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500 OCEANOGRAPHERS

THE CONFLICT

science vs. engineering

to cause "500 oceanographers grab their calculators to prove that he couldn't be right," [1]

THE ISSUE

 The Bandwagon

Losing the forest for the trees

(AKA The three decimal point obsession)

Lost in the (sea)weeds

Red Herrings

The House of Cards

Some research is more equal than others*

KEY PROBLEM

- we will use the same method/equipment that we've always used

- we will use the same method/equipment that everyone else is using

- we will not accept measurements with less than decimal places of accuracy (where X is an integer greater than 2)

- we won't proceed until the details are perfect

- we must review every potential problem, regardless of our expertise

- we can make conclusions based on data points (where X is an inappropriately small integer - like 2. Or 1.)

- only some subjects are worth studying

- we should use the latest and greatest equipment

- it doesn't matter if nobody else is doing it this way/using this equipment

- we've always done it this way/used this type of equipment

- everyone is doing it this way/using this type of equipment

- measurements with less than three decimal places of accuracy are 

   unacceptable

- we won't proceed until the details are perfect

- we make dangerous conclusions based on too little data

- only some subjects are worth studying

*nod to George Orwell (Animal Farm, 1954)

REFERENCES

  1. Dopyera, C. (October 1996). "The Iron Hypothesis". (Excerpt from Earth magazine; modified by Trujillo, A.). Retrieved from http://www.homepages.ed.ac.uk/shs/Climatechange/Carbon%20sequestration/Martin%20iron.htm

Last revised: March 2, 2021​