Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Friday, October 31, 2014

Wilson–Patterson Inventory?

One of the recent studies purporting to show a difference between liberal and conservative brains judged political opinions in accordance with the Wilson–Patterson inventory, in which the experimental subjects are asked if they agree with the liberal or conservative view on items in a list. In my humble opinion, many of the item in the Wilson–Patterson inventory are ambiguous. For example:

  • School prayer
    Do they mean “Are you in favor of prayer in public schools?” or “Are you in favor of prayer in more schools?”
  • Pornography
    Do they mean “Are you in favor of state suppression of pornography?” or “Are you in favor of private citizens criticizing it?”
  • Women's equality
    Do they mean “Are you in favor of allowing women to work?” (at one time leftists didn't) or “Are you in favor of forcing businesses to pay wages based on someone's fantasy of discrimination?”
  • abortion rights
    Do they mean “Are you in favor of the right to an abortion?” or “Are you in favor of the right not to be aborted?”
  • warrantless searches
    This isn't right-wing vs. left-wing; this is in-power vs. out-of-power.
  • globalization
    Is the Left for or against globalization this week?
  • school standards
    Lately, it's been the right-wing who are opposed to Common Core.
  • free trade
    Is the Left for or against free trade this week?
  • obedience
    My stereotype detector just buzzed.
  • compromise
    Give me three quarters of the cake?
The “obedience” item is particularly annoying. If this was invented by leftists (and social scientists tend to lean left), they probably thought “Of course, the wingnuts believe in obedience!” On the other hand, the inventory also includes “Tax cuts” and “small government.” So, we wingnuts believe in tax cuts, small government, and … obedience? Obedience to whom?


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