> I think scientists en masse are more concerned with
> evidence than lawyers
> who at times only want to win the case. This is
> because if they win the case
> then they get more money.
Why the attack on lawyers?
Like any profession, one can choose to do things in a
way to maximize personal gain at the expense of other
goals. For reasons discussed below, I am not as
sanguine about scientists being more interested in
evidence per se than lawyers.
As to winning to get more money, this applies only to
a small percentage of lawyers who take contingency fee
cases for personal injury and the like. The vast
majority of lawyers do not work on contingency fees
and thus get no more money for "winning" or "losing"
-- I am hard pressed to figure out how lawyers who
write wills, do real estate deals, draft and review
securities before they are issued, etc. "win" since
they never see the inside of a courtroom, but that is
beside the point.
> There is far more rhetoric from lawyers than
It depends. Being involved with lawyers and social
scientists for two decades, I can tell you that in my
experience social scientists are the far more
rhetorical group. Of course, your mileage may vary,
but especially in the social sciences Jay's points
have some validity. Lots of things happen that are
not supposed to happen in the sciences -- the
ideological presuppositions of the researcher drive
the research questions, researchers look for
"evidence" of what they ideologically believe to be
true, people generate theories based on which model
fits the data best and come up with a theory after the
fact, epistemological differences deeply divide the
conduct of science and the interpretation of results,
people attack existing theories with new ad hoc
theories mainly to drive their number of citations up
to get tenure, etc. Perhaps the hard scientists are
paragons of virtue in these regards, social scientists
are not. I would be surprised if the hard sciences
are that much more virtuous.
> One ought to realise that hominoid anatomy etc is
> one of the more
> contentious areas of science and thus more
> "subjective" in contrast to most
> geology and the so-called exact sciences
And I think this is part of the point that ties into
what I am saying about social scientists. The more
complex the phenomena, the greater the role for
interpretation of the data, the more personal
preferences come into what problems you analyze, how
you go about doing that and what your results mean.
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Jul 07 2002 - 15:07:37 EDT