Only empirical evidence counts

Michael Stevens, a philosopher, writing at Aeon: Indeed, I conjecture, modern science arose in the 17th century, in the course of the so-called Scientific Revolution, precisely because it stumbled upon the extraordinary motivating power of ‘only empirical evidence counts’ – a story I tell in my book The Knowledge Machine (2020). For thousands of years, […]

What “evidence-based” thinking leaves out

A few loosely related items I was reading today… Zeynep Tufekci makes the case against election forecasts, and says this: This is where weather and electoral forecasts start to differ. For weather, we have fundamentals — advanced science on how atmospheric dynamics work — and years of detailed, day-by-day, even hour-by-hour data from a vast […]

3 very different views of economic models

The first is a famous one, from Milton Friedman, via Justin Fox’s The Myth of the Rational Market: [T]he relevant question to ask about the “assumptions of a theory is not whether they are descriptively “realistic,” for they never are, but whether they are sufficiently good approximations for the purpose at hand. And this question […]