this prove that the odds are not 50/50? No it proves my sample was too small to be statistically valid. How many times to I have to flip it before my results are an absolute fact? No matter how many times I do it, I only get closer and closer to the actual answer. It is not a matter of absolute proof but a matter of accumulating large enough sample. The larger the sample the closer I get to the answer, but itÂ’s like the old math problem of going half way and half the remaining way and half of that and so on. When will I get to the end? Never. I can only get closer and closer.
This was just trying to prove that flipping a quarter has odds of 50/50. The life cycle of any organism is infinitely more complex than flipping a quarter and affected by more things than we can know. If I do a certain thing and get a certain result how many times will it take to prove absolutely that what I did contributed to that result? If I have a very large sample and I have a very large success rate compared to a very large control group with a very small success rate, it is very likely that my theory is correct. The smaller the sample, the smaller the difference in success rate and the more other variables that could contribute to success or failure, or even worse, the more skewed those variables are in favour of either group, the less valid my results are.
This is all assuming a lack of prejudice on the part of the researcher. As one of my teachers (he was a carpenter with a lot of wisdom, not a professor) once said, Â“everyone thinks their idea is better because they thought of itÂ”. This seems intuitively obvious, but it is important. I have a natural prejudice to my ideas because they fit my way of thinking. If they didnÂ’t, I wouldnÂ’t have thought of them! This is why in the scientific community it is important to be able to reproduce the results. Reproducibility is a good test, especially if someone else is doing the second or third study than did the first. I may eliminate some of the prejudice and also it may change some of the other unmeasured and unaccounted for variables.
The second problem with research is the motivation for doing it. The motivation for doing research is almost (but not always) personal gain. A few actual altruistic people have a love of some fellow creature, or some fellow humans and is actually involved because they want to reduce suffering or solve someoneÂ’s problems. Unfortunately these people are not well funded and their research is usually not well received.
Most research is funded by and prejudiced by some entity that has an agenda to prove their solution and that solution has to be something they can market and sell, preferable with a patent of copyright or some other protection to provide them with a monopoly. There is no profit in, and therefore no money for, research into simple common solutions to problems.
IÂ’m sure some will disagree with me, but I think some entities, such as the USDA, have their own agenda that has been revealed by observing them over time. The big agenda of any government agency is to get more money, more power and try to appear that they are serving the purpose they were put there for. In the case of the USDA, itÂ’s obvious they have favored chemicals over natural solutions. They favor anything that appears to help the economy of agribusiness. This doesnÂ’t mean just the small farmer/beekeeper etc. but the whole of agribusiness. They seem to like to see money changing hands because it helps the economy.
Just because research was done on a subject and the researchers came to some conclusion, does not make that conclusion the truth.
Now, while we are talking about facts, letÂ’s talk about one of the reasons some people do not like science and prefer their own opinions. I covered one above, which is that we always like our own ideas because they fit our way of thinking, but the other is that people are fond of saying that something has not been proven scientifically as if that means it is NOT true because it has NOT been proven. Anything we have not proven is simply something that has not been proven. Because I have not proven it true does not make it false.
In 1847 Dr. Ignaz Philipp Semmelwis instituted the practice of hand washing before delivering babies. He came to this conclusion simply by the statistical evidence that mothers and babies who were attended by doctors who washed had less mortality than ones attended by doctors who did not wash. This was "Post hoc ergo procto hoc" . The doctors washed and less babies died. This is not scientific proof and therfore his colleages did not consider it scientific proof. Why? Because he could not provide a mechanism to explain it nor an experiment to prove that mechanism. Because he was a proponent of something he would not prove absolutely, he was driven out of the medical community as a quack. This is an example of something that had not been proven scientifically.
In the 1850Â’s when Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch created the science of microbiology and the Â“germ theoryÂ” of disease Dr SemmelwisÂ’s theory finally was proven scientifically. Now there was a mechanism and they were able to create experiments to prove that mechanism. My point is, that it was true before they proved it and it was true after they proved it. The truth did not change because they proved it. There was, previous to this proof, evidence that would lead to the practice of hand washing, but not proof.
We live our lives and make decisions all the time based on our view of the world. This view is not truth, but it is based on our experience and our learning. Sometimes something comes along to change that view and we accept it because the evidence is strong enough. To ignore evidence that fits the pattern of what we see around us because it has not been proven is foolish. To ignorantly hang on to things that are proven to not be true is equally foolish. But just because the majority believe something to be proven does not mean has been. Just because the majority of people believe something is true does not make it true.
In conclusion, I would say, read research with a grain of salt. Look at their methods. Think about the contributing issues that they have overlooked. Pay attention to anything that would skew the population they are studying or the population of the control group. Look into whether or not the study has been duplicated and were the results similar or contrary. What was the size of the population? What was the difference in success? If there is only a small difference it may not be statistically important. Even if there is a large difference, was it duplicated at that large a difference? Also what might be the prejudices of the people doing the research?
Now that IÂ’ve opened this can of worms, IÂ’ll share a little more about my view of the world.
I think the world is too complex for anyone to every grasp. ItÂ’s why we create our own Â“view of the worldÂ”. It gives us a basic framework within which to make decisions and solve problems. None of us can comprehend the whole thing, so all of us have, at best a very incomplete world view and at worse a very erroneous world view.
Empirical Vs Statistical
I am much in favor of the Â“scientific methodÂ”. Especially if it is actually followed. There was a time in the Â“scientific worldÂ” that anything less than empirical truth was ignored. But, partly because of the previously mentioned faux paux where doctors ran off a brilliant doctor for proposing something based on statistical evidence (washing hands before delivering babies or performing surgery), the current trend in science and medicine is to actually give some credence to statistical evidence. Sometimes to a degree that is not entirely reasonable.
As I mentioned in the Â“flipping a quarterÂ” illustration, sometimes the statistics we have gathered are skewed by simple random chance. Sometimes by other factors also. It is one of the reasons that scientists in the past discounted statistical evidence and insisted on empirical evidence.
In the case of some statistical issues, the sample is large (sometimes an entire country or continent) the other factors are well averaged out and the differences in the results are large. For instance, women who smoke are twelve times more likely to die of lung cancer than women who donÂ’t smoke. This is not an insignificant number. If it were twice as many it would be pretty significant, but twelve times as many is very significant. When these numbers are from a very large sampling it becomes even more significant.
On the other hand this is not empirical evidence. If all we did was collect the statistics then we only have a Â“post hoc ergo procto hocÂ” situation. Still itÂ’s too big to ignore. But then there are studies as to how the constituents of tobacco smoke cause cellular changes and eventually cancer. This study has more empirical evidence by the fact that we can expose cells to the substances in tobacco and see the changes. And we have studied it to the point of knowing how some of those chemicals cause some of those changes.
There is not time in my lifetime to do as extensive of experimentation as the cancer studies on every aspect of everything IÂ’m involved in. In fact there probably isnÂ’t even time to read every study thatÂ’s already been done. What I (and everyone else) have done as I process my experiences I have, is look for patterns. The patterns are the trail that leads us down paths of experimentation. They are how a scientist comes up with a theory. We see a pattern that this is the general way most things work and come up with a theory based on the pattern continuing into the realm we are studying. Sometimes the difference between one course of action and another are insignificant enough not to warrant too much work and investigation. Sometimes, especially when difficulties arise, it is worth trying to discover the cause of the difficulties. This is the time to study something and apply scientific methods to discovering the a solution.
LetÂ’s try this from a simple personal view. If I touch some glowing hot metal and my finger hurts and gets a blister, is that empirical evidence that touching glowing hot metal burns my finger? If all I know is Â“I touched that metal and my finger hurtÂ” then no, it does not. But I have some other things to consider. One is that I know a bit about the metal. I know that it had been heated and know that I could feel heat coming off of it. Also I know that when I apply heat to other things they combust or they melt or they are damaged in other ways. Therefore, it is reasonable for me to believe that the metal caused the burn because I not only have a chronological connection (one followed the other) but a mechanism. I have observed other things burning when they are hot, so itÂ’s reasonable to assume it is the heat (not the metal) that caused my pain. It would be reasonable for me not to touch the metal again when it is hot. On the other hand, if IÂ’m not paying attention to the details and I come to the erroneous conclusion that touching metal burns my finger and donÂ’t take into account the mechanism (the heat in the metal) I might go through my life never touching metal again. This may seem silly, but other situations are often much more complex than the metal and finger situation and a significant aspect of this other situation goes unnoticed and we go through life with an erroneous belief.
Often there is not time to really be scientific. When your bees are dying, for instance, you may, out of desperation, try several things and the same time and they may get well. If you do, you will never know for sure what, if any of those several things made any difference. Even if you try only one thing, you wonÂ’t really know if it made a difference or they would have recovered anyway.
A woman I know is fond of saying Â“the method of potty training you tried just before your child succeeds is the one youÂ’ll swear byÂ”. Her point is they would have gotten potty trained with or without your help, but you will be certain your method was the cause (Â“post hocÂ”). When you go to the doctor and get medicine and then you get well, youÂ’ll probably think it was the medicine. Statistically there was, with or without the medicine, a 99% chance you would get well, but you will credit what you did just before as the cause of your recovery. Conversely if you take the medicine and get worse you will blame the medicine. Statistically this is more likely. According to a recent study from the National Academy Institute of Medicine, each year more people die from medical errors than from motor vehicle accidents (43,458), breast cancer (42,297), or AIDS (16,516). So odds are it WAS the medicine. But it is not a known fact unless we do far more research. These kinds of simple conclusions, not based on enough evidence to be scientific, are often what we live by because we never have the time, the energy or the opportunity to do a large enough sample to come to any significant conclusions. These conclusions are not scientific, and are sometimes wrong, but they are quite often correct conclusions also.
I admit to being prejudiced toward things that are natural. This is not just some fanatical belief with no basis, it is based on my experience and observation. It is one of the patterns I have observed. Over time I have seen many nonnatural solutions to problems fail miserably. Sometimes with catastrophic consequences.
When I was young, science was going to solve all of our problems. Cure all of the diseases, give us vaccinations for everything. They were going to eradicate (does this word sound familiar?) flies, mosquitoes, mice, rats and prairie dogs. Humans had been pretty successful at eradicating things like bears and wolves (of course it wasnÂ’t science it was 14 year old kids collecting bounties for the ears). The result of this thinking was DDT being sprayed everywhere, rat poison spread extensively and the near annihilation of every raptor on the continent, not to mention all of the predators of the prairie dogs. Of course there wasn't even a significant dent in the mosquitoes, rats, mice or flies. This is but one in a series of many Â“scientificÂ” fiascoes.
I have found that not only are doctors and scientists often mistaken they are often doing the opposite of what should be done. I realize this will open another can of worms, but I am a Lakota Sundancer. Going for four days and nights with no food and no water dancing from sunup to sundown in weather that is often well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I have seen many cases of heat exhaustion, and have had a severe case of it on two occasions myself. These are people with hot dry skin, nauseated, vomiting, and confused. There is only one cure that IÂ’ve seen work and IÂ’ve never seen it fail. This is on people who still donÂ’t get anything to drink and turn around and dance for two more days. These are people who quit sweating at least a day ago because there wasnÂ’t anything left to sweat. If I took any of these people to a medical doctor they would immediately try to cool them down. When you have heat stroke your body gets confused and canÂ’t decide what to do. The body starts heating you up because itÂ’s not sure which way to go. The intuitively obvious thing to do is cool them down. This fails quite often. Using the "cooling down" treatment people often die. Literally hundreds of people die in one large city in one heat wave and these people have access to water, access to medical care and their bodies have enough moisture to sweat. The first time I had heat exhaustion I sat in the Niabrara river for some time with no relief at all.
The treatment that I have never seen fail, is to put the person in a very hot, very wet, very short sweat. This means you take them in a small hut with red hot rocks, close it up and pour the water on the rocks, making lots of steam, until the place is so hot you canÂ’t stand it. The effects on the body are immediate. First the body immediately realizes that it is hot. How could it be confused when the air is approaching the boiling point? The second thing that happens is the skin is covered with condensation. When they get out, the body is now convinced to accept the cooling and the water is there to help do the job. I do not think I will ever hear of a scientific study as to the efficacy of this treatment, because it goes against their view of the world.
Doctors have the view that whatever the body is doing that they donÂ’t want, they will try to force it to stop. I have the view that whatever my body is trying to do I will help it do it until it decides to stop. When I have a fever I either get in as hot a tub of water as I can stand or a sweat or a sauna. If the body wants a fever I help it have one. I never take aspirin or anything else unless the fever persists after the sweat or sauna, which it seldom if ever does.
Following nature and working with it is my view of the world. It is based on my experiences. ItÂ’s true that sometimes our experiences lead us in the wrong direction and lead us to erroneous conclusions, but more often they help us learn about the patterns of what is around us.
I also enjoy reading scientific studies about lots of stuff. But when it comes to bees I read about everything from everyone.
The world and all it complexity is far beyond the scope of anyone to understand especially since were only here for such a short time. I believe our Creator had originally built a fantastic interactive classroom where we could develop, expand and experience all the positive elements of our human nature for all time.
Some things have entered into the picture and changed or frustrate some of that for awhile, but when I cooperate with His designs and try to understand His intentions, things do certianly work out better. After all He designed it to all work together.
Some elements of science split or divide a form up into it basics parts and some knowledge is gained there. But for me, real understanding comes when the parts are put back together and their relationship to the whole is considered. I sometimes even reflect upon the possible intention or motivation of the Creator, from my little perspect of course.
Can science contribute to such a perspect? For sure, as it can be a tool like my mind or my senses or my intuition.
For me life is not about proof so much as it is about learning. A person who is willing to learn can make many mistakes and yet be a benefit to himself and others in the process.
Those that focus on the proof end of things may be to conservative to risk making mistakes. They could miss out on some of the grand adventures of life.
My "professional" training was in the physical sciences. About every 10 years, much of what was "proven" is tossed out in favor of something new. Now if it is so in the relatively simple area of physical sciences, throw in the variable of "life", which complicates things to an even greater degree, and I wonder how much could really be understood let alone proven.
Real truth and proof will come when we meet the Creator.
Great topic. Great ideas.
>The world and all it complexity is far beyond the scope of anyone to understand especially since were only here for such a short time.
This is a big part of the problem with coming up with meaningful research. Quite often the significant factors are so many and so hard to control that it's difficult to have a solid result when you are done.
>I believe our Creator had originally built a fantastic interactive classroom where we could develop, expand and experience all the positive elements of our human nature for all time.
This affects my worldview and my prejudices. I do try to be respectful of those who believe this awesome, complex web we call life came to be by evolution, but frankly it is contrary to the laws of thermodynamics that anything can evolve. Systems that we create evolve because we keep refining them. There is a source of energy and intellect coming from us. But nothing can evolve by itself. The total amount of chaos continues to increase.
>Some things have entered into the picture and changed or frustrate some of that for awhile, but when I cooperate with His designs and try to understand His intentions, things do certainly work out better. After all He designed it to all work together.
I agree. But whether you believe that there is a master designer or just that things finally found an equilibrium, it's understanding the whole system and it's equilibrium that leads us to the real solutions.
>Some elements of science split or divide a form up into it basics parts and some knowledge is gained there. But for me, real understanding comes when the parts are put back together and their relationship to the whole is considered.
This is always the problem with any study. Even if a scientist wishes to examine the synergy of the whole, the complexity of it is infinite. The old Lakota teachers say if you pull on a tree or a blade of grass you'll find it is connected to the whole world. This is of course a double meaning. It is physically connected to the whole world, but also in complex systems it is connected to everything. Hyemeyohsts Storm talks about how to study things, the white man has to take something that is alive, moving and connected and stop it. But the problem is it's not the same thing after you do that.
>For me life is not about proof so much as it is about learning. A person who is willing to learn can make many mistakes and yet be a benefit to himself and others in the process.
Science is nothing but trial and error and measurement. But it is useful.
>About every 10 years, much of what was "proven" is tossed out in favor of something new.
I have seen this more times than I have seen "truth" stand for any time.
>Now if it is so in the relatively simple area of physical sciences, throw in the variable of "life", which complicates things to an even greater degree, and I wonder how much could really be understood let alone proven.
I guess I love to try, because some things you can prove. Or at least you can adjust wrong thinking by doing some experiments. Much that was conventional wisdom has fallen to simple experiments that could have been done years ago, but the assumption was that everyone knows it's this way.
>Real truth and proof will come when we meet the Creator.
The Creator IS truth, but from the point of view of good science, I think you use what you know of the Creator and what you know of the patterns in nature and use that to form the basis of your theories. Then, if possible you test those theories to narrow down your understanding. Many beliefs in science were confused with religion and it was not good for either science or religion.
I admit to having a prejudice in this. The Lakota believe that all the answers you need are already there in nature.
Christians should believe this because Romans 1:19-20 says "... that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them, for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes and divine nature have been clearly seen being understood through what has been made..."
>Great topic. Great ideas.
But acutally I think this is another entirely different topic.
Hello Micheal and Everyone,
In the past most people looked to religion to provide the answers to lifes questions. Today, western man looks to science to provide those answers. Scientific studies often form the basis for this faith.
Much like religion, most people cannot understand the language of science and trust a "priest" to interprete those studies for them. The limitations and assumptions used are often lost in the process.
It seems that arrogance is often a common trait when either system becomes infexible and dogmatic. Then the lessons like those connected with the blade of grass are lost to the institutions.
The person who has both and can learn from each is wise indeed :> )
Who worked bees as a youth on the Niobrara shale and suffered heat exhaustion almost every afternoon at 4. Knowing salt tablets and lots of water doesn't work either.
Interesting topic I have to say. Personally I tend to be predjudice toward natural things as well. My reasoning comes from a topic already stated. That is time. You are right, there is not enough time to throughly test and retest things. However, that is one of the reasons that we study history. We learn from others mistakes, and pickup where they left off, that was correct. With bees and honey, time has proven that bees live from honey. It is natural, can can be produced where bees live, or they would not live there to start with. Bees dying, and the desparate attempts to save them, opens up a whole case of scenarios. As stated, if they survive, what solved it, if anything you did really solved it. That is where time factors in. I listen to my elders, because foolish as they may sound sometimes, they have time on their side. My wife works in a nursing home, and comes home with fascinating stories, and hidden lessons. If we are able to identify the lessons they bring to us, we make progress, if we choose to ignore them, we stay stagnent. I have learned things about bees, from oldtimers that did not really understand what they were doing, but solved an immediate problem at the time. I stated about the Y and I sides of comb, that I was told to turn comb around if the bees were not drawing it right. Is it coincidence, that now there is a study, or is it something that was right in front of our noses, and we just forgot? Maybe one of those lessons we did not identify.
Another can of worms that I see in this world, but seems to be forgotten. In the oriental countries, many live in extended families. That type of knowledge at a childs fingertips, properly harnessed, leads to intellegent thought. We wonder why our kids are behind in education. Could family values play a role there? Maybe if grandpa lived in my house, I would have done better in school. It seems that simple things like these get often times pushed aside, or forgotten altogether.
Dr. Rodriguez, and his fogging is another lesson to learn from. Understanding how the mites live and breathe certainly is the answer to their control. Developing chemicals is a temp solution, but I have seen too many things develop from there use. I live in a rural area, and 20 years ago, farmers sprayed for 3 things, weeds, potato beetles and blight. Bigger and better sprays were developed to save money, the agenda, now just 20 years later, there are new and improved bugs! And why? Probably the natural enemies of those pests were killed in the process of bigger and better. Back to fogging, the idea of suffocating mites was right in front of us. Another hidden lesson, probably revealed at one time or another, that was discovered. Oil, probably bees foraged in something the last million years, that science removed, that did something similar. Bee size, once again, mans intervention, certainly might be a factor. Who knows, maybe the size prevents them from foraging in the oil needed to control mites. I am not a scientist.
I guess what I am saying after all of this, is time certainly healed wounds from the bees past, that we are not aware of, and will once again. I have noticed that time seems to create cycles, both good and bad, and maybe the bees are in the bad cycle now. Only God knows the answer to that.
Once again, just my opinion......
Hello Dale, Michael and Everyone,
>Another can of worms that I see in this world, but seems to be forgotten. In the oriental countries, many live in extended families.... It seems that simple things like these get often times pushed aside, or forgotten altogether.
I have experienced this twice in my own life. My father was an excellent woodworker and had a successful business. I would have none of it and went my own way. Unfortunately, I inherited his propensity and now enjoy working with wood but without the skill I could have learned from him.
Both my grandparents were beekeepers. From my earlist days I loved beekeeping. My father would have none of it, but likes to have one of my hives around.
My dream was to provide an adequate country living for my family by keeping bees. My boys worked the bees commercially from an early age but have no interest in them. One of them wants to live in New York City!
Maybe that's why so many rely on science and the scientific studies. Not much accumulated wisdom to compare things with. It looks like time spent with grandparents is very important.
Early in my beekeeping experience I relied heavily on the printed texts and scientific studies. This was coupled with my experience working for commercial beekeepers who seemed to know little of the science of beekeeping.
Later, I would load up the truck planning for one type of management. But when I got to the field, I ended up doing something entirely different. Somehow my beekeeping moved from a rather narrow application of the informed to a much more intuitive interaction with the bees in their environment. I cannot quantify it as it involves a relationship more than information. Beekeeping voodoo? :> )Those who confine their experience to scientific "proofs" sure do think so.
I couldn't have gotten to that point by myself. The scientific studies helped me get there, but my grandparents would have helped me more.
Scientific studies are really little more than highly quantified observations. They suffer from the same restrictions all our observations suffer from, that is our humanity.
I do enjoy reading them because they often cover situations or material I could never observe or experience for myself.
Thinking my browser window is getting a little small for my large posts. Sorry.
>Hello Dale, Michael and Everyone,
>Another can of worms that I see in this world, but seems to be forgotten. In the oriental countries, many live in extended families....
I live with my daughter, my second son and his partner, and my third son and his wife and two children. I sure would miss having all of them, especially my grandsons around if we didn't. But I am American Indian by culture and this is actually normal.
>Both my grandparents were beekeepers. From my earlist days I loved beekeeping. My father would have none of it, but likes to have one of my hives around.
I also learned much from my grandfather and my father rejected much of his wisdom. I never quite understood what there was between them, but I had much more respect for my grandfather's knowledge and experience. Seems like a lot of things skip every other generation.
>Early in my beekeeping experience I relied heavily on the printed texts and scientific studies. This was coupled with my experience working for commercial beekeepers who seemed to know little of the science of beekeeping.
I pretty much read everything that was in publication at the time I got started. All the books. All the research papers. I subscribed to all the magazines. And I think they helped me get the big picture of what bees do and how and why they do it.
>Later, I would load up the truck planning for one type of management. But when I got to the field, I ended up doing something entirely different. Somehow my beekeeping moved from a rather narrow application of the informed to a much more intuitive interaction with the bees in their environment. I cannot quantify it as it involves a relationship more than information. Beekeeping voodoo? :> )Those who confine their experience to scientific "proofs" sure do think so.
I have had the same experience. You think, by what all the books say, that the bees will do a certain thing, but when it comes down to it's more complicated than it was in the books. Under very controled and specific conditions, the bees do whatever they get in their little heads. They are more predictable than some things, but less than you might think.
>Scientific studies are really little more than highly quantified observations. They suffer from the same restrictions all our observations suffer from, that is our humanity.
I think their usefulness is usually that it is quantified. When I'm trying to solve someones problems (which is what I've done most of my adult life) I have to have specifics. Generalities don't work so well.
The problem with studies is they are always limited in scope in several ways: size of population observed, length of time they are observed, variety of other contributing factors that were or were not involved or were or were not taken into account that may or may not be there under real life conditions.
You can't consider everything because it's too much, but sometimes the very thing that you needed to take into account never occured to you.
A new word has crept into our language. It has probably been there for a while, but now it is moving into the mainstream. We computer programmers use it a lot. It is "paradigm" (pronounced para-dime usually and sometimes para-dim). To put it simply, a paradigm is a point of view, a model, a way of looking at a particular problem that allows us to solve it.
An example would be Newtonian physics. Newtonian physics is a set of mathematical rules that allows us to predict things like the path of a bullet, the amount of energy in a car wreck or the motion of the planets. In short, it solves most problems to do with motion and energy at speeds well below the speed of light. It is a useful paradigm. It is still used daily and taught in High School and College, because of its usefulness.
The problem with it is that it isn't true. For years it was accepted as indisputable truth, until some evidence turned up, to contradict it. The evidence was usually at the atomic level, and at close to light speed, but it was hard to refute. These atomic level and light speed problems remained insolvable until Einstein, a mathematician (who flunked math in school), with no degree in physics, threw out the Newtonian paradigm and proposed the Relativity paradigm. This then stood as truth (in spite of the fact that most problems were still much easier to solve by the Newtonian paradigm and are still being solved that way) until other contradictions forced another shift and a new paradigm, Quantum physics.
Einstein took a lot of flack for throwing out Newtonian physics. It was accepted as absolute truth and he questioned it. But no one could solve these light speed problems until they threw out the old paradigm and found a new one the worked.
Another of these, which was the foundation of modern chemistry, was the indestructibility of matter. Einstein came up with the replacement for that one too. The old paradigm had allowed us to make the advanced we had in chemistry and broke us out of the alchemy rut. The only problem was that it wasn't true.
This method of problem solving is called a paradigm shift. The biggest block to the next paradigm is holding on, too tightly, to the last. Paul Mace, author of "Mace Utilities", said, "What we need to discover is often effectively blocked by what we know already."
This is the purpose of the paradigm shift. To throw out (at least temporarily) what we know already so it won't block us off from what we need to discover.
Our view of the world is a series of paradigms that we have adopted. We often confuse this worldview and these paradigms with truth. But in order to be true it would have to be the universe itself. The whole point of the paradigm is to make a simple, abstract model, to isolate the essential elements to make a solution possible to grasp. So by its nature a paradigm will never be the whole truth, because the whole truth is infinite, and we would be overwhelmed.
The danger of paradigms is that we confuse them with truth. They aren't. When the paradigm we have doesn't work it is time for a paradigm shift. Borrow another worldview. Make one up from scratch, but be willing to put aside the one that doesn't work. One paradigm (made up of many smaller ones) is philosophy. It's great for the "Big Questions" like "Why am I here." "Where am I going?", but it's lousy for fixing your car.
Another paradigm is the "Scientific Method." Great for fixing your car, worthless for building relationships.
The secret is to be careful not to hold on too tightly to one model no matter how well it has served you in the past. If it's failing for you now, you need to shift to the one that works.