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The Curse of the Lying Dutchman

The Curse of the Lying Dutchman published on

Here, folks, is a good reason to treat research into social and psychological matters with great skepticism.

We all know that there are tricky ways of lying about these things by applying user-defined definitions that differ markedly from the conventional definitions, or by using hand-picked rather than randomly chosen groups of subjects, but when academics are lazy they don’t even bother with these tactics – they just make shit up.

This is what tulip-picking psychologist Diederik Stapel did. Why bother going out and asking people what they think? Why waste time carrying out fancy experiments? Just make up some figures and then get into a snit every time someone asks to see the actual research! That way you can claim that white people are more likely to discriminate against black people when in messy environments, that the very thought of eating meat makes you selfish, and that people see job applicants as more competent if they have a “male voice”, and few will be inclined to ask what you’ve been smoking.

More here.