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Liberal bias in Universities

  1. Apr 7, 2005 #1
    I searched for a previous posting on this topic but found only the "media liberal bias" thread. Recent studies have shown what Bill O'Reilly has been complaining about all along, that University hirees on average are more liberal than conservative.

    Judging from the typical conservative complaint, this bias is a result of some sort of conspiracy by the universities of the land to have liberals dominate academia. (otherwise, can someone please inform me of another motive?)

    Well after reading the latest Krugman article I feel somewhat reaffirmed that this conspiracy is a load of bs. Here's an excerpt, i'm interested to hear what Krugman has missed.

    http://pkarchive.org/column/040505.html
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2005 #2

    cronxeh

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    Because evolution is a fact, and because your Republican students are usually hanging out in frat houses drinking beer and majoring in Accounting. Do I have to justify the military aspect? I guess it doesnt come easier but to say that your IQ has a lot to do with it.
     
  4. Apr 7, 2005 #3

    russ_watters

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    My take on it is that it just is what it is. Liberals gravitate to certain industries and conservatives gravitate to certain other industries. That in and of itself isn't bad or wrong, but what is bad/wrong is when a certain industry has an ethical responsibility to be unbiased politically in their work (both universities and the media have this responsibility) and fail to fulfil that responsibility.
    We have discussed this before, relating specifically to universities. I think it was in social sciences.... [pause] HERE it is.

    So:
    Do universities lean left? Yes.
    Is that the cause/result of some conspiracy to keep conservatives out? No.
     
  5. Apr 7, 2005 #4
    Unlike your remarks here.

    Really? Is there any data on that? Let's see, we have your stereotype versus a mountain of evidence that academia self-selects against openly conservative types. I'm sticking with the evidence.

    Based on what data?
     
  6. Apr 7, 2005 #5
    Krugman's analysis is hollow. We have clear evidence that conservative participation in academia increases substantially in more technical fields. What we don't know is what happens to the far more evenly split college graduation population and their breakdown per field. A far more parsimonious explanation is that academic life for whatever reason doesn't appeal to conservatives; why waste time in an overwhelmingly liberal environment making $40,000 a year as a postgraduate fellow or associate professor when you can get half over that in the private sector? And if that's the case, why waste time pursuing an advanced degree?

    Rev Prez
     
  7. Apr 7, 2005 #6

    BobG

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    Does the average military member have a lower IQ or is that just your general impression?

    The average ASVAB scores for career Air Force enlisted ranges from the mid-60th percentile to the low 70's (depending on the area of aptitude you're talking about). Average percentile is 50th (better than 50% of all individuals).
    http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JITE/v36n3/kraska.html

    Average SAT's for those accepted into the Air Force Academy is about 1250. Average for the population overall is about 1000. Below a 3.0 GPA and a student can just about forget about getting into the Academy. It also takes getting an endorsement from a Congressman. http://www.airforceacademy.net/SatAct.htm

    Additionally, per USNews, the AF Academy is ranked as the 2nd best Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering College, West Point is ranked 3rd among Mechanical Engineering Colleges. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/rankings/rankengineering_brief.php

    In general, the military (and the 'high tech' Navy and Air Force, especially) have folks with above average intelligence and quite a few are well above average (in the Space Operations career field, a 60th percentile would get you in to fill a slot, but you really needed to be above the 85th to get the more exciting jobs that made a worthwhile career).
     
  8. Apr 7, 2005 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    Have you taken the ASVAB? I aced it with barely any effort and in about a third or a half or the time allowed. Frankly, it was a joke. Also, what percentage of those in the military attend West Point?

    As a general comment not directed at you BobG, 50% of all individuals who take the ASVAB are some member's idea of educated people. To anyone who thinks that the level of education in this country is acceptable, I strongly urge you to get a copy of the ASVAB.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2005
  9. Apr 7, 2005 #8
    What about this quote:
    I personally think that this is a fair quote, and that this has been the root of much of my disdain for the administration.
     
  10. Apr 7, 2005 #9

    BobG

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    It isn't designed to test a person's education. It's an aptitude test aimed at determining whether a person can be trained or not. Ideally, education would play no part in the test, but it's pretty hard to design a test that doesn't rely on some kind of educational floor (someone raised by wolves who never learned to read or do basic addition or subtraction would probably fail regardless of their intelligence).

    But, yes, anyone with enough intelligence to pass high school classes (or raised by educated wolves) should qualify easily.
     
  11. Apr 7, 2005 #10

    loseyourname

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    The concerns about a conspiracy to keep conservative views off of college campuses is probably off-base, at least for the most part. There is another concern that Krugman doesn't seem to address, however. Even if self-selected, the majority of professors, especially in humanities and social sciences, are liberals. They do present liberal viewpoints in their classes, often to the exclusion of all other points of view. Forget presenting evolution as a fact. There is nothing political about that. I have professors up here in the bay area presenting a Republican pattern of blatant poll and election fraud as fact. I have professors badly misrepresenting the Patriot Act and telling students flat out that the US is becoming a fascist police state under Bush. These are the kind of ridiculous assertions that being refuted daily on the physics forums being fed to students, most of whom never question it. I have no idea how widespread this is, but it is a problem. Krugman's article seems to be a classic strawman to me. Take your opponent's weakest argument, debunk it, and conclude that everything else he says must be wrong.
     
  12. Apr 7, 2005 #11

    Correct me if i'm wrong, but are you saying that dumb people are republicans and go into the millitary and drink beer? If that is what you are saying, then you are wrong wrong and wrong. Is it stupid to serve your country? Sure, not every soldier is 'smart', but they are fighting for your ass, are they not? Someone has to do it. Again, if I am wrong, i am sorry.

    Fibonacci
     
  13. Apr 7, 2005 #12
    Getting into west point is not all about intelligence, its mostly about leadership ability. You need a letter of recommendation from your senator, congressman, or vice president (i think) to even think about getting in. And, very few make it to West Point, you have a better chance of Harvard or MIT acceptance.

    Fibonacci
     
  14. Apr 7, 2005 #13
    Something that I don't believe has been brought up is that as of now, the poorer areas in the country tend to be the more Republican areas. Your average kid growing up in California or Connecticut is going to be more likely to go to college than your average kid in Idaho or South Carolina it would seem, since in most cases, Liberal communities are very well off financially, and college can be quite expensive.
     
  15. Apr 7, 2005 #14

    kat

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    erm, I think over all republicans trend to a higher income then democrats. Democrats tend to have a heavier rate of voters who fall below poverty levels and also have lower education, overall, then republicans.....
     
  16. Apr 7, 2005 #15
    I disagree. When the president of the united states declares that the 'jury is still out' on evolution, that becomes political. It seems as though Bush has no qualms about making a statement that is either a) a lie espoused to serve his herds of evangelicals, or b) a declaration of his ignorance that he apparently cares little to correct. How can this not trouble you on a political level?
     
  17. Apr 7, 2005 #16

    Moonbear

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    Hmmm...when we interview people for new faculty positions, you know, there's just no box on the application for "liberal or conservative," nor does anyone ask during the interview. We discuss their research and teaching preferences, publication history, and funding track record, not their political views. There's no vast conspiracy to keep conservatives out.

    Rev Prez, one earns considerably more than $40K as an associate professor. I'm not sure if your intent was to be factually accurate or to exaggerate to make a point, so I thought I'd just correct that. $40K is approximately what a post-doc earns though (give or take depending on experience). Nonetheless, I do agree with your point that it may simply be that more people with conservative views don't find academic life and/or pay scales appealing compared with those with liberal views.
     
  18. Apr 7, 2005 #17

    SOS2008

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    Even in the humanities/social sciences, students soon will know which professors are liberal or conservative before taking the classes, and/or usually can switch if they don't like a professor. And, it is interesting how many religious institutions there are just off-campus, so I've always believed they are getting their fair shot at our youth.

    Also the public, who detest academia, scholars, intellectuals... Why do I suspect these people often don't have much education themselves?
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2005
  19. Apr 7, 2005 #18

    loseyourname

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    I meant that a biology professor proclaiming evolution as fact is not doing so because of political bias.
     
  20. Apr 7, 2005 #19

    russ_watters

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    Yes, I think that's fair. But I don't think it has much to do with this topic - colleges have been liberal for....well, forever.
     
  21. Apr 8, 2005 #20
    But are they more Liberal now (ie. in the change of the century)?

    Rev Prez link
     
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