Random links

The effect of comment moderation on perceived bias in science news
"Participants exposed to uncivil comments that appear in a moderated environment were less likely to perceive bias in the news article itself. Importantly, perceptions of bias among respondents exposed to the uncivil, moderated stimulus were comparable to those of respondents who viewed both moderated and unmoderated civil comments."
People who use homeopathy and alternative remedies for cancer treatment are twice as likely to die from disease
"Studies have shown some alternative therapies, including massage and acupuncture, can improve quality of life and wellbeing while patients are coping with conventional treatment side effects, and also help patients relax or feel in control. Between 48 and 88 per cent of patients are thought to use complementary therapy as an element of their treatment. However studies have also suggested many patients believe such alternative treatments will also help their survival prospects."
Do Equal Employment Opportunity Statements Backfire? Evidence From A Natural Field Experiment On Job-Entry Decisions
"we find considerable policy effects, but in an unexpected direction: the presence of an EEO statement dampens rather than encourages racial minorities’ willingness to apply for jobs. Importantly, the effects are particularly pronounced for educated job seekers and in cities with white majority populations. Complementary survey evidence suggests the underlying mechanism at work is “tokenism”, revealing that EEO statements backfire because racial minorities avoid environments in which they are perceived as regulatory, or symbolic, hires rather than being hired on their own merits." See commentary in The Economist.

On nonconformists

Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity. - Eric Hoffer

Random links

Geography and Agricultural Productivity: Cross-Country Evidence from Micro Plot-Level Data
"If countries produced current crops in each cell according to potential yields, the rich-poor agricultural yield gap would virtually disappear, from more than 200 percent to less than 5 percent."
What Do We Measure When We Measure Affective Partisanship?
"when answering questions about the other party, individuals think about elites more than voters, and express more animus when the questions focus on elites. This suggests that increased affective polarization reflects, to some extent, growing animus towards politicians more than ordinary voters."
How many transgender inmates are there?
In the UK it seems as though close to half of prisoners who identified as transgender on a survey had been convicted of sex offenses. What might you expect to happen behind bars?
Who Pays for Government? Descriptive Representation and Exploitative Revenue Sources
" Using data on over 9,000 cities, we show that the use of fines as revenue is common and that it is robustly related to the share of city residents who are black. We also find that black representation on city councils diminishes the connection between black population and fines revenue."

On evidence that doesn't fit your narrative

Not too long ago the New York Times published Anti-Vaccine Activists Have Taken Vaccine Science Hostage. To offer up a representative sample of the article's argument:

When I tried to report on unexpected or controversial aspects of vaccine efficacy or safety, scientists often didn’t want to talk with me. When I did get them on the phone, a worrying theme emerged: Scientists are so terrified of the public’s vaccine hesitancy that they are censoring themselves, playing down undesirable findings and perhaps even avoiding undertaking studies that could show unwanted effects. Those who break these unwritten rules are criticized.

It doesn't seem to me to be all that surprising that people might opt for differing narratives fed to them by grifters or others with dubious agendas if the above is what they pick up on hints of in the media. Politics has a lot of damned-if-you-do-/-damned-if-you-don't terrain. One element of that I think is that the "pro-science" crowd may in some instances be as big a threat to science as the "anti-science" appears, due to the extent to which its use of propaganda and political pressure seems to increase the vulnerability of the population to false narratives.


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