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Discussions on Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition. (Split requested by Phi for All)


Acme
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1) You are shifting the burden of proof and introducing a red herring. It is not necessary for me to produce a counter-set of "unbiased" questions to show that the questions Altemeyer uses are inherently biased. We only need ask whether or not the questions he uses assume a particular political slant and do the questions encompass the breadth of that political slant. Either one of these can introduce bias. By limiting the scope of his questions to a narrow set of positions held by some within that political orientation, the test is biased towards finding only a very narrow and specific type of authoritarianism. Its a classic case of cherry-picking. As I demonstrated earlier, the questions can be altered to include certain non-authoritarian questions which would lead to very different conclusions.

The questionnaire you linked to is just one of many that Altemeyer uses. Who is picking the cherries here?

 

2) "Unbiased" questions are easily produced. For instance:

 

A) "People should obey the law even if they disagree with it"

B) "Certain institutions possess moral authority"

C) "Protest is never justified"

D) "Under some circumstances it is ok to break the law"

E) "Superiors should be obeyed"

........etc

 

These questions are general, they make no presumption about a person's political attitudes, religious beliefs, etc. One could easily ask such questions, guage the "authoritarianism" and then match such data after the fact to self-proclaimed political attitudes, behaviors, etc. In this way the test is not biased a priori to achieve a specific result.

So statements along the line of these from Altemeyer's book.

pg.166 ...

This country would be better off if we cared less about how equal all people are.

Some groups of people are simply not the equals of others.

Some people are just more worthy than others.

 

These items are from the Social Dominance Orientation scale, and if you want the job of Dictator For Life youll agree with them, coming out foursquare against equality. In turn, you will disagree with:

 

If people were treated more equally, we would have fewer problems in this country.

We should try to treat one another as equals as much as possible.

Increased social equality.

 

Felicia Pratto of the University of Connecticut and Jim Sidanius at UCLA presented the test in 1994 as a measure of belief in social inequality. Whereupon Sam McFarland at the University of Western Kentucky used their scale and twenty-one others in a magnificent "pitting experiment" aimed at finding the best predictors of prejudice. He discovered that only two of the 22 tests he threw "into the pit" to fight it out could predict prejudice at all well: the Social Dominance Orientation scale, and the RWA scale. ...

3) Of course if you ask questions that are biased in such a way towards a certain to political belief and then ask people to self-identify, you are more likely to find a correlation between the two. Thats why the results, the questionaire, are biased. They are specifically designed to be more likely to produce results that confirm the hypothesis.

 

Your arguments here are really lacking. You need to show that these questions are NOT biased. I have pointed out how the questions language and nature are inherently geared towards a priori assumptions about the nature of the right and left wing. I have shown how altering the question can easily done to be more likely to produce authoritarian answers the Left and non-authoritarian answers from the Right. I have even provided examples of politically unbiased questions. I have done my part in showing the inherent bias of Altemeyer's scale. You now have to show that its not.

Since I have shown that 'the questions' you keep bringing up are actually just the questions that you cherry picked, I have met my part.

 

If you agree that there is evident bias in the nature of Altemeyer's questions, then you and I can actually agree then that his results are going to be biased and should therefore be questioned. After all.....to acknowledge a biased nature in the wording of the questionaire and try to justify the results after the fact is pretty much an admission that one is willing to accept biased results that conform to one's own prejudices.

You decry bias as if it invalidates any investigation. It is only as sensible in a survey on authoritarianism to mention authority as it is to mention painting in a survey about art. By reading Altemeyer's work and posting on it I am submitting it to questioning. Which of your biases & prejudices are you conforming to?

 

deleted due to migraine and inability to think

Duly noted.

. [i missed your editing this in.]

 

So using your analogy, the studies have just as sure a result as the nail is driven. One does not drive a nail all the way in if they intend to hang their hat on it. ;)

...I'm not exactly sure what you are getting at, but ...

 

But you're going to go on about it as if you did.
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Acme definitely has preconceived notions about the right and conservatives ( approx. half American population ), chadn737.

 

But he's not all bad. He likes Chilliwack after all ( the band not the city ).

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Acme definitely has preconceived notions about the right and conservatives ( approx. half American population ), chadn737.

 

But he's not all bad. He likes Chilliwack after all ( the band not the city ).

:lol: A conditional thank you.

All notions are preconceived in the sense that conceiving is predicated on some form or fashion of history. Everyone then has 'preconceived' notions, including yourself and chadn. As I recall you left this discussion saying something to the effect that you would not read Altemeyer's book and [to paraphrase] implying that this was so because you already knew what was in it. I get the sense chadn has no intention of reading the book either and will content himself with citing what others have said about it. (Both chadn and Moontan have expressed here that they don't even accept as legitimate a delineation of right/left or conservative/liberal.)

Whatever my preconceived notions I have at least undertaken to get the story from the horse's mouth rather than take things second hand from the mules. :lol: Whether or not I manage it, I have in mind to do the same for the other 80 or so studies referenced in the meta-study that opened this can of worms. (I did try and read the paper by Ray that chadn linked to, but it's behind a pay-wall.)

I also re-read the section -as I said I would- in The Authoritarians on pgs. 15-29 that related to the validity of Altemeyer's RWA scale and found that quoting bits of it don't make the argument and quoting all of it goes beyond what is reasonable to quote here. If folks argue against the validity without reading that section and then making specific criticisms to points in it...well...that's just more broad-brush unsubstantiated expression of preconceived notions of what it says. :)

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I'm glad you understand, "old man in a rock n' roll band"

( you must be close to my age to remember 'Fly at Night' )

 

( and maybe Canadian ?)

Not Canadian; I am the son of Daughters of the American Revolution on both my father's and mother's side and my ancestors were English and Swedish. Old as dirt; yes. I'll have to consult the oracle on that title to jog my memory... accessing...whiring...clicking...so yes, I remember that.

 

Back on point, while I couldn't access Ray's particular article that chadn referenced, I did look into his bias. A few quotes from one of his pages sums it nicely.

 

Conservatism as Heresy

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

Ouch!

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Acme definitely has preconceived notions about the right and conservatives ( approx. half American population ), chadn737.

 

But he's not all bad. He likes Chilliwack after all ( the band not the city ).

Approximately half of the American population is accurate in a broad sense. However if we break it down by demographics the "near half" notion disappears. Only one group of people in this country broadly support conservatives. Not merely in recent years but for the past few decades.

http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/elections/how_groups_voted/voted_12.html

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Does Altemayer propose any testable hypotheses? I mean anything that doesn't circle back to his self-rating scales?

I don't quite understand the question, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. IOW I urge you as I do all to read the book yourself. It's free online and also freely downloadable as a pdf. Here's his main page where you can get or read the book as well as other of his writings. None of his stuff contains the hateful sort of language I found at Mr. Jays page I note. What's up with that vitriol I wonder. ;)

 

The Authoritarians @ University of Manitoba

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I don't quite understand the question, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. IOW I urge you as I do all to read the book yourself. It's free online and also freely downloadable as a pdf. Here's his main page where you can get or read the book as well as other of his writings. None of his stuff contains the hateful sort of language I found at Mr. Jays page I note. What's up with that vitriol I wonder. ;)

 

The Authoritarians @ University of Manitoba

 

There is an easy way to test Altemeyer and one that does not involve self-reference. We can see whether his scale correlates to other scales. As I mentioned earlier...which seems to have gone unnoticed...John Ray early on tested this very thing by comparing Altemeyer to two seperate scales. The first which was set up to measure authoritarian behavior independent of politics and the second set up to measure "conservatism" independent of any notion of "authoritarianism". Altemeyer's test fails to correlate to alternative measures of "authoritarianism" (r=-0.049), but correlates strongly with alternative measures of conservatism. As John Ray points out, this means that Altemeyer's scale is simply a measure of conservatism and not at all a measure of authoritarianism.

 

Ultimately, it just points to the inherent bias in the questions and assumptions of Altemeyer's tests. His questsions are slanted with inherent presumptions of authoritarianism regarding "right-wing" positions and biased in such a way as that any politically left answer is presumed to be "non-authoritarian" while any politically right answer is presumed to be authoriarian. This is the worst sort of biased research, one where the experiments themselves are set up in such a way as to pretty much guarantee the desired outcome.

Back on point, while I couldn't access Ray's particular article that chadn referenced, I did look into his bias. A few quotes from one of his pages sums it nicely.

 

Conservatism as Heresy

 

Ouch!

 

You are committing an ad hominem fallacy at the moment as well as an appeal to motive. John Ray's argument against Altemeyer's RWA scale is based on a testable comparison to alternative scales, all which are also published and peer-reviewed. My own arguments have been based on the nature of Altemeyer's scale and the questions themselves. It is legitimate to call into question the the wording of the questions and whether those questions are biased or slanted towards achieving a certain result, it is not a valid argument to dismiss Altemeyer on his own politics. You are attacking John Ray personally and whatever his politics may be rather than addressing the actual argument and methods he has used.

 

If Altemeyer is indeed measuring authoritarianism, then shouldn't his scale actually correlate to alternative measures of authoritarianism? How can one verify Altemeyer's methods if they do not correlate or correspond to independent means of validation? The alternative scale does not reference politics and thus is free of the potential bias that can exist in Altemeyer's scale which presumes a connection between the politics and the authoritarianism in the questions themselves. Its really impossible to avoid the obvious fact that the RWA questions are worded in such a way as to presume that authoritarianism and right-wing politics are inherently connected.

Edited by chadn737
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There is an easy way to test Altemeyer and one that does not involve self-reference. We can see whether his scale correlates to other scales. As I mentioned earlier...which seems to have gone unnoticed...John Ray early on tested this very thing by comparing Altemeyer to two seperate scales.

Stop right there. Given what I just posted from Jay's page I have to consider him by your own measures an extremely biased source. The quotes of his I gave if used here in a post by a member would bring fast & sure censure and accorded no credibility. Honestly, it is just this kind of foaming-at-the mouth rhetoric from conservatives that leads people to ask if conservatives are mildly insane.

I'd like you to declare whether you have actually read Altemeyer's book that I am sourcing or if not whether you intend to. I have not accepted what others said of it & I expect no less from respondents here.

Edited by Acme
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The questionnaire you linked to is just one of many that Altemeyer uses. Who is picking the cherries here?

 

 

The questionnaire in question IS the RWA questionaire...I'm using Altemeyer's own scale....its not cherrry picking to use the very scale the author himself created and used in most of his work.

 

pg.166 ...

This country would be better off if we cared less about how equal all people are.

Some groups of people are simply not the equals of others.

Some people are just more worthy than others.

 

These items are from the Social Dominance Orientation scale, and if you want the job of Dictator For Life youll agree with them, coming out foursquare against equality. In turn, you will disagree with:

 

If people were treated more equally, we would have fewer problems in this country.

We should try to treat one another as equals as much as possible.

Increased social equality.

 

Felicia Pratto of the University of Connecticut and Jim Sidanius at UCLA presented the test in 1994 as a measure of belief in social inequality. Whereupon Sam McFarland at the University of Western Kentucky used their scale and twenty-one others in a magnificent "pitting experiment" aimed at finding the best predictors of prejudice. He discovered that only two of the 22 tests he threw "into the pit" to fight it out could predict prejudice at all well: the Social Dominance Orientation scale, and the RWA scale. ...

 

The social dominance orientation scale (SDO) is not the same as a measure of authoritarianism. Rather it is meant to predict a desire for social dominance (for that individual or for a group)....although this is problematic as the exact interpretation has changed overtime and some have argued that the variations of the scale do not measure the same thing or even hypothesis. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9221.2004.00400.x/abstract

 

Secondly, there is VERY WEAK correlation between Altemeyer's RWA and the SDO. The correlation betwen the two is only ~r=0.18 http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0022-3514.67.4.741

 

In fact, studies that measure SDO and RWA and their connection to prejudice show that the two are independent variables that are additive in nature rather than being interactive. This of course makes clear sense if one remembers that the two are very weakly correlated. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9221.2006.00531.x/abstract

 

The "context" of this quote from Altemeyer's book doesn't support your argument as you think it does. The SDO is not an independent scale of authoritarianism. Altemeyer is rather talking about independent tests that predictive of prejudice....but as the last paper I cite shows, this is NOT because SDO and RWA are related, but because the two are additive in an independent way. This completely undermines your argument, because the independence of SDO and RWA shows that the SDO is not a substitute or independent validation of what the RWA is attempting to measure.

Stop right there. Given what I just posted from Jay's page I have to consider him by your own measures an extremely biased source. The quotes of his I gave if used here in a post by a member would bring fast & sure censure and accorded no credibility. Honestly, it is just this kind of foaming-at-the mouth rhetoric from conservatives that leads people to ask if conservatives are mildly insane.

I'd like you to declare whether you have actually read Altemeyer's book that I am sourcing or if not whether you intend to. I have not accepted what others said of it & I expect no less from respondents here.

 

No, you are not applying my "own measures" you are applying fallacious arguments: appeal to motive and ad hominem attacks. I claim Altemeyer's test is biased based on the actual questions of the test and what it sets out to measure. My standards of bias are based on the actual methods that underly the RWA. Your argument is premised on John Ray (not "Jay") as a person and completely ignore the actual analysis conducted by John Ray. The two are not equivalent. I attack the methods, a valid form of scientific and logical argumentation. You attack a person, a classic fallacy.

Edited by chadn737
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The questionnaire in question IS the RWA questionaire...I'm using Altemeyer's own scale....its not cherrry picking to use the very scale the author himself created and used in most of his work.

 

 

The social dominance orientation scale (SDO) is not the same as a measure of authoritarianism.

 

 

Rather it is meant to predict a desire for social dominance (for that individual or for a group)....although this is problematic as the exact interpretation has changed overtime and some have argued that the variations of the scale do not measure the same thing or even hypothesis. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9221.2004.00400.x/abstract

 

Secondly, there is VERY WEAK correlation between Altemeyer's RWA and the SDO. The correlation betwen the two is only ~r=0.18 http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0022-3514.67.4.741

 

In fact, studies that measure SDO and RWA and their connection to prejudice show that the two are independent variables that are additive in nature rather than being interactive. This of course makes clear sense if one remembers that the two are very weakly correlated. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9221.2006.00531.x/abstract

 

I'm not sure of the "context" of this quote from Altemeyer's book, but it doesn't support your argument as you think it does. The SDO is not an independent scale of authoritarianism. Altemeyer is rather talking about independent tests that predictive of prejudice....but as the last paper I cite shows, this is NOT because SDO and RWA are related, but because the two are additive in an independent way. This completely undermines your argument, because the independence of SDO and RWA shows that the SDO is not a substitute or independent validation of what the RWA is attempting to measure.

 

I read all you wrote. Blah blah blah repeating a thing over & over does not make it so. I again call on you to say whether or not you have actually read Altemeyer's book or intend to, as well as call on you to justify the hateful language I found on Jay's page. You keep citing him as an authority but his rhetoric if used by a member here would tag him as a luny crackpot in short order.

 

PS To all dear tender readers please forgive any recent typos, delayed response, & brevity for a few hours as we're having a major wind storm and I keep losing power & web connections. If need be I'll clean things up when things get back to normal.

Edited by Acme
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I read all you wrote. Blah blah blah repeating a thing over & over does not make it so. I again call on you to say whether or not you have actually read Altemeyer's book or intend to, as well as call on you to justify the hateful language I found on Jay's page. You keep citing him as an authority but his rhetoric if used by a member here would tag him as a luny crackpot in short order.

 

You are trying to introduce several red herrings here and are deliberately ignoring the arguments made while persisting in your use of ad hominem attacks on John Ray. By the way, this is the 3rd or 4th time now you have called him "Jay" which is not his name.

 

You can either address the actual arguments I have made or concede the issue. Let me reiterate those arguments:

 

1) RWA fails to correlate with alternative measures of authoritarianism, but does correlate with alternative measures of conservatism. Logically, one must conclude that RWA does not measure authoritarianism and is simply another measure of conservatism.

 

2) The language used in the RWA (the actual questions used being referenced) inherently presume an association of right-wing beliefs with authoritarianism. This is reflected in the absence of non-authoritarian right wing beliefs in the questionairre or corresponding authoritarian left-wing beliefs.

 

3) The questions in the RWA are exclusively focused on a very narrow set of right wing beliefs of a particular moral/social nature.

 

4) The RWA does not correlate with other tests that you have proposed, such as the SDO.

 

5) The meta-analysis conlfates multiple measures that are not all equivalent (F-scale, C-scale, RWA, voting records).

 

6) Many of the reported associations (particularly in the meta-analysis) have small effect sizes.

 

......you have not actually addressed any of these arguments, all of which have been supported by published research, examination of Altemeyer's own methodology, and established statistical methodology. Your counter argument has been to resort to ad hominem and appeal to motive fallacies on John Ray, the introduction of red herrings, and also your own argument from repetition. I suggest you address the actual arguments I have made and then we can have a real discussion.

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You are trying to introduce several red herrings here and are deliberately ignoring the arguments made while persisting in your use of ad hominem attacks on John Ray. By the way, this is the 3rd or 4th time now you have called him "Jay" which is not his name. ...

Pardon me; Ray. As I said I'm typing hastily due to a storm. 'Ray's' bias is no more a red herring than your continuing whine about Altemeyer's bias.

 

I won't address anything until you say whether you have read -or intend to read- Altemeyer's book.

Edited by Acme
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You are trying to introduce several red herrings here and are deliberately ignoring the arguments made while persisting in your use of ad hominem attacks on John Ray. By the way, this is the 3rd or 4th time now you have called him "Jay" which is not his name. ...

Pardon me; Ray. As I said I'm typing hastily due to a storm. 'Ray's' bias is no more a red herring than your continuing whine about Altemeyer's bias.

 

I won't address anything until you say whether you have read -or intend to read- Altemeyer's book.

 

Red herring. This is completely irrelevant to the arguments made. Do you understand the concept of a red herring? It is an attempt to introduce an irrelevant issue to distract from arguments made.

Let me reiterate the arguments made against the RWA scale, the meta-analysis, and other claims so that you can address the actual argument:

 

1) RWA fails to correlate with alternative measures of authoritarianism, but does correlate with alternative measures of conservatism. Logically, one must conclude that RWA does not measure authoritarianism and is simply another measure of conservatism.

 

2) The language used in the RWA (the actual questions used being referenced) inherently presume an association of right-wing beliefs with authoritarianism. This is reflected in the absence of non-authoritarian right wing beliefs in the questionairre or corresponding authoritarian left-wing beliefs.

 

3) The questions in the RWA are exclusively focused on a very narrow set of right wing beliefs of a particular moral/social nature.

 

4) The RWA does not correlate with other tests that you have proposed, such as the SDO.

 

5) The meta-analysis conlfates multiple measures that are not all equivalent (F-scale, C-scale, RWA, voting records).

 

6) Many of the reported associations (particularly in the meta-analysis) have small effect sizes.

Edited by chadn737
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Have you read or do you intend to read Altemeyer's book?

 

How is it relevant to the arguments made? Do you intend to actually address the arguments or persist in a red herring fallacy.

 

Once again...the actual arguments made:

 

1) RWA fails to correlate with alternative measures of authoritarianism, but does correlate with alternative measures of conservatism. Logically, one must conclude that RWA does not measure authoritarianism and is simply another measure of conservatism.

 

2) The language used in the RWA (the actual questions used being referenced) inherently presume an association of right-wing beliefs with authoritarianism. This is reflected in the absence of non-authoritarian right wing beliefs in the questionairre or corresponding authoritarian left-wing beliefs.

 

3) The questions in the RWA are exclusively focused on a very narrow set of right wing beliefs of a particular moral/social nature.

 

4) The RWA does not correlate with other tests that you have proposed, such as the SDO.

 

5) The meta-analysis conlfates multiple measures that are not all equivalent (F-scale, C-scale, RWA, voting records).

 

6) Many of the reported associations (particularly in the meta-analysis) have small effect sizes.

 

 

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Have you read or do you intend to read Altemeyer's book?

 

How is it relevant to the arguments I have made? If its not, then its a red herring. You do understand the concept of a red herring fallacy....correct?

 

Once again...actual arguments to address:

 

1) RWA fails to correlate with alternative measures of authoritarianism, but does correlate with alternative measures of conservatism. Logically, one must conclude that RWA does not measure authoritarianism and is simply another measure of conservatism.

 

2) The language used in the RWA (the actual questions used being referenced) inherently presume an association of right-wing beliefs with authoritarianism. This is reflected in the absence of non-authoritarian right wing beliefs in the questionairre or corresponding authoritarian left-wing beliefs.

 

3) The questions in the RWA are exclusively focused on a very narrow set of right wing beliefs of a particular moral/social nature.

 

4) The RWA does not correlate with other tests that you have proposed, such as the SDO.

 

5) The meta-analysis conlfates multiple measures that are not all equivalent (F-scale, C-scale, RWA, voting records).

 

6) Many of the reported associations (particularly in the meta-analysis) have small effect sizes.

 

Edited by chadn737
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Have you read or do you intend to read Altemeyer's book?

 

Red Herring. You are digging yourself in a hole Acme by insisting on this logical fallacy. It very illogical.

 

Once again...actual arguments to address:

 

1) RWA fails to correlate with alternative measures of authoritarianism, but does correlate with alternative measures of conservatism. Logically, one must conclude that RWA does not measure authoritarianism and is simply another measure of conservatism.

 

2) The language used in the RWA (the actual questions used being referenced) inherently presume an association of right-wing beliefs with authoritarianism. This is reflected in the absence of non-authoritarian right wing beliefs in the questionairre or corresponding authoritarian left-wing beliefs.

 

3) The questions in the RWA are exclusively focused on a very narrow set of right wing beliefs of a particular moral/social nature.

 

4) The RWA does not correlate with other tests that you have proposed, such as the SDO.

 

5) The meta-analysis conlfates multiple measures that are not all equivalent (F-scale, C-scale, RWA, voting records).

 

6) Many of the reported associations (particularly in the meta-analysis) have small effect sizes.

Edited by chadn737
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