Dr . Cargill has some great thoughts on “Being Wrong as a Scholar”. Might I also add that this is good advice for being wrong as a person as well.
I particularly liked these parts, “The beauty of science and the scientific method is that scholars are free to admit they were wrong when better evidence and arguments come along. In fact, we are encouraged to do so… As a scholar, I am humbled, and yet pleased when I can admit when an interpretation I previously held was wrong, because it means I am still learning from my colleagues and peers, who have taken the time to engage me in academic debate.”
The ability to digest new data, admit to being wrong, and finally improve your own categories for understanding, with humility and recognition that like any other human being you have the ability to make mistakes and be wrong are wonderful characteristics.
I hope to be that sort of person!
It is important for scholars to admit when they are wrong.
Whether it is a mistake in their data collection, or a misreading of the data in their analysis, or a conclusion that is later refuted by stronger evidence or more recent discoveries, or a claim regarding evidence that is better explained by another scholar’s theory – it is important for scholars to concede when they come to believe the evidence has led to some other conclusion.
This can serve as a quick lesson to students both in the sciences and in the humanities, but I’m especially thinking about students in religious studies. The beauty of science and the scientific method is that scholars are free to admit they were wrong when better evidence and arguments come along…
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