David R. Henderson  

Two Favorite Lines of the Week

Nikita Khrushchev on War... Tennessee's Roving Bandits...

1. From the blogosphere:

Look, I think we should assume honesty of scientific peers until we have reason not to.

This is from Daniel Kuehn's excellent statement of the strengths and weaknesses of the Conley and Dupor paper on the employment effects of the 2009 "stimulus" bill. One highlight from Daniel's analysis:
The point is, I think everyone is missing the biggest problem with this paper: state level analyses can't capture (1.) interstate effects, and (2.) impacts on national markets.

BTW, even though I love the line about honesty I quoted above, my own working assumption is slightly different. I would say that we should give a 90% probability to the idea that scientific peers are honest until we have reason to lower--or raise--that percent.

2. From "The Middle," one of my favorite shows on TV. I thought of co-blogger Bryan and author Lenore Skenazy and grinned when I heard this. The line comes after the parents have given up trying to get their son to cross a bridge that he's afraid of crossing:

Sometimes quitting can be the best form of parenting.

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (7 to date)
Rimfax writes:


I think that the Wikipedia behavioral guidelines are a remarkably overlooked source of solutions to these kinds of adversarial collaboration problems.

Pandaemoni writes:

I told my doctor today that I give it only a 90% chance that he's not lying to me about my health. Though I said it with a smile, he didn't look especially happy with me.

Shangwen writes:

David, Lenore Skenazy now has her own TV show in Canada.

Babinich writes:

Look, I think we should assume honesty of scientific peers until we have reason not to.

We have reason not to: Autism (Lancet), Global Warming (East Anglia) & stem cells (stem cells from a cloned human embryo circa 2004).

David R. Henderson writes:

What you should have said is that we have reason not to for specific people. That doesn't undercut Daniel's point except to the extent that it drives toward my 90% solution.

Babinich writes:


I am unaware of the recidivism rate for scientific grifters. I'd like to think in this matter it's one strike and your out.

Therefore, I am not sure how one identifies 'specific people' before they attempt the grift.

Think about the implications of believing the aforementioned discoveries: parent refusing to inoculate their children, economies placed in peril because of a misallocation of resources & God knows what events unfold because genetic manipulation.

I've not gone dark on every peer review, it's just that my faith has been shaken.

As President Ronald Reagan would say: "Trust, but verify."

Daniel Kuehn writes:

I could accept a 90% presumption :)

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