Thursday, February 07, 2008

Researchers find their political views awesome, study shows.

According to studies cited in this New Scientist article "political positions are substantially determined by biology and can be stubbornly resistant to reason". The over-simplification of political views into "red" and "blue" as well as the idea that others who hold differing ideas are really some sort of "others" in the biological sense and immune to reasoning really irks me. I wrote this letter in response:

The studies cited in Jim Giles' article entitled "Born that way" (p. 29, 2 February 2008) perpetuate the false dichotomy that the spectrum of political thought lies on one axis, running from left to right, with liberals on one end and conservatives on the other. In this formulation, the liberals tend to exhibit the personality trait of "openness", described as being "open to new experiences, focusing on change as an opportunity rather than a problem, and thinking about the world as it might be." One wonders what sort of questions were asked to ascertain the prevalence of this trait. Consider opposition on the left to the dynamic change wrought by free trade and globalisation and to scientific advances such as genetically-modified crops. I doubt many on the left would regard these sort of changes as opportunities rather than problems.


Blogger Perry de Havilland said...

That was perhaps the stupidest in a long line of stupid articles even published in New Scientist. Frankly it was an embarrassment that an allegedly sensible publication ran with such tosh.

6:22 AM  

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