Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bad modeler, bad.

Roger Pielke Jr. posted this excerpt from a report by Richard Deniss detailing how economic modelling can be abused (pdf):
The problem has become, however, that in an era in which segments of the media no longer have the time or inclination to examine claims before they are reported bad economic modelling is preferred by many advocacy and industry groups to good economic modelling for three main reasons:

1. it is cheaper
2. it is quicker
3. it is far more likely to yield the result preferred by the client

That said, bad economic modelling is relatively easy to identify if readers are willing to ask themselves, and the modeller, a range of simple questions. Indeed, it is even easier to spot when the modeler can't, or won't, answer such simple questions.
I think the same can be said for ecological modelling, except that in most cases, the client is us and our strong normative stance in favor of non-human species. 

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