(This post was inspired by Adam Winklers awesome book
Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America.
Disclaimers one: Adam Winkler is my cousin and I got a free copy.
Question: Should I give him a free copy of my VDW book when it comes out?
Disclaimer two: Scott did a post on a related matter here.)
If someone started an Institute to prove Graph Isomorphism is in P that would
be very odd since it could be that GI is not in P.
If someone started an Institute to study Graph Isomorphism that would be
much less odd (though still somewhat odd).
Does it make sense to have an openly biased think tank?
- If a pro-gun-control person writes a book that proves that there weren't that many
guns in America in the early 1800's would you believe it?
- If an anti-gun-control person writes a book claming that the more guns there are
the less crime there is, would you believe it?
- The CATO Institute: A Libertarian Think Tank.
If they did an honest study of gun control and concluded that it does reduce
crime then would they publish it? I honestly do not know.
If they did an honest study of gun control and concluded that it increases
crime then would anyone believe it? Being openly biased might undermine their credibility.
- The Tobacco Institute (they no longer exist). They produced reports
claiming that smoking was not unhealthy (or perhaps that the evidence is incomplete).
They were employed by the Tobacco industry. Did they ever have any credibility?
Did they do any unbiased science, perhaps on non-smoking issues?
I honestly don't know.
- An honest scientist's preconceived notions are hopefully also based on science and not on who is paying him and not on other non-science factors.
- An honest scientist, when faced with evidence that they are wrong, will hopefully pursue that evidence and perhaps change their mind. This might be easier in math than in science since Proof is our accepted criteria. For example, I doubt there are diehards who still think that NL ≠ coNL.