The subject title for this week’s forum topic (daringly crafted by Richard) is broad and lofty. So, in honour of the 500th year anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci’s passing (– 1519), let us begin as food for thought with these quotes from the Master:
“All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions”
“All sciences are vain and full of errors that are not born of experience, the mother of all knowledge”
Please feel free to comment on the above quotes, and/or in reference to any of the following questions:
1. In the pursuit of gathering useful knowledge in recent years, when (if at all) do you find a tendency to comparatively over-value numbers, big data, and statistics and undervalue the practice and results of keen focused observation in specific cases?
2. On the other hand, when (if at all) do you find stories of individual cases overvalued and hard data undervalued?
3. In what kinds of contexts is statistical evidence most useful? In what kind of context is direct experience and observation most useful?
4. What are the pitfalls of relying too much on statistical analysis? On anecdotal evidence?
5. What makes us feel more connected to meaning and to our humanity, paying attention to big data, or trying to really notice what it is we are experiencing?
6. Should aggregate data or direct observation count more? Which does count more, and why?
7. Returning to the subject title of the topic, what informs the quality of knowledge?
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