A modest proposal

As long as Science magazine continues to run articles of doubtful quality applying simplistic mathematical models to social science, the APSR should run silly articles by political scientists proposing new theories of biology, physics, etc.

8 Responses to A modest proposal

  1. kerokan August 3, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    “Principal – Agent Problem Goes to the Petridish”

  2. Jose Camoes Silva August 3, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    I don’t know about APSR, but isn’t that what most television shows do? I recall lawyers (members of congress and other politicians) talking about cosmology (origin of the universe) and biology (origin of species); actors discussing meteorology, biology, and physics, in addition to mechanical engineering (how many MPG cars should have), computer engineering (internet security, when their accounts are hacked) and

    Drumroll, please…

    MEDICINE (I forget, what medical qualifications — other than being the recipient of many plastic surgeries — does Jenny McCarthy have to discuss epidemiology?)


    Adding this to the post I wrote in comment to AG’s comment yesterday, at http://josecamoessilva.tumblr.com/post/8455902121/

    • tom August 4, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

      There is a big difference between (a) a celebrity or politician making claims about biology or cosmology and (b) a leading peer-reviewed journal publishing academic research. The former constitutes unconstrained statements of opinion while the latter constitutes statements of findings whose scientific validity has purportedly been vetted through the review process. If an observer wants to imbue statements of opinion with credibility because he/she likes the source, that’s fine. But, such statements do not come with the same a priori credentials that a peer-reviewed publication does.

      • Andrew Gelman August 4, 2011 at 9:33 pm #


        I don’t think Science or Nature will publish b.s. biology or physics, but when it comes to social science, they’re suckers for a just-so story and a slick graph.

        • dfphil August 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

          However, Science and Nature with their stature can give weight to results they would not otherwise have. Work gets done on occasion because it can be published there. Not wrong but distorting.

  3. Andrew Hartwell August 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    On this note, my impression is that many of the most popular books purporting to debunk anthropogenic climate change are written by lawyers and economists, not scientists in relevant fields. The same goes for the “intelligent design” crowd.

  4. Mike August 14, 2011 at 3:22 am #


  5. Mahendra kumar August 17, 2011 at 2:47 am #

    biology play important role in crimes and help police.