“Science is often misrepresented as ‘the body of knowledge acquired by performing replicated experiments in the laboratory.’ Actually, science is something much broader: the acquisition of reliable knowledge about the world.”

The quote above is from Jared Diamond, found in his book “Collapse.” (Page 17 in the 2011 edition, published by Penguin Books – ISBN 978-0-14-311700-1.) Diamond mentions this definition in order to deal with the ojbection of “how do you really know?” when it comes to archeology, paleontology and practically every other science besides physics and chemistry. I like it because it is something that everyone (scientist or not) should be doing in order to make informed life decisions.

Years ago, I learned a system of decision-making that emphasized three steps: gather information, decide a plan based on the information and act on the plan. Most of the time, people focus on the second step. For this step, there are a number of decision-making techniques that can be used. But, all these techniques are useless if they are using bad data. (What is sometimes called by computer experts: “garbage in – garbage out”. Of course, not acting on a decision is equally useless, but my point here is that a properly executed plan begins with “the acquisition of reliable knowledge about the world.”