"Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

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Hennie
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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Hennie » 05 Aug 2011, 14:06

Yes. But the facts per se are not exclusive to science; these facts are available to every one. The science starts, when someone wants to draw some kind of hypothesis (etc.) from these facts.

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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Lily » 05 Aug 2011, 14:24

:shake: you got it!

although not everyone can afford to go to africa to count hippos :grin:
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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Hennie » 05 Aug 2011, 15:03

The point being that sometimes a lot of inquiring and scientific reasoning is needed to establish a fact? I fear that doesn't hold, that is why there are disagreements in about any field of science on about any subject.

The sun is shining over here. Now that's a fact.

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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Lily » 05 Aug 2011, 15:10

The point being that sometimes a lot of inquiring and scientific reasoning is needed to establish a fact?
I fear that doesn't hold, that is why there are disagreements in about any field of science on about any subject.
No that is not the point; fact and conclusion are two different things.
establishing something scientifically, from facts, as a theory, of course requires a lot of reasoning (or else everything would be obvious, and no scientific inquiry necessary)

the reason why there are disagreements (or revision of previous conclusions) is that there are
- different ways of looking at data
- badly designed studies leading to wrong conclusions (like my hippo example or the 1970s college dormitory one)
- new techniques that come up (like the one that finds the hippo virus)
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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Hennie » 05 Aug 2011, 15:19

Problem there is that many scientists present their conclusions as facts; and politicians and such use these "facts" in turn to rule companies, a country and so on.

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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Lily » 05 Aug 2011, 15:35

Any scientist worth their salt, in the original publication, will not say it is fact. Sorry. The correct phrase would go something like "our data support the hypothesis that"....

How the general public reads about that in the media (which usually overhypes, overrates and distorts the conclusions in the original publication) is not their problem, and what governments and companies do with them isn't either. It's not the scientist telling them to.
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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Hennie » 05 Aug 2011, 15:58

Remember the "piggy-flue", the Mexican flue? Ab Osterhaus convinced our government that this flue virus would be at least as aggressive as the Spain flue virus , which caused about 19 million deaths early in the 20th century.
So our government spent 39 million on a vaccine, that was not even proved to do its job.
Only a small portion of the world population has had some kind of vaccine, so if the initial claim had proved right, there would have been 10s of millions of deaths world-wide; but it proved to be wrong. Still I think the government was right in this case, suppose the virus had really been that aggressive and nothing would have been done...

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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Bart » 05 Aug 2011, 16:08

In the case of Mr Osterhaus, it was a mix of personality, scientific interest and his commercial ties (both to his consultancy as well as the different pharma companies) I think got the best of him.

PS this is not an attack on the pharma industry, I've worked for years as a sales rep in this business. Even had contact with mr. Osterhaus.

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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Lily » 05 Aug 2011, 16:41

yeah, same in our country,

people in the health agency needing to make themselves more important than they need, and yes, if anything had really happened, the general populace would have lashed out at them.

A multi-million £$€CHF "better safe than sorry" campaign.
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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Will » 05 Aug 2011, 16:57

Hennie wrote:The point being that sometimes a lot of inquiring and scientific reasoning is needed to establish a fact?
Hennie, I would agree that it takes much inquiry and thought to establish (discover?) a fact. Once established, the fact is easily replicated, observed by other, and enters into common knowledge. There are any number of optical illusions available to demonstrate that an observed fact can be viewed differently once the alternative is identified by another observer. Typically well established facts in a field only initiate further inquiry and reasoning to illuminate further facts.

We may observe and establish as a fact that a tree is reasonably large stable and upright object. We may further observe that the tree has roots spread through the ground and come to the conclusion (established hypothesis?) that the roots help hold the tree erect (under most conditions). We may then observe a fact that fluids move between the roots and the tree's crown; and establish a new fact that the roots participate both in the life if the tree, and its mechanical stability. And so it goes until we get to the individual single cells in the root that are left to decide in which direction next to push out and so propagate the next root hair, and eventually the next root. Its tough decision for a couple of little root sells, and one that may impact the future life of the entire organism. Yet we can observe the fact that roots do grow in some specific direction.

It may take a lot of "scientific" inquiry and reasoning to learn how, to establish a fact related to root hair propagation. Once a tree has expended some amount of energy trying to extend a root hair into a rock, will it decide to grow in a different direction? Will it learn that its easier simply to grow around the rock in the first place, and skip all the energy wasted going through it? Does a tree simply "know" to follow the trail through the soil already blazed and occupied by some specific other soil dwelling organism? If so, does the tree talk to (communicate with) the other trail blazing organism? How does the other organism know to grow around the rock and away from the oil spill?

Facts such as like "trees stand upright"l, "trees grow root"s, "tree roots grow through soil", "tree roots help hold the tree upright" can be observed; and so become well established and accepted as facts. Establishing new facts whether counting hippos or following the exact direction of tree root growth can require a lot of inquiry and reasoning.

How exactly does one count hippos in the wild? Send 'em an email promising a large bail of sweet hay if they'll just poke their heads out of their mud hole when the census taker flys over thumbing his blackberry? It takes a bit of scientific reasoning and inquiry to accurately establish any fact, even counting hippos. Just flying over the mud holes will count only those hippos that like to watch the airplanes fly over. Other's may just prefer to sleep beneath the muddy water out of the hot sun ignoring both plane and census taker.

The hippo count is really quite a practical question. In the US we are required to "enumerate" the population every 10 years, to determine exactly how many people live here, and where they live. Even after 200+ years at it, there is still a substantial office of statisticians, etc just trying to figure out how to make the next census more accurate than the last. After 200+ years, we still cant even be sure we can count votes correctly. Any one remember all the effort inquiry and seasoning it took to count "Florida's chads" back in 2000 (it was/is a US thing!); or all the scientific inquiry and reasoning that goes into developing an effective electronic vote counting? The fact that X won the election over Y is easy once you've incurred all the scientific inquiry and reasoning needed to establish the fact that a,b,c,d,e,f,g voted for X; and m,n,o voted for Y.

Just my thoughts, Will

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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Hennie » 05 Aug 2011, 17:33

Of course, I do love Plato, and deduction is a most honourable way of finding facts. But when you find a fact, you will have to find a way to prove what you've found. You would actually have to lay the roots of the tree bare to show that what you deducted, is indeed happening. Now, I can be sometimes be convinced by an elegant train of deduction, but in today's science it seems more and more usance to ask for "visible proof".

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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Bart » 05 Aug 2011, 18:27

By finding facts, you should try to avoid the black swan effect.

Before the black swan was introduced in Europe the general opinion was that swan could only be white. Enter the black swan.

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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Hennie » 05 Aug 2011, 19:07

Yes, but early in the AIDS-epidemic the fact was spread that this disease only happened to promiscuous gay men. Al that lead to a lot of discrimination and such, where anybody by deduction could have guessed that at least some bisexual men were in danger too etc. I guess the relative long time it took to get to some real medicines has to do with this early "fact".

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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Al Hakim » 05 Aug 2011, 21:30

Dear all,
I recently read an article to say if there is a scientificly proved explanation on one affair it might be possible that in a somewhat similar affair there might be a similar solution, too, however, that solution is still unknown.So, it might be an approach, I think, with regards to talking trees, just to allow the idea that we do not understand enough of the matter at present to judge it sufficiently.
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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by DJ Droood » 05 Aug 2011, 23:09

Al Hakim wrote:So, it might be an approach, I think, with regards to talking trees, just to allow the idea that we do not understand enough of the matter at present to judge it sufficiently.
That might be one approach. However, I feel I have enough information before me now to judge sufficiently that which seems obvious to me...trees don't talk....trees don't communicate, except in the imagination of the romantic or poet....there is no indication that trees have a thought process or consciousness, at least in any way a human being has been able to comprehend and articulate clearly to this court. My judgement will stand until such a time when new and compelling evidence is presented to my court. Case dismissed.
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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by illion » 06 Aug 2011, 07:27

Hennie wrote:Remember the "piggy-flue", the Mexican flue? Ab Osterhaus convinced our government that this flue virus would be at least as aggressive as the Spain flue virus , which caused about 19 million deaths early in the 20th century.
So our government spent 39 million on a vaccine, that was not even proved to do its job.
Only a small portion of the world population has had some kind of vaccine, so if the initial claim had proved right, there would have been 10s of millions of deaths world-wide; but it proved to be wrong. Still I think the government was right in this case, suppose the virus had really been that aggressive and nothing would have been done...
And now children are having narcolepsy as a side effect to the vaccine. This is not nice at all.
http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-02-swi ... psy_1.html
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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by Lily » 06 Aug 2011, 08:27

Read again: not confirmed yet. Some cases were observed but the link is not clear.
WHO confirms swine flu vaccine child narcolepsy concerns(my emphasis)

"The committee agrees that further investigation is warranted concerning narcolepsy and vaccination against influenza (H1N1) 2009 with Pandemrix and other pandemic H1N1 vaccines," the WHO said.

"An increased risk of narcolepsy has not been observed in association with the use of any vaccines whether against influenza or other diseases in the past," it added.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also launched a probe into the suspected connection.


read on


http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/ind ... arcolepsy/
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Re: "Talking with trees" in July's Touchstone

Post by illion » 06 Aug 2011, 09:14

Thanks for the links :)

The latest news on this issue in our country (of july this year) is that 19 Norwegian children at the age of 4-18 has got narcolepsy after the vaccination, the normal number of children to get narcolepsy should have been 5. They are expecting more to come because the development of the narcoleptic disease has a long term timespan.The norwegian pharmaceuts are therefore seeing a tendency that points towards a link between the vaccine and the narcolepsy in children, but they still don't know what component of the vaccine is doing this and if it is a combination of something in the vaccine and the genes of northern people. This because it is Norwegians, Swedes, Finnish, and Icelandic people that is showing these tendencies for the most.

The pharmaceuts advices doctors to not use this if they don't have to for children and young people under the age of 20.

Here is the sources, but it is all in norwegian. Sorry for that, but I couldn't find anything in English.

http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/norge/1.7683686
http://www.slv.no/templates/InterPage____83138.aspx
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