March 2nd, 2010 by k8gu Leave a reply »

Saw a talk by John C. Knight of the University of Virginia yesterday:  The Use of Rigorous Arguments in Engineering.  Basically, instead of employing standards to ensure interoperability and reliability of complex systems, he proposes using a (tree-like) structure of justifications that is specific to the project.   These two statements remained with me:

An argument without evidence is unfounded.

Evidence without an argument is unexplained.

Although it sounds obvious, we engineers and scientists occasionally forget these principles in the rush to write-up our work.