Thursday, May 19, 2005


I have not so far said anything about the piece of pretend-science by a Belinda Board run in the New York Times (repeated here and here) of just over a week ago which claimed that ambassador-elect Bolton was psychologically disturbed. For good measure, the article also claimed that businessmen are psychopaths. There were plenty of scornful reactions from others (e.g. here and here) so I did not feel any need to waste time on such nonsense. There are some points that I think need more emphasis, however, so I thought I might summarize them briefly.

As far as Bolton is concerned, the article shows a pre-adolescent level of logic. Things that are said about Bolton by his enemies are compared with findings about various clinical populations as if the two sorts of data were comparable. I will offer a 100% guarantee that if I compared things said about Ms Board by her enemies with findings about various clinical populations that I would be able to show (using her logic) that she is a raving nut too.

The fact that the "research" was done in 2001 but has not been published in an academic journal suggests that it must be very low quality indeed. Academic journals will publish almost any rubbish if it is favourable to the Left (see here and here). Possible scientific reasons why it is not publishable centre on sampling and lack of control. There appears to have been no representative sampling of any known population of businessmen so therefore no conclusions about any population of businessmen can be drawn from the findings. And was the scoring of the businessmen done "blind" and compared with a general population sample of similar socio-economic and intellectual level that was also scored "blind"? If it was not (and I don't think we need to guess that it was not) we have a second reason why no conclusions about businessmen, as such, can be drawn. I could say more but that particular horse is not only dead but smelling. I wonder how low the NYT can go? The Belinda Board article would not have been out of place in a supermarket tabloid.


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