GIGO Science

Hi and Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson Author Blog Post and Podcast.  I’m your host, Jean coming to you from the beautiful Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada!!  The blog post and podcast is an opinion piece and only reflects this author’s opinion and not that of any other entity.  Today I talk about a venerable term of GIGO and how it fits in the modern world, science and what makes it more complicated than one would think.  If you want to find out more, then stay tuned…!

Years ago in one of my University classes, the Professor came up with a term GIGO.  Being newbies to research and such, we tried to think what GIGO was.  The Professor made it easy for us and defined it.  Garbage In/Garbage Out.  It’s a term that essentially says, what you ask for in a research question can have an effect on the answers you receive.  So if you ask a question that is essentially garbage, then the information you collected will not be useful either…at least not to answer the question you want answered (  There is another concept called social-desirability bias (  Both of these things can figure into any question asked.  For example, if people are asked would they like to reach net-zero emissions by the end of the year, of course they would like to.  That’s the socially acceptable answer…it’s the desired answer.  There might have been more educated employers who knew that it was not entirely possible to do in a year.  This is one of the reasons that science insists on replication of results and on thorough research construction.  This helps science to determine if the answer was due to the question asked.  Research also, at the university level, need to give information about the weaknesses to their study and what things might be changed to get better and more pure results.  This is not to say that the research was not good, but that there might be something that someone else could do to get more accurate results.

Let me follow the emissions question a little further.  What issues does the question not take into account?  To begin with, at least with companies that make product or any farm, you either have to have seeds or components or buy seed or components.  That requires stuff shipped in.  If you use a truck or if you fly it out, get product by rail or ship, you have a carbon footprint.  They have found that with regard to airlines, there is not really many ways to cut back on emissions ( so if they expect to reduce emissions, it seems tied to buying credits.  This doesn’t actually reduce emissions as they just use credits earned by other companies.  There is the factor of how realistic is it to get net-zero emissions given that most companies need to transport goods unless they are totally run online, but if they drive anywhere, then there is still some emissions just to name one thing.  Of course any production using gas etc. power creates more emissions.  Smoke stacks can find ways to reduce, but they create emissions as well.  Under current conditions, transportation is not removed from the equation for any product being made and shipped. 

Now when we look at statements, there are several things that we look at.  There is face validity or does it seem to make sense on the surface.  As far as it goes, that is an easier type of validity to show.  The emissions do look good…it’s great that so many people are interested in environmental conditions which is realistically the only thing it is actually showing.  (  On the other hand, we need to wonder if we are looking at social desirability bias…where people are more likely to answer in the direction that is wanted by the study.  There is a good possibility that this is what we are finding with the emissions study.  There is a good possibility that people will answer yes and may even hope that there will be grants available to work toward this, whether it is possible for them to meet criterion or not.  There may be other factors that encourage those who answer to answer in the positive. 

I can give another example of questions that may be answered in the positive, but not really be possible to achieve for everyone.  If someone asked would you like to fly into space like William Shatner?  There would likely be a lot of people who would say yes.  Now ask the question can you afford to fly in space like William Shatner, the answer would be very different.  In other words, desire to do something does not always equal action taken.  That’s essentially the problem for scientists.  The question may have some component that makes the likelihood of a certain answer.  Science isn’t as easy as it seems on the surface, now is it?  There are different elements each of which can skew results (make the results less accurate or go in a certain direction).  This is why they encourage replication (creating similar studies to see if the same results happen) and exploring the area further.  It might seem simple, but there may be discoveries that come along that change the way we see the question.  All science begins with trying to answer a question.  Then try to quantify or give numbers to the question and the responses.  In other words, try to make the question in a form that you can collect answers that can be numbered and analyzed.  It’s a simplification of science, but it also explains why science can be so complicated.

There is also the factor of unintentional bias and the article describes several different types of bias.  (  With this kind of bias, you have the problem of something either being accepted or rejected because it agrees or doesn’t agree with something you already believe.  So, you might not want to know that there seems to be socioeconomic factors in the deaths from the COVID pandemic and would try to find information to the other side rather than finding out what the situations is and why they are saying that.  Along with this bias, when things and conditions change and they try to use similar numbers, they are no longer using the same types of numbers and the numbers are not as accurate for the purpose they were previously used.  For example, in Canada, some of the Provinces are changing how they are recording the COVID numbers.  They no longer have the same meaning and it will make it difficult to track progress and analysis might change as a result.  This is something that may affect reports and outcomes.  Time will tell. 

This is not only why science and answers change with more data but also why it is hard for people to understand what it is they are looking at.  If they think that COVID is not dangerous, they will find all the articles that agree with what they think.  Even when the articles are disputed and proven wrong, they will think it is some conspiracy.  The general public does not have a background in scientific method except maybe a little exposure to chemistry, biology and other sciences in high school.  However, that scientific exposure tends to be more about element table, physics formulas, chemical compounds and possibly dicing frogs and less about ethics and validity (at least in my day).  I have to say, I haven’t been in High School for something like 40 years, so I’m not sure if topics have changed since my day. 

As you can see from this quick and dirty crash course in scientific method, there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to scientific data and looking for answers.  It is a complicated and multi-faceted area of study when it comes to scientific data.  The changes in real time science makes things more confusing.  It is not to say that a person cannot try to find what they can to make decisions, but also realize that they should investigate the why and wherefore things changed so that they aren’t sent on wild goose chases and getting caught up with kinks in the road.  The road to science is full of them and not easy to distinguish.

Another thing that may make the evaluation of studies and their results a little easier to understand is that when you find results that agree with what you think and there are many who dispute it, look at the studies that are disputing it.  If there are more disputing it than agreeing with it, then it is important to find out why they are disputing it.  I found one item that was being passed around, they had since discredited the study with a more up dated study, but people were sticking with the old study even though it had huge issues with it.  There might be a very valid reason for it to be discredited.  See the more recent research and what other scientists are saying to determine whether or not to stick with the old study.  The other thing to be aware of is that if you are reading studies about something, it is better to go for the better known sources.  This is an easy mistake to make.  For example, when it comes to medical information, then I would suggest the Mayo Clinic because they tend to follow the research and will tell you what they have found on various supplements and items (  They don’t care if it is good, bad or indifferent, they tell you what has been found…not what they wish or what they theorize or what the next door neighbor or the controversial rhetoric says.  They tell you the science and what is shows.  Even there, if you are in doubt, definitely research more.  No one site is perfect, but I have found that the Mayo Clinic tends to give the good and bad on various items. 

As John Donne said, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.”  So ultimately, unless one is a scientist, we are left deciding which types of information to trust and which ones not to trust.  There is so much misinformation that it makes things difficult.  Hopefully understanding some of the pitfalls and some of the challenges of science will make it a little less scary and help you develop some critical thinking for dealing with challenges that life will throw at you.  Thanks for listening to my podcast and/or reading my blog post and thanks for your interest in A & J PEI Treasures!

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Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson author podcast and blog post.  This week I explore GIGO, science and what makes it more complicated than one would think.  If you want to find out more, then stay tuned!
People see science as a straight road, but it’s anything but!
Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson author podcast and blog post. This week I into the necessity of examining priorities and BELIEVING can move mountains. If you want to find out more, then stay tuned…! Applause courtesy of Freesound: … Thank you Andrew Simpson for help with the proofreading and creative input (the A in A & J PEI Treasures) Thank you Anchor for the resources to get the podcast done from my computer! Thank you to all forums that carry my blog post and podcast! Thank you to my listeners, readers and people who want to make this a better world. In Gratitude to all ancestors past and present that gave us the ability to think and do the impossible. In memory of family no longer with us. Quotes from: David J. Schwartz, The Magic of Thinking Big Michelle Obama Christopher Reeve Lewis Carroll Paulo Coelho Puck (?) Confucius (?) Martin Luther King Jr. Brent Butt Articles: Our Blog Posts are available on: WordPress: and GoodReads: Podcast are available on: Anchor FM in a variety of formats:–j-pei-treasures iHeart Radio: Podchaser: Amazon:–J-PEI-TREASURES My e-books can be found on: Amazon: Smashwords (my Affiliate link): or You can also find us on: Twitter: YouTube: Pinterest: LinkedIn: Keep watching for more e-books and more formats! We’re always working on something. Thank you!
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Published by ejstoo

E Jean Simpson, is the author, blogger, podcaster and one of the photographers of A & J PEI Treaures. A & J PEI Treasures is located on Prince Edward Island, Canada. All opinions stated in the Blog Post are my opinions and may not be that of A & J PEI Treasures. We are made up of a husband and wife team and our companion animals. There are a number of things that drew us to the Island…one of which was the natural beauty of the area. We enjoy constructing things and renovations to our place, upcycling, photography, writing, and a simpler lifestyle. Some of our e-books are winners of the Canada Book Awards ( ​​​​​​​Quotes, Poems and Thoughts: With Pictures from Prince Edward Island, Canada, ​​​​​​​Rocky Mountain Memories (Accepted for the 2020 Reader's Choice General Nonfiction- *(Canada Book Award winner​​​​​​​) ​​​​​​​Floral Photography: Hope of Life and for the Future *(Canada Book Award winner ​​​​​​​From the Lens of my Camera: This and That and a Big Black Cat. *(Canada Book Award winner How to Publish an E-book on a Budget of $0: Making your Dreams a Reality The Big Kid’s Magical Path to Numbers (The Big Kid's Magical Path Book 1) (Canada Book Award 2020 winner The Big Kid’s Magical Path to The Alphabet (The Big Kid's Magical Path Book 2) (Canada Book Award 2020 winner The Big Kid's Magical Path to Shapes in Nature (The Big Kid's Magical Path Book 3) The Big Kid's Magical Path to Colours in Nature (The Big Kid's Magical Path Book 4) The Big Kid's Magical Path to Insects in Nature (The Big Kid's Magical Path Book 5) More to follow! ​​​​​​​Thank you for your interest. E Jean Simpson/Andrew Simpson of A & J PEI Treasures (2019). You can find us at: ​​​​​​​ (Pinterest) (Twitter) (YouTube) (GoodReads) (Amazon) ​​​​​​​ (BookBub) ​​​​​​​ (LinkedIn) (WordPress) New addition, we have podcasts started on Anchor FM and can be found on the following: Anchor (Anchor). Anchor also distributes the podcast to: Breaker Google Podcasts Pocket Casts RadioPublic Spotify Apple iHeart Radio: ​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​ *(Canada Book Award winner​​​​​​​) is noted on books that won

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