Who is Smithers to call us fuzzy? 1

August 27, 2004

I was more than a little irritated to see the fatuous opinions of Alan Smithers on psychology, art and design and business studies below the headline "Expert attacks 'fuzzy' subjects" (August 20).

I can speak for psychology only, but in that subject the A-level syllabus requires statistical skills, understanding of sophisticated methodologies, rigorous argument and respect for empirical evidence. As a lecturer and examiner in the discipline for more than 30 years, I have not found it difficult to decide "who is doing it well" nor to reach agreement with colleagues over this.

If Smithers is reporting the results of research, he is certainly not doing it well as his conclusions do not seem to be accompanied by relevant evidence or derived from self-evident principles. Perhaps he is merely expressing ill-informed prejudices. Maybe this is the most one can expect from an expert in perhaps the "fuzziest" subject of them all.

Roger Lindsay

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Who is Smithers to call us fuzzy? 2

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