November 26, 2010

"No evidence exists" is not the same as "negative evidence exists."

Governments and pundits have long based their policies on the absence of any concrete scientific evidence which would oppose a desired policy direction. Yet both government and private research funding is based almost entirely upon pre-existing solid precedent: with private enterprise funding additionally looking for good investment returns on new innovations and reasons not to discontinue existing profitable production.

Where there is no desire to find negative evidence, all the pieces are in place never to find any.

Among many other similar issues, I am open to independently corroborated evidence that low-frequency sonics such as those produced by wind turbines can harm a person's health. Frankly, any such findings would not surprise me.

Yet if the same people doing the complaining have no problems running a subwoofer as part of their home theatre system, I would suggest that there may be other factors involved in the complaints: and not all of those factors may have independent objective existence.

(For my part, I have never been able to run a subwoofer. The first time I used one I ended up with a horrible headache, but I could not identify the cause. The second time, the timing suggested the sound system. A third test involving a different friend's sound system -- and the sudden complete difference when the subwoofer was disconnected -- confirmed the source.)

Anecdotal evidence may point to a future line of research, may even be an early warning system for factors we should be examining more closely for our own sakes: but it should never substitute for independent, objective research.

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