Pilot Experiments (part 1)

June 1, 2012 - 4 minutes read

This is my first attempt at a blog series. I don’t know how it’ll go or how it’ll be received, but I’m going to give it a go. This actually leads into the idea of this first post. This should set the tone of what I’m trying to accomplish with my consulting practice. I want  to start off this blog in the same way we begin with any organized system in life; pilot experiments. Or rather, baby steps. Therefore, this post is going to be my first pilot experiment.

 

Every little step we take in life is an experiment. We attempt to explore in hopes of traveling toward a defined (or undefined) goal. We have NO idea how it’ll work, but we try any ways.  With every successful or unsuccessful step we take, we learn so much about how to travel forward. During that travel, we explore our environment and continue the adventure of learning. This is what education is all about, the journey of exploration. 

 

I recently watched this amazing documentary, Surviving Progress, which illustrates this exact idea about the journey that mankind takes toward his vision of “progress”.  In the program, behavioral scientist, Daniel Povernelli’s research explores the natural phenomena of human cognation and what separates humans from our biological ancestors. Its rather simple. We ask “why”.  This theory assumes that these introspective explorations are fundamental to human development. 


I must attest that I feel as though I can relate to this developmental process. I can remember, even at such an early age, I asked so many why questions. I used to be “that” why child. “Why daddy? Why?” My poor dad.  He told me that he didn’t mind the why’s, but admitted it was rather incessant. He attempted to curb my curiosity by giving me this big book called, “A 1001 Question and Answers“. It contained the most trivial questions that a child would ask and be curious about, from “how much does the Earth weigh?” to “what sound does a kangaroo make?” Much to his chagrin, this book further incited more “why” questions. But this is exactly the encouragement that we all need in science. Keep asking “why”!

 

This theory is the fundamental driving force behind the life sciences. We ask “why-like” questions about our environment, try to draw some sort of conclusion, and proceed to test against those beliefs. Many, many, many tests. Pilot tests that lead to even larger elaborate experimental designs. We, as scientists, are products of our biology. Biology is the study of life. So therefore, like a young child learning about his environment, we must continue to take those necessary learning steps. We are inherent creatures of exploration.

 

The basic ideas of evolutionary selection dictates the processes and systems that work are the ones that are proven to be essential for survival. Those systems are managed with checks and balance in order to move life forward. So therefore we as scientists need to understand how to manage the basics of research in order for us learn about ourselves. 

 

In order to do this, it all starts out with managing our pilot experiments; one baby step at time. 

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