Thursday, June 23, 2011

Null Hypotheses

Today I wondered, do too many of these posts preach to the choir? Do they all seem to have a predetermined conclusion? As I write, I do not mean to stray from confidence into contentedness. Objectivity cannot exist in smugness (n., a precursor to bias).

I pondered how many of the studies I mention fail to reject the following null hypotheses (the default claims of “innocent until proven guilty”)

1)      Foods grown with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides…
2)      Grain-finished beef…
3)      Conventionally-grown and transported foods…
4)      Hormone and antibiotic use…
5)      Genetically modified organisms…

…Are just as safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly as unmodified, grass-finished, locally grown, and organic foods. There are no real differences.

Take note, the null hypothesis is never accepted in scientific studies, it is only not rejected. It is statistically impossible to prove a negative…like it is impossible to scientifically prove there is no God, etc. A healthy skeptic is skeptical of his or her own skepticism.

I leave you with this thought: Research must continue to reject null hypotheses as long as we seek to feed our world with dwindling resources and novel methodologies. Research that is extensive is also expensive, so I encourage everyone’s support of land-grant universities that make discoveries to support our future.

Never stop researching. Never stop questioning. Never be content with what you know.
Never let anyone think for you. That was my mistake a few years ago.  

So, what do you Think?
What agriculture-related problems shall we continue to seek out and solve?

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