And on the eighth day, the ecologist discovered statistics

My plan for today was to update you about my thesis, but wait, let’s procrastinate a little,  I had something else in mind 🙂

From my behavioral observations to today I can say that statistics is not the favorite topic among most students. Rather it is the «abandoned child». Take as few courses as possible, try to pass them, get away and get back to what you are really interested in.

Being surrounded mostly by people who do not like statistics, I am wondering why I do. Before I started studying I had difficulties to decide between literature, philosophy and ecology. At first, those things seem very different. But there are also some common traits: Let’s change those glasses for a moment.


Literature gives us the possibility to be in someone else’s head, even to live someone else’s life and has thereby the possibility to enrich our choices in our own life by offering possibilities, which we could not have seen before. Philosophy, in particular epistemology, is asking what we can see and what we can know, assuming, there is a whole world beyond the know-able which we have no chance to understand. And finally ecology: observing some butterflies, spiders and flowers doing their business seems quite straight forward at the first glimpse. Until you stand in the field and search for that spider. You are not gonna find it. Ok, maybe you will find it. With a probability of 5 or 50 percent ? What is this probability dependent on? The weather, the body size of the observer, or  the mood of the spider?


Things I do not know I find so interesting. I want to find the questions I cannot answer, in fact, no one can. I want to be aware of them, to think about them. I want to make my small conclusions, guessing how small they are. Because I have a little idea.

I am not an expert on any group of organisms. People used to tell me that it would be necessary, that it was maybe already too late. That I should better hurry and decide for something to become a specialist. I dared that I did not do that. I kept learning here and there. I kept searching philosophical discussions  and literature. I keep reading Seneca while writing my master thesis. Novalis does not say without reason, «that philosophy is the try, to be at home everywhere». Yes, I study in a risky way to work in a management office or an assessment center. And yes, my family is worried sometimes about it, what I will do one day with all this abstract knowledge, and if it will contribute anything to a non-abstract dinner.

By now I dare to be a generalist – predator for knowledge (with all it’s uncertainties). Reflection and synthesis are the main goals for my progress in learning about ecology now. And statistics offer unexpected ways to discover the almost-not-observable or the not-by-a-human-observable. Data Epistemology! I am looking forward so much to learn more! And those one’s are gonna help me with that:

A snapshot of the book-species-composition on my desk right now, in case you are interested. Not forget an empty note book in between, it’s essential!  🙂

Goodbye and happy discoveries,


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