Who wants to pay taxes for social sciences?

Aw, maybe it keeps social scientists off the streets. From Protein Wisdom:

Dr Adam Perkins, a lecturer in the neurobiology of personality at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London. Like Chagnon, Perkins is a social scientist whose research findings pose a direct challenge to one of the central planks of left-wing ideology.

Over the past five years, he has accumulated a mass of evidence about the personalities of welfare claimants and concluded that individuals with aggressive, rule-breaking and anti-social tendencies — what he calls the ‘employment–resistant personality profile’ — are over-represented among benefit recipients. He also found that their children are likely to share those traits, which helps explain why poverty has a tendency to be passed down from one generation to the next.

It’s astonishing that such findings would pose a direct challenge to any belief system grounded in the real world. Every community has a few “work-shy” people, and children tend to learn what they have been taught—not what they haven’t.

So? Well, …

Perkins published his findings last November in a book called The Welfare Trait (Palgrave Macmillan, £19.99), but you won’t have heard about it or seen it reviewed in any UK newspaper anywhere because his research has been judged to be off limits by the self-appointed guardians of the academic establishment and their outriders in the media. A senior editor of Nature, one of the leading academic journals, refused to consider it for review because she regards scientific research into the personalities of the long-term unemployed as ‘unethical’, and a sociology professor whom the publishers had asked to peer-review the book refused to do so on the grounds that any book linking benefit dependency to personality must be nonsense because personality is a ‘capitalist construct’. More.

Writer Darlene Click wonders what we did for personalities all those years before capitalism was invented. Same here. I wonder why most people three thousand years ago thought that Hector and Achilles and Helen and Clytemnestra had different personalities …

It’s worth discussing the relationships between genetics, epigenetics, family environment, and external incentives. Discussions one can’t have if one won’t have them on principle.

Maybe social sciences are a problem that is just solving itself. See, for example: Japanese U’s shedding social sciences


Seven myths of social psychology

Crossposted at Uncommon Descent