My recent article on IQ and the Wealth of Nations at mises.org produced some interesting commentary. I want to note one error that I think all of my harshest critics made, because I think it is a fairly common one. Basically, all of them said either or both of:
1) You did not positively disprove the authors' thesis; and/or
2) You did not offer a better, alternative theory of your own.
Folks, neither 1) nor 2) are necessary in a valid critique of a scientific theory. Someone putting forward a new scientific theory is in the position of the prosecution in a criminal case: They must present compelling evidence that the accussed (causative factor) is guilty. Their critics are like the defense: all we have to do is try to find holes in their case. In no way are we responsible for proving the accussed could not have done the crime (although, of course, if we can, that's great), nor suggesting who else might have done the crime. (Although Perry Mason was always able to both get his client off and practically convict someone else in the process.)
Note that this is almost the opposite of the Popperian paradigm, in which any theory is on equal footing with any other until it has been falsified. That suggestion, if taken seriously by scientists on the level of practice (which it never has been), would simply bring science to a grinding halt under the weight of the immensity of not-yet-falsified theories that could be devised.
Pearce: British Journal for the History of Philosophy Deneen: The American Conservative Chao-Reiss: Computing Reviews
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