By Charles Hall, Dr. John W. Day
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Extra info for Ecosystem Modeling in Theory and Practice: An Introduction With Case Histories
By definition facts are taken to be those statements, assumptions, beliefs, and so forth, that are amenable, actually or in principle, to scientific testing. Values are those statements, assumptions, beliefs, and so forth, that by their nature defy such testing. Initially, we may wish to rid ourselves of the difficulty of having to deal with values, for their character renders them inaccessible to our trusted tool, science. But this frustration is a necessary one. For no amount of facts, however extensive, is sufficient to enable a model builder or any decision maker to decide which course of action to take.
The effect of this is to prevent model users from examining distinctions that potentially are significant to them. This deficiency is apparent in the Meadows' "limits to growth" model (Meadows, 1972). Such ordinary political details as the existence of sovereign states are omitted, allowing the authors to treat population as a single homogeneous entity. This forecloses from the field of study issues related to the viability of a world in which inequalities in resource distribution are maintained by the existence of those political structures.
In its current form the ESYG model does not attempt to optimize, to solve, or to indicate in any way how improvements may be made in existing or proposed patterns of energy utilization. To be sure, the ultimate purpose of ESYG is to serve as a tool with which to search for such improvements on a systematic basis and to enable the search to be conducted in such a way that our extensive knowledge (limited though it is) can be brought to bear at all stages of this search. Specifically, ESYG is designed to avoid the sacrifice of knowledge that commonly accompanies attempts to squeeze real systems into a form compatible with existent optimization models.
Ecosystem Modeling in Theory and Practice: An Introduction With Case Histories by Charles Hall, Dr. John W. Day