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Sacred Beliefs “R” Us

When hearing testimony on financial regulation, we like to know whether the expert has a vested interest. We like to know of commitments that affect interpretation and judgment. An individual’s ideological commitments are like vested interests, only deeper and more permanent. They are like his religious commitments, running deep and changing little. They suffuse his..

A Cordial Conversation About Industrial Relations

Brooklyn College professor Mitchell Langbert published an investigation of the academic field of Industrial Relations (known as IR). Langbert’s article appeared in Econ Journal Watch, which I edit. He used voter-registration data, political contributions data, and journal content analysis to show the left orientation of the field. IR scholars tend overwhelmingly to write good things..

Something Slimy: The Signs of Bad Science

In The Chronicle there is a stunning interview regarding the Flint, Michigan lead-poisoning problem, with Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards, who helped expose the government-academic complex.

Edwards explains his morality-based method of checking into whether science is sound:

So when you start asking questions about people, and you approach them as a scientist, if you feel like you’re talking to an adult and they give you a rational response and are willing to share data and discuss an issue rationally, I’m out of there. I go home.

But when you reach out to them, as I did with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and they do not return your phone calls, they do not share data, they do not respond to FOIA [open-records requests], y’know. … In each case I just started asking questions and turning over rocks, and I resolved to myself, The second something slimy doesn’t come out, I’m gonna go home. But every single rock you turn over, something slimy comes out.

Or Else: When Does Protest Become Thuggery?

At what point does protest become thuggery? Protesters might say they are peaceful. But just because there is no violence does not mean that there is no intimidation or bullying. Unfortunately, threats and ultimatums have proliferated on American college campuses, and, until now, university presidents have largely raised the white flag and given in, encouraging..