Saturday, December 13, 2008
Ben Goldacre exposes the nonsensical equations generated by William Hartston about, not to put too fine a point on it, Britney Spears' rack. Fair enough, I suppose, though I'm not sure it does that much harm to the cause of science. But how much harm have the idiot wonks in Downing Street done with their breaking of their boss's rules about the use of statistics? Goldacre wants to preserve the purity of science, Hartston and the wonks want to corrupt it to their own ends. This raises the question: is there purity in science? It would be nice to think it is represented by the wonderfully dessicated - and named - Sir Michael Scholar of the UK Statistics Authority. And I cannot ignore the fact that Primo Levi clung on to thoughts of the periodic table in Auschwitz. But I'm not sure the line between the pure and the human is ever all that clear.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 9:07 am