Observational data plays a huge role in science and often determines which theories we adopt a true and which we discredit. Unlike in the humanities, there is usually not much room for debate in hard sciences, as there is a lot of data to support or to go against the claim. Sometimes data does not show definitive results either way, but usually, when this happens the theory is not necessarily believed. If there are multiple theories, both with data to support the claim, things can get tricky trying to decide which one to believe. First, I would look at how credible each of the scientists is with past studies and results. The more credible, the apter I am to accept their theory. Next, I would look at how their experiments were conducted and focus on the sample size of participants. Are the results consistent across enough of the people to generalize for the entire population? Lastly, I would look for similarities in the results and if there are any ways to combine them into some sort of mega-theory. Take the best parts of each way of thinking and molding them to create the best possible option.
Often throughout history, the more popular scientist’s theory is believed. Look at Aristotle’s idea that the earth was the center of the universe. This was widely accepted, despite tons of disparities in his findings, based on his reputation. Another Greek philosopher, Aristarchus, hypothesized that the sun was, in fact, the center, not the earth. His theory, while correct, was not universally accepted and thus we hardly hear about Aristarchus today. How would our world look different today had people believed Aristarchus? Are there other examples in history where the truth was denied in lieu of an opposing theory?