Posted: Jul 18, 2016 5:10 pm
by Thommo
SkyMutt wrote:
Thommo wrote:Hmm. I wonder whether the same would be true of studies on topics other than justness of the world, the efficacy of social safety nets and the benefits of social media?

Those don't sound like topics that are politically neutral to me.


What sort of political bias do you identify in examining the benefits of social media? Given that the majority of conservatives in the US are users of social media (Facebook in particular), one would surmise that they have an interest in the topic. I think that even a non-user would tend to exhibit natural curiosity about such information.


Does that follow? Let us suppose a majority of 51% of conservatives use social media and a majority of 81% of liberals use social media, would that not reflect a different level of interest and thus a potential source of bias? *See edit.

SkyMutt wrote:In discussing this article with conservatives, what I have encountered is rationalizations of this behavior ("data can be twisted" "many scientists are biased") rather than denial that the results present an accurate reflection of conservatives' interest in data. Anecdotal, not scientific evidence, I grant you, but I thought it was interesting.


Sure, it might be true, but I did wonder. I don't think scrutiny, questions about replication and analysis of possible alternative explanations of the finding lie outside the scope of science! :)

Edit: *Those numbers were (I hope obviously) hypothetical to question whether there was a lower level of interest among conservatives than among liberals, it appears that this is the case, but the effect size was exaggerated in my example:
https://civicscience.com/is-facebook-ch ... e-forever/
#1- Liberals do NOT outnumber Conservatives on Facebook

Our research says that 78% of self-identified Liberals are on Facebook and 51% use the site/app daily. Only 58% of Conservatives are Facebook users; 36% daily. Moderates split those percentages down the middle. 66% have a Facebook account and 40% use it daily.

The catch, however, is that there are far more Conservatives than Liberals in the U.S. A recent Gallup survey found that 38% of Americans identify as Conservative, versus 24% Liberal and 34% Moderate. When you factor in the usage rates above, the number of Liberals, Conservatives, or Moderates on Facebook is nearly equal – with Conservatives actually holding a slight edge.