Media darling scientists

Being on Twitter you quickly run into some people calling themselves scientists, but who seem to not be doing much science at all and instead spending their time on politics and self-promotion, not to mention book sales. Some years ago, some economists did some numbers on this and came up with the Kardashian Index (original…

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Political bias in science: quotes from Gunnar Myrdal’s 1944 book

Gunnar Myrdal, who was Swedish, expresses an early version of the views the media repeat endlessly these days. To give some examples: White prejudice and discrimination keep the Negro low in standards of living, health, education, manners and morals. This, in its turn, gives support to white prejudice. White prejudice and Negro standards thus mutually…

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Peer review and innovation

Spier, R. (2002). Peer review and innovation. Science and Engineering Ethics, 8(1), 99-108. This little read paper from 2002 is worth quoting at length. It underlines the inability of peer review to identify important studies, and its role in guarding the status quo in the field. Based on such thinking, some people have come to…

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Do Republic professors hide their voting intentions?

There’s a lot of evidence for left-wing dominance of academia. One study (Langbert 2018) looked at registered voters and finds quite unbelievable differences: In this article I offer new evidence about something readers of Academic Questions already know: The political registration of full-time, Ph.D.-holding professors in top-tier liberal arts colleges is overwhelmingly Democratic. Indeed, faculty…

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Making better use of the scientific literature: large-scale automatic retrieval of data from published figures

Science is a set of related methods that aim at finding true patterns about the world. These methods are generally designed so as to remove noise from random circumstances (the traditional focus of statistics) and human biases. Current practices are currently not very good at the second part due to the innumerable ways human biases…

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Why the race and intelligence question is still not resolved

It could probably have been resolved decades ago, and definitely within the last 10 years with genomic data, yet it is still not. Why? Essentially, it’s because of bias in academia. It begins early: data access, then there’s authors’ own publication bias, then finally editorial and reviewing bias (all caused by lack of political/belief diversity…

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Tail effects in climate science and the pleasures of polymathy

From the interactive visualization I previously published to give foster an intuitive understanding of the concept: Tail effects are when there are large differences between groups at the extremes (tails) of distributions. This happens when the distributions differ in either the mean or the standard deviation (or both), even when these differences are quite small….

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