Both skepticism and dogmatism are counter to science. With too much skepticism, nothing can be believed—not even our own senses. With too much dogmatism, the wisdom of crowds is unquestioned and quickly turns into the madness of crowds.
Science requires a bit of both to be done effectively. Skepticism to drive the questions and low levels of dogmatism (faith) so that you can build on top of acquired knowledge.
(I first heard this in a talk by Peter Thiel)
- Entrepreneurship often requires greater degrees of dogmatism (conviction) to deal with skepticism.
- Cynicism also runs counter to science, but it’s more of a skepticism that anything changes.
- Richard Hamming’s You and Your Research about doing truly great work in science.
Links to this note
The process of seeking out good explanations is error correcting. It is tolerant of dissent with a healthy dose of skepticism and distrust of authority. It means that explanations are rejected when they are contradicted by better explanations.