Be Careful What You Believe

In Ideological Warfare, pseudo-science is rampant. Students and scientists themselves are far from being immune from it. On the contrary, they are too often a valuable, easy pray for pseudo-scientific claims, effectively recruiting them for ideological battles that have little or nothing to do with science, education or even rationality at all.

Looking at this table, it’s easy to convince yourself that smarter, more educated people tend to be Democrats, and uneducated ones, instead, Republicans. Are this data really a proof of that?

Since a couple of weeks, this table is circulating on the web along with claims that educated people tend to be Democrats, and uneducated ones are, instead, Republicans.

Data shown in the picture, taken alone, can actually be interpreted both ways. For example, just suppose educated people are mostly republicans. Romney’s support for, say, Intelligent Design, could have made them decide simply not to vote.

Both candidates actually scored poorly in science issues (Romney was worst, but Obama is dangerously near to vaccination deniers!), and abstentionism was an issue for both parties. Not-to-vote decision by our hypothetical highly-educated, republican people, would have had minor impact in low-education states, but could have been enough to tilt results in high-education ones.

Regardless of the likelihood of this particular hypothesis, what I’m pointing out is, that what it’s shown in the table is just a useless incomplete data set.

Nonetheless, it is presented in a way that looks like a sound proof for something, at least to the eyes of the very large majority of people with little expertise in social sciences. Moreover, you should remember that scientists are people, and not all degrees are in social science or economy. Unless a scientist have a specific expertise in the subject, her/his opinion about society models – all other things being equal – have the same value of everyone else’s. Albert Einstein, for example, was a strong advocate for Russia’s communism.

Politicians realized long ago that scientists’ approval pays in votes. Actually, just being seen as liked by scientists is enough. Pseudo-scientific stuff like this table, are indeed the tip of the iceberg of a long, strenuous effort put up by politicians all around the world to ‘recruit’ scientists – and, in a sense, science as a whole – to their own ideological cause.

Stuff like this picture have nothing to do with education or science; it’s just useless, detrimental ideological propaganda, in (pseudo)science disguise.

Now you know. Be careful what you believe.

Informazioni su WorldsOutsideReality

«Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. Have no friends not equal to yourself. When you feel you have faults, do not hesitate to correct yourself.» (Confucius; Analects, 9.25)

Pubblicato il 21 novembre 2012, in A Little Bit of This and That, DibattitoScienza, Evidence-based policy, Parlando di scienza con tag , , , , , , , , , . Aggiungi il permalink ai segnalibri. Lascia un commento.

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