I saw an item on Digg about 250 scientists who were asked what they wish everyone could learn about science. My favorite answer is this:

I would teach the world that scientists start by trying very hard to disprove what they hope is true. When they fail, they have a good reason for believing what they hope is true, and can even convince others of its truth. A scientist always acknowledges the possibility of error, and is less likely to be mistaken than one who always claims to be right.

– Antony Hoare Senior researcher at Microsoft Corporation

To be right more often, acknowledge the possibility you’re wrong

4 thoughts on “To be right more often, acknowledge the possibility you’re wrong

  • January 24, 2007 at 10:29 am
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    I wish that were actually true, but for the 3 years or so that I was in college and reading high end journals mostly what I saw was people publishing obviously false conclusions using bad data or bad data practices. Now, you could say “then those aren’t scientists” and I would agree with that, but since they have titles and jobs that declare them scientists and the world in general and even others in their field consider them scientists, that’s not a useful definition.

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  • January 25, 2007 at 1:29 pm
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    Karlis has said that exact thing before – but I wish there was a simpler way to sum up.

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  • January 26, 2007 at 7:41 am
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    Yeah, it is a little wordy.

    Reply

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