Thursday, 5 November 2009


Says Stuart Blackman at The Scientist, HT Arts & Letters,
Ill-judged predictions and projections can be embarrassing at best and, at worst, damaging to the authority of science and science policy.
He gives some institutional reasons why this might be the case.
Another development is that scientists, still reeling from public opposition—at least in Europe—to genetically modified crops and food, increasingly need the public on their side to secure funds and make progress. As British fertility expert Robert Winston told the BBC in 2005: “We tend often to really have rather too much overconfidence. We may exaggerate, simply because [stem cell research, for example] is an area where we need support, where we need the support of the public, and we need to persuade them. And I think we can go about persuading people a bit too vigorously sometimes.”
He should, but doesn't, point to prediction markets in scientific claims as a potential solution. Nor does he give any mention to Tetlock's work on the characteristics that correlate with more accurate predictions.

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