ChapterÂ 2.Â Data Issues
Why the term âdata scienceâ is flawed but useful
Counterpoints to four common data science criticisms.
by Pete Warden
Mention âdata scienceâ to a lot of the high-profile people you might think practice it and youâre likely to see rolling eyes and shaking heads. It has taken me a while, but Iâve learned to love the term, despite my doubts. The key reason is that the rest of the world understands roughly what I mean when I use it. After years of stumbling through long-winded explanations about what I do, I can now say âIâm a data scientistâ and move on. It is still an incredibly hazy definition, but my former descriptions left people confused as well, so this approach is no worse and at least saves time.
With that in mind, here are the arguments Iâve heard against the term, and why I donât think they should stop its adoption.
Itâs not a real science
I just finished reading âThe Philosophical Breakfast Club,â the story of four Victorian friends who created the modern structure of science, as well as inventing the word âscientist.â I grew up with the idea that physics, chemistry and biology were the only real sciences and every other subject using the term was just stealing their clothes (âAnything that needs science in the name is not a real scienceâ). The book shows that from the beginning the label was never restricted to just the hard experimental sciences. It was chosen to promote a disciplined approach to reasoning that relied ...
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