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Do you believe in Santa?

By   /  February 24, 2014  /  Comments Off on Do you believe in Santa?

Santa can help us figure out if we want to believe, or if seeing is believing. When it comes to information you’ll see in On Pasture, here’s where we stand.

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Buddy the elf checks out the Kringle 3000 on Santa's sleigh

Buddy the elf checks out the Kringle 3000 on Santa’s sleigh

 

The movie “Elf” is one of my favorites. Buddy the elf, played by Will Ferrell, describes the four food groups as “Candy, Candy Cane, Candy Corn, and Maple Syrup”. That’s a lot more fun (and sugar) than anything that the USDA has put together.

The gauges on Santa's sleigh. When people believe in Santa, it helps the sleigh fly.

The gauges on Santa’s sleigh. When people believe in Santa, it helps the sleigh fly.

In “Elf”, Santa’s sleigh gets stuck in Central Park. The sleigh is supported by people’s belief in Santa. Because belief has declined, Santa relies on a fancy engine (a Kringle 3000) to help the reindeer fly the sleigh. When the engine falls off, Buddy’s brother, Michael, suggests getting the news cameras in to show everyone Santa, so they will believe in him.

Santa says no to that. “Christmas spirit is about believing, not seeing. If the whole world saw me, all would be lost. The paparazzi has been trying to nail me for years.”

To so many, Santa makes sense. A tree goes up, cookies get put out. Carrots for the reindeer, if they are lucky. The next morning, so unspeakably early (4:30 am in our house), evidence of Santa is right there, shiny and pretty, under the tree. To those very early risers, Santa makes sense.

When it comes to figuring out if a practice or idea is worth doing, I want to see data before believing in it.

When it comes to figuring out if a practice or idea is worth doing, I want to see data before believing in it.

But when it comes to the real world, believing needs data. When folks push ideas based on beliefs unsupported by data, the ideas can be as magical as Santa’s presents under the tree.  It doesn’t mean that we should throw out innovative ideas.  It simply means we should do the science it takes to make sure we’re not off on a wild goose chase.

When I read and write On Pasture, I want to see  hard evidence and statistically valid data to prove anything I am going to put my name behind. When there is no evidence, then I am just helping support Santa’s sleigh.  That’s something I’ll save for Christmas time.

 

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  • Published: 4 years ago on February 24, 2014
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  • Last Modified: February 23, 2014 @ 3:27 pm
  • Filed Under: The Scoop

About the author

editor and contributor

Rachel's interest in sustainable agriculture and grazing has deep roots in the soil. She's been following that passion around the world, working on an ancient Nabatean farm in the Negev, and with farmers in West Africa's Niger. After returning to the US, Rachel received her M.S. and Ph.D. in agronomy and soil science from the University of Maryland. For her doctoral research, Rachel spent 3 years working with Maryland dairy farmers using management intensive grazing. She then began her work with grass farmers, a source of joy and a journey of discovery.

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