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Thursday
May042017

Beware of reacting too fast to the "TOOFAST" item in the GSS

From something I'm working on . . .

c. Authority of science. Some GSS items are tailor-made for detecting conflict over the authority of science—our third science attitude. The one that has been asked the most consistently seeks respondents’ agreement or disagreement with the statement that “one trouble with science is that it makes our way of life change too fast” (TOOFAST). The volatile upticks and downticks in this item have been duly reported in alternately positive and negative ways in the NSF Indicators.  Thus, pointing to “a substantial drop” in affirmative responses in the 2012 GSS, the 2014 Indicators (p. 7-28) reported with evident relief that “fewer Americans said they were worried about the pace of change.”  Yet two years later, the NSF lamented that “Americans increasingly worry that science is making life ‘change too fast.’ ” “About half of Americans,” the Indicators advised, “expressed this view in 2014, up from about one-third in 2004” (2016, p. 7|4).

On closer inspection, though, there doesn’t seem to be anything about responses to TOOFAST—in whatever direction they move—that should arouse concern about the breadth of respect for the authority of science. A simple zero-order correlation, for example, confirms that at every level of this four-point agree-disagree item, study participants have positive expectations about the future benefits that science will confer on society (Figure 14). Indeed, respondents at every level of “TOOFAST” support the funding of science regardless of whether doing so confers “immediate benefits.”

“TOOFAST” might be measuring something.  But it is not measuring an attitude that reflects ambivalence toward the authority of science. 

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Reader Comments (30)

"Because of science and technology, there will be more opportunities for the next generation."

Tangentially related link drop:
http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/05/03/the-future-of-jobs-and-jobs-training/

I know, not relevant to the question of the relevance of the GSS TOOFAST question...

But, as an anecdote - I am very pro-science and pro-technology, but am also very worried about the future of human employment. As a result, I'd probably agree with the TOOFAST statement, although I do differentiate between science and technology, so I'd temper my agreement somewhat. If it was instead that technology makes our way of life change too fast, I'd strongly agree.

May 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Anecdotally... a nice example of the "backfire effect."

My favorite reaction was from someone who wrote that the photo “is one of the reasons why I voted for and will always stand by TRUMP. Cause of idiots like john "boy" tamari.” (Translation: Visual evidence questioning a politician’s claims make me trust that politician more.)


https://twitter.com/scolderscholar/status/858638732399923205?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.philly.com%2Fphilly%2Fnews%2Fpolitics%2Fpresidential%2FTrump-Harrisburg-Pennsylvania-rally-crowd-count-Twitter-tweet-Tamari.html

Reminds me of that WaPo article about reactions to photos of the inaugural.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/01/25/we-asked-people-which-inauguration-crowd-was-bigger-heres-what-they-said/?utm_term=.184fd2e6444b

I wonder what the results would be if you first asked Trump voters about which crowd was bigger and then showed pics from his inaugural and Obama's (labeling each, and showing that Trump's crowd was smaller) and then measured any change in opinions. Would seeing photos of Obama's larger crowd have increased the number who thought that Trump's crowd was bigger?

May 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

I'm endlessly fascinated by speculation of the type "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" applied to a case where it's possible to run an experiment and settle the matter once and for all.

President Trump was referring to total viewers, not merely live bodies on the mall, i.e. including those watching on TV, tablet, phone, etc. Given the increase in persons with such access, and the subsequent flood of comments by Cinton supporters on the internet - proving that they, too, watched as carefully as the Trump supporters, then the statement is most probably true.

May 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Joshua,

I don't understand why you view this debate about how many people show up at Trump events as meaningful. It takes money and time to participate in such events. It also takes motivation. How much of one are you seeing vs. the other? It seems that the argument on the liberal side is that the low direct participation at Trump events necessarily implies low motivation. Then, the persistent "in-your-face" way turnout at these events is used on Trump supporters - who may be highly motivated - is just seen as an attempt to provoke cognitive dissonance. At which point, the response from the Trump supporter is probably no more than a polite version of a well-earned face slap. They may sense this provocative motive without being able to describe it.

I'm a liberal, and when I look at the inauguration photos, I can't see how easily it was for each person, in terms of their personal money and time constraints, to make the trip. I'd guess that many more with time an money to burn made the trip to Obama's inauguration because of its extreme historical significance. How many? I don't know.

There is little wisdom in the size of crowds.

May 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Ecoute -

Perhaps you might read my comment and the article again?

Your argument (about what Trump was "referring to") is easily demonstrated flawed, of course (not just w/r/t what Trump said but also w/r/t/ what Spicey said), but it is also on a different topic than the one I was discussing (and not relevant to why I linked that article). Given the quality of your reasoning on that issue, I completely agree that discussing what Trump was "referring to" would likely be about as equally rewarding as debating with you about angels dancing on heads of pins. And anyway, I'm not particularly interested in discussing what Trump was "referring" to. But if you're interested in discussing the topic I was discussing, I would be happy to engage. Perhaps you might have something of value to offer on that topic?

May 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan -

=={ I don't understand why you view this debate about how many people show up at Trump events as meaningful. }==

Interesting that I failed to get the point of my comment across to you as well. My point wasn't related to discussing the size of the Trump's inaugural crowd, but how that situation displays how people's reasoning is easily "motivated," and how there was a "backfire" effect being described in those tweets, and based on that, to speculate about a potential test for a "backfire effect" with the inaugural crowd size situation.

Like I said to Ecoute, I'm not actually interested in discussing the crowd size situation per se, but there are some other related aspects you brought up...so...

=={ It seems that the argument on the liberal side is that the low direct participation at Trump events necessarily implies low motivation. }==

Of course that would be the implication - but that's only one half of what was going on. Don't forget that Trump "started it." And as juvenile as it can be to point that out, it is also just ignoring an important part of the dynamic if you ignore that aspect. Part of Trump's whole sales pitch is about how he's a uniiter and had a massive electoral victory, and so his inflation of crowd size and distortion of facts about his crowd size and his obsession with the crowd size are all also part of the issue in play.

=={ Then, the persistent "in-your-face" way turnout at these events is used on Trump supporters - who may be highly motivated - is just seen as an attempt to provoke cognitive dissonance. }==

An attempt that would, of course (it isn't like that Trump voters would think they made a mistake because Obama's inaugural crowd size was bigger), and likely just promote a "backfire effect."

=={ At which point, the response from the Trump supporter is probably no more than a polite version of a well-earned face slap. They may sense this provocative motive without being able to describe it. }==

Again, I think that this is skewing a bit because you are creating a scenario that is out of sequence to some degree. You're determination of a "provocation" seems, to me, to find a locus point for an initial action that doesn't reflect what really happened. It wasn't merely that libz start taunting about crowd size (provoking) and then conz respond. To a large degree, it was Trump who excited the discussion as a part of his sales pitch. But of course, even there, crowd size is something that partisans have used for a VERY long time to gauge public opinion in these types of polarized circumstances - so even that doesn't make sense as a "provocation," IMO.

=={ I'm a liberal, and when I look at the inauguration photos, I can't see how easily it was for each person, in terms of their personal money and time constraints, to make the trip. I'd guess that many more with time an money to burn made the trip to Obama's inauguration because of its extreme historical significance. How many? I don't know.

There is little wisdom in the size of crowds. }==

I don't know how much wisdom there is in crowd size - but it would seem like a reasonable metric - among many metrics - that with consideration of extenuating aspects could be some measure of the public's enthusiasm for a political candidacy or issue in contention. That is why Trump focused on crowd size throughout the campaign, and after the inaugural. That's why people have focused on crowd size in demonstrations and inaugurals in the past. I don't know that there is "wisdom" in the size of crowds, but there is certainly some potential in evaluation of crowd sizes as one measure of public sentiment. The amount of people demonstrating on various issues has certainly influenced political developments in the past.

May 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"But, as an anecdote - I am very pro-science and pro-technology, but am also very worried about the future of human employment."

This is one of those topics on which political tribes disagree, so I'm not sure if you'll believe me on this, but I'd argue that you shouldn't be. The argument for this latest stage of the industrial revolution is the same as for all the previous ones. There was a time when something like 75% of the population in Europe was employed in agriculture, as subsistence farmers, peasants, and serfs. Then they invented technology (tools, fertilizers, tractors, etc.) and all those jobs disappeared. Only about 5% of the population in Europe are still employed in agriculture today, and even that's more than we really need. Is that something to be sad about, or to celebrate? Did it make us poorer, or richer?

Society gets richer not by people earning more, but by goods and services getting ever cheaper. Eventually the essentials of life get cheap enough that even the poorest can afford them. The ultimate endpoint will be that everything becomes effectively free, and nobody *needs* to find employment.

Some people will get there before others, so if inequality (rather than poverty) is what bothers you, that will continue. But the 'poor' of the future will still be richer than the well-off of today. Some people, I'm sure, will always find something to worry about, but I expect it will be an ever smaller minority who do.

---

"Interesting that I failed to get the point of my comment across to you as well. My point wasn't related to discussing the size of the Trump's inaugural crowd, but how that situation displays how people's reasoning is easily "motivated," and how there was a "backfire" effect being described in those tweets"

I don't believe you. I think your point was to have another poke at Trump and his supporters, and disguise it as purely academic and impartial debate about motivated reasoning and backfire. You're not fooling anyone.

But whatever. You're free to be a political partisan if you want to be. Trump supporters aren't the ones trying to outlaw all opinions they disagree with from their "safe spaces". If you want an extreme example of people violently rejecting information and ideas that go against their cultural beliefs, doubling down on them when challenged, there are better examples of that by far than Trump.

May 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Link drop - Joshua, not good news for your de-biasing program:
"Our findings indicate that contrary to expectations, participants who consider the situation structured and in more detail actually make worse decisions."
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2963543

May 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan -

Thanks for the link:

=={ Our findings indicate that contrary to expectations, participants who consider the situation structured and in more detail actually make worse decisions. }==

Certainly sounds interesting. I will be curious to see how it differs from other stuff that I've read whereby people who spend a lot of time going back and forth over decisions (becoming very familiar with the downsides of whichever decision that gets made) have poorer outcomes than people who make decisions more impulsively.

That said, from a quick look I"m not sure how much it will speak to "my" debiasing program...as my program wouldn't be based on getting people to evaluate decision-making processes so much as to evaluate bias (e.g., looking at the concept of motivated reasoning theoretically and then exploring how that plays out for the participants in specific context...with the thought that lessons might generalize). The ultimate outcome measure of my program would be whether there is any degree of de-polarization in approach to controversies...with the thinking that with depolarization would come the ultimate goal of less "motivated" reasoning and a better chance of stakeholder investment in shared decision-making. (Yeah, pretty pie-in-the-sky).

Of course, I could be lying about "my" debiasing program...,and just trying to fool you...

...so beware. :-)

May 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

We all have a theory of mind when talking with someone - but, to borrow a trope - it's "just a theory".

The best way to deal with such situations is to be vigilant for cases where one's theory of mind, or perhaps that of someone they're talking to, is possibly leading to misunderstandings.

In the case of a Trump supporter confronted with the crowd size photos, I suspect their theory of mind is telling them that their interlocutor is just trying to make them look bad. The context is telling them that this is not a test of visual acuity.

For backfire, we want someone who believes they are being asked merely for the facts to show an alteration in belief counter to evidence. We can intentionally or accidentally manufacture cases where the person we're asking may decide to be defensive instead of merely factual. If that happens, we've triggered something less problematic than backfire.

May 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

"That said, from a quick look I"m not sure how much it will speak to "my" debiasing program...as my program wouldn't be based on getting people to evaluate decision-making processes so much as to evaluate bias (e.g., looking at the concept of motivated reasoning theoretically and then exploring how that plays out for the participants in specific context...with the thought that lessons might generalize). The ultimate outcome measure of my program would be whether there is any degree of de-polarization in approach to controversies...with the thinking that with depolarization would come the ultimate goal of less "motivated" reasoning and a better chance of stakeholder investment in shared decision-making. (Yeah, pretty pie-in-the-sky)."

Sounds good, in theory.

The problem with most of these bias awareness proposals and debiasing schemes is that they're applied asymmetrically. One side points to the biases of the other side, invite them to become more open-minded, and change their minds. But they don't change their own minds or shift their own positions one iota, because of course they know they're right; they're not the ones being fooled by biases into taking the wrong position. That's what all the "Republican Brain" stuff is doing.

It's like the games kids play. Mom comes in to find Alice and Bob arguing over a cake. Bob says they ought to cut it in half and share equally. Alice says she wants it all. Mom says: "What have I told you about compromising? Split the difference. Give one quarter to Bob and three quarters to Alice."

People can be fooled once or twice, but soon recognise the tactic, and quickly realise that answering calls to be reasonable without a reciprocal agreement to do so from the other side is a losing strategy. Bob's best strategy is to be even more unreasonable in the opposite direction. Which is to say, Alice's technique results in greater polarisation.

So you can only persuade people to pay attention to your depolarising programme and move their positions more towards the evidence if they're convinced that you'll do the same. You don't do that by making every example you use to illustrate bias a partisan attack on their political position. If your every example is about Trump and his supporters, and none about Clinton or Obama and theirs, people will quickly conclude you're using the 'Alice' strategy of demanding the whole cake. (Or 90% of the cake. "See? I'm being soooo reasonable!")

The most important thing to realise about motivated reasoning is that it is symmetric. Until you (and the rest of your tribe) can demonstrate that you really recognise that, people will continue to dismiss all your talk of "debiasing" as just another partisan game.

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Jonathan -

== { We all have a theory of mind when talking with someone - but, to borrow a trope - it's "just a theory". }==

No doubt.


=={ The best way to deal with such situations is to be vigilant for cases where one's theory of mind, or perhaps that of someone they're talking to, is possibly leading to misunderstandings. }==

I agree. Thus, my "debiasing" program."

=={ In the case of a Trump supporter confronted with the crowd size photos, I suspect their theory of mind is telling them that their interlocutor is just trying to make them look bad. The context is telling them that this is not a test of visual acuity. }==

I'm a bit dubious about that. It's certainly a plausible characterization... and I don't doubt that is is true to at least some extent....but I would question how widely applicable it is. My guess is that most people, no matter their political stripe, respond to polling in an effort to accurately express their opinions. My guess is that most people, when polled, are primarily focused on having their opinions register (and predominate) within the overall spectrum of opinions. Thus, I don't think that most people are responding in a way that primarily focuses on suspected bias on the part of the pollsters. Of course, social desirability bias and a whole how of self-report biases affect polling responses and should be taken into consideration, but that doesn't mean that those pathways of response dominate or explain results so much as complicate results.

I think that the notion of "shy Trump voters" would be a good example there. I don't doubt that the concept does explain some polling responses - but from the analysis I've seen it doesn't go very far towards explaining the polling results in the recent election.

Here's the most recent article I've seen on that....

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/04/2016-election-pollsters-react-237975

It is in line with other analyses that I've seen.

Yet we saw many "just so" stories about the impact of "shy Trump voters" prior to the election and many examples of "shy Trump voters" offered to explain the results of Trump winning.

=={ We can intentionally or accidentally manufacture cases where the person we're asking may decide to be defensive instead of merely factual. If that happens, we've triggered something less problematic than backfire }==

No doubt.

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Dan -

Do you see this as being at odds with your findings?:

There is a wide and growing partisan gap in the U.S. over how much government should spend for scientific research.

Six-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents back increased federal spending for scientific research, up from 46% four years ago. But just a third of Republicans and Republican leaners support increased spending for scientific research today, up modestly from 25% in 2013.

[...]

The partisan gap in views of spending for scientific research has grown steadily over time. In 2001, there was no significant divide between parties over federal spending for scientific research. Since then, Republican support trended steadily downward before a modest uptick in recent years, while Democratic support remained relatively steady before rising significantly in the current survey. The partisan gap in support for more spending was 16 percentage points in 2011 and now stands at 27 points.

Although this is interesting:

Among the public overall, 48% of Americans say they would increase spending for scientific research, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in April, up 11 percentage points since 2013. Just 12% of Americans say scientific research funding should be decreased, and roughly four-in-ten (38%) think it should stay the same.


http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/05/01/democrats-far-more-supportive-than-republicans-of-federal-spending-for-scientific-research/

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Also, how does this reconcile with your findings?:

People’s level of science knowledge helps to a degree to explain their beliefs about climate change, but the relationship is complicated. While there are wide political divides in public views of the potential for harm from climate change. A majority of Democrats holding medium or high levels of science knowledge said it was “very likely” that climate change would lead to rising sea levels that erode beaches and shore lines, harm to animal wildlife and their habitats, damage to forests and plant life, storms that are more severe, and more droughts or water shortages. But there are no differences or only modest differences among Republicans holding high, medium and low science knowledge levels in their expectations of harms to the Earth’s ecosystems because of climate change.

Similarly, Democrats with high levels of knowledge about science, based on a nine-item index, almost all agree that climate change is mostly due to human activity (93%). By contrast, 49% of Democrats with low science knowledge think this is the case.

But among Republicans, there are no significant differences by science knowledge about the causes of climate change. Put another way, Republicans with high levels of science knowledge are no more likely than those with lower levels of knowledge to think climate change is mostly due to human activity.

This pattern did not occur on all judgments related to climate change, but to the extent that science knowledge influenced judgments, it did so among Democrats but not Republicans. (See our report “The Politics of Climate” for the results from statistical models of these patterns.)


http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/03/22/how-much-does-science-knowledge-influence-peoples-views-on-climate-change-and-energy-issues/

So, no movement towards polarization among Pubs in association with increased scientific knowledge? What gives?

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Same link:

The same pattern was found for people’s beliefs about energy issues. The survey found that Republicans more than Democrats favored expanding fossil fuel energy sources, as has been the case in past Pew Research Center surveys. The 2016 survey found that the vast majority of Democrats with high science knowledge opposed expanding offshore oil drilling, fracking and coal mining. Democrats with low science knowledge were more closely divided over these issues. Republicans’ views about these energy issues were about the same regardless of their level of science knowledge.

On nuclear power, the pattern was reversed. Three-quarters (75%) of Republicans with high science knowledge favored more nuclear power plants, compared with 37% of Republicans with low science knowledge. There were no more than modest differences among Democrats by levels of science knowledge in their opinions about more nuclear power plants.

Seems to suggest that the association between science knowledge and polarization is not issue-independent....even in polarized contexts where viewpoints are often seen as badges of political identification.

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@Joshua-- I'm not following your logic. All the issues in questin were ones in which there is polarization, & in all polarization gets more intense w/ higher science knowledge.

May 7, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@Joshua-- and more on Pew vs. GSS on science funding "tomorrow"

May 7, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Dan -

So this..

But among Republicans, there are no significant differences by science knowledge about the causes of climate change. Put another way, Republicans with high levels of science knowledge are no more likely than those with lower levels of knowledge to think climate change is mostly due to human activity.

... is consistent with your view?

and this...?

There were no more than modest differences among Democrats by levels of science knowledge in their opinions about more nuclear power plants.

And you think there is no conflict in your views on (a lack of) partisan differences in "trust in science" and an increased partisan gap in support for spending on scientific research?

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Dan -

You say:

=={ ..., & in all polarization gets more intense w/ higher science knowledge. }==

So there is nothing surprising to you in their findings about the asymmetry in the contributions to the increased polarization (i.e., coming only from Dems on climate change and only from Pubs on nuclear energy?)

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua - A more positive de-biasing article:
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/05/unconscious-bias-training/525405/

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan -

"De-biasing" is actually not a particularly apt term for my "program." Seems to me that what might work is efforts to increase bias awareness and awareness of strategies to compensate for bias. "De-biasing" does seem to me to rather an impossible task.

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@Joshua-- no, not surprised. On any given study, one might find that both groups are moving or only 1 is in relation to some indicator of cognivite proficiency. I wouldn't fixate on that. If there is more polarizatin in high than in low science comprehension, then that refutes the idea that problem is irrationality or knowledge deficit. If one thinks there is asymmetric effect, one should fit a model to data--all of it; no splitting sample--& see if a curvilnear effect in relation to how higher cognitive proficency is affecting study subjects.

The data on science funding support were surprising/interesting to me

May 7, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Note the last paragraph of that science-funding Pew report:

Partisan divides over budget issues are not limited to scientific research. Republicans are less likely than Democrats to back increased spending on 11 of the 14 program areas in the survey. There are two areas where Republicans are more likely than Democrats to support federal spending increases: military defense and anti-terrorism spending.

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

@Jonathan-- presumably one would want to create a variable that reflects how much a group supports cutting funds generally & then partial that out in examingi differences in any one area. In other words, we are interested in issue-specific funding dispositions & so want to look at those after general funding cut dispositions are removed from picture

May 7, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Dan -

=={ then that refutes the idea that problem is irrationality or knowledge deficit. {==

Well, yes that conclusion stands.

But I am continuously confused by your conclusions about causality. Related to these data...it is your conclusion that science knowledge in association with a proficiency in a certain kind of reasoning is causal for greater polarization that confuses me. Assuming that I have understood you properly, and assuming that the Pew data are valid reflections of reality (it is only one analysis, after all)...

Why would scientific knowledge be positively correlated with polarization among Dems on one issue but not the other (particularly when both are connected to identity badges)? If the reasoning proficiency associated with scientific knowledge is causal for polarization (as it seems to me you repeatedly argue), then shouldn't it generalize across issues? If not, then wouldn't that suggest a moderating role (for scientific knowledge and/or reasoning style) rather than a mediating role? Why would an attribute of how an individual reasons or someone's scientific knowledge come and go among different science-related and identity-associated issues?

And of course, why would a similar causal mechanism play out among Pubs, where the causal relationship between polarization and scientific proficiency appears and disappears according to issue?

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"......the causal relationship between polarization and scientific proficiency appears and disappears according to issue..."

On the issue of support for nuclear power the causal link is between scientific proficiency and deciding on the relative merits of the theory of special relativity versus the theory of anthropogenic global warming. The only subset of commenters who consider the 2 theories equivalent is the subset which also subscribes to the following belief:

"......No one need try to convince me otherwise. The effort is futile; my conviction is absolute. This is a culture war in which truth is the weapon, righteousness the flag and passion the fuel. Fight, fight, fight. And when you are finished, fight some more. Victory is the only acceptable outcome when freedom, equality and inclusion are at stake."
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/opinion/the-death-of-compassion.html?_r=0

Even Stalinists, Maoists, Pol Pot supporters, Islamic Jihadists, and suchlike kooks grant opponents a chance to repent and join the True Faith - Alice gets 99% of the cake, Bob gets the crumbs, say 1%. But the subset represented in the link wants 100%, while simultaneously clamoring for "equality" and "inclusion". "Debiasing" may well be the reason nobody yet has called the paramedics - as long as the "fight" remains verbal.

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

"There is a wide and growing partisan gap in the U.S. over how much government should spend for scientific research."

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/10/03/voter-registration-data-show-democrats-outnumber-republicans-among-social-scientists

http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article97210447.html

I found Jonathan's linked article on unconscious bias training interesting (and disturbing). I wonder how they would explain this partisan gap arising among the scientists? Isn't that the same sort of effect as the low numbers of women and ethnic minorities in science? Would they think it was something society needed to do something about, do you think, in the same way they do for those other groups? Do you?

-
Personally, I suspect that Republican views on government funding of science have less to do with their views on science than they do on the government spending more money than it's got, generally. Just a guess, though.

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Haidt et al have already made the calculation for faculty ratios in social psychology - it's 14 to 1. http://heterodoxacademy.org/2015/09/14/bbs-paper-on-lack-of-political-diversity/

As to the federal debt, here is the only way I have found to convey to Democrat politicians the situation: the bonded debt, at $20 trillion, has to be rolled over every two years - 2 years is average maturity, not to be confused with effective duration, which varies with interest rates - and to this must be added legal obligations like callable guarantees (student loans, housing, etc) for another $6 trillion. Social programs (retirement, medical, etc) are not binding obligations - they are passed by one act of Congress and can be amended by another. So the question amounts to conveying to non-quantitatively-trained people the enormity of 26 trillion: expressed in miles, it's the distance from us to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

NiV,

"I found Jonathan's linked article on unconscious bias training interesting (and disturbing). I wonder how they would explain this partisan gap arising among the scientists? Isn't that the same sort of effect as the low numbers of women and ethnic minorities in science? Would they think it was something society needed to do something about, do you think, in the same way they do for those other groups? Do you?"

https://osf.io/preprints/psyarxiv/tdvy7

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan,

Does that link answer my question? If so, could you elucidate for me? What was their answer? What was yours?

May 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

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