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Why, in many cases, you’d be a fool to “trust science”

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If you also think that data is a source of information, that is. And have to live in the real world.

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What’s hot? What’s not?/Niklas Bildhauer, Wikimedia

… a survey of 479 sociology professors found that only 4 per cent identified as conservative or libertarian, while 83 per cent identified as liberal or left-radical. In another survey — of psychologists this time — only 6 per cent identified as ‘conservative overall’.

Just occasionally, though, a more balanced study does slip through the net — like the one just published by a team from Oxford University. The study by Nathan Cofnas et al — Does Activism in the Social Sciences Explain Conservatives’ Distrust of Scientists? — pours scorn on the idea that conservatives are any more anti-science than lefties. It’s not science they distrust so much as scientists — especially ones in more nebulous, activism-driven fields like ecology or sociology. As Cofnas told Campus Reform, a site that exposes left-wing bias at universities: ‘Conservatives are right to be sceptical. Take any politicised issue that is connected to some disagreement about scientific fact. I do not believe there is a single case in the last couple of decades where a major scientific organisation took a position that went against the platform of the Democratic party.’ He added: ‘What an odd coincidence that “science” always, without exception, supports the liberal worldview.’James Delingpole, “It’s not science I don’t trust – it’s the scientists” at The Spectator (UK)

Of course, one possible solution would be to quit regarding the social “sciences” as sciences. Why not regard them as what they really are: think tanks for progressive causes That’s socially respectable and much more accurate. Plus, it takes the heat off disciplines where facts matter.

See also: Study of the causes of science skepticism sails right by most obvious cause

and

Why so much bullying in science? All the current accused are Top People (and all are women too, so put your red Handmaid dowdies back in the cupboard, girl… For once we are talking about something else.)

7 Replies to “Why, in many cases, you’d be a fool to “trust science”

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    If some scientists are untrustworthy, how much less so is a journalist who writes for Breitbart and has written for the Daily Mail?

  2. 2
    News says:

    Seversky, try another one. This is a serious problem. Well over half of the really stupid-crazy stuff that attracts broad criticism, not just from Breitbart, is from the social “sciences.”

    Disconnecting that module would reduce the problems in legtimate science to a size that can be handled, at least in principle.

  3. 3
    aarceng says:

    Just call them Social Studies.

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    News, things are so bad that Economics folks are trying to get that discipline recategorised as a so-called STEM discipline, with strong emphasis on its Mathematical rigour. Where, of course, Finance is strictly a sub-discipline. Where, too, in the last generation the deep disputes were routinely headlined but now have become more or less matters of academic rather than general debate. Delingpole’s point as you cite is dead right, there is a problem of imposed politically correct, media promoted pseudo-consensus on matters of both theory and linked policy-relevant applications. There is indeed a diference between having a generally scientific mindset and being concerned on biases and agendas of scientists, scientific instirutions, education institutions and policy advocates dressed up in lab coats. Then, there is the destructive radical re-definition of science and its methods as in effect applied atheism. KF

  5. 5
    Dean_from_Ohio says:

    Seversky @ 1,

    For once you get it right! News is SO much LESS UNtrustworthy than a bunch of scientists unethically acting outside the areas of their training, competence and experience.

    Nailed it!

  6. 6
    polistra says:

    Even if the social “sciences” were purely Republican, they’d still be useless. They are disciplines without a purpose. They can’t be turned into scientific observation and logic by any amount of de-biasing.

    Bias in meaningful disciplines is a more important problem. Climatology was a useful science until 1974 when the CIA weaponized it for the Left. Because it’s known to be a weapon, sane people don’t trust ANY predictions, even simple predictions based on radar readings and jet streams.

  7. 7
    Just Another Commenter says:

    Broken link alert: The correct link for the James Delingpole article at The Spectator is: https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/08/its-not-science-i-dont-trust-its-the-scientists/

    (You may need to open the link in a private window to avoid the paywall.)

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