Some research has been published indicating that the offspring of same-sex couples may not be doing quite as well as other kids, and it has met with a firestorm of politically-correct disapproval. This should come as no surprise; politics is rife in the social sciences.
Of course it affects the quality of the research done, as well as the hiring of faculty. If a person really cared about truth, truth would be followed wherever it led. But that is too dangerous; witness what happened to Larry Summers when he dared to mention the paucity of women at the very highest levels of science, and to suggest that this phenomenon should be studied.
This is what goes on today:
Such homogeneity of sociopolitical views among social scientists almost invariably leads to “groupthink,” a phenomenon that occurs when group members have relatively homogeneous backgrounds or ideological views. With this groupthink comes self-censorship and pressure on dissenters, the negative stereotyping and discounting of conservative perspectives, and a failure to consider conservative-friendly (as compared with liberal-friendly) question framing and data interpretation. A recent national survey of psychology professors found that one in four reported that they would be less likely to give a positive recommendation on a journal manuscript or grant application having a conservative perspective, and one in six would be less likely to invite conservative colleagues to participate in a symposium…
It is not surprising, nor is it indicative of nefarious scientific misconduct, that researchers of different ideological persuasions would produce findings consistent with their own ideology. It is human nature to frame research questions and interpret findings in ways that confirm one’s political beliefs. Such biases are the norm, even among scientists. This is particularly true when it comes to research on social issues because social scientists, many of whom were attracted to social science because of its progressive ideology, often have values invested in the issues they research. One can find such ideological tilt throughout social science research. For instance, how researchers interpret data on the relative contributions of hereditary factors versus environment to intelligence, or on biological factors in personality styles, seems to be partly a function of their political views.
One could argue that social science research—a field I know something about, having studied it and even worked briefly in it—is fatally flawed anyway as a scientific pursuit. It is certainly deeply flawed, but it is also used increasingly to justify the increasing number of government interventions that are all designed (supposedly, that is) to make us healthier and better people. As such, it’s doubly dangerous that PC thought dominates it so thoroughly.
[*NOTE: the title of this post is from the 2010 movie "The Kids Are All Right," about a family parented by two women, with two children conceived through artificial insemination.]