cultural myths and misery

S.K. Harrison skh23ca at
Thu Dec 13 14:54:08 EST 2001

Hi Rich. Thanks for your contribution. In regard
also of Toby's opinions, I'm glad to know that I
will not serve on this list as the token spitoon
for anti-rationalist resentments.

> Indeed it would be good to see some of the
> rigor of scientific study applied to more
> alternative fields.

I spend many of my days exploring different
fringey fields, so you've touched on my motives
for advocating science.

> Good solid evidence like this is going to be
> necessary it permaculture is to be attractive
> to the mainstream.

I agree and would generalize further. If policy
makers implement legislation that affects large
numbers of people, they need to make the most
informed choices possible, which requires
accurate information, not the speculations and
potential delusions of any old shmo.

Let me make clear here that I'm isolating a
problem--the need for *informed* choices. I'm not
paving the way for a priori advocacy of science.
I'd love to hear about the efficacy of other
problem-solving methods.

> Back to science. Whilst I agree with Toby about
> the integrity of the scientists themselves
> there are big problems with the system in which
> they operate. The three year funding cycle
> places limits on the type of investigations
> which can be undertaken. There is great
> pressure on publishing as often as possible
> leading to they type of investigations for
> which they are pretty sure will produce good
> results.

Thanks for this little peek into academia. You've
highlighted one manifestation of the *systemic*
problem to which I expect I'll be devoting some
of my critical faculties.

> Quantifiable investigations are far
> easier to work with than qualitative ones, you
> can produce results which can be measured.
> But how do you quantify the benefits of
> permaculture?

I wish I could answer that. I hope to work with
both quantitative and qualitative research
methods. Perhaps I'll come up with a solution
that synthesizes the two.


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