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Thread: Scientific discussions

  1. #1

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    In the interest of science, good will and some sort of order, I would like to suggest a new topic abbreviation for scientific discussions. My reasoning is based on some rather hostile posts I have seen lately that are almost always based on a misunderstanding.

    The letters SD, for scientific discussion will now show up in the subject titles of any such discussion I start or if I comment on a discussion in a scientific way.

    Here are some basic things to keep in mind when reading or writing a comment to the SDs.
    1) All thoughts and ideas are welcome and will be treated a theory, not facts set in stone. The reasoning behind this is simple, nothing can ever be proven only disproven. I am tired of people beating others down whose theories donít pan out as though the person was lying or something.
    2) Donít beat people down for theories that donít pan out. You may state your opinion and either gives reasons to support or disprove the theory, but be nice about it. A theory is the best explanation a person can give with the information at hand and with each bit of new information added by others, we can improve our understanding of the subject, even if it mean improving it by knowing what turns out to not be true. Process of elimination.
    3) Being wrong is okay. This world is full of unknowns and trial and error is how we learn, but donít expect every theory to be 100% correct on the first draft.
    4) If you canít stand the thought of people making incorrect hypotheses that you know are wrong from some experience you have had, donít participate. Although, if you can stand it, your knowledge will likely be of great value.
    5) Read the whole post, and the posts leading to it before you comment.

    I hope that this is something we can do together, and please know this has nothing to do with any one specific event. I just wanted a way to reduce the chaos that sometimes crops up.
    There is no item greater in value than life, for without life value would cease to exist.
    My Grow List

  2. #2
    Moderator Schmoderator Fluorescent fluorite, England PlantAKiss's Avatar
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    What kind of theories and hypotheses are we talking about here? I didn't realize there were so many scientists conducting theory research here.

    I thought this was a place to learn, to share, to make friends and have a supportive community of plant growers. Imparting knowledge can be as simple as "Don't use tap water." [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]

    However if there is some serious research going on here...I will sit back and enjoy the discussions. I am neither scientist nor researcher, I just enjoy growing plants. But I do like to learn and enjoy a lively discussion.
    This should be great! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img]

    Suzanne
    "Fox terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs." - Jerome K. Jerome

  3. #3

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    I have gotten some criticism (you know who you are) for expounding on my knowledge and experience regarding Drosera species. It has been suggested that I do not have sufficient knowledge of taxonomy to be giving my opinions in these matters.

    I am willing to admit that I do not know it all by a long shot. What I offer is based on what I have read, the many discussions with many skilled experts I have had, and my long experience in growing these plants.

    But I still make mistakes. The criticism bothered me enough to write to my mentor, Robert Gibson for his opinion on my offering this advice. For those of you that do not know, Robert is a world authority on Droseracae, working on his PhD in Australia. I regard him as The Best There Is in matters of field study and taxonomy. Here is what Robert replied:

    "I would tend to disagree with ____'s comment on not saying anything you are not 100% sure about, although a few years ago would have said differently. The thing is that there is much in science we do not know, but this should not prevent action from happening. The best way, it seems to me, is say what you *know* and comment on the assumptions or things you are not sure about. This would seem to be the best way to be helpful. As I type this I am reminded of something my main PhD supervisor told me, how easy it can be for scientists to fall in love with their own theories. They are theories after all, and so are a best guess of reality. And hopefully one that explains some things about the world around us."

    Taxonomy in particular is a science of opinion and guesswork, backed by field study: there are no solid facts that hold true in all cases. What makes such opinion valuable is experience: the more the experience, the better the opinions derived from it.

    On the other hand, experience can also be fickle. I am minded about the comments made by various authors that "leaf cuttings of D. regia WILL NOT be successful" everytime I gaze at the beautiful plant sent to me produced exactly in this manner! Somewhere the authors had a bad experience, and came to a wrong conclusion. When it was published in a successful book publication, it taught a new generation of growers that mistake, and they in turn will spread the error. It is easy to learn false things from experience in this way.

    Experimentation is always in order. Don't just assume that any information presented (even by the Masters) is a be all and end all.

    As for the less experienced, your opinions are likewise valuable. They might not be as readily accepted as those coming from more experienced "experts", nor should they be! Even if the information is totally wrong, it still can generate discussion, and learning. We all learn from correction (or I would hope so).

    So by all means, present your observations, your experiences, even your dreams and speculations. Accept contrary opinions with good grace, and keep an open mind to concepts and experiences contrary to your own, and be willing to accept correction if it is warranted.

    This is how we all learn, and without an effort made to teach, there will be far less learning. We all have a bit of the puzzle, all we need do is to put it all together.
    "Grow More, Share More"

  4. #4

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    Question

    You don't have to be a proffetional scientist to make inferences and test them [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img] Thats what we do every day when we try new ways of growing plants. Sometimes it's easy to forget how much we have left to lern about our plants.
    There is no item greater in value than life, for without life value would cease to exist.
    My Grow List

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