It seems so simple, but using the scientific method helps you win. Lately it’s been getting my attention that there’s a cultural divide between those people who accept Aristotle’s (or Bacon’s) method of discovery.
Moneyball has also entered politics in a big way over the election cycles of 2008, 2010, 2012. In the run-up to the 2012 election, I, like many others, became hooked on FiveThirtyEight, a blog devoted to applying rigorous statistical analysis to the polls. (FiveThirtyEight refers to the number of votes in the Electoral College.) As political junkies (and even many casual observers) know, the man responsible for the blog, Nate Silver, got his start as a “moneyball”-style sabermetrics baseball analyst. In 2002, he developed a model to assess and predict a baseball player’s performance over time, known as PECOTA, which stands for “Players Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm.” Silver brought his model to the Baseball Prospectus. Several years later, he was applying his statistical methods to the 2008 election, and the rest is history. Indeed, in this year’s election, Silver correctly called all 50 states.