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The importance of scientific method

The importance of scientific method

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By: Antonio Garza de Yta, Ph.D.*

In today’s age, emotions often hold more weight than truth. Decisions are sometimes made based on how something makes us feel, rather than the validity of the facts. While not all published material can be defended, the scientific method can. This method empowers individuals to approach reality independently of their beliefs. It is a systematic and structured way of approaching a question.

In today’s society, emotions often hold more weight than truth. As a result, important decisions are sometimes made based on feelings rather than factual evidence. Although we are aware that this has caused numerous global problems, decisions have been made based on alternative facts and personal realities instead of analysis based on hard data, of ten with catastrophic results.

In my perhaps naive thinking, I believed that this would never affect aquaculture… I was mistaken. A few weeks ago, I engaged in a debate with a prominent aquaculture blogger who discredited the work of leading aquaculture scientists worldwide. He believed that other things were happening in reality.

Personal opinions about facts have already infiltrated the aquaculture industry and have been doing so for some time now, as evidenced by the current situation.

The importance of scientific method

I will not defend everything that is published, but I will defend the scientific method. This method allows those who use it to approach reality independently of their beliefs. It is a systematic and structured approach to answering questions. The scientific method is a tool that allows for the generation of objective knowledge by determining the veracity or falsity of a postulate through a series of stages or steps.

These steps posing a question, generating a hypothesis, making a prediction based on the hypothesis, testing the prediction, and repeating the process. The scientific method is a methodology that enables scientific progress and has been the foundation for all advancements in each scientific field. It is the basis of mankind’s knowledge.

“Without this method, the world would be a vastly different place. How does this impact the practical world of aquaculture?”

It mainly provides tools for making correct decisions. I am often asked if a certain technology or product is effective, and my response is consistent: Has it passed the scientific method? Is there an audited publication? It is important to emphasize that the publication must be peer-reviewed to ensure its validity.

While anyone can publish in a commercial journal, the scientific process requires verification through peer review. Although this process is not infallible, it serves as a valuable filter.

“Next time someone claims a product accelerates shrimp growth, prevents tilapia illness, or stops hair loss, use the scientific method to verify. Replicability and low failure rates indicate validity.”

I insist that those who promote any technology should not provide alternative facts that could mislead producers until it has been validated. While some innovative systems exist, they do not guarantee greater profitability than more traditional systems, which often involve less risk.

Aquaculture is expanding into uncharted territories with cutting-edge technologies that were once unimaginable. However, we must prioritize the safety of producers and their as sets. It is crucial to adhere to the scientific method and avoid unnecessary risks, even if we strongly believe it is the right course of action. True progress is built on a foundation of science.

Antonio Garza de Yta

Senior Fisheries and Aquaculture Advisor for AWJ Innovation, Vice President of the International Center for Strategic Studies in Aquaculture (CIDEEA), President of Aquaculture Without Frontiers (AwF), Past President of the World Aquaculture Society (WAS), Former Secretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture of Tamaulipas, Mexico, and Creator of the Certi cation for Aquaculture Professionals (CAP) Program with Auburn University.

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