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Posts uit januari, 2015 tonen

The Dripping Stone Fallacy: Confirmation Bias in the Roman Empire and Beyond

What to do when the crops are failing because of a drought? Why , we persuade the Gods to send rain of course! I'll let the fourth Roman Emperor, Claudius, explain: Derek Jacobi stuttering away as  Claudius in the TV  series I Claudius There is a black stone called the Dripping Stone, captured originally from the Etruscans and stored in a temple of Mars outside the city. We go in solemn procession and fetch it within the walls, where we pour water on it, singing incantations and sacrificing. Rain always follows--unless there has been a slight mistake in the ritual, as is frequently the case.*                                                                  It sounds an awful lot as if Claudius is weighing in on the replication debate, coming down squarely on the side of replication critics, researchers who raise the specter of hidden moderators as soon as a non-replication materializes. Obviously, when a replication attempt omits a component that is integral to th

When Replicating Stapel is not an Exercise in Futility

Over 50 of Diederik Stapel’s papers have been retracted because of fraud. This means that his “findings,” have now ceased to exist in the literature. But what does this mean for his hypotheses?* Does the fact that Stapel has committed fraud count as evidence against his hypotheses? Our first inclination is perhaps to think yes. In theory, it is possible that Stapel ran a number of studies, never obtained the predicted results, and then decided to take matters into his own hands and tweak a few numbers here and there. If there were evidence of a suppressed string of null results, then yes, this would certainly count as evidence against the hypothesis; it would probably be a waste of time and effort to try to “replicate” the “finding.” Because the finding is not a real finding, the replication is not a real replication. However, by all accounts (including Stapel’s own), once he got going, Stapel didn’t bother to run the actual experiment. He just made up all the data. This me