Friday, August 1, 2014

“This may seem like a classic case of ivory tower navel gazing...”

“This may seem like a classic case of ivory tower navel gazing...”  Actually it seems to me more like a terribly overdue reality check.  This piece in Slate is a good overview of the current flap in psychology concerning the irreproducibility of the majority of landmark psychological studies.  Reproducibility of experimental results is a key part of what makes science credible.  Certain branches of science – most notoriously the “soft sciences” like psychology – have been more lax than others (like, for example, physics).  That's beginning to change in psychology, and the lessons from this are starting to be applied to some other soft sciences.

Mann et al should be listening, but of course they won't be.  Their fame and fortune both depend on acceptance of their utterly failed models.  This isn't exactly the same as irreproducible experimental results, but it's a close relative...