4 years, 6 months ago

Being STEM does not mean you are good with logic

Link: http://www.etc-architect.com/?p=367

Most architects are proud that they are STEM and therefore driven by logic, especially in terms of science and other hand this is an area that violates logic on a nearly daily basis. The main area is that since is often poor at the difference between causation and correlation. Examples are:

  1. When a country’s debt rises above 90% of GDP, growth slows. Therefore, high debt causes slow growth. Actually low growth increases debt.
  2. Young children who sleep with the light on are much more likely to develop myopia in later life. Therefore, sleeping with the light on causes myopia. Actually it the contact with parents that have myopia that is responsible for the children getting myopia. The same parents however are also more likely to keep some light on.
  3. HDL (“good”) cholesterol is negatively correlated with incidence of heart attack. Therefore, taking medication to raise HDL decreases the chance of having a heart attack. Later it turned out that people with a natural high level of HDL also have a lot of other factors that gives their heart a better health, the medications at least showed no measurable effect.
  4. My all time favourite is however climate chance: Obesity has sharply risen since the 50s and so has the average atmosphere temperature, therefore obesity is responsible for the higher average atmosphere temperature. CO2 Levels have sharply risen since the 50s and so has the average atmosphere temperature, therefore CO2 levels are responsible for the higher average atmosphere temperature. Knowledge has sharply risen since the 50s and so has the average atmosphere temperature, therefore knowledge is responsible for the higher average atmosphere temperature. The number of computers have sharply risen since the 50s and so has the average atmosphere temperature, therefore computers are responsible for the higher average atmosphere temperature.

As you can see with all these examples (and are so many more that I could fill a book with them) there is a pattern of bad logic and taking in ad absurdum like with the last example you can see that many so called scientific statements show that logic and scientific are often opposites, especially as long as the scientist is driven by funding that encourages this kind of bad logic. The important lesson for us as architects is to be critical on all material also on the material from the STEM community, so do not used right and scientific as synonyms.

Related Post