Quote of the Day: Scientific Boobytrap

Quoth Michael Greer

There’s a boobytrap hidden inside the scientific method. The fact that you can get some fraction of nature to behave in a certain way under arbitrary conditions in the artificial setting of a laboratory does not mean that nature behaves that way left to herself. If all you want to know is what you can force a given fraction of nature to do, this is well and good, but if you want to understand how the world works, the fact that you can often force nature to conform to your theory is not exactly helpful.

And this is exactly the boobytrap that economics dive into head first. In fact it’s even worse than that since economics is not even interested in setting up artificial conditions at all. Rather, they are content to think of fantastical, often impossible examples of societies and then simply build an economic theory from that.

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