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Academia’s Liberal Bias

University of Virginia social psychologist Jonathan Haidt polled the attendees at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s conference and found remarkable bias.

He polled his audience at the San Antonio Convention Center, starting by asking how many considered themselves politically liberal. A sea of hands appeared, and Dr. Haidt estimated that liberals made up 80 percent of the 1,000 psychologists in the ballroom. When he asked for centrists and libertarians, he spotted fewer than three dozen hands. And then, when he asked for conservatives, he counted a grand total of three.

“This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity,” Dr. Haidt concluded, noting polls showing that 40 percent of Americans are conservative and 20 percent are liberal. In his speech and in an interview, Dr. Haidt argued that social psychologists are a “tribal-moral community” united by “sacred values” that hinder research and damage their credibility — and blind them to the hostile climate they’ve created for non-liberals.

“Anywhere in the world that social psychologists see women or minorities underrepresented by a factor of two or three, our minds jump to discrimination as the explanation,” said Dr. Haidt, who called himself a longtime liberal turned centrist. “But when we find out that conservatives are underrepresented among us by a factor of more than 100, suddenly everyone finds it quite easy to generate alternate explanations.”

[...]

The politics of the professoriate has been studied by the economists Christopher Cardiff and Daniel Klein and the sociologists Neil Gross and Solon Simmons. They’ve independently found that Democrats typically outnumber Republicans at elite universities by at least six to one among the general faculty, and by higher ratios in the humanities and social sciences. In a 2007 study of both elite and non-elite universities, Dr. Gross and Dr. Simmons reported that nearly 80 percent of psychology professors are Democrats, outnumbering Republicans by nearly 12 to 1.

The fields of psychology, sociology and anthropology have long attracted liberals, but they became more exclusive after the 1960s, according to Dr. Haidt. “The fight for civil rights and against racism became the sacred cause unifying the left throughout American society, and within the academy,” he said, arguing that this shared morality both “binds and blinds.”

“If a group circles around sacred values, they will evolve into a tribal-moral community,” he said. “They’ll embrace science whenever it supports their sacred values, but they’ll ditch it or distort it as soon as it threatens a sacred value.” It’s easy for social scientists to observe this process in other communities, like the fundamentalist Christians who embrace “intelligent design” while rejecting Darwinism. But academics can be selective, too, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan found in 1965 when he warned about the rise of unmarried parenthood and welfare dependency among blacks — violating the taboo against criticizing victims of racism.

“Moynihan was shunned by many of his colleagues at Harvard as racist,” Dr. Haidt said. “Open-minded inquiry into the problems of the black family was shut down for decades, precisely the decades in which it was most urgently needed. Only in the last few years have liberal sociologists begun to acknowledge that Moynihan was right all along.”

That the university professoriate, particularly at elite institutions, is radically more liberal than the society at large is undisputed. The causes for the phenomenon are hotly debated.

Presumably, Haidt’s assertion that this lack of diversity skews research findings — and even acceptable topics for research — is more controversial. But it shouldn’t be. After all, it’s widely accepted within the academy, particularly the social sciences, that the longtime domination of the field by white males had that effect.

But it’s far from clear what to do about it. Women and racial minorities were actively discriminated against while the bias against conservatives is subtle and largely unconscious. Indeed, the fact that their professors are liberals who show disdain for conservative values doubtless discourages conservatives from pursuing the academic career path.

Should there be active outreach to conservatives? Maybe, although I’m dubious. Should liberal professors undergo sensitivity training in order to learn not to offend conservative students? Probably not.

So, this may be another in a long line of things that fall into the category, identified by Shimon Peres and popularized by Donald Rumsfeld, “If a problem has no solution, it may not be a problem, but a fact, not to be solved, but to be coped with over time.”

UPDATE:  This topic has been around a long time.  See these related posts from the archives:

Related Posts:

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Yes, and we should enforce more liberals in business, and socially engineer more liberals in the armed forces and make every single segment of American society completely and totally representative of society at large. Is that what you want?

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  2. Steve Metz says:

    Nicely done. One other consideration: at taxpayer funded schools, if the academy itself does not address the ideological bias issue, politicians are tempted to. That would be sad, perhaps even tragic but, if it happens the academy is partly to blame.

    My own graduate departments included members who were very conservative as well as Marxist feminists who believed that women, not the proletariat, needed to seize the means of production. Faculty parties must have been a hoot.

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  3. Steve Metz says:

    Sean–the distinction is that the mission of academia is education and the shaping of ideas. Hence the ideas of its members matter more than the ideas of business or the armed forces.

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  4. john personna says:

    psychologists? seriously?

    (I don’t doubt that certain fields will attract liberals, and certainly “working for the state” will attract more. That said, why doesn’t he do a show of hands of Business profs next?)

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  5. Hello World! says:

    Its not surprising to me that educators who are not high end wage earners, most of whom probably work for a public institution, with a lot of exposure to various socio-economic groups, consider themselves liberal. What is missing in your article is any link to a “bias”. What we do know is that books like Huck Finn have been banned from schools, and a large percentage of biology teachers do not believe in evolution, and science is treated more like art and music was when I was in school (lets not even talk about Texas and their text books).

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  6. michael reynolds says:

    Certain fields require a high degree of intelligence. There aren’t a lot of conservatives who qualify.

    But I’ll bet if you were polling truck drivers you’d find they’re overwhelmingly conservative.

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  7. john personna says:

    As I said michael, psychologists? seriously?

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  8. James Joyner says:

    John P: Business schools and law schools tend to be much more conservative — although not more conservative than American society as a whole. The humanities and social sciences — which employ the vast percentage of professors — are very liberal. Probably education, too. Less sure about the hard sciences, although it likely matters much less there.

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  9. Steve Metz says:

    James–this part of a bigger issue: segregation or bias by self selection. We as a nation have struggled with that in education and once used busing to overcome it. I think most people agree that didn’t work.

    You accurately pointed out that the powerful ethos of diversity in academia is seldom applied to political position or ideology, but only to race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, region, and so forth.

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  10. john personna says:

    The humanities and social sciences — which employ the vast percentage of professors — are very liberal. Probably education, too. Less sure about the hard sciences, although it likely matters much less there.

    My reaction as a college student was to automatically discount what my pol sci prof told me, because he was such a cartoonish liberal professor. When you say “matters,” you seem to imply that bias would be effective.

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  11. Steve Metz says:

    I suspect that the only feasible solution is an organizational culture with a commitment to providing a full spectrum of ideas rather than a truly representative institution.

    When I was a young political science professor and much more politically liberal than I later became, I was concerned that conservative students and positions were being short-changed (and this was at a fairly conservative large state university). So I did things like serve as the faculty sponsor for the Young Americans for Freedom and support Reagan’s missile defense plan in a public debate with another professor. These were a bit outside my personal comfort zone, but needed done.

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  12. Jay Tea says:

    I really don’t have a problem with this. Let the liberals segregate themselves in academia.

    We see what happens when they move into areas where they can cause real harm — witness Congress from 2007-2011, and the White House since 2009.

    They can make huge messes while in academia, but when they take that crap off campus, we all end up getting screwed.

    J.

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  13. Ben Wolf says:

    “Liberal” means open to new ideas, something today’s conservatives decidedly are not.

    Hell, the leaders of the conservative movement pride themselves on not knowing a damned thing and consider examining their own conclusions critically to be a form of weakness. After all, why bother asking questions when we know for a fact that:

    1) Jeebus is the only god

    2) anyone making less than $100,000 annually is pond scum

    3) women are nothing more than mobile wombs

    4) government is bad unless 100% of its handouts flow to conservatives

    5) science is acceptable so long as it does not conflict with the previous four points, at which time science becomes a socialist plot and nobody can know anything.

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  14. Ben Wolf says:

    Just out of curiosity Jay, what did the Democrats in congress do in 2006-2008 other than give George Bush everything he wanted?

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  15. Alex Knapp says:

    So if I understand this right, we’re to believe that if an uncontrolled, self-selected sample with no controls demonstrates a particular conclusion, that conclusion must be true for all cases?

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  16. James Joyner says:

    Alex: I agree that open polling of an audience in a panel discussion is meaningless. But these results have been replicated time and again using valid methods. See paragraph four of the article excerpt.

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  17. jwest says:

    After reading the article, I was going to write a snarky parody showing how the liberal thought process is stifled in the bubble of group think.

    Ben Wolf beat me to it.

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  18. Ben Wolf says:

    Yes jwest, unfortunately history and physics tell us things (like conservatism intellectualism) which are headed downhill probably won’t recover. So conservatism eventually becomes a tribe of cavemen clubbing others over the head for a percentage.

    Which is what we have now.

    By the way, take a second look at this quote: “Dr. Haidt argued that social psychologists are a “tribal-moral community” united by “sacred values” that hinder research and damage their credibility”.

    This is intensly value laden-language, and when combined with the good doctor’s lack of effort to obtain his results objectively suggests he entered into this endeavor with an axe to grind.

    You should know better James.

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  19. Steve Metz says:

    Ben–those aren’t value laden terms among social psychologists. They have a specific meaning to describe organizations.

    It’s a shame that most of the commentary to this important post has devolved to “conservatives bad/liberals bad” level.

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  20. It’s a shame that most of the commentary to this important post has devolved to “conservatives bad/liberals bad” level.

    Indeed–but it is a sadly predictable outcome of the topic in question.

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  21. Steve Metz says:

    Predictable but still avoidable. Caricature is amusing for about 30 seconds, then gets old.

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  22. Muffler says:

    I was going to comment , but Ben Wolf and Sean Paul Kelley hit the points. Conservatives are the first to say that one owns their careers and should take responsibility for themselves. fields of science are not biased to liberals… it’s that conservatives are not able to adjust to being a minority position. I work in a large company and trust me my liberal perspectives are kept to myself. I still do well in my field, but it would be easier if I was a conservative.

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  23. Ben Wolf says:

    Of course those terms are value laden, Steve. The man didn’t even bother to establish the slightest control, he simply jumped to a conclusion. That’s called prejudice.

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  24. Steve Metz says:

    No, Ben. They have a specific and non pejorative meaning within the social science community. You are imputing a value content that the person using the phrase didn’t intend.

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  25. Steve Metz says:

    “it’s that conservatives are not able to adjust to being a minority position” <— I can only speak for my own experience, but that doesn't reflect what I've seen in academia. Professors take on graduate students who reflect themselves, and search committees favor candidates who reflect themselves.

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  26. Barry says:

    Steve Metz says:
    “Sean–the distinction is that the mission of academia is education and the shaping of ideas. Hence the ideas of its members matter more than the ideas of business or the armed forces.”

    Considering just how much damage business has done to us, when taken to it’s logical conclusion, perhaps we need to screen out anybody *but* liberals.

    As for the armed forces, their performance in Iraq would be a counterexample – there was far more truth and sanity coming from the liberal bloggers than from the higher-level commanders in Iraq; it took most of them several years to learn what people were pointing out in 2003. And for many, they never learned, but had to be replaced.

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  27. george says:

    Its self-selective. Most business professors are conservative, in the physical sciences its pretty much 50-50 (actually most are moderates from what I saw as a grad student in physics), in engineering the slant is to conservatism, in the humanities to liberal. Pick the college and you can pretty much predict the general political slant – with a huge standard variation of course.

    One interesting point: almost no physical scientist or engineer who calls themselves conservative would pass the religious right ‘conservative’ test – they are almost always fiscal conservatives who are moderate or even liberal socially, and they very, very rarely are religious conservatives (ie they tend to believe evolution occurred and the world is billions of years old, not thousands of years old – which of course comes from being physical scientists). Which means that pure conservatives would say physical scientists are Rhino’s.

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  28. IP727 says:

    Ben Wolf says:
    Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 08:30
    “Liberal” means open to new ideas, something today’s conservatives decidedly are not.

    Why then, do the so called “liberals” still cling to the throughly discredited socialist,collectivist,
    Utopian mindset,that has brought Europe to it’s knees.? There is nothing new about statism ,and these “forward thinkers “haven’t had an original thought in decades.

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  29. Ben Wolf says:

    Sorry Steve, but if you’re upset about the tone of the comments, you should save your ire for the man who made the post, and made the totally unsupportable statement:

    “Indeed, the fact that their professors are liberals who show disdain for conservative values doubtless discourages conservatives from pursuing the academic career path.”

    Yes, all pofessors who have political views different from James’ show “disdain”. The whole point of the post was to suggest those mean old liberals just can’t be trusted.

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  30. Steve Metz says:

    george — While it’s a small minority, there is a body of creationists with serious scientific credentials.

    The point is well taken, though, that fiscal and foreign policy conservatives and social conservatives are distinct subgroups. I consider myself in the former but not the latter. Once thing that frustrates me is the tendency of social conservatives to think that they own the category.

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  31. Barry says:

    Adding on to Mufler’s comments – IIRC fields such as math, physics, chemistry, biology are all heavily liberal. In politics, convervatism is pretty much dead; there’s jut whackjob right-wing nuttery, to the highest levels. In the mass media, there’s also a level of insanity – try to find liberal counterparts to Rush, Beck, Palin, and the entire Fox News lineup. And by ‘counterpart’, I mean people who are as dishonest to openly lunatic as they are.

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  32. Barry says:

    Jay Tea says:
    “I really don’t have a problem with this. Let the liberals segregate themselves in academia.

    We see what happens when they move into areas where they can cause real harm — witness Congress from 2007-2011, and the White House since 2009.

    They can make huge messes while in academia, but when they take that crap off campus, we all end up getting screwed”

    Another data point, and not an unusual one – notice that JT has failed history, economics, and logic. And he’s not unusual on the right.

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  33. Ben Wolf says:

    I’m going to try this one more time Metz, because the conclusion that you are being deliberately obtuse is becoming inescapable.

    When you label without data, that’s prejudice, and that’s exactly what Haidt did. You use terms like “sacred values” after considerable observation intended to gather objective evidence. Haidt didn’t consider it worth his time. He uses his subjective experience to arrive at his conclusions, i.e. he prejudged. He changed the rules. He failed to adhere to proper methodology. And then he went public with his tripe.

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  34. Steve Metz says:

    Barry: Ed Schultz

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  35. Steve Metz says:

    Ben: I do understand that Haight was using common social science terms. Unlike you, I don’t know what methodology he used to arrive at his conclusions based on one short quotation.

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  36. MarkedMan says:

    Should universities do more to recruit conservatives in those fields where they are under-represented? Yes. It is the job of a true university to expose their students to a wide range of legitimate viewpoints. Some caveats: Unlike women and ethnic minorities, conservatives come in a wide variety and you can’t easily identify them. And in hard sciences, it would be irresponsible to attract certain kinds of conservatives, such as anti-scientific method ones like creationists or global warming deniers.

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  37. george says:

    >Adding on to Mufler’s comments – IIRC fields such as math, physics, chemistry, biology are all heavily liberal.

    From my experience as an undergrad in engineering, and grad student in both physics and engineering, those fields tend to socially liberal, fiscal conservative. Though actually, most are pretty much moderate – with strong tendencies to indifference. I think actual polls confirm this; they’re really typically uninterested in politics.

    > george — While it’s a small minority, there is a body of creationists with serious scientific credentials.

    Very small minority (especially taken world-wide), and their scientific credentials tend to be degrees (Phd’s, sometimes admittedly from prestigious universities), rather than in research (ie publication in journals such as Nature or Science, high citation listings, Nobel Prizes etc).

    If creationists begin coming up with major scientific advancements (new theories of particle physics which explain why radioactive dating is inaccurate, or why the universe appears to billions of years old and billions of light years across instead of only thousands etc) then they’ll be taken a lot more seriously.

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  38. jwest says:

    As James Joyner and the subject of the article, Dr. Haidt, points out, there is an imbalance in certain areas of academia that could benefit from a more diverse conversation.

    If you want to construct a bridge that won’t collapse, you go to a conservative engineer. When a business plan is required to structure a global corporation, you look to a conservative MBA. However, when the task at hand is to explain how global warming makes the trees and flowers sad through interpretive dance, only a liberal schooled in the fine arts will do.

    Would the bridge or the new corporation benefit from the input of liberals? Naturally. Just as conservatives actively seek the advice of progressives on subjects such as throw pillows, the openness to differing points of view is the hallmark of how the right operates.

    Conversely, liberals rarely look outside their own group to see if there are ideas and practices that may work better than standard leftist doctrine. Detroit is a good example of this.

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  39. Herb says:

    When I was in school, I had a guy in my class who would not believe a piece of information unless he saw it in the Weekly Standard first. He didn’t do so well in class, but it had nothing to do with the professor’s political bias and everything to do with his own.

    He was so wary of being “indoctrinated” that he wouldn’t even allow himself to be educated. This is not the hallmark of an open mind.

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  40. [...] Outside the Beltway) Comments [...]

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  41. jwest says:

    Herb,

    We I was in school, there were people who actually believed what they were reading in Time magazine about the “Coming Ice Age”.

    It was a case of the naïve wholly embracing junk science in an effort to justify their political views.

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  42. sam says:

    “the openness to differing points of view is the hallmark of how the right operates”

    Say, jwest, which one are you in this group?

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  43. Herb says:

    “If you want to construct a bridge that won’t collapse, you go to a conservative engineer.”

    Yeah, right……that’s abjectly ridiculous.

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  44. Dave Schuler says:

    Nearly 50 years ago I remember the first lecture in an Intro to Sociology course given by Bernie Beck. In it he pointed out that nearly all sociologists (at the time) were either black or Jewish, saying something to the effect that people become psychologists to come to an understanding of their own psychological problems, people become sociologists to come to an understanding of their own sociological problems.

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  45. Dave Schuler says:

    BTW, I don’t think that either Sean’s generalization about business being under-represented by progressives or Michael’s generalization about the higher intelligence required of psychologists and sociologists stand up to scrutiny.

    So, for example, there are any number of studies that have found that sociologists and psychologists tend to have IQs around one standard deviation above normal with physicists and economists both a standard deviation higher than that. And I don’t think that Goldman Sachs or Citibank are notably lacking in progressives among their employees.

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  46. jwest says:

    Sam,

    If you used the liberal model of accumulating information without the application of logic, you would come to the conclusion that Obama was a Muslim, based on the video of him speaking of his “Muslim faith”.

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  47. sam says:

    I’m not sure I understand. Are you saying those folks in the video are liberals?

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  48. george says:

    > Michael’s generalization about the higher intelligence required of psychologists and sociologists stand up to scrutiny.

    I think Michael was trying humor – I haven’t noticed any tendency on his part to believe scientists are stupid (that curiously enough tends to be a pure conservative feature – believing scientists who think the world is more than a few thousand years old (the majority of physical scientists in fact) are stupid is definitely a religious conservative rather than a liberal position).

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  49. Drew says:

    I can see the pros and cons of the points here. Another thing I’ve been pondering:

    I don’t know, but I been told, a big legged woman ain’t got no soul…….

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  50. steve says:

    @Steve Metz- Good on you for making the effort to represent conservative thought in academia. What people forget is that issues like equal rights for gays, women and blacks were very unpopular at some time in the past. standing up for those beliefs could jeopardize your career, or at least your social life. Some people had to take up those unpopular issues to advance them.

    Which brings us to conservatives. Why arent they willing to take that risk to advance their cause? I think it most likely a combination of answers. First, I suspect that few conservatives really want to be social psychologists. Why would they? If your personal philosophy leads you to believe that people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps, why would you choose such a profession? How many kids with conservative parents are going to thrill the family with the news that they are going into sociology or psychology.

    Next, I think conservatives have alternatives. They can go to conservative schools. They can choose careers where their beliefs are favored.

    Last of all, maybe conservatives cannot resolve the cognitive dissonance of opposing government spending while accepting government grants to fund their research. :-)

    Steve

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  51. PJ says:

    So, this is what it takes for white men to complain about bias and lack of diversity?

    This thread is so funny.

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  52. MarkedMan says:

    jwest’s comments about the coming ice age is illustrative about why “conservatism” may be a tough sell in the scientific community. Researcher’s identify a cycle. That cycle in the past has contributed to mini-ice ages (not local phenomena like Europe’s ‘mini ice age’, but real, global wide ones). Press goes hog wild with it, and everyone ignores the scientists inevitable disclaimers about preliminary data, more work needed, etc.

    Fast forward thirty years. That cycle still exists, but it is being overwhelmed by the carbon based effect.. When the cycle was first identified, scientists thought it might be more dominant than it has proved to be. Thirty years of additional research has shown other trends are more dominant. Pretty good work, if you ask me. Nothing controversial, at least in the scientific community.

    Yet the bulk of ‘conservative’ thinking in the popular media is to point out that episode of thirty years ago and pat themselves on the back for having shown what a bunch of boneheads those librul scientists are. Is it any wonder people have a tendency to back away?

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  53. Herb says:

    “I don’t know, but I been told, a big legged woman ain’t got no soul…….”

    Big legged woman gonna carry me to my grave.

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  54. Rock says:

    “Hide the decline.”

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  55. Tlaloc says:

    “Sean–the distinction is that the mission of academia is education and the shaping of ideas. Hence the ideas of its members matter more than the ideas of business or the armed forces.”

    Precisely, so why then would we complain that this group that has proven itself inured to facts, anti-rational, and in general completely asinine is not involved in academia? This is the same group famous for “creating its own reality” needing its own wikipedia because it hates finding out accidentally things it would rather ignore, and spends countless energy fighting evolution and climate change because it is ignorantly superstitious and fecklessly greedy

    If they avoid academia like the plague that only helps humanity.

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  56. mantis says:

    the openness to differing points of view is the hallmark of how the right operates.

    A comedian, I see.

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  57. jwest says:

    Marked Man,

    30 years ago, liberals urged the expenditure of billions in order to curtail the certain doom we all faced by global cooling. Now, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that Michael Mann and Phil Jones manipulated, hid and destroyed data so that it couldn’t be independently verified by others, “progressives” blindly want to throw the world’s economy in chaos.

    Science occurs when facts can be established in a reproducible manner, regardless of the politics of the person running the experiment. Those who advocate that something is “settled science” while major anomalies exist are practicing the same “faith based” non-science they accuse others of.

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  58. PJ says:

    @Rock:

    “Hide the decline.”

    The deniers got a couple of sentences, that taken out of context sounded bad. How many reports and inquries have there been? Four or five? How many have cleared the scientists of any wrong doings? All of them.

    I think Rock’s comment explains why there aren’t any conservatives in some areas. There’s no science where sound bites are seen as thorough research…

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  59. wr says:

    jwest — aside from a hysterical article in Newsweek, could you actually identify anyone who was urging spending billions to stop global cooling? Two or three “liberals” would go a long way to suggest you actually have a point, and that you’re not just mindlessly spouting garbage you picked up from Drudge and Fox.

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  60. MarkedMan says:

    Jwest, like wr, I call BS. Just because Rushbo says something doesn’t make it true. Show me the members of the scientific establishment that were calling for us to spend billions to prevent global cooling.

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  61. sam says:

    “Those who advocate that something is “settled science” while major anomalies exist are practicing the same “faith based” non-science they accuse others of.”

    Haven’t read much Kuhn, have you?

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  62. mantis says:

    30 years ago, liberals urged the expenditure of billions in order to curtail the certain doom we all faced by global cooling.

    Name those liberals.

    Now, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that Michael Mann and Phil Jones manipulated, hid and destroyed data so that it couldn’t be independently verified by others, “progressives” blindly want to throw the world’s economy in chaos.

    What evidence?

    Science occurs when facts can be established in a reproducible manner, regardless of the politics of the person running the experiment.

    Science occurs? No, people perform scientific research. It’s not a natural phenomenon. “Facts” (scientists prefer “evidence” or “data”) are not “established,” they are observed. And yes, reproducibility is key. So is predictability. People like you care about neither. You just dismiss research based on whatever crap wingnut garbage you hear on the radio. Do you know anything about the reproducibility of the studies you dismiss? Do you know anything about the predictive soundness of climate change research?

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  63. MarkedMan says:

    Re: Global Climate Change: A lot of the real arguments in the scientific community fall into the category of predicting what will happen if a truck loses its brakes and comes smashing into a school. Will it plow into the gym where all the students are assembled? Or just crush half the cars in the parking lot? The anti-global warming establishment play the role of those saying “since scientists disagree about how much life will be lost, we don’t have to do anything about that truck.”

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  64. jwest says:

    Wr,

    As the global cooling crisis predated the onset of the internet, quotes are much harder to come by. I’ll put the research team on that straight away.

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  65. jwest says:

    Mantis,

    Apparently, science isn’t science until someone with an agenda “homogenizes” it.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/08/the-smoking-gun-at-darwin-zero/

    Perhaps it is examples like this that drove Mann to lose, ignore then refuse Freedom of Information requests for base data that led to his “hockey stick” graph.

    You seem to have the same reaction to finding out catastrophic man-made global warming is a myth as the folks at Jesusland have to finding out man didn’t ride dinosaurs. Same theory though, you just got to believe to make it so.

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  66. Rock says:

    PJ,

    “If a group circles around sacred values, they will evolve into a tribal-moral community,” he said. “They’ll embrace science whenever it supports their sacred values, but they’ll ditch it or distort it as soon as it threatens a sacred value.”

    And the tribe circled around their sacred values. “It’s all settled science.”

    http://www.climatedepot.com/
    http://icecap.us/index.php

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  67. mantis says:

    As the global cooling crisis predated the onset of the internet, quotes are much harder to come by. I’ll put the research team on that straight away.

    Translation: the only thing I’m familiar with are two articles in Newsweek and Time in the 1970s and wingnuts on the radio/TV/blogs told me that means global warming is a hoax.

    I’ll help you out a bit. You can look at Peterson, Connolley, and Fleck’s study of climate research since 1965, and what predictions (cooling, warming, neither) that research offered.

    Climate science as we know it today did not exist in the 1960s and 1970s. The integrated enterprise embodied in the Nobel Prize winning work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change existed then as separate threads of research pursued by independent groups of scientists. Atmospheric chemists and modelers grappled with the measurement and understanding of carbon dioxide and other atmospheric gases while geologists and paleoclimate researchers tried to understand when Earth slipped into and out of ice ages, and why. An enduring popular myth suggests that in the 1970s the climate science community was predicting “global cooling” and an “imminent” ice age, an observation frequently used by those who would undermine what climate scientists say today about the prospect of global warming.

    A review of the literature suggests that, to the contrary, greenhouse warming even then dominated scientists’ thinking about the most important forces shaping Earth’s climate on human time scales. More importantly than showing the falsehood of the myth, this review shows the important way scientists of the time built the foundation on which the cohesive enterprise of modern climate science now rests.

    And here’s the 1975 US National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Report, which offered what could be called the consensus view at the time:

    “…we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate…”

    In 1975 they recognized that there simply was not enough knowledge to make good predictions about future climate change, and advocated that more resources be put toward research. They were, of course, and we have a far, far greater understanding of climate and climate change than we did in the 1970s. But, you know, Newsweek said back then that some other people said there would be global cooling, so it all must be a hoax. Because that’s how science works.

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  68. jwest says:

    “Because that’s how science works.”

    Science works in the daylight. When someone can’t or won’t show the data that supports their findings, people who understand how science works reject the conclusions.

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  69. george says:

    > Those who advocate that something is “settled science” while major anomalies exist are practicing the same “faith based” non-science they accuse others of.

    Hm, as it is now, quantum mechanics and relativity can’t both be true (there is a fundamental contradiction in them, which Super String theory might resolve in the next century or so, if we ever find a way to make measurable predictions with it). So quantum mechanics and relativity (both of which are fundamental in things like designing computers and every other bit of high tech) are faith based non-science?

    Gravity in general has huge anomalies in its theory – so it too is faith based non-science? Same with biochemistry, chemistry, and every other hard science … I mean non-science.

    Look, by the standards you’re suggesting, there is no settled science. Fine, we get rid of the term ‘settled science’, and speak in terms of ‘according to our best theories’. But actually most of what goes on in climate science is in fact ‘according to our best theories'; that doesn’t mean its right, but it does mean that its not a political exercise. Look, if you have better theories of how turbulence works in term of mixing of heat, density and concentrations, or the interaction between cloud and ocean or biological systems, which you think are being shunted aside for political reasons, let me know, I can pass them on to researchers. Right now though, they’re using the best physics/chemistry available – and the people saying what they’re doing is non-science so far haven’t come up with any theories, let alone research, explaining them.

    A good mathematical model of turbulence, tying together what happens at scales from nanometer to kilometer would be a god-send, if you happen to have it laying around.

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  70. steve says:

    “Science works in the daylight.”

    The data should still be there. If critics want it, they will just have to pay for it and gather it like the original researchers. Granted, some may be lost since it was gathered a long time ago, but that is part of the reason the data cannot be given out.

    Steve

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  71. mantis says:

    Useful scientific research requires reproducibility.

    This is reproducibility:

    But more obviously, the stick has been replicated time and again, using different termperature proxies and different methodologies. And guess what? In every instance, the image looks like a hockey stick. And in NO instance has McIntyre or any of his cronies so much as peeped about the credibility of these pieces of research.

    And what about Mann’s specific data, if you don’t like all those reproductions from different sources? Climate Scientist Michael Mann Fully Exonerated of Misconduct by University

    Sharing his research, both raw data and codes for analysis: “Dr. Mann, in all of his published studies, precisely identified the source(s) of his raw data and, whenever possible, made the data and or links to the data available to other researchers. These actions were entirely in line with accepted practices for sharing data in his field of research.” And that “the manner in which Dr. Mann used and shared source codes has been well within the range of accepted practices in his field.”

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  72. Bruce says:

    Hardly a proper way to conduct a survey. Attendees at a conference don’t necessarily represent a good statistical sample of the field being represented.
    Obviously, the liberals went to the conference and left the conservatives home to get the work done.

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  73. anjin-san says:

    > Utopian mindset,that has brought Europe to it’s knees.?

    Europe is on it’s knees?

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  74. anjin-san says:

    > When someone can’t or won’t show the data that supports their findings, people who understand how science works reject the conclusions.

    Guess that explains why atom bomb did not work in WW2.

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  75. Conservative PhD Student says:

    It’s pretty simple: No special treatment either way. Respond to any normative political debates with facts and logic, not the latest screed. And don’t assume that everyone is liberal and will sign your petition of the week or care about cause X.

    I’d say 95% of liberal professors really don’t care about one’s political viewpoints or, if they do, they don’t show it very much in public. It’s that 5% that are loud, vocal, and potentially dangerous in the very uncertain behind-the-scenes climate of academia. With the job market as bad as it is and the “blind” peer review process increasingly un-blind, a few “haters” can do a good bit of damage to one’s reputation and opportunities.

    My personal experiences have been almost overwhelmingly positive within my department so far, with a good deal of encouragement from everyone. We’ll see how it plays out in a few years once the competitive pressures of the job market play out.

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  76. matt says:

    Conservative PhD : As someone that is considered a pink commie by some here and a right wing nut by others it warms my heart to hear of your success. I wish you well because frankly we as a society need more conservatives pursuing intellectual careers..

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  77. evilroy says:

    The comments to this story far more eloquently illustrate the bias in question and its illogical roots than any study ever could.

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