Confirmation bias

Fixing Liberal Bias Will Improve Academic Research

Trying to turn back the herd of independent minds.

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LiberalBias
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A group of social psychologists have just published a new paper, "Political diversity will improve social psychological science," in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences arguing that psychological research is badly skewed by a pervasive bias against researchers who do not endorse the field's left-leaning consensus. The researchers have launched a new blog, Heterodox Academy, that has the mission to "increase viewpoint diversity in the academy, with a special focus on the social sciences." They note:

Before the 1990s, academic psychology only LEANED left. Liberals and Democrats outnumbered Conservatives and Republican by 4 to 1 or less. But as the "greatest generation" retired in the 1990s and was replaced by baby boomers, the ratio skyrocketed to something more like 12 to 1. In just 20 years. Few psychologists realize just how quickly or completely the field has become a political monoculture.

Over at the new blog, they provide a short analysis of their new paper that argues that leftwing academic groupthink poses risks to research in the following ways:

1: Liberal values and assumptions can become embedded into theory and method

2: Researchers may concentrate on topics that validate the liberal progress narrative and avoid topics that contest that narrative

3: Negative attitudes regarding conservatives can produce a psychological science that mischaracterizes their traits and attributes

These researchers also list and address the various explanations for why so few non-liberals become social scientists including (1) that conservatives simply less intelligent than liberals, and less able to obtain PhDs and faculty positions; (2) many may view education as "enlightening" and believe that an enlightened view comports with liberal politics; (3) self-selection clearly plays a role. But it would be ironic if an epistemic community resonated to empirical arguments that appear to exonerate the community of prejudice—when that same community roundly rejects those same arguments when invoked by other institutions to explain the under-representation of women or ethnic minorities (e.g., in STEM disciplines or other elite professions); (4) hostile climate—self-selection might be amplified by an accurate perception among conservative students that they are not welcome in the social psychology community. Being characterized as less intelligent, less cognitively complex, more rigid, dogmatic, and inflexible might be a tad offputting; (5) active discrimination—a 2012 study found that most social psychologists who responded to a survey were willing to explicitly state that they would discriminate against conservatives; 82% admitted that they would be at least a little bit prejudiced against a conservative candidate.

They offer some suggestions for how to increase political diversity in the social sciences:

1. Acknowledge the problem and raise awareness about it.
2. Seek feedback from non-liberals.
3. Expand organizational diversity statements to include politics.
4. Add a statement to your own academic website acknowledging that you encourage collaboration among people of diverse political views.
5. Eliminate pejorative terms referring to non-liberals; criticize others' scholarship when they use those terms. As an editor or reviewer, do not permit such terms to
pass without comment.
6. Avoid "leakage" of political hostilities or presumptions (including jokes) when functioning in any teaching or research capacity, but especially around students and junior colleagues.
7. Encourage young scholars who are not liberals to pursue careers in social psychology.
8. Be alert to double standards. Use turnabout tests to reveal bias.

These researchers have identified a real problem; let us hope that their efforts to boost intellectual diversity on university faculties will succeed.

For more background, see my articles, "Pathologizing Conservatism," and "The Science of Libertarian Morality."

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  1. Fixing Liberal Bias Will Improve Academic Research

    But would it improve the academics’ social life?

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  2. Researchers may concentrate on topics that validate the liberal progress narrative and avoid topics that contest that narrative

    You mean, they become crackpots.

    Lets stop beating around the bush and call a spade “a spade.”

    1. If so, then about 95% of everyone is a crackpot. Confirmation bias is something nearly all people do all the time.

      1. “Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal” (or words to that effect)… Heinlein

      2. Confirmation bias is indeed rampant, but more to the point, how much of psychology is scientific to begin with? I’d hazard that as much as 50% is pure bull scat and that among clinical psychologists, 90% or more have serious psychological problems, or have members of their family that do. They are motivated to study the deformed mind of their own, or someone close to them. Of course, we’ll never see a study to that effect… Who would do it?

  3. I’d like to fix calling political liberals as just liberals which they are not !

  4. Encourage young scholars who are not liberals to pursue careers in social psychology.

    Especially if you want to ruin their lives.

    What the fuck is “social psychology”, anyway? There’s no such thing as a social mind. These guys are incapable of rational thinking.

    1. If i was inventing the term, “social psychology” would be a study of the psychological interactions between members of a social group or between groups.

    2. You don’t think studying the dynamics of individuals participating in a group is valuable?

      We talk about TEAM thinking ALL. THE. TIME. and are basically engaging in social psychology. Should we pretend that culture-specific ailments don’t exist, or other mass hysterias? Have you never been in a Pentacostal church when people start speaking in tongues or weeping or fainting and it spreads through the crowd? Because I have…

      1. Why can’t you pick men up in bars, like a normal person?

        1. I was at a Christian youth conference once and everyone started weeping, and I started weeping because it seemed like the right thing to do. Afterwards I felt filthy, but everyone sat there acting like they had been moved by the spirit. Because I don’t have access to their internal lives I don’t know if they were playing a part or if they bought into it as well.

          I will say I appreciate Matthew 5:5-7 much more after that experience.

          1. I cannot tolerate the group dynamics at revivalist style churches. It makes me physically ill. For the same reason, I hate political events and most sports gatherings.

            1. What air you, some sort of antisocial libratarian, or sumpfin?

              1. A misanthropic humanist?

            2. + a million kajillion

            3. Lee, you made me think of why I like sporting events, even though I generally despise group dynamics as well. I realized I act the EXACT same way watching my team alone in my house as I do in the stands. (Which is why I’m terrible to be around in either instance). Then again, I exercise my tribalism and petty first world hatreds with football so those impulses are mitigated in my political reactions.

      2. isn’t part of sociology the study of dynamics of individuals within groups?

        1. Yes, but the focus of attention overlaps but is different between social psychology and sociology. Sociologists tend to focus on broad social trends and social psychologists tend to look at events (this is a gross oversimplification, there’s more overlap than that). So a sociologist might talk about The Temperance Movement, and what factors led to people getting interested in it, while a social psychologist would talk about why a Temperance Movement rally stormed a bar and dumped out all the booze.

          1. “a social psychologist would talk about why a Temperance Movement rally stormed a bar and dumped out all the booze.”

            BECAUSE. THEY. ARE. EVIL!

      3. OM has a rather stark way of looking at things sometimes.

        I suppose when you are a certain kind of radical individualist, it is sometimes easy to forget that we are very much social animals.

        1. There are a lot of people who fundamentally misunderstand what it means to be “social animals”. What it means, roughly speaking, is that people generally seek out companionship. However, a lot of people seem to think it means that people should be forced into close proximity and social conformity to one another. It’s a classic example of stated vs revealed preferences, but moreover it also reveals that a lot of so-called “well adjusted” individuals are actually malcontents at heart.

          1. I think it means a lot more than seeking companionship. Without social relationships and being part of a group we really can’t be fully human. I don’t mean that loners aren’t fully human. But on a much more basic level, without language and the other social tools we all develop, we wouldn’t be able to become the intelligent, knowledge using, innovative creatures that we are. But perhaps seeking companionship is the fundamental impulse behind our socialization.

            1. While it’s perilous to talk about “human nature,” we’re actually exceptionally social in that we rely on extended family networks because of the exceptionally long time and large amount of effort it takes to raise children, which is translated as mutual dependence on a larger scale in the modern world. Socialism is more natural than radical individualism.

              1. Maybe socialism is natural in some way. I suppose primitive tribal life is often pretty communal.

                Rape is also a natural reproductive strategy. Oppressive and violent warlordism also seems to be the natural form of a state. A big part of civilization is learning to reject some of our natural impulses.

                1. Natural does not mean good?

                2. You don’t get it.

                  When we love nature, than socialism is natural, and anything else is some weird, abnormal radical individualism (no matter whatever it really is).

                  When we’re horrified by the state of nature, than socialism is modern technological awesomeness, and anything else is tribal warlords and death (no matter whatever it really is).

                3. Good point. I suggest that oppressive and violent warlordism is just what would return if we got rid of most of the modern state.

                  1. You aren’t up to speed on current events, are ya?

                  2. Yeah, I get it: socialism is both avoiding a Hobbesian state of nature and completely natural, all at the same time. It’s completely natural to be unnatural. That’s just science.

                    Socialism: the family that chooses you! How endearing and natural.

              2. The familial relationship does not scale up to even hundreds of people, never mind millions. Socialism is no more “natural” than individualism. Ancient nomads, as far as anybody can tell, formed very small communities that didn’t last for more than a generation or two.

                1. I was going to add something about that too. But it’s Tony, so screw it.

              3. socialism works on a small scale family level as you said. But not much beyond that

                1. Even on a small scale it fails hard unless 100% of the group is completely committed to living that way.

                  Several early European colonist groups on the north american east coast found that out the hard way, then either they died or the survivors changed to a capitalistic method of operation.

          2. However, a lot of people seem to think it means that people should be forced into close proximity and social conformity to one another.

            Or that our relatively simplistic social nature caries sweeping social implications; that, because people don’t generally kill their neighbors and feed on their organs, *we* should be providing air conditioners and HD TVs to t-shirt manufacturers in Bangladesh.

            This is one that, invariably, gets me and is crystallized by Dunbar’s number. At *some* point, for any given set of conditions, caring for yourself, the couple hundred people around you, and the billions of people on the planet your emotions and logic are going to invert whimsically and without your knowledge.

          3. Forcing into close proximity. Aye. Look at all the designs that keep popping up for big city buildings and locking up more and more land as wilderness. All the things for pushing people into cities and out of the wide open spaces.

            What is behind this general push to herd us into apartments?

    3. “Especially if you want to ruin their lives.”

      Seems like the authors forgot to mention that conservatives have some biases of their own. Thanks to commenters here who are not afraid to parade these biases for the rest of us.

  5. (1) that conservatives simply less intelligent than liberals, and less able to obtain PhDs and faculty positions; (2) many may view education as “enlightening” and believe that an enlightened view comports with liberal politics

    Is the study about liberal bias itself liberally liberalized?

    LIBER!

    1. This.

      I was trying to figure out whether this article was something that was copied from the Onion. A group of Social Scientists do a study to find out why social scientists are overwhelmingly liberals. Their top two conclusions are that conservatives are less intelligent and that conservatives view education as ‘enlightening’ and therefore avoid it.

      I was originally curious to read the part where they discussed how conservatives recognize that socials sciences are mostly horseshit so they focus on things like engineering and actual science. I wanted to know how the social scientists would wrap their head around that. Oddly enough, apparently that wasn’t one of their conclusions.

    2. I think it is the opposite of #1 – Liberals aren’t smart enough to do anything else but a pseudoscience, teach and act. Non-liberals do everything else.

    3. “List and address” doesn’t mean “argue for the truth of.”

      1. Damn, I love you people. Just when I think my head is going to explode, living in the librral cesspool Baltimore, I come to Reason and all is right in the world, if only for the time it takes me to read the commentary.
        Let me linger here a moment lomger…

  6. “Acknowledge the problem and raise awareness about it.”

    Impossible – disagreement is evidence of teathuglican sympathies.

    “Seek feedback from non-liberals.”

    How can I get feedback when all non-liberals can do is grunt and drag women off to their caves to be raped?

    “Expand organizational diversity statements to include politics.”

    But if I did that then it would make us less diverse because black people would feel unwelcome due to all the neo-Nazis.

  7. I know hot to fix this bias! See, people who can (the old trope) want money, not smug self-satisfaction. So raise their wages! Unionized professor wages in the millions, with guaranteed seniority raises, last-hired-first-fired, yeah, that will attract those who want high wages without having to actually work!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Maybe liberals/progressives crowd social science because they want to engineer society, while non-liberals have no such desire.

    “Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”

    -Heinlein

    1. This is it. Social psychology is largely about discovering beliefs to tweak, behaviors to modify, etc…

      The unholy alliance between public health and applied psychology is enough evidence of that.

  9. So specifically, which “conservative viewpoint” is at risk here?

    (since “social psychology” is vague)

    1. Isn’t the point that we can’t know what we don’t know?

      But to hazard a guess, any voice of restraint or humility in attempting to diagnose the human condition or prognosticate how best to control and modify it. Proper conservatism.

      1. Both the left and the right want to diagnose and engineer society to meet their ideal utopia.

        1. Proper conservatism.

          That said, pushback against the social engineering of one side by the other would be welcome, even if you don’t agree with either. I doubt we would have the current campus hysteria about sex and identity if conservatism hadn’t been drummed out of academia.

          1. Proper conservatism.

            Or classic liberalism to me.

            Conservatives hysterically pushed back against sex plenty. They did it via religion and social repression.

            1. Libtards do it via government force and social repression. Same fucking difference.

            2. “Lefties outman conservatives 12 to 1 in academia. The problem is all those conservatives in academia!”

    2. Literally any. The social ‘sciences’ are one of the few areas where there are more libertarians than conservatives (and not because libertarians are taking up a bigger proportion than they normally do). Read the 2012 study. The bias is extreme and incredibly open.

      If you doubt this, look at the political spread of engineering departments vs. the psychology departments.

      1. Everything outside the building that housed the Engineering Department at my university seemed like another planet.

    3. I can imagine that libertarian views about government paternalism are put at a disadvantage. Liberal social psychologists seem pretty big on “nudging”. If there’s an under-representation of conservative and libertarian views you get no pushback on paternalism so you get a false “consensus” on appropriate public policy.
      Fields that are too dominated by one orthodox position have problems accepting and integrating potentially paradigm shifting evidence. Think the Ptolemaic system in astronomy. Someone comes up with a better simpler theory and nobody accepts it because heresy.

      1. That’s not why they didn’t accept Copernicus’ theory. At the time it was one of seven unprovable theories. All seven were actually wrong.

        1. What are the other ones?

  10. Obviously this isn’t a left vs right issue. This is a correct thinking vs incorrect thinking issue. Do you really want your science to be incorrect right out of the gate?

    1. Tacoma Narrows Bridge, anyone?

      1. You’ve hit the nail on the head here!!

        The difference is whether there are consequences to making decisions based on incorrect thinking.

        Engineering – if you make a bad decision – the bridge falls down.

        Social Science – if you make a bad decisions – your paper get cited and your erroneous conclusion becomes “settled science”

        1. Social Science – if you make a bad decisions – your paper get cited and your erroneous conclusion becomes “settled science”

          No, actually, that’s what happens when academics make bad decisions.

          Just because they’re not building bridges doesn’t mean social scientists don’t have negative real-world effects. Plenty of them are busy ruining people’s lives every day as, e.g., social workers.

          1. True enough. I stand somewhat corrected.

        2. You left out some important steps.

          If the engineer’s bridge falls, no one will want to hire him and he may get sued.

          If the academic’s work is weapons grade bullshit and he convinces enough people that he’s right, he gets tenure.

          1. We vote on science, right?

  11. Liberals can’t discriminate. It’s just not possible. Only those paleolithic racist old white dudebros can be bigots. But not liberals.

    1. That is correct. You see, liberals are tolerant and inclusive. That means that they don’t tolerate intolerance and exclusiveness. Anyone who disagrees with them is intolerant and exclusive, so in the name of tolerance and inclusiveness, good liberals ostracize anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

      1. The Bill Maher anti-Islam liberal group is a lot larger than you think. The Ben Affleck head-in-the-sand progressive group is still too large though.

  12. I’ve suggested something similar ever since I first read that 2012 study. You need someone who will dissent and put your research through the wringer on review if you want accurate studies. Of course this will disrupt the group think bubble, and severely harm the progressive ability to only have their views taught to the next generation. I mean can you imagine what would happen if college students heard other points of view? They might not agree with everything their professors tell them!

  13. Liberals are liberals, and statists are statists because:

    They are shielded from the consequences of the theft, force, and violence required for their wants, desires and policies to be implemented. The agents of the state aggress against individuals on their behalf.

    They do not have to be physically engaged, or financially attached in order to reach their goals. If they were, they wouldn’t be a liberal, because such an ideology would be defended against by armed individuals, and protected through the private production of security.

  14. I’ll believe it when I see it. I left the academic world (fortunately before I had invested too much in that career) because I didn’t feel like spending my whole life arguing with Che supporters that people actually do have some control over their own health behavior decisions.

  15. “increase viewpoint diversity in the academy, with a special focus on the social sciences.

    Huh.

    1. It’s science, man. They do studies and stuff.

      I’m reading Jung’s book on archetypes, it’s amazing how much he thinks of himself as a scientist and an empiricist.

      1. Jung was an absolute crank, and his particular brand of bullshit remains an effective retard magnet.

  16. I’m betting this goes no further than step 1. After all, raising awareness is all the rage these days.

    1. Well, they did make a blog. Surely that’s an excellent means to galvanize real-world action.

      Oh, wait.

      1. Okay, we all like to mock the twitter activist, but raising awareness is actually a necessary step. You need numbers, funding, and power to get things done, and unless you happen to be besties with the dean of a college, that means you need to beat pavement and gather support.

  17. Speaking of lefty bias in social sciences, I read a comment from a rather credulous muppet in the sexual assault story this morning:

    Yoffe is off her rocker. I read somewhere that being accused of a false rape accusation can actually benefit young men. It was proposed by a very prominent gender theorist from I believe it was Columbia University. The theory is that it can help enlighten them about gender and patriarchal privilege that they may not be aware of and can lead them to becoming even greater more informed allies in the fight for true equality. It sounds kind of wild but it was well received within the academic community and the author certainly made some sound points. Either way Yoffe ought to at least take this into consideration before she goes spreading rhetoric like this.

    Because vapid appeals to authority are all the evidence we need to throw men into rape cages on dubious accusations.

    1. “I read somewhere that being accused of a false rape accusation can actually benefit young men. It was proposed by a very prominent gender theorist from I believe it was Columbia University.”

      HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      I read somewhere. I don’t know where and I have no citation, but I read it somewhere.

      1. Do you doubt for a moment that he read that somewhere? It’s just the sort of magical thinking that colors progressive apologias for the harm their crusades do. “Yeah, some innocent men get locked up in rape cages, but it’s okay because being raped by other men helps them be better men!”

    2. She should do her male friends a favor and accuse them of raping her.

      1. Ho ho! Bingo!

    3. I remember hearing that. It wasn’t a study, though. It was just some administrator trying to justify her kangaroo courts.

      1. If she finds a few coauthors and publishes it in a journal it’s a study. Social science!

    4. The theory is that it can help enlighten them about gender and patriarchal privilege that they may not be aware of and can lead them to becoming even greater more informed allies in the fight for true equality.

      1. Judge Smails: “”I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn’t want to do it. Felt I _owed_ it to them.”

    5. That is straight reeducation camp style thinking.

    6. being accused of a false rape accusation can actually benefit young men

      Pretty sure it’s more often women who are accused of false accusations.

    7. We have to burn the heretic to save him.

    8. If an ay-rab is accused of being a terrorist it would actually benefit him, as he would be enlightened about the harm violent mooslims are committing, and he would go on to become a strong ally in the fight to smash the jihad.

  18. I guess it’s too much to ask for a field that fancies itself a science to, I dunno, not be biased, instead of just making sure there is a diversity of biases (read: two).

    1. Winner. This.

      1. I mean, I’ll grant that recognizing and countering your own biases is really hard for any person. But this is exactly what a lot of progressives wants others to do, and claim to do themselves, when they talk about “checking privilege”.

    2. “I guess it’s too much to ask for a field that fancies itself a science to”

      It’s not a science though, and asking it to ape the sciences is not going help matters.

  19. Researchers may concentrate on topics that validate the liberal progress narrative and avoid topics that contest that narrative

    Look, I work around these unbiased researchers all of the time.

    May? May? Really? No, THERE IS NO FUCKING MAY! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL! WILL!

    1. but it’s everyone else who is anti-science.

    2. So you’re proposing a sort of… “Triumph of the Will”, Hyperion….?

  20. These researchers also list and address the various explanations for why so few non-liberals become social scientists including (1) that conservatives simply less intelligent than liberals, and less able to obtain PhDs and faculty positions; (2) many may view education as “enlightening” and believe that an enlightened view comports with liberal politics; (3) self-selection clearly plays a role.

    Or educated conservatives tend to gravitate towards law and engineering since there are jobs in those fields instead of just academics.

    1. Not that I’m a conservative, but the biggest factors affecting my decision not to go into education or academia were the people involved. It’s not even that they are all left-wingers, it’s what utter shitheads they all are. Unless you want to work around the pettiest and thinnest skinned people known to mankind, there are better options out there. It’s not even that their nasty attitudes and overblown grievances were directed at me, either. Just watching the bitter battles over minutiae and the horridly acrimonious treatment of anyone outside of the inner clique was enough to push me far away.

    2. Well, I think we’re talking about researchers here. And most researchers spend their entire lives in academic organizations, on university campuses. I can tell you since I’ve spent most of the last 15 years where my clients are mostly involved with such organizations, that they are full of leftists, and I’m not talking about your typical democrat voter, I’m talking full on hard left ideologues. I can guarantee you that most of the folks in these organizations who have beliefs that stray in the least from this hard left ideology, they mostly keep their mouths shut out of fear for being ostracized and driven out. All of the stories you see on the intertoobz about these type of politically oppressive environments is absolutely 100% true.

  21. 3. Expand organizational diversity statements to include politics.

    No no no. The problem is not that there are lots of progressives in social sciences per se. It’s that things are so overly politicized that their political views can’t help but influence their research. Politicizing things even more is not a solution.

    1. Insofar as diversity is good, it is only good as an outcome. Enforcing “diversity” as an input makes no sense and moreover tends to be perverted very easily.

      1. My view on diversity is that it is counterproductive to try and meet some quota simply for the sake of meeting some quota. But, to take STEM as an example, there is a real dearth of minorities. And a lot of that is because minority students aren’t getting good preparation, they don’t have positive role models in the field, etc. So that means that there may be some really talented student out there that is overlooked because they haven’t followed the traditional educational/career track, but if given a chance can really do well. That is bad for that person because they miss out on an opportunity to be successful doing something they enjoy. It’s bad for that field because it misses out on that person’s contributions.

        So I do think there is value in trying to reach out to underrepresented groups and encourage those with interest to pursue careers that they may have not otherwise considered. I’d say that is a good end to itself.

        1. Where is this lack of outreach? My university had entire, large and well funded, scholarships and programs dedicated to minority students. I volunteered in “underprivileged” schools as part of my (later aborted) education training.

          The problem, that seems to pervade your thinking as well, is not that nobody is willing to offer a hand. It is that the hands closest to the “minorities” are slapping them down. That is not a problem that an outsider can possibly fix.

          1. There is some outreach, but I’ve talked to a number of minority students in STEM who say that they were either never encouraged to pursue an interest in science or even actively discouraged from doing so. Maybe that speaks to your second point, which I don’t totally disagree with. But you have to start somewhere. You aren’t going to change things “closer to home” unless there are leaders from those communities that can go back and try to change things. I guess you can wait for it to happen spontaneously, but I don’t have a problem with trying to be proactive.

            But it’s more than that. I personally know several exceptionally bright, motivated students who came from bad high schools and probably didn’t have test scores to get them in to the better universities. Once they get linked up with good mentors/educators they excel. But you have to actively look for those kind of students and you can’t use metrics like standardized test scores because they haven’t had the training to do well on them. And if you don’t get on the traditional career track early on, it can be very difficult to get noticed.

            To be clear, I’m not talking about lowering standards, I’m talking about expanding the range of metrics you use to find talented people. And this is definitely all about race or gender. Plenty of talented poor white kids don’t get the support they need and get overlooked as well.

            1. It’s not likely to happen “spontaneously” when the people in power are doing everything they can to ensure it never happens.

              And part of the reason why the choice of metrics is so poor is because using other metrics is likely to result in a lawsuit.

              The best thing to do is to stop getting in the way of success.

          2. The problem, as I see it, is that there are far too many people who refuse to accept the idea that maybe, just maybe, ‘they’ don’t want to be there.

            1. I certainly accept that as a possibility. But I also think there are other things at play here. Again, I don’t look at this as “we need the % of minorities in STEM to look like the US population”. Rather, it’s “I want all individuals to have the chance to do and be want they want to be.” But that’s going to be hard for a lot of people if they don’t have good teachers, or support from family or role models. I think it’s a good thing to reach out to those people and help them where we can.

        2. Asians aren’t in STEM?

          1. They aren’t the only minority group in the country.

          2. As Tony so helpfully pointed out, “Asians don’t count”.

        3. But, to take STEM as an example, there is a real dearth of minorities. And a lot of that is because minority students aren’t getting good preparation, they don’t have positive role models in the field, etc.

          What?! All the evidence shows there’s too many NAMs who initially major in STEM.

    2. It’s pervasive in all of academia, not just social sciences.

      If you want to escape this, just get a quick 2 year compsci or engineering degree, get some experience and then when you feel like studying more, do it online.

      Otherwise, there is no escape.

  22. They offer some suggestions for how to increase political diversity in the social sciences:

    1. Acknowledge the problem and raise awareness about it.
    2. Seek feedback from non-liberals.
    3. Expand organizational diversity statements to include politics.
    4. Add a statement to your own academic website acknowledging that you encourage collaboration among people of diverse political views.
    5. Eliminate pejorative terms referring to non-liberals; criticize others’ scholarship when they use those terms. As an editor or reviewer, do not permit such terms to
    pass without comment.
    6. Avoid “leakage” of political hostilities or presumptions (including jokes) when functioning in any teaching or research capacity, but especially around students and junior colleagues.
    7. Encourage young scholars who are not liberals to pursue careers in social psychology.
    8. Be alert to double standards. Use turnabout tests to reveal bias.

    ignore it because it’s made up bullshit that doesn’t create wealth

    1. Making it so it eats less wealth might be good, though.

    2. I’ll be sure to share that insight with all the linguists working on natural language processing issues.

      1. Noam Chomsky notwithstanding, linguistics is a fairly empirical field. The “bullshit” doesn’t really start to take effect until you get into sociolinguistics.

        1. There’s plenty of non-BS, empirical sociolinguistics, and other fields may have more or less empiricism. But it’s all social science, and it’s important for all right-thinking libertarians to remember that social science is retarded.

          1. Empiricism requires more than just documentation or research; it also requires the validation of predictions against new evidence. It is one thing to describe the grammar of a language and analyze writing or speech accordingly, and another thing entirely to posit relationships between language and human behavior. It is my experience that (core) linguistics, such as NLP, is primarily concerned with the former, while sociolinguistics and other social sciences, are primarily concerned with the latter.

            As for the “social science is retarded”, plenty of “right-thinking” libertarians recognize that climate science is also just as retarded (in its present incarnation) despite not having any inherent social aspect. Moreover, despite it being a “social science”, plenty of “right-thinking” libertarians have a lot of respect for economics.

            The problem seems to be a conflation of “most social science is bullshit” (which is an observation) with “all social science must be bullshit” (which is an irrational bias).

            1. Holy shit! Did you just claim that not only is neuro-linguistic programming is “core” linguistics but that it is more empirical and rigorous than sociolinguistics?

              1. Yeah…what HM said.

                1. I’m just wondering what people think sociolinguistics do? Are they aware that a lot of the work in that field concerns language variation? And that it mostly involves quantitative measures of dialect and lexical choices?

                  Unless, you want to argue that it’s not true that the words Midwesterners and Southerners use to describe carbonated beverages are wrong. Seriously, guys. There’s no excuse.

                  1. Shh…it’s okay, HM…it’s okay…I swear I’ll never say “pop,” or “bubbler.”

                  2. My own ignorance of the taxonomic boundaries in the discipline of linguistics doesn’t affect my point. I made it pretty clear what I was talking about, even if I didn’t use the right words.

                2. NLP = natural language processing

                  which I thought would be obvious from context.

                  1. which I thought would be obvious from context.

                    Ah, that makes more sense…but it wouldn’t be obvious as natural language processing is a field of applied linguistics and is usually not considered “core” (i.e. theoretical linguistics). And again, most of the corpora used in fields like NLP owe their creation to the work of documenting language variation conducted by…you guessed it…people working in sociolinguistics.

                    1. See above. Clearly I don’t know what the boundaries are, or perhaps even what sociolinguistics means (although the dictionary says: “the study of language as it functions in society; the study of the interaction between linguistic and social variables”), but that is immaterial to my point. I will gladly accept such a correction, as it applies, but would prefer a discussion on the merits.

                    2. No worries, I was just confused as to what you were saying. I agree that things like a strong stance on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis are bullshit. But I would suggest you’re painting with too broad a brush when it comes to the claims of sociolinguistics, which, as far as I know, never has claimed to be a science. Off the top my head, I can’t even think of a study in sociolinguistics that has made any serious claims for causality concerning a phenomenon.

                    3. Fair enough; I would have to dig into the literature to find concrete examples of what I’m talking about, although Sapir-Whorf did come to mind. Basically, I see any prefix of “socio-” in front of a topic as the application of Marxism to that topic. That may have been an unfair generalization in this case.

                    4. Actually corpus linguistics is considered theoretical linguistics if you, as I do, reject the innatist Chomskyan view of language. Corpus linguistics is used to investigate language change (historical linguistics)–‘how did ‘thou’ get replaced by ‘you’?, and to investigate phonological knowledge (‘to what extent to we store/know about the frequency distribution of such pronunciation alternatives as ‘ghosts’ vs ‘ghos’s’ without the ‘t’?).

            2. “and another thing entirely to posit relationships between language and human behavior”

              Language is a human behaviour. What do you hope to accomplish by pretending otherwise?

              “most social science is bullshit” (which is an observation)”

              Think about that statement a little more. You’ll understand that it too is an irrational bias. It certainly isn’t anyone’s observation.

              1. Do you think if you play enough mental games it will actually make you right? You have nothing to contribute, so fuck off, you mental midget.

                1. I was just trying to get to the bottom of what you were trying to say. Sorry if I offended you.

                  1. You are disingenuous and manipulative. I doubt you have ever been sincerely apologetic in your entire life.

                    1. I was just curious what you had against sociolinguistics. What little I know of the subject shows that it sheds light on otherwise hidden aspects of human behaviour, aspiration and so on. An altogether worthy endeavour in my opinion. You seem to feel otherwise.

                2. trueman, I was wondering, do you have any opinions about WTC7?

                  1. ” I was wondering, do you have any opinions about WTC7?”

                    No opinions to speak of. I have questions though. Don’t you?

          2. econ is a social science therefore all social sciences are retarded

            1. That’s some fine reasoning.

  23. Here’s my simple, but extremely expensive proposal: All masters’ degrees should require repeating another (unaffiliated) group’s procedure to verify results. Better science, better learning.

    The cheaper proposal is to simply suck all the government money out of the university system, reduce by half or more the number of working academic groups, and let nature take its course.

  24. it would be ironic if an epistemic community resonated to empirical arguments that appear to exonerate the community of prejudice?when that same community roundly rejects those same arguments when invoked by other institutions to explain the under-representation of women or ethnic minorities (e.g., in STEM disciplines or other elite professions);

    Yes, that is a massive blind spot. Somehow blacks are just as smart as whites, women are just as smart as men, but conservatives? They’re congenitally stupid, even though conservatism isn’t genetic or in any way hereditary. The blank slate is blank – except for political views. Those are biologically innate and correlated with intelligence.

    1. The blank slate is blank – except for political views. Those are biologically innate and correlated with intelligence.

      I don’t think that’s necessarily what they feel. It’s more like conservatives are stupid because if they were smart then they’d be liberals. You see, lots of really smart people are liberals. So if someone is a liberal, then they must be really smart. In fact, someone can actually elevate their intelligence by becoming a liberal and joining the company of really smart people.

      I actually knew someone who said that they were smart because they watched the Daily Show, and because lots of really smart college people got their news from the Daily Show, that this person must be equally smart.

      It’s so stupid it’s mind boggling.

    2. I think you have it backwards. It’s perfectly acceptable (to them) to discriminate against conservatives (and libertarians) because such things are not innate. The heretics can always repent of their evil ways and be welcomed into the fold.

      1. But we DO see research coming out purporting to prove that political predispositions have an innate biological basis, including intelligence. Which is ironic considering that most of these same researchers would be horrified if someone attempted to publish research showing innate differences between blacks and whites or (to a lesser extent) men and women.

        http://www.motherjones.com/pol…..ivity-bias

        1. That’s just self-congratulatory masturbation material for them. Any fucking idiot can fake his political beliefs. Moreover, studies like this (or at least, the pop-sci interpretations of them) conflate “biologically measurable” with “biologically innate”. Never mind that the study’s conclusion is unlikely to be repeatable, anyway.

    3. It’s funny how the left are the enlightened lovers of science when study results fit their agenda. But for some odd reason, no amount of pressure or funding has been able to produce a study proving that GMOs are harmful to humans. Not one study. Yet, the leftists will not let this go. Also, a lot of the leftists who are into this type of research know this fact well and yet they will not rein in their unhinged sycophant hordes. It is the exact same situation with vaccines.

      This is one of those things that is very perplexing to me.

      1. IMO, They don’t reign in their unhinged sycophant hordes because they are afraid of being exiled to the outer darkness that conservatives have been cast into. Seriously. In most liberal/progressive circles, daring to say something that contradicts the orthodox view of GMOs as pure evil will result in an awkward silence in which everyone stares at you like you’re an insane person, or maybe that they suspect you might be a closet conservative.
        Fear of being an outcast keeps many liberals from questioning the orthodoxy.

        1. It’s just so surreal that several countries in Europe have already banned GMO crops from their country with absolutely zero scientific evidence to back up that position.

          Now a lot of the alarmists on the left are going hysterical about amateur bio hackers playing with algae and other simple micro-organisms, calling for a moratorium against letting people play with science. Only the high priest in their holy ivory towers are allowed to read the sacred scrolls play with simple lab equipment.

          The age of enlightenment is over. We’re heading back to the dark ages.

        2. This is not an orthodox liberal view and is truly a mote compared to the log of climate change denial on your side.

          1. Global warming isn’t happening, Tony. What we “deny” is the unreal; what you and all leftoids evade is the real.

            1. Talk about desperation. Hanging onto a ship that sunk long ago, Tony is now at the bottom of the sea, all alone.

            2. Global warming may or may not be happening.

              What is happening, however, is quite clearly not dangerous.

              Guys like Tony desperately want it to be dangerous, because then they will have a moral justification for forcing people to live meaner lives.

              1. Citation needed. Go ahead, link me to whatever rightwing bullshit peddling website you get your facts about global warming from.

                1. Take a look at the widely followed, heavyweight website of climatologist Dr. Judith Curry, Obama donor.
                  http://judithcurry.com/

                  1. Or look at the even heavier-weight climate-contrarian website of Steve McIntyre, statistics expert–and socialist.
                    http://climateaudit.org/

          2. Shut up, Tony, you know nothing of science or anything else. You mom’s gonna turn off the intertoobz again if you don’t get a job. Now get down to Burger King and mop some floors.

            1. I’ve worked in the fast food industry and I’m offended by the idea that Tony actually has a job supplying customers with a desired product. You just insulted all Burger King workers, you cishet shitlord.

          3. Sure it isn’t.
            How many parties have you been to lately where people brought up their opposition to GMOs, AND some other liberal contradicted them?
            Or even not parties but ANY social situation where someone says something anti-GMO and gets contradicted? And what happened then?

            1. The only people I ever hear bitching about GMOs are libertarians trying to prove that liberals are anti-science.

              …while they continue to be climate change deniers.

          4. Watch your language, Tony! You are giving yourself away! “Orthodox” as a word has a synonym, “conservative”! You may be banished from your religion!

      2. Look. GMOs are unnatural, therefore they are bad. Period.

        Human activity on this planet is bad because it is unnatural. That’s the whole thing with climate change. Burning fossil fuels is unnatural, therefore it is bad. It must be having some bad effect on the planet because it is unnatural. Look! The weather changed! It must be because of fossil fuels! Because fossil fuels must cause something! It’s a textbook example of begging the question.

        1. Well, we’d better eliminate all modern crops and go back to foraging for berries and roots.

      3. Which leftists are you talking about? I think you won’t let it go.

        1. Shut up Tony. Get a job. Burger King and Walmart are hiring the unskilled. Now get to work, and stop posting non-sense on the intertoobz, you’re annoying.

      4. “This is one of those things that is very perplexing to me.”

        It will remain perplexing as long as you think left or right plays an important role. I don’t see that it does. The rejection of GMO or vaccination is not a political stance but an aesthetic stance. It stems from concerns of purity. That’s why you’ll find leftists and rightists on both sides of these issues. It’s not political. You only need to talk to some of these opponents to see that. I suggest you try that if you are interested in clearing up some of your perplexity.

        1. No, most of the people who are anti-GMO are leftists. I’ve talked to many of them, but it’s useless since they will not listen to reason or consider the clear evidence debunking their hysteria.

          1. “No, most of the people who are anti-GMO are leftists.”

            But there are leftists who are passionately in favour of GMO. You must have come across them in your research. And there are rightists who are opposed to them.

            “but it’s useless since they will not listen to reason or consider the clear evidence debunking their hysteria.”

            You’re not going to be able to talk someone out of an aesthetic stance. Try to persuade someone to change a preference for chocolate over vanilla or vice versa. It’s not possible. That doesn’t mean that the preference for chocolate is hysterical. It’s just an aesthetic stance, concerning purity as I mentioned earlier, and mistaking it for a political stance isn’t going to help your perplexity.

        2. See, what’s really going on here is that in order for the leftist to safely be able to support GMOs, he has to recast the anti-GMO sentiment as something that isn’t associated with his side. Because the TEAM mentality is so strong on the left that unless OTHER leftists stop associating being anti-GMO with their TEAM, then they will reflexively react against pro-GMO statements as if they were heresy.

          it’s all mood affiliation and signalling. Instead of arguing from the scientific merits of GMOs, leftists have to argue that the anti-GMOers “aren’t one of us” to cultivate a more socially receptive environment first. You can’t just come out and make the rational argument because that would be socially dangerous.

        3. See, what’s really going on here is that in order for the leftist to safely be able to support GMOs, he has to recast the anti-GMO sentiment as something that isn’t associated with his side. Because the TEAM mentality is so strong on the left that unless OTHER leftists stop associating being anti-GMO with their TEAM, then they will reflexively react against pro-GMO statements as if they were heresy.

          it’s all mood affiliation and signalling. Instead of arguing from the scientific merits of GMOs, leftists have to argue that the anti-GMOers “aren’t one of us” to cultivate a more socially receptive environment first. You can’t just come out and make the rational argument because that would be socially dangerous.

    4. Everyone knows that libertarians are the smart ones.

      1. Studies clearly show this, but leftists are anti-science knuckle draggers. See Tony for example.

  25. 6. Avoid “leakage” of political hostilities or presumptions (including jokes) when functioning in any teaching or research capacity, but especially around students and junior colleagues.

    This isn’t restricted to the social sciences. People make jokes whenever they feel comfortably in the majority. I see that myself, and it does bother me because even though they aren’t making fun of my particular political viewpoints, they are basically assuming I share theirs.

    This is just human nature, though. It happens here when we make fun of progressives or conservatives.

    1. t does bother me because even though they aren’t making fun of my particular political viewpoints, they are basically assuming I share theirs

      Yes, I see this all the time. It’s kind of an interesting psychological trick. You make some casual statement that contains political implications and you say it in a way that assumes everyone agrees. If someone contradicts you, they look like an asshole for making a big deal about it, and if they don’t, then everyone gets the impression that everyone else *really does* agree with you. Of course this only works when you really are comfortably in the majority, otherwise you might end up with yourself being the lone asshole. But it’s almost a deliberate mechanism to subtly enforce conformity with the dominant opinion, since it helps reinforce the impression of the minority side that they are in an even smaller minority than maybe they really are. It’s an assertion of dominance really “I can get away with saying this slightly controversial political thing, this shows that my side is the dominant side.”

  26. Academics are intelligent and successful within the ambit of their little world, so it’s unsurprising that they tend to eschew fundamental uncertainties about the world and embrace economic and social planning. It’s not a position they reasoned themselves into so much as intuited, because everything can be figured out with a little bit of study so why not the markets or social psychology? It just feels right, and besides, it’s a complicated subject that Paul Krugman figured out for them, so, you know, just read his articles.

    The same thing obtains with the so-called climate science consensus: it does not indicate the correctness of the science so much as social preferences within the community.

  27. “Encourage young scholars who are not liberals to pursue careers in social psychology.”

    Sure, and encourage them to go into Gender Studies, too.

    If enough conservatives become Gender Studies professors, it may correct the left-wing bias in that field.

    /sarc

    1. Imagine someone who expressed a note of skepticism about encouraging “sex reassignment” rather than conventional therapies for gender dysphoria. He’d be canned on his second day of classes.

      1. …on the grounds that he created a “hostile environment” for LGBBQs.

  28. Socialism Psychology

  29. “Avoid “leakage” of political hostilities or presumptions (including jokes) when functioning in any teaching or research capacity, but especially around students and junior colleagues.”

    Jokes?

    If that means “don’t intimidate people over whom you have authority by mocking their views and implicitly threatening career retaliation,” then by all means ban jokes.

    But if this means “take the humorlessness you observe on other subjects and extend it to politics,” then fuck you, no.

    Just because progressives ruined humor and limited it to insults and sarcasm, don’t enforce that joyless vision on normal people.

  30. Ouch! Even with that title, they still list that conservatives simply less intelligent than liberals ? Seems they need to spend a bit more time thinking about what they write!

    On a different note, the same general title might be applied to physical scientists also, particularly earth (climate) sciences. At the very least, a libertarian world view will tend to make the tenure ladder just that much steeper for the young academic.

    1. They rejected that explanation. Or do you think they should only list and address the ones they believe are correct?

      1. The premise is so foolish that it is not worth the ink to even suggest it.

        1. You don’t think there might be some relationship between underrepresentation of modern conservatives in academia and the giant anti-intellectual bent of modern conservatism?

          1. Yes, and as usual, you’ve got it backwards.

          2. What about the relationship between the under-representation of black people in higher education and the anti-intellectual bent of black culture?

            See how this works?

            1. You’re a racist and can’t help it? Yeah, think I got it.

        2. And yet it’s the most common explanation liberals tell each other. It’s important to debunk.

  31. Expand organizational diversity statements to include politics.

    Let’s not. If conservatives are the independent hard-working go-getters they like to think they are, they can find their own way into academia or any other sphere. Surely it would offend their sensibilities to offer them affirmative action.

    1. It’s possible to simultaneously (a) oppose progressive principles and (b) point out their logical consequences.

      If it promotes academic diversity to hire more left-handed albino Eskimo lesbians, it should also promote diversity to hire more conservatives and libertarians.

      1. “…left-handed albino Eskimo lesbians”

        You wouldn’t have access to any erotica in this vein would you? Asking for a friend.

    2. So, purely superficial diversity is the best thing in the world, but actual intellectual diversity is not worth thinking about?

      1. I would like to take this moment to say I like your comments. Sorry if that damages your cred.

        I just don’t think academics should be interrogated on their political beliefs at any point in the hiring process.

    3. They don’t want affirmative action for conservatives per se. They want people to challenge the groups preconceived notions. Lee Jussim wrecked social psychology’s stereotype consensus by simply reading their research and noticing that 1) actually stereotypes are usually true and 2) nobody actually believes stereotypes apply to every single member of the group.

    4. Shut up, Tony. Get a job, there are programs out there to help the unskilled.

    5. I think the point is not so much to give them “affirmative action” as it is to be more politically tolerant in general. Stop smuggling political assumptions into every conversation, and stop turning research topics into political battlefields.

      Personally I think every scientific field could benefit from a little more mature, tolerant attitude towards unorthodox views, regardless of whether those view are politically based or not. If anything, any sort of political leaning getting smuggled into research topics or methodology or results should be frowned upon. The sciences should be totally agnostic about politics and just present results, without any particular political spin. Let other people do the interpreting themselves.

      1. I agree, but I also think there is a false equivalency being assumed. I think that, in the context of US politics, conservatives are much more likely to politicize science–to the point of outright denying facts they don’t like. Perhaps academia and science are politically diverse, but there is a limit to the level of crazy they’ll admit it. Maybe everyone branded a liberal is actually just sane, and among them are many diverse viewpoints.

        1. In what ways are conservatives politicizing science and what facts are being denied here?

          1. I don’t want to get into it. It’s all too depressing. People trying to lecture me about science who get their science from twitchy conspiracy theorists in dark corners of the internet.

            1. People trying to lecture me about science who get their science from twitchy conspiracy theorists in dark corners of the internet.

              Most of the people I meet who are twitchy conspiracy theorists are the kind who think evil multi-national corporations (the Monsanto-Koch brothers axis!) control the world. Either that or the CIA is secretly manipulating absolutely everything. (MKULTURA, COINTELPRO!)

              People trying to lecture me about history who get their history from Alternet and the World Socialist Web Site.

            2. Sounds like you got nothing to back up your claims. If you are just making stuff up just say so

          2. “In what ways are conservatives politicizing science and what facts are being denied here?”

            Though you would never have heard of this if you confined your reading to Reason, the conservative Canadian government has been muzzling scientists and preventing them from speaking to the press. At least one scientist lost his job over the issue. As to what facts are being denied, I’ll leave that to you to figure it out once you take a closer look into the matter. I recommend an internet search is a good start. Harper is the name of the PM there.

  32. Tony, circa 1963:

    If Negros are the independent hard-working go-getters the ACLU says they are, they can find their own way into business or any other sphere.

    1. Well, to be fair, he is a racist piece of shit.

  33. But we all know that this ideological “imbalance” will never narrow in our lifetimes.

    Within 10-15 years, what will the ratio be, 50-1, 100-1?

    Or will today’s left-liberals become tomorrow’s reactionaries as they are superseded on the left by revolutionary socialists?

    1. What I’m hoping for is a federal debt default that results in a collapse of the college bubble because the funny money is no longer free-flowing. Faced with actual market forces, non-productives find themselves out of their posh positions of influence and out of a job.

    2. I dunno. Isn’t regression to the mean a thing? I think there is reason to hope that these trends are not all one-way. Socialism has had it’s big moments before and things swung back toward the center.

      1. But the center has moved, irrevocably perhaps, towards the left.

      2. Well, there never is any real reason for hope.

  34. Too late. The entire education system, right, left and middle, is locked into the liberal narrative that _accurate_ perspectives, necessarily representing reality, rather than contradicting it, are no longer to be considered as “education. ” Rather the resolution to every human problem is presumed to originate from the diversity and multiculturalism scams, and now whatever spews forth from the mouths of these “differences” is considered infallibly accurate thought.

    Any failure of these irrelevant diversity and cultural differences to produce rational conclusions resulting in successful goal achieving action, is then “proof,” of “too many white people in one place,” making the correction of all failure a simple (minded) matter of additional diversity or another culture.

  35. Do you know what are analogies, irony and alliteration? No? Then you should have a peek here!

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