"..While Wegman's advice -- to use trained statisticians in studies reliant
on statistics -- may seem too obvious to need stating, the "science is
settled" camp resists it. Mann's hockey-stick graph may be wrong, many
experts now acknowledge, but they assert that he nevertheless came to the
To which Wegman, and doubtless others who want more rigourous science, shake
their heads in disbelief. As Wegman summed it up to the energy and commerce
committee in later testimony: "I am baffled by the claim that the incorrect
method doesn't matter because the answer is correct anyway. Method Wrong +
Answer Correct = Bad Science." With bad science, only true believers can
assert that they nevertheless obtained the right answer."
Somewhere, I have a report card from grade 11 Physics that criticized me for
jumping to "usually correct" conclusions without doing the boring
methodological work carefully. Prof. "Phizzy" Hiltz said that it wasn't
acceptable in a scientific context.
Is this a complaint? Seems to me, from my high school and college
science courses that Prof. "Phizzy" was correct...because how would you
KNOW you were correct without being able to show the steps to correctness.
I remember taking Advance Placement tests. It was drilled into us
during test prep to show our work...because we'd get points for correct
methodology, even if we had a stupid math mistake.
If the science is wrong, then the results, no matter how correct they
appear, are still wrong--in the sense that they were arrived at
incorrectly and cannot be verified/falsified. A stopped watch is right
twice a day...
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