... data was discovered. How does this relate to the process of “doing” science?
The scientific method:
1. Observe something.
2. Formulate a hypothesis.
3. Devise a test.
4. If the test fails, go to #2.
5. If the test passes and is confirmed, the hypothesis might be promoted to a theory and used to prove other hypotheses. And it might not.
You are talking about step #2. A big part of science is conjecture, which means making up "What if" scenarios. Often those scenarios get discussed a lot for a long time, and people begin to assume they are true just because they keep hearing them. You have to be careful about that, to sort what you actually know from what you don't actually know.