Is it Science or Is it Bullshit?

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Someone at Modeled Behavior — they like to coyly keep us guessing who — tweeted this today: 

Yeah, probably. But that reminds me. Apropos of something I posted a few days ago but don’t remember, as well as a recent blog conversation with Matt Yglesias about the value of empirical research, plus Mark Kleiman reminding me a few days ago of the old saw that “you can’t take the con out of econometrics” — anyway, apropos of all that, I think the world desperately needs someone to write a regular feature called “Is it Science or Is it Bullshit?” This would most likely focus on headline-grabbing research in the areas of medicine, economics, sociology, and general culture, but there’s no reason not to find some bullshit in the harder sciences too. Just not as much, probably.

In any case, think of it as after-the-fact peer review with an attitude. The winning candidate for this position will have a pretty good mathematical background, a sneering contempt for sloppiness, an obsessive attention to detail, a willingness to read mounds of tedious crap, and probably a fairly severe case of insomnia. You’d also need to be really fast, since debunking bullshit a month after every news outlet in the country has hyped it does no one any good. It needs to be debunked the day it hits the streets. (Or praised, of course. We’re looking for rigor here, folks.)

Oh, and the job doesn’t pay anything. Anyone interested?

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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