Monday, September 25, 2017

Gelbach on the Wax & Alexander op-ed (UPDATED)


Jonah Gelbach, a law & economics and empirical scholar at Penn, has now taken the time to set out in detail the problems with the silly op-ed.  You can safely ignore the self-serving preface from the empty Jonathan Haidt, and just go straight to Gelbach's patient discussion.   In the broader scope of things, it was surely not a good use of Professor Gelbach's time to have to write this in response to an opinion piece so slight, but given the controversy that has been generated, we should all be grateful that he did it.

I have no doubt that this won't stop Heather MacDonald and others from making absurd claims about Professor Wax's great wisdom and expertise, but at least those of us actually invested in the scholarly enterprise can learn something from Prof. Gelbach's analysis.

(Thanks to Jonathan Klick for the pointer.)

UPDATE:   Haidt, given his great commitment to the free exchange of ideas and arguments, decided to edit out one part of Prof. Gelbach's original response to the Wax & Alexander op-ed, after Prof. Wax objected--apparently to Prof. Gelbach's devastating scrutiny of their lack of empirical evidence.  In any case, Prof. Gelbach kindly offered to let me make available his actual, uncensored response, which is here:  Download Facts v. Wax Part I.A - The Uncut Version.  It begins with an explanation of what Haidt did and of his efforts to find out if there was, I fact, evidence for some of the curious claims in the op-ed.

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