You know the worst thing about whining about the need for standards?
People hold you to it.
I haven’t had a debate this productive in a long time. Nothing motivates me to learn like people easily pointing out when I’m out of my element.
I’ve been participating in a couple of discussion boards recently, and I find it striking how many points of view get represented there. Sure, there are many that lean in particular ideological directions, but the really massive ones are truly free for alls in that respect.
If there’s one thing I consider myself an idealist about, it’s discussion. I believe that the best debates are between people who disagree on just about everything. It’s why I obsess about method–I think that setting a standard up front has something of the effect of setting the rules of exchange. Sort of like they have rules about the kinds of bat you can use in professional baseball–they’re all trying to beat one another, but no one would be willing to play if there was one team that used aluminum bats while everyone else had to use wooden ones.
Ampersand and I have essentially been looking at the Lancet article from the perspective of statistical methodology, and I’ve been three steps short of him the entire way–but I’ve learned a great deal from trying to keep up.
Whether it’s this subject or any other, CD has gone a long way to renew my faith in discussion as a tool for learning.