"In this article, we explore the more circumscribed question of whether and to what extent the Nobel Prize, conceptualized as a partial but imperfect proxy of scientific brilliance, is incompatible with irrationality. To do so, we draw on case studies of several Nobel-winning scientists who appear to have succumbed to the Nobel Disease. In doing so, we remain cognizant of the inferential limitations of case studies: They are of unknown representativeness, and they can be readily cherry picked to support one’s hypotheses. Still, case studies can often be helpful in generating hypotheses to be investigated in more systematic studies. In addition, they can sometimes afford existence proofs—demonstrations that a given phenomenon can occur. In the case of the Nobel Disease, the capsule case histories we present strongly suggest that intellectual brilliance can coexist with yawning gaps in skeptical thinking."
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