Upzoned by Strong Towns

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October 5, 2018  

Failure and the Scientific Method

October 5, 2018

Failure is an essential part of the scientific method—negative results help us rule out erroneous theories and hone our understanding. And the value of an instructive failure is not limited to laboratory science. In all human endeavors, including city building, our missteps give us vital information that helps us do our work better next time around.

On this week’s Upzoned, Kea and Chuck discuss the New York Times article Congratulations. Your Study Went Nowhere.  The article deals with the phenomenon of publication bias in science: studies yielding negative results are less likely to be published and widely disseminated than those that appear to confirm their hypotheses, and this tendency can lead to bad science. Kea and Chuck take this and run with it, carrying on a broad philosophical conversation about why humans in all disciplines could stand to celebrate their failures instead of shying away from them. Then, in the downzone, Chuck gets a little weepy about seeing Hamilton with his family, and Kea discusses the Flint water crisis as it's portrayed in Michael Moore's new documentary, Farenheit 11/9.

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