And, yet, it flies

Posted on June 25, 2008


Real science is messy. Sometimes, very messy. Take the example of recent data suggesting that fraud is “surprisingly common” within research:

Sci­en­tif­ic mis­con­duct, no­tably in­clud­ing fal­sifica­t­ion of da­ta, may be far more com­mon than sus­pected, ac­cord­ing to the au­thors of a new sur­vey of more than 2,000 sci­en­tists.

Things like this present an interesting challenge to philosophy of science – explaining how it is that the species Homo sapiens sapiens, despite its very limited and highly biased intelligence, despite the lack of a magic all-conquering method of discovery (or justification, for that matter), despite its less than sterling ethics (even when it comes to doing research), has managed to understand so much of the world that it inhabits (even on scales wildly different from those it deals with on the everyday basis) – as witnessed by the kind of research my previous post on genomics discussed.