Monday, March 24, 2014

WAR: Krugman vs. Silver

Talking Points Memo reports:
"I haven't been surprised by Krugman's criticism because I've fired some shots at the New York Times editorial page, of which he's a member," Silver told TPM in an email on Monday, adding that Krugman "was full of praise for FiveThirtyEight while it was part of The New York Times."
The turning point may have come earlier this month, when Silver told New York Magazine that "op-ed columnists at the New York Times, WashingtonPost, and Wall Street Journal" are most like the hedgehog, a creature that the Greek poet Archilochus said knows "one big thing."
As Silver sees it, those hedgehogs run in contrast to FiveThirtyEight's scrappy crew of foxes, who know "many little things."

"Plenty of pundits have really high IQs, but they don’t have any discipline in how they look at the world, and so it leads to a lot of bullshit, basically," Silver said in that interview.

When Silver was asked to identify an exception to such criticism, Krugman's name wasn't mentioned. The stats guru instead named Krugman's conservative colleague at the Times, Ross Douthat, as "someone who shows some originality."

Since FiveThirtyEight's launch a week ago, Krugman has been unsparing in his criticism. First, he argued that Silver and company "have misunderstood their mission" by "letting the data speak for itself."

"You use data to inform your analysis, you let it tell you that your pet hypothesis is wrong, but data are never a substitute for hard thinking," Krugman wrote last week. "If you think the data are speaking for themselves, what you’re really doing is implicit theorizing, which is a really bad idea (because you can’t test your assumptions if you don’t even know what you’re assuming.)"
Krugman followed that up with another blog post on Sunday titled "Tarnished Silver."


  1. How is that filthy statist rag still in business? Seriously!

  2. "but data are never a substitute for hard thinking"

    LMAO! Is Krugman a Rothbardian now?

    1. He did not say that data can't refute economic theory (aka facts do not matter). Krugman's point related to an article about climate change where the skeptic argued that climate is not doing more damage, communities are merely spending more.

    2. Did I just troll the master of trolls?


  3. I have to admit a bit of Schadenfreude in seeing Krugman butthurt.