Quote of the Day (David DeGusta and Jason E. Lewis)

Quote of the Day (David DeGusta and Jason E. Lewis) July 26, 2011

Gould was certainly right that all scientists, as humans, have some sort of bias. But while biased scientists are inevitable, biased results are not… Science does not depend on unbiased investigators but on methods which limit the ability of the investigator’s bias to influence the results…Truth is hard, but it is sometimes obtainable despite even our strongest biases. What a marvellous thing, this science.

— David DeGusta and Jason E. Lewis, “Gould’s skulls: Is bias inevitable in science?” in New Scientist

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  • JSA

    It’s nice to see that a story about how Gould built his career on scientific fraud that wasn’t discovered until after his death, is proof that science is uniquely positioned to overcome human flaws.

  • JSA

    It’s nice to see that a story about how Gould built his career on scientific fraud that wasn’t discovered until after his death, is proof that science is uniquely positioned to overcome human flaws.

  • JSA

    It’s nice to see that a story about how Gould built his career on scientific fraud that wasn’t discovered until after his death, is proof that science is uniquely positioned to overcome human flaws.

  • That seems like not only an inaccurate but am odd way of summing up the article and what it is about. Do you have evidence of deliberate fraud as opposed to bias being the determining factor? Given his renown for his work on punctuated equilibrium, what makes you think it fair to say that he “built his career” on this one case?

  • That seems like not only an inaccurate but am odd way of summing up the article and what it is about. Do you have evidence of deliberate fraud as opposed to bias being the determining factor? Given his renown for his work on punctuated equilibrium, what makes you think it fair to say that he “built his career” on this one case?

  • Paul Niles

    This quote somehow implies that there is some sort of scientific “truth”. While I think that science depends on the idea of some “truth” existing, it also must always concede that the “truth” is unobtainable. Science fails when it claims that it has discovered the “truth” and that no more investigation is necessary. Science has only sets of ideas that are our best explanation for the “results” that we have. The set of ideas that is favored by scientists has nothing to do with some objective criteria but instead is purely the result of the consensus opinion of scientists which may or may not depend on reason. 

    The great power of science is that everything can be questioned. The great weakness of scientists is the arrogance that they believe to have discovered the “truth”.

  • Paul Niles

    This quote somehow implies that there is some sort of scientific “truth”. While I think that science depends on the idea of some “truth” existing, it also must always concede that the “truth” is unobtainable. Science fails when it claims that it has discovered the “truth” and that no more investigation is necessary. Science has only sets of ideas that are our best explanation for the “results” that we have. The set of ideas that is favored by scientists has nothing to do with some objective criteria but instead is purely the result of the consensus opinion of scientists which may or may not depend on reason. 

    The great power of science is that everything can be questioned. The great weakness of scientists is the arrogance that they believe to have discovered the “truth”.

  • Gary

    “The set of ideas that is favored by scientists has nothing to do with some objective criteria but instead is purely the result of the consensus opinion of scientists”….Not in physics and engineering. F=MA, within experimental error, gets you to the moon, or E=MC2 destroys your fellow man, or strss/strain equations build your skyscraper, so it doesn’t fall on your head. Math rules.

  • Gary

    “The set of ideas that is favored by scientists has nothing to do with some objective criteria but instead is purely the result of the consensus opinion of scientists”….Not in physics and engineering. F=MA, within experimental error, gets you to the moon, or E=MC2 destroys your fellow man, or strss/strain equations build your skyscraper, so it doesn’t fall on your head. Math rules.