Who deals better with reality: Scientists or Business people?

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright June 2019


Scientists are in the business of describing reality, business people are in the business of dealing with reality. Which group predicts reality more consistently?

Who is better?

I will argue that business people do better because they must make predictable results happen on a day-to-day basis. Predictable results are the main ingredient for business success. (I include farmers and craftspeople in the business side of this issue, they too deal with reality on a day-to-day basis.)

Scientists, on the other hand, can say what they like. They are more like entertainers and politicians because what matters most is not how well the reality they predict matches what really happens but who is listening and taking their ideas seriously. This is especially true if the scientist is relying on patron funding of some sort. This is also why pseudoscience mixes in so easily with the genuine science scientists come up with.

That said, one of science's virtues is that it can make predictions over a much wider range of conditions than those business people can deal with. As an example science could make predictions about space and planets long before business people could get involved with them. Another virtue is that it can explain in greater depth why something is happening. Farmers can breed, scientists can come up with genes and DNA to explain why and how breeding works.


Business and craftspeople are more tightly tied to reality than scientists are. This means that what they say about their fields of expertise will be more tightly tied to reality, so they will predict better in those areas. The virtues of scientists are that they can talk about a much wider variety of topics and they can come up with theories that better describe why known issues happen the way they do.

These are the differences.



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