In what way is blogging science?

Scott Sumner has a long and thoughtful post.  Here is one bit:

According to the Official Method, none of these tidbits matter.  But I have noticed that they have had some impact on my readers.  They are each slightly persuasive about some aspect of my argument.

It has to be read in the context of the longer post, but it's a very important point.  And this:

So that’s the goal of my blog, to constantly use theoretical arguments, empirical data, clever metaphors, and historical analogies that make people see the current situation in a new way.

Read the whole thing.  It's one of the best statements of how blogging can make a difference; just don't call Scott a blogger…


Sumner's most interesting contribution in my mind was the bizarre second half of his "India as #1" post in which he put forth a (did I say bizarre yet?) nonsensical argument that China would surpass the United States in PPP GDP in 2010 (a post he made at the end of November of 2009). I have seen many arguments based on a fundamental misunderstanding and/or misuse of PPP to compare the relative weight and influence of economies on the global scale, but they usually come from journalists, and have never been as off the reservation as was that post. It was a powerful reinforcement of the idea that an otherwise brilliant and educated mind is capable of rationalizing insanity, particularly when driven by ego. (He admits he wants this to take place in order that he may in the future be recognized as having been 'right' before anyone else.)

Great post. Reminded me of a paper by Peter Medawar I once read titled "Is the Scientific Paper a Fraud?"

You may not have noticed this, but all Scott's posts are long and thoughtful. I don't think he's capable of short and glib.

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