Module 1 Week 1 Lecture Discussion Post: Assumptions

May 16, 2015

Listen to the NPR clip (Links to an external site.). Offer your analysis of the speaker’s perceived views on epistemology, ontology, and axiology. Use examples from the interview to support your response.


In the clip from NPR radio, Chris Anderson of Wired magazine states that with the ever abundance of data and information now being available at the click of a mouse on the Internet, a new form of scientific approach is now available to researchers. Leveraging the Google approach to correlation leading to causation, this same strategy can be applied to other areas and sciences.

Whereas researchers and scientists would largely focus on the traditional scientific method or approach to understand a new idea or theory, now through the usage of correlation of data points within this vast amount of information, scientists can isolate causation from these linkages.

The speaker’s views are that of taking a wide casted net of information and looking for two or more linkages where none may have previously been observed. From here, isolate a pattern within the data and then move into the scientific method/approach of forming an hypothesis, testing, observing, etc. This has largely led to a statistical approach to isolate new, or possible new, theories within the construct of the Google model of correlation and not causation.

Anderson states, “thinking abstractly and statistically, and therefore think not like traditional science and a human does, but by doing so, you can scale to an entirely new class of scientific questions that can be answered by data alone.”

It is Anderson that suggests the statistical approach of correlation leading to causation is not just limited to data mining, but also to scientific research, including but not limited to Genetics. And when probed if there was an application to the social or psychological sciences, Anderson points to market-based economics largely driven by consumer sentiment versus action.

Based on the short interview, it strikes me that Anderson believes that the Google approach to focusing on correlation leading to causation is valid within any branch of epistemology, in so much as where there’s data available, an analysis of information leading into the hypothetical theory can be established. He even goes on to state that early scientists were largely reliant on data captured from observation, using Darwin as an example. His reference may even be extended to Newton and his findings. Therefore it would seem Anderson’s approach is not of a change in the overall development or process to theory, but to a new approach in starting the process, by activating the vast knowledge base that has recently developed around humanity.

Post Tags:

Assumptions, MMC6400, Web Theory,