"Social Scientists See Bias Within" is the intriguing title of a story that appeared on the (link is external)front page of the Science section of the New York Times on Feb. 8 . The article, by John Tierney, focuses on a speech by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, in which he pointed out to those at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology that this organization, which has long been interested in biases concerning such issues as race, gender, and sexual orientation, has failed to detect a bias within its own ranks (and, by extension, the ranks of the social sciences, in general), namely, one favoring liberals over conservatives.
The piece elicited more than 500 comments, many of which said that the preponderance of liberals in the social sciences made sense. For one thing, a hallmark of any science is a search for evidence, and as one commenter wrote, "their (conservatives) absence highlights how far to the right the contemporary conservative movement has traveled and how out of sync it is with evidence-based reality." I would agree: Among those who believe strongly in "evidence-based realities," such as evolution and climate change, liberals certainly outnumber conservatives. It's one of the reasons I am a lifelong liberal.
Another is the linkage of liberals with trying to help the downtrodden. In this regard, one of the comments was "Liberals' life of the minds are always exciting; they are thinking of ways to improve things, to right injustices, to make life better, to extend human liberty...We need conservatives to keep things more or less predictable and consistent, but our ability to grow and improve ourselves come from the liberals' not the conservatives' ideas."
The truth has a hard time getting its full hearing no matter what, but when those people who are most committed to science as well as helping those in need put ideology ahead of possible truths, and won't even entertain a viewpoint that doesn't fit with their politics, we all suffer.
“If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal", then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal.” - President John F. Kennedy