From an interview with John Staddon we can learn that constructive criticism is more useful than cheerleading when one’s game needs work:
In an interview at his Durham home, Mr. Staddon recalls an episode that reflected this problem. An anonymous reviewer of his 2017 book, “Scientific Method”—a broad defense of the process of verification—scolded him for airing the problems of contemporary science. “My critic felt that science is under attack now, so anyone who writes about it for a general audience should do his best to defend it,” Mr. Staddon recalls. “Science, of course, should need no defense in a society whose existence depends on it. But when science is not in a healthy state, it needs not cheerleading but understanding and improvement. Science is strengthened not by praise but by criticism.”
While Mr. Staddon has addressed issues in the hard sciences, he’s more concerned with “festering” problems in the social sciences, “where weak science competes with activist political tendencies around the fraught issues of race, class and gender.” In a forthcoming book, “Fact vs. Passion: Science in the Age of Unreason,” he writes that “many social scientists have difficulty separating facts from faith, reality from the way they would like things to be. Many research topics have become taboo which, in turn, means that policy makers are making decisions based more on ideologically-driven political pressure than scientific fact.” …
“I would publish an article critical of, say, the postmodern idea that there is no such thing as objective reality. There was only one faculty member willing to write a response to such critiques. Usually no one was willing to respond,” he says. “That seems to be a key characteristic of my more avant colleagues. They are not willing to defend their ideas. Fields in the social sciences, especially, have made avoidance easier by subdividing. The American Psychological Association and American Sociological Association each have more than 50 divisions. What you have are little enclaves, filled with people who uncritically approve of each other’s work and jack up their citation counts—a collection of circular massage squads.”J. Peder Zane, “Science Needs Criticism, Not Cheerleading” at Wall Street Journal
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One outcome of the problems Staddon describes is that “trust the science” is becoming something of a joke in a broad variety of areas and that is not good news.
See also: A Twitter mob made a mistake when it went after an AI industry giant. Pedro Domingos: In my confrontation with the AI cancel crowd, I was particularly helped by the fact that several of the ringleaders are (or call themselves) professional AI ethicists. Some of them are even well-known within their field. When they serially engaged in childish and unethical behavior in full view of their colleagues, they did my job for me.