Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Here Comes the Hammer




Inference is an important tool.  Reading between the lines necessary.  Setting traps for the self-important, great sport.  Eli suspects that the hammer is about to fall and sent Ms. Rabett out for more popcorn.

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21 comments:

Aaron said...

In the old days, I was a registered republican. All my professors were registered republicans. We did hard science such as chemistry, biology, and physics.

We left the soft sciences to the Democrats at the other end of campus.

Magnus Westerstrand said...

And the hammer came down....
http://youtu.be/N9te0KPjXtM

Magnus Westerstrand said...

sorry here comes the hammer http://www.welt.de/sport/fussball/wm-2014/article109883518/4-4-nach-4-0-Historische-Blamage-fuer-Deutschland.html

Anonymous said...

Psychology is "jello science", which can be molded into any form you like.

And have you ever tried to nail jello down with a hammer?

~@:>


Anonymous said...

I was surprised that the conspiracy theory and AGW denialism connection generated such a buzz in the blogosphere. It is just one study and it is in Psychology which is considered by me to be one of the ‘softer sciences’ (more open to interpretation). It was interesting but not earth shattering.

But Watts and co. really got upset about this one. Why? Because cranks desperately want to be taken seriously, and conspiracy theorists are not. The 9/11 Truther in the quad with a blow horn trying to wake people up and spread the word, well most people just laugh at him. And Watts, well he is a crank but really, really wants to be taken seriously. I will give people like him all the respect they deserve, which is to point and laugh.

-Dirt Girl

Anonymous said...

Richard Feynman on "social science"

~@:>

badger badger badger said...

I often feel compelled to admonish my fellow physics specialists not to get too smug about having picked a subject that is easy to study.

Anonymous said...

Richard Feynman might have been a lot of things, but "smug" is probably not high on the list (if even on it).

Sometimes what comes across as "smugness" is simply a result, as Feynman says, of understanding (from personal experience) "how hard it is to get to really know something, how careful you have to be about checking the experiments, how easy it is to make mistakes and fool yourself. I know what it means to know something and therefore, I see how they get their information and I can't believe that they know it. They haven't done the work necessary, haven't done the checks necessary, haven't done the care necessary. I have a great suspicion that they don't know..and that they are intimidating people by it..."


Not smugness. Just a very good appreciation for the situation.

~@:>

dbostrom said...

Feynman: "Social science is an example of a science which is not a science."

We're all at risk of making asses of ourselves occasionally. This is particularly true when we've become freighted with enough sycophantic, fawning, unquestioning acolytes to lose our useful sense of humility. Even Feynman wasn't immune, as he shows us.

The trouble with failure of humility coupled with fame and unalloyed admiration is the risk of eventually be recorded for posterity expounding on topics of which you're ignorant, thereby needlessly leaving a permanent blot on your reputation. Listening to Feynman blurt out his ignorance in that way is an embarrassing shock for people who know how much better he was in general.

I suppose it would have been a kind of lie but the editor of that film would have done Feynman a favor by leaving his remarks on social science on the floor.

ligne said...

"I was surprised that the conspiracy theory and AGW denialism connection generated such a buzz in the blogosphere."

same here, though apparently for different reasons. i thought that crank magnetism was a well-known hypothesis. i just didn't expect the supposedly sane end of the "sceptic" blogosphere would go to such lengths to show the hypothesis has merit.

willard said...

Forgetting philosophy, here's what the purity scale looks like.



Steve Bloom said...

ligne, they see the non-sane end as essential to getting attention, plus of course they share the goal.

Anonymous said...

What has surprised me most about the "Lewandowsky Affair" is that so many people who seem pretty smart and knowledgeable about the (real) science of climate, unquestioningly accept as valid the results of a goofy online survey of hand-picked blogs, subject to "gaming" by self-selected survey respondents, some of whom would undoubtedly like nothing better than to prove the very thing that the survey was purported to be testing.

The dislike for Steve McIntyre is understandable (and I actually share it, given his behavior on FOI's and the rest), but it's genuinely surprising to me that some people loathe him and other "skeptics" so much that they would throw rationality completely to the wind in order to accept a deeply flawed "study".

If one wants to appreciate why psychology has a reputation for being "unscientific, one need look no further than the Lewandowsky survey. It would make a great science fair poster for how science should not be done.


~@:>



EliRabett said...

-@:> you are missing Eli's point. To be a little less cryptic, grant Lewandowsky and Co. some nous and think about indirection. Go read his latest post linked above while you are at it and the light may shine.

Anonymous said...

Yes, of course, Lewandowsky is really playing 11-dimensional chess. (Against Lubos Motl?)

Good for him.


~@:>

EliRabett said...

Only unidimensional is necessary against bunnies as predictable as Motl, McIntyre and Watts

John Mashey said...

I think the hammer will come, although it may not be right away. The Rabett might or might not want to be more explicit about the part of that post between whose lines one must read.

Social scientists have a big advantage over climate scientists. When they get attacked, it actually generates data for their field of research.

A bunch of psychologists were employed at Bell Labs, not a place known for hiring dummies. One lab I worked in had 10-15 out of 150 total people. For a while I managed a group there that was partly cognitive psychologists. Good ones are good scientists. Bad ones likely aren't.

People might read Computational Modeling in Cognition: Principles and Practice (2010) by Farrell & Lewandowsky. That might inform opinions, assuming they can follow the math.

badger badger badger said...

Cometh the replication?

EliRabett said...

To everything there is a season. Pass the popcorn

Sou said...

McIntyre has apparently chosen to bury one much-touted attempt at replication. Too hard or too inconvenient? Either/or.

Brian Dodge said...

On Social Science and Fairy Tales - with apologies to Wikipedia, from which I stole (and heavily edited) the following * -

"A Bain Emperor who cares for nothing but winning hires a group of swindlers politicians and think tanks, who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes economic climate science from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or "hopelessly stupid", at least 47% of the population. The Emperor cannot see the clothing understand the science himself, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing unfit for his position; his ministers and political supporters do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit scientific addendum is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects, who play along with the pretense, until a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspecting the assertion is true, but continues the procession, but counters (falsely) that Obama gave $90 billion to green energy companies, half of which went bankrupt; his supporters go full tilt batshit crazy, proving beyond any doubt that the assertion is true."

Perhaps some of the noisiest voices read tales of Carlin Maggie instead of Kejserens nye Klæder*, but didn't they learn that it's "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt" somewhere along the way? Hans Christian Andersen is no doubt rolling over in his grave with laughter.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor's_New_Clothes