Feminists Misunderstand Science for their own Ends

Why Social Scientists Should Not Participate in the March for Science, by Clay Routledge.

Many social scientists are excited about and poised to participate in the upcoming March for Science, which is being described by the organizers as a “celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community.” I realize that this will be a controversial position, but I believe the best way social scientists can contribute to the March for Science is to quietly sit this one out. …

Many have criticized social science research for being ideologically biased and, frankly, many of these criticisms are fair. For one, social scientists have spent decades using sloppy empirical methods, or no methods at all, to make the case that conservatives uniquely possess a number of undesirable personal characteristics (e.g., prejudice and intolerance). However, as I discussed in an article for Scientific American, recent studies reveal methodological flaws of past research and show that liberals are no more tolerant or nondiscriminatory than conservatives.

Moreover, a number of the psychological concepts social scientists and activists have used to support social justice-oriented interventions and policies have not stood up well to empirical scrutiny. Take, for instance, the concept of stereotype threat. Psychologists proposed that female math performance is undermined by the existence and situational awareness of the stereotype that women are bad at math. However, the stereotype threat explanation of women’s math performance has failed multiple replication attempts. Meta-analyses have offered no support for the idea. And the original supporting research has been widely criticized as having many methodological and statistical problems. Still, many social scientists, activists, and college administrators continue to teach and champion the idea.

The truth is, some social scientists, though certainly not all of them, and many social activists and journalists have weaponized the social sciences for ideological warfare. This has created quite a mess. …

I have been arguing with postmodern sociologists since I was a graduate student over 15 years ago. … The basic point is that postmodernists reject the scientific method. And their research methods are fundamentally ideologically biased.

Moreover, postmodernists advocate blank slate theories of human cognition, emotion, and motivation that are at odds with decades of very sound empirical research from biology, cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and personality psychology. Postmodernists also directly attack the scientific enterprise. …

Professors in postmodern fields such as gender studies are actively teaching ideas that are more conspiracy theory than scholarly research.