Read what Janet Stemwedel has to say in Scientific and unscientific conclusions: now with pictures!.
It's going to take me a while to figure out how to respond but I think she's make a big step toward clarifying the issue. What it boils down to is this. Is it possible to be a scientist and hold "beliefs" that flatly contradict scientific evidence? Janet suggests that it is possible because your "beliefs" can be entirely separated from doing good science.
But, it seems to me that the aim of the scientific enterprise is to find ways to draw inferences that move beyond the beliefs of any individual scientist. Leaving the "belief" boxes out of the flowchart doesn't seem to remove any of the steps required for building sound scientific conclusions. Scientific conclusions may well affect the belief structures of individual scientists, but that's a matter of their own personal growth, not required step in the construction of the shared body scientific knowledge.I wonder if this point of view can be extended to philosophy? Janet talks about Popper in her posting. She doesn't mention Kuhn. Lets imagine a philosophy student who is preparing a thesis in epistemology. Assume that the student writes all the right things about Popper and Kuhn in her thesis. Assume that this students then gives public lectures where she claims that Popper advocated scientific revolutions and Kuhn was really a proponent of falsifiability. In other words, points of view that are contrary to fact.
Is it fair to ask this student about her "beliefs" during her Ph.D. oral? Is it fair to say that she is a good philosopher as long as she keeps her strange contrary-to-fact beliefs separate from the work she does on campus?