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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

When you believe in things that you don’t understand

This would make Karl Popper cry. And, at the very end: The present results indicate that under certain, theoretically predictable circumstances, female ovulation—long assumed to be hidden—is in fact associated with a distinct, objectively observable behavioral display. This statement is correct—if you interpret the word “predictable” to mean “predictable after looking at your data.” P.S. […]

“If you are primarily motivated to make money, you . . . certainly don’t want to let people know how confused you are by something, or how shallow your knowledge is in certain areas. You want to project an image of mastery and omniscience.”

A reader writes in: This op-ed made me think of one your recent posts. Money quote: If you are primarily motivated to make money, you just need to get as much information as you need to do your job. You don’t have time for deep dives into abstract matters. You certainly don’t want to let […]

Bizarre academic spam

I’ve been getting these sorts of emails every couple days lately: Respected Professor Gelman I am a senior undergraduate at Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT Kanpur). I am currently in the 8th Semester of my Master of Science (Integrated) in Mathematics and Scientific Computing program. I went through some of your previous work and […]

I was going to criticize this on blog but I’m just too tired of things like this. What’s really horrible is the news article which takes all this so seriously. My problem is not with people who run regressions and post them on the web—the more the merrier, I say—but with reputable news outlets whose editors should know better

A friend pointed me to this monstrosity. As an MIT grad, I’d like to think that Technology Review could do better. To elaborate a bit: A one-paragraph blurb would be fine to me, you can report that someone ran some regressions on the GSS and came up with an amusing hypothesis. That’s enough, then move […]

The Notorious N.H.S.T. presents: Mo P-values Mo Problems

A recent discussion between commenters Question and Fernando captured one of the recurrent themes here from the past year. Question: The problem is simple, the researchers are disproving always false null hypotheses and taking this disproof as near proof that their theory is correct. Fernando: Whereas it is probably true that researchers misuse NHT, the […]

As the boldest experiment in journalism history, you admit you made a mistake

The pre-NYT David Brooks liked to make fun of the NYT. Here’s one from 1997: I’m not sure I’d like to be one of the people featured on the New York Times wedding page, but I know I’d like to be the father of one of them. Imagine how happy Stanley J. Kogan must have […]

Am I too negative?

For background, you can start by reading my recent article, Is It Possible to Be an Ethicist Without Being Mean to People? and then a blog post, Quality over Quantity, by John Cook, who writes: At one point [Ed] Tufte spoke more generally and more personally about pursuing quality over quantity. He said most papers […]

Association for Psychological Science announces a new journal

The Association for Psychological Science, the leading organization of research psychologists, announced a long-awaited new journal, Speculations on Psychological Science. From the official APS press release: Speculations on Psychological Science, the flagship journal of the Association for Psychological Science, will publish cutting-edge research articles, short reports, and research reports spanning the entire spectrum of the […]

I agree with this comment

The anonymous commenter puts it well: The problem is simple, the researchers are disproving always false null hypotheses and taking this disproof as near proof that their theory is correct.

Beyond the Valley of the Trolls

In a further discussion of the discussion about the discussion of a paper in Administrative Science Quarterly, Thomas Basbøll writes: I [Basbøll] feel “entitled”, if that’s the right word (actually, I’d say I feel privileged), to express my opinions to anyone who wants to listen, and while I think it does say something about an […]