Thanks for reading and the comment! To be clear that is not my definition of science and I never suggested it was. It is simply a response to the infographic table row prompt of “Why you need it,” and it is only one of many possible responses I could have entered there. If you took that as my definition of science you are right to object on philosophical grounds as it has more holes than the moth eaten sweater vest my dad wore to his high school graduation. The general and sweeping nature of it was intended to contrast with the very narrow and focused answers that were included in the data and data “science” columns.

I do not dispute the example you describe and agree that at on the surface it “looks” a lot like science or at least an “application of the scientific method” as you say. However, I have two problems with that

1. There is no hypothesis generation by the data “scientists” themselves as is typical, and I would suggest a requirement, of being a scientist and doing science, but rather they are taking an already existing data set and “analyzing it” to find patterns that seem unusual or whatever. Nothing wrong with that but it is data analysis (a thing that all scientists do as part of doing science, but not science or a science itself). There was never any experiment conducted so why would a hypothesis be needed. The data existed, it was analyzed, a result was determined. That is great and indeed very helpful and again it is a thing that all scientists do but it is not science or a science.

2. The statistician example — the sales team could have asked the exact same question to a team of statisticians and gotten the same answer. Statisticians do not call themselves statistical scientists so why should data analytics professionals.

Data “science” is a tool of science to be sure, and it is a powerful and useful tool. However a tool of a thing is not the thing itself. It is misleading and damaging (I think) to the credibility of the scientific profession to suggest that it is. For this point I return to my (very crude and also full of holes) calculator analogy. A calculator is a very powerful tool for doing math, but their is no field of calculator mathematics.

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Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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