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View Diary: Rush Limbaugh is right about Jason Richwine, Ph.D. (84 comments)

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  •  For the record, (16+ / 0-)
    the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.
    ALL predictions are impossible to argue against since there are no facts associated with something that hasn't happened.  

    However, it is perhaps noteworthy that the inability to distinguish between past, present and future seems quite characteristic of academics whose tutelage consists largely of accumulating and regurgitating data which require no processing. So, for example, the case study system of preparation for lawyers seems entirely suited to people who memorize reams of information for a profession that relies on precedent. Accountancy also seems well suited to individuals whose brains specialize in accumulating data in preestablished discrete categories. Psychiatry has a manual of categories into which patients are shoved and now the manual itself is being dismissed so psychiatrists can be refocused to pay attention to what's actually going on in the brain. Economics is convinced that it is an objective science because it reduces everything to numbers that are easy to count while ignoring that many of its assumptions and categories are false.

    The social sciences have a common problem. Their scholars think that because something can be measured, the measurement has meaning. Also, quantification is easy.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:33:59 AM PDT

    •  Amen, and tell it to the reformy education types (6+ / 0-)

      like Bill Gates.

    •  This is my main beef with "data driven..." (4+ / 0-)

      Data driven education takes this idea and then attempts to pay teachers for results.  

      My wife is dealing with some new requirements this year, and I bet these new requirements that have been put in place across the country will lead to qualified people not going into teaching.


      by otto on Sun May 12, 2013 at 06:55:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  For the record, really... (0+ / 0-)

      It is perfectly possible and common to argue against predictions before the facts are in. If you predict 100 heads in a row based on your latest theory of coin flippery, I would "argue against" your prediction using probability theory...and win. In this case, the argument is about the predictive model, so we don't need to wait for the coin.

      I would also argue against your overly broad and unfair characterization of scholars in the social sciences: "because something can be measured, the measurement has meaning." Typically, a metric is considered meaningful not because it exists, but because its utility has actually been demonstrated: for example, the relationship between the metric, "years of education" and employment and earnings is well established. Now, we can very effectively measure the circumference of your head and map the lumps on your scalp, but scholars today would not think that measurement has any meaning...they ruled that out a long time ago.

      IQ is a relatively useful measure of cognitive ability for some populations. Richwine assumes the meaning of IQ is generalizable across diverse populations. Fortunately, social scientists who measure stuff are picking apart those kinds of assumptions. Quantification is easy (sort of), but that is not the goal of the vast majority of social scientists. We seek meaningful measures.

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