Oh Holy Shit - A Social Scientist Rants against science

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Oh Holy Shit - A Social Scientist Rants against science

#1  Postby kennyc » Jul 08, 2014 12:16 pm

If You Love Science, This Will Make You Lose Your Sh*t
Annalee Newitz

If You Love Science, This Will Make You Lose Your Sh*t
Over the past few years, social psychologists have come under fire for publishing work based on falsified and non-reproducible evidence. And now one social psychologist has published an awe-inspiringly clueless rant about this situation that will leave you smashing your face into your desk.

At issue in this essay by Harvard's Jason Mitchell is the specific accusation, leveled against many social psychologists, that their results cannot be reproduced. Though the idea of reproducibility is essential to the scientific process — indeed, some would argue the very definition of it — Mitchell believes that the emphasis on reproducibility is nothing more than "hand-wringing."

Then he goes on to offer a point-by-point analysis of why replication in science is overrated. In this section, he explains that it's practically impossible to ever replicate anything, and so getting in a fuss about replicating science is really absurd:

The argument goes [that] if someone cannot reproduce your results when following your recipe, something must be wrong with either the original method or in the findings it generated.
....


http://io9.com/if-you-love-science-this ... +%28io9%29

The essay that started it: http://wjh.harvard.edu/~jmitchel/writin ... cience.htm


and interesting comments on the io9 article. :lol:
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Re: Oh Holy Shit - A Social Scientist Rants against science

#2  Postby laklak » Jul 08, 2014 2:59 pm

"social scientists" are scientists in the same way that bin men are "sanitary engineers".
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Re: Oh Holy Shit - A Social Scientist Rants against science

#3  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Jul 09, 2014 12:37 am

laklak wrote:"social scientists" are scientists in the same way that bin men are "sanitary engineers".

Believe it or not I have met some social scientists who are very pro- physical sciences, and realize the short-comings in their craft, and try to improve it. They don't like the woo-mongers in their trade any more that we do. One such chap I met at the university of London. Think of a Cali or a Hack or a Theropod, but doing sociology and you get the picture. :thumbup:
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Re: Oh Holy Shit - A Social Scientist Rants against science

#4  Postby BWE » Jul 09, 2014 3:46 am

I know a lot of social scientists, mostly sociology or public administration/economics though. And almost all of them seem to have a very strong understanding of the mathematical underpinnings of the models they work on as well as a solid understanding of the methodological issues which define good science. I will ask a few of them what they think of that exchange.

I have a feeling that social psych just doesn't have the resolution to model in detail yet. They are basically just tossing shit at a wall still and recording the visible attributes of what sticks. I took a social psych class once and the instructor (who was a cognitive psychologist in her research) seemed to teach it as if it were unimportant in some way. It was hard to figure her out so I remember the class. My semester long experiment involved going to malls and counting how many people made eye contact with me and/or smiled when I presented myself in various ways, among which was being in a wheelchair, wearing an eyepatch, dressed in a suit, etc. Each several times. That was it. Just a hypothesis, an experiment design, a bunch of data collected by myself and my accomplice, and a conclusion. She gave everyone an A who actually collected data on top of getting the experiment design approved.
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Re: Oh Holy Shit - A Social Scientist Rants against science

#5  Postby UltimoReducto » Mar 16, 2018 8:02 pm

BWE wrote:I know a lot of social scientists, mostly sociology or public administration/economics though. And almost all of them seem to have a very strong understanding of the mathematical underpinnings of the models they work on as well as a solid understanding of the methodological issues which define good science. I will ask a few of them what they think of that exchange.

I have a feeling that social psych just doesn't have the resolution to model in detail yet. They are basically just tossing shit at a wall still and recording the visible attributes of what sticks. I took a social psych class once and the instructor (who was a cognitive psychologist in her research) seemed to teach it as if it were unimportant in some way. It was hard to figure her out so I remember the class. My semester long experiment involved going to malls and counting how many people made eye contact with me and/or smiled when I presented myself in various ways, among which was being in a wheelchair, wearing an eyepatch, dressed in a suit, etc. Each several times. That was it. Just a hypothesis, an experiment design, a bunch of data collected by myself and my accomplice, and a conclusion. She gave everyone an A who actually collected data on top of getting the experiment design approved.

What if the models are wrong?
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Re: Oh Holy Shit - A Social Scientist Rants against science

#6  Postby BWE » May 19, 2018 7:14 am

laklak wrote:"social scientists" are scientists in the same way that bin men are "sanitary engineers".

Meh. Social psychology is not indicative of social science in general and there are lots of questions that physical science cant get at.
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Re: Oh Holy Shit - A Social Scientist Rants against science

#7  Postby BWE » May 19, 2018 7:16 am

UltimoReducto wrote:
BWE wrote:I know a lot of social scientists, mostly sociology or public administration/economics though. And almost all of them seem to have a very strong understanding of the mathematical underpinnings of the models they work on as well as a solid understanding of the methodological issues which define good science. I will ask a few of them what they think of that exchange.

I have a feeling that social psych just doesn't have the resolution to model in detail yet. They are basically just tossing shit at a wall still and recording the visible attributes of what sticks. I took a social psych class once and the instructor (who was a cognitive psychologist in her research) seemed to teach it as if it were unimportant in some way. It was hard to figure her out so I remember the class. My semester long experiment involved going to malls and counting how many people made eye contact with me and/or smiled when I presented myself in various ways, among which was being in a wheelchair, wearing an eyepatch, dressed in a suit, etc. Each several times. That was it. Just a hypothesis, an experiment design, a bunch of data collected by myself and my accomplice, and a conclusion. She gave everyone an A who actually collected data on top of getting the experiment design approved.

What if the models are wrong?

All models are wrong. Some are useful.
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Re: Oh Holy Shit - A Social Scientist Rants against science

#8  Postby THWOTH » May 19, 2018 2:23 pm

Dammit! I thought this'd be a chance to dogpile Jordan Peterson. Never mind.
"No-one is exempt from speaking nonsense – the only misfortune is to do it solemnly."
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