Sunday, August 24, 2008
Science in the Sunday Comics, Bangkok Post, August 24, 2008
In the Sunday Comics (Bangkok Post, August 24, 2008) the Andy Capp character, a barfly, expresses his cultural curiosity of far away places by wondering what Peruvian beer tastes like and what Bolivian pool tables look like. The humor in research questions is harder to see in science but they too suffer from the same kind of context constraint. The questions we ask and the data we take depend on our own prior bias. Truth may lie somewhere else altogether but we will never know those answers because we don't know what questions to ask or what data to take - and so, as in Andy's case - our understanding of a country may end up looking a lot like a pool table. In other words, "now we know that we shall never know".