Monday, August 31, 2015

A useful addendum to the previous post

I ran across this nice little discussion today (here) that others might find interesting. It identifies a plausible cost behind getting too methodologically stringent. There is a tradeoff between generating false positives and false negatives. What we want are methods that get to the truth when it is there (sensitivity) and tell us when what we think is so is not (specificity). There is, not surprisingly, a tradeoff here and tightening our "standards" can have unfortunate effects. This is especially true in domains where we know little. When you know a lot, then maybe generating exciting new ideas is less important than not being mislead experimentally. But when we know little, then maybe a little laxity is just what the scientists ordered. At any rate, I found the framing of the issues useful so I pass the piece onto you.