Models and Standards of Proof in Cross-Disciplinary Science: The Case of Arsenic DNA
Author(s)Benner, Steven A.; Bains, William; Seager, Sara
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Of all the conflicts possible within cross-disciplinary studies, none are more confounding than those that arise from different standards that different disciplines require for "proof." Here, "proof" is not used as mathematicians use it, but rather it describes the collection of evidence sufficient to accept a discovery, stop experiments, and record a problem as "solved" (Davenas et al., 1988). Experiments can easily produce evidence that is sufficient proof for one scientific discipline but sufficient only to create further controversy for another. Indeed, the identical experimental evidence that is conclusive for one community and controversial for another might cause a third community to reject the very same conclusion entirely. Failure to understand the differences in these standards of proof can allow cross-disicplinary activities to produce flawed science on one hand and reject genuine innovation on the other.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics
Mary Ann Liebert
Benner, Steven A., William Bains, and Sara Seager. “Models and Standards of Proof in Cross-Disciplinary Science: The Case of Arsenic DNA.” Astrobiology 13, no. 5 (May 2013): 510-513. © 2012 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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