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A Propos the PNAS paper on retractions being due to misconduct.

October 3, 2012

Razib Khan, of GNXP has some rather pesimistic thoughts about what the consequences for science can be, when success is being gamed.

It made me recall this post about Twilight of the Elites from Peter Turchin over at social evolution forum.  (It is a commentary on Christ Hayes book of the same name, with an evolution angle).  In essence, meritocracy has a limit where it starts devour itself from competition.  (Which, also reminds me of the chicken-breeding experiment that David Sloan Wilson brings up to illustrate multi-level selection).

Meritocracy seems fine, when you get to change from a class/group based “affirmative action” model (to kind of harken back to Curt Rice’s point about men getting the best positions, that I posted about eariler).  But, at some point this will reward a kind of competition that may not be due to competence in anything else but being dominant or sly, which may very well undermine some of the egalitarian/cooperative properties of humans that some people, like Christopher Boehm and David Sloan Wilson think make us the successful primate we are.

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