Friday, September 18, 2015

Why I No Longer Trust Academic Studies

Arguably the single largest concern I have about the economics "profession" is that the data we use to analyze and study economies of the past has been corrupted and tainted by political forces.  Not only because this means there are nefarious political forces at work, more than happy to stunt the economic growth of a nation for their own gains, but because without REAL and ACCURATE data we will be unable to achieve the ultimate goal of economics - unlimited wealth and riches for everyone.

This has not only given rise to sites such as "Shadow Stats," but has also made me question the data I'm using in my own research.

Can I trust the FRED database?
Do I dare trust the figures posted by the BEA?
Has Obama's latest affirmative action hire corrupted the BLS data?

It makes me question the economics profession as a whole as it becomes increasingly obvious the profession is failing to increase economic growth, not to mention blatantly whoring themselves out to socialist politicians.

The problem, however, is one of a submarine without a sonar.  How exactly do you analyze and research economics, society, politics, government, etc., without reliable data?  And the truth is you have to go back to logic, reason, and common sense because you have nothing else to go on.

But this brings about a problem on its own.  Especially if you are arguing against leftists when it comes to wealth redistribution and freedom.  For while you are using reason, logic, and common sense, the left has a virtual monopoly on "academic research," and all the "empirical" data that comes with it.  This allows them to simply point to bogus "studies" that "show" your wrong, when the most basic of common sense knows you're right.

To reconcile this I do two things.  One, I still do empirical research.  What I've found is that there are so many sources of economic data out there that they can't all be manipulated to serve (and consequently hide) a political agenda.

Can they tweak GDP?  Sure.
Can they revise the methodology of unemployment?  Of course.
Can they fabricate lower inflation figures?  Yes.

But then they also measure labor force participation, the DOE measures electrical consumption, and I can see the stock markets inflating (showing you there IS inflation in this economy) using those as proxy and alternative economic measures to know the "official ones" don't paint the most accurate picture.  In other words, if you dig deep enough you can still find the truth.

Two, I simply dismiss any research coming out of academia.

Of course, this seems the coward's and hypocrite's way out, but academia has been so corrupted it's laughable to think THEY provide real, accurate, and truthful data.  All one has to do is step back, wipe their eyes clean and look at what academia has become and ask what is more likely.

First, academia is more biased to the left than journalism.  It is chock full of society's lazy and ego-addicted adult children.  This means they can't just collect a government check, but need some kind of "faux career" where they play "make believe intelligent adult" and thus become professors, diversity counselors, chancellors, and other worthless persons.  However, since they avoid any type of real work, they need to constantly validate their existence in order to get a check.  And since the private sector insists on getting something of value in return for its money, they CONSISTENTLY vote for state intervention, forcing the tax payers to finance their entirely fraudulent and unnecessary industry.

You may find my description of them a bit harsh, but there is NO doubt they are biased and have a huge incentive to fabricate data to show a mandate for an increased state.

Second, related to the first, have you ever seen an academic study that concludes there should be LESS government involvement?  Have you ever seen a study that shows we should LOWER taxes?  Again, step back, look, and think.  Isn't it ODD their solution to EVERYTHING is "more government money?"  The pure lack of (ahem) "diversity" in their recommendations should prove academics and their studies are worthless.

Third, a conflict of interest.

Since many of these "academics" aim to solve the world's social problems, what happens when those social problems are resolved?

The answer - they lose their jobs.

Ergo, just like charities, their real goal is NOT to ever solve the problem, but stretch it out, propagandize it, and demand ever more resources to TREAT it.

This is why global warming is now "climate change."
This is why the bold faced lie of "the wage gap" persists.

Because "environmental science majors" and "women studies professors" dare never to admit they've solved the problem because then they'd have to grow up, become adults, and get jobs in the real world.

And final, the childish insanity that academia and academics have become.

You can't go a week without some veritable psychopath who some how got a professorship advocating the most insane of things.  Calling for the death of white males.  Claiming everything is rape.  Or (typically Berkeley) offering the most retarded of classes ever

Academia is NOT the valid institution it once was back in the 1950's, but an insane asylum for society's spoiled and psychotic adult children who offer nothing of value or worth to society.

Of course, me calling professors and academians names doesn't make it so.  I could be wrong after all, and they could all be 100% on the up and up.  100% honest researchers with the utmost of integrity, and I'm just an angry ideologue who doesn't like the fact their (COUGH COUGH) "empirical" research proves my world view wrong.

Well, enter in this little gem

Apparently, in an attempt to test the validity of psychological studies, researchers (real ones) were only able to replicate the same result of only ONE THIRD the original studies.  And this suggests proves what I've been saying all along, confirming my suspicions.

The social sciences, especially in academia, is bunk.

It's BS.

It's all a lie and not to be trusted.

Perhaps, at some point in time in the past these studies were valid.  Perhaps back in those "hated" 40's you could trust your professor.  But given the circumstantial evidence of childish insanity at our universities, their outright and total leftist bias, not to mention the study above, today academia and the professors that populate them are


on society.

You want society to advance?  A really good first step would be to eliminate all taxpayer financing and funding of higher education.  But right now let's just settle on not believing one "study" let alone word that is ever uttered out of the mouths of these worthless academians.


grey enlightenment said...

Eliminate funding for low-ROI subjects

Hot Sam said...

And that's not even considering the Lucas Critique.

Economics as a profession is far less liberal than the other social sciences even though I would agree liberals hold too much influence. This says more about how universities are structured than what particular academic disciplines do. The only reason we have Gender or Ethnic Studies is because they are cross subsidized by the hard sciences. Eliminate the multidisciplinary core crap and those departments go away. Then they can't take control of faculty Senate and committees. There is indeed a lack of integrity in academia that needs to be addressed.

sth_txs said...

That's why I stick with reading and the Austrian school. Its just common sense or at least what used to considered as such.

The Federal Reserve bank is just a newer and improved version of five year plans from a Soviet central committee.

deb harvey said...

right on, straight arrow!!!

weka said...

Only half correct.

In psychiatry, we rely extensively on systematic reviews and meta analysis, and are setting up systems that allow us to get at the real data by requiring both protocols and results to be available in publicly available registers.

This is driven by regulations at the FDA and European Drug Agency level, and it is around product safety. Most of us trust psychology data -- but this is far easier to game, and when some things have been replicated they have failed abysmally.

And... when you see patients, you soon work out what works and what does not, because you don't get the results you want with the poor treatments.

What I find -- as an academic -- is that when I do have good data and good evidence (I have one clinical trial in the field right now, and another about to start) I'm ignored. The political cronies get in and push their more expensive and generally worse products.

At that point I need toxic doses of caffiene to keep the sarcasm down to civilized levels.

But then, I don't get grants, for I cannot speak fluent bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Oh ... I dunno. Occasionally one comes up trumps:

Unknown said...

This project is not evidence that anything is broken. Rather, it's an example of science doing what science does,” says Christopherson. “It's impossible to be wrong in a final sense in science. You have to be temporarily wrong, perhaps many times, before you are ever right.”

Read more:
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12!
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

The quote above was from the article you reference about those studies that could not be reproduced. All I can say is welcome to Wonderland Alice.

Unknown said...

I've made this point to several friends before. The basic drive of Libertarianism or Conservatism is to keep government limited and inalienable rights maximized. It is predicated on the idea that government is not benevolent and seeks to be ever expanding for it's own sake. The underlying drive behind Progressivism is to eliminate all the world's problems and various "isms" by growing government, regardless of the fact that government is the one institution in all of human history that is singly most responsible for all of the aforementioned problems. The irony is that in it's drive to eliminate problems, the Left must become what it hates the most and promote divisive socioeconomic policies that promote the fracturing of society on sexual, economic, religious, and ethnic lines because if the professional parasite class were to actually accomplish their stated aims, they would effectively be out of work, whereas the opposite camp has a perpetual purpose. This is precisely how the Communists, mainstream socialists and Fascists all operate. It is built into the Socialist operating program, and it cannot function without it.

Good post Cappy.

YIH said...

I can top your link for retarded college:
What is more retarded? Getting a degree in puppetry.
A Master's in puppetry.
To the tune of $300k of student debt. Not kidding.
The only person to ever become successful at that minored in it.

Anonymous said...

My personal favorite is how tens of millions of Americans still take statin drugs (used to lower cholesterol levels) even tho the lipid hypothesis (that dietary fat causes heart disease) turned out to be pure bs.

Or didn't you know that cholesterol is no longer even a "nutrient of concern"?

Let me quite Karl Denninger on that:

"I'll say that the so-called medical establishment willfully and intentionally ignoring contrary evidence on the lipid hypothesis along with what appears to be a bad etiological model for coronary artery disease that has become embedded in what's sold to you is the true extreme position, much as is someone who claims the Earth is the center of the universe or is only 5,000 years old, despite plenty of contrary evidence that is easily accessible should one care to look, simply because "God" said so."

It's all keep the problem going so the money keeps flowing...
That's how William Binney, a former intelligence official turned whistle-blower put it:

"We were coming into conflict with what I refer to as 'feasting' by the corporations that were leeches on the side of NSA and other agencies of the government, the 'military industrial happiness management complex'. They were keeping each other happy: officials would retire from government, go to work for those corporations, the corporations would send people in to manage the programs, they'd get the contracts back and they'd feed some more.

It's a circle, it just keeps going round. The entire leadership at NSA was focused this way and they wanted no creativity, no innovation, no problem solved, "keep the problem going so the money keeps flowing" that was their vision statement, I just didn't realize it.

They didn't want success, because that means you solved the problem, which they need to ask for more money to feed the corporations."

Paraphrased from a talk he gave at HOPE 2012.

Anonymous said...

Dear Captain,
Can you one day do a piece on the GDP/GNP numbers and how they have been 'jimmied' since the late 1960's (at least)?
I contend that they have manipulated to cover-up inflation, economic stagnation, and a gradually lowering standard of living.
Do you agree?
And if you think I'm a kook, then could you let me know why?

That is if you have already run out of other things to say first.