A proof that nobody can verify would seem to be a problem.
I agree with this:
. . . we should steer clear of two extremes: a science cargo cult, where we think if we only imitate the moves of physicists we will understand everything, and an anti-intellectualism that rejects all experimental findings.
Two points I found especially noteworthy. One:
Behavioral science has many weaknesses unique to itself. Remember that the point of the discipline is to discover general truths that will be useful in predicting human behavior. More than 70 percent of the world’s published psychology studies are generated in the United States. Two-thirds of them draw their subjects exclusively from the pool of U.S. undergraduates, according to a survey by a Canadian economist named Joseph Henrich and two colleagues. And most of those are students who enroll in psychology classes. White, most of them; middle- or upper-class; college educated, with a taste for social science: not John Q. Public.
Milgram, his admirers believed, had unmasked the Nazi within us all.
Did he? A formidable sample of more than 600 subjects took part in his original study, Milgram said. As the psychologist Gina Perry pointed out in a devastating account, Beyond the Shock Machine, the number was misleading. The 65 percent figure came from a “baseline” experiment; the 600 were spread out across more than a dozen other experiments that were variations of the baseline. A large majority of the 600 did not increase the voltage to inflict severe pain. As for the the participants in the baseline experiment who did inflict the worst shocks, they were 65 percent of a group of only 40 subjects. They were all male, most of them college students, who had been recruited through a newspaper advertisement and paid $4.50 to participate.
The famous 65 percent thus comprised 26 men. How we get from the 26 Yalies in a New Haven psych lab to the antisemitic psychosis of Nazi Germany has never been explained.
(A minor note: whether Mengele had to be ordered to do what he did is cast in doubt by the fine analysis of Albert Breton and Ronald Wintrobe, "The Bureaucracy of Murder Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, October 1986.)
Related and about economics: "Coping With Unreplicability" and "Why aren’t there more retractions in business and economics journals?"
"MASSIVE GLOBAL COOLING process discovered as Paris climate deal looms".
"Perth electrical engineer’s discovery will change climate change debate".
Both links via Jerry Pournelle.
"For someone who has neither a physics nor math background, what sequence of books I would have to read to actually understand string theory"
I guess I won't be making the time.
"Suppose the probability of a fatal plane crash is 1/100,000, and all flights are independent of each other. . . ."
". . . You are considering a career as a pilot who will fly 100,000 flights in a lifetime. What is the probability that you will be killed in a crash?"
Interesting discussion and perhaps a good example for an elementary stats class.
"Failed Climate Scientists Call For RICO Investigation To Stop Criticisms, And Non-Scientist Claims Scientists Will Cause Next Genocide"
William M. Briggs posts a fine response to some Global Warming Fascists. It starts this way:
If I ever meet NCAR’s Keven Trenberth (again), I’m going to punch him in the mouth. Same thing if I cross paths with Rutgers’ Alan Robock. Pow! Right in the kisser. I’m too much of a gentleman to pop one across the chops of University of Maryland’s Eugenia Kalnay, but she has it coming.
These cowards, these inferior intellects, these cry babies, these poor losers, these promulgators of a failed science want to sic the full force and might of United States Government on persons like yours truly and the companies or organizations that might fund me. (None do, unfortunately.)
There is a lot of good stuff at Mr. Briggs's site. In particular, there's great reading on Global Warming. See, for examples, these:
(Initial link courtesy of Michael Greenspan.)
And the policy recommendation was . . .? Less carbon usage.
The questions vary, but the answer from some folks never changes.
Link via Sarah Hoyt blogging at Instapundit.
Just amazing: "Using the WMAP data, scientists estimated the age of the universe to be 13.772 billion years, plus or minus 59 million years."