Despite standing behind their data and method used to conclude there is “no evidence of anti-Black [sic] or anti-Hispanic disparities across [fatal police] shootings,” a study’s authors want to retract their work because it contradicts left-wing politics.
“Although our data and statistical approach were valid to estimate the question we actually tested (the race of civilians fatally shot by police), given continued misuse of the article (e.g., MacDonald, 2020) we felt the right decision was to retract the article,” Michigan State University’s Joseph Cesario and the University of Maryland at College Park’s David Johnson wrote in their retraction request, according to the blog Retraction Watch.
Cesario and Johnson link to work by the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald, who is often viciously protested for publicizing data indicating that racial disparities in policing and crime are typically due not to racism but to higher rates of criminal behavior among blacks and Hispanics as compared to whites and Asians.
Some research finds black Americans are more likely to be involved in physical altercations with police, although it is currently not established whether that is due to racism, behavior differences, or something else. Research also has found that black officers shoot black suspects at the same rate white officers do, and that police are if anything more reluctant to shoot nonwhites. The latter is the main conclusion of the study Cesario and Johnson want to retract due not to scientific error but to politics.
Their finding directly contradicts the left-wing narrative fomenting riots across the nation after George Floyd, a black man with illicit drugs in his blood, died after a nearly nine-minute chokehold from a Minneapolis police officer. Floyd, a multi-time convicted criminal who once held a gun to a pregnant black woman’s belly during a robbery, was used as a pretext to revive the narrative that all U.S. police officers are racist and so is the country and the rule of law they represent.
‘The Science’ Is a Mask for Arbitrary Power
These researchers are attempting to hide information that doesn’t support policies roving violent mobs are attempting to impose at the blunt ends of bricks, sticks, and guns. This bias and cowardice is only the tip of the iceberg of the scientific corruption we’ve been seeing increase since, perhaps, the scientific method became accepted as a valid way to perceive reality.
Another pervasive recent example is, of course, the use of “science” as a shield for politicians to make largely arbitrary, ill-informed, and oftentimes abusive decisions about how to handle COVID-19. In recent months, we’ve been told that “science says” so many contradictory and even flat-out false things, it’s hard to even keep track of them all.
Science says don’t wear a mask. Except that you absolutely should wear a mask. Even though it isn’t recommended by medical scientists using data from other respiratory disease outbreaks. But it’s still helpful. Or actually it’s not really, according to the Centers for Disease Control in 2017. Yet you should still wear a mask, or else. Who knows?
Science says gathering in groups will spread coronavirus. Except if those groups are thousands of anti-America protesters crowding together on hot streets. Oh, wait, yes, that actually does spread the disease. And so does attending church. But not going to the grocery store. While going to the beach is dangerous. Except being outside is actually about the safest place you can be.
Except that there are second waves of transmission in hot, summery places where lots of people outside. The science said summer would slow the virus. Except now it’s not, and you need to stay inside. Except when you’re going outside. But don’t you dare plant your garden when you’re out there, or go to your cabin. But other people from other states can go to their cabins in your state. Because science!
Plenty of public leaders are insisting “science says” kids shouldn’t go back to school, even though medical organizations point out that not going to school is more dangerous to kids than going, and so is the flu, over which we never close schools. The Centers for Disease Control also never recommended closing schools, yet still schools are closing and only partially reopening and acting like teachers should get special employment privileges that nurses and grocery store workers don’t.
Even when science lines up on one side of an issue like this, it’s discarded in favor of politics. It’s as obvious as the swaddled noses on our faces that science is now just a weapon to be used against people who disagree with the left, or simply want to be able to retain the classic American freedom to run their own lives and families as they see fit.
Replication Crisis Means What ‘Studies Say’ Is Often Junk
This runs much deeper and longer than coronavirus. Probably the most significant example of scientific corruption is the ongoing replication crisis. It’s summarized in Nature this way: “More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments.”
In other, other words: What “studies say” aren’t generally reliable. You either have to read a study and evaluate it by the methods that make for a trustworthy one versus an untrustworthy one (the “gold standard” is a double-blind, randomized controlled trial, which is rarely done), or you have to wait until studies have consistently found the same result to be able to trust a certain conclusion.
Obviously, that is simply not possible for many coronavirus-related decisions, let alone any of the other things about which people have to make decisions every single day. How many randomized, controlled, generation-long trials have been done on, for example, every ingredient in all the foods we eat? What about all the medicines we take, or even vitamins? How about the effects of social media, and children having personal screens? Not enough, is the answer.
Open and Hidden Political Bias Corrupts Results
Even when studies have been done, other serious dangers to their integrity lurk. Open suppression and intimidation campaigns seem to be accelerating in number and depth. The current attempt to cancel Steven Pinker is another in an almost overwhelming series of these episodes.
Social “science” has long been a political manipulation tool due partly to lacking the ability to generate harder data due to its subject matter (you can’t randomly assign, say, thousands of children to divorced parents or a poorer neighborhood). Research on environmental and LGBT issues is, for example, notoriously biased and unreliable. Findings that contradict leftist ideology on these topics (and others) are also frequently suppressed.
For example, when Brown University researcher Lisa Littman found evidence that transgenderism was a “social contagion” driven by social media and peers, her academic journal and university threw her under the bus after a pressure campaign from activists who didn’t like these findings. The episode “raises serious concerns about the ability of all academics to conduct research on controversial topics,” wrote former Harvard University medical school dean Jeffrey Flier. You don’t say.
Another likely part of the reason for this problem is the overwhelming leftism of the academy. “[L]ack of political diversity can undermine the validity of social psychological science via mechanisms such as the embedding of liberal values into research questions and methods, steering researchers away from important but politically unpalatable research topics, and producing conclusions that mischaracterize liberals and conservatives alike,” says a 2014 study.
Essentially every domain of research is overwhelmingly controlled by leftists. A “sample of 8,688 tenure track, Ph.D.–holding professors from fifty-one of the sixty-six top ranked liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News 2017 report,” minus the two military academies, found that there are 13 self-identified Democrat professors for every single self-identified Republican, for example.
People within academia regularly and often anonymously report that it’s common for papers with notable findings to be buried if its conclusions support conservative policy. We’ll never have that information, further skewing our understanding of reality. This all means political corruption is rife in research, and that’s not going to change soon.
Subterranean Bias Can Kill People
Research suppression and corruption isn’t limited to hot social topics, either. It also occurs in hard sciences. Biologist Bret Weinstein recently recounted in a viral interview on the Joe Rogan podcast his experience as a young researcher.
He found that the mice being used to ground certain medical trials were giving false results, meaning some treatments could be dangerous instead of helpful. Nobody would even test his discovery, likely because millions of dollars were on the line for the therapies supported by bad research.
“I cannot explain it except to say that the culture of science has become so rotten that this sort of thing is maybe standard operating procedure,” Weinstein told Rogan. “…I look at my own medicine cabinet and even though I am aware of what likely happened…the only way to be protected by the downstream consequences of this error is to not take pharmaceuticals.”
Don’t Use Crap Science to Control Me, Bro
All the above undermines public confidence in universities and research itself, and rightly so, because it indicates today’s science is driven not by truth-seeking but by ideology. Further, it undermines public trust in the people who attempt to use this corrupted means to control our lives.
Science has been bastardized and taken out of its rightful place to run all sorts of scams on people. That’s because it has earned an authority from being trustworthy and replicable, for revealing useful truths about the world for centuries, contributing to the West’s many civilizational triumphs.
Mass manipulators seize this earned authority as a tool for controlling people. Decent people follow right along for a time, unaware of how science has been hijacked, and that’s how the mass manipulators win for a time.
But the more they use this trick, the more they erode the authority science developed for itself through honesty and patience. Citizens are increasingly aware that what “the science says” is a lie, even if they aren’t always aware of exactly what’s causing this. Instead of taking these legitimate concerns seriously, elites sneer at Americans for being ignorant rubes and “science deniers.”
These elites shouldn’t be surprised that their lack of concern for scientific integrity undermines not only one reliable way for learning truth, but also the legitimacy of their governance based on lies.