I was reflecting this morning on what I see as one of my basic orientations toward life: empiricism. It's probably a good thing that I got into the business I'm in because I have always wanted to collect data to test assumptions.
In eighth grade we learned about something called the normal probability distribution and read various descriptions and proofs of it in our math book. Me being me, I was interested by far from convinced. So, what did I do? Went home and got 10 pennies. I put them in a cup, shook them, dumped them on the table. I then counted how many heads were showing. I figured that if this normal distribution really held, I'd see something like a bell-curve in terms of the number of heads. Most = 5, then 4-6, and so on.
I did this one thousand times and plotted the results. (In case you're wondering, the normal distribution really works... at least with pennies. I didn't try any other coins).
In two future posts I'll write about how this empirical orientation fits with sociology and religion.
By the way, I have learned that in the midst of a marital disagreement, the statement "well, it's an empirical issue", though often correct, is never, never helpful.