This is fun.

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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05 October 2018 04:27
 

Looks like they did it right this time.  I guess the question is: what’s the difference between wrong ideas and stupid ideas, and what does publishing stupid ideas say about the prevalence of stupid ideas in a field?

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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05 October 2018 05:21
 

What should be the result?
Make it harder to publish?


Just because something is published doesn’t mean that researchers in the field take it seriously. The effort put in to show the drawbacks of an open system could have been used so much better to do actual research.

I have no sympathy for such displays of self-righteousness.

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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05 October 2018 05:43
 
Twissel - 05 October 2018 05:21 AM

What should be the result?
Make it harder to publish?


Just because something is published doesn’t mean that researchers in the field take it seriously. The effort put in to show the drawbacks of an open system could have been used so much better to do actual research.

I have no sympathy for such displays of self-righteousness.

.

That something is published after peer review is de facto a statement that it should be taken seriously by the field.  That’s what peer review is.  So the question stands.  What does it say about a field, if anything, if stupid ideas routinely make it through the screening process that assigns de facto importance to ideas?

 
Twissel
 
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05 October 2018 05:54
 

what about something genuinely new?
It might be stupid or revolutionary; if your priority is keeping standards high, you might hamper progress.


It is not like we are running out of wood to write paper; search engines make it very easy to find only what you want and ignore the rest.
I really don’t see the problem. It is only lazy journalists who want to think that whatever got published must be accurate.


Historically, the point of a publication is to allow other scientists to reproduce, and either confirm or falsify the results. The duty of the reviewers is only to assure that there is enough data and method description to allow for that - they should never have to do the experiments themselves before accepting a paper.
We need to give more credit to reproducing results, not making it harder to publish in the first place.

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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05 October 2018 06:18
 
Twissel - 05 October 2018 05:54 AM

what about something genuinely new?
It might be stupid or revolutionary; if your priority is keeping standards high, you might hamper progress.


It is not like we are running out of wood to write paper; search engines make it very easy to find only what you want and ignore the rest.
I really don’t see the problem. It is only lazy journalists who want to think that whatever got published must be accurate.


Historically, the point of a publication is to allow other scientists to reproduce, and either confirm or falsify the results. The duty of the reviewers is only to assure that there is enough data and method description to allow for that - they should never have to do the experiments themselves before accepting a paper.
We need to give more credit to reproducing results, not making it harder to publish in the first place.

What you say here applies more to the sciences than the humanities.  Yes, in the sciences peer review does not insure a finding is right, only that it meets acceptable scientific standards for posing questions, and that it’s a novel result, or a result that confirms or falsifies another result—that sort of thing.  It keeps the field running.  It’s goal is to keep redundant, time wasting, and, in the extreme, stupid ideas out. 

What articles like those in the Sokal Squared experimental call into question is how well this gate keeping functions in the humanities, specifically in the field of the humanities they published in.  What does it say about the customary consumption of stupid ideas if stupid ideas can so easily enter the field? In essence these guys are raising an interesting, even if in the end a futile question.  They are asking, in effect, how well is the system functioning if time-wasting ideas are entering the field for others to waste their time on?  What does it say about people not only willing to but apparently devoted to wasting everyone else’s time, so to speak.  Just instead of wasting time, per se, it’s poluting rational discussion with stupid ideas, which more or less amounts to the same thing.

At work here is the distinction between a potentially wrong and an evidently stupid idea.  No one, as far as I can tell, is saying that publication should be a presumption of being right; that peer review should catch wrong ideas.  But it should carry the presumption of not being stupid.  Perhaps the issue is how to tell the difference.

 

[ Edited: 05 October 2018 06:29 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
GAD
 
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05 October 2018 07:00
 

Hilarious! I could see every woman and about half the men here posting these studies and arguing for them, I’d call bullshit, then be called a jerk and told these are from professionals who know more then me. Then when it came out that it was a hoax they would post through hoops to try find some positives they could rationalize to save themselves from looking like dumb-ass agenda extremest.

 
 
Twissel
 
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05 October 2018 09:42
 

I consider most publications in the Humanities more Art than Science - no need to crack down.

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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05 October 2018 11:11
 
Twissel - 05 October 2018 09:42 AM

I consider most publications in the Humanities more Art than Science - no need to crack down.

I’m not calling for any action, much less indicting an entire field (which may be the author’s intent, but not mine; I have yet to read their interpretation).  Just raising the question that seems to follow from the experiment.

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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05 October 2018 23:03
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 05 October 2018 06:18 AM

At work here is the distinction between a potentially wrong and an evidently stupid idea.  No one, as far as I can tell, is saying that publication should be a presumption of being right; that peer review should catch wrong ideas.  But it should carry the presumption of not being stupid.  Perhaps the issue is how to tell the difference.

As an outsider I would say we gets the peer-review we deserve.

One word sticks out as the least defined term. How is stupidity quantified? One answer stands out in the article.

The successful (hence not stupid) con-artist boasted about one particular element of its success. It was ten months in the making. That suggests that if had been ten days in the making, it would have been stupid and no one would hear of it. If sufficient time had been given to the review process, the con may have failed.

We could give stupid more bite by saying “any task that is performed for less than its necessary duration is stupid”. Wasting time on stupid is the only way to spot it. Why not spot the duration factor as well? To any local perception, the Wright Brothers were wasting our time until it worked.

Why is everyone in such a big hurry? Is it to cover up the real problem of not having the stamina to see things through? Standards could be set. Full durations can be insisted on. Not only task time, but reasoning time as well. Ten months of short reasoning is still stupid.

How else can stupidity become something tangible to be dealt with tangibly? The mean average of our stamina is falling. Durations are shortening. Soon, we will know things are stupid but we will be too stupid to know what to do about it. The clock is ticking. Slow down.

 
 
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06 October 2018 06:35
 
Nhoj Morley - 05 October 2018 11:03 PM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 05 October 2018 06:18 AM

At work here is the distinction between a potentially wrong and an evidently stupid idea.  No one, as far as I can tell, is saying that publication should be a presumption of being right; that peer review should catch wrong ideas.  But it should carry the presumption of not being stupid.  Perhaps the issue is how to tell the difference.

As an outsider I would say we gets the peer-review we deserve.

One word sticks out as the least defined term. How is stupidity quantified? One answer stands out in the article.

The successful (hence not stupid) con-artist boasted about one particular element of its success. It was ten months in the making. That suggests that if had been ten days in the making, it would have been stupid and no one would hear of it. If sufficient time had been given to the review process, the con may have failed.

We could give stupid more bite by saying “any task that is performed for less than its necessary duration is stupid”. Wasting time on stupid is the only way to spot it. Why not spot the duration factor as well? To any local perception, the Wright Brothers were wasting our time until it worked.

Why is everyone in such a big hurry? Is it to cover up the real problem of not having the stamina to see things through? Standards could be set. Full durations can be insisted on. Not only task time, but reasoning time as well. Ten months of short reasoning is still stupid.

How else can stupidity become something tangible to be dealt with tangibly? The mean average of our stamina is falling. Durations are shortening. Soon, we will know things are stupid but we will be too stupid to know what to do about it. The clock is ticking. Slow down.

I don’t think stupidity needs to be quantified to be intuited, nor do I think it’s quite right to say the Wright brothers looked stupid until it worked.  But I do agree we need to slow down if we are going to do what we need to do about stupidity.  These two things are connected for me.

First, I don’t think stupidity can be nor usefully needs to be quantified in order to be recognized, but it does need some kind of operationalization if we are going to do anything about it.  For instance, I’ve intuitively known some arguments I’ve encountered are stupid, but until I took the time to work out that intuition in terms of why those ideas were wrong, this stupidity was just an intuition that could have been anything.  So operationally I would say that stupidity is exposed, not just recognized, when the underlying error it relies on is exposed.  And that exposure takes time. 

Second, if one just glanced at what the Wright brothers were doing, powered flight might have looked stupid.  But to someone who took the time to know the Navier-Stokes equations (established at the time) and the actuality of glided flight (the Wright brothers did hundreds), one would have seen, intuitively, that powered flight was not stupid, just technically difficult.  So taking the time to know background knowledge prior to intuiting both prevents stupidity and affords differentiating evident stupidity from novelty—a differentiating germane to this particular discussion.

So yes, if you are saying slow down, then slowing down both before and after making judgments stands the best chance of avoiding stupidity and exposing stupidity for what it is, if it’s not avoided.  Having this in mind informs, I think, the utility of what these authors did.  Specifically, did they go about calling attention to stupidity in the right way, as in: parody in general versus case-by-case exposure?

(And to clarify, when I said “right” before I was referring to submitting multiple articles to multiple peer-reviews journals, the more prestigious the better—no “pay-to-play” outlets.  Before they used a pay-to-play after being rejected by a prestigious journal.)

[ Edited: 06 October 2018 07:54 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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07 October 2018 12:00
 

That’s a reasonable reply. I’m not sure who’s intuition I want to trust.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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07 October 2018 16:24
 

I think it’s bad strategy. We already have a crisis of mis trust and hyper partisan ship and victim identity politics. We already have a myriad of factions who are convinced that the other factions conspire against them. This will provide some fleeting satisfaction and some talking points among certain groups but I don’t think it’s solution oriented on the larger scale.

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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08 October 2018 03:29
 
Brick Bungalow - 07 October 2018 04:24 PM

I think it’s bad strategy. We already have a crisis of mis trust and hyper partisan ship and victim identity politics. We already have a myriad of factions who are convinced that the other factions conspire against them. This will provide some fleeting satisfaction and some talking points among certain groups but I don’t think it’s solution oriented on the larger scale.

You might be right.  I ask the question because I really don’t know the answer.  The “fun” I was referring to is all the predictable parties reacting in their predictable ways (Pinker, for instance, is already at it). 

I am reminded of missing Jon Stewart.  Instead of fact checking the errors and correcting the unwavering bias of Fox News and other conservative outlets (his favorite target being hypocrisy), he would make comedy of it, sort of a parody.  In this way, the audience could appreciate right away what was wrong with the parodied subject matter without having to exert much, if any, effort.  Will these articles have a similar effect?  Will they highlight the absurdities that pass as “knowledge” in the post-modern “grievance studies”?  To do so, they would have to be representative, and whether they are is precisely the question.  In any case, representative sample parody is kind of a blunt instrument that would swing disposition against an entire field, leaving it possible that some bona fide good ideas get lost in the sweep.  But if the hoax articles are representative, is that such a bad thing?  Just the balance of costs, so to speak.

Alternatively, one could parody the bad ideas one by one, but that would take prohibitive time.  But it would make sure that non-stupid ideas don’t get missed.  And what outlet for that is there anyway?

I think the impossibility of this task is why, in part, Stewart moved on to other things.  How satisfying can it be to parody nonsense and relieve its impact through comedy when non-sense and stupidity just keeps being generated, despite your efforts?  Who would want to take on case by case the bad ideas in post-modern “grievance studies”?  And what effect could that or the alternative representative sample attack even have?

 

[ Edited: 08 October 2018 13:57 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
icehorse
 
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16 October 2018 16:12
 
Brick Bungalow - 07 October 2018 04:24 PM

I think it’s bad strategy. We already have a crisis of mis trust and hyper partisan ship and victim identity politics. We already have a myriad of factions who are convinced that the other factions conspire against them. This will provide some fleeting satisfaction and some talking points among certain groups but I don’t think it’s solution oriented on the larger scale.

I think we might also have a crisis in the humanities, and they could use a bucket of cold water poured over their collective heads.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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19 October 2018 01:00
 
icehorse - 16 October 2018 04:12 PM
Brick Bungalow - 07 October 2018 04:24 PM

I think it’s bad strategy. We already have a crisis of mis trust and hyper partisan ship and victim identity politics. We already have a myriad of factions who are convinced that the other factions conspire against them. This will provide some fleeting satisfaction and some talking points among certain groups but I don’t think it’s solution oriented on the larger scale.

I think we might also have a crisis in the humanities, and they could use a bucket of cold water poured over their collective heads.

I don’t disagree but this isn’t water. It’s gasoline.

 
icehorse
 
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19 October 2018 06:54
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 08 October 2018 03:29 AM
Brick Bungalow - 07 October 2018 04:24 PM

I think it’s bad strategy. We already have a crisis of mis trust and hyper partisan ship and victim identity politics. We already have a myriad of factions who are convinced that the other factions conspire against them. This will provide some fleeting satisfaction and some talking points among certain groups but I don’t think it’s solution oriented on the larger scale.

You might be right.  I ask the question because I really don’t know the answer.  The “fun” I was referring to is all the predictable parties reacting in their predictable ways (Pinker, for instance, is already at it). 

I am reminded of missing Jon Stewart.  Instead of fact checking the errors and correcting the unwavering bias of Fox News and other conservative outlets (his favorite target being hypocrisy), he would make comedy of it, sort of a parody.  In this way, the audience could appreciate right away what was wrong with the parodied subject matter without having to exert much, if any, effort.  Will these articles have a similar effect?  Will they highlight the absurdities that pass as “knowledge” in the post-modern “grievance studies”?  To do so, they would have to be representative, and whether they are is precisely the question.  In any case, representative sample parody is kind of a blunt instrument that would swing disposition against an entire field, leaving it possible that some bona fide good ideas get lost in the sweep.  But if the hoax articles are representative, is that such a bad thing?  Just the balance of costs, so to speak.

Alternatively, one could parody the bad ideas one by one, but that would take prohibitive time.  But it would make sure that non-stupid ideas don’t get missed.  And what outlet for that is there anyway?

I think the impossibility of this task is why, in part, Stewart moved on to other things.  How satisfying can it be to parody nonsense and relieve its impact through comedy when non-sense and stupidity just keeps being generated, despite your efforts?  Who would want to take on case by case the bad ideas in post-modern “grievance studies”?  And what effect could that or the alternative representative sample attack even have?

It seems to me that the way to fight this war is to attempt to bring sunlight in - in the large - as opposed to on a case by case basis. Whether you’re a teacher or a student, when considering taking or teaching a topic, the first question ought to be: “By the end of this course, what will the student have learned to DO”. I think that by demanding an answer to that question, a lot of nonsense can be forestalled.