As I wrote a few days ago
, if we agree that the nature of science is along the lines I have described, next we need to ask why it is so. Platt, in his classic 1964 article on strong inference, briefly mentions a number of answers, which he dismisses without discussion, but that I think are actually a large part of the reason "hard" and "soft" sciences appear to be so different. These alternative hypotheses for why a given science may behave “softly” include, as Platt puts it, “the tractability of the subject, or the quality of education of the men [sic] drawn into it, or the size of research contracts.”
In other words, particle physics, say, may be more successful than ecology because it is easier (more tractable), or because ecologists tend to be dumber than physicists, or because physicists get a lot more money for their research than ecologists do.
The second option is rather offensive (to the ecologists at least), but more importantly there are no data at all to back it up. And it is difficult to see how one could possibly measure the alleged differential “education” of people attracted to different scientific disciplines.
Nearly all professional scientists nowadays have a Ph.D. in their discipline, as well as years of postdoctoral experience at conducting research and publishing papers. It is hard to imagine a reliable quantitative measure of the relative difficulty of their respective academic curricula, and it is next to preposterous to argue that scientists attracted to certain disciplines are smarter than those who find a different area of research more appealing. It would be like attempting to explain the discrepancy between the dynamism of 20th century jazz music and the relative stillness of symphonic (“classical”) music by arguing that jazz musicians are better educated or more talented than classically trained ones.