Friday links: how to write, Bayesian umpires, and more

Also this week: randomized controlled trials rigorously contorted tales, allies vs. microaggressions, philosopher vs. John Lawton, and more.

From Jeremy:

Stephen Heard’s The Scientist’s Guide To Writing is out. Looks useful! I had a very small hand in it, having reviewed the chapter on beauty and humor in scientific writing.

The fallacy that randomized controlled experiments can fully answer the big complex questions we really care about. From developmental economics, but totally accessible to anyone, and the issues raised generalize. Read, discuss in the context of ecology.

Why taxonomists have such nasty scientific disputes.

Do baseball umpires use Bayesian reasoning to call balls and strikes? Interesting hypothesis. (ht Andrew Gelman)

A philosopher of science pushes back against John Lawton’s famous claim that there are no generalizations (“laws”) in community ecology, arguing that the available data are inadequate to test that claim. My own critique of Lawton’s argument is conceptual rather than empirical.

Sticking with philosophy of science and ecology: current issues and important directions in philosophy of science as applied to ecology. From some sharp philosophers who pay attention to what actual ecologists think and say. If you’re curious what smart outsiders to ecology think about ecology, check it out.

Meg once asked what is, or will be, your old school science cred. Just today, I realized mine might be that my go-to R reference book is actually an S-Plus book. Kieran Healy seems to have had a similar thought:šŸ™‚

And finally, how to decide whether to attend that upcoming conference.šŸ™‚

From Meg:

How allies can respond to microaggressions. Like many people, I sometimes freeze in the face of microaggresions. That’s a problem, because we need allies to help call them out. I certainly know that I really, really appreciate it when an ally helps to call out sexist behavior. So, I found the advice in here interesting, and will try to work on getting better at calling out microaggressions when I am in the ally role.

3 thoughts on “Friday links: how to write, Bayesian umpires, and more

  1. Meg, thanks for the ally link. I think we need a lot more concrete advice for allies across all sorts of issues. Cultures change when the bystanders care and act. (It’s the main difference I see between ecology and computer science cultures.)

    • I attended a Diversity Institute here at Michigan. One of the most useful aspects of it was a role playing exercise, led by the excellent people from the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, where we dealt with challenging classroom scenarios related to diversity. My initial reaction in all cases was to panic/freeze and not say anything. But, after working through the exercises, I felt much more confident in my ability to handle a situation like that in the classroom in the future. Thinking about that and this link makes me wonder whether similar role playing might help for allies? I suppose the unfortunate reality is that plenty of opportunities to work on this will occur on their own. But I imagine having a safer space to practice might help, plus the ideas I got from others as they worked on this were really useful.

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