Simfish/InquilineKea's Thoughts

is rigor really desirable?
April 15, 2010, 6:28 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

the fact is that there are always scientific crackpots who publish non-rigorous scientific data. But they should not be prevented from investigating such hypotheses. Their hypotheses need to simply be put under review. And now, such review is far easier than ever, simply because the Internet allows for such reviews. It’s just that the current review websites, like, are not as navigable and user-friendly as websites like Amazon or Yelp

The fact is, that science was not always rigorous. 21st century standards of rigor were not possible in the 19th century. The 19th century certainly saw the formation of many false hypotheses, but it also saw the formation of many of the best hypotheses there ever were.

Rigor often constrains imagination/innovation. It gets to the point where people are discouraged from seeking radical hypotheses. And false hypotheses are not always useless. They are often the best learning experiences that anyone can have, and motivate (in the author) a very close examination of the evidence (much closer than he would examine if he were correct and others defended it for him).

But unfortunately, many people forget what it was like when they were children and their curiosities were unguided by rigor. many hypotheses of childhood, furthermore, were already developed by some other scientist, and it is often difficult for an older person to encourage a young student’s ideas that were already proposed by another person.

And when people say that America has issues with attracting student motivation in the sciences, the obsession with rigor is one thing that needs to be examined.


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