Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Be wary of simple explanations of how carefully developed theory is clearly and absurdly wrong

Steve Landsburg has a rather unique take on the world, most recently manifested by this piece.  It was then counter attacked by Daniel Kuehn, Brad DeLong, Paul Krugman, and Mark Thoma.  One thing that this episode teaches us is that we should remain skeptical about simple explanations about why everything we think we know is wrong (or that well established theories immediately lead to absurd conclusions).  It can happen, of course, but these sort of amazing results are a) rare and b) usually the result of painstaking work. 

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