Biography vs. hagiography

"The Surprising Value of Obvious Insights"

The narrative on gender bias

I've been keeping an eye on Brian Earp's work for years, as he's got a very nuanced approach to things. Recently one of the papers that he was first author on, Gender Bias in Pediatric Pain Assessment, got picked up by quite a few prominent media outlets who consistently misreported the paper's results to fit the politically narrative. Here's a thread he put together on how to better interpret the results:

I think he's appropriately cynical, as per this recent update that if the study had found the opposite results those too would likely have be interpreted also to fit the narrative - and thought more about how certain elements of current theory might be unfalsifiable.

A few years back Earp authored The unbearable asymmetry of bullshit, which looks at how activists can push false narratives in science1 so I don't think he's exactly been caught off guard that certain things might have been distorted. (I do sort of wonder if he's come to regret having earlier referred a journalist to that boring predictable ideologue Kate Manne though).

It seems to be a bad week for the New York Times's credibility. In another article asserting sexism it seems that a study which is likely fraudulent / non-existant was cited. It was soon acknowledged by the journalist who wrote the piece as a solid critique but a number of days later now the article still remains uncorrected. (EDIT: the journalist in question has now mentioned a correction though my cached copy still shows the error). (It's been a pretty bad week in general for politically correct narratives re: sexism - i.e. someone looking into research on whether blind auditions improved the hiring of female musicians - perhaps the most commonly-cited paper I've heard suggesting that blinding people to the identity of those they're evaluating - found that the figures supposedly supporting this were at least ambiguous and in part in conflict with the narrative).

  1. As far as activists pushing bullshit goes, he's probably most focused on the issue of circumcision ↩︎

Chomsky on whether people should listen to him

If anybody thinks they should listen to me because I'm a professor at MIT, that's nonsense. You should decide whether something makes sense by its content, not by the letters after the name of the person who says it. - Noam Chomsky

(Don't think everything Chomsky says is worth listening to, but do at least find some of it interesting).


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