Friday, May 3, 2013

Social Science Voodoo Doctors

Yesterday in an argument with some SJWs (social justice warriors), the incorrect stat about 'women making 75% of what a man makes" came up.  The first link was to the Institute of Women's Wage Studies (some mouthful of a name), and the second was, I believe, a GAO study.  The uh "Institute" basically strung together a bunch of words about "self actualizing women's potential in the workforce in the face of historical patriarchal oppression" and long on patting themselves on the back about how put down women were. 

The second study at least had the intellectual honesty to admit that women generally made the choice to work in low risk/low reward industries, leave the workforce to take care of children, and other decisions that are placed on the individual.   Of course, it went off into how the government should do what it can to make things more 'equal', and you'll have to point out where the fuck the Founders wanted to make everyone 'equal' outside of insane 'living constitution' bullshit.

The social sciences, by and large, suffer from this same malady where they interpret shit that isn't there, or twist it so that it fits with their world view.  Those that don't go along with the Narrative (immigration is always good! multicult is awesome! we're all equal!) tend to find themselves on the outliers.  Look at Charles Murray after he published The Bell Curve, and the list of leftists who lined up to 'disprove' him with badly strung together ideas that didn't hold up past first glance.  Or Robert Putnam, who sat on his "Bowling Alone" study because it didn't match up with his views that multiculturalism is an unalloyed good.

The Left has elevated the idea of "Science" into a religion, with peer review being the end all be all of what makes something 'sciencey'.  Having a piece of sheepskin with writing on it means that nothing you say can be challenged by a layman.  Thus that old saw: "Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?"  The actual core of Science would be that the experiment is repeatable, and that's where the social sciences are already going to have a problem because so much of what they study is subjective.   When you add in the Marxist indoctrination and Frankfurt School bullshit that suffuses so much of academia, you're only adding to your issues.

The Staple affair is a prime example of this. Steve Sailer talked about this a little while ago, but here's a summary: Staple was a Dutch psychologist who came up with a theory about 'priming', where people have 'primed' themselves to believe the worst about minorities because of invisible racism.  The problem is that the entire study was bullshit.  Staples made up data whole cloth, engaged in 'verification bias' where he repeated the experiment to get the results he wanted, and no real clue about how to collate statistics.  At the end of the day, it was grad students who revealed this fraud.  The kicker is that they were really scared of telling Staple's boss, because it flew in the face of the prevailing conventional wisdom, and they knew Staple could wreck their careers.

So much for 'peer review'.

Thus the name of the title. Often, so called 'social scientists' are little more than witch doctors, interpretating entrails or the blood drips from a dead chicken to see what they want. The issue is that these modern day witch doctors have more influence than they rightly should.

Relevant links for further reading about the Staple fraud:

Scientific American

Science Mag

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