Why this should matter: most of us, including people who are responsible for doing things like creating weapon systems, making regulations on what medications are safe/how you should cook your food/what age you can drink/smoke/fight/boogie (really any regulations at all that interfere with your daily life)/treat you when you get sick have neither the time nor the inclination to look into the entrails of “studies” that “prove” this or that or the other.
Medicine, particularly under Obama care went into “evidence based” mode, for instance. What this means is that what they’re going to use on your problem is not in any way based on the doctor’s experience, or his experience with YOU particularly, but on “studies.” This makes perfect sense, of course, to treat people with normal bodies at least (I recently found that for a significant number of my friends, a supplement does the opposite of what it’s supposed to. I have the same issue, and it was good to know I wasn’t alone.) Unless, of course, the “studies” the doctors are relying on have flaws that render them irreproducible.
Needless to say, the crisis is much bigger in the social sciences. In fact, there is significant push back in Psychology to assure us, now they’re getting it right, and we’re totes supposed to trust them now. This after they lied to us about things like the rodent overpopulation studies and Zimbardo’s prison experiments, and led to the creation of severely flawed, if not outright drawers on head legislation based on those things. Yeah, now we’ll trust them, because they’ve COMPLETELY eliminated the problem. And if you believe that, I can find you a nice plot of land in Florida which I guarantee won’t be under water or anything…
The problem is that the reproducibility crisis is baked in.
I’m not even going to protest against government funding of science. I would, except that the regulatory burdens we’ve put on research, particularly research involving people make it almost impossible for individuals or companies to fund most of the research that we need or would like.
What I’m going to protest is the drive for “results”, particularly the results that the governmental entity funding the studies wants/wishes for.
Yes, honest researchers resist that push. But if they’re fairly sure of the results, the temptation to “fudge” can be … irresistible. Because, you know, getting the “desired” results means more money.
So, while there is still excellent research being done, a lot of it is corrupted.
That goes double and with little bells for ANY social research. Why? Because all social research involves people. And that calls forth more “bias of the researcher” and “desire to make it fit the expectations” and…. And subjects can pick up on all that, even with the researcher thinking he/she is being strictly dispassionate and objective. Which means…. We’ll never have absolutely infallible social and psychological studies. (Not to mention that both society and psychology change over time, and therefore change how people react. What is “over time”? I don’t know. Could range from decades to centuries, depending on what the research is.)
Now, sure, we can get some insights into humans on things like “how long will children weight for a reward” but you can’t really extricate all the factors going into it, from disparate brain development, to family environment going into that study. At best you can say “on average, a child will–”
However the results are weak at best, and therefore ABSOLUTELY should not be used to base social “push” or much less regulation on.
Distantly the Margaret Mead debacle is responsible for everything from pushing girls into promiscuity (and the great idiocy of the 70s in which very educated people believed it was for CHILDREN to have sex) to the current globalization crisis, because it assumed cultures were just put on or dropped like garments. (Something, btw, that any immigrant who has acculturated and knows how hard it is could tell them is not just insane, it’s lala land crazy. I’ve found myself on occasion talking to groups of people from various backgrounds who came here and acculturated to the measure of the possible, and all of us agree it’s very difficult and requires extraordinary motivation. So importing masses of people and expecting the culture to remain the same is idiocy. But Mead thought humans were infinitely plastic, and it was all a matter of culture, and of course, cultures could be tinkered with, duh.)
The Zimbardo prison experiments convinced a vast number of liberals and particularly liberals designated “victim” classes that everyone would be out to get them/exterminate them WITHOUT the benevolent government standing between. (Please, please, please, someone hammer into their heads that government, like soylent green, is people. And therefore would/will be out to get people if it can. Though honestly, because that experiment was actively faked, most of what government does is “get” people through good intentions, bone-headed implementation, sheer stupidity and ignoring the laws of unintended consequences.)
As for the overpopulation studies with rats (first hint, humans are not rats) they convinced more people than should be possible that there was an overpopulation crisis and led to the depopulating of the west, which in turn, in slow unfolding crisis, led to the importation of unassimilated third worlders, which in turn is killing the one culture that lifted more people out of poverty and need than any other in the world. And it might lead to the extinction of civilization itself.
Now the left is striking (while the iron is fevered, like their minds) with the idea that studies prove the need to stop micro aggressions, and “hate” speech and all sorts of other things because these “harm” people.
And these studies are, if possible, even more flawed and tenuous than the ones that led us down the merry path of 20th century hell.
Which is why it’s vital to understand these social “studies” aren’t science in any recognizable way. Most of them are irreproducible. They are also often done with tiny samples, and bizarrely biased.
And even if they were attempting to be completely scrupulous, there would be other issues. For instance, people raised on the idea that everyone is out to get them, will react differently from people who have been told they’re as good and capable as anyone else and can weather other people’s displeasure with no harm.
And people who EXPECT women (say) to succeed with no effort (which was kind of the premise of feminism: “if we could move in on equal terms, we’d outdo all men, because we’re better.” (This was based on early pioneers who had to fight to even get into male fields, and therefore tended to be extraordinarily well prepared and motivated. Same thing with conservatives in any artistic/entertainment field today. It was almost reasonable to think so, except the opening of the field brought in the unmotivated and ill prepared, and women, like men, are mostly mediocre.)) are likely to see any set back as someone else’s fault and the result of “discrimination.” (Which is the reason that American women — American women, who live in as close to a matriarchy as humanity has ever created — think that they live in a patriarchy. And minorities, who are practically pushed and prodded (often in directions they don’t want to go. Ask me how I know) to succeed are convinced their every failure is the result of a non-existent (still, by and large, except when you count foreign trolls. As the Jussie Smollet and other cases show, there is way more demand for racism than there is supply. ) white supremacy.)
Working with such a population doesn’t in fact give us any realistic idea of whether “hate speech” is harmful or in fact has any effect at all. And as for micro aggressions? Pfui. If you’re human and don’t get micro-aggressed (and often macro) in rubbing shoulders with other humans, you’re probably not paying attention.
And doing away with the amendments and values that have — again — lifted more people out of poverty in the history of humanity as well as created the most genuine progress (in ease of feeding, cleaning, transporting, clothing and entertaining people) in history in the name of appeasing the conclusions of some nebulous and irreproducible study is cheer idiocy.
Besides, we have some very large sample studies on the results of their favorite policies: the USSR, the Eastern block countries (note they managed to make GERMANS poor and lazy, despite their culture being by nature antithetical to that.), China, Venezuela, etc etc etc. These vast and by nature unbiased studies tell us the regulators, who “believe in science” are in fact standard issue would-be oppressors who are, fortunately, not a majority of the human race, because if they were Zimbardo would be right. (And I hate Zimbardo for several reasons, among which is being a mud shark of science.)
Also, note that every dictatorship ever was really good at creating “studies” to show what they wanted.
Yeah, real science doesn’t lie. But there are areas of human endeavor that are curiously resistant to testing hypothesis. Unless of course you take the large-scale studies inadvertently done by history itself.
When someone flings a “study” in your face, fling both middle fingers, upright, in uncompromising salute (might as well give them something to feel it’s a micro-aggression.
Laugh at them. And keep your liberties.