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The New Yorker has a piece which follows up on how extremely biased the field of social psychology is, Is Social Psychology Biased Against Republicans?:

…A 2012 survey of social psychologists throughout the country found a fourteen-to-one ratio of Democrats to Republicans. But where were the hard numbers that pointed to bias, be it in the selection of professionals or the publication process, skeptics asked? Anecdotal evidence, the Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert pointed out, proved nothing. Maybe it was the case that liberals simply wanted to become professors more often than conservatives. “Liberals may be more interested in new ideas, more willing to work for peanuts, or just more intelligent,” he wrote. The N.Y.U. political psychologist John Jost made the point even more strongly, calling Haidt’s remarks “armchair demography.” Jost wrote, “Haidt fails to grapple meaningfully with the question of why nearly all of the best minds in science find liberal ideas to be closer to the mark with respect to evolution, human nature, mental health, close relationships, intergroup relations, ethics, social justice, conflict resolution, environmental sustainability, and so on.”

…“There’s often a lot of irony in this area,” he said. “The same people who are exquisitely sensitive to discrimination in other areas are often violently antagonistic when it comes to political ideology, bringing up clichéd arguments that they wouldn’t accept in other domains: ‘They aren’t smart enough.’ ‘They don’t want to be in the field.’ ”

…As the degree of conservatism rose, so, too, did the hostility that people experienced. Conservatives really were significantly more afraid to speak out. Meanwhile, the liberals thought that tolerance was high for everyone. The more liberal they were, the less they thought discrimination of any sort would take place.

Call it “liberal privilege” in academia. The assumption is often that the normative framework you are working with is on the cultural Left (these discussions are much more relevant for social issues since the high socioeconomic status backgrounds of many academics means they are less interested in Left populism in economic domains, even if they give lip service to it). Two examples will suffice personally. I was at a dinner hosting a speaker once when someone started talking about how “we” could reach out to conservatives. The assumption was that of the two dozen people around the long table none would be conservative. Second, I had an exchange with a patronizing reader who advised that I tone down any mention of politics on my blog since that would alientate readers. I responded that it seemed to work for PZ Myers, to which he responded “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that.” The issue here is that the reader didn’t think of liberal politics as politics.

Second, the idea that liberalism just aligns with reality is a nice and neat conceit, but it is, as a nice liberal would say, “problematic.” Chris Mooney has a short piece on the priors of sociologists and human nature. “Blank slate” dead-enders aren’t just found on the political Right, though some of that exists there too (e.g., homosexuality, the important of shared family environment). Additionally, the natural sciences tend to be less politically liberal overall than fields like sociology and social psychology. I’m skeptical that this suggests that the best minds are in sociology and social psychology.

Finally, I do have to note that Haidt still offers a fundamentally liberal solution to the conservative deficit: “Haidt believes that the way forward is through a system of affirmative action: engaging in extra recruitment and consciousness-raising efforts for political conservatives in much the same way as for women or ethnic minorities.” All the same issues that afflict racial and ethnic affirmative action might be relevant in the case of conservatives. It may actually be the case that conservatives don’t have the inclination and aptitude for particular fields. This doesn’t negate the reality of discrimination, but it questions axiom that discrimination in a crude sense is shaping the different demographics we see in different fields, and a simple fiat fix can solve the problem. It is true that social psychology probably suffers from the lack of ideological diversity, but it won’t prevent the field from publishing lots of fluffy results which are picked up by the media oblivious to p-value fishing. Yes, people won’t take social psychology seriously, but most scientists probably never have. Bias is real. And discrimination is real too. But sometimes the solutions are more pernicious than the problems. That’s a conservative insight.

 
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  1. Mixing non-behaviorists into one faculty won’t work. There are two kinds of secession or schism that have actually worked, but both need to have money and power on their side.

    (1) Around 1970 the pure behaviorists at KU seceded from the main psych dept and formed their own dept with its own building. (Haworth, now called Dole Hall)

    (2) At Penn State (and I presume some similar univs) the Engineering School got so disgusted with the political insanity of English and the insane theories of Math and Physics that it created its own internal English, Math and Physics departments. Their English dept teaches how to write and communicate clearly, and their Math and Physics stick to classical and useful techniques.

  2. This is a large messy question. Just to stir the pot.

    1. Conservative /= Republican. The present Republican Party is a thing in itself, to say the least. Many Democrats are conservative by many standards, including the general European standard. Rational conservatives really have very few places to go.

    2. One conservative tradition believes in keeping government spending to a minimum. Science (and education) are heavily dependent on government spending. You can interpret this to mean that scientists are self-interested, but if you are pro-science you can just as well interpret it to mean that that kind of conservatism is anti science, which it effectively is. Right now Congressman Lamar Smith, a former businessman with no apparent scientific training, islooking at science grants with a suspicious eye.

    3. Religious forms of conservatism have different truth criteria than science, and historically have caused science a great deal of trouble. Scientists are wary of that.

    4. In the general demographic breakdown of US politics, scientists tend not to belong to any of the Republican demographics: rural, southern, religious, businessmen. More generally you can say that they are “New Class”, a group somewhat defined by government spending. Professionals, civil servants, people in education, a lot of the media, people in the arts, people in non-profits. The liberal elite.

    5.Liberalism is strongest in non-scientific areas andin sciences which are generally both less solid and more directly politically relevant (anthro, psych, poli sci, soc, econ). Even econ tends to be Democratic, though they’re usually centrist Dems and there is a very strong minority of conservatives.

    6. Not quite on topic, but some of the areas where liberals are supposed to be just as anti-science as conservatives (anti-vax, anti-fluoridation, and-GMO) there is a fairly equal mix of liberals and conservatives, and most established liberal politicians avoid these positions.

    And finally, not only Republican v. Democrat but also liberal v. conservative are vague words denoting very pluralistic coalitions which are so peculiarly American that the terminology just doesn’t work when speaking of Europe.

    • Replies: @Walter Sobchak

    Many Democrats are conservative by many standards, including the general European standard.
     
    Apparently you have not been paying attention. The last Conservative Democrat was Joe Lieberman and he was drummed out of the party in 2006.

    if you are pro-science you can just as well interpret it to mean that that kind of conservatism is anti science, which it effectively is.
     
    You have confused science and scientists. State sponsorship of science is a historically recent phenomenon which really began with World War II and the Manhattan Project. It compounded during the Cold War and continued thereafter. There is no particular reason why this historically contingent institutional arrangement will continue to exist.

    Among OECD countries, the State's most important role is to transfer money to aged and disabled people. Eventually, the expansion of those populations and the contraction of the active labor force will suck all resources out of side-lines like science. YMMV.
  3. The New Class is to some degree a social group, a voting demographic, an interest group, a political faction. It also includes the bulk of the national intelligentsia and most of those who can claim to be public philosophers or whatever you call them. That does leave a large part of the electorate voiceless, when the public philosophers tend to be part of an interest group. Suspicion, polarization, and anti-intellectualism arise from this, with very bad effects.

    To some extent though science and especially social science rule out many typically conservative ways of thinking (traditionalist, religious, etc.) a whole different approach to truth and reality. And the US has always had a hard liberal skew, when”liberal” is sto include “free market liberals”.

    You have to ask why schools couldn’t be established to develop a conservative intelligentsia. U. Chicago was supposed to be that, and partly is that. George Mason sort of is. Falwell’s Liberty University hasn’t impressed anyone.

    National accreditation and the nationalization of the job market are probably partly at fault.

    • Replies: @Walter Sobchak

    You have to ask why schools couldn’t be established to develop a conservative intelligentsia. U. Chicago was supposed to be that, and partly is that.
     
    Ha. Ha.

    When I was an undergraduate at the U of C in the late 1960s, it had a conservative reputation because of Milton Friedman and the Economics department. The other departments ranged from liberal to Marxist.

    Friedman retired long ago, and Chicago's most recent gift to the world is Obama. So much for conservative reputations.
  4. IMO, American Liberals frequently fail to understand Evolution, even as they snicker at Creationists.

    Most American Liberals seem to imagine that evolution is goal oriented and has some particular destination, rather than being contextually adaptive and no more.

    Thus they fail to understand the implication of the Red Queen and so on and so forth, and then we end up with a girl wearing spandex, “shaking what her Momma gave her”, as she walks down the streets of New York city, and Liberals failing to understand the reaction…

    • Replies: @IBC

    IMO, American Liberals frequently fail to understand Evolution, even as they snicker at Creationists.
     
    How many really care about understanding it? It seems like a lot of people just don't want to be seen as stupid and therefore they go along with whatever simplified explanation is currently being endorsed by most scientists. Religious fundamentalists, as well as those who are less fundamentalist but still traditional in their views, have more at stake in questioning evolutionary theory. For most liberals there isn't that sort of conflict, so even if they don't really care about the question, they can just announce that they believe in it and let people know that they're on the smart team. In socially conservative areas, there are probably many people who don't really believe in divine creation but don't care enough to argue the issue and therefore end up on Team Creation by default.

    There are probably many other examples in academia where lower status academics perceive a particular point to be important to the department chair or someone higher up the food chain, and so they join the "consensus" on that issue for practical reasons even if they have diferring ideas. This allows them to keep their seat at the table even if it can impede scientific progress or real debate.

    Going back many years, look at all the German scientists (even perhaps Cavalli-Sforza from Italy) who toed a Nazi line so they could continue their research. Maybe it's a false impression, but it seems like many scientists, especially in the hard sciences, are more interested in their own work than in the types of social issues that seem to move many social scientists and humanities types these days. In many cases, support for humanistic ideals among "hard" scientists may be just as much about personal convenience as true ideological conviction; especially since a larger percentage of those people are foreign born and often from countries with a weaker liberal intellectual tradition. Also, look at sources of research funding. Liberal philanthropic foundations might have different interests from "defense" contractors and that might have an effect on the declared public policy positions of academics.

  5. While I recognize that I personally criticize the social sciences all the time, around 75% of American born PhDs in physics these days are atheists.

    There is no way to really reconcile that with a positive picture of the conservative, Christian right which makes up clearly the largest proportion of “conservatives” in American demographics (as arguably opposed to the Internet blogosphere). That group of people is simply still pretty vastly stupid at the tails and does not have comparable scientific or academic achievement.

  6. To the extent that the academic environment mirrors that of the media environment – both are “New Class” as outlined by John Emerson above – I can confirm that it’s hostile to a conservative POV. At my former place of employment, a second tier news outlet to go unnamed here, we were told explicitly to not strike a Drudge-like tone, i.e. not appeal to THOSE readers. We were take our cue from Gawker, Upworthy etc. Those were the readers we were to aspire to obtaining, despite having a large built-in conservative user base and thus a built-in profit opportunity

  7. 3. Religious forms of conservatism have different truth criteria than science, and historically have caused science a great deal of trouble. Scientists are wary of that.

    The historical conflict between science and religion has been greatly exaggerated. Yes, many contemporary American evangelicals are ignorant about, say, evolution, and have fought against its being taught properly in schools. But the scientific revolution was led by committed Christians, many of whom were motivated in their science by their theistic beliefs. Newton’s search for natural laws, for instance, was motivated by his conviction that God had rationally ordered the working of the universe. The Big Bang theory was proposed by a Catholic priest. And so on.

    The idea that (conservative) religion has “different truth criteria” than science is also not true in general. The PhilPapers Survey, for example (http://philpapers.org/surveys/), finds a correlation between atheism and belief in scientific realism, but 70% of theistic respondents were also scientific realists. And conservative religionists are not necessarily anti-scientific methodology either, as the writings of early critics of David Hume and various theistic writers in the Scottish Enlightenment make clear. Bayes’ Theorem is named after an English minister. Et cetera.

  8. @Paul Conroy
    IMO, American Liberals frequently fail to understand Evolution, even as they snicker at Creationists.

    Most American Liberals seem to imagine that evolution is goal oriented and has some particular destination, rather than being contextually adaptive and no more.

    Thus they fail to understand the implication of the Red Queen and so on and so forth, and then we end up with a girl wearing spandex, "shaking what her Momma gave her", as she walks down the streets of New York city, and Liberals failing to understand the reaction...

    IMO, American Liberals frequently fail to understand Evolution, even as they snicker at Creationists.

    How many really care about understanding it? It seems like a lot of people just don’t want to be seen as stupid and therefore they go along with whatever simplified explanation is currently being endorsed by most scientists. Religious fundamentalists, as well as those who are less fundamentalist but still traditional in their views, have more at stake in questioning evolutionary theory. For most liberals there isn’t that sort of conflict, so even if they don’t really care about the question, they can just announce that they believe in it and let people know that they’re on the smart team. In socially conservative areas, there are probably many people who don’t really believe in divine creation but don’t care enough to argue the issue and therefore end up on Team Creation by default.

    There are probably many other examples in academia where lower status academics perceive a particular point to be important to the department chair or someone higher up the food chain, and so they join the “consensus” on that issue for practical reasons even if they have diferring ideas. This allows them to keep their seat at the table even if it can impede scientific progress or real debate.

    Going back many years, look at all the German scientists (even perhaps Cavalli-Sforza from Italy) who toed a Nazi line so they could continue their research. Maybe it’s a false impression, but it seems like many scientists, especially in the hard sciences, are more interested in their own work than in the types of social issues that seem to move many social scientists and humanities types these days. In many cases, support for humanistic ideals among “hard” scientists may be just as much about personal convenience as true ideological conviction; especially since a larger percentage of those people are foreign born and often from countries with a weaker liberal intellectual tradition. Also, look at sources of research funding. Liberal philanthropic foundations might have different interests from “defense” contractors and that might have an effect on the declared public policy positions of academics.

  9. “While I recognize that I personally criticize the social sciences all the time, around 75% of American born PhDs in physics these days are atheists.

    There is no way to really reconcile that with a positive picture of the conservative, Christian right which makes up clearly the largest proportion of “conservatives” in American demographics (as arguably opposed to the Internet blogosphere). That group of people is simply still pretty vastly stupid at the tails and does not have comparable scientific or academic achievement.”

    Maybe scientific-academic achievement of an individual is inversely related to their potential for social cognition. And indeed there is a lot of Aspergers among children of technical professionals. Artists and the children of artists tend to get schizophrenia. The paranoid style of politics is not liberal…

  10. Bias is as funny thing. The people who study it the most, who are most aware of it, are if nothing no less suspect to it. Their ability to rationalize their bias seems to counter their rational tactics to diminish it.

  11. The historical conflict between science and religion has been greatly exaggerated.

    Yeah, but the contemporary conflict is pretty intense, and biologists remember over a century of opposition from Christians. You can add Lysenko if you want,an atheist presumably, but scientists mistrust anyone who applies external criticisms to science.

    “The idea that (conservative) religion has “different truth criteria” than science is also not true in general. The PhilPapers Survey, for example (http://philpapers.org/surveys/), finds a correlation between aheism and belief in scientific realism, but 70% of theistic respondents were also scientific realists.”

    Again, historically half true, scarcely true today. The 70% are not conservative Christians.

    Historically, even if a scientist was a Christian and felt no conflict, he had different criteria in his religious thinking and his scientific thinking. For example, Newton did not rely on Biblical arguments in the Principia.

    • Replies: @Troy
    Yeah, but the contemporary conflict is pretty intense, and biologists remember over a century of opposition from Christians.

    Some Christians, yes, but not all Christians, and not all conservative ones. The Catholic Church, for example, has long accepted evolutionary theory (the latest media furor over Francis's statements notwithstanding). Genetics was discovered by a Catholic priest (Mendel); and many important biologists, such as Francis Collins, famous for his work on the Human Genome Project, are orthodox Christians. They're a minority of contemporary biologists, yes, but a significant one.

    The 70% are not conservative Christians.

    I do not have figures on this, but in my own anecdotal experience most theistic philosophers are historically orthodox Christians. Whether they're "conservative" depends on what you mean; let's just say that most could affirm everything in the Nicene Creed.

    Historically, even if a scientist was a Christian and felt no conflict, he had different criteria in his religious thinking and his scientific thinking.

    I think this is simply false. Leibniz used the Principle of Sufficient Reason in both religious and scientific contexts (e.g., the problem of evil and the structure of spacetime, respectively). Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, explicitly argued (contra Spinoza) for the compatibility of miracles with natural law. Many Christians responding to deists and atheists like David Hume argued for the truth of Christianity (and its miracle claims) on historical grounds, appealing to publicly available evidence: Samuel Clarke, Thomas Sherlock, Nathaniel Lardner, John Leland, Joseph Butler, William Adams, William Paley, and George Campbell, just to name a few. These were, for the most part, good Enlightenment thinkers. They endorsed an evidentialist epistemology, not the kind of postmodern tripe one hears nowadays from atheists and theists alike. But they thought they had strong evidence for Christianity.

    For example, Newton did not rely on Biblical arguments in the Principia.

    This is a non-sequitur. Einstein didn't rely on biological arguments when presenting the evidence for relativity theory. Does this mean that Einstein applied different evidential or truth criteria than biologists?
    , @Sean
    "The historical conflict between science and religion has been greatly exaggerated."

    Yes they are both 'the truth', the modern state does not tolerate dissidents in either making trouble. The US constitution had a provision to keep religion out of politics because it was believed in as a truth in the same way science is now.

  12. Once Drudge is allowed as a conservative model the battle is lost for conservatives. It’s hardly bias to despise Drudge.

  13. The GSS is pretty clear about the strong positive correlation between liberalism vs conservatism in America and there are pretty clear psychometric microfoundations because of openness. WORDSUM in the GSS has topcoding issues, but precinct level results in Ivy League schools generally were on the order of 88-90% Obama when more “regular” state schools tended to be in the low 50’s.

    That doesn’t mean that liberalism is “right”, it’s probably mostly driven by smart people being averse to religion (Once again, clear from the GSS, Ivy League surveys, and surveys of scientists). One interesting thing is that if you look at liberal identification over time in the GSS, the very smart have been trending liberal fairly rapidly(3%ish per decade), while the “normals” and below have been trending conservative. This probably has something to do with the realignment of American politics from being a class struggle to being an identity politics fight between religious and non-religious elites over the past 30 years.

    Obviously this is all sort of America/Western European specific. In Eastern Europe or Latin America or Japan/South Korea, things can be pretty different.

  14. I don’t want to accuse Razib of anything, but sometimes I feel like a big emotional reason why he identifies as conservative is because in academia, liberalism is represented by a nutty incoherent and morally self-righteous fringe that doesn’t actually represent liberals at large and especially not the liberal technocratic elite. And it’s fringe that, while offensive and annoying to everyone, is probably particularly offensive to him in that they believe that race and genetics are racist and have empirically incorrect yet self-righteous views on the empirical prevalence of radical Islam.

    Most of the liberals intellectual elite don’t believe that race doesn’t exist or that intelligence doesn’t exist or in trigger warnings or that Islam is a liberal religion. The core technocratic conflict in the US is that one party wants to basically preserve the status quo and the other party wants to increase the economic and political clout of the very rich. There are some secondary fights over social issues like abortion and gay marriage that mostly are proxies for religiosity that have a lot of partisan salience among the rank and file in both parties but are mostly handled by the judicial branch.

    • Replies: @Sam Haysom
    I imagine a good part of his disdain is motivated by posts like this. The cloying "why won't X join our side we are so much cooler and slicker, it must be because he isn't smart enough to see the reality" attitude is repulsive.

    That and the fact that 80 percent of the lefts activist base and at least 50 percent of its elite leadership do believe that race doesn't exist and 95 percent of both the base and leadership are obsequious in their pandering to Islam. It seems like the real emotional baggage here belongs to you. For reasons likely related to aggressive atheism and status anxiety, if I had to guess, you have associated with a political coalition that does hold severely silly ideas about the consequences of evolution and especially Islam. For whatever reason you do not. Rather than accept your sides silliness in typically tribal triumphalism you pretend your extremely heterodox views are standard on the left. Not only that, but self-gratifyingly those who are most likely to hold these heterodox views happen to the be elite leftists.
  15. Most liberals in the relevant fields unfortunately do believe that race doesn’t exist, I don’t know exactly why is that, but they’re wrong. You don’t even see race as a term for HBD used in the scientific literature much since these people are heads of the journals. Some of these people even believe IQ doesn’t measure intelligence, and most troubling of all is that these people are in the mainstream. Why these people believe these things even though actual science has proven them wrong, I don’t know. But for sure there’s some manner of enforcement of ideological conformance going on. These people go against behavior genetics, psychometrics, race related genetics and intelligence research, evolutionary psychology, and so on even despite the fact that all of these fields of research are well vetted.

  16. @John Emerson
    The historical conflict between science and religion has been greatly exaggerated.

    Yeah, but the contemporary conflict is pretty intense, and biologists remember over a century of opposition from Christians. You can add Lysenko if you want,an atheist presumably, but scientists mistrust anyone who applies external criticisms to science.


    "The idea that (conservative) religion has “different truth criteria” than science is also not true in general. The PhilPapers Survey, for example (http://philpapers.org/surveys/), finds a correlation between aheism and belief in scientific realism, but 70% of theistic respondents were also scientific realists."

    Again, historically half true, scarcely true today. The 70% are not conservative Christians.

    Historically, even if a scientist was a Christian and felt no conflict, he had different criteria in his religious thinking and his scientific thinking. For example, Newton did not rely on Biblical arguments in the Principia.

    Yeah, but the contemporary conflict is pretty intense, and biologists remember over a century of opposition from Christians.

    Some Christians, yes, but not all Christians, and not all conservative ones. The Catholic Church, for example, has long accepted evolutionary theory (the latest media furor over Francis’s statements notwithstanding). Genetics was discovered by a Catholic priest (Mendel); and many important biologists, such as Francis Collins, famous for his work on the Human Genome Project, are orthodox Christians. They’re a minority of contemporary biologists, yes, but a significant one.

    The 70% are not conservative Christians.

    I do not have figures on this, but in my own anecdotal experience most theistic philosophers are historically orthodox Christians. Whether they’re “conservative” depends on what you mean; let’s just say that most could affirm everything in the Nicene Creed.

    Historically, even if a scientist was a Christian and felt no conflict, he had different criteria in his religious thinking and his scientific thinking.

    I think this is simply false. Leibniz used the Principle of Sufficient Reason in both religious and scientific contexts (e.g., the problem of evil and the structure of spacetime, respectively). Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, explicitly argued (contra Spinoza) for the compatibility of miracles with natural law. Many Christians responding to deists and atheists like David Hume argued for the truth of Christianity (and its miracle claims) on historical grounds, appealing to publicly available evidence: Samuel Clarke, Thomas Sherlock, Nathaniel Lardner, John Leland, Joseph Butler, William Adams, William Paley, and George Campbell, just to name a few. These were, for the most part, good Enlightenment thinkers. They endorsed an evidentialist epistemology, not the kind of postmodern tripe one hears nowadays from atheists and theists alike. But they thought they had strong evidence for Christianity.

    For example, Newton did not rely on Biblical arguments in the Principia.

    This is a non-sequitur. Einstein didn’t rely on biological arguments when presenting the evidence for relativity theory. Does this mean that Einstein applied different evidential or truth criteria than biologists?

  17. bomag [AKA "doombuggy"] says:

    But for sure there’s some manner of enforcement of ideological conformance going on

    Yeah, this is the outstanding feature of our time. It was noted above that liberals don’t subscribe to religion; but they seem happy to carry water for an ersatz religion that is modern progressivism; and they are anxious to be sure that there are No Gods Before Him.

  18. @Realistic Leftist
    I don't want to accuse Razib of anything, but sometimes I feel like a big emotional reason why he identifies as conservative is because in academia, liberalism is represented by a nutty incoherent and morally self-righteous fringe that doesn't actually represent liberals at large and especially not the liberal technocratic elite. And it's fringe that, while offensive and annoying to everyone, is probably particularly offensive to him in that they believe that race and genetics are racist and have empirically incorrect yet self-righteous views on the empirical prevalence of radical Islam.

    Most of the liberals intellectual elite don't believe that race doesn't exist or that intelligence doesn't exist or in trigger warnings or that Islam is a liberal religion. The core technocratic conflict in the US is that one party wants to basically preserve the status quo and the other party wants to increase the economic and political clout of the very rich. There are some secondary fights over social issues like abortion and gay marriage that mostly are proxies for religiosity that have a lot of partisan salience among the rank and file in both parties but are mostly handled by the judicial branch.

    I imagine a good part of his disdain is motivated by posts like this. The cloying “why won’t X join our side we are so much cooler and slicker, it must be because he isn’t smart enough to see the reality” attitude is repulsive.

    That and the fact that 80 percent of the lefts activist base and at least 50 percent of its elite leadership do believe that race doesn’t exist and 95 percent of both the base and leadership are obsequious in their pandering to Islam. It seems like the real emotional baggage here belongs to you. For reasons likely related to aggressive atheism and status anxiety, if I had to guess, you have associated with a political coalition that does hold severely silly ideas about the consequences of evolution and especially Islam. For whatever reason you do not. Rather than accept your sides silliness in typically tribal triumphalism you pretend your extremely heterodox views are standard on the left. Not only that, but self-gratifyingly those who are most likely to hold these heterodox views happen to the be elite leftists.

  19. @John Emerson
    The New Class is to some degree a social group, a voting demographic, an interest group, a political faction. It also includes the bulk of the national intelligentsia and most of those who can claim to be public philosophers or whatever you call them. That does leave a large part of the electorate voiceless, when the public philosophers tend to be part of an interest group. Suspicion, polarization, and anti-intellectualism arise from this, with very bad effects.

    To some extent though science and especially social science rule out many typically conservative ways of thinking (traditionalist, religious, etc.) a whole different approach to truth and reality. And the US has always had a hard liberal skew, when"liberal" is sto include "free market liberals".

    You have to ask why schools couldn't be established to develop a conservative intelligentsia. U. Chicago was supposed to be that, and partly is that. George Mason sort of is. Falwell's Liberty University hasn't impressed anyone.

    National accreditation and the nationalization of the job market are probably partly at fault.

    You have to ask why schools couldn’t be established to develop a conservative intelligentsia. U. Chicago was supposed to be that, and partly is that.

    Ha. Ha.

    When I was an undergraduate at the U of C in the late 1960s, it had a conservative reputation because of Milton Friedman and the Economics department. The other departments ranged from liberal to Marxist.

    Friedman retired long ago, and Chicago’s most recent gift to the world is Obama. So much for conservative reputations.

  20. @John Emerson
    This is a large messy question. Just to stir the pot.

    1. Conservative /= Republican. The present Republican Party is a thing in itself, to say the least. Many Democrats are conservative by many standards, including the general European standard. Rational conservatives really have very few places to go.

    2. One conservative tradition believes in keeping government spending to a minimum. Science (and education) are heavily dependent on government spending. You can interpret this to mean that scientists are self-interested, but if you are pro-science you can just as well interpret it to mean that that kind of conservatism is anti science, which it effectively is. Right now Congressman Lamar Smith, a former businessman with no apparent scientific training, islooking at science grants with a suspicious eye.

    3. Religious forms of conservatism have different truth criteria than science, and historically have caused science a great deal of trouble. Scientists are wary of that.

    4. In the general demographic breakdown of US politics, scientists tend not to belong to any of the Republican demographics: rural, southern, religious, businessmen. More generally you can say that they are "New Class", a group somewhat defined by government spending. Professionals, civil servants, people in education, a lot of the media, people in the arts, people in non-profits. The liberal elite.

    5.Liberalism is strongest in non-scientific areas andin sciences which are generally both less solid and more directly politically relevant (anthro, psych, poli sci, soc, econ). Even econ tends to be Democratic, though they're usually centrist Dems and there is a very strong minority of conservatives.

    6. Not quite on topic, but some of the areas where liberals are supposed to be just as anti-science as conservatives (anti-vax, anti-fluoridation, and-GMO) there is a fairly equal mix of liberals and conservatives, and most established liberal politicians avoid these positions.

    And finally, not only Republican v. Democrat but also liberal v. conservative are vague words denoting very pluralistic coalitions which are so peculiarly American that the terminology just doesn't work when speaking of Europe.

    Many Democrats are conservative by many standards, including the general European standard.

    Apparently you have not been paying attention. The last Conservative Democrat was Joe Lieberman and he was drummed out of the party in 2006.

    if you are pro-science you can just as well interpret it to mean that that kind of conservatism is anti science, which it effectively is.

    You have confused science and scientists. State sponsorship of science is a historically recent phenomenon which really began with World War II and the Manhattan Project. It compounded during the Cold War and continued thereafter. There is no particular reason why this historically contingent institutional arrangement will continue to exist.

    Among OECD countries, the State’s most important role is to transfer money to aged and disabled people. Eventually, the expansion of those populations and the contraction of the active labor force will suck all resources out of side-lines like science. YMMV.

  21. Of course Social Psychology is overwhelmingly liberal. All so-called social sciences derive from the projects of August Comte and Karl Marx to create a science of history and society. Their dream was always impossible as Mises and Hayek demonstrated.

    Even Economics was originally part of the progressive project as Thomas Leonard has documented. After WWII, economists such as Friedman and Stigler rediscovered Smith and other pre-Marxist writers and Hayek and Mises came to the US. That was the origin of Economics as a place where libertarians could exist.

    Another corner where non liberals could be found was the political theory sub-field of political science. Political Science of course is a Progressive formulation, but they sucked in political philosophers from philosophy departments, some of whom were non-, or even anti-Marxists. Also, many emigre scholars who came to the US in the post-war period became bitterly anti-Communist, and some of the wound up in political science departments. Leo Strauss at Chicago is a prime example.

    I personally believe that Haidt, who seems to a mature and responsible thinker, is tilting at windmills. The thing to do with the so-called social sciences is to shut them down and stop wasting time and money on them. Economists can go to the Business Schools, which have higher pay scales than the liberal arts faculties, or schools of public administration. Psychologists can hook on with Ed schools or Health Sciences. Sociologists and Anthropologists can become baristas.

  22. You might be interested in my explanation for the left/right divide. It explains all the data, I think: why left and right dominate the professions that they do, what business has in common with traditional religions, why the left dominates some areas of academia more than others, etc.

    http://www.rishon-rishon.com/archives/351860.html

  23. @John Emerson
    The historical conflict between science and religion has been greatly exaggerated.

    Yeah, but the contemporary conflict is pretty intense, and biologists remember over a century of opposition from Christians. You can add Lysenko if you want,an atheist presumably, but scientists mistrust anyone who applies external criticisms to science.


    "The idea that (conservative) religion has “different truth criteria” than science is also not true in general. The PhilPapers Survey, for example (http://philpapers.org/surveys/), finds a correlation between aheism and belief in scientific realism, but 70% of theistic respondents were also scientific realists."

    Again, historically half true, scarcely true today. The 70% are not conservative Christians.

    Historically, even if a scientist was a Christian and felt no conflict, he had different criteria in his religious thinking and his scientific thinking. For example, Newton did not rely on Biblical arguments in the Principia.

    “The historical conflict between science and religion has been greatly exaggerated.”

    Yes they are both ‘the truth’, the modern state does not tolerate dissidents in either making trouble. The US constitution had a provision to keep religion out of politics because it was believed in as a truth in the same way science is now.

  24. getting too noisy….

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