Sunday, October 05, 2003


I posted yesterday a swingeing critique of the Social Dominance Orientation theory that is at present being used in academic psychology to discredit conservatives. The joint author and principal protagonist of the theory (a generally pleasant guy whom I happen to know) has replied to my critique. I have posted his reply here.

It seems to amount to a large climbdown. He does not answer my point that he is not measuring personality at all and he does not answer my point that the relationship between racism and scores on his scale is artifactual (built-in). He has now reduced his claim to saying that he is just finding out whether different allegedly conservative beliefs do go together. If that is what he is doing, he is doing a remarkably poor job of it. I showed 30 years ago that conservative beliefs in economic and social areas are very poorly correlated yet he COMBINES beliefs from these two areas in his scale! He is not only assuming what he has to prove but his assumption is demonstrably wrong! A bit breathtaking!

And his claim that the theory is independent of the means used to test it is pretty desperate too. Psychologists normally rely on "operational" definitions -- i.e. they define the concept they use BY the means they use to measure it.

Incidentally, I HAVE measured social dominance by way of a personality scale and have several times found that it is unrelated to overall Left/Right orientation. See here and here


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