Tags: #buildingmaterials #buildingscience

I’m going to ramble this week and present ideas that are only tangentially related to building science. 

I first came across this quote during my days in graduate school. I always saw it as a companion to Louis Pasteur’s more frequently cited, ‘Chance favors the prepared mind’. Both quotes speak volumes for the importance of critical thought and the role of serendipity. 

Recently I saw Goethe’s work aptly used as a presentation title ‘You only see what you know. And what you want to see.’ For the first time I saw Goethe’s insight complete as this modified version introduced the importance of bias – the natural tendency of things, the tool of agenda, the entropy of lazy minds. 

Building science is full of bias; and very little of it is science at all. But it sounds good. Usually, it’s merely clever marketing and anecdotal observations with their meanings manipulated by armies of like-minded minions that know enough to convince lesser minds that haven’t the time to care. 

Bias is also rampant in the very fabric of our industry. It’s expressed in our standards, our building codes, our initiatives; and ultimately in the way in which we build and the materials that we use. 

Science shapes minds and minds shape buildings. We need more of it – and less subjectivity, agenda, and feel-good thought.