A short post that guest-tweeting at the Biotweeps account on Twitter got me thinking about– featuring a poll.
Imagine this: two scientists (colleagues, if you’re a scientist) are arguing thusly. Say it’s an argument about a classic paper in which much of the data subjected to detailed statistical analyses are quantitative guesses, not hard measurements. This could be in any field of science.
Scientist 1: “Conclusions are what matter most in science. If the data are guesses, but still roughly right, we shouldn’t worry much. The conclusions will still be sound regardless. That’s the high priority, because science advances by ideas gleaned from conclusions, inspiring other scientists.”
Scientist 2: “Data are what matter most in science. If the data are guesses, or flawed in some other way, this is a big problem and scientists must fix it. That’s the high priority, because science advances by data that lead to conclusions, or to more science.”
Who’s right? Have your say in this anonymous poll (please vote first before viewing results!):
[Wordpress is not showing the poll on all browsers so you may have to click the link]
And if you have more to say and don’t mind being non-anonymous, say more in the Comments- can you convince others of your answer? Or figure out what you think by ruminating in the comments?
I’m genuinely curious what people think. I have my own opinion, which has changed a lot over the past year. And I think it is a very important question scientists should think about, and discuss. I’m not just interested in scientists’ views though; anyone science-interested should join in.