Please check back when operations resume for epi's blog on scientific consensus and a path towards sustainability.

The Historical Backdrop

A century ago, global tourism barely existed.  Imagine traveling the world in the days of Darwin when only a few ships sailed the seas for the purpose of scientific discovery and fewer more carried passengers who traveled solely for recreation.  Villages, harbors and landscapes were unique gems of cultural and ecological integrity.  

Now, tourism—including ecotourism—is one of the most impactful economic activities on our planet.  At epi, we believe we are ALL ready to re-invent ‘travel” in a way that builds peace, fosters sustainability and restores the Earth’s natural systems.

Engaged Ecotourism as a Solution 

To set the stage, imagine hiking in the relatively pristine and limitlessly complex world in which Charles Darwin traveled.  What has changed since then?  How might we change our own travel options to improve community well-being and restore ecological systems?  

Why set a discussion on research methods within the backdrop of Darwin's era and his approach to scientific discovery? 

Now over 150 years since Darwin completed his life's work, his research remains a source of contention much like the debate regarding climage change.   How long do we have to solve the pressing problems of today? 

A path forward could involve review of Darwin's legacy.  How did Darwin make sense of what he observed?  How is making sense of the world similar or different across cultures?  What has changed in the way we claim scientific validity? 

A blog on scientific consensus could inform how to most expeditiously improve the challenging economic, social and environmental conditions of our time.

epi proposes to raise awareness about 'scientific validity' within a broadly encompassing discussion of sense making and common sense.  Of note, such a discussion may serve to bridge the cultural divide between right and left in the United States.

Blog hosts will sequentially organize discussion into sets of questions by theme.  Every several months, the hosts of 'Hiking with Darwin' will summarize previous discussion and launch a new set of questions.  Themes include:

  • What is good science?  If 'Science' is making sense of what we observe, then what is common sense?  Is common sense what makes the most sense?  How might we most efficiently make common sense public decisions ? What is conclusive evidence?  How do we as a society reach scientific consensus?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative research methods? How did Darwin approach research?  Was his approach primarily qualitative or quantitative?
  • How did Darwin reach his conclusions on evolution and natural selection? – a counterintuitive and surprising adventure in science.   We will discuss: Henslow and natural variation;  the Wallace Line and concurrence; paired comparision and experimental design; and Adam Sedgwick's inclusion of metaphysics.
  • What path forward might most quickly overcome lack of consensus on Darwin’s theory of evolution? or on the evidence for climate change? What already works in leading to such results?
  • How do we best define progress?  Does community well-being and ecosystem stewardship play a part? When do the ends justify the means?