Some Very Political Science

The news is stuffed with “studies” in which “experts” tell us how we should behave. One recently found that conservatives have lost their trust in science over the last 40 years. That’s probably because the very political academics of science are routinely summoned to prove the right-wingers are not only wrong but dangerously wrong and not just dangerously wrong but evil, too.

These studies are laughable.

First, there was the study purporting to prove that conservatism appeals to low-intelligence racists “who have trouble grasping the complexity of the world.” Then there was the scientific study that parents should be allowed to kill their newborn babies because they were “morally irrelevant.”

The latest doozy tries to spread science on the notion that “homophobia” is just the conservative’s resistance to his own repressed latent homosexuality. The gay site Lez Get Real announced, “Sometimes it takes a study to prove exactly what everyone already knows.” This came under the headline “Self-Loathing Closet Cases Often Virulent Homophobes.”

A team at the University of Rochester, the University of California-Santa Barbara and the University of Essex in England announced their results. USA Today reported with delight that, “Acceptance of gays and lesbians has never been higher, but anti-gay bias still exists. A new study suggests intense hostility toward homosexuals may be linked to a repressed same-sex attraction, combined with an authoritarian upbringing.”

This isn’t science. It’s psychobabble mumbo-jumbo, where somehow our potty training or our breast-feeding or our spankings have shaped our most deeply held adult beliefs. The same liberals who complained it was utterly unscientific for Sen. Bill Frist to diagnose Terri Schiavo’s medical condition from the Senate floor think it’s scientific to guess about the “unconscious” things that conservatives have hidden from themselves inside their own brains.

In a video issued by his college, Richard Ryan of the University of Rochester explained that “authoritarian” parents are creating hatred of the “other” and destroying the natural harmony of the world. “If you’re a parent who really strongly believes your child should be a heterosexual, and then you use whatever means you can to convince them that they’re only good and worthy if they are, this would be very controlling. This creates a lot of conflict in the child, and what we see in this study is one way that gets resolved is by them being discriminating or hateful towards gay and lesbian others.”

What if you’re a religious parent who feels that the homosexual lifestyle is sinful, at odds with what God intended for humanity? These academics don’t like to discuss religion, except by implying that religious parents are “controlling” and “authoritarian” and prompt “hateful” attitudes.

Secular leftists hate it when conservatives bring religion into politics, arguing it’s unfair to say God favors the Republican agenda. But then they turn around and bring science into politics, insisting that science favors the liberal agenda, that “reality has a liberal bias.”

Those who actually think this study is science should really check out some of the methods these scientists applied to uncover the unconscious homosexuality of conservatives. Science Daily explained some tactics:

1. In one experiment, college students were shown words and pictures on a computer screen and asked to put these in “gay” or “straight” categories. Before each of the 50 trials, participants were subliminally primed with either the word “me” or “others” flashed on the screen for 35 milliseconds. They were then shown the words “gay,” “straight,” “homosexual,” and “heterosexual,” as well as pictures of straight and gay couples, and the computer tracked precisely their response times. “A faster association of ‘me’ with ‘gay’ and a slower association of ‘me’ with ‘straight’ indicated an implicit gay orientation.” What?

2. “A second experiment, in which subjects were free to browse same-sex or opposite-sex photos, provided an additional measure of implicit sexual attraction.” Uh-huh.

3. Through a series of questionnaires, participants also reported on the type of parenting they experienced growing up, “democratic” or “authoritarian.” For gauging the level of homophobia in a household, subjects responded to sentences like: “It would be upsetting for my mom to find out she was alone with a lesbian,” or “My dad avoids gay men whenever possible.”

What a wheelbarrow full of nonsense this is! What’s dressed up here as science is really just intellectual intimidation and political bullying. Tell the homophobe he’s secretly gay. That will drive ’em crazy. This study proves nothing except the agenda of the alleged scientists and the journalists pushing it.

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center.

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