HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Duke geologist's book assails unrealistic mathematical models

DURHAM, N.C. -- Using equations to forecast the specific behavior of complex natural processes such as beach erosion and long-term nuclear waste storage creates a false sense of security, according to a new book by a retired Duke University geologist and his geologist daughter.

In a preface to "Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can't Predict the Future," Orrin Pilkey and Linda Pilkey-Jarvis write that relying on such mathematical models has "done tangible damage to our society in many ways."

Among their examples, the pair charge that faulty mathematical models contributed to the collapse of a prime North American fishery. They say such models also are predicting unreachable margins of safety at a planned national U.S. high-level radioactive waste repository and have given coastal communities overly optimistic expectations about the endurance of beach nourishment projects.

"We make this point again and again: if your basic assumptions are wrong, it doesn't matter what the math does," said Pilkey, a retired professor at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

"Since scientists now have computers on their desks that can do all kinds of sophisticated calculations, they have been saying 'give us enough money and we'll come up with a good model,' " he added. "And they have failed miserably. We scientists have to hang our heads in shame. We should have, long ago, admitted our weaknesses."

The authors focus their criticisms on quantitative mathematical models, which they define as those attempting to make specific predictions about natural outcomes by answering the questions "when," "where" and "how much."

In the case of the now-collapsed Grand Banks cod fishery, the authors argue that Canadian scientists used unrealistic quantitative models of total allowable catch to determine harvesting levels. "According to these models, the Grand Banks should still be full of fish," th
'"/>

Contact: Monte Basgall
monte.basgall@duke.edu
919-681-8057
Duke University
25-Jan-2007


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. New mathematical model to add rigor to studies of disease genetics and evolution
2. Sound investment: A new mathematical method provides a better way to analyze noise
3. Saving the planet from a mathematical perspective
4. Saving the planet, from a mathematical perspective
5. Huntingtons disease study shows animal models on target
6. Scripps research scientists show protein accelerates breast cancer progression in animal models
7. Better chemistry through living models
8. Fly and worm models to teach researchers about human biology and medicine
9. Arctic ice retreating more quickly than computer models project
10. Statin treatment improves spatial memory in mouse models of Alzheimers
11. Rotting leaf litter study could lead to more accurate climate models

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/13/2019)... ... June 13, 2019 , ... KICVentures announced today its plans to ... and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference in Chicago on Thursday, June 13th at 6:30 pm. ... Chicago, IL in the 3rd floor Ticino Hospitality room in space #74T. , The ...
(Date:6/6/2019)... ... June 05, 2019 , ... MedTech ... the global health and medical technology market, announced that it has selected Medacta ... Robotics Solution” award in the 2019 MedTech Breakthrough Awards program. , ...
(Date:6/4/2019)... ... June 04, 2019 , ... Molecular Devices, a global leader ... the new President of Molecular Devices, replacing Greg Milosevich who has been appointed ... , Since joining Molecular Devices in a scientific engineering role, Ms. Murphy has ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/31/2019)... ... May 29, 2019 , ... For many years, the primary ... of cancer demand breakthrough therapies. Advances in immuno-oncology have led to the advent of ... cells with engineered T cell receptors known as “CARs”. The CAR enables the final ...
(Date:5/22/2019)... ... 22, 2019 , ... Artemis (formerly Agrilyst), the leading enterprise Cultivation ... round co-led by Astanor Ventures and Talis Capital with participation ... iSelect Fund . The company has raised $11.75m to date and will use the ...
(Date:5/14/2019)... Calif. (PRWEB) , ... May 14, 2019 , ... ... office expansion, effectively doubling its space from 2,500 to 5,000 square feet. , ... Early Gender DNA tests ,” says Gateway Genomics CEO, Chris Jacob. “The SneakPeek At-Home ...
(Date:5/2/2019)... BELTSVILLE, Md. (PRWEB) , ... ... ... certification to the International Organization for Standardization ISO 9001:2015 standard, REPROCELL USA ... consistently meet customer requirements. In addition, REPROCELL USA Inc. aims to enhance ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: