Five Scientific Principles

1. Be equally wary of the the practitioner who ignores the science and the scientist who ignores the practical application.

2. Absence of proof is not proof of absence.

  • Corollary #1: Do not neglect lesser modes of proof.  Who wouldn’t like to have a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover-designed study with a sample size greater than 100 published in a top journal to support their claims?  Sometimes, that’s just not possible, or the field just isn’t there yet.  In the meantime, though, there’s nothing wrong with anecdotal or experiential results.  Maybe there’s a reason we’ve always done something a certain way, and the proof has just yet to arrive.  Maybe you’ve seen something work time and time again, but no one in a lab has taken the time to replicate it.  As long as you’re honest about the strength of the conclusion you’re drawing and it’s limitations, there’s nothing wrong with relying on the less-than-scientifically-validated practices.

3. Truth is objective.  Science is universal.  But each situation is too detailed, too involved in its own set of facts, to permit any one-size-fits all application of what you know.  Being context-dependent is not the same as being situationally relative.

4.  Be skeptical of those whose business is in convincing you that you don’t know what you think you know.

5.  Sacred cows are the most delicious.  Slaughter at will.

One comment on “Five Scientific Principles

  1. Pingback: Ripped monkeys? Functional exercise, and the evolution of the six-pack. « Atlas Coached

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