Thursday, January 23, 2003


As is now well-known, university teachers in the humanities and social sciences are overwhelmingly Leftist. This has a very bad effect on the disciplines concerned. The very low Leftist standards of honesty and concern for truth are disastrous when applied to what should be science. I have given extensive examples of that elsewhere but here is another example by another author:

In the 1920s, researchers in psychology began focusing on the workplace. Their goal was to discover what factors increased worker satisfaction and ultimately productivity. Perhaps the most famous of these workplace studies took place in 1924. This was the year a team of researchers went to the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric, located just outside Chicago. In an attempt to determine the effect of lighting on work, researchers turned the lights up in one room and kept the original lighting in another. Then they did the reverse, dimming the lights in one room and maintaining the normal level of light in another. From lighting, they went to coffee breaks, length of work week, location of work space, and method of payment. The results were astonishing. No matter what the researchers did, productivity rates in both the regular and the test group increased.

What accounted for that increase? According to the researchers, it was the time and attention paid to the subjects taking part in the experiment. In their view, increasing productivity had less to do with working conditions and more to do with a worker's sense of importance. Their interpretation made social science history. As a result, numerous psychology textbooks have dutifully passed on to students the notion that the "Hawthorne effect" was a scientific finding firmly grounded in solid research. Yet, in reality, the Hawthorne effect was based on very shaky evidence.

According to Dr. Lee Ross, a psychology professor at Stanford University, the number of subjects in the Hawthorne experiment was ridiculously small. Only five workers took part in the study, and two were replaced midway for insubordination and low output. So why were the researchers ready to base such wide ranging conclusions on so little evidence? According to Dr. Ross, researchers trained in psychology have an innate bias. They tend to think that subjective factors matter a good deal. Inclined in that direction to begin with, members of the Hawthorne team were quick to jump to the conclusion they were hoping for: The determining factor in productivity was the worker's sense of personal value.

Dr. Richard Nisbett, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, is even more critical of the Hawthorne effect than is Dr. Ross. Dr. Nisbett calls it a "glorified anecdote." From his perspective, the fact that the Hawthorne effect made a good story is one reason why the skimpy evidence supporting it was ignored. In his words, "Once you've got the anecdote, you can throw away the data." Cynical as that sounds, it may be one reason why the Hawthorne effect still makes its way into textbooks even though criticism of its methods has been around for decades. It does, indeed, make a good story.

(Information drawn from Gina Kolata, "Scientific Myths That Are Too Good to Die," The New York Times, December 6, 1998, p. 18)

Excerpt from here



Some wet academic �historian� now wants Australia to �apologize� to the Turks because Australians and New Zealanders took part in the bungled Gallipoli landing in Turkey in 1915! What is wrong about invading someone you are at war with he does not seem to say. At least the Kiwis have given the idea the raspberry.

And the generalship of Kemal in defeating the Allied forces gave him the prestige to lead Turkey into the modern world anyway. The Turks are as pleased as punch about it. They certainly want no apologies. Leftists just call for apologies, reparations etc. because they think it makes them look big-hearted. Logic does not come into it.



The Infidel reproduces a long anti-Western dialogue (off a chat room) between two Muslims. It shows what we are up against: IQs of about 60!

There is a mocking view of �reparations� from a Filipino-American here. She calculates that the Hispanics owe her bigtime.

An explanation for the "human shield" nonsense: Lefties have a well-documented overly-grandiose sense of their own self-importance. It is what makes them lefties in the first place. I couldn't agree more. See here.

The Wicked one gives Leftist blogger Gary Sauer Thompson a very hard time and also asks what you get when you cross a Greenie with a bureaucrat.

Chris Brand notes that the hysteria over paedophilia is beginning to be questioned in Britan.

A record here of just some of the horrors that the people of the Baltic countries and other minorities went through under the Soviet empire.

Michael Darby remembers the Ukraine famine.

"Spiked" says: The latest phase in the anti-Lomborg campaign makes pie-throwing and name-calling look like examples of serious, grown-up criticism

Andrew Sullivan rightly says: There is something truly sickening in the sight of people who call themselves liberals finding more fault in America than in the brutal, misogynist, homophobic, anti-Semitic dictatorships who are now pitted against the West.

Milton Friedman says: I never met a tax cut I didn't like, and I like President Bush's a lot.

A US Federal judge has ruled that if you get fat from eating Big Macs, it is your own fault. Apparently there are still SOME things Americans have to take personal responsibility for!


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