Category Archives: Scientific method

Why scientists should talk to philosophers

by Judith Curry

The divorce between philosophers and scientists is fairly recent.  Its time for a reconciliation.

Continue reading

The sociology of correlation and causation

by Judith Curry

Correlation doesn’t imply  causation.

Continue reading

Evidence of absence versus absence of evidence

By Judith Curry

Does global warming make extreme weather events worse?

 

Continue reading

Habits of a complex mind

by Judith Curry

How to go from reductionist thinking to action based complexity research. 

Continue reading

Magical theories

by Judith Curry

[W]e have a field of sort-of-science in which hypotheses are treated as facts because they’re too hard or expensive to test, and there are so many hypotheses that what journalists like to call “leading authorities” disagree with one another daily. – Gary Taubes

Continue reading

What scientific ideas are ready for retirement?

by Judith Curry

So, what scientific idea do YOU think is ready for retirement?

Continue reading

Pretense of knowledge

by Judith Curry

I confess that I prefer true but imperfect knowledge, even if it leaves much indetermined and unpredictable, to a pretence of exact knowledge that is likely to be false. – Friedrich von Hayek

Continue reading

20 tips for interpreting scientific claims

by Judith Curry

This list will help non-scientists to interrogate advisers and to grasp the limitations of evidence  - William J. Sutherland, David Spiegelhalter and Mark A. Burgman.

Continue reading

A subterranean war on science?

by Judith Curry

[T]here is a routine confusion between science as a process (the scientific method), and science as an institution. – Ben Pile

Continue reading

Mutually Assured Delusion (MAD)

by Judith Curry

Groupthink:   A pattern of thought charaterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics.

Continue reading

Trust, and don’t bother to verify

by Judith Curry

There is no cost to getting things wrong. The cost is not getting them published. – Brian Nosek, as quoted by the Economist.

Continue reading

Confidence levels inside and outside an argument

by Judith Curry

[G]iving a very high level of confidence requires a check that you’re not confusing the probability inside one argument with the probability of the question as a whole. – NotWrong

Continue reading

IPCC diagnosis – permanent paradigm paralysis

by Judith Curry

Diagnosis: paradigm paralysis, caused by motivated reasoning, oversimplification, and consensus seeking; worsened and made permanent by a vicious positive feedback effect at the climate science-policy interface.

Continue reading

What is Scientific Mediation?

by Judith Curry

Making clear what the real scientific dispute is about.

Continue reading

Scientists and motivated reasoning

by Judith Curry

Motivated reasoning affects scientists as it does other groups in society, although it is often pretended that scientists somehow escape this predicament.

Continue reading

So what is the best available scientific evidence, anyways?

by Judith Curry

Is “best available evidence” a new, improved “reframing” of the so-called “consensus” (that is not really holding up too well, these days)? Is it simply a way of sweeping aside the validity of any acknowledgement/discussion of the uncertainties? Or is it something completely different?! – Hilary Ostrov

Continue reading

Pasteur’s quadrant

by Judith Curry

The savage budgetary pressures we will have at least into the 21st Century are part of the reason why we must attempt to develop a fresh contract between science and government. – Donald Stokes

Continue reading

Is fat good?

by Judith Curry

Epidemiologists struggle to explain a study that challenges a core belief:  Fat will kill you. – William Saletan

Continue reading

Can we avoid fooling ourselves?

by Judith Curry

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. - Richard Feynman

Continue reading

Climate change: no consensus on consensus

by Judith Curry

The manufactured consensus of the IPCC has had the unintended consequences of distorting the science, elevating the voices of scientists that dispute the consensus, and motivating actions by the consensus scientists and their supporters that have diminished the public’s trust in the IPCC.

Continue reading

What exactly is critical thinking?

by Judith Curry

Everyone applauds the idea of critical thinking, and liberal arts colleges often make their ability to teach critical thinking a key selling point. But no one seems to define what they mean by that term. – Paul Gary Wyckoff

Continue reading

On the rapid disintegration of projections

by Judith Curry

How and why did the scientific consensus about sea level rise due to the disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), expressed in the third Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment, disintegrate on the road to the fourth? 

Continue reading

Philosophical reflections on climate model projections

by Judith Curry

Should probabilistic qualities be assigned to climate model projections?

Are the approaches used by the IPCC for assessing climate model projection quality – confidence building, subjective Bayesian, and likelihood –  appropriate for climate models?

What are some other approaches that could be used?

Continue reading

Special issue on postnormal climate science

by Judith Curry

Nature and Culture has a special issue on postnormal climate science.

[T]he concept of post-normal science helps to open up scientific discourse, to identify complex cultural and political situations, and to improve and extend the range of practices of an applied science. – Kraus, Schafer, and von Storch.

Continue reading

No consensus on consensus: Part II

by Judith Curry

I’ve been invited to write a paper on the topic of consensus in climate change.

Continue reading