Is academia is about connections and reputation laundering?

This story got a lot of traction everywhere about the misrepresentation of the “statistics”. We know how that would have panned out in medicine; no one bats an eyelid about “progression-free-survivals” now because that’s been the norm.

Perverted interests are not aligned with the benefits of patients or academics (as in the real world). I found the following quite insightful (emphasis mine):

Academia, like any other working environment, is full of prominent, successful, well-connected bluffers. The striking thing is not that a decorated professor and A/Chairman @WhiteHouseCEA made a statistical error, nor should we be surprised that a prominent academic in economics (or any other field) doesn’t understand statistics. What’s striking is that the professor and A/Chairman doesn’t know that he doesn’t know. I’m struck by his ignorance of his ignorance, his willingness to think that he knows what he’s talking about when he doesn’t.

At one of the prominent conferences, I was entirely “flummoxed” when I came across rather supranormal doses of radiation given by gamma knife (in some obscure centre and presented by a clueless lady). I got riled by the fact that they seemed to find meagre rates of complications and I wasn’t sure if she was bluffing or no one else even bothered to cross-check. The idea of the blog isn’t to name names, but it is essential to be aware of what’s being deliberated and done under cover of statistics.

via So much of academia is about connections and reputation laundering « Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science