We’re Not Scientists, but We Should Be

Charlie Koster
Jan 15, 2017 · 1 min read

Of the Engineering disciplines, I suspect that Software Engineering ranks among the least scientific in terms of how we act, in how we make decisions, and most importantly in how we think.

A Scientist recognizes that an authority is someone who has earned credibility for their past work, yet doesn’t take them at face value for their future work.

A Scientist doesn’t equate how easy a new idea is to understand in 5 minutes with that idea having desirable long term consequences.

A Scientist demands verifiable evidence for claims that are not self-evident.

A Scientist doesn’t fall victim to fallacious arguments, such as arguments from analogy, appeals to authority or popularity, or arguments against a straw man.

A Scientist’s beliefs and actions are informed by evidence, and not the other way around.

A Scientist knows what evidence would convince them of an opposing position.

A Scientist understands that a claim communicated from behind a podium is subject to the same scrutiny as a claim that is not.

A Scientist’s confidence in a claim is proportional to the amount of evidence supporting that claim.

Being scientific doesn’t require that you wear a white lab coat. All it requires is for you to use facts and evidence to arrive at rational conclusions, something I wish to see more of in Software Engineering.

Charlie Koster

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Advocate of technology and techniques that move the tech industry forward. charliek on Elm slack