It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.
– Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet
There are scientific disciplines out there that are in a state of fundamental crisis. But unless you’ve a moderate degree of expertise in those fields, it is unlikely you know about such crises. I want to examine one such crisis here, and touch on its relation to a way of approaching the world that I’ve taken to calling “model-centrism.”
The Holmesian dicta quoted above is hideously simplistic (one must already have significant theoretical commitments in play before any evidence can make its appearance AS evidence. To decline to theorize entirely would not make one open to the facts and evidence, it would make one completely incapable of recognizing anything as a fact or as evidence.) Nevertheless, it touches upon an important issue with model-centrism, and model-centric thinking, namely the impatience for gathering data that leads some people to favor abstract theories without any regard for how such theories might be tested or validated.