Also this week: should Canadian unis go back to in-person teaching in the fall, Twitter vs. science, Po-Shen Loh interview, a fraud about fraud, funk vs. Hanson, and more.
Alex Usher argues that Canadian universities should stop fooling around and just announce that they’re going to go back to normal in-person teaching in the fall. Well-argued; draws on the relevant data, and directly addresses all the objections I’ve seen.
NCEAS seems to have tidied up their website, and made their old “EcoEssay” series easily accessible again. If you don’t know these essays, you should totally check them out. They date from the early years of NCEAS. They’re by various ecologists, reflecting on the state of ecology at the time and how NCEAS might improve it.
Following up on various high-profile replication efforts in psychology and social science over the last few years, Serra-Garcia and Gneezy find that papers that failed to replicate are cited more often than those that replicated. Further, replication failure hasn’t changed how, where, or how often, those papers are cited. Should these results bother you? I guess it comes down to how fast you think scientists could or should change their choices of which topics to write about, and how they write about them, in the face of new evidence. As an outsider to psychology, it sure seems to me that, yeah, there are some big topics that psychologists ought to just completely stop researching, teaching, or writing about, except as a cautionary tale. Social priming, for instance. But it’s easy for me to talk–it’s not as if it’s my entire research program that’s at stake! Now I’m wondering: what’s the fastest that any large scientific field has ever completely changed direction? Are there any historical examples of a field as large as social psychology totally changing direction within, say, a decade or less?
Sticking with psychology, here’s Daniel Nettle arguing that psychology’s replication crisis ultimately is down to too many psychologists dressing up what are really “natural historical” studies as theory-testing studies. Reminded me of Brian’s classic post in praise of exploratory statistics.
Adversarial collaborations to test alternative theories of consciousness. We’ve talked about adversarial collaborations often in the past (for instance). I think that adversarial collaborations are worth doing if they lead to studies that wouldn’t have been done otherwise, and that will settle the scientific dispute in the eyes of bystanders. Because settling the dispute in the eyes of the collaborating adversaries is usually too much to hope for.
Interesting remarks from Nate Silver and Matt Yglesias on how the scientific consensus on Twitter, which tends to get reported in the media, often doesn’t reflect the real scientific consensus. And here’s Zeynep Tufekci on the same topic. This sounds right to me. But not being on Twitter myself, and not working on any scientific topic in which the media would ever take any interest, I’m not sure I’m the best person to judge. Curious to hear comments from others who know more than me. UPDATE: Here’s an interview with epidemiologist Julia Marcus on this topic (and also about other things). Early in the pandemic, she was active on Twitter and writing for The Atlantic, but later pulled back. It’s a very good interview, you should read it. Fascinating insights drawn from her experiences with the HIV epidemic, and also personal stories that will resonate with many of you. /end update
I wish I had thought to do a poll on this:
In contrast to David Fisher, I’m surprised that “a comprehensive review” wasn’t by far the most popular answer. (Note: I agree with David that you ought to include the original theory among your citations.)
A bit late to this, but here’s an interesting interview with Po-Shen Loh, the coach of the US International Math Olympiad team. Includes comments on teaching math, improv comedy, and more.
I’m very late to this, but it’s quite good. Tell me again how planes manage to fly?
A new book shows that conman Frank W. Abagnale Jr., the inspiration for the movie Catch Me If You Can, did not in fact commit most of the frauds he claimed to have committed. That is, his main con was claiming to be a conman. Now I’m curious if there are precedents for this in other domains of life. Has anybody ever lied about committing scientific fraud, just to gain notoriety?
Having seen Jurassic Park, I feel like “paleontology” should be in the lower right rather than the upper right. 🙂 And I assume “macroecology” is off the scale on the right. 🙂
If you needed a reminder that nobody’s perfect, here you go:
And finally, no disrespect to Hanson, but this funk version of “MMMBop” crushes the original like, um, a thing put in a very powerful crushing machine:
Have a good weekend. 🙂