Pseudoreplication, Designing Experiments, and Demonic Intrusion

Hey fellow biology nerds!

So, here I sit reading another boring ecology paper for discussion tomorrow in marine ecology (Hurlbert’s 1984 “Pseudoreplication and the Design of Ecological Field Experiments”) about experimental design and sources of confusion.  The author lists sources of confusion, or potential mistakes experimenters often fall prey to, and ways those mistakes could be avoided.  Among those listed are: temporal change, experimenter bias, procedure effects, nondemonic intrusion (defined as the impingement of chance events on an experiment in progress), and demonic intrusion…SAY WHAT?!  Hurlbert just came out of nowhere and certainly woke me up as I was dozing off.  Yes, according to him, demonic intrusion is a source of confusion.

But no worries, the “features of an experimental design that reduce or eliminate confusion” for it include “eternal vigilance, exorcism, human sacrifices, etc,” (p. 191)–I quote. Yes, it actually says that.  Oh, biology humor.  Beware those dark entities who wish to destroy your experimental design!  At least now I know how to control for”demonic intrusion” in my zombie experiments.  And those dang ghosts are always flying around and knocking things over, but it’s not like I can see them or prove they were there.  Thank goodness one biologist recognizes this fact and has the answers I’ve been looking for.

I highly suggest looking this paper up to solve your experimental demonic intrusion problems also.


4 responses

  1. I don’t know If I said it already but …Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

  2. I am currently reading that paper for a class and just came across the ways of avoiding demonic intrusion (human sacrifice etc) and utterly cracked up laughing!!
    I found your blog as I couldn’t believe he meant what I thought he meant. HUMOUR in a scientific paper? Surely not?! Good on him 🙂
    Will definitely start contemplating demon-avoidance in my research.

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