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Science literacy *plus* science curiosity--a research program for enlightened self-government (lecture summary & slides)

Back from nearly a week in Ann Arbor, Michigan. On Friday & Sat attended symposium on “values, science & the public” convened by the Univ. of Mich.’s Philosophy Dep’t. I then spent Monday at the Institute for Social Research.

This is a condensed recap of the lecture I gave at ISR: “Science comprehension without curiosity is no virtue, and curiosity without comprehension no vice” (slides here).

I.  One aim of the CCP/APPC initiative on science of science communication is to integrate civic science literacy –Jon Miller’s decades’ long project (e.g., Miller 1998) – with John Dewey’s program to promote science curiosity.  Curiosity, Dewey (1910) argued, is essential not only to motivate acquisition of scientific literacy but also to activate citizens’ science comprehension when needed to make informed personal or public judgments.  To that, I would add that science curiosity is also necessary to temper the pernicious impact of identity-protective cognition, a dynamic that threatens to deny society the benefits of their citizens’ science literacy.

II.  Motivated System 2 reasoning (MS2R) is one of the ways in which science comprehension can be recruited into the service of a defensive and closed-minded style of cognition.. Contrary to the dominant “bounded rationality thesis,” higher proficiency in the types of critical reasoning essential to science comprehension doesn’t diminish polarization; on the contrary, it magnifies it.  Citizens  high in one or another critical reasoning proficiency use that endowment to ferret out information that supports their cultural group’s positions and to rationalize dismissal of everything else (Kahan 2015; Kahan et al. 2017a).

III. Science curiosity, in contrast, offsets MS2R.  Science curiosity directly negates the mental orientation associated with MS2R: whereas the latter generates a defensive, dismissive posture toward identity-threatening evidence, the former creates an appetite for surprising information that defies one’s expectations.  Because people who are disposed to be curious about science are more likely to expose themselves to information that challenges their political predispositions, they are less prone to polarization, and less likely to form opposing factions, as their science comprehension increases (Kahan et al. 2017b).

IV.  Science curiosity thus performs a critical role in determining the impact of higher levels of science comprehension.  Dewey, again, credited curiosity with citizens’ acquisition of scientific insight and with their reliable apprehension of the occasions for its deployment. The studies featured in this lecture tell us that science curiosity also does something else: it blocks the use of scientific reasoning to promote beliefs that signal diverse citizens’ membership in and loyalty to one or another opposing cultural group. The entanglement of reason in this dynamic is arguably the greatest threat to enlightened self-government that our society now faces.

V. What now? I have described an ambitious project—to integrate Miller’s research on scientific literacy with Dewey’s attention to science curiosity.  However, the tools at our disposal—including principally the CCP/APPC Science Curiosity Scale—are now suited for making at best only a modest contribution to that goal.  More work is necessary, for one thing, to improve SCS and to make its administration feasible for diverse audiences in diverse settings. Armed with such an instrument, researchers will then need to test various procedures for activating curiosity, particularly in citizens who aren’t as spontaneously curious as the ones we’ve focused on in our studies to date. Conducted initially in the lab, such research will then need to be reproduced in the field—indeed, in the numerous fields, from education to mass science communication to democratic politics, in which citizens come to know what science knows.

As far as we have come based on Miller’s research, we have just as far to go to understand how to enjoy the full benefits of a citizenry as science literate as the one Miller’s research envisions.


Miller, J.D. The measurement of civic scientific literacy. Public Understanding of Science 7, 203-223 (1998).

Dewey, J. How We Think (Boston: D.C. Heath & Co., 1910).

Kahan, D.M., Peters, E., Dawson, E.C. & Slovic, P. Motivated numeracy and enlightened self-government. Behavioural Public Policy 1, 54-86 (2017a).

Kahan, D.M., Landrum, A., Carpenter, K., Helft, L. & Hall Jamieson, K. Science Curiosity and Political Information Processing. Political Psychology 38, 179-199 (2017b).

Kahan, D.M. The Politically Motivated Reasoning Paradigm, Part 2: Unanswered Questions. in Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2015).


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Reader Comments (118)


The right graph labeling doesn't look correct.

February 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

TL;RA (too long, read anyway):

Pinker on The Intellectual War on Science

featuring many whimsical scathing criticisms, such as:

That is because many historians of science consider it naïve to treat science as the pursuit of true explanations of the world. The result is like a report of a basketball game by a dance critic who is not allowed to say that the players are trying to throw the ball through the hoop.

February 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Thanks, Jonathan,

What is problem w/ labels, exactly? Below avg conservrepub = more liberal; above avg = more conserv. Former's risk perception goes up, latter down, as OSI scores increase.

What am I missing?

February 14, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan


Oh - well now, equipped with your explanation, it makes sense. The labeling might otherwise mislead that below/above avg refers to the cognitive metric, not to the political metric. Also confusing was the dual usage of blue to mean liberal dem in the left graph but below avg conservrepub in the right graph. And the fact that you are comparing apples (left graph) with oranges (right graph). Why not have the left graph also show below/above avg conservrepubs, if that was going to be the reveal?

February 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Thanks again.
blue is ideologically left & red ideologically right in both panels. But can see why confusing outside setting of lecture

February 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDan Kahan


"blue is ideologically left & red ideologically right in both panels"

Does that mean you don't think it's confusing? Otherwise, hey, use colors however you like!

February 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Latest on the dicamba fiasco:

February 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

"To that, I would add that science curiosity is also necessary to temper the pernicious impact of identity-protective cognition, a dynamic that threatens to deny society the benefits of their citizens’ science literacy."

Given that high SC encourages eventual higher knowledge levels, yet higher knowledge causes more polarization, your lesser amplification for high SC high OSIers, is essentially a snapshot of current equilibrium. So if measures are taken for some ambitious increase in SC across society (and btw I've always regarded encouraging curiosity as a good thing), say a 50% rise, what will the new equilibrium be once it is reached? More science curiosity leading later in time and say proportionally to more knowledge, may then yield as much further increase in polarization on conflicted isues as there is mitigation, so net result zero. This is theoretically testable; what is the level of polarization on science issues in a modern developed nation with high / encouraged SC, compared to a poorer less developed nation where SC encouragement is low (e.g. due to a poor education system and shallow broadcast content etc), both societies presumably being in equilibrium as long as one doesn't pick a rapidly changing nation. The problem may be correcting for differing cultural context on issues, plus also that high SC leading to higher knowledge levels helps bring many other benefits as a result of that knowledge (which indeed the more developed nation enjoys) whether or not it diminishes polarization on conflicted issues, and hence these benefits to society must be accounted separately if one is to perceive any benefits due only to diminished polarization. (One must also assume for bigger desired increases in SC that these are theoretically possible, i.e. an end-stop isn't reached where further social encouragement doesn't work because many folks are intrinsically geared to music curiosity or sports curiosity or political curiosity and the flavors are not convertable).

Yet ignoring the above possibilities anyhow and just assuming that much increased SC will indeed reduce polarization even in a new long-term equilibrium, what happens in the bigger picture, i.e. across all the conflicted domains? If each domain is more harmonized, yet *towards* correctness in some cases and *away* from correctness in others, randomly so, the net gain will again be zero. Only the nature of the wider contest will have changed, i.e. the battle line running more around domains instead of more through them. If one takes the scientific consensus as a gold standard, then your chart for two domains on slide 83 shows exactly this effect. SC is not a reasoning disposition, so despite its lack of polarization amplification at high scores cannot ever weight towards the 'correct' answer. Not only that, but curiosity is generally considered an emotion, so promoting an emotive state (the culture 'polluting' the science communication environment in the first place is ultimately emotive) is intuitively going to have some risks. It may not make the situation worse (and per above maybe higher SC has absolute benefits independently of any effects upon polarization in conflicted domains), but by displacing one emotive state with another it may just make things different rather than better regarding polarization. Friction would move from older cultural lines (political parties, religions), to newer ones (e.g. science spawned cultural fads or oppositions) that unfortunately were as much fired by curious interest as the genuine science.

Your great research reveals what seems like a better method to advance: try and deculturalize all science communication. Your HPV / HBV study suggests this works a treat in getting socially helpful science conclusions across strong cultural boundaries.

February 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

A possibility re-occurred to me (I'm sure we visited it before) while reading some more of Gordon's work on CRT - which found that self-evaluations of metrics by people with low CRT probably can't be trusted (in their paper, one comparison was to self-reported need-for-cognition). Suppose that among those with low CRT (and correlates, like OSI, but not self-reports), all of their self-reports are suspect, including their political identities. The noise overwhelms the signal at lower ends of a cognition scale, and what appears to be increasing polarization at the higher ends is just a clearer signal due to less noise. After all, it's not that we don't see high polarization in the form of tribal affiliation among those with low OSI - they just have more difficulty associating their tribal affiliation with its "proper" political platform.

Add to that the idea that there is aren't many reasons to believe (and plenty of good reasons not to) that human top limits of CRT/OSI (or other objective cognition metrics) are high enough to overcome all bounded rationality issues. The combo means you can't dismiss BRT with Dan's findings. It might be possible that humans with much more rationality than the current top limit would not polarize on any issue.

But, I don't think the point is really which of BRT or MS2R is correct. One can't care very much (except maybe for singularitarians) how meta-humans would fare with respect to BRT.

February 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan


1. It's not clear that science curiosity contributes to higher ordinary science intelligence. There is a 0.25 correlation but that could be a spurious correlation (i.e., one that is a consequence of some third variable working on each).

2. IN any case, those higher in SCS don't display the same polarizaing tendency (or at least extent of it) as their OSI increases; MS2R is more characterisitic of high OSI-scoring subjects who are modest or low in SCS. So it is reaslonable to conjecture that if science curiosity was extended to greater part of population, that population would be less likely to experience greater polarization as their OSI scores increased.

3. Agree that high SCS doesn't mean that subjects are convergening on "right" answer. But b/c high SCS is associated with more even-handed review of available evidence, it's certainly plausible that converging on "right answer" would incrase if science curiosity were propagated more widely. More things being "plausible" than true, of course, one would want to test this conjecture & not just assume it is right.

4. On "de-culturalization," I definitely agree that sort of "disentanglement" strategy is worth promoting in science communication.

February 15, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Another fake news study, this one doing multiple regression analysis with several alternate explanations:

They focus on just 3 fake news items (Hillary in bad health, Hillary aiding ISIS, and Pope Francis endorsing Trump), and find a significant effect on previous Obama voters vs. their alternate explanations.

So - maybe Trump won because of science-curious dems being gullible?

February 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Thanks Dan, some more thoughts:

1) I used 'knowledge' rather than OSI because your latter is a composite scale and I'm not sure one that would hold as a single function wrt to all effects. And such greater knowledge as may occur due to an encouraged / higher SC may take many years to acquire, so your window on the relationship may not be reflecting the whole truth. For instance some individuals who do acquire knowledge via this route, might then show less curiosity because the acquisition sates their need. As Joshua sometimes points out, a longitudinal study would be needed to check this out. At any rate, if greater curiosity in domains like science and music and literature etc. does *not* result (eventually) in greater knowledge, why have educators been behaving for generations as though it does, and attempting to fire up curiosity as a means to an end? Are they working to a myth? (this is quite possible and many times science or policy has been a slave to myth, but I have no idea whether this is the case here).

2) And if per above there is at least some increased knowledge (eventually) from increased SC, it is also reasonable to caveat that if science curiosity was extended to the greater part of population, a new longer-term equilibrium may consist of the net between mitigated polarization on the one hand, and (due to increased knowledge) increased polarization on the other. We don't even know whether many of those with high OSI *can* have their SC significantly increased; it seems intuitive for people not yet very knowledgeable, so maybe not yet 'awakened'. But some of those with high knowledge have maybe already passed their most curious phase and are very busy implementing / creating, not searching. Your views are simple snapshots of one moment in time so cannot see such possibilities, only the proportions that exist at this moment.

3) Ok, would indeed would need to be checked over many domains. More 'even handed' in this context means only wrt to the Rep-con / Dem-lib biases in the conflicted issues you've measured so far regarding SC. But curiosity being emotive, means that higher SC might result in this set of culturally emotive biases being replaced by another emotive set that does not show on your red / blue dimension. What if the more curious happen to also to be systemically more open to emotive appeals for instance, and lean this way whether the appeal is true or not? (e.g. might explain tracking in the anti-consensus direction for frakking). One presumes these things can be established.

4) Indeed worth promoting. And can't think of any down-side. And while 'disentanglement' is no doubt a big challenge for domains already long in cultural conflict, it is surely much less for many domains not yet in conflict albeit at risk of same. At any rate, even the former of these challenges seems to me very modest compared to the two decades of massive effort that surely would be needed to significantly ramp up SC across the population, with likely years more work of validation first to know it would even have the desired effect plus not unexpected consequences.

February 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

"But curiosity being emotive, means that higher SC might result in this set of culturally emotive biases being replaced by another emotive set that does not show on your red / blue dimension."

My proposal was that since SC was being measured by seeing whether people chose to watch novel science documentaries over alternatives, it was simply measuring people's liking for and trust in science documentaries. Opinions simply converged on whatever position most science documentaries pushed. (Like on fracking.)

February 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

A critical thinking PhD initiative at Johns Hopkins:

which sounds like motherhood and apple pie, until:

I was startled by the oft-expressed opinion that scientific productivity depended more on rote knowledge than on competence in critical thinking. Several principal investigators were uneasy about students committing more time to less conventional forms of education.

February 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan


February 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan -

I'm startled that she was startled.

February 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Gordon shows we can crowdsource news source quality judgements:

February 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

From the last entry on the appendix of this lawsuit just filed against Google, rules on PC pronouns to use for "plural beings" (outside Google generally known as crazy, or schizophrenic)

".....not okay etiquette..:"

"Addressing any one headmate in particular: we are all listening!"

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

link drop:

A non-paywall version of their paper is here:

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan - give it up! Thanks to that wonderful datum in the lawsuit addendum, we can all now claim to be "plural beings" (it's suddenly "normal", get it?) and claim whatever "headmate" (sic) is being addressed simply operates in its own reality.

It's a wonderful new interpretation of the Pinker link you posted here earlier.

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage


"Jonathan - give it up!"

Not sure what "it" you are referring to there.

I have a request for you: can you cite examples of people (politicians, press, academics, think tankers, etc.) on the right who attack PC on the right? I've seen plenty of people on the left who attack PC on the left (Peterson, Haidt, Pinker, Leiter, etc.), but can't find symmetric instances on the right. I was reminded of this again by the recent "Shut up and dribble!" kerfuffle.

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Magic Negro Clarence Thomas is Tired of His Whining Kinsmen

Andrew Anglin
Daily Stormer

February 18, 2018

In my experience, it seems as though the magic negro has much more difficulty understanding the black problem than we whites do.

Basically the situation is that we are viewing it from the outside. The magic negro is on the inside and can see that he is not having these problems, and is thus incapable of grasping why his own people cannot get it together in the same manner that he was able to get it together.

So I understand feeling tired
Fox News:

"Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said in a rare public appearance Thursday he’s exhausted with how everyone seems to consider themselves a victim these days.
“At some point, we’re going to be fatigued with everybody being the victim,” Thomas, the second African American to serve on the Supreme Court, said during an on-stage interview at the Library of Congress in Washington."

Hate to break it to you, my magical friend, but most of us are already fatigued.
We’re holding it together with bubble gum and scotch tape.

"Thomas, a conservative appointed to the bench in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, recalled recently being with a young black woman in Kansas who told him, “I’m really tired of having to play the role of being black. I just want to go to school.”
“I just get worn down,” Thomas said.
The justice said his grandfather had a tough life but never considered himself a victim.
“When I was a kid, there were tons of people who were in really bad circumstances,” Thomas said. “My grandfather would not let us wallow in that.”
Thomas added: “He’s my hero. He’s the single greatest human being I’ve ever met. With nine months of education. But he never saw himself as a victim.”"

Yeah, that is because the media of the time was encouraging him to pick himself up. The media of right now – run by the Jewish people – is encouraging him to feel no responsibility whatsoever for any aspect of his own existence and just blame white people.

So, sure.

I get the frustration.

But, whatever. That isn’t really my problem. I don’t see Thomas speaking out and condemning the pathetic whiners of his own race, even though he is in a position to do that if he wanted to.

In fact, I don’t see any of the “talented tenth” admonishing their failed race. Short of the race instance of being like “wow this is sad though” – which is what Thomas is doing here – no one is trying to get these people in line.

Bill Cosby sort of did that, actually. But then he turned out to just be a more sophisticated form of muh diking nigger rapist.

Over all, guys, my sympathy is all dried up. Occasionally I do slip back into feeling bad for black people, but then I just look around and I’m like “nah – I can’t do it.”
If there was some kind of attempt to do something, I could muster up sympathy – I personally want to have sympathy – but there is just nothing to even grab ahold of.

The Nation is Islam is okay, I guess.
But how many of these people are there? Like 60?

From what I have personally witnessed, black people have more hostility toward other black people telling them to stop acting like a bunch of nigger apes than they do toward white people.

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

NB above article posted in its entirety. Unfortunately software on this website will not permit posting direct links, but publication can be read via a Google search for its name, then clicking on onion link (Tor browser mirror to indexable web).

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Jonathan - the reason you can't locate right wing criticism of right-wing PC is that media never cover it. See this brief video from yesterday's event at the University of Tennessee - announcer admits Matthew Heimbach's speech was streamed online, but spends his segment exclusively on protesters opposed to the event. Not a word on whatever it was Heimbach actually said in over an hour of speaking. I trust I have now addressed your request in toto.

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage


Not even in press or web sites friendlier to the right is there any coverage of anyone on the right who attacks right-originated PC?

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

The Daily Stormer article quotes extensively from Fox News (placed in quotes) and gives a link. Here it is:

If that's not what you're asking, please clarify.

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Jonathan -

I've seen plenty of people on the left who attack PC on the left (Peterson, Haidt, Pinker, Leiter, etc.),...

Peterson, Pinker, Haidt on the left???


February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

PS Jonathan - will be offline for the next several hours, so want to leave you with some background for where we get our ideas. Martin Heidegger - unquestionably the greatest philosopher of the 20th century, and one of the greatest classicists ever - never had an implementation plan, but Antonio Gramsci (yes, I know, a Marxist, but you got to adopt effective tactics no matter who comes up with them) is also a major inspiration.

Read this paragraph from a US-based article, and then listen to 4-minute video of the most popular AfD politican explaining Gramsci's main point - in German with English subtitles.

1. "...De Benoist had famously drawn from Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci, who believed that ideas the public held were key for revolutionary change. Using this philosophy, De Benoist also rejected the old tactics of fascism, such as paramilitary marches, violence, and parliamentary politics. He argued that the pre-condition for all revolution is “the capture of cultural power,” Tamir-on explains. A Coup d’état was no good for the Nouvelle Droite, they were now concerned with winning the battle of ideas...."


Thank you :)

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

I've finally found something to be in agreement with Clarence about...

"Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said in a rare public appearance Thursday he’s exhausted with how everyone seems to consider themselves a victim these days.

Indeed, I'm exhausted with the Trump, Fox News, and more generally, the alt-right narrative, of how much they are victims.

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua


"Peterson, Pinker, Haidt on the left???"

They have all said they are liberals. If not for their outspoken anti-left-PC stance, I suspect that their self-identification as liberals would not be challenged.

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

speak of the devil:

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Also timely:

Want profo that he isn't "on the left?" The extremely high number of fallacious arguments he presents in a relatively short clip :-)

Don't forget to check out the typical snowflake comments (and standard concerns about Pinker's political incorrectness) from the typical Breitbarters. Priceless.

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan -

No explanation as to why you identify Haidt, Pinker, and Peterson in particular, as being "on the left?"

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua


<l>Want profo that he isn't "on the left?" The extremely high number of fallacious arguments he presents in a relatively short clip :-)

Which arguments in that clip?

By the way - I'd like to hear Pinker's (and Haidt's and Peterson's) take on that WaPo article I linked downstairs:

especially the map and associated commentary showing that university towns demonstrate the most free speech (at least those not in the south). I suspect they'd be surprised to some extent - or maybe claim that as much free speech as exists in and around universities, there needs to be more. Or, maybe they'd bite the bullet and admit that the problem they think they see is overblown due to it being paraded past them on a regular basis - in a way similar to Pinker's claim about beliefs in rising violence.

As to an explanation why I think Haidt, Pinker and Peterson are all on the left - would their self-identifications be sufficient? Or are you looking for something else? I'm pretty sure I once heard or read that Haidt claimed to have always voted dem. I recall Peterson recently saying something about the irony of a classic liberal like him becoming a darling of the alt-right. I could probably find something that says Pinker's a liberal as well - I think I read something recently...

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Ah - found one:

The idea that Mr. Pinker, a liberal, Jewish psychology professor, is a fan of a racist, anti-Semitic online movement is absurd on its face...

February 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan - the freelance writer you quote as alleging the alt-right is a "racist, anti-Semitic online movement" is Jesse Singal, from Brooklyn who, in spite of his young age, has already been called a bigot, an ignoramus, and worse, in a number of publications, e.g.

If you plan to continue citing his opinions, perhaps you should add "caveat emptor".

The other people you mentioned - Pinker, Haidt, Peterson - whatever their politics, have never, to my knowledge, come up with such uncorroborated nonsense.

February 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

This is from an article in WSJ by desperate-sounding law prof. Wax, U of Pennsylvania.

"....he didn't like my saying, in my interview with the Daily Pennsylvanian, that the tendency of global migrants to flock to white European countries indicates the superiority of some cultures. This struck him as "code," he said, for Nazism.

Well, let me state for the record that I don't endorse Nazism!

Furthermore, the charge that a statement is "code" for something else, or a "dog whistle" of some kind--we frequently hear this charge leveled, even against people who are stating demonstrable facts--is unanswerable. It is like accusing a speaker of causing emotional injury or feelings of marginalization. Using this kind of language, which students have learned to do all too well, is intended to bring discussion and debate to a stop--to silence speech deemed unacceptable.........."

February 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

better link

February 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Jonathan -

I'm pretty sure I once heard or read that Haidt claimed to have always voted dem. I recall Peterson recently saying something about the irony of a classic liberal like him becoming a darling of the alt-right. I could probably find something that says Pinker's a liberal as well - I think I read something recently...

Well... I have long considered Pinker to be pretty much a middle-of-the-roader, ,mostly based in the implications of his arguments about evolution and development and language. Although I suppose if I revisited those issues, after all these years, I might think differently about it?

Haidt has, IIRC, said that he was leftish for most of his adult life, but increasingly identifies predominantly as libertarian now (I think a lot of the shift taking place concurrent with his research for the Righteous Mind.)

I find Peterson's putative confusion about why he's embraced by the alt-right to be highly disingenuous. I fail to understand how any thinking person would think there's anything "ironic" about his being such a fanboy for the Miko crowd. (acknowledging an argument from incredulity here).

But perhaps more to the point, I don't understand how you would link what people refer to these days as a "classic liberal" to being on "the left." I mean sure, there is some crossover in that many "classic liberals" and people on "the left" share an anti-authoritarian bent, but that seems like a rather slim area of intersection in a Venn Diagram where there is only a very small intersection between the two main circles.

February 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Inoculating against fake news by propagandist role playing (trigger warning: van der Linden involvement):

February 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan


But perhaps more to the point, I don't understand how you would link what people refer to these days as a "classic liberal" to being on "the left."

Obviously, it's hard to tell how liberal they are - other than by self-report. They aren't listing their policy preferences. Although Pinker does come out against anarcho-capitalism, hence against neoliberalism. Hence probably to the left of the Clintons, at least economically.

I don't see how you could infer politics from Pinker's professional beliefs.

Peterson, I know the least about. Haidt seems to be trying at times to be centrist, but I think the Trump election threw him back over to the left.

There are certainly others, though. Mark Lilla, for instance. Or the many profs at the University of Chicago supporting its free speech policy (Brian Leiter being one I mentioned, who blogs regularly against left-PC).

But, even if you put these all just left of center, that would still leave an apparent vacancy on the right of center speaking out against right-PC.

Also, did you note the map in that WaPo article?

February 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Y'all, get religion!
"....We grant that Jesus said something about welcoming the stranger and feeding the hungry. And Leviticus says: “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself.” But our careful study of scriptural texts has led us to conclude that the almighty had Norwegians in mind, not Mexicans or Salvadorans....."
"..Perkins also addressed the Council of Conservative Citizens, the “uptown Klan”, when he was a state representative in Louisiana. Therefore, we had no problem whatsoever with Steve Bannon or with the president’s statement blaming the violence in Charlottesville on “many sides,” both the white supremacists and those demonstrating against them. We took the Brother Trump at his word when he declared that the ranks of white supremacists and neo-Nazis included “some very fine people”.

February 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

ALL political correctness is fake news - it has completely erased the line between parody and news reporting. The fool in the Guardian piece above was presumably trying to write satire, and inadvertently came up with the literal truth. Whether the evangelicals meet Jonathan's definition of "right-wing" I don't know, but at least they claim to be.

Elsewhere, another leftist Bunch, Newsweek, inadvertently mistakes a story from The Onion (about Markle and prince Harry) for real reporting. Nobody on the right even bothers to correct them - we are the only ones who retain our sense of humor, obviously - so Politico, another leftist crew, has to step in and point out the error

That Penn law professor feeling she has to write that she does not condone Nazism is lost in a land of make-believe, created by the PC of the MSM. Destroying ALL PC is the only path open to a search for truth.

February 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Correction: prof. Wax said verbatim she does not "endorse" Nazism, not that she does not "condone" it.

February 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

- we are the only ones who retain our sense of humor,

No doubt. Let's just take one point of analysis to prove that point: if it weren't for Colbert, Stewart, Kimmel, Oliver, Maher, Fallon, Noah, Bee, O'Brian, Leno, and Letterman, there may not have been any lefty comedians on late night TV.

February 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua - why on earth would we watch late-night comedians when we can read MSM fake news round-the-clock?

February 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

link drop:

associated paper:

February 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan -

I think this is pretty cool.

It will be interesting to read responses. A couple of thoughts. The first is that I'm surprised that they didn't directly address the question of novelty, in that wouldn't we expect a positive correlation between "novelty" and IF, and that accordingly, we would expect a consequent negative correlation with "reliability"? If so, then I think a discussion of what that means, ultimately, to the state of science, should be included. I go back to the discussion here, a while back, where I expressed that increasing sample size (and in association, statistical power) is, inherently, in and of itself, a desirable goal, and was shot down by people smarter than myself. How does this analysis, which uses sample size/statistical power as one independent line of evidence to support its conclusions, intersect with arguments that increasing sample size is not a particularly important objective (in and of itself) for improving the reliability of research? Am I creating a false dichotomy?

February 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Ecoute -

why on earth would we watch late-night comedians when we can read MSM fake news round-the-clock?

What does that question have to do with my comment, which was directed at your absurd argument that sense of humor is associated with political ideology?

Anyway, I do agree that "MSM fake news," such as Hannity, Limbaugh, Breitbart, etc. are all pretty hilarious.

February 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Sense of humor is associated with the Search for Truth.

Example from Jonathan's latest post:
"....While it is widely accepted that identification with a political party – known as partisanship (see Glossary) – shapes political judgments such as voting preferences or support for specific politics, it is less obvious why political affiliations might shape perceptions of facts. For example, US Democrats and Republicans strongly disagree on scientific findings, such as climate changei [1 or economic issues (such that Republicans show much more optimistic economic expectations than do Democrats after the election of Donald Trump in 2016ii [2)..."

Projections are Not Identical to FACTS. Both above examples involve projections, expectations, anticipations of Future Events. By Definition, these are not FACTS.

Have you people lost your English along with your sense of reality? Read the Master, inadvertently quoted in the same article - proving yet again that parody and reality have become indistinguishable in the leftist narrative!

"The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. "
(George Orwell, 1984)

February 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

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