It works in practice, but does it work in (my) theory?

There’s a certain type of person that doesn’t produce any empirical contribution to “Reducing the heredity-environment uncertainty”. Instead, they contribute various theoretical arguments which they take to undermine the empirical data others give. Usually, these people have a background in philosophy or some other theoretical field. A recent example of this pattern is seen on…

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You can’t ignore gene-environment correlations when looking for gene-environment interactions

Humans love interactions, they tell interesting stories (however, no study has investigated this bias, AFAIK). However, statistics and nature hate interactions. Interactions in general have low prior, and because people fail to realize this properly, reports of interactions generally fail to replicate. This is also true for gene-environment interactions (GxE), the love-child of any would…

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Thomas Bouchard on pseudoanalysis

Modgil & C. Modgil (eds.). (1984). Arthur Jensen: consensus and controversy. Lewes, Sussex, Falmer Press In a book that’s not widely-read but should be, Thomas Bouchard notes in his chapter (The Hereditarian Research Program: Triumphs and Tribulations): A principal feature of the many critiques of hereditarian research is an excessive concern for purity, both in…

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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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