Friday, May 3, 2013

Not all modeling is mathematical!

I found a nice blog from an entomologist at 'a teaching institution' through a post on twitter that raised my hackles a bit. The tweet, and title of the blog post was:

Ant science - how avoiding modeling led to a cool discovery

By this, he meant *mathematical* modeling. In the wake of the whole EO Wilson good scientist=\Good at math post on WSJ (yes, I'll post about that later in detail), I thought this deserved a reply. So, I responded with a comment on his blog, which I will append here. The comment is basically a short summary of a previous post, but it bears repeating, I think.

His post describes how he made a discovery about an species of ant by looking for big picture patterns, and not paying so much attention to the details... Being a Kepler, not a Newton if you will... It is worth a read, as it is well written and interesting, especially if you like ants.  Anyways, here's what I said in return, referencing an earlier post of mine:

*
Hello, and a pleasure to find your blog. I enjoyed this post, and it is fitting as I literally JUST put down EOWs new book 'letters to a young scientist'. Anyways, I'd like to respectfully disagree a bit, and mostly semantically. This is NOT avoidance of modeling. It is just doing a modeling of a different sort. I recently (started and) wrote a blog post about just this issue, specifically in communication between mathematical and experimental biologists - which can be read here:

Whose model is it anyways?

Where I talk about how we are really ALL modelers! Our models just look different. Where the data collecting scientist (think Tycho Brahe) spends his/her time dreaming about where to look and what to look for, the pattern former (your role here - think Johannes Kepler) seeks the big picture patterns and the 'modeler' in your terminology (Isaac Newton in the analogy I've been using) puts together the more rigorous connections. There is no rigorous theory without patterns to connect, and there are no patterns without data. We are all on the same team. And, it's a lot of fun whichever role you play.

Anyways, great post, just wanted to argue the semantics :)

\end{rant}

For full disclosure, I'm a phd student in mathematical biology.
*

For even more full disclosure, I stole the 'we are all modelers' from my mentor +Alexander Anderson - cheers Sandy.  And it turns out that I stole the whole Brahe->Kepler->Newton thing from Lord Robert May's lovely article on mathematical modeling in biology, though I didn't mean to.

4 comments:

  1. HERBAL DR EMU WHO PREPARE HERBAL MEDICINE TO CURE ALL KINDS OF DISEASES INCLUDING HERPES DISEASE.   
     I have been battling this Herpes disease for almost 3 years now....I tried all possible means to get cure from my Herpes Disease but all to be in vain until i saw a post in a health forum about a herbal Dr Emu who prepare herbal medicine to cure all kind of diseases including Herpes Disease, at first i doubted if it was real but decided to give it a try...when i contact Dr Emu via his email (emutemple@gmail.com)  write him and reply me explain how the process work so after ordering for the medicine I got it within 3/4 working days through DHL Delivery and I took it according to the way Dr Emu instructed, I was so happy after 2 week I took the medicine there was very big change in my health when I was done with the process I go for test, I found out I am negative...Herpes patients should also get in touch with this herbalist Dr Emu to get rid of these Herpes Virus forever his whatsapp number +2347012841542. Website: https://emutemple.wordpress.com/ 

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To know more about Chief Dr Lucky you can visit his website (https://chiefdrluckyherbaltherapy.wordpress.com/)
       
       A friend that suffered from Herpes and was cure with the help of this great herbal doctor Chief Lucky so i decided to contact him for help in getting rid of my families genital herpes virus 1/2 which i did and all i was told to provide was just some useful information and some materials used in preparation of the natural cure and that i did and now i am the happiest person on earth because i am writing this testimony of mine with joy and happiness in my heart to the whole world to know that natural remedy is real because i am a living testimony of Chief Lucky traditional herbal cure and i want you all to contact Chief Lucky via his email: chiefdrlucky@gmail.com or WhatsApp him +2348132777335 am sure he will help you too.

      Delete
  2. I have been a herpes carrier for 2 years and I tried every possible means
    of curing but all of no useful until I saw a health promotion on a
    herbalist from Africa who prepares herbal medicines to cure all sorts of
    diseases including cancer and many others sickness, I first doubted It was
    not true but decided to try, when I contacted this herbal physician via his
    email, I purchased herpes herbal medicine and received it within 7 days
    and used it as prescribed, I tested negative within 3 weeks of use, do not
    lose hope to contact him early If you need help, am convinced he can help you too,
    He is also special in curing 1.
    HIV/AIDS 2. HERPES 3. CANCER 4. ALS 5. HEPATITIS B 6. DIABETES 7. HUMAN
    PAPILLOMAVIRUS DISEASE(HPV) 8. ALZHEIMER 9. LUPUS (Lupus Vulgaris or Lupus Eratosthenes)ETC,,,,,, You can also visit his website:
    http://drchalaherbalhome.godaddysites.com
     email him on dr.chalaherbalhome@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have been a herpes carrier for 2 years and I tried every possible means
    of curing but all of no useful until I saw a health promotion on a
    herbalist from Africa who prepares herbal medicines to cure all sorts of
    diseases including cancer and many others sickness, I first doubted It was
    not true but decided to try, when I contacted this herbal physician via his
    email, I purchased herpes herbal medicine and received it within 7 days
    and used it as prescribed, I tested negative within 3 weeks of use, do not
    lose hope to contact him early If you need help, am convinced he can help you too,
    He is also special in curing 1.
    HIV/AIDS 2. HERPES 3. CANCER 4. ALS 5. HEPATITIS B 6. DIABETES 7. HUMAN
    PAPILLOMAVIRUS DISEASE(HPV) 8. ALZHEIMER 9. LUPUS (Lupus Vulgaris or Lupus Eratosthenes)ETC,,,,,, You can also visit his website:
    http://drchalaherbalhome.godaddysites.com
     email him on dr.chalaherbalhome@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete