Duck Beaks and Empiricism

My son was home for a visit and watched me feed the ducks as we talked. We have cement steps which go down to the pond, and I threw a bucketful of feed down the steps.

“Why are you throwing their food on the steps instead of the grass?” he asked.

“Because the ducks are like rototillers and the dig up everything when they eat, causing a mess and ruining the grass.”

“But their beaks will be hurt by the concrete!”

“How long have I been feeding the ducks here?”

“I don’t know, maybe 25 years while I was growing up.”

“How many ducks have you seen with deformed beaks?”

“Well, none….”

Empiricism is the pursuit of facts and truth based on observed evidence, not conjecture or theory. It’s the best way to approach any consulting assignment so that you’re not running all over the place because of what people claim.

If you do that, you’ll be a dead duck.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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