What interests me is the way people talk about math as if it were divinely prophetic. They seem to subscribe to a religion that simply apes the terminology of science. To listen to many of Silver’s defenders, questioning his methodology is akin to rejecting evolution or the laws of thermodynamics, as if only his model is sanctified by the god Reason.
I wonder: What kind of scholarship do we have to look forward to when, in the words of Krugman, “facts really do have a well-known liberal bias” and a difference of opinion over poll-weighting foretells the end of science?
Don’t get me wrong; I do understand that math can be ironclad. We know the decay rates of isotopes, how fast things will fall in a vacuum, what compounded interest rates will yield, and all that.
But I like to think that people are different, more open to reason, and that the soul — particularly when multiplied into the complexity of a society — is not so easily number-crunched.