Unit four. Data gathering and post normal science
The unit on data gathering and analysis had four key takeouts for me.
- Science late last century recognised its limitations in that it doesn’t have all of the answers and opened the door to other ‘knowledge’ under the banner of PNS.
- Non scientists have a role to play in answering scientific questions, like indigenous peoples.
- You can’t rely on one set of the data to resolve all problems – data must be drawn from a wide variety of sources to come up with a robust answer.
- The data analysis and matching is critical and the skill comes from identifying linkages.
A good example of recognising non scientific knowledge to me came from learning about how Aborigines in the Blue Mountains had a system for dealing with fire. White man goes to great and often futile lengths to manage fires and protect property from fires. Aborigines for tens of thousands of years recognised that fire was vital for bush regeneration, food provision for animals and clearing out undergrowth and much more. It was all a part of natural system that saw fires lit by natural causes (lightning) or by indigenous people deliberately. Had white man taken the time to learn form Aborigines about fire, property and infrastructure may well have not been allowed in fire prone areas.