Friday, October 18, 2013

Halloween - 2013 Edition

Halloween is filled with all kinds of emotions when dealing with life-threatening food allergies!
I'm so proud of myself.  Halloween is still 2 weeks away and safe allergy friendly treats are ordered, set to be delivered at our doorstep any day now.  In years past, it usually escaped my mind until the week before (too late to order), resulting in a mad dash to multiple stores to purchase whatever safe treats or toys we could find.  For our multiple food allergic child, this typically means trading unsafe treats for safe chocolate chips or small toys such as stickers, erasers, and pencils.  (Note - corn and soy are really big problems for us. I have yet to find standard nut-free/peanut-free brands that are also free of corn and soy, among others).  For some reason, I am afraid that he will be less than thrilled about safe chocolate chips yet again.  He is gaining awareness of his allergy predicament, which is a double-edged sword.  Good in that he is beginning to advocate for himself.  Bad in that he's socially and emotionally older, meaning he's becoming fully aware that he is "different" when all he really wants to do is "fit in."  Chocolate chips just aren't going to cut it anymore when all of his friends are getting those delicious looking, nose-pleasing aromas of chocolate and sugar all wrapped up in pretty colored packages.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Sanctity of Science

As the years go by, I grow more and more convinced that the scientific process is a perfect process for its intended purpose - to test ideas in order to explain how natural phenomena work in the realm of space and time.  Natural phenomena can range from at one end - the known universe - to at the other end - the seemingly infinitesimally small Higg's boson (aka - God particle).  At either of those extreme ends of natural phenomena, questions of science often meet the philosophical - e.g. was there a BEFORE the big bang? Most of us, however, reside somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.  Even in the in between, there is still so much we have to learn - about ourselves, about our world.  I believe the wonder, awe, and beauty of the unknown will always be a part of our existence because it is central to being human to question, wonder, and desire to know.  I have yet to meet a person without these traits. I have to agree with a recent incredibly thought-provoking interview of Richard Dawkins on the Daily Show that this curiosity just may lead to humanity's demise (Really, watch it.  It's fascinating).  Yes, I agree that how certain humans will choose to use our accumulated knowledge will likely destroy us long before our use of the scientific process has a fighting chance of coming anywhere near understanding all there is to understand.  Like an addiction to a bad drug, we can't stop our craving for knowledge.  And I know we never will; I hope we never will.  We need solutions to humanity's problems like food allergies, and understanding the problems should go a long way in helping us fix the problems.

Whew, that was deep!  I hope you don't mind my random musings (the best thing about a personal blog, in my opinion!)  But, back to what I really wanted to discuss - the scientific process in all its perfect glory.  The process is perfect.  Humans are not.  Therefore, how humans use this process is inherently imperfect.  The steps - observation, question, hypothesis, test the hypothesis (experiment), analyze the data, conclude - gets repeated over and over and over... it's like an upward spiral staircase continuously climbing higher in our knowledge.  Any wrong ideas (hypotheses) will eventually be uncovered through experimentation.  This is the beauty of the scientific process - it self corrects our wrong ideas.