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December 18, 2014

How Progressivism Is Killing the Social Sciences

The parasite kills its host. Every time.

I have had the following experience more than once: I am speaking with a professional academic who is a liberal. The subject of the underrepresentation of conservatives in academia comes up. My interlocutor admits that this is indeed a reality, but says the reason why conservatives are underrepresented in academia is because they don't want to be there, or they're just not smart enough to cut it. I say: "That's interesting. For which other underrepresented groups do you think that's true?" An uncomfortable silence follows.

I point this out not to score culture-war points, but because it's actually a serious problem...

That's why I was very gratified to read this very enlightening draft paper written by a number of social psychologists on precisely this topic, attacking the lack of political diversity in their profession and calling for reform....

They start by debunking published (and often well-publicized) social psychology findings that seem to suggest moral or intellectual superiority on the part of liberals over conservatives, which smartly serves to debunk both the notion that social psychology is bereft of conservatives because they're not smart enough to cut it, and that groupthink doesn't produce shoddy science. For example, a study that sought to show that conservatives reach their beliefs only through denying reality achieved that result by describing ideological liberal beliefs as "reality," surveying people on whether they agreed with them, and then concluding that those who disagree with them are in denial of reality -- and lo, people in that group are much more likely to be conservative! This has nothing to do with science, and yet in a field with such groupthink, it can get published in peer-reviewed journals and passed off as "science," complete with a Vox stenographic exercise at the end of the rainbow. A field where this is possible is in dire straits indeed.

That's the stupidest thing I ever heard.

"Science."

More "Science:" Hate is bad, but you can hate Republicans, because Science shows us that they are bad.

As I've said before, what really bothers me is their combination of asserted superiority and actual childishness.

A University of Michigan department chairwoman has published an article titled, "It's Okay To Hate Republicans," which will probably make all of her conservative students feel really comfortable and totally certain that they’re being graded fairly.

"I hate Republicans," communications department chairwoman and professor Susan J. Douglas boldly declares in the opening of the piece.

Communications department.

...

She writes that although the fact that her "tendency is to blame the Republicans . . . may seem biased," historical and psychological research back her up, and so it’s basically actually a fact that Republicans are bad!

...

Republicans now, she writes, are focused on the "determined vilification" of others, and have "crafted a political identity that rests on a complete repudiation of the idea that the opposing party and its followers have any legitimacy at all."

(Apparently, the irony of this accusation given the content of her own article was lost on her.)

I swear, a lot of Progressives are borderline stupid, but want to be smaaahhht, so they select a political philosophy that promises them they'll be smaahhhht if they just say the right things, no matter what their so-called "IQ tests" may say about it.


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posted by Ace at 11:54 AM

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