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social sciences

Researchers: There is an inference crisis as well as a replication crisis

In other words, even if social scientists can replicate research results, there may be little agreement about what, if anything, they mean. Is it a good idea for governments to consult them on social policy? Read More ›

Physics envy is a terrible thing, especially in economists

John Rapley: That’s something that ‘physics envy’ can’t capture – that the social nature of human beings makes any laws of behaviour tentative and contextual. In fact, the very term ‘social science’ is probably best seen as an oxymoron. Read More ›

Darwinian Jerry Coyne makes a good point about the social science hoaxes

The distinction is that low-quality papers might happen to fall through the cracks now and then and a cherry picker could gin up an indictment of a whole field unjustly. BUT when a number of hoax papers get accepted by various journals, that points to deeper systemic rot. Especially when the social science profs are enraged rather than ashamed Read More ›

Portland U prof who hoaxed social science journals to prove a point is punished

The rap is “research misconduct,” of all things. Oh and get this: “An academic journal is continuing to sell a viral article on “rape culture” and “queer performativity” in Portland dog parks despite expressing concerns about the veracity of the research. Veracity? It was a genuine hoax, that’s what kind of veracity it had. Read More ›

Can the history of medicine help social sciences out of their dark ages?

But maybe this historian of science’s idea can’t work. Many doctors are prepared to slay beautiful theories for the sake of the lives of their patients. Have social scientists any similar motivation? Read More ›

Jerry Coyne has another reason to be mad at Templeton

Coyne is distressed by the fact that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which supports people who are being jackbooted by authoritarian leftists, is supported by… Templeton. Read More ›

Social science hoax papers: Putting a respectable face on persecuting the hoaxers

Sexton: Similarly, the experts Singal contacted said the use of fake data still counts as data fabrication even if the dataset was obviously meant to be part of a satirical hoax. So there may be two grounds on which this IRB could decide to punish Boghossian. Read More ›

Embattled “social sciences hoax” prof is not a hero, he’s a canary

Even the fact that Boghossian is an evangelistic atheist banging the drum for “science,” won’t save him from the consequences of exposing ridiculous social sciences. Read More ›

Social science hoaxer’s job at risk for revealing “bias”

Boghossian’s breach of ethics was that he was supposed to get the consent of the journal editors before hoaxing them because they are human subjects. No, really. That is the explanation. Read More ›

Quillette: Young scholar denounced as “racist” by mob of 300 elders; evidence not cited

Probably not wanted either: The latest victim of an academic mobbing is 28-year-old social scientist Noah Carl who has been awarded a Toby Jackman Newton Trust Research Fellowship at St Edmund’s College at the University of Cambridge. Rarely has the power asymmetry between the academic mob and its victim been so stark. Dr Carl is a young researcher, just starting out in his career, who is being mobbed for being awarded a prestigious research scholarship on the basis of his peer-reviewed research … Three hundred academics from around the world, many of them professors, have signed an open letter denouncing Dr Carl and demanding that the University of Cambridge “immediately conduct an investigation into the appointment process” on the grounds Read More ›

Evolutionary psychology: The cat among the pigeons!

Confession: Some of us never took evolutionary psychology (a discipline whose subject died a very long time ago but allegedly lives on in all of us) seriously enough to wonder if it could actually create controversies in psychology. Apparently so: In terms of the political bias among social psychologists, Buss and von Hippel found that 95 per cent were mostly liberal and left-wing in their views (also, among the US respondents, only 4 had voted Republican in the prior Presidential election while 305 had voted Democrat). Quizzing the social psychologists on their views of evolutionary theory, Buss and von Hippel found that they overwhelmingly accepted the principles of Darwinian evolution and also that it applied to humans, but when it came Read More ›

Half of social science replication studies failed under near-ideal conditions

It’s becoming harder to ignore the stench: The drive recruited labs around the world to try to replicate the results of 28 classic and contemporary psychology experiments. Only half were reproduced successfully using a strict threshold for significance that was set at P < 0.0001 (the P value is a common test for judging the strength of scientific evidence). Brian Owens, “Replication failures in psychology not due to differences in study populations” at Nature So why did so many classic studies fail? The account in Nature doesn’t say but that won’t The Atlantic, stop people wondering: Despite the large sample sizes and the blessings of the original teams, the team failed to replicate half of the studies it focused on. It Read More ›

Social sciences: The war on empirical fact and objectivity

Some of us have a perhaps unhealthy fascination with just how bad the social sciences have become. We hope we can justify our amazement (and hilarity) over the easy hoaxes and all that on the grounds that real science also faces a war on math (“say goodbye to x and y”). Watching what happens to the previous victim may be instructive, and here’s one analysis worth considering: Things are different now. I first got an inkling of this more than three decades ago. Sorting through some old papers, I found this quote from an unnamed British sociologist speaking at a talk in 1986: “Theories in science are not constrained in any way by empirical facts.” I noted that most of Read More ›