Philosophy of science

Effect Measure

Category archives for Philosophy of science

Robby, while you’re up, get me a Grant

The Robby in the title refers to Robby the Robot in the 1956 movie, Forbidden Planet, and what follows was a tag line in an ad for Grant’s whiskey: “While you’re up, get me a Grant’s.” That’s in case you’ve forgotten or never knew. I’m still working on the grant, doing things it feels like…

Objective reporting and science

The Reveres consider themselves progressives (check the masthead), a word used for people who believe government has a role to play to make the world better, but also tend to be social libertarians. Many scientists and doctors are progressive in that sense. But it’s a mighty big tent, and apparently covers some folks whose politics…

[Previous installments: here, here, here, here, here] After a detour through the meaning of causation and the need to find a substitute for what can’t, in principle, be observed (the counterfactual), we are now ready to consider what many of you might have thought would be the starting point, randomization. It’s a surprisingly difficult topic…

Let me start with an apology. This post is again fairly long (for a blog post). Blog readers don’t like long posts (at least I don’t). But once I started writing about this I was unable to stop at some intermediary point, although I might have made it more concise and less conversational. I haven’t…

A rant about science educators

A piece online in The Scientist is an example of silly handwringing by science educators. James Williams, who describes himself as a science educator who trains science graduates to become science teachers, despairs because most trainee teachers he teaches don’t have a clue about what makes science “science.” He has been surveying them and reports:

BPA, causation and scientific reasoning

Steve Novella at Science-Based Medicine, a level headed and judicious advocate of better use of scientific evidence in clinical medicine, has written his own view of the BPA issue we covered in a post the other day. Orac pointed to it in the comments as “another take” on the issue. We aren’t sure if he…

Wherein I respond to Orac’s counter-attack

[This is a very long post, a reply to Orac’s (my respected SciBling at Respectful Insolence) equally long response to my also long original post that invited him to tell us what he thought separated his brand of medicine from the “alties” he frequently posts about. Probably most of you won’t have the patience to…

Chicken soup for the soulless

I would be embarrassed by this cheap and easy post about chicken soup for symptoms of cold and flu, but I have a more serious purpose. I want to ask ScienceBlogger colleagues who inveigh constantly against alternative medicine (or “woo” as orac at Respectful Insolence insists on calling it) what they think of this and…