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A BS detector for the social sciences?

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From Adam Rogers at Wired:

ADAM RUSSELL, AN anthropologist and program manager at the Department of Defense’s mad-science division Darpa, laughs at the suggestion that he is trying to build a real, live, bullshit detector. But he doesn’t really seem to think it’s funny. The quite serious call for proposals Russell just sent out on Darpa stationery asks people—anyone! Even you!—for ways to determine what findings from the social and behavioral sciences are actually, you know, true. Or in his construction: “credible.”

Even for Darpa, that’s a big ask. The DoD has plenty of good reasons to want to know what social science to believe. But plenty more is at stake here. Darpa’s asking for a system that can solve one of the most urgent philosophical problems of our time: How do you know what’s true when science, the news, and social media all struggle with errors, advertising, propaganda, and lies? More.

The main reason it won’t work is that almost all the bull-origin fertilizer in the social sciences is believed by everyone involved. They will act like it is true. And treat doubters as the Enemy. Maybe even try to get them run off campus. Nice people will feel sorry for the social scientists instead of telling them to grow up and do real work.

See also: All sides agree: progressive politics is strangling social sciences

Who is really anti-science?

and

How can we defend the right to think for ourselves? You need true grit and a thick skin

2 Replies to “A BS detector for the social sciences?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Asking an anthropologist to build a BS detector is like asking a burglar to build a burglar alarm.

  2. 2
    Dionisio says:

    At the university I had to study papers written by Karl Marx and later pass a rigorous exam.
    Can’t deny I liked it very much back then and thought it was true and valid.
    What a fool I was! Shame on me!

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