Skip to comments.Got Brain?
Posted on 04/20/2004 9:27:00 AM PDT by stevejackson
| Got Brain?
By Donnel Jones, April 20, 2004
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The New York Times hits a new low with coverage of an "experiment" that seeks to determine the activity of a person's brain and how that correlates to their being a Democrat or Republican.
Science meets pseudo-science. We might as well have Dr. Mengele use his medical training to ascertain the essence of "Jewishness" using various "technologies." Of course, the researchers here are not sadistic half-man who torture children. Rather, they are wasting their patron's money (who is financing this nonsense, anyway?) with technologies that have proved invaluable in medical research and treatment. They have used sound methods only to apply a Tarot reading over the results.
Instead of asking the subject, John Graham, a Democratic voter, what he thought of the use of Sept. 11 images in a Bush campaign commercial, the researchers noted which parts of Mr. Graham's brain were active as he watched. The active parts, they also noted, were different from the parts that had lighted up in earlier tests with Republican brains. The researchers do not claim to have figured out either party's brain yet, since they have not finished this experiment. But they have already noticed intriguing patterns in how Democrats and Republicans look at candidates.
I suppose we should then look at the difference between Jewish and Arab brains? Of course, we would add the ass-covering caveat that we have not "figured out either ethnicity's brain yet." Maybe the blood flow of Arab brains will enrich the "joy" centers upon seeing images of infidels being blown to bits by terrorist bombers? Who knew science could sink this low?
Here is the real kicker.
The researchers had already zeroed in on those images and their effect among Democrats on the part of the brain that responds to threats and danger, the amygdala. Mr. Graham, like other Democrats tested so far, reacted to the Sept. 11 images with noticeably more activity in the amygdala than did the Republicans, said the lead researcher, Marco Iacoboni, an associate professor at the U.C.L.A. Neuropsychiatric Institute who directs a laboratory at the Ahmanson Lovelace Brain Mapping Center there. "The first interpretation that occurred to me," Professor Iacoboni said, "is that the Democrats see the 9/11 issue as a good way for Bush to get re-elected, and they experience that as a threat." But then the researchers noted that same spike in amygdala activity when the Democrats watched the nuclear explosion in the "Daisy" spot [political ad used by LBJ showing a child picking daisy pedals before a nuclear explosion], which promoted a Democrat. Mr. Freedman suggested another interpretation based on his political experience: the theory that Democrats are generally more alarmed by any use of force than Republicans are. (emphasis added)
The theory? Oh yeah, right . . . like Republicans love violence since they are Neanderthals and now you can actually see that by looking at their brains. And I thought most of America's wars were fought under Democrat administrations. Want a different "spin" to these "results"? How about the blood flow in Democrat brains showing that group to be a bunch of whining surrender monkeys? I too can play Tarot. Which leads me to ask: what is Mr. Freedman's party association and how does that skew the results of this experiment?
Political parties, like people, change over time. If Democrats don't like the use of force it is because a president they hate is using it. Simply switch politicians and see the results. Would a Democrat brain show different "amygdala activity" if shown images of Clinton's intervention to save the Kosovar Albanians, an example of a use of force?
And what about wiring a Republican brain to see if his amygdada responds to images of innocents falling to their death from the World Trade Center? If that part of the brain reacts to threats you might make the case that Republicans are more sensitive about violence against one's own people. Right? Where would that leave the Democrats?
There is no end to frivolous speculation when science is being misused in this way. It is a crock.
So the liberal tends to judge political memes by how they make the liberal feel, especially in how the liberal models how others will perceive him for his judgment.
Conservatives tend to be less oriented to other's perceptions (thank God, because we take brickbats and epithets constantly--I was a conservative student in the 60's. Didn't get a lot of positive feedback).
I also think this explains why liberals tend to clump together--in academia, in the media, etc. They limit the negative feedback. Conservatives tend to spread out more and accept the fact that they will be hurled on periodically by others.
It also explains why liberals react so violently to criticism of their ideas. They tend to isolate themselves amongst their own kind. Amongst themselves, conservative criticism would be more than criticism, it would be betrayal. So they react to any criticsm of their politics as betrayal.
That's the conclusion I came to as well.
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