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20.6.10

My anecdote disproves your statistics

I completely agree that feminism (and other elements of progressivism generally, though my examples in this post all come from feminism-focused blogs) and science/skepticism go together. And so I appreciate that many feminist blogs spend a good deal of time picking apart "studies" that claim to find anti-feminist conclusions, and media reporting that distorts the actual conclusions of research, and promoting good research that helps the cause. But I also worry that there's a good deal of motivated reasoning going on -- picking your conclusion, then going back to find ways to support it. Studies that come to anti-feminist conclusions are sometimes held to higher -- even impossibly high -- standards of rigor, control of confounding variables, etc as compared to those with pro-feminist conclusions. It's rarer than I'm comfortable with to see a feminist blog say "I like the conclusion of this study, but I don't think the methodology is adequate to support it." (I'm less worried that I rarely see studies with anti-feminist conclusions judged to be sound, since the rarity of such studies is consistent with the correctness of feminism.)

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