No matter how careful you are in your research, you will eventually discover some data that does not fit your understanding of the situation. What do you do with it? Thomas Kuhn tells the story of some great leaps in science that were made when some researchers were convinced that certain data errors were not errors after all.
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The claim that the science on a particular topic is settled has been made many times in the past; scientists trained in a particular paradigm look at data and see one picture. Data that does not fit that picture must, therefore, be data errors.
Thomas Kuhn presents a very interesting explanation of why some of the greatest leaps in science come from young scientists who see these “data errors” as the results of flaws in our theories. The Microbe nature of disease, Theory of Relativity, and semiconductors all resulted from rejecting what science had settled and seeking answers to all the data, not just the data that fit into conventional wisdom. As you begin to conduct your own research, Kuhn’s work can be helpful in keeping you from writing off data as erroneous and perhaps coming to new understandings of the world in which we live.
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