Science is Working when Scientists are ArguingMay 29, 2010
Contributor Maggie Koerth Baker posts a nice short piece to Boing Boing called “Scientists disagree. You should not be surprised.” In this post, she uses a new spat over interpretations of a 2009 discovery of a fossil skeleton named Ardi to remind us that arguments like this are part of the scientific process. A thoughtful disagreement is not a sign of weak science. It’s an indication that science is working. “Science works because scientists disagree,” she writes. “They challenge each other’s ideas, find better ways to interpreting the data and eventually come to conclusions that bring us closer to truth.”
See the NYTimes article on the Ardi argument, here.
Basically, argumentation is an aspect of scientific investigation. Contrast this with the current state of political and social discourse, where people create arguments (often built on sound bites) to call into question and obscure the value of others’ ideas.