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evan's picture

an exception for getting it "less wrong"

Although I agree that getting it less wrong may be a more effective way of going about science, I still feel that there are certain exceptions to this methodology. I find having the "less wrong" mindset is quite useful in studying grand questions like how we came to be heliocentricity, the earth being flat, etc. For these question, a scientist cannot find an absolute answer, only a summary better than the last. These scientists therefore cannot have truth as their absolute goal because these questions are too obtuse. In answering the questions of how we came to be, evolution, because of better observations is a better summary than creationism.

The first thing that comes to mind as an exception to the "less wrong" mentality is certain medical research. I believe if a scientist was trying to find a cure for a certain disease, he/she should have the goal of truth rather than getting it less wrong. If a scientist creates a certain pill that completely cures a harmful disease I do not see how the discovery of a way to treat a harmful disease is less wrong than a previously pill that, say, mitigated the severity of the disease. If this new pill cures the disease, without side effects, then how is the creation of this pill not the "truth" to the question that was "how can this disease be cured?".

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