Razib at Gene Expression and Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish discuss science vs. scientists. Razib:
I bring this up because many scientists believe that because science is such a superior method of extracting information about the world around us, and constructing predictive models which have been shown to have great utility, that that means that they as scientists can simply transfer their godlike powers to other domains with the greatest of ease. But as the above should make clear I believe this is a false perception, because the power of science arises from the intersection of the communal wisdom of tens of thousands of individuals over decades with the nature of the subject at hand. Granted, there are individual geniuses of great brilliance such as the great Isaac Newton, but the outcomes of his dabbling in alchemy and scriptural hermeneutics should go to illustrate that cognition applied to a fool's errand only results in glorious foolery.
It is a mistake to apply the truths of science to that of history or aesthetics or politics. They are simply different categories of understanding the world. And the most profound mistake in human thought is to conflate the claims of religion with the claims of politics, and to conflate the truth-claims of the eternal with the truth-claims of the now.
I agree wholeheartedly that science's success rests upon the fact that science is a communal activity, and not on the brilliance of any one scientist. But when it comes to anything involving logic and empirical facts about the world, don't knock the scientific method, whether you are a historian or a lawyer or whatever, except perhaps an art critic. True, other disciplines have different constraints - lawyers are meant to be advocates, not impartial arbiters of truth, and they have to operate within strict constraints to ensure process fairness, but when you want to know who done it, use the scientific method. It applies widely outside of the traditional sciences. Nothing beats it. I disagree a little with one more point made by Razib:
I do not believe scientists are particularly rational people as compared to the normal human. Because the average scientist has a higher IQ than the average artist I am willing to grant marginally higher rationality to an average scientist.
I doubt that the difference between very good artists and very good scientists is IQ. It's not smarts, it's training. I think the "marginally higher rationality" of a scientist is due to the fact that science grad school rigorously indoctrinates you into the scientific method.