Grazing on the wide fields of ecological modelling & the norwegian west coast.

Should I read more for my exam? Should I eat this mushroom or not? Should I bring a raincoat? We all draw inferences about the world with every new experience we have, taking into account what we experienced before and what we learned from observing others. About some things we are more certain, because we had stronger or more experiences. But how should inference look like, that affects not only me, but potentially other organisms, people, the whole society? Should this inference work in the same simple way, as I decide about bringing my raincoat?

frequentists_vs_bayesians
https://xkcd.com

Frequentists would clearly disagree. We have to work unbiased of past experience, they have to be separated from the new data. We need hypothesis’s and finally we should decide based on a p-value thresholds, which are based on theoretical repetition of the experiment.

This was my whole reality until recently. Real life and scientific statistics were separated from each other. But my world concerning statistics became broader when I started my Master in Applied Ecology in INN Evenstad.

We discovered philosophical and interpretation problems of the «classical» approaches. Is there a way to be more honest about using data and drawing predictions from them? How can we implement information we already have in our research without manipulating our results? How can we conduct research, that does not only chase for that 0.05 p-value?  The lectures and discussions of the master program answered many questions, but they also raised many new ones.

Therefore I was so happy to be accepted for the «International Summer School on Bayesian Modelling»  which was taught in the «Lyngheisenteret» (The Heathland Centre at Lygra).

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Do you see that building up on the hill? There are some brains warming up for ecological modelling and Bayesian inferences!

Now I just came back from there to the mainland from a one week-intense course. The course was great and intense. And the same is true for the time between the lectures, discussions and exercises, which was filled by wonderful food in the Heathland Centre, walks in the wind and rain and swimming in the fjord. Walking around on the island, we were accompanied by plenty of sheep,  reminding us of the nothingness of wind and rain, science and statistics. Grass is just much more important, you know? And this magnificent landscape.

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I love both green grass and abstract thinking. And also those sheep! 😉

Now, after this intense course, the old story repeats. Many questions are answered, but many new ones are appearing. It’s not finished. Now I am on my way back home, leaving a wonderful place and many lovely sheeps behind. But I bring with me a huge amount of new ideas, topics to read about, things to try and knowledge to apply to my own research questions.

Therefore, not only those sheeps continue to graze, but also I will keep grazing on the knowledge, discovered and communicated by many dedicated researchers.

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I am thankful for being able to have access to so much knowledge. Keep thinking and questioning and don’t forget your raincoat, when it simply looks like rain 😉

Ha det bra,

L.

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