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03 February 2011

My Paper in a Nutshell...

Some time ago, I was unfortunate enough to read Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition, a research paper from the University of California, Berkeley, in which a group of liberal professors congratulate themselves on how cool liberals are and how rotten conservatives, while demonstrating absolutely no understanding of the usage of the terms (Adolph Hitler, for instance, is listed as a conservative).

For the capstone project of my BS degree program, I had to write a full APA-style research paper combining two disciplines. In my case, the two topics chosen were science and politics. I saw this as a wonderful chance to do a sort of rebuttal to John Jost's paper, but I wanted to make very certain that I did not write the same sort of paper--that is, I have no problem starting out with a biased hypothesis, but I took every effort to make certain that my bias did not influence my research or my interpretations.

To begin with, I identified a number of peer-reviewed papers on the topic of Global Warming legislation. Due to the limitations of a college research paper, I had a very small sample, but I discuss that in the paper. My next step was to establish a set of specific criteria by which papers could be identified as "Strongly Socialist" (think Communist), "Socialist," "Not Socialist," and "Anti-Socialist." I then established criteria to divide the papers in each of those categories as "rational," "non-rational," and "irrational."

What I found--as I expected--was that there was an overwhelming majority of pro-Socialist papers in this field (only one anti-socialist paper was identified). Second, there was a 100% correlation between anti-socialist papers and rational papers (one of each--the same paper). None of the socialist papers were rational, and the more strongly socialist they were, the more irrational they became.

Of course, this isn't just an indictment of people who write about Global Warming legislation--it's also an indictment of the peer-review process itself, and of the academic community in general.

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