Wednesday, February 09, 2011

It's just so!

In responding to Are Social Sciences Biased Against Conservatives,, MetaFilter commenter Kyradeamon gives this great quote:

Conservatives themselves offer the reasons why there are so few conservatives in the sciences. They will tell you (often, and at length) that they tend to be far more "family oriented" than liberals. Obviously, the numerical difference can therefore be explained by conservatives dropping out of their universities and careers to raise their children. It would be a mistake to see this as a problem -- conservatives are simply naturally more *interested* in children than they are in careers.

It's probably particularly evident in the sciences, because, meaning no disrepect to them, conservatives are simply not as good at math. The Laffer curve? Trickle-down economics? These are not theories that are developed by people with lots of math skills. This isn't to say that conservatives aren't perfectly good at other things, however; someone has to raise all those families, right?

Now, of course it's not known exactly why conservatives have neither the inclination nor the ability to do science. But some recent studies seem to indicate that there are differences in brain structure between conservatives and members of other political parties. Here's a quote from a 2007 study: "The brain neurons of liberals and conservatives fire differently when confronted with tough ... Conservatives tend to crave order and structure in their lives ... Liberals, by contrast, show a higher tolerance for ambiguity and complexity".

So, clearly, brain structures of those dear dear conservatives are simply not suited for scientific tasks, which are often ambiguous and complex.

The mistake here is presenting this as a problem that needs to be solved. We are blessed with a variety of different political groups that are ideally suited to different tasks --liberals serving as scientists, and conservatives cooking food for them and their children. Vive la difference, I say! It's just the natural order of things, and all trying to mess with it is going to do is make a lot of those poor, order-craving conservatives very upset if they try to perform a task they're simply not naturally suited for.

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