Despite being slightly worse for wear, due the the accumulative effects of SXSW nightlife, I really enjoyed the final morning’s talk with @benmcallister.
It was a really great counter to the neuroscience that started the week. Not because Ben was saying that that there’s no place for science, rather that, in design, what he calls “scientism” is like “truthiness”: An attempt by non-scientists to add a veneer of certainty to what they do.
This felt uncomfortably familiar, which is great, because we really need to make sure that whatever data we do use to back up our decisions isn’t just there as a prop to stop a creative dialogue.
Like David Eagleman, Ben’s presentation was really polished and littered with great quotes and examples. Many of the best quotes were from Richard Feynman. I particularly liked that his definition of scientific integrity included “bending
over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong”.
The message was not, don’t research, but don’t take the research at face value and don’t let it undermine the decisions of experienced people who know their craft. The science of design is dangerous when we allow naive empiricism – a cheap imitation of science – to govern what we do.