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Study: If you’re not curious, you’re not a real scientist

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What’s hot? What’s not?/Niklas Bildhauer, Wikimedia


The study, presented at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., surveyed nearly 500 astronomers, biologists, chemists, physicists and earth scientists to identify the core traits of exemplary scientists.

“If you’re not curious, you’re probably not a real scientist,” he said. “The goal that you have is to find out something true about the world, regardless of what your preferred hypothesis might be. Your real drive is to find what is revealed by the data. This is absolutely essential in being a scientist.”

Actually, if you’re not curious, you’re not a real thinker of any kind or for that matter a real science news writer.

Far too much science news today is lame evolutionary psychology, crackpot cosmology, unreplicated health scares, PC doomsaying, and appeals against transparency in science. Among other things.

Easy to write and never wants for an audience. Digital fishwrap.

Further from,

If someone is dishonest and going to the extreme of faking data, that person is not really a scientist in the true sense, Pennock added.More.

Oh dear, but that’s the No True Scotsman fallacy in philosophy. What matters is, can one in fact succeed in science today while lacking curiosity? It doesn’t matter what a value system is supposed to be if it is generally optional.

Note: Study author Robert Pennock is himself noted for writing polemics against intelligent design. That hasn’t always turned out too well:

Denyse O’Leary writes about Barbara Forrest’s fact-free attack on Frank Beckwith, which recently appeared inSynthese. While Denyse focused more on Beckwith’s response to Forrest’s scholarly article diatribe, it might be worth taking a closer look not only at Forrest’s article, but the entire issue of Synthese in which it is found. First Forrest. In the abstract for her article with the breathtaking title “The non-epistemology of intelligent design: its implications for public policy”, Bar writes:

Whenever I see the phrase “Intelligent Design creationism”, red flags go up all over the place. This traces back to Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics, a ponderous tome from 2001 edited by Robert Pennock, and in which Forrest herself had a chapter. The clever illusion of the title is to give the appearance of an unbreakable link between Intelligent Design and Creationism, no doubt because the term “creationism” carries with it the allusions to young earth creationism and all that goes with that. To Pennock and Forrest, Intelligent Design is just a modifier for Creationism. But any informed reader already knows something is amiss when we see that phrase. More.

So, while you’re at the counter, could you hand me another packet of salt, please?

If Pennock wants to position himself as one of the forces of righteousness, he should be more cautious about his associates.

See also: Even Michael Shermer thinks social science is politically biased. Sure, but why did he have to wait for the fiftieth shoe to drop?


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3 Replies to “Study: If you’re not curious, you’re not a real scientist

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    Oh brother. curiousity NEVERT motivated anyone who did anything in ‘science”
    It comes from motivations to be accomplished in figuring things out or inventing something. They are on the make from anything i ever read. Many want the reputation of being clever. They mostly come from the upper classes amongst their relatives who are accomplished in other things relative to the mean.
    The ones who do anything just get ideas on top of a curve of better intelligence and this on a curve of better intelligence of identity .
    In fact its predictable where science do ers are most likely to come from .

    They don’t need a group to advance science but just get in the dirt and do it.
    Its no real big deal actually to be accomplished. Few cats really try hard after high school.

  2. 2
    Mapou says:

    Can anybody psychoanalyze Robert Byers for me? I can’t figure out whether he’s a Darwinist pretending to be a dumb fundamentalist Christian or a genuine weirdo. It’s embarrassing. Sorry.

  3. 3
    Robert Byers says:

    Why did my post draw this out? What do you disagree with???
    Show me my weirdoness and I’ll join the embarrassment.
    Why do you say Evangelicals (fundies) are dumb?
    As I say to evos make your case and not unsupported profilings!!
    are you a creationist??

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