Friday, October 5, 2012

The Harper's Index Is A Sham

I was reading Harper's Magazine the other day, which is a great magazine, but for the first time ever its classic "Harper's Index" feature didn't tickle my fancy. Novel factoids are useful and entertaining, but without context or information about the methodology that's producing them, it leads us astray. Listing thematically linked but methodologically distinct facts encourages the proliferation of spurious causal inferences, and sends the wrong message about how to obtain knowledge. Harper's is an old magazine with a lot of power, and should know better.

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