“A mixed economy is not an economic abomination or even a regrettably unavoidable political necessity but a natural absorbing state,” and other notes on “Whither Science?” by Danko Antolovic

So. I got this email one day, promoting a book that came with the following blurb: Whither Science?, by Danko Antolovic, is a series of essays that explore some of the questions facing modern science. A short read at only 41 pages, Whither Science? looks into the fundamental questions about the purposes, practices and future of science. As a global endeavor, which influences all of contemporary life, science is still a human creation with historical origins and intellectual foundations. And like all things human, it has its faults, which must be accounted for. It sounded like this guy might be a crank, but they sent me a free copy so I took a look. I read the book, and I liked it. It’s written in an unusual style, kinda like what you might expect from someone with a physics/chemistry background…
Original Post: “A mixed economy is not an economic abomination or even a regrettably unavoidable political necessity but a natural absorbing state,” and other notes on “Whither Science?” by Danko Antolovic

Using D&D to reduce ethnic prejudice

Using D&D to reduce ethnic prejudice Posted by Andrew on 8 November 2017, 4:54 pm OK, not quite D&D—I just wrote that to get Bob’s attention. It is a role-playing game, though! Here’s the paper, “Seeing the World Through the Other’s Eye: An Online Intervention Reducing Ethnic Prejudice,” by Gabor Simonovits, Gabor Kezdi, and Peter Kardos: We report the results of an intervention that targeted anti-Roma sentiment in Hungary using an online perspective-taking game. We evaluated the impact of this intervention using a randomized experiment in which a sample of young adults played this perspective-taking game, or an unrelated online game. Participation in the perspective-taking game markedly reduced prejudice, with an effect-size equivalent to half the difference between voters of the far-right and the center-right party. The effects persisted for at least a month, and, as a byproduct, the intervention also…
Original Post: Using D&D to reduce ethnic prejudice

When people proudly take ridiculous positions

When people proudly take ridiculous positions Posted by Andrew on 8 November 2017, 9:05 am Tom Wolfe on evolution: I think it’s misleading to say that human beings evolved from animals. I mean, actually, nobody knows whether they did or not. This is just sad. Does Wolfe really think this? My guess is he’s trying to do a solid for his political allies. Jerry Coyne writes: Somewhere on his mission to tear down the famous, elevate the neglected outsider and hit the exclamation-point key as often as possible, Wolfe has forgotten how to think. Well put. But I think Wolfe does know how to think. You know what they say, right? “Any prosecutor can convict a guilty man. It takes a great prosecutor to convict an innocent man.” Similarly, I think Wolfe takes it as a point of pride that, as…
Original Post: When people proudly take ridiculous positions

Using Stan to improve rice yields

Using Stan to improve rice yields Posted by Andrew on 7 November 2017, 9:03 am Matt Espe writes: Here is a new paper citing Stan and the rstanarm package. Yield gap analysis of US rice production systems shows opportunities for improvement. Matthew B. Espe, Kenneth G. Cassman, Haishun Yang, Nicolas Guilpart, Patricio Grassini, Justin Van Wart, Merle Anders, Donn Beighley, Dustin Harrell, Steve Linscombe, Kent McKenzie, Randall Mutters, Lloyd T. Wilson, Bruce A. Linquist. Field Crops Research. Volume 196, September 2016, Pages 276–283. Many thanks to everyone on the development team for some excellent tools! I’ve not read the paper, but, hey, if Stan can improve U.S. rice yields by a factor of 1.5, that’s cool. Then all our research will have been worth it.
Original Post: Using Stan to improve rice yields

The Statistical Crisis in Science—and How to Move Forward (my talk next Monday 6pm at Columbia)

The Statistical Crisis in Science—and How to Move Forward (my talk next Monday 6pm at Columbia) Posted by Andrew on 6 November 2017, 5:20 pm I’m speaking Mon 13 Nov, 6pm, at Low Library Rotunda at Columbia: The Statistical Crisis in Science—and How to Move Forward Using examples ranging from elections to birthdays to policy analysis, Professor Andrew Gelman will discuss ways in which statistical methods have failed, leading to a replication crisis in much of science, as well as directions for improvements through statistical methods that make use of more information. Online reservation is required; follow the link currently full and closed. This will be a talk for a general audience.
Original Post: The Statistical Crisis in Science—and How to Move Forward (my talk next Monday 6pm at Columbia)

Why you can’t simply estimate the hot hand using regression

Why you can’t simply estimate the hot hand using regression Posted by Andrew on 6 November 2017, 9:36 am Jacob Schumaker writes: Reformed political scientist, now software engineer here. Re: the hot hand fallacy fallacy from Miller and Sanjurjo, has anyone discussed why a basic regression doesn’t solve this? If they have I haven’t seen it. The idea is just that there are other ways of measuring the hot hand. When I think of it, it’s the difference in the probability of making a shot between someone who just made a shot and someone who didn’t. In that case, your estimate is unbiased right? The fallacy identified by Miller and Sanjurjo only matters if you analyze the data in a certain way, right? My quick answer: (a) hotness is not just about the last shot you made or missed, so yours…
Original Post: Why you can’t simply estimate the hot hand using regression

Planet of the hominids? We wanna see this exposition.

Planet of the hominids? We wanna see this exposition. Posted by Andrew on 5 November 2017, 9:40 pm It would be interesting if someone were to make an exhibit for a museum showing the timeline of humans and hominids, and under that showing children’s toys and literature, showing how these guys were represented in popular media. It probably already exists, right? P.S. I feel kinda bad that this bumped Dan’s more important, statistically-related post. So go back and read Dan’s post again, hear?
Original Post: Planet of the hominids? We wanna see this exposition.

The Night Riders

Retraction Watch linked to this paper, “Publication bias and the canonization of false facts,” by Silas Nissen, Tali Magidson, Kevin Gross, and Carl Bergstrom, and which is in the Physics and Society section of Arxiv which is kind of odd since it has nothing whatsoever to do with physics. Nissen et al. write: In the process of scientific inquiry, certain claims accumulate enough support to be established as facts. Unfortunately, not every claim accorded the status of fact turns out to be true. In this paper, we model the dynamic process by which claims are canonized as fact through repeated experimental confirmation. . . . In our model, publication bias—in which positive results are published preferentially over negative ones—influences the distribution of published results. I don’t really have any comments on the paper itself—I’m never sure when these mathematical models…
Original Post: The Night Riders

The time reversal heuristic (priming and voting edition)

Ed Yong writes: Over the past decade, social psychologists have dazzled us with studies showing that huge social problems can seemingly be rectified through simple tricks. A small grammatical tweak in a survey delivered to people the day before an election greatly increases voter turnout. A 15-minute writing exercise narrows the achievement gap between black and white students—and the benefits last for years. “Each statement may sound outlandish—more science fiction than science,” wrote Gregory Walton from Stanford University in 2014. But they reflect the science of what he calls “wise interventions” . . . They seem to work, if the stream of papers in high-profile scientific journals is to be believed. But as with many branches of psychology, wise interventions are taking a battering. A new wave of studies that attempted to replicate the promising experiments have found discouraging results.…
Original Post: The time reversal heuristic (priming and voting edition)

Post-publication review succeeds again! (Two-lines edition.)

Post-publication review succeeds again! (Two-lines edition.) Posted by Andrew on 3 November 2017, 10:18 pm A couple months ago, Uri Simonsohn posted online a suggested statistical method for detecting nonmonotonicity in data. He called it: “Two-lines: The First Valid Test of U-Shaped Relationships.” With a title like that, I guess you’re asking for it. And, indeed, awhile later I received an email from Yair Heller identifying some problems with Uri’s method. After checking with Yair, I forwarded his message to Simonsohn who found the problem and fixed it. Uri’s update is here. Now, I don’t actually agree with Uri or Yair on this one: I don’t really buy the hypothesis-testing, type-1-error framework that they’re using. But that’s ok: it’s not my job to vet their methods. If these ideas are useful to others, great. My real point here is that post-publication…
Original Post: Post-publication review succeeds again! (Two-lines edition.)