13/10 Would Criticize Again

If you are a scientist, criticizing science is a part of the job. We write peer reviews of papers and grants; after talks we ask questions, make comments, and ask questions that are more of a comment; and sometimes we even run replications or new studies to test each other’s conclusions. But the scientific ecosystem does not have people who hold the dedicated job of science critic, in the way that fields like art, theater, and music have critics. In this episode we consider an argument made by philosopher Don Ihde that the scientific ecosystem needs such people too – people whose job it is to criticize science from outside the day-to-day practice of it. What is the case for dedicated critics? Are there important kinds of criticism that scientists are not currently making? What would that job look like, and how would it differ from the peer criticism that scientists currently do? Plus: We respond to a letter about how to start getting asked to review papers.


The Black Goat is hosted by Sanjay Srivastava, Alexa Tullett, and Simine Vazire. Find us on the web at www.theblackgoatpodcast.com, on Twitter at @blackgoatpod, on Facebook at facebook.com/blackgoatpod/, and on instagram at @blackgoatpod. You can email us at letters@theblackgoatpodcast.com. You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher.

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This is episode 54. It was recorded on February 18, 2019.