tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1030220433025894048.post8968257871904522581..comments2023-11-03T08:02:25.369-04:00Comments on AmericanScience: A Team Blog: Silver Linings and the Statistical PlaybookDavid Roth Singermanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/12841041983824755867noreply@blogger.comBlogger2125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1030220433025894048.post-62322741575964782212013-01-28T14:02:55.083-05:002013-01-28T14:02:55.083-05:00Excellent thoughts.
I also appreciated the way Si...Excellent thoughts.<br /><br />I also appreciated the way Silver acts as a guide through the weeds and couldn't agree more on the fact that fancy doesn't imply quality or substitute for careful thought. It is not too hard to come up with examples of complicated models that failed even in their basic assumptions, let along predictions. I definitely wanted to think more carefully, though, about the claim that Silver is showing us the way, acting as a prophet with access to somehow deeper truths. Or even the idea that we are slowly but surely converging on some ultimate truth through these models. I think that's the problem with his idea of "convergence" or with the number fiddling--that somehow with enough of it we're going to get to the bottom of things. The claim that he makes in his book that the truth stays constant as the noise increases--so we just need to get better at filtering--comes across as a rather naive epistemology.Christopher Phillipsnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1030220433025894048.post-35760555640188494812013-01-26T15:00:44.191-05:002013-01-26T15:00:44.191-05:00Thanks for this Christopher. I enjoyed it.
Am I ...Thanks for this Christopher. I enjoyed it. <br /><br />Am I right in detecting an underlying question/critique of what Ted Porter talks about as the problem of "technicality": that too much science ends being reserved for the consideration of a technically trained few, and not enough exists in a place that's truly susceptible to wide-spread discussion and debate? So Silver becomes a champion of "reality," but it's a reality that few others can understand or recreate...<br /><br />I think you're right about the large-scale effects of model proliferation. I was, still, generally impressed with Silver's 538 posts precisely because he did entertain (and discuss and investigate) the performative aspects of modeling and polling. He mentioned often that polls tend to cluster around consensus numbers (which seems to denote fiddling the numbers on some pollsters part so as not to stand out). And he also noted that his predictions were shaping the Intrade betting lines (and other betting markets too) that he sometimes used as a point of comparison.<br /><br />On the math/equations line of discussion, I also take your point and I think it speaks more to the "technicality" of the situation that the book and 538 had so few particulars about mathematical mechanics. Still, I often appreciated 538 most b/c of the very deep in the weeds discussions there of criteria for evaluating and rating data from a variety of sources. This struck me as old school "statistics"---the sort of stuff that a pre-WWII statistician spent his or her time doing most often. And I sometimes think we have grown too enamored with fancy mathematics, to the detriment of thinking about the collection and evaluation of data in the first place. In that way (but only that way), I appreciate the hidden mathematics.<br /><br />Thanks again for providing so much food for thought.Danhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/05217832960135325575noreply@blogger.com