The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On personal experience and scientific study.

I feel that I should express my intention when I write this blog. It is to capture one person's experience and distil it into a readable form. It is not meant to be a scientific study.

Now, you may wonder why I trouble myself to draw this distinction - well, I do so, because I have to. Some people have, rather bizarrely in my view, criticized some of my articles on the basis that they are founded on "personal experience" rather than a large scale scientific study involving hundreds or thousands of cases. I think their criticism says more about them, than it does about me. It says that they do not admit the validity of personal experience into the discussion of life when life is just a collection of personal experiences and so, of course, a discussion of it should admit personal experience as a reasonable foundation for comment.

Those who attack my posts for not being large scale scientific studies are showing a narrowness of mind which is, I have observed, frequently seen among those who think of themselves as "scientific". Unfortunately, however, these "scientists" have learnt the wrong lessons from science. They have learnt to ignore as inadmissible, everything that is not a large scale scientific study, instead of opening their minds to the fullness of the world and what it has to offer.

Personally, I prefer an open mind, attentive to every little detail, than to restrict myself to worshipping large scale scientific studies as the only means to knowledge. There are other means to such, if your mind is prepared and you know how to think. Insight into the world can be enough, on its own, to tell us something of interest. It is that insight that I apply to my daily life to come up with my commentary on personal experience. What I say may not have been produced through a large scale scientific study - but that does not mean that it is without value. It may still be an insightful comment or an intelligent observation on some aspect of life. Not being a large scale scientific study does not make all information worthless or uninteresting - for it may still be of value and may still teach us something. Of course, it won't satisfy the "studyophiles", but then no form of written discussion could ever satisfy them. Only the spending of millions of dollars on a large scale scientific study would satisfy their need for "rigour". Of course, it never occurs to them that some questions may be answered quite satisfactorily with less of a sledgehammer approach. Some questions are answered just by asking them, so obvious is the conclusion. Then again, they wouldn't like that method either, since I find such people suspicious of actual reasoning - they prefer "hard data" - which means numbers that need not be thought of. There is no guarantee that people driven by "hard data" are, in fact, good thinkers. They may, in fact, be too uncomfortable with the grey areas of life, to be able to make much sense of it. They could, therefore, be even more unsuited to understanding life than is the average person.

So, the next time you find yourself asking why I haven't written a scientific study in my blog post, that is because I wasn't trying to. Some of my posts ARE based on scientific studies - but most of them are based on something closer to home: personal experience. My life is my subject, in this blog and the lives of those close to me. I need not apologize for that. It is what, in fact, I have set out to write. However, if you find yourself seeking a scientific study, please find one in a journal...and don't complain that it is not what I have written. Thank you.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: Thanks.

IMDB is the Internet Movie Database for film and tv professionals.If you would like to look at my IMDb listing for which another fifteen credits are to be uploaded, (which will probably take several months before they are accepted) please go to: As I write, the listing is new and brief - however, by the time you read this it might have a dozen or a score of please do take a look. My son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, also has an IMDb listing. His is found at: My wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley, has a listing as well. Hers is found at:

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication prohibited. Use Only with Permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:46 PM 


Blogger Yoa Ngadenin said...

ada jugak orang nak menyibuk komen apa kita nak tulis ek..betul la..kalau nak scientific study repot..pergi la carik kat jurnal..ada ke carik kat blog orang..huh..IGNORE THEM!!

1:31 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks for your comment...I only understood "ignore them!", though!

I shall try.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you read about Seth Robert's very interesting approach to science with small populations?

2:58 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Re. Seth.

Thanks for the tip: I was unaware of his work. This could be rather relevant.

7:23 AM  

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