One method for seeking the truth through science is to submit your work for peer review. Peer review only works if scientists are willing to disagree with one another. The scrutiny of fellow scientists helps to ensure success.
Even if a paper survives peer review, scientists continue to disagree about how to interpret the outcomes of research, the methodology used to gather data or about how new findings fit into the larger body of knowledge etc., etc., etc.
Scientific skepticism and disagreement is essential to ensuring a continued march toward a fuller understanding of the truth. In other words, disagreement is a feature of the process and not a bug.
Unfortunately, the politicians, the media and other members of society do not seem to grasp this crucial fact. The scientific consensus is the best source to consult for a productive path forward.
The idea that a single scientist (or some minority group of scientists) agrees with your preferred path is evidence that you should do what you want is wrong headed. It is a simple form of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is when we ignore the evidence that we are wrong by ignoring evidence to the contrary, focusing exclusively on the evidence that confirms our opinion or some of both. That leads us to cherry pick the parts of the world that agree with our current view.
Place your bets on the current scientific consensus. Change your mind when that changes. You will be far more likely to find the success that you are looking to achieve.
Just my opinion. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
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2 thoughts on “Scientists Disagree”
It’s easy for humans to fall into confirmation bias–no matter what side of the issue they are on. We think of scientists as purely logical, always professional, and 100% objective at all times. However scientists are humans too, capable of some of the same biases. Their consensus is an educated best guess, meant as a law of averages. Scientific consensus can be very useful for illuminating a path forward and for taking swift action.
But scientific consensus is not infallible. Science says the odds of having a red-haired child is rare. Scots beg to differ. There will always be outliers, and there will always be people who do not fit neatly on the trend line. True, honest scientific discourse is fully transparent. It acknowledges this with curiosity.
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I completely agree.