Watching one of the Sunday morning political news shows recently, as yet another pol described that the ‘science is changing‘ and mentioning the results of new data, it dawned on me that smart individuals are conflating science with data.
By one definition, Science is “he intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” A number of publications suggest that the Scientific Method has been use to study the Coronavirus family of viruses for decades. Moreover, this Body of Scientific Knowledge regarding viruses is substantial. By one account from 2013 (long before the current lemming like behavior), there are over one million virus types of vertebrates of which over 300,000 infect mammals. This suggests there is a large body of scientific knowledge about virus behavior.
What is changing over 18+ months is the data captured regarding Covid-19. Whether diverse data sets from different collection processes is clarifying or obfuscating decision support models is up to interpretation, as it always is in these types of dynamic, evolving situations.
So, when someone says, “they are following the science” they most likely are not knowledgeable about what they speak. They are making decisions based on new, as well as the the sum total data set with all of its biases, errors, omissions and agendas that go with it. Different positions and responses to the virus is not the result of science changing but further analysis based on emerging data. ‘The data’ is not nearly as forceful as the science says and the confusion that reigns from this approach is predictable.
While research processes can change based on new discoveries, DATA analysis is the largest value. For example, no one talks of new IT science, they talk about new tools and data assessment processes.
Data Analysis is the key to New knowledge and the Scientific Method supports this Approach, not the other way around.
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