I lurk on comment threads to get a feel for what is trending in the noosphere and I find some gems. Sometimes I get a bit stalkerish in my fervor for curating opinions.
I was reading a science article and I was way, way down, losing hope and I saw this.
I’ve been wanting to cover this topic for a while, I didn’t know what to call it but I felt I needed an example to mock first, since it’s easier to pull that apart than a possible strawman.
Thank you, Hobbesian________, I have a new name for this: “The Appeal to Data”
He hasn’t read much of his namesake, why am I not surprised?
A man’s conscience and his judgment is the same thing; and as the judgment, so also the conscience, may be erroneous. ~ Hobbes
I was serious about the mocking part.
You could say that about anything: What would be the point in interviewing Richard Dawkins, the Bible speaks for itself? What would be the point in interviewing climate skeptics, the UN papers speak for themselves? Why trust the Government on vaccines, the ingredients list speaks for itself?
Muh “speaks for itself” is the new “isn’t it obvious?” No, dipshit, or there wouldn’t be a discussion. That’s kinda the point when it comes to any scientific question, the debate never ends, nobody will pack up their bags and go home. We’ll just sort of come to a point of consensus naturally and lose momentum, like an emergent phenomena as the evidence comes in (from both sides). Until the paradigm shift, anon!
Humanities isn’t social science. Liberal arts isn’t a science. Social science is a science because it follows the Scientific Method. Merely, it applies the method to humans (social animal hence society). There are textbooks on this written for children. This is basic.
It’s a combination of appeal to popularity, and a subtle ad hominem that’s intended to outgroup you as inferior and thus, not worth listening to. It’s a rabbit trick. Look! A hat!
The atheistkult and other redditfags seem to rely on this IFLS-esque appeal to ‘objective’ authority and clarity when describing nature; that the numbers can’t be faked, or wrong, or that various biases and errors (inc. the huge measurement error) do not exist.
Data isn’t objective because data is a tool used by people. You can flip a coin 100 times, get 100 heads and it doesn’t disprove the other findings. It’s added to them. We call those people using the data in their possession ‘scientists’ and they aren’t using the data, really. They are collecting the data (possession) and interpret the data (moving on to a claim), that is their training and their job, to make claims based on the data (the data is just there to show their workings for replication, like maths classes). We have a label for people who make claims not based on data, but opinion formed prior, a beautiful category is…..;
Oh look, it’s another bias. SI: You can use totally legitimate data to lie. Anita Sarkeesian does it all the time. She takes a legit study and makes those unsupported claims. You say X, but data says X-1. This is what they mean when they appeal to data, that it’s supposed to be free of false interpretation. Except – all data is interpreted. It’s a human impulse.
You can’t do shit with data itself anyway. Those 100 heads results aren’t going to go anywhere. They’ll stay in a drawer, unpublished. For the researcher: They don’t change the data (unless crooked or naive with poor method design, a priori) and they aren’t meant to influence the data (so many ways under researcher bias), but they are human.
After the data are collected, bias may be introduced during data interpretation and analysis. For example, in deciding which variables to control in analysis, social scientists often face a trade-off between omitted-variable bias and post-treatment bias.
This is why we need philosophy of science taught in schools.
We learn biology, chemistry and physics but we don’t learn what science is or why all those things are science, let alone how science is actually done. But sure, photosynthesis…..
Identities protected but putting the name of a philosopher in your screen name doesn’t make you smart. They keep doing that (redditfag signature) when it’s a clear appeal to authority, again.
Here is the first result on google for “scientist stock photo”
Sure, I’d trust that guy, who doesn’t even wear goggles. They buy into this, like the memes. Oh Christ, the memes….
It’s very Aspie to think all scientists are perfect, morally virtuous men in white lab coats, pristine as their soul, and they’ll never do anything like lie, or cheat for a promotion, or steal grant money, or… I dunno…. fake most of a subject….
Statistically, most of a subject. Literally. (Me being topical)
They have some wonderful cognitive dissonance here because they believe experts are liars (I blame Gen X), but the data the experts gather is pure as the Virgin Mary.
The data is sacred! bc Humans are flawed!
Who do you think made the data? ET?
What we see are the actions of a narcissist (they wouldn’t dare lie to me!) who cannot conceive of systemic deception that would persevere against their imagined intellect. Con artists find these people easiest to fool because they have no guard. There is no guard to let down.
As much as I dislike this website, for example the name (isn’t debunking something also a denial? and why is denial/dissent wrong, given Burden of Proof?), there are many statistical fallacies in the public arena, from people who are meant to be defending science like it’s a lady’s virtue:
TLDR: This thing is like that thing because I said so.
TLDR: p-value fraud is rife.
You could find many things which are statistically significant, for example — and false. This is where correlation/causation truly comes in, the claim is beyond the data e.g. if I find murders spike with ice cream sales, ice cream doesn’t cause murder. The third hidden variable is the heat and the frustration it produces. A good method design will eliminate extraneous variables, and in most social science, they don’t do this. That’s why it can’t be replicated – shitty design. Copying the shitty design just doubles the number of shitty experiments in the world.
Method design is mostly intuition. Redditfags deny this. They should pick up a book on it, seriously – the first thing you’re told is Make Stuff Up and the rest is just refinement.
The appeal to data is treating a chart of values like the Bible. Yes, I went there.
“Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to anything.” – Gregg Easterbrook
Working example: http://blogs.gartner.com/andrea_dimaio/2012/06/12/torturing-the-data-long-enough-will-make-them-confess-anything/
Conclusion: Let’s go with the Appeal to Data. If I ask 100 people whether you are worse than Hitler, and 51 say yes, the data is there. The data is sacrosanct.
It’s an appeal to popularity dressed up in a Halloween lab coat.
btw I appreciate the turtles reference at the end
it made me laugh