Science is wrong about everything, but you can trust it more than anything


Originally published at:


“Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge” -Carl Sagan


Absolutely. And it’s a way of thinking that can be applied to anything – it isn’t just something that happens in labs. If you make conclusions based on evidence and these conclusions can be altered by additional information, you are doing science.


Once I saw a 5 year old bouncing a ball harder and then softer and harder and softer, and I asked her what she was doing and she said she was seeing how high it bounced when she threw it harder and softer. And her eyes widened and she get really smiley when I told her she was doing science, and to keep going. We wound up doing some simple measuring with sticks. Good times were had by all.


One of my favorite pictures of my daughter, maybe about 4, was her playing with dry ice in a range of cocktail glasses. I asked if she was a “mad scientist” and she insisted that, no, she was a “happy scientist” – but I did get a picture of her being an angry scientist until we worked out the various meanings of “mad”


I think this is one of the stupidest statements I’ve ever heard from a supposed scientist.

Asimov’s essay, “The Relativity of Wrong,” is applicable again. Plenty of what has been found through the scientific method is demonstrably right (although maybe not in psychology).



Anyone else see a problem here or is it just me?

My father who was a research scientist during his career explained to me as a child that scientists are just people and so they also make mistakes.



Halfway through reading that I remembered that I’d read it in Discover when it first came out. Its still a reasonable explanation of the measurement problem in “soft” science from someone who knows both “hard” and “soft”. But the measurement problem still remains 20 years later. There could be all sorts of reasons for why this is related to non-replicability. Maybe that does make the “soft” sciences more difficult (harder) or maybe there is something else more fundamental at stake that I’m simply not qualified to speculate on.

EDIT: Also worth mentioning that the problems of scientists taking issue with other scientists political views is also still an issue. Humanity being what it is, this comes as no surprise.

closed #10

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.