How do you know when you're doing science wrong?

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I checked out the book Ubuntu Made Easy: A Project-Based Introduction to Linux by Rickford Grant and Phil Bull (No Starch Press). With any book like this, the trick is matching it to the correct user. If you are the kind of person inclined to install the latest version of Ubuntu on your computer…
It's easy: less scientific rigor, and get rid of pesky controls.
Via Alea: the CME trading simulation game. If only it were this easy: I suspect that in the real world, doing the opposite of what I did would be required to actually make money :)
What should a drug company do if it spends millions of dollars on a compound and it doesn't do anything? Easy: (Click on the panel to see the whole cartoon.) In fact, I'm surprised more pharmaceutical companies don't do this...

"If you can't accept that you're mistaken, you're not doing it at all."

I'm definitely going to reuse this line. It's so succinct and accurate, I love it.

I love demotivators. I think my particular favorite is:
"Compromise: Let's agree to respect each other's views, no matter how wrong yours may be."

Is priceless.

By JonMcSkeptic (not verified) on 28 May 2008 #permalink

It's not only of science; it's life too.

By George Picoulas (not verified) on 28 May 2008 #permalink

good one.
allow me to add in:
"if your hypothesis can't be falsified, you're doing it wrong."
"If all you have is a complaint that something can't be right because your beliefs say it can't, you're not doing science."

Ooh. That looks like desktop wallpaper.

I think DLC is trying to stoke up a philosophical fight.

In practice, it is difficult to falsify any one hypothesis, because there are a great many auxiliary hypotheses that could also be wrong.

They also missed "Science. It's just lots of balls joined together with sticks".

Bob O'H: no, not really. I'm no philosopher.

Classic. h/t to LBRB, I was pointed towards this excellent passage from Prometheus:

One of the problems with getting emotionally involved with a scientific hypothesis is that they are notoriously dangerous things to love. Hypotheses don't care how much you love them or depend on them - they live or die by the data. And holding on to a dead hypothesis is as pointless (and creepy) as holding on to a dead cat or dog. Once they die, it's time to bury them and move on.

That would make a good poster.

By Mary Parsons (not verified) on 29 May 2008 #permalink

Thanks for the link!
Actually I am a ASM member, thanks for the MRS link as well.

By Uncle Dave (not verified) on 30 May 2008 #permalink

Lately I seem to have a lot of conversations in which I use the sentence, "The mark of a true scientist, or a true scholar, is that they like being proven wrong almost as much as they like being proven right, provided you do it in an interesting way."


If your hypothesis can't be falsified, you're not just doing it wrong, you're doing it at all.