Social scientists who use medical analogies to explain causal inference are, I think, implicitly trying to borrow some of the scientific and cultural authority of that field for our own purposes

October 31, 2012
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(This article was originally published at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

I’m sorry I don’t have any new zombie papers in time for Halloween. Instead I’d like to be a little monster by reproducing a mini-rant from this article on experimental reasoning in social science:

I will restrict my discussion to social science examples. Social scientists are often tempted to illustrate their ideas with examples from medical research. When it comes to medicine, though, we are, with rare exceptions, at best ignorant laypersons (in my case, not even reaching that level), and it is my impression that by reaching for medical analogies we are implicitly trying to borrow some of the scientific and cultural authority of that field for our own purposes. Evidence-based medicine is the subject of a large literature of its own (see, for example, Lau, Ioannidis, and Schmid, 1998).



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