Social science, our “science of us”, is more susceptible to self-deception than other sciences. It is very much softer than particle physics and it has been especially hard hit by recent scandals.
One factor may be the almost universally admitted progressive bias that makes frauds and hoaxes easy to perpetrate. There’s a technical term for that: “confirmation bias”, a tendency to attach more weight to evidence that confirms one’s own view. Much social science research seems to exist in order to provide evidence for theses that are already believed because they confirm the progressive worldview of the researchers.
This background is helpful in understanding the fate of whistleblowers in the field, including Mark Regnerus (an objective look at gay parenting, 2012). But long before that, there was Derek Freeman (an objective look at teen promiscuity, 1983). So when students sign up and pay for “social science” in the fall, what are they signing up for?
Derek Freeman (1916–2001) exposed a mid-20th-century hoax that teen promiscuity was healthy. More.
See also: Why social sciences are mostly nonsense anyway.