Weitermachen Sanssouci

18 February, 2019 at 10:11 | Posted in Education & School | Leave a comment


This satirical film is not far from reality today. Most of us working within the universities have for a long time been aware of what the degradation of teaching and research do to both students and teachers. [h/t Steve Keen]

Why I am not a Bayesian

17 February, 2019 at 18:20 | Posted in Theory of Science & Methodology | 7 Comments

What I do not believe is that the relation that matters is simply the entailment relation between the theory, on the one hand, and the evidence on the other. The reasons that the relation cannot be simply that of entailment are exactly the reasons why the hypothetico-deductive account … is inaccurate; but the suggestion is at least correct in sensing that our judgment of the relevance of evidence to theory depends on the perception of a structural connection between the two, and that degree of belief is, at best, epiphenomenal. In the determination of the bearing of evidence on theory there seem to be mechanisms and strategems that have no apparent connection with degrees of belief, which are shared alike by people advocating different theories. Save for the most radical innovations, scientists seem to be in close agreement regarding what would or would not be evidence relevant to a novel theory; claims as to the relevance to some hypothesis of some observation or experiment are frequently buttressed by detailed calculations and arguments.e905b578f6 All of these features of the determination of evidential relevance suggest that that relation depends somehow on structural, objective features connecting statements of evidence and statements of theory. But if that is correct, what is really important and really interesting is what these structural features may be. The condition of positive relevance, even if it were correct, would simply be the least interesting part of what makes evidence relevant to theory.

None of these arguments is decisive against the Bayesian scheme of things … But taken together, I think they do at least strongly suggest that there must be relations between evidence and hypotheses that are important to scientific argument and to confirmation but to which the Bayesian scheme has not yet penetrated.

Clark Glymour

Libertarianism in perspective

17 February, 2019 at 18:12 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment


Räddaren i nöden

17 February, 2019 at 12:17 | Posted in Varia | Leave a comment

radioI dessa tider, när ljudrummet dränks i den kommersiella radions tyckmyckentrutade ordbajseri och pubertalflamsande tjafs, har man nästan gett upp.

Men det finns ljus i mörkret.

I programmet Text och musik med Eric Schüldt — som sänds på söndagsförmiddagarna i P2 mellan klockan 11 och 12 — kan man lyssna på seriös musik och en programledare som har något att säga och inte bara låter foderluckan glappa. Att få höra någon med intelligens och känsla tala om saker som vi alla går och bär på djupt inom oss — men nästan aldrig vågar prata om — är en lisa för själen.

Der Überirdische ist tot

17 February, 2019 at 10:41 | Posted in Varia | Leave a comment

Bruno Ganz (1941-2019). RIP.

In complete subjection to the ego

16 February, 2019 at 11:44 | Posted in Varia | Leave a comment

widmer8The illusion that egoists will be pleased, or flattered, by interest taken in their habits persists throughout life; whereas, in fact, persons like Widmerpool, in complete subjection to the ego, are, by the nature of that infirmity, prevented from supposing that the minds of others could possibly be occupied by any subject far distant from the egoist’s own affairs.

A Dance to the Music of Time

Guess we all have our​ own Widmerpools among friends and acquaintances​ …

Sveriges drygaste

15 February, 2019 at 23:51 | Posted in Varia | Leave a comment

horJag avskyr människor med dålig ekonomi och gör mitt bästa för att undvika dem … Höjdpunkten är när de faller i gråt vid anblicken av den samlade mängden obetalda räkningar och skyhöga räntor på lättvindiga lån. När jag ser dessa dagdrömmande våp, längtar jag efter de riktiga människorna, de fattiga och de rika, som vet vilka de är och lever utan illusioner.

Horace Engdahl

Fat arms science …

15 February, 2019 at 18:47 | Posted in Statistics & Econometrics | 4 Comments

fat-fucking-armOver human evolutionary history, upper-body strength has been a major component of fighting ability. Evolutionary models of animal conflict predict that actors with greater fighting ability will more actively attempt to acquire or defend resources than less formidable contestants will. Here, we applied these models to political decision making about redistribution of income and wealth among modern humans. In studies conducted in Argentina, Denmark, and the United States, men with greater upper-body strength more strongly endorsed the self-beneficial position: Among men of lower socioeconomic status (SES), strength predicted increased support for redistribution; among men of higher SES, strength predicted increased opposition to redistribution. Because personal upper-body strength is irrelevant to payoffs from economic policies in modern mass democracies, the continuing role of strength suggests that modern political decision making is shaped by an evolved psychology designed for small-scale groups.

Michael Bang Petersen, Daniel Sznycer, Aaron Sell

Aren’t we just überjoyed research​ funding goes into performing this kind of immensely interesting and​ important studies …

The statistical crisis in science

15 February, 2019 at 18:11 | Posted in Statistics & Econometrics | Leave a comment


Such a great guy. If only more academics could be like you, Andrew!

Applied econometrics

15 February, 2019 at 10:06 | Posted in Economics | 1 Comment

The applied econometrician is like a farmer who notices that the yield is
somewhat higher under the trees where birds roost, and he uses this for evidence
that bird droppings increase the yield. However, when he presents his findings … another farmer … objects that he used the same data but came up with the conclusion that moderate amounts of shade increase the yields … A bright chap … then observes that these two hypotheses are indistinguishable, given the available data …

51pDIwWiNLL__SX313_BO1,204,203,200_The obvious response of course, albeit one that econometricians occupied with
fitting a line to given sets of data rarely contemplate, is to add the ‘available
data.’ Specifically, the aim must be to draw consequences for, and seek out
observations on, actual phenomena which allow the causal factor responsible to
be identified. If, for example, bird droppings is a relevant causal factor then we
could expect higher yields wherever birds roost. Perhaps there is a telegraph
wire that crosses the field which is heavily populated with roosting birds, but
which provides only negligible shade … The fact that it is not possible to
state categorically at this abstract level the precise conditions under which
substantive theories can be selected amongst, i.e., without knowing the contents
of the theories themselves or the nature or context of the conditions upon which
they bear, is an unfortunate fact of all science …

Science is a messy business. It requires an abundance of ingenuity, as well as patience, along with skills that may need to be developed on the job.

What is Post-Keynesian economics?

14 February, 2019 at 17:40 | Posted in Economics | Leave a comment


Rom i regnet (personal)

14 February, 2019 at 17:19 | Posted in Varia | Leave a comment


Fortfarande så underbart bra. Det är bara sluta ögonen och lyssna, så är man tillbaka i den värld och de upplevelser som var ens eget 70-tal. Tack Ulf!

Gretl — econometrics made easy

14 February, 2019 at 08:17 | Posted in Statistics & Econometrics | 1 Comment


Thanks to Allin Cottrell and Riccardo Lucchetti we today have access to a high-quality​ tool for doing and teaching econometrics — Gretl. And, best of all, it is totally free!

Gretl is up to the tasks you may have, so why spend money on expensive commercial programs?

The latest snapshot version of Gretl can be downloaded here.

[And yes, I do know there’s another fabulously good and free program — R. But R hasn’t got as nifty a GUI as Gretl — and at least for students, it’s more difficult to learn to handle and program. I do think it’s preferable when students are going to learn some basic econometrics to use Gretl so that they can concentrate more on ‘content’ rather than ‘technique.’]

The Tusk-Varoufakis exchange

14 February, 2019 at 07:54 | Posted in Politics & Society | 2 Comments


Man’s best friend

13 February, 2019 at 22:27 | Posted in Varia | Leave a comment


Winners Take All

13 February, 2019 at 19:07 | Posted in Economics | 2 Comments


The vain search​ for The Holy Grail of Science

13 February, 2019 at 17:40 | Posted in Theory of Science & Methodology | Leave a comment

Traditionally, philosophers have focused mostly on the logical template of inference. The paradigm-case has been deductive inference, which is topic-neutral and context-insensitive. The study of deductive rules has engendered the search for the Holy Grail: syntactic and topic-neutral accounts of all prima facie reasonable inferential rules. The search has hoped to find rules that are transparent and algorithmic, and whose following will just be a matter of grasping their logical form. Part of the search for the Holy Grail has been to show that the so-called scientific method can be formalised in a topic-neutral way. We are all familiar with Carnap’s inductive logic, or Popper’s deductivism or the Bayesian account of scientific method.

There is no Holy Grail to be found. There are many reasons for this pessimistic conclusion. First, it is questionable that deductive rules are rules of inference. Second, deductive logic is about updating one’s belief corpus in a consistent manner and not about what one has reasons to believe simpliciter. Third, as Duhem was the first to note, the so-called scientific method is far from algorithmic and logically transparent. Fourth, all attempts to advance coherent and counterexample-free abstract accounts of scientific method have failed. All competing accounts seem to capture some facets of scientific method, but none can tell the full story. Fifth, though the new Dogma, Bayesianism, aims to offer a logical template (Bayes’s theorem plus conditionalisation on the evidence) that captures the essential features of non-deductive inference, it is betrayed by its topic-neutrality. It supplements deductive coherence with the logical demand for probabilistic coherence among one’s degrees of belief. But this extended sense of coherence is (almost) silent on what an agent must infer or believe.

Stathis Psillos

Mobileländet i svenska skolor

12 February, 2019 at 18:25 | Posted in Education & School | Leave a comment

mobbeEfter att ha varit ute och besökt en rad skolor under några veckors tid kan yours truly inte låta bli att fundera över saker man skulle vilja ändra och förbättra. Och en och annan undran kan man ju också kosta på sig. Som t ex varför vi i vårt land inte följt det franska beslutet att totalförbjuda mobiltelefoner i skolan. Och nej, jag VET att mobilförbud inte löser skolans alla problem. Ingen vettig människa har någonsin sagt eller trott det.

Forskning på området visar att de som framför allt förlorar på den störning mobiltelefoner ger upphov till i klassrummet är de — ofta lågpresterande — elever som har det svårast i skolan. Det är de eleverna — från utbildningsmässigt och socio-ekonomiskt svaga grupper — vi sviker genom att låtsas som om mobilproblemet inte är stort nog att tas på allvar. Vill vi motarbeta den ökade segregationen och ojämlikheten i svensk skola behövs många och starka åtgärder. Mobilförbud är inte något av de största. Men det vore definitivt ett steg i rätt riktning.

Bayesian moons made of green cheese

12 February, 2019 at 17:58 | Posted in Statistics & Econometrics | Leave a comment

lindleyIn other words, if a decision-maker thinks something cannot be true and interprets this to mean it has zero probability, he will never be influenced by any data, which is surely absurd. So leave a little probability for the moon being made of green cheese; it can be as small as 1 in a million, but have it there since otherwise an army of astronauts returning with samples of the said cheese will leave you unmoved.

To get the Bayesian probability calculus going you sometimes have to assume strange things — so strange that you actually should rather start wondering if maybe there is something wrong with your theory …

The quest​ for certainty — a new substitute for religion

10 February, 2019 at 16:13 | Posted in Theory of Science & Methodology | 6 Comments

popIn this post-rationalist age of ours, more and more books are written in symbolic languages, and it becomes more and more difficult to see why: what it is all about, and why it should be necessary, or advantageous, to allow oneself to be bored by volumes of symbolic trivialities. It almost seems as if the symbolism were becoming a value in itself, to be revered for its sublime ‘exactness’: a new expression of the old quest for certainty, a new symbolic ritual, a new substitute for religion.

As a critic of mainstream economics mathematical-formalist Glasperlenspiel it is easy to share the feeling of despair …

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