Wednesday, September 1, 2010


It is the start of the school year and time to read something non-epidemiological or statistical. So, being me, I decided to read Yves Smith's new book Econned. I'll let you know what I think but reading the introduction this morning suggests that the book is off to a strong start. The best quote so far:

Theories that fly in the face of reality often need to excise inconvenient phenomena, and mainstream economics is no exception.

This quote reminds me of Karl Popper's thinking; one often learn more based on what does not fit your theory then from what does (i.e. falsification). This principle is hard to follow in very complex fields (like economics and epidemiology) where you are guaranteed to have at least some mismatches and disconfirming evidence for everything. But it is good to cultivate a sense of humility about our models!

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