Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Problem with Studies

In a more primitive understanding of the effects of exercise, what was thought to be important was moving the entire mass of the body a certain distance, or acting upon an external object, as a measure of work, rather than the more specifically targeted understanding that it is the work of the body being done internally, that is what conveys healthful benefits -- so that the prior understanding was a correlation rather than the cause. Lifting a weight up and down, or moving the body a certain distance, was not so important as moving the parts of the body (fluids, gases, neurochemical impulses, etc.) relative to one another -- resulting in the more conventional observation of movement, but is not necessarily the healthful effect.

When people started making space flights in weightlessness, the usual parameters of those traditional discussions became meaningless and ineffective, because there was no external weight and resistance to work against. Predictably, conventional exercise failed entirely to maintain strength and fitness levels -- not because it was entirely impossible, but was meaningless in the conventional terms of that discussion.

However, internally, the same conditions for functioning in outer space, must be maintained the same as on earth, or life is not possible. Using this paradigm, maintaining one’s strength and fitness is not only possible but enhanced abilities may even be possible -- BECAUSE of the conditions of weightlessness and the lack of resistance! But one needs to have a different, space-age understanding -- that it isn’t the calories burned, the amount of weight lifted, the sweat produced, the usual parameters of the discussion -- but managing the body as a dynamic system of internal references.

A lot of people who are used to separating mind from body, do not consider this -- as earlier, more primitive understandings did not either. For the foot to move skillfully, a signal has to come from the brain directing it to do so. So the critical path is from the brain -- directing the heart (and everything else), and not the heart directing the brain. But how do we measure the brain -- which is not as simple as just counting heart beats?

The measure of the brain is in its understanding and awareness of what is going on and how it is interacting with that environment -- which many scientific studies try to discount, to ensure a blind, random study -- in which the subjects don’t know what they are being tested for. (Much of education also uses this testing paradigm.) Such models work well with non-animate phenomena but fail disastrously at measuring non-random (intelligent) behavior, for which the behaviorists, really need to develop their own methodologies rather than borrowing the paradigm of the former to study random behavior -- and then apply it to intelligent behavior and then try to cancel out intelligence.

Just canceling out human intelligence, is not an intelligent way of understanding intelligent behaviors -- to measure the one thing important to measure, which is the understanding of what one is doing! It becomes particularly problematical when the understanding of the subject tested, exceeds the intelligence of the tester (observer) -- because he cannot account fully for that greater capacity that he seeks to cancel out and control.


At June 21, 2006 2:39 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Very often, the attempt to control for the awareness of what is being studied, exceeds by several magnitudes that which is actually being validly observed.

Thus the researcher proudly proclaims whatever his own prejudice is as a scientifically proven fact -- that the reporter has no idea of how to measure its validity. So then he calls another researcher, who has no idea of what the originator of the study had in mind, and is flattered to be asked for a comment on it -- sight unseen with no time allowed for a careful independent study (lest he show that he's not up with it) -- and whatever quotes the reporter desires for his "angle" are edited in.

The the editor to whom the report will be submitted, will further edit in/out their own understanding/prejudices, and then we arrive at the common notions we see as the conventional wisdom that doesn't work for anybody.


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