Are hypotheses bullshit?Posted: June 5, 2012
At some talk a couple years ago I heard either Hubel or Wiesel (can anyone tell them apart?) say that the only hypothesis they had was that there “should be something interesting happening in the visual cortex.” Later, someone told me it wasn’t even that — it was just that the skull was thinnest there. I don’t think I ever really have a hypothesis until I am forced to make one up when writing shit up. Like I‘ll type the phrase “We hypothesized…” to start a transition in a paper and then have to make it sound like we knew what might happen.
There are routine questions that should not even count as hypotheses (e.g., if this observation is dependent on X, an X antagonist should fuck it up). But it seems like most discoveries come from just looking at something new or looking at something familiar in a new way. Maybe this is a mundane truth to experienced scientists, I’m just sayin’, the longer this goes on, the more every single thing I was taught outside a lab about science turns out to be bullshit. Next up: are lab coats bullshit? I don’t have one, and I can’t figure out what they’re for.