Man Without Qualities

Thursday, December 19, 2002


The Minute Man points out that Brad DeLong's credibility seems to be rather badly tattered! Dear me. The Good Professor can't figure out why a man with initials "J.E.B." might be called "Jeb." I guess Professor DeLong must have been too busy calling other people "idiots" to figure that one out. In Steve Martin's movie, "L.A. Story," a line of silly people are eager to get into the overpriced restaurant "L'Idiot" - which requires a full credit check, social references and personal interview before granting a reservation. It appears that Brad DeLong would have stood in that line if he had known about it.

It's all so tragic, since certain academics would counsel Professor DeLong that he has every incentive not to burn his credibility--it is, after all, the only thing he has to sell.

But Professor DeLong should not despair! DeLongian "credibility" is the least of what serious academic researchers sell. As I have noted in a prior post:

Within the framework of the objective scientific method, scientists do not sell their credibility. It is completely irrelevant to mankind's understanding of classical physics that Isaac Newton may have cooked (or "adjusted") some of his lunar orbit data. Nor to the extent such topics constitute science does our understanding of relativity depend on anything Albert Einstein may have done or thought, nor does our understanding of radioactive decay stand or fall on what Marie Curie thought she was doing, nor is our scientific understanding of quantum mechanics dependent on Werner Heisenberg's thought processes or credibility. Science does not "trust" Newton, Einstein, Curie, Heisenberg or any other scientist for their findings - the whole point of science is to check out and repeat what an individual scientist says he or she has found, discovered or invented.

But, then, the problem here seems to be that one actually has to be a serious scientist to take advantage of this observation. So what Professor DeLong believes may really be true in his case. Sad.

UPDATE: Looks like Atrios would like to keep the Good Professor company standing in the L'Idiot line.

You'd think they'd learn something from their joint flaming hatred of all things Bushy putting them in that line together - but they won't. The learning stage of life seems over for each of them.

But, then, even the Pope's staff blossomed.

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