thx for the encouragement!
Some first thoughts on your two questions:
The first, “Ask the right questions”, although quite crucial at the moment, might become less pressing over time. Machine learning and signal processing is making huge advances in detecting relevant information in data. What used to be just physical noise, errors in measurements etc, that was to be removed, has already become detecting false correlations, finding robust models etc.
Data science (in opposite to classic quantitative social research, at least as far as I experience it) is quite good in dealing with hidden influences and indirect correlations, and also with admitting to errors - other than the crude and mostly misleading p-values of classic test-theory. So I am quite confident that this might become solved or at least dealt with in a technical way.
However, this makes your second question even more relevant: the “right or wrong”, even “true or false” of questions and answers is still in the eye of the beholder. It would be naive to think that scientific reductionism (even if asking the right questions …) would really convince people. Being right in a logical, rational way does not entail to be true or even good - this has been called “dialectics of enlightenment” with good cause.
So I would love to discuss in our session, how to avoid the “positivist fallacy”. If even perfectly logic and well-proven scientific thinking like evolution theory do not convince people because it opposes the normative framework of their culture, how much less do we have to offer! So this is one big challenge: to do good intentionally and in practice, and at the same time find inclusive arguments that respect peoples culture to at least some extent. Or can we use QS as a metaphorical way of sharing meaning rather than thinking of QS as a way of desecting ourselves in a scientific way? Some physicians speak that way to explain why rather esotherical treatments like homeopathy work even if there is no rational explanation and certainly no pharmaceutical effect. That would mean that even if we want to quantify everything in QS, we still accept the way people make their mind and comprehend their reality. Someone asked me recently, “What about the Qualified Self?”
Your thoughts about the human condition of caring are very interesting. To care and the sharing of experiences are certainly connected. I would love to dive deeper into this conversation. This might offern an answer why we prevail at last … Will have to think about this.