“The medical industry wants you to be sick.”
“Mechanics don’t want your car to run well.”
“Pistol instructors don’t want you to get good and feel competent.”
“The pharmaceutical industry is trying to poison you.”
“Cheney ordered the taking down of the buildings in NY in 2001.”
These are some weighty claims. Saying them is very different than saying that, “I am suspicious about …”
When a person who is committed to REELS sees a bold statement purporting to be factual, he is led to ask what evidence the speaker has to support their claim. Anecdotal evidence, ad hominem attacks against the involved folks and suspicions are typically the response. This is not good enough for a REELS thinker.
Anecdotal Evidence and Empirical Evidence
Imagine you have a pet dog named Max, and you want to know if all dogs like to play fetch. You ask your friends about their dogs, and they tell you stories about how their dogs absolutely love playing fetch. This is anecdotal evidence – it’s based on personal stories and experiences.
Now, to get more reliable information, you decide to conduct a scientific experiment. You gather a group of different dogs, including Max, and you set up a controlled test. You throw a ball and observe whether the dogs retrieve it or not. You record your findings. This is empirical evidence – it’s based on systematic observation and measurement.
Anecdotal evidence relies on people’s personal accounts, which can be influenced by their feelings or biases. It’s like listening to stories without checking if they represent the larger picture. On the other hand, empirical evidence involves carefully planned experiments or observations that aim to collect data in a reliable and objective manner. It’s like using a scientific approach to find out what’s really going on.
Anecdotal evidence is like hearing stories, while empirical evidence is like conducting experiments or making observations to gather accurate and trustworthy information. Empirical evidence helps us make more reliable conclusions about the world around us. How might we test our theory about fetching?
- Define the Purpose: The purpose of the experiment is to determine if dogs have a natural inclination to play fetch.
- Select Participants: Choose a group of dogs of different breeds, sizes, and ages to get a diverse sample.
- Preparation: Find an open area, such as a park or backyard, where the dogs can safely play fetch without any distractions or obstacles.
- Setup: Place a ball or a toy at a specific distance from each dog, ensuring the distance is the same for all participants.
- Observation: Watch each dog’s behavior closely. Note whether they approach the ball, retrieve it, and bring it back to you or if they show no interest or engage in different behaviors.
- Record Data: Create a table or a chart to record your observations. Note down each dog’s breed, size, age, and their response to the fetching task (e.g., retrieved the ball, ignored the ball, played with it but didn’t bring it back, etc.).
- Analysis: Once you have observed and recorded the behavior of all the dogs, analyze the data to see if there are any patterns or trends. Look for similarities or differences in how different breeds, sizes, or ages of dogs responded to the fetch task.
- Draw Conclusions: Based on the data collected and analyzed, draw conclusions about whether dogs, in general, have a natural inclination to play fetch. For example, you might find that a majority of the dogs exhibited retrieval behavior, suggesting that many dogs enjoy playing fetch.
The next part in scientific methodology is for other people to challenge the above. Might Max’s behavior be influenced by his watching of other dogs playing fetch? Were the dogs that returned balls praised more, which in turn made other dogs want to do the thing that is against their nature in order to get praise? It is good for interested people to then conduct more experiments with these improvements and corrections.
Perhaps in 20 years, all vocal people who discuss fetching have satisfied themselves with the answer. This is called “scientific consensus.” It does not PROVE that the conclusion of the experiments is true, however anyone challenging the consensus much have excellent evidence. Without it, the conclusions stand.
This has not been my experience in many areas of “alternative” folks. The “health community” and the crystal energy aura healing community, flat earthers, the astrology, religious, ancient alien, and the hermeticism folks have not shown their stuff to be true. Maybe it is, but it is up to those folks to use serious thinking (REELS) to persuade critical thinkers. Another group that is often labeled “alternative” has in fact reached down deep and proven their abnormal conclusions to be true. See Anti-Subjectivism. Conspiracy? FEELZ versus REELS can help a critical thinker systematically come up with answers.