The psychopundits have your number

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: May 29, 2012

Explaining the innate factors of why liberals and conservatives think and behave as they do has given rise to the phenomenon of the psychopundits.

“In embracing science, the psychopundit believes he is moving from the spongy world of mere opinion to the firmer footing of fact. It is pleasing to him to discover that the two — his opinion and scientific fact — are identical,” Andrew Ferguson writes in The Weekly Standard.

The political left's use of science to understand, and critique, the conservative brain isn't always based on the soundest scientific methodology, says Ferguson. Take political reporter Thomas Edsall's analysis that the rich and powerful (also known as conservatives) lack compassion and underestimate the suffering of others. His insight is based on the reactions of undergraduates to sad stories they told each other. But University of California, Berkeley, students don't represent a cross-section of America. The powerful among them were identified with questions about how powerful they felt. So the findings are based not on data from the rich and powerful, but from college students who think they're powerful.

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