Against Method, Happy New Year and IGDORE

Greetings, IGDORE, I had a zoom call some time ago with a couple of IGDORE members, followed up by a Ronin Seminar, which I finally uploaded to the youtube channel. I am starting this thread with an invitation to watch the recording of the webinar and join in this discussion to advance the idea of creating a learning resource to be included in the Open Science curriculum (anyone willing to contribute please ping me), Please post here some notes so that I can invite interested parties to an open panel discussion/round table on the topic followed by the creation of one or more resources. For Ronin scholars, there is also a channel on Ronin Slack. For IGDORE scholars, please continue the discussion here Ronin Institute Seminar: Paola Di Maio AGAINST METHOD Part 1 (November 2021) - YouTube, Wishing you all a good year ahead

Thanks for sharing your seminar @paoladm! :smiley: I like the collection of quotes you included from Feyerabend and Feynman

A few thoughts:

  • Defining independent researchers: often mentioned in anecdotes (and on wiki), but I agree there isn’t much research describing independent researchers and what they do. @arika.virapongse and I have collected some references (available here) as part of project looking at organizations that support indies: Ron Gross’s book The Independent Scholar’s Handbook may be useful (the first edition is from 1983 but it still seems quite relevant, the author actually attended the SVS last year!).
  • History of errors: the book Failure: Why Science Is So Successful may be relevant (I haven’t read it, but heard the author speak about it on the Night Science podcast)
  • Feyerabend: I think this Nature commentary from 1987 did actually call Feyerabend ‘the worst enemy of science’ before Horgan’s article in the Scientific American (although the article also discussed if Popper, Lakatos, and Kuhn were all ‘betrayers of the truth’ alongside Feyerabend). Relatedly, Horgan recently republished the interesting profiles he did on Kuhn, Popper and Feyerabend.
  • Mixed methods: reminded me of this article The data revolution in social science needs qualitative research | Nature Human Behaviour. I was trained in, and have mostly always used, quantitive approaches but agree that mixed/qualitative methods are undervalued and likely to be important for many of the questions that metascience aims to address.
  • Preregistration: I think it will be possible but difficult to make these dynamic/evolutionary, but I am also not sure that this is a big problem as they are intended for confirmatory research. This article is relevant Preregistration of exploratory research: Learning from the golden age of discovery | PLOS Biology. My feeling is that it would be better to have research plans/proposals which specified general directions and aims for exploration (which would often be similar to grants), rather than specific experiments/analyses, as a separate type of research artefact (i.e. RIO publishes grants and research ideas). That said, I’m not sure if having such plans would actually constrain the research degrees of freedom in exploratory research in a similarly useful way as preregistrations do for confirmatory research.
  • [Edit] Enlightened science: I forgot to add that I fully support your last point of doing science in service of society/humanity. I have recently been reading Nicholas Maxwell’s work which is relevant to this and am surprised that his ideas aren’t more widely known (well, his books are very dry, so that is one reason). I would also be happy to hear about other perspectives on this as I am sure there are many.

I would be happy to contribute to further discussion about how to develop these ideas and related educational material.

Thanks a lot Gavin and others who responded privately, I think we could start putting together some resources to contribute to the open science curriculum and I may have a source of funding, provided we can put together a team and a proposal. I am happy to talk with anyone interested to collaborate on this project and to decide the direction and scope together.

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