"Does trusting your gut make you unscientific?" asks postdoc Andrew Pontzen at New Scientist's Big Wide World blog. Does being 'scientific' mean completely taking in every single idea or theory on a given subject before making a conclusion? Snap judgments on the validity of certain theories is a common thing in science, as is skepticism. Researchers use their existing knowledge to judge any new incoming information, Pontzen says. Of course, starting with "wrong beliefs" will lead to "making unreasonable snap judgments," he says, though he adds that part of being 'scientific' is letting evidence override those beliefs when necessary. "We can then live with snap judgments and trust that other people will keep presenting us with new evidence if we really are wrong," Pontzen says.
Beyond the Data
Apr 16, 2012