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Aaron Johnson: Petry dishes & politics

While in college, I took a Psychology course called “Experimental Methods.”  As I recall it was a senior level course and required for my degree.  The course was dedicated to teaching the student how to develop a technique for conducting scientific inquiry.  The goal was to produce data that was reliable, not corrupted by variables.

The professor taught us how to identify dependent and independent variables.  He taught us techniques of blind and double-blind experiments using human participants.  He taught us the qualifications required to have reliable, or repeatable, statistics.  

We learned how to look at things objectively, without what he called rater bias.  A pure experiment is conducted by someone with no agenda other than true and pure discovery of a reliable cause and effect.

The same was the practice in Biology, my other field of study.  When pursuing discovery in Biology, the researcher uses proven and reliable scientific methods.  One of these is the Petry dish.  

The dish is a shallow clear plastic disc, filled about halfway with a medium that simulates a living being.  The dish also has a clear plastic top.

Matter, such as bacteria or a virus, is introduced into the red gelatin substance in the dish and allowed time to grow.  In time, the growth can be examined under the strength of a microscope.  A trained scientist can identify the outgrowth and there by determine biological characteristics that will reoccur in a living host.  

Right now, we are living in a societal Petry dish.  Right now, we can look at cause and effect in cities like Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and other large municipalities.  We can all learn from their policies.  

The simple question is; “do their policies work?”  The reader can make up his or her own mind about that.  

I know my mind is made up.

I am a son of the south.  I am an Alabamian from the early 1800’s.  Before the treaty with the Cherokee nation was settled, my ancestors were already here.  

If you are more Alabamian than me, then you are a Native American.  

I love my home state.  And apparently so do a lot of other people from those cities I just mentioned.  

It amazes me how many people are leaving those very cities and settling right here in the heart of Dixie.  Those of us who call Alabama home have known it for many years.  However, word is getting out.  

Maybe it is time to build a wall just north of Tennessee.

One hundred percent of the good people who have moved here from those cities tell me they came for a better life.  People are looking for systems that work; lower crime and costs of living.  That sounds to me like our Petry dish is growing better things that those of Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.  

I hope our elected officials will take a moment and do some scientific inquiry into the success or failures of policies in those big and formerly desirable cities.  

We don’t need to be more like them.  We just need to be more like us.

So, cheer for the Dawgs, the Tigers, or the Tide.  And put a little South in your mouth; and please, don’t tell us how you did it in Cleveland.  

You folks can’t drive on ice either.


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