phil sci

“Science: It’s a Sexy Thing” (7-18-12)

from Science: Its a Girl Thing

“Science: It’s a Sexy Thing”

(I had this kvetch on “draft” since 6/27/12, but then we lost electricity and I didn’t bother posting it.  It strikes me as even more outrageous than when I first saw it!)

This comically absurd music video, “Science: It’s a Girl Thing” is understandably evoking outrage and/or guffaws. Scantily clad girls and women are Continue reading

Categories: Misc Kvetching, phil sci | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Particle Physics is Bad Science?

I suppose this is somewhat of a joke from the ISBA, prompted by Dennis Lindley–right?– but as I accord the actual degree of jokiness to be only ~33%, I’m raising it on my Msc Kvetching page.  Lindley (according to O’Hagan) wonders why scientists require so high a level of statistical significance before claiming to have evidence of a Higgs boson.  It is asked: “Are the particle physics community completely wedded to frequentist analysis?  If so, has anyone tried to explain what bad  science that is?”
Bad science?   I’d really like to understand what these representatives from the ISBA would recommend, if there is even a shred of seriousness here (or is Lindley just peeved that significance levels are getting so much press in connection with so important a discovery in particle physics?)
Well, read the letter and see what you think. Continue reading

Categories: phil sci, phil stat | Tags: , | 1 Comment

OPERA Error Identified?

The hunt for  the  “OPERA error” now seems all but over. The solution to the (Duhemian) problem of where to lay the “blame” for the anomalous speed of light result appears to be at hand, after some months of sleuthing.  Note how the same, remodeled, and new data are used both to identify and warrant inferences to rule out and (finally) identify sources.  Searching does not penalize in such identifications of known effects. Had they inferred the experimental malfunction(s) Ai earlier (faulty fiber-optic cables), would you accord it greater, lesser, or identical weight? Why?* Continue reading

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Men & their Peacock Tails

Scientific Study: Men Grow Peacock Tails Around Attractive women:

Am I the only one who occasionally feels that when an ordinary phenomenon, familiar to most women, becomes the focus of a “rigorous scientific” study like this that the whole dynamics is converted in a distorted, unflattering and rather (pea)cockamamie light?

Men put on their best behaviour when attractive ladies are close by. When the scenario is reversed however, the behaviour of women remains the same. These findings are published today, 2 February 2012, in the British Psychological Society’s British Journal of Psychology via the Wiley Online Library.

The research, which also found that the number of kind and selfless acts by men corresponded to the attractiveness of ladies, was undertaken by Dr Wendy Iredale of Sheffield Hallam University and Mark Van Vugt of the VU University in Amsterdam and the University of Oxford. Continue reading

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Reflections on the Blog Paradigm Change

Dear Reader: (Wed. noon):  Well we’ve moved, in the sort of piecemeal, unsettled manner that I suppose the error statistical philosophy favors: take the leap first, then be compelled to adjust by trial and error stress tests afterward.  As with all such progressive changes, while some of the old problems are solved, new and deeper problems appear; things that were easy to explain in the old paradigm are no longer explicable (as of yet), and some activities that were problem-free and predictable before, are now filled with puzzles and uncertainties.*I’m not throwing out this glorious old typing machine just yet however…it still serves in some areas as a kind of limiting case, and standard, when the exactitude of the new paradigm is scarcely needed.  Well, we’re stuck here now, no switching back you know once one has converted (though I may yet sneak back there from time to time)…Taking a day off to unpack all those boxes that the moving people brought over to this morning.

Best, Mayo

*Example, look at how I cannot seem to wrap the text around the picture—a trivially easy feat, 95% reliable, on the old paradigm; posting pictures is, again, fraught with novel problems.  Granted some of the most pervasive anomalies in the old paradigm  are now avoided…But at this point, I honestly cannot predict that this shift won’t turn out to be a degenerating one!

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Overheard on the Ogosphere

 In response to Christian Robert’s remark that the journal name Rationality,Markets and Morals (RMM)  is “a rather weird combination, esp. for a journal name!” (in his Jan. 21, 2012 post on Senn’s article in that same journal), a RMM journal editor Max Albert responds:

Max Albert Says: January22, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Dear xi’an,

I am a bit surprised that you consider “Rationality, markets and morals” as a “rather weird combination”. It is a classical combination of topics in economics and philosophy. And it seems to me that just now all the world is talking and writing about it. Continue reading

Categories: metablog, phil sci | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Mixed Feelings Page: Overheard on the Blogosphere….

female philosopher of science

A reader sends me a discussion post from a website Butterflies and Wheels:Fighting Fashionable Nonsense

Luna the Cat says (Oct 22, 2011):

        I never had much time for philosophy, personally, until I got interested in the question of how do we know what we know, and the philosophy of science; and when I started looking more into that, I stumbled across Deborah Mayo, I was blown away at the rigorous logic of her thinking, and I have to admit to learning a great deal from reading her work.
        The thing that pisses me off is, nobody outside a very narrow field seems to know who she is, and I almost never see her name in discussions of the modern forms of philosophy of science, even when the discussion is all about the limits of falsification and Duhem’s problems, areas where her work is squarely situated. And when I have discussions with the occasional person who is interested in this kind of thing, I often get a reaction of “really? I’ve never heard of her; a woman, eh?”
And I cannot believe this is because of the quality of her work. Read some of it, judge for yourself.
        I’m so disheartened about the fact that sexism seems to be getting worse. I hate to say it, but I think JennieL might be right, there has been a kind of male backlash where some who don’t think women have any business intruding into such a serious field have gathered and made an immovable and hostile cohort. But that’s just so damned backwards.

Dear Luna the Cat: Get in touch!  I’ll send you a copy of my new book!:

Categories: phil sci | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Censorship of science?

Does this really count as censorship of science? Is it warranted? Likely to be effective in avoiding “Contagion”?

The government advisory board that oversees biosecurity in the U.S. is asking the scientific journals Nature and Science to censor details of recent studies on bird flu due to concerns about biological terrorism. Researchers created mutations of the H5N1 virus, making it transferable between mammals through the air. In 60 percent of human cases, this strain of avian flu is fatal. At present, only 350 people worldwide have died because of the flu, only because it can be contracted via direct contact with infected birds.

                D. A. Henderson, Christine Gorman

Categories: phil sci | Tags: | 1 Comment

Thinking of Eating Meat Causes Antisocial Behavior?

One of the faculty members here in The Netherlands (Richard Gill) told me about this social scientist (Diederik Stapel) who long fabricated data purporting to provide evidence for things like: thinking of eating meat causes anti-social behavior.  He was only very recently fired.  My cynical question is: isn’t there enough latitude in any data purporting to provide evidence for such claims to avoid the need for outright fabrication? Continue reading

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Driven in this rather far-out pink Hummer car rental (not my idea, but cute–takes deisel too), I quickly got to the Zurich airport.  Next stop: a workshop on error in the sciences ( Lorentz Center in the Netherlands). Now last week I’d read that there was a fairly blatant error in the statistical analysis (or in the prediction) involved in the experiments on faster-than-the speed-of-light-particles by the OPERA group (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus), but now it appears there is back-tracking on the back-tracking.   What do readers think? Can anyone update me on this?  (Hunches ok too.)

Categories: phil sci | Tags: | 2 Comments

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