Friday, March 30, 2012

Physics Envy

The NYT published an op-ed today by a pair of political scientists on "physics envy" by sociologists, economists, and political scientists. The authors mainly argue that theory can be useful even when it is wrong or unsupported by data, and briefly mention that data analysis is useful even if theoretical contributions are not obvious. I disagree with the former, but not the latter. For a similar view, see this post by the theoretical physicist Sean Carroll.