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diumenge, 13 de novembre de 2016

No todas las encuestas erraron

Es cierto que la mayor parte de las encuestas erraron sus pronósticos sobre quién ganaría la elección presidencial en los Estados Unidos. Pero no todas. Varios observatorios de opinión pública, entre ellos algunos de distintas Universidades americanas y ciertas empresas de larga y solvente trayectoria, apuntaron a una posible victoria de Trump o, en todo caso, mostraron que la batalla electoral era muy reñida y que en ningún caso Clinton la tenía ganada de antemano. Pero tal vez quién más acertó fue el periódico liberal Los Ángeles Times que en su seguimiento diario de la larga campaña presidencial evidenciaba la probabilidad delna victoria de Trump, como se puede comprobar en el siguiente gráfico:



Sin embargo, la práctica totalidad de los medios de información estadounidenses y europeos ignoraron esas encuestas y solo difundieron las que apuntaban a una victoria de la candidata demócrata. Encuestas realizadas para los grandes medios de comunicación, con un sesgo editorial explícito en contra de Trump. Así, se publicaron reiteradamente cosas como esta:



El problema de este gran error no radica en los grandes medios, de los cuales todo el mundo sabe su posicionamiento político e ideológico, sino en los científicos sociales, mayoritariamente escorados a la izquierda.

QUILLETTE.- When scientists blame the world for not conforming to their models, rather than the other way around, something is wrong. But why do people who consider themselves scientists not adhere to basic scientific methodology?

The reason, I suggest, is that the social sciences have fostered an environment where certain beliefs are held above scientific inquiry, thus making them unchallengeable. Consequently, scientists are unable to adjust their models of human behaviour when they make poor predictions, forcing the scientists instead into a position of surprise, perplexity, and moral condemnation.

Consider the values Trump has been promoting throughout his campaign. When he promises to make America great again and complains that America doesn’t win anymore, when he promises to reduce government, when he aggressively goes after his opponents, and when he refuses to couch his words in equivocation, he is not just offering a new political direction, he is thumbing his nose at contemporary moral beliefs, and many people are responding to it, especially men.

People have been taught for years that traits such as competitiveness, individualism, aggression, confidence, and national pride are morally suspect, and here comes a figure who is unafraid to challenge that. I’ve heard mentioned that Trump is tapping into many people’s disdain for political correctness, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg, in my opinion. I think he’s tapping into a broad resistance to contemporary moral beliefs, beliefs that have become increasingly institutionalised over the past fifty years.

The problem is that these are precisely the beliefs that are held above inquiry in the social sciences. Under normal scientific conditions, scientists would simply say ‘oh, it looks like we underestimated the extent to which these values are drivers of human behaviour, let us adjust our models’. But social scientists can’t do that, so all they can do is declare them immoral, whether it be Brexit, or Trump, or the movements in France and Germany and many other Western countries that are currently building.

It isn’t just that social scientists disagree on the details of how important this behaviour is to people, but that even discussing it in anything other than strongly moralistic terms is discouraged. And so, social scientists face a dilemma. Treating individualism, competitiveness, confidence, aggression, and national pride as behaviour worthy of description dilutes the power of ideologies to moralise against them. And this threatens the left, which dominates the social sciences and whose ideology is based on declaring these behaviours immoral. It’s hard for social scientists in this environment to remain objective, and since there are virtually no social scientists with opposing views, the science suffers. | Uri Harris
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