Three ways to approach the replicability discussion

There are 3 ways to approach the replicability discussion/debate in science.

#1 is as a logic problem. There are correct answers, and the challenge is to work them out. The goal is to be right.

#2 is as a culture war. There are different sides with different motives, values, or ideologies. Some are better than others. So the goal is win out over the other side.

#3 is as a social movement. Scientific progress is a shared value. Recently accumulated knowledge and technology have given us better ways to achieve it, but institutions and practices are slow to change. So the goal is to get everybody on board to make things better.

Probably all of us have elements of all three in us (and to be clear, all of us are trying to use reasoning to solve problems — the point of #1 is that’s the end goal so you stop there). But you see noticeable differences in which predominates in people’s public behavior.

My friends can probably guess which approach I feel most aligned with.

2 thoughts on “Three ways to approach the replicability discussion

  1. I like this trichotomy, the problem tends to be that they bleed into one another. I get the sense that there are people who start out as #3, with an underlying conviction that it’s #1, and turn it into #2. And, because I can’t resist scatological puns, on pessimistic days my worry is that the latter is what’s happening to the field as this all plays out.

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