More nonsense from academia

Many years ago, as a doctoral candidate in Sociology, I learned that it is possible to design a study to prove just about anything about people. Go for a particular sample, ask carefully-designed questions, calculate some data to highlight what you're looking for, and voila! You have "proven" what you set out to find.

A disturbing trend of late has been the number of studies given publicity in the American (and world) press setting out to prove that conservatives are mentally flawed. One genre has it that "authoritarian personalities" (based on the work of Theodor Adorno) are drawn to conservatism, the GOP, or George Bush. Another genre has it that conservatives are actually crazy.

(Of course, both sides play this game. Talk show host Michael Savage authored a best-seller titled Liberalism is a Mental Disorder. Charles Krauthammer, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, posited that Bush Derangement Syndrome affected large numbers of people, causing irrational hatred and counter-productive behavior detached from reality.)

In my opinion, some of these analyses have more weight than others.

One analysis which is receiving attention in interesting circles is particularly opaque, no details on how large the sample, or how it was chosen, or what sorts of questions were asked, is contained in the press report. yet it is making its way around the world.

The Arab News, published in Saudi Arabia, carries this item:

It's official: If you are part of the 32 percent of the polled American public that still thinks President George Bush is the best thing since sliced bread, perhaps you should consider checking into a insane asylum.
A study recently conducted by a graduate student at Southern Connecticut University showed that mentally ill patients were more likely to have voted for George Bush in the last presidential race. Graduate student Christopher Lohse, SCSU psychology professor Jaak Rakfelt and statistical analyst Misty Ginacola studied a group of psychiatric outpatients and found that the more severe the delusional thinking, the more likely that person was to declare his or her support for Bush.
No details at all are provided. But this sort of research is rather scurrilous in my opinion. It seems designed to do nothing other than impugn opponents. But of course, material like this is circulated around the world. And the tax dollars of Connecticut citizens (and probably federal funds, too) support this state-run institution.


Hat tip: Ummah News Links 
Many years ago, as a doctoral candidate in Sociology, I learned that it is possible to design a study to prove just about anything about people. Go for a particular sample, ask carefully-designed questions, calculate some data to highlight what you're looking for, and voila! You have "proven" what you set out to find.

A disturbing trend of late has been the number of studies given publicity in the American (and world) press setting out to prove that conservatives are mentally flawed. One genre has it that "authoritarian personalities" (based on the work of Theodor Adorno) are drawn to conservatism, the GOP, or George Bush. Another genre has it that conservatives are actually crazy.

(Of course, both sides play this game. Talk show host Michael Savage authored a best-seller titled Liberalism is a Mental Disorder. Charles Krauthammer, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, posited that Bush Derangement Syndrome affected large numbers of people, causing irrational hatred and counter-productive behavior detached from reality.)

In my opinion, some of these analyses have more weight than others.

One analysis which is receiving attention in interesting circles is particularly opaque, no details on how large the sample, or how it was chosen, or what sorts of questions were asked, is contained in the press report. yet it is making its way around the world.

The Arab News, published in Saudi Arabia, carries this item:

It's official: If you are part of the 32 percent of the polled American public that still thinks President George Bush is the best thing since sliced bread, perhaps you should consider checking into a insane asylum.
A study recently conducted by a graduate student at Southern Connecticut University showed that mentally ill patients were more likely to have voted for George Bush in the last presidential race. Graduate student Christopher Lohse, SCSU psychology professor Jaak Rakfelt and statistical analyst Misty Ginacola studied a group of psychiatric outpatients and found that the more severe the delusional thinking, the more likely that person was to declare his or her support for Bush.
No details at all are provided. But this sort of research is rather scurrilous in my opinion. It seems designed to do nothing other than impugn opponents. But of course, material like this is circulated around the world. And the tax dollars of Connecticut citizens (and probably federal funds, too) support this state-run institution.


Hat tip: Ummah News Links