Thursday, October 30, 2014

Another attempt to "psychologize" conservatives -- one which overlooks the obvious

Does the Study of Science Lead to Leftward Leanings?  Not  quite. Key excerpts from the latest article below.  It is difficult to know whare to start in such a rubbishy article but I should note initially that the use of student attitudes to draw great inferences about people in general is an act of faith. In the very first piece of research I ever did (in the mid-60s) I used students and found a correlation of .808 between two variables  -- which is very high.  Being a very skeptical person even then, however, I repeated the research using a sample of Army conscripts, a much more representative group.  The correlation dropped to negligibility. Plainly, you CANNOT draw reliable conclusions from student samples

But does the research below tell us anything about institutions of higher education?  Perhaps it does, though what it shows is obvious and no surprise.  It shows that universities and colleges  are hotbeds of Leftism.  So even some students who do not start out as Leftists eventually become brainwashed into it.  The authors found that in the third and fourth year of study, the students had become more Leftist than they were in the first and second year.

So how come the authors found the effect among science students only?  Probably because the social science and humanities students were already asymptotically Leftist from the outset.  They started out Leftist in their studies so had little room to move further Left.  The authors don't give their results in tabular form so I was not able to check that. It is however a common finding that social science and humanities students are the most Leftist

But even the interpretation of the results as showing us something about academe may be too incautious.  The measuring instruments used by the authors were woeful.  The ad hoc scale they used in Study I had a reliability (alpha) of only .58, which is simply too low to conclude that it is measuring any consistent trait.  It implies that the items had virtually nothing in common.  An alpha of .75 is the normal threshold for a usable research instrument.

And the rest of the research relied on an even  more execrable instument -- the SDO scale, which assumes what it has to prove.  The SDO scale must be one of the most uninsightfully put-together instruments in the psychology literature.  See here for details on that.

So the only really safe conclusion is that the research proves nothing at all


According to a research team led by Harvard University psychologist Christine Ma-Kellams, immersion in the world of science tends to shifts students’ attitudes toward the left side of the political spectrum.

In the Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Ma-Kellams and her colleagues describe four studies that support their thesis. In the first, 196 students from a New England university revealed their ideological positions by responding to 18 statements expressing political opinions.

“Across domains,” the researchers report, “those who are in scientific fields exhibited greater political liberalism compared to those in non-hard-scientific fields.”

Importantly, this was only found for students in their third or fourth year of college. This strongly suggests that, rather than political liberals being attracted to science, it was the hands-on study that made the difference.

The second study featured 100 undergraduates, who expressed their views on three hot-button political issues (same-sex marriage, affirmative action, and the Affordable Care Act). They also completed the Social Dominance Orientation Scale, in which they expressed their level of agreement or disagreement with such statements as “Sometimes other groups must be kept in their place,” and “In getting what you want, it is sometimes necessary to use force against other groups.”

Consistent with the first study, the researchers found that “for those with significant exposure to their discipline (i.e., upperclassmen), studying science is associated with more liberal political attitudes.” Furthermore, they found this was due to a lower level of support for the my-group-deserves-to-dominate positions outlined above.

Additional studies featuring Canadian students and a community sample from the Boston area came to the same conclusions.

“Relative to those studying non-sciences, students in the sciences exhibited greater political liberalism across a variety of domains (including foreign policy, health care, and the economy) and a variety of social issues (gay marriage, affirmative action), as well as in general self-reported liberalism,” Ma-Kellams and her colleagues write.

This, they conclude, is the result of “science’s emphasis on rationality, impartiality, fairness, progress, and the idea that we are to use these rational tools for the mutual benefit of all people in society.”

In one sense, these results are something of a surprise. Given the fact the social sciences involve people and politics more directly, one might think the study of these disciplines would be more likely to shape minds in a more liberal direction. But these students were no more liberal than those majoring in disciplines having nothing to do with science.



States Enact Ebola Quarantines, Obama Vows to Fight Them!

Context: Australia has banned all arrivals from West Africa

We’ve been calling for a moratorium on flights to/from Ebola stricken countries in West Africa. The vast majority of Americans (3 in 4) want a travel ban or, at the very least, force travelers exposed to the disease to spend 21 days in quarantine.

As of this writing, 35 countries have instituted travel bans to/from West Africa. Obama has refused to follow suit.

Now, three states have announced mandatory quarantines for health workers returning from West Africa. Illinois, New Jersey, and New York have all announced their new containment policy.

All three refuse to sit by as potentially infected travelers put their populations at risk.

This comes after Dr. Craig Spencer tested positive for Ebola in New York City. The doctor had recently traveled back to the United States from West Africa after being exposed to Ebola patients. He was told to self-quarantine, but instead, Dr. Spencer traveled across NYC using public transportation, a taxi service, and even went to a bowling alley.

This policy could save lives. But Barack Obama has instructed his government to fight these states tooth-and-nail to overturn the quarantines!

Obama is putting Americans at risk! You must DEMAND that Congress institute quarantines for ALL West African travelers!

The country of Nigeria is now officially Ebola-free. Part of the reason for this is the fact that Nigeria has closed its borders to any country with an Ebola outbreak.

Whether it is illegal aliens, ISIS terrorists, or the Ebola disease, Obama simply refuses to close the border and do what is necessary to protect Americans.

Both New Jersey and New York have seen what happens when “self-quarantined” individuals disobey orders and put the population at risk.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman and her team from NBC news agreed to “self-quarantine” after returning to New Jersey from West Africa. The team struck a deal with the CDC and NJ officials, agreeing to remain indoors and monitor their temperatures.

But the NBC News Correspondent broke protocol and took members of her team out into Princeton, NJ to go buy lunch, putting an entire city in danger.

We’ve tried it “Obama’s way.” We’ve tried letting infected individuals into the U.S. unchecked. We have tried allowing Ebola health workers to “self-quarantine.”

None of that has worked. That hasn’t stopped Ebola from spreading, nor has it stopped infected individuals from breaking quarantine and putting our country at risk.

And now, Barack H. Obama wants to stop New Jersey, New York, and Illinois from quarantining Ebola workers?

Every time I turn around, it seems that Barack Obama has discovered a new policy to put Americans at risk.

Congress MUST act and institute a travel ban and mandatory quarantines for returning health workers. Polling shows that 75% of all Americans believe this is a common-sense response. Yet, the White House and Congressional Democrats continue to push to allow the Ebola virus into the country!

We must stop air travel to/from these countries NOW! We must force returning health workers to enter quarantine NOW!



Life under Obama sucks (except for the wealthy). And the numbers prove it

America is so over Obama. In 2008, the media and a majority of the voters were head-over-heels in love with the man who told them that “yes, we can” overcome war and recession.

By 2012, the amour had cooled but they were willing to give four more years to the guy who was – if nothing else – way hotter than Mitt Romney.  But now it’s 2014 and the passion is totally gone.

The reason? Quality of life is poor. Starting at the very bottom, poverty levels point to stagnation. In January 2009 the poverty rate stood at 14.3 per cent. It rose to around 15 per cent and then fell back down in 2013 to 14.5 per cent (but the actual number of those in poverty remained the same from 2012). Things are worse for black Americans, whose poverty rate has risen in that same period from 25.8 per cent to 27.2 per cent.

Not everyone’s doing badly, of course. The richest 10 per cent are the only group – the only group! – who saw their median income rise from 2010-2013. As the Washington Times points out, that’s the same period in which Barack Robin Hood Obama won re-election painting the GOP as corporate vampires. The richest people have seen their share of taxes decline quite dramatically under this “socialist” president – while, interestingly, the share of federal income tax paid by the middle class has, according to the IRS, slightly risen.

According to the Federal Reserve, middle-class incomes stagnated from 2010-2013 while incomes at the bottom end of the scale continued to fall. Yet its latest finances survey discovered a fascinating anomaly: mean income is up while median income is down. The explanation is that while most Americans’ financial performance remains weak, the very rich are doing splendidly. The scale of inequality of appalling: “The wealth share of the top 3 percent climbed from 44.8 percent in 1989 to 51.8 percent in 2007 and 54.4 percent in 2013. … The share of wealth held by the bottom 90 percent fell from 33.2 percent in 1989 to 24.7 percent in 2013.”

Finally, even the much praised unemployment rates can be misleading. While the number seeking work might be falling, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve found some. In January 2009, the labour force participation rate was 65.7 per cent; today it is 62.7 per cent. In other words, a lot of Americans have simply withdrawn from the labour market.

In short, the middle class has good reasons to be frustrated with Obamanomics – especially given that the President has so often claimed to be on the side of the little man but has largely operated to the benefit of the super rich. In fact, I wouldn’t blame Mitt Romney if he secretly cast a ballot for Obama in 2012.

Add to that the administration’s quixotic handling of the Ebola crisis or its vacillating Middle East policy and you get the sense of a regime that has largely given up. Not that it was particularly “engaged” in the beginning. Barack Obama was elected in 2008 less on the back of a programme than a personality. He embodied rather than articulated change. As such, his election did mark a revolution in American race relations but it did not represent a serious effort at governmental reform.

With the notable – and controversial – exceptions of Obamacare and gay marriage (the latter led entirely by the courts and not the administration), liberals should be asking themselves what Obama has ever done for them. Conservatives will be asking what he’s done to the economy, having over-regulated and over-spent to little obvious advantage. I’m not so sure we can call the Obama administration liberal rather than just chaotic and vain.



Clinton Says Businesses Don't Create Jobs

While campaigning in Massachusetts for gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley, Hillary Clinton inadvertently revealed exactly how she views American free enterprise. During the rally, the soon-to-be presidential candidate declared, “Don’t let anybody tell you that, uh, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.”

Oh how wrong she is.

After catching heat for sounding eerily reminiscent of Barak Obama and his infamous “you didn’t build that” line, Clinton clarified her comment. According to one of her aides, she had meant to “talk about tax breaks for corporations and businesses in that sentence, which led into a line about how trickle-down economics had ‘failed spectacularly’ – a sentiment she has long held.”

Despite that “clarification,” Clinton’s rhetoric on economic policy is in line with what the Left wants to hear. Supposing that Clinton will seek the Democrat nomination for president in 2016, she might have to contend with a challenge from her left by progressive populist Elizabeth Warren. According to columnist Timothy Carney, “Clinton is a corporatist,” while “Warren is a populist.” In order to head off Warren’s challenge, Clinton will have to say populist things.

In the same speech, Clinton derided the economic policies of Ronald Reagan, which were the main reason for the economic boom and prosperity enjoyed during her husband’s tenure. “Trickle-down economics,” she sneered, “failed rather spectacularly.”

The truth is just the opposite. Reagan successfully reversed Jimmy Carter’s economic malaise. Reagan wanted government to get out of the way so companies and individuals could prosper. To do that, he implemented massive tax reductions, deregulation and anti-inflation monetary policies, which brought inflation down to 3.2% by 1983 and unleashed a historic period of economic growth.

Instead of learning from the economic success during the Reagan years, however, Clinton advocates the opposite. If she wins the Democrat nomination and, heaven forbid, is elected president, we can expect a continuance of Obama’s failed economic policy.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


No comments: