It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. ~ Mark Twain
When George Gershwin composed the song It Ain’t Necessarily So, he was onto something. I’d love to have a nickel for everything I was taught or told or just accepted as fact in the course of my life. From food preservation to gardening to animal husbandry to medicine to finance, there have been a lot more ‘not-so’ things than ‘so’ things. A while back I did a post on not needing to waterbath jams and jellies; I got more than 100 comments corroborating my “not-so” position. At which point it occurred to me there are lots of other not-so things out there, and shazaam, I had an ongoing blog topic. Here’s the latest “it ain’t necessarily so” (IANS).
Ive done a number of these IANS posts, but I really want to tackle the subject of scientific research. It’s not, however, a small topic. In order to prevent your eyes from crossing before I finish making the important points, I’m going to break it into smaller pieces. So for the next few weeks, I will be doing an IANS series:
Part 1 – Science is the answer for agriculture (and health and everything else).
Part 2 – You can trust scientific recommendations.
Part 3 – The research process is based on honest, truly scientific experimentation.
Part 4 – Sorting the wheat from the chaff.
And by then it will be time to get into the business of spring planting, which is a good antidote for thinking about the current state of scientific research!
Take a Missouri Approach
Missouri is the “show me” state. The mental attitude of “you’ll have to prove it to me” is a good one. Use your common sense. When your experience or that of people you trust is contrary to accepted scientific wisdom or expert recommendations, odds are very high the scientific wisdom and the experts are out to lunch. Ask the old homicide lawyer’s question, “Cui bono?” Loosely translated as “Who benefits?” what it actually means is “To whose profit?” When big bucks, company survival or professional reputations are on the line, ethics quite often take a back seat. Circus entrepreneur PT Barnum was the one who coined the sucker-born-every-minute rule. Don’t be a sucker and remember: it ain’t necessarily so.