Based on Science

the cost of ignorance

The Renaissance, that began in fourteenth century Italy, gave birth to the scientific method, and scientific thought. From the start there was resistance to the change. New models of the world challenged the old ways of thinking. We continue to run into these same issues even today, perhaps more so as scientific knowledge becomes evermore specialized. Individually we can only have a deep, thorough knowledge in one small area. The remainder we may have only a general knowledge, or less. These limitations set us up for misconceptions, and frequently, illusory perceptions. Too little knowledge can be dangerous, and even a solid understanding of scientific principles may steer us astray. Ignorance is not bliss.

For instance, something is presented to us as based on science. The scientific principles may be true and logical, however, we must be cognizant of an important distinction between based on science and validated by science. It’s in this gap where we often get into trouble. Here’s where less than scrupulous marketers pull the wool over our eyes by selling us something based on theory without providing the scientific evidence to support the verity of their claim. This doesn’t mean the science is wrong or right. It means the scientific method must be applied, in context, to validate the assertions. Without this final step, any claims are only speculation.

Too many white papers from high-end audio companies base their claims on science without providing the necessary methodological support to demonstrate that the science holds true in their specific application. They hide behind the theoretical basis of their claim, and use it to discredit any tests that may challenge or denounce. The problem is, they aren’t lying about the science, they’re lying about its relevance under the conditions. Often it’s some quantum effect that’s so minute it’s difficult, or impossible, to measure with the most sensitive test equipment. Should the glaring differences among recordings be taken into account, they swamp any possible audible subtleties. This problem is not exclusive to audio, it pervades almost every commercial enterprise, and is used to refute the science behind human caused atmospheric changes. It relies on buyer ignorance to sell a product. So, the next time you read a claim about some amazing new whachamacallit, just ask, has it been scientifically, methodologically tested? And no, informal tests do not count. Anecdotal testimonials are not evidence. But uncontrolled testing procedures that collect raw subjective opinions, inconsistent and contradictory from person to person, do prove one thing—suggestion and belief reliably influence perception—and that has been scientifically validated.

Listen to why math (and science) counts : [Do Your Duty: Learn Math]

Read about [The Fear of Measurement]

Check out [Realclimate]

This entry was posted in Audio, Discover, Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Based on Science

  1. Pingback: Driving the Economy | [art]by[odo]

  2. Pingback: The Virtual Revolution | [art]by[odo]

  3. Pingback: Topsy-Turvy | [art]by[odo]

Leave a Reply