Science relies on constructive criticism. Here’s how to keep it useful and respectful

William A. Cunningham, Jay J. Van Bavel , Neil A. Lewis, Jr., June Gruber:

“All models are wrong, but some are useful.”

—George Box

Box’s quote reflects a deep and uncomfortable truth about science: None of our ideas are perfect, which means they are all destined to be questioned, reinterpreted, and potentially discarded. Although this is the very process that often makes science better in the battlefield of ideas—with the best ideas presumably winning out—it is also one that can generate anxiety and unpleasantness for everyone involved.