When it is an error to think admitting error matters: 5-7-12

Gelman has a blogpost today where he wrings his hands over those who make mistakes and won’t admit it (the example he gives is rather distant but amusing in its own right):


Well as it happens I was discussing just today (in relation to philosophy of statistics) how common it is for people in this arena to admit error and still  just go on and repeat the identical example and argument (in print!) without even mentioning the criticisms that earlier, allegedly, led them to disown their own example/argument.  I mentioned a case in relation to my April 28 post, and several others throughout this blog. It’s perhaps a brilliant strategy:

Someone points up an egregious flaw in S’s example, argument, or criticism, and S declares, even in front of an audience, that indeed that wasn’t a very good example, argument, or criticism after all, but then turns around and continues to publish it, with no caveat or recognition.  The instant fold by S completely disarms the person raising the criticism, and yet S blithely continues on….

It was one of the big eye-openers to me, especially disappointing when committed by philosophers. But, as I have sometimes been told, there’s a “gentleman’s agreement” not to hold certain views accountable.

Categories: Misc Kvetching | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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