A Conversation with My Husband about Repeating Experiments
Me: Hey, can I ask you why you were so supportive of me trying mold avoidance after I read Erik on Avoidance?
Him: Because I watched you work your ass off for ten years trying to get well, and you kept getting your ass handed to you.
Me: Yeah, that’s true.
Him: You had ten insanely hard years, and two years of being constantly sick before your long migraine started. Even the easier illnesses were extra hard. I mean, you lost your voice so completely for so long that I got really good at sign language.
Me: Why were you so supportive of doing Erik’s techniques so precisely?
Him: Well, first of all, I would never expect you to give anything but 100% with anything you tried. That was always your way. You were the hardest working patient any of your doctors had ever had, and they told you so. If they said to do these thirty exercises every day, you did them every day. Even if they had said 100 exercises, or 1000, you would have done it. If they said you should take a certain medication you did that. You never faltered. Remember when your doctor made you take that medicine and the side effects in the first two hours of it kicking in were so unbearable? You started setting your alarm for 2 AM so you could take it and sleep through the side effects that were so difficult. You got up at 2 in the morning to take that medicine for over a year! You always did every treatment so diligently that if it didn’t work, there was zero doubt that it was the treatment that had failed. Not you.
Me: (Sigh.) Yeah. It was a lot of work with minimal results for a long time.
Him: Plus, your initial experiment with Erik’s ideas yielded such a dramatic change. Five days in the desert and it was like I got the old you back.
Me: But you didn’t know that Erik’s way would work so well, and you still were so supportive. Even when it was so hard.
Him: I always looked at it like Erik’s success was a positive result with one set of data points. You wanted his result. You wanted to be able to climb mountains. So, if you want to get a similar result you have to repeat the experiment exactly. If you change something, it is actually not the same experiment. It is a different one. That your results are so similar to his is another set of data points. The more people who repeat the experiment precisely, the better.
Me: Right, and if you have to change something, try to only change one thing at at time. Change one thing and
Him: If people do a variation on his ideas, that is still a really worthwhile experiment. But the experiment should be recognized as being new. Every change in process should be noted. Every change in initial conditions should be noted. The results should be analyzed within that framework.