Archaeologists, 500 years from now will be unearthing data.
“Hey Digger, look here, I just found data for weather. Oh more, here is data on traffic, agriculture, aviation, crime, demographics, education, energy, people, health, immigration, investing, law, military, nonprofits, and politics.”
Digger goes into brain-lock when he sees the stacks of paper loaded with numbers, spreadsheets and graphs. A question will then arise in the young minds of the archaeologists.
What on earth did people in the year 2011 do with all this data? Fortunately, Digger and his buddy could not read the gargantuan lists of data stored on the archaic computers they disinterred the previous week because it would be an overload.
Data may be useful in the search for truth, however data is not truth. Data is only limited fluctuating information. It takes a shrewd person to analyze data in a meaningful way and avoid the common mistake of using only data that supports our chosen beliefs. A professional who analyzes data must be able to stop the filter mechanism of the human mind that sorts through the infinite ocean of information to find the few fish that fuel beloved beliefs.
In scientific research, data can’t be overestimated or underestimated. It is also important to integrate data. Integrated data captures unseen insights and initiates new interactions that promote nonhierarchical collaboration.
Here is a simple yet sober practical example:
My husband and I farmed an apple/cherry orchard while our children were growing up. Farming can come with a lot of ups and downs. One year we lost the entire crop because of weather damage. My mind went blank. And, I tried to analyze facts and figures to figure out our next step.
Our children, unattached to my belief of what kind of lifestyle we should be living, would make comments like, “We can get a smaller car,” or “Aren’t these clothes our cousin use to wear great?” I integrated their collection of information with mine and found out I could live happily and creatively without buying new things or socializing. I set to work at a temporary job that required no overhead. Those lean years weren’t easy, but as they passed by they offered me the opportunity to practice integrating data to push myself further to discover the truth that God really is taking care of us all by supplying us with resourcefulness, innovation, productivity, joy, wellbeing, and hope.