Data is holy

graphGeeks can find themselves in a variety of religious traditions (including atheism), but there is something in all geeks that binds us together in a unique way — the sacredness of data.

When we call something sacred or holy, what we mean is that when we meet with that object/place/event, we encounter the glow of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty.  Our spirituality is our way of relating to the sacred. Jesus Enthusiasts like me have the Cross, while a Buddhist might have a special image of the Buddha, and a Muslim has Mecca and the Quran. These are objects we handle with tremendous care.

Geeks are scientists, and for us, data is holy.

There are few greater sins than tampering with data.  Reality is our boss, and we listen to what it says, even if it’s not what we want to hear.

When an experiment yields data that contradicts our current way of seeing things, it is our responsibility to hear what it has to say.  It usually will not immediately change our thinking, because we must make room for the wide variety of reasons why the data showed up the way it did.

But what we can’t do is DISMISS it.  We take it, we say “WEIRD!” and we set it on the shelf where we keep our oddities.  When we start to see a pattern in our oddities, that’s when we start looking at how these anomalies might be a part of reality that our previous theories missed.

To my mind, data is a precious gift of a gracious God.  There is us, and there is the Reality we live in, and data is this amazing connection between the two.

The Gospel of Science is that data can be trusted.

Whatever geek spirituality is, this is one of the places it starts.


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