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Morendil comments on A New Interpretation of the Marshmallow Test - Less Wrong

73 Post author: elharo 05 July 2013 12:22PM

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Comment author: Morendil 04 July 2013 02:13:48PM 30 points [-]

That's not a pattern confined to behavioral economics, it's expected to apply to all of science.

The technical term for this idea is "underdetermination of scientific theory by evidence" - you don't make a discovery by running a single experiment, that's mythologized science. Real science builds up by doing an experiment, abducting to a possible explanation, then painstakingly ruling out all the alternatives (or, very often, the original potential explanation) with further experiments, often taking a very long time. (Even this is a drastically oversimplified view of the "scientific process" but it'll have to do for this discussion.)

If there is an issue here, it's not so much in how scientists are doing their jobs (though in this specific case I'll admit it seems to be taking a bit long to refine the original result), it's more one of sensationalistic journalistic reporting of scientific results and uncritical acceptance by the lay public, often leading to herd behavior.