Conservatives are biased but so are scientists

Caption: Political hacks who masquerade as “scientists” are ruining the good name of science.

It’s an oft-repeated claim by smug social media “liberals” (I place the word in quotes because, although they assume the name “liberal”, they invariably seem to really be left-wing authoritarians) that science has a liberal bias because “reality has a liberal bias”. This is nonsense, of course. Reality has no bias, liberal or conservative. Reality just is. Science, properly practised, should describe reality as objectively as possible.

If it’s biased, liberal or conservative, then it’s not science. It’s politics. Quote:

A new study by University of Oxford researchers suggests conservatives are right to be skeptical of scientific establishments, given the history of “scholar activism” in fields like sociology and political science.

Led by Nathan Confas, the study “Does Activism in the Social Sciences Explain Conservatives’ Distrust of Scientists?” can be found in the recent issue of the American Sociologist, a special edition dedicated to ideological diversity and conservative issues. End of quote.

It should be pointed out that the first sentence is misleading: the especially biased fields are specified as sociology and political science. Just as Popper’s work in psychology led him to conclude that most of it was pseudo-science, it’s debatable, frankly, whether these should be classed as “sciences” at all. Surveys indicate that the “hard” sciences, like physics, are far less biased. Quote:

Research confirms that every decade since 1974, conservatives’ trust in scientists has decreased. But little has been done to explore why. Some suggest that conservatives are less likely to accept data that “threatens their worldview,” note Confas and his team.

But Confas told Campus Reform that this is a misguided approach. If anything, he said, published research indicates that liberals and conservatives are equally likely to discredit science if it conflicts with their world-view. End of quote.

Humans are biased creatures by nature. We have evolved to seek out patterns which conform to our version of a predictable world. We distrust anything that contradicts that. Everyone “f-ing loves science”, right up to the point that it contradicts their personal prejudices. Quote:

Confas and his research team…suggest that increasing levels of skepticism towards scientific institutions is partly a reaction to the politicization—namely, the liberalization—of these institutions.

The distrust is not driven by all scientists, but rather by what Confas and his team refer to as “impact scientists.” These are researchers, typically working in the social sciences and environmental science, who often conduct research with the stated goal of raising awareness of left-liberal issues, or acceptance of left-liberal policy solutions. End of quote.

Climate science, or a least the media tarts of climate science who live for grabbing headlines with scary doom-saying, are a perfect example of so-called “impact scientists”. These are people who pose as scientists, but really are political activists in lab coats. Quote:

“Conservatives are not opposed to, or skeptical of, science per se. Rather, they lack trust in impact scientists whom they see as seeking in influence policy in a liberal direction,” explains Confas. End of quote.

The left-wing bias of some scientific fields is corrupting both science and politics. Quote:

He points to the field of sociology as an example. A recent study surveying 479 sociology professors discovered that only 4 percent identify as conservative or libertarian, while 86 percent identify as liberal or left-radical…emerging research suggests that the political slant in the field is corrupting objectivity, due to a variety of issues including confirmation bias and scholar-activism in the field. End of quote.

Restoring some semblance of balance to the academy is not about conservatives “getting even”. A basic principle of academia is that it is supposed to canvas ideas on merit, not become a political echo-chamber. Quote:

“We want to do our part to help correct the science,” Confas told Campus Reform.

“Conservatives are right to be skeptical,” he added. “Take any politicized issue that is connected to some disagreement about scientific fact. I do not believe there is a single case in the last couple decades where a major scientific organization took a position that went against the platform of the Democratic Party.”

“What an odd coincidence that ‘science’ always, without exception, supports the liberal worldview.” End of quote.

Scientists can be scientists, or they can be political activists. They can’t be both.


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Who is Lushington D. Brady?

Well, a pseudonym. Obviously.

But the name Lushington Dalrymple Brady has been chosen carefully. Not only for the sum of its overall mien of seedy gentility, reminiscent perhaps of a slightly disreputable gentlemen of letters, but also for its parts, each of which borrows from the name of a Vandemonian of more-or-less fame (or notoriety) who represents some admirable quality which will hopefully animate the persona of Lushington D. Brady.

To read my previous articles click on my name in blue.

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