This morning I had the chance to hear an interview with philosopher of science Edouard Machery at Stanford University‘s new Psychology podcast on his 2020 paper “What Is a Replication?” and his forthcoming book. There, Machery talked, among other topics, on how science has become so reticent to changes, despite overwhelming evidence that change is necessary. Machery speculates that this might be the result of, first, the absence of strong incentives for scientists to make the radical, but necessary adjustments required for a proper scientific revolution, and second, science’s autonomy, enshrined in practices like peer-review, that gives primacy to scientists’ own perspectives in shaping the development of science. From an optimistic point of view, this means that we must push for more conservative efforts for reform –nudges– and not wait for a genuine revolution in how science is made, but what has happened recently regarding proposals like raising the redefining statistical significance or requiring pre-registration for empirical research gives us ample reasons for being pessimistic. I cannot do justice here to all the very interesting points raised by Machery and Anje, the interviewer, so I strongly recommend you to listen to the whole episode, specially the second half.
You can hear the podcast here.
And here is a picture of Edouard and me at Ahuizote, a used bookstore in Mexico City, back in 2016, taken by our common friend and colleague Ángeles Eraña. Remember to support your local bookstore.