Saturday, March 14, 2015
Vallee: "Data is not knowledge"
I came across a quote from Jacques Vallee: "Data is not knowledge." I think I know what he meant in the big scheme of things, but, at the same time, I respectfully disagree with his comment. (Of course, I'm taking this out of context, but I was inspired by the remark to wonder…) Data is a sort of knowledge; the more data we have, the better. I realize many a UFO researcher has lamented that collecting witness accounts is simply tiresome and non-productive. And it is a huge task of course; collecting stories. Narratives. Accounts. All for what?
Well, that's the thing. All for what. Once we have a big pile of stuff, what do we do with it? Depends on the collector. On the one doing the interpreting. You and I might have the same exact set of stories of spinning UFOs and glowing eyed Sasquatch emerging from landed craft, but our interpretations of those events might differ. And what about the witness? What's her take on it all? So now we have three different ideas on the same case.
Come to think of it, in that context, data isn't knowledge, since no theory of everything (let alone definitive answer) has been determined. All we have are arguments, debates, interpretations, beliefs, even.
Still, I argue that data is important, and analyses of data from many different perspectives is a necessary process in order to arrive at some kind of agreed upon theory, as tenuous as it might be. It's a start.
We don't have to give up or throw the baby out with the bath water. Or believe that, by following one path we've rejected others. There are many paths, and there is no rule, no law, that mandates we rigidly follow just one.
And to be clear: I have the highest respect and regard for Jacques Vallee and his work and am in no way taking him to task in any way. So chew on that before commenting, thank you.