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William Sims

I think your examples are strawmen as I don't have any weight to "wild caught" or "grass-fed", I have friends help determine best drive times, and I don't care what a web site says about visitors. You are looking at the dumbest people and trying to make an argument that nobody needs data if they don't.

I'm not arguing for what the EPA is doing, but what you are doing is ignoring the problem in the scientific community where a lot of data is unavailable. To me, that is not the best science.

Andrew Gelman


I don't think Kaiser's examples are strawmen. All the examples he gives are big business. Or, at least, medium-sized business. People are spending money on all these things, and I don't think it's just the dumbest people. And Kaiser's not arguing that "nobody needs data"; he's arguing that a lot of decisions get made without the use of data or even any apparent sense on people's part that data could be relevant.


William: I am definitely not arguing that "nobody needs data". I'm pointing out that for lots of people, the amount of data required as evidence is very low. Lots of people I know whom I'd not call dumb buy some or all of those things listed, and believe these products do good based on marketing mumbo-jumbo. I love data - but I realize that for many others, giving them even more data will not change their minds. Agree with Andrew on the delineation: In the business and political settings, asking for more data/more precision becomes the strawmen! Pure science is a different matter, when players are more honest. Applied science is a mess because industry is not held to the same disclosure standards as academics; the EPA should work on that problem first.


William - I think you've created the perfect example of a strawman in your comment :)

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