Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Another silly study taken too seriously

So, have you been hearing that a study published recently in Nature Neuroscience somehow proves that 'liberals' are smarter and more adaptable than 'conservatives'?

You might want to read Rigging a study to make conservatives look stupid. - By William Saletan - Slate Magazine to see what the study actually tested and how it was carried out.

How people expect non-scientists to take science seriously when junk like this gets traction in the press is beyond me.

By the by, I put 'liberals' and 'conservatives' in single quotes in part because these days it seems to me that more 'liberals' are big on punishing people who don't march in lockstep as per their assigned group identity, and more 'conservatives' are in the freedom-loving, countercultural role. At any rate, the current use of the words doesn't match the traditional meanings of the words at all. (If you feel up to a lengthy, scholarly explanation, you might want to check out What Is Classical Liberalism?, by John C. Goodman, December 20, 2005, NCPA website, for starters.)

Finally, this might be related to the issue discussed in the Saletan article: Most science studies appear to be tainted by sloppy analysis, Daily Policy Digest, NCPA Idea House, Sept. 18, 2007.

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