[ExI] Why so much published 'science' is wrong.

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sun Jul 12 10:13:53 UTC 2015

I also think statistics ought to be taught more, and presumably that will reduce the amount of calculus. 

But they are very different beasts: statistics is about reasoning about data from the world, while calculus is about constructing models about the world. One is descriptive, the other creative. They support each other: modelling without real world inspiration or feedback is sterile and potentially dishonest, just reasoning about what the world throws at us without trying to construct theories about it is inefficient and lacks power.  

One can compare with the decline of geometry. Once that was at the core of higher maths teaching, since it showed how to do stringent and formal proofs. But most everyday math doesn't need that, so I think it was the right choice to reduce the Euclid usage. Unfortunately it made everybody think math is just numbers, rather than quantities. And people today are IMHO worse at stringent reasoning than in the Euclidean past. 

In the end the problem is that there is too much to know for a short education. Once can teach a core that is likely to help everybody, but anybody who is aiming at certain jobs or problems need way more. 

Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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