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RE: your valued opinions- writing on trees/body languages/fungi

Subject: RE: your valued opinions- writing on trees/body languages/fungi
From: Jon Heuch
Date: Jan 03 2012 13:31:14
One of my Christmas books this year was Paul Stamets' Mycellium Running.
Tremendously full of science and references, but he doesn't  hold back
by making suggestions as to what may also be happening. He may be wrong,
he may be right, but it's clear that it is a statement of his thinking
and yet to be proved.


I would regard a book like that rather like Erik von Daniken's books of the 
1970s - some interesting

and facts that others may have overlooked but unscientific in its approach; 
others' work has been
looked for

to support a notion (not a hypothesis) and dressed up with references to give 
it some plausibility;
the scientific

results that contradict the proposed "notion" are just neatly ignored, either 
through ignorance of
the writer

or their unscientific approach.


I'm still intrigued by the markings on the plains of Nazca (in Peru) and the 
large carved stones at
various locations

around the world defy our understanding of what was going on a few thousands 
years ago.

How? Why? are questions that still seem to need answers; extra terrestrial 

Well it's a thesis that can be included in the list of possible answers I 
guess; that's science for
you but the idea

seems to have preceded the facts.


As for Stamets: references? Yes - I see almost 20 pages of them. Science? I'm 
less convinced. By
Page 4 he starts to 

compare mycelium with the "computational powers of our most advanced 
supercomputers". I wonder

whether he is running ahead of sound observations. Unfortunately 
(fortunately?) Amazon Look Inside

allow a more detailed look. Perhaps I will never know.


As for advice on writing, if you are not a scientist with at least some 
scientific training you are
likely to come

unstuck if you pretend to be able to take scientific thought forward. 
Quotations of a small number
of references, taking authors' conclusions at face value

has the potential to mislead. You may be able to write a book that is deemed 
"successful" - as von
Daniken did - but that is another matter.


Two of my Christmas reads were titled:


"the importance of stupidity in scientific research" which talked about 
"productive stupidity" where
you are ignorant by choice. The more you know it becomes apparent that the 
less you know; it comes
as something of a shock to successful students (who have obtained high 
grades) that science doesn't
know the answer to lots of questions and scientists operate in a world of 




"Why most published research findings are false". More about statistics.


If you're interested in science they're worth reading.



 Jon Heuch Tel:          +44 (0)1233 713 466 Mob:    +44 (0)7810 610 712


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