Skip to comments.Republicans Have Bad Brains?
Posted on 05/03/2012 3:25:57 AM PDT by Kaslin
"They do that because they were born that way."
If you say that about homosexuals, you are tolerant and realistic. If you say it about blacks, you are racist (unless you're black yourself). If you say it about women, you may or may not be sexist, depending on who is manning (er, womanning) the feminist battle stations. If you say it about men, you just might be a writer for Esquire. But if you say it about conservatives, you're a scientist.
Over the past decade, a new fad has taken hold among academics and liberal journalists: call it the new science of conservative phrenology. No, it doesn't actually involve using calipers to determine intelligence based on the size and shape of people's heads. The measuring devices are better -- MRIs and gene sequencers -- but the conclusions are worse. The gist is this: Conservatives and liberals don't just have different world views or ideas, they have different brains; the right and left are just hard-wired to think differently.
Author Chris Mooney compiles much of this research for his new book The Republican Brain, which purports to show that conservatives are, literally by nature, more closed-minded and resistant to change and facts. His evidence includes the fact that conservatives are less likely to buy into global warming, allegedly proving they are not only "anti-science" but innately anti-fact, as well. "Politicized wrongness today," he writes "is clustered among Republicans, conservatives and especially Tea Partiers."
That's an entirely understandable view for Mooney to hold. He's a soaked-to-the-bone liberal partisan. But he crosses the line into pseudoscientific hogwash by trying to explain every political disagreement as a symptom of bad brains. For instance, Mooney claims Republicans have trouble processing reality because Republicans think "ObamaCare" will raise the deficit. No really, stop laughing.
Of course, Mooney believes he's simply going where the science leads. Consider that one of the more famous studies was conducted by liberal researchers at University of California-Los Angeles and New York University and published in Nature Neuroscience. Subjects were asked to spot the letters M or W on a screen for a fraction of a second. It turns out that self-described liberals did somewhat better on the test than the conservatives.
What does that mean? Well, according to the researchers, it means: "Liberals are more responsive to informational complexity, ambiguity and novelty." Liberals are also "more likely than are conservatives to respond to cues signaling the need to change habitual responses," NYU says.
Translation: Conservatives literally aren't smart enough to be spell-checkers at an M&M factory because they won't be able to understand quickly enough that the occasional W is just an upside down M.
The data might be correct, but as with Mooney, the conclusions are beyond absurd. London's Guardian newspaper responded to the study by declaring, "Scientists have found that the brains of people calling themselves liberals are more able to handle conflicting and unexpected information." The Los Angeles Times announced in an editorial that the study "suggests that liberals are more adaptable than conservatives" and "might be better judges of the facts."
Huh? The test didn't measure "informational complexity." It measured informational simplicity. As Slate's science columnist William Saletan notes, the study actually excludes complexity and ambiguity. It measured response times to a rudimentary visual acuity test. Almost by definition, conscious thought isn't part of the equation. My hunch is that Socrates would do very poorly hunting and pecking for Ms and Ws on a screen, too.
Now it's probably true that, on average, there are subtle differences between conservatives and liberals when it comes to cognition. But you don't have to be "anti-science" to see how the scientists are wildly overreaching from the data. Indeed, there's a huge definitional problem. Conservatives resist growth of the state, but that's not the same thing as resisting change. After all, capitalism is among the most powerful agents of change in human history, and conservatives are the ones defending it. Meanwhile, liberals are downright reactionary about preserving the Great Society and New Deal.
A famous study asserts that communist revolutionaries Joseph Stalin and Fidel Castro were political conservatives because they resisted change once in power. If your algorithmic whirligig spits out the finding that Stalin, the global leader of communism for two decades, and Castro, the global dashboard saint of recrudescent left-wing asininity, are "politically conservative" it's time to take the gadget out to a field and smash it with baseball bats like the printer in the movie "Office Space."
Mooney, who recently explained in a speech that he has given up on the Enlightenment view that we're all open to reason, doesn't seem to realize where he's heading with this nonsense. Never mind that this approach is inherently undemocratic and opens the door to "genetic" explanations for everybody's political views -- blacks, women, gays, etc. -- it is also self-serving bigotry that allows liberals to justify their own closed-mindedness on the grounds that Republicans aren't even worth listening to. After all, they're just born that way.
There's good reason to ignore all liberal nonsense since, as everybody except liberals knows, liberalim is a mental disorder!
Left-wingers are the most intolerant, reactionary, violent and fact-averse folks around. And yes, there is definitely something wrong with their brains.
You should read this.
[that is, ~if~ you’re capable of comprehending it, you blithering idiot]
It is better to have a bad brain than no brain at all what appears to be characteristic of socialists.
Somewhat refuted by over 30,000 scientists who were signatories to The Petition Project, who said the 'evidence' was neither conclusive nor the science settled, and for that reason, the US should not be signatory to Kyoto or similar accords.
It has been shown that conservatives donate more of their money, volunteer more, and give more blood. OTOH, felons are more likely to vote democrat (by about 70-30, I think). So, what are we to make of that?
THE Right Brain vs Left Brain test ... do you see the dancer turning clockwise or counter-clockwise?
If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.
Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.
Time to get back to the Constitution and strip Fedzilla down to bare bones. This Country would be great, again.
Pseudo scientists, pseudo, researchers, pseudo Americans.
Since doctors, dentists, engineers, etc., tend to lean Republican, whereas welfare recipients, criminals and liberal arts academics tend to lean Dem, it would certainly be interesting to compare the brains. I suspect that Dems wouldn’t come out on the winning end of the comparison, though, so you can bet the results wouldn’t be published.
It should be noted that repetitive nervous system responses are much faster than brain function resposes. So of course, liberals are much better at knee jerk responses than conservatives. They have more training.
Kinda like Men and Women?
Their argument must be that liberal men think like women, i.e. queers.
Their might be some truth to that.
I focused on the fact that I think she’s nekkid!
What does Mooney say about people who started out more liberal, like me, but gradually turned more conservative over the years? I’m sure there’s millions of present-day conservatives who’ve had similar stories. Where do we fit in? The fact is, people like me were persuaded by the facts..the exact opposite of Mooney’s screwy hypothesis that conservatives resist change and facts. I’d say it’s more likely that liberals are people who resist the facts and logic and persist in believing in fairy tales. Big government is great and can never be used for nefarious purposes. Or so the libs would have us believe.
very good! you got me - I see it each way, although I can’t get the count down as to when it changes at around 14 turns. i am openminded (able to see) to the fact that she is turning clockwise and counterclockwise at different times, but closed minded (able to define) and recognize the difference.
-does that mean the dancer is a moderate????
Just show everyone’s SAT scores. It’s as good a proxy for “intelligence” as we have, since intelligence testing became Raciss.
Just show everyones SAT scores. Its as good a proxy for intelligence as we have, since intelligence testing became Raciss.
Would not be allowed, that would show teachers up for what they are, bottom 20%
Picture the drivers side of your car, look at the wheels and picture them going forward. They are moving counter clock wise. Now picture the passenger side of your car and imaging the wheels moving forward, they are moving clock wise. Get down on hands and knees and look at all 4 at the same time and they are all moving the same way, depending on which side of the car you are on.
Look at the edge of your one story roof, it doesn't look all that high. Now stand on the edge of your roof and it looks a very long way to the ground.
If it's a 10 foot roof, from the ground, the roof is only about 4 feet from your eye level but when standing on the roof, the ground is about 16 feet from your eye level.
It's a matter of perspective.