Talk:Biology and political orientation

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Articles on single studies do not meet WP policies and guidelines AFAICT. Collect (talk) 11:48, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

If you come up with something conclusive and actionable, let us know. Anarchangel (talk) 18:14, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
See WP:MEDRS. Cheers. Collect (talk) 20:34, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

Scope is too narrow[edit]

We have articles about liberalism and conservatism in various countries, and this jumps down not just to biological differences or brain differences, but structural brain differences. I think that this is too far to narrow it. I propose that the article be saved by including all measurable general differences in brain structure, function, and genetics, regardless of the modality of measurement used. This I think can be accomplished to some degree without even a change of title. I'll show you what I have in mind. Wnt (talk) 20:51, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Fifelfoo's deletion[edit]

I don't think that someone trying to get the article deleted should be taking pains to keep out what he doesn't think is relevant to it - especially when that happens to undermine the reason given for the deletion attempt. Also, I think that claiming that an IQ test isn't about intelligence when the sources say "intelligence" a form of original research. Wnt (talk) 02:36, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

  • AFD is as much about article improvement as deletion. Your text still makes no link between "intelligence" and the "brain", which you acknowledged elsewhere to be Original Research on your part. Fifelfoo (talk) 03:27, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Saying that IQ tests don't measure intelligence when the sources treat the two as interchangeable is original research. Saying that intelligence is a function of the brain seems like a pretty basic deduction, not requiring specialist knowledge. Though I might support an article renaming to make it clearer that such brain functions are included in it. I don't see how you can have an article about the brain and behavior without talking about such function. Wnt (talk) 04:08, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
If the sources say that IQ tests and "general intelligence" are identical and the result of the brain, the physiological apparatus contained in the skull, then you can say that. Otherwise your "basic deduction" is original research. Given that the concept of "general intelligence" and the emergence of the mind and consciousness are debated in the scholarly sources, you must rely upon what the scholarly sources you read use as their position in this debate. And the article needs to express this. At the moment the section you restored hangs on an unexpressed piece of original research which is contested in the scholarly literature. Where does the scholarly literature you read position itself on the brain. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:38, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Well what part of the body would you say you use to do your thinking? Sorry, but intelligence coming from the brain is not specialist knowledge. And your "general intelligence" debate is not taken up by the sources that cover the story. Wnt (talk) 05:11, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Actually, it is. Collect (talk) 13:20, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

'M' and 'W' study[edit]

I just posted a short description of a study that was much in the news in 2007. I wasn't able to find the original article though, hoping that someone else can find it. I'm guessing it's this article published in Nature, but I can't get the full-text and the abstract doesn't give enough description. — Asbestos | Talk (RFC) 17:13, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

I have removed this text ... However, a 1946 study of 6000 persons found that those more informed on current political issues had more years of formal education and were "more liberal in issues regarding Russia and atom-bomb control, but more conservative in their views regarding power for the workers and government guarantees."<ref>{{cite journal|url=|title=Liberalism and level of information|author=George Horsley Smith|journal=Journal of Educational Psychology|volume=39|issue=2|date=1948-02|pages=65-81|doi=doi: 10.1037/h0054514}}</ref> ... because it isn't related to brain differences - only educational differences. (talk) 14:36, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

I wasn't altogether sure of the relevance of that myself (I think I left a comment about that), but my feeling is that this article might benefit from a somewhat broader scope, so there's a chance it could become relevant with a retitling. Wnt (talk) 21:28, 16 April 2011 (UTC)


I didn't come up with anything on the first search, but has anyone looking at this seen any data on simple reading rate (not M and W, but finding a bit of information in a mass of text) vs. political orientation? It seems like data there might tie all the other data in this article together. (though I'm not necessarily saying it would turn out to be relevant to the current title) Wnt (talk) 21:34, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Miscellaneous ref(s)[edit]

Not knowing if the article is stable or if the ref will only get challenged anyway, I don't feel like trying to pull something out of the following; yet they may be relevant. Search Google Scholar with conservative liberal fMRI political for the following and more:


[2] (specifically, references therein about DRD4) and [3] (amygdala)

[4] (need full text)


[6] (need full text - reviews fMRI studies on political beliefs as of 2006)

[7] (need full text - Google abstract describes fMRI data)



[10] (free review mostly covering existing studies, I think)

This is from the first 30 results out of 418. Wnt (talk) 08:10, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

WP:IINFO, other issues[edit]

My thoughts: Both the Amydala size differences and Anterior cingulate cortex size differences sections appear to be collections of indiscriminate information and their purpose is unclear. They should be either merged with the preceding section or removed. "Conservatives have larger amygdalas" is relevant to the article, but "According to some studies, the amydala is larger in males than in females." Really? Cool! Seriously, though, things like that aren't don't even make sense in the context of the article. The Political genome studies section regards genetics and not the brain. Perhaps the article should be renamed to 'Biological differences' if it's going to cover genetics as well, otherwise it should simply be removed. Regards, Swarm X 19:34, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Nope. All are distinctly related either to the sections of the pbrain specified in the article, or to attributes which the article appears to give to brain sections. The DNA study is especially noteworthy as it encompasses more than 13,000 people, rather than 90. Collect (talk) 00:08, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
You do realize that message completely failed to address any of the points I made, right? Swarm X 02:42, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
It addresses 1. the material meets WP:MEDRS. 2. The material relates to the broad topic precisely (and rather more than most of the article does). 3. The basis of the article is one study implying that two areas of the brain relate to political position. Clearly, more substantial studies (that is, greater than 90 volunteers) are proper to discuss in that context. And a study of 13,000 people is a teensy bit more likly to have a statistical value than one of 90. Once the article refers to size of a brain section, then that topic should be fully explored, lest we mislead outr readers into thinking that a study of 90 people is meaningful, and one of 13,000 is not meaningful. Ask any statsistician which study he would use. Collect (talk) 12:10, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
All your points are legitimate but simply don't correspond with my concerns. For example, what does WP:MEDRS have to do with anything? I didn't even mention it. For example, "the amydala is larger in males than in females". That simply doesn't make sense in the context of the article! In amydala it does, but not in this article. It's just a matter of fact- it doesn't mean it should be removed, but it should be expanded on so that a reader knows what the hell that has to do with anything. Regarding the study of 13,000 people, I wasn't suggesting it isn't important. I was merely stating that the article's title doesn't cover it. This article should cover differences between conservatives' and liberals' brains. If it's going to cover genome studies the title should be changed to reflect that. Swarm X 19:21, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Proposed move[edit]

to Biology and political orientation as already contains §§ outside of (pure) brain research. In this case, the first three sections would become subsections of "Brain Studies". (talk) 02:05, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

also noting there already seems to be a testing of the line of "Scientific basis of political orientation". I don't think we want to go there because that makes for huge work in social sciences. (talk) 02:14, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
The new title would be better than the existing one, which makes no sense outside of a U.S. context. I'm not sure it would be ideal though - the title shouldn't imply that differences (if they actually exist - the article apparently relies entirely on primary sources, which makes assessments of validity difficult) are due to 'biology', i.e. that they are genetically determined - something the sources don't necessarily support. As for anything relating to a "Scientific basis of political orientation", there is nothing whatsoever in the article to support such generalisations - and until someone comes up with a scientific definition of 'conservatism' say, there cannot be. AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:21, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Acknowledged, I'll wait a week for other comment and make the move (as Lycurgus). (talk) 02:35, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Support The new title is a bit more encyclopedic. OIFA (talk) 18:09, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Done. Lycurgus (talk) 00:45, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Reverse inference[edit]

The section on structural differences in the brain explicitly describes a reverse inference conclusion, namely that liberals may be better at processing ambiguity and conservatives at processing threat. This claim is directly referenced from some news sources and not an actual paper. It is not fully clear to me whether this presents primarily an NPOV problem or just an "i used shoddy news sources that don't understand science" POV problem. The section should be rewritten to emphasize that the structural findings represent science, and that the conclusion represents shoddy reverse inference not supported by a parsimonious interpretation of the scientific evidence. The sections on reasons for generic size differences have nothing to do with biology and political orientation, so I am removing them. Niffweed17, Destroyer of Chickens (talk) 07:07, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

New study[edit]

I added the new study by Hodson, and sure enough, Collect was minutes behind. [11] I strongly suggest that the actual quote of the study's conclusion is the clearest way to convey what they authors have to say - things like revising "anti-homosexual prejudice" to "anti-homosexual attitudes", or leaving out the role of conservatism in mediating racist attitudes, clearly damages what the authors have to say. I also dispute that there is one word in WP:MEDRS saying that a competent popular news article about a story, written by someone careful enough to e-mail the authors for more information, should be taken out because it is "pop science". Readers have various levels of scientific literacy and sometimes may appreciate an easier to read reference. Wnt (talk) 16:51, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Wow - talk about AGF will ya! Copying verbatim an article abstract is known in the vernacular as a "copyright violation." Tha is, infringing on some silly concept known as "copyright." Amazingly enough, that is one of the things which has been greatly in the news laely, and I suggest genially that violating copyright is a "bad thing." Cheers. Collect (talk) 03:29, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh - and the "Livescience" cite does not support the claims you asserted it supported - that is the entire section about a 2012 study etc. And the LS cite specifically states In other words, it might not be a particular ideology that is linked to stupidity, but extremist views in general. which would then also have to be in the claim - one can not take bits and pieces and expect it to go unnoticed from an article. Cheers. Collect (talk) 03:33, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
(I should put in the link to Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#FYI:_eyes_on_conservatism_articles, where this was discussed. In brief, a 70-word quote is not a copyvio) I should add that as the text I added is "A 2012 study concluded that...", plus the quote, I certainly did not misrepresent the study, which the LiveScience article definitely discusses. Wnt (talk) 03:51, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Yep - one person there even thought that an abstract with a clear copyright notice is not copyright <g>. I think you better think that one out again. Collect (talk) 13:53, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I think you mean at User_talk:Jimbo_Wales#Copyright where you took it next. Wnt (talk) 16:10, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I did not take it to AN - so I am bemused by your comment here. But you certainly did make multiple posts at AN. Collect (talk) 16:50, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Comments on the "Functional assays"[edit]

  • The section has six references for Kanazawa's study but still does include his explanation for the relationship. Should be expanded.
  • WP:MEDRS does not apply to this article.
  • Has a scattering of primary studies with only some of them being mentioned in some other source. I propose we also include this study [12] which looks at the relationship in a developing country, controls for several important confounders, and has an interesting discussion of possible causes. Academica Orientalis (talk) 22:28, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Excellent. Another home for Kanazawa's psuedoscience and some "heredity" coat racking. Defiantly doesn't fall under MEDRS now. Another one for the list. Awesome. —ArtifexMayhem (talk) 07:38, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

The lead is far too certain[edit]

Surely we're not in a position at this stage to say for certain that " biology IS linked with political orientation".

How about "A number of studies have found that biology may be linked with political orientation"?

HiLo48 (talk) 21:51, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Agree. Academica Orientalis (talk) 22:01, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Unreliable section[edit]

The section Biology_and_political_orientation#Heritability is based on a political science journal. This isn't reliable for claims outside their expertise, and I suggest it be removed. IRWolfie- (talk) 15:31, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

American Political Science Review is one of the most influential peer-reviewed journals in political science. Obviously it is a reliable source. Political science, which is an inter-disciplinary field, is not prohibited from studying the influence of biology in their research. Do you have any evidence for scientific misconduct? Academica Orientalis (talk) 15:38, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
There does not have to be scientific misconduct, just a lack of expertise to make it unreliable for the purpose on wikipedia. IRWolfie- (talk) 15:52, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
How do you know that there was a lack of expertise in the peer-review? The article has hundreds of citations so the scientific community has seen it as very important. Academica Orientalis (talk) 15:55, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
A section based on a single article is of course WP:UNDUE weight whether or not it is reliable, which it probably is since none of the authors are geneticist and the journal doesn't specialize in this topic. If it has so many citations then it becomes relevant to see how it has been received and by whom. And it would of course have to be appropriately weighted. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:03, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
No evidence has been presented there being any errors done regarding this very influential article. Today political scientists often do research using biological methods. Many similar articles could be cited. The article is notable just from the attention it has received in newspapers such as the cited NYT article. Academica Orientalis (talk) 16:08, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
What errors? I know you are well aware of the controversial status of this research and of the literature criticizing twin studies as a basis for heritability - so why haven't you included it instead letting this particular single (controversial) study stand alone? A single news coverage does not show notability and notability doesn't mean that the topic is exempt from undue weight. A section on heritability of political attitudes obviously cannot be based on one study but should be based on a wide review of the literature. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:12, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
General criticisms regarding heritability research should be in the heritability article. The news coverage and the numerous scientific citations arguably show notability. Academica Orientalis (talk) 16:23, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
and then again arguably it doesn't. And no if you want to write about heritability of political views then you will have to include a balanced selection of sources also those that criticize the methods used. You don't get to write pov-forks at wikipedia, may I suggest metapedia?·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:33, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I note that you have provided an article specifically criticizing the above article. That is better. For criticisms in general regarding heritability there is the heritability article. We can certainly point out that there are criticisms of heritability but detailed general criticisms of heritability belongs in the heritability article. Academica Orientalis (talk) 16:39, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
No, it belongs whereever data based on dubious heritability estimates is presented in wikipedia. The Handbook of Social Psychology is very specific in citing Alford's study and using it top motivate a general critique of them ethod that it builds on. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:44, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Obviously there are critics but there are thousands on studies of heritability and the concept can be found in any introductory psychology textbook. General criticisms belong in the general heritability article although the controversy may be briefly mentioned in elsewhere. Specific criticisms of political orientation studies belong here. Common Wikipedia practice. Academica Orientalis (talk) 16:49, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't take your word for what is common wikpedia practice.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:50, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia has wikilinks so we do not need to duplicate large amount of contents in many different articles. Brief summaries refer to main articles. Academica Orientalis (talk) 16:54, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
No, that is not how NPOV works. If data is controversial we either exclude it or describe how and why it is controversial. We don't expect readers to follow a wikilink to find out that she is reading dubious information.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:56, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Obviously is there is a large and complex controversy this cannot be duplicated in every article. We point out that there is controversy and refer to the main article. Academica Orientalis (talk) 17:05, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

I have removed the section since there is acceptance that there is a large controversy with using this study and the methods have no quantitative significance. IRWolfie- (talk) 09:52, 26 June 2012 (UTC)


This is a highly contentious field with large amounts of skeptical literature - this does not come across at all in the article making it fundamentally biased.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:16, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

It would be good if you backed up your claims with sources. Academica Orientalis (talk) 16:10, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
It would be good if you once in your life decided to write a balanced article instead of just promoting your political agenda. You know the sources exist and where to find them and yet you cherry pick the single study that supports your agenda and presents it as if it is generally accepted and when challenged you shift the burden of evidence to those who disagree. Just like you have always done.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:16, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Handbook of Social Psychology, Volume 1. Susan T. Fiske, Daniel T. Gilbert, Gardner Lindzey. p. 372. Cites Alford et al and then goes on to describe all of the problems with twin studies, and heritability studies in general.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:17, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
If you want to criticize heritability research in general that is a topic for the heritability article. Heritability is only a minor section in this article.Academica Orientalis (talk) 16:21, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
No. If you want to write a section on heritability of political attitudes you will include a balanced overview of the research - also that which criticizes the methods used.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:31, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Obviously this article cannot duplicate the contents of the general heritability article. That is why Wikipedia has wikilinks. Academica Orientalis (talk) 16:36, 24 June 2012 (UTC) Academica Orientalis (talk) 16:36, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Jon Beckwitha and Corey A. Morrisa. Twin Studies of Political Behavior: Untenable Assumptions? Perspectives on Politics (2008), 6 : pp 785-791. A direct critique of Alford et al. pointing out the problems with twinstudies and the flawed assumptions of the original study.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:34, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
That is better. A more specific criticism. Academica Orientalis (talk) 16:36, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
The other is equally specific, and makes the same point that twin studies are outdated as a support for genetic arguments. Conclusions about genetics require genetic data, not surrogates.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:41, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

This is a reasonaly balanced review of the field of genetics and political behavior, which you could have found if you had looked.

  • Peter K Hatemi, Enda Byrne and Rose McDermott. Introduction: What is a 'gene' and why does it matter for political science? Journal of Theoretical Politics 2012 24: 305.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:41, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

This study also reviews the evidence and shows that influence of biology relative to socialization changes over the life course.

  • Hatemi, Funk et al. Genetic and Environmental Transmission of Political Attitudes Over a Life Time. The Journal of Politics (2009), 71 : pp 1141-1156. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:43, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
It is good that you have found and added some opposing views. Is there anything else or can the template be removed? Academica Orientalis (talk) 17:07, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
The template can be removed when the article is balanced. I am not going to edit it anymore, I'm going to give you the opportunity to try to give a balanced view of a topic for once. It is not my job to clean up after you.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:10, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Since the technique has clearly been discredited, I propose removing the section. IRWolfie- (talk) 17:36, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

It has not been discredited. Some argue that exact estimates are not reliable but that they show general importance of genetics. As in the study you removed. Here is another: [13]. To quote "This statistic, in many ways so basic, is both extremely powerful in revealing the presence of genetic influence and very weak in providing much information beyond this." Academica Orientalis (talk) 17:41, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Here is a paper in Nature Reviews arguing for the continued importance of heritability: [14]. Academica Orientalis (talk) 17:44, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
They don't they also say that twin studies are passe, "Twin studies of heritability are suggestive of genetic factors in social and political attitudes, but they do not specify the biological or psychological mechanisms that could give rise to ideological differences. Recently, researchers have turned to molecular genetics approaches, which involve sampling subjects’ DNA from blood or saliva, and identifying individual differences, or polymorphisms, in a particular gene (Canli 2009)."
That does not say they are passe. As the articles I have cited stated, twin studies can demonstrate that genetics factors are influential but not exact numbers or mechanisms. Academica Orientalis (talk) 23:02, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
No it cannot "demonstrate" any such thing - it can suggest the possibility and that is about it.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:03, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
See the quote above: "This statistic, in many ways so basic, is both extremely powerful in revealing the presence of genetic influence and very weak in providing much information beyond this." Academica Orientalis (talk) 23:04, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Joseph, Jay. 2010. The Genetics of Political Attitudes and Behavior: Claims and Refutations. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Volume 12, Number 3, 2010 , pp. 200-217(18)·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:34, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Stephen G. Engelmann. Theory Trouble: The Case of Biopolitical Science. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft (ÖZP), 39. Jg. (2010) H. 1, 55–71.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:41, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Another critique of Alford, Funk & Hibbing:

  • Evan Charney. 2008. Genes and Ideologies. Perspectives on Politics / Volume 6 / Issue 02 / , pp 299 - 319·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:48, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Response by Hannagan & Hatemi Rebecca J. Hannaganan and Peter K. Hatemi. 2008. The Threat of Genes: A Comment on Evan Charney's “Genes and Ideologies” Perspectives on Politics (2008), 6 : pp 329-335 Rejoinder by Charney:

  • Evan Charney. 2008 Politics, Genetics, and “Greedy Reductionism”. Perspectives on Politics (2008), 6 : pp 337-343

Another article about the topic from Charney: EVAN CHARNEY and WILLIAM ENGLISH. 2012. Candidate Genes and Political Behavior. American Political Science Review February 2012 106 : pp 1-34·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 22:52, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

  • It goes without saying that the article will not be neutral before it incorporates this substantial body of critical literature that I have pointed to.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:01, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
That is an argument for improvement the contents and not for removing all of the contents. Also, just listing articles without stating concretely what the criticisms are is not very helpful. Your articles certainly establishes an ongoing debate and interest in this topic. Academica Orientalis (talk) 23:07, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Which is why I am not voting delete. I don't mean to be helpful.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:10, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Not wanting to be helpful is not a good reason for deleting the article. Academica Orientalis (talk) 23:13, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Are you alright in the head? I have now told you three times that there is a reason I am not voting delete.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:15, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, and it is not an acceptable Wikipedia reason for wanting to delete. Your personal attack does not help. Academica Orientalis (talk) 23:19, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
...·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:24, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Ah, my mistake, I missed the "not". Does not change the actual argument though. Wanting to remove all contents and deletion is not dissimilar.Academica Orientalis (talk) 23:33, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Apparently you read talkpage comments the same way you read sources and search for literature: Very selectively.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:39, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
You have argued non-neutrality regarding some contents. Does it not a reason for removing almost all of the content by stubbifing the article. Academica Orientalis (talk) 23:45, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I have argued a completely lopsided coverage that is unreasonable to expect someone else to correct. It needs to be rewriten by someone who si capable of doing a basic literature review.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:47, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
So far you have presented no concrete claims of what is supposed to be lopsided except regarding the small heritability section. The guiding principle is adding opposing views not removing claimed one-sided views. If you have concrete opposing views, then please state them so they can be added.Academica Orientalis (talk) 00:08, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I have adequately stated my case. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:09, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
So have I. I guess we have to agree to disagree. Academica Orientalis (talk) 00:15, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I agreed about that a long time ago.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:16, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Errors proceeding from Ad hominem[edit]

It would be good if you backed up your claims with sources. Academica Orientalis (talk) 16:10, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
It would be good if you once in your life decided to write a balanced article instead of just promoting your political agenda. You know the sources exist and where to find them and yet you cherry pick the single study that supports your agenda and presents it as if it is generally accepted and when challenged you shift the burden of evidence to those who disagree. Just like you have always done.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:16, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
There is a discussion at ANI, of which Maunus is a part, to block Acadēmica Orientālis on nature/nurture topics. However, this does not in itself justify the deletion of material.
There was another discussion at WP:Reliable sources noticeboard#Biology and political orientation, in which Maunus, IRWolfie, and Fifelfoo, who were "plaintiffs" in this case, proceeded to also act as a "jury" of respondents. The abuse of process and lack of policy-based reasoning also render the discussion there not a justification.
As there is no policy-based reason to delete the first part of the section on Heritability removed by IRWolfie I am restoring it. The second part of it is WP:OR, and IRWolfie was quite right to remove it.
I also have shown reason to believe that the overextending of the edit was caused by an assumption that Acadēmica Orientālis was acting in bad faith due to his prior behaviour, and that Maunus, IRWolfie, and Fifelfoo have acted against the interests of WP best procedure in pursuit of this issue; this does not have a bearing on my decision to restore the material, but I ask that Maunus and IRWolfie bear this in mind in future discussions with AO, editing of material that he has contributed, and in future discussions of that material. Anarchangel (talk) 23:52, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
  • For the record, getting the sequence of events right, it was the RSN thread that brought me here, and coming here and seeing that it was my old friend AO at work it motivated me to seek the topic ban. I think that your restoration of the material on heritability with imoroved neutrality and sourcing is a step in the right direction. I still assume that AO has been acting in bad faith, this assumption is based in years of experience "collaborating" with him. It does not influence my judgment of edits to this article by other editors, especially not when, like you do, they take the time to integrate the contradictory views that exist on the topic. I still think you could integrate the several critical sources that I have provided better in to the section.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 01:01, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
  • My last contribution to this article was 00:00, 15 April 2011‎; and I've not yet participated in the current AfD but looking at the sourcing basis in line with WP:MEDRS I may choose to do so. I do not appreciate your ad hominem argument Anarchangel. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:36, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Your characterization of the critiques of twin methods with just, "The similarity of the environment in which twins are reared has been questioned", is really quite bad. Especially as Beckwith and Morris 2008 specifically address Alford et al. 2005 in some detail. -- (talk) 04:11, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
So does Charney. And the Handbook of Social Psychology mentions Alford et al also specifically in relation to problems with Twin Studies.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:44, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

More studies by Charney[edit]

E. Charney. "Behavior Genetics and Post Genomics." Behavioral and Brain Sciences (Forthcoming). (link)
E. Charney and W. English. "Candidate Genes and Political Behavior." American Political Science Review 106.1 (February, 2012). (link)
E. Charney. "Political Science and Behavior Genetics: Rethinking Foundational Assumptions." Biology and Politics: The Cutting Edge. Ed. Albert Somit and Steven A. Peterson 2011 (link)
E. Charney. "Physiology may not be (political) destiny." PsyCrit (February, 2009). (link)
E. Charney. "Politics, Genetics, and 'Greedy Reductionism'." Perspectives on Politics 6.2 (June, 2008).
E. Charney. "Genes and Ideologies." Perspectives on Politics 6.2 (June, 2008): 299-319. (link)
Evan Charney and William English, “Candidate Genes and Political Behavior,” American Political Science Review 106 (1), Feb. 2012.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:07, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

More studies by Alford, Hibbing, Hatemi, Funk et al.[edit]

Oxley, D. R., Smith, K. B., Alford, J. R., Hibbing, M. V. Miller, J. L., Scalora, M., Hatemi, P. K. & Hibbing, J. R. (2008) Political attitudes vary with physiological traits. Science Vol. 321 (19) September.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:09, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

GenopoliticsBiology and political orientation/Biopolitics[edit]

I hadn't noticed this before, but it seems that the behavior genetic stuff (twin and candidate gene studies, but not the linkage study) is duplicated at Genopolitics. It's a little better fleshed out, the only twin study missing is Hatemi et al. (2010) and it has all the candidate gene studies that have been published so far. Although, it doesn't engage with the critical back and forth (6 separate articles) that Alford, Funk and Hibbing (2005) spawned. -- (talk) 20:55, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

What is SES?[edit]

The acronym "SES" is used in this article, but never explained. I have added a clarify tag to its initial use. Attys (talk) 20:40, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

SES is the standard abbreviation for Socioeconomic status. However annoying, unexplained use of an acronym is, imo, the least of the problems of this profoundly embarrassing page. —MistyMorn (talk) 20:48, 29 July 2012 (UTC)


Sorry to say but WP:MEDRS does apply. This is clearly an article about a medical explanation for political views. CartoonDiablo (talk) 20:17, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

No one would come here looking for medical advise. It does not apply ----Snowded TALK 20:18, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
I saw a post at WT:MED. I would say it depends on the statement/section. Is there a specific sentence that is under dispute? Some sections in medical articles use MEDRS whereas others don't (for example, society and culture sections are not covered). However, there are sections in articles that not tagged as under WP:MED (such as Soursop#Health_benefits) that of course should be covered. In general, I tell others biomedical information is covered by MEDRS. I know this article is more bio than medical, but MEDRS can be a helpful biological science guideline too. Biosthmors (talk) 22:46, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
There is perhaps a question of whether the work of political scientists in this area can be considered reliable for genetics, neuroscience, etc. if it is published in political science journals or books. -- (talk) 23:59, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • It doesn't apply, it not why that was written. Wikipedia's articles, while not intended to provide medical advice, are nonetheless an important and widely used source of health information.[1] Therefore, it is vital that the biomedical information in articles be based on reliable, third-party, published sources and accurately reflect current medical knowledge. No one is going to use this to decide whether or not to use any medical drugs or treatments. Dream Focus 00:35, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I think it's best to ask a third opinion in this case. While people may not use it for direct medical advice they very well might use it to see if their genetics affect their political attitudes. CartoonDiablo (talk) 02:00, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Assuming you are correct that they might so consult, which I doubt, its still not a medical issue. If your argument was correct then all political articles would also be subject to MEDRS. You are wikilawyering again CartoonDiablo. Going to three DRs over this one as well? ----Snowded TALK 05:35, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Are you serious? Do you really believe someone will read this to see what their genes might be like, and this information will someone cause them to make a medical decision in their life? There are no pills or surgery to take to alter your genes if you decide you want to alter your brain somehow to understand how a different political group thinks. Dream Focus 07:37, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Pictogram voting comment.png 3O Response: It's possible to disagree on exactly how to interpret the wording of WP:MEDRS but I think the underlying intent is quite clear; because medical article content may influence readers when they make very important personal decisions (do I take my child to a doctor, should I try homeopathy instead, &c) it's necessary to take a hard line on sourcing in order to ensure the accuracy and reliability of articles. Now, I'm sure we'd all agree that this article should be accurate and reliable, but I don't think MEDRS applies in that sense. It would be a good idea to seek out more reliable sources and keep a tight grip on fringe views or synthesis, simply because this topic has so much potential for controversy and drama, so MEDRS certainly helps point us in the right direction; but I don't think we are compelled to follow the letter of the law. If there is disagreement over the reliability of a source, it could be discussed on this talkpage, or maybe at RSN. bobrayner (talk) 11:31, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

I am undecided. The issue is whether we consider articles about psychology to come under MEDRS. One could argue that they should because people can seek medical treatment for psychopathology. There have been studies linking the conservative personality, which is a stong predictor of political orientation, with anti-social behavior, and discussion of methods to minimize conservative traits in order to change behavior. While it is unlikely that an individual would seek treatment, it is something that that others would seek for them. For example, "Change in the Conservative Personality Equals Change in the Offender with a Resultant Reduction in Recidivism" reviews studies on that subject. In response to the IP, I see no reason to exclude articles by political science since this would be an inter-disciplinary study. Even if MEDRS does not apply, the restrictions it imposes would help us to keep out inaccuately reported information and isolated studies that provide a misleading view of how the experts view this subject. TFD (talk) 09:33, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I think that's about right, MEDRS applies in general to most medical articles (even if they don't have a direct medical impact) and especially to those that do have an impact. If there is a medical statement being used (ie a gene basis for behavior) it should pass MEDRS, and if its more poli sci oriented it shouldn't. And to comment on political articles, no, political articles are not medical articles. This article however is because it shows a medical basis for political views. CartoonDiablo (talk) 01:10, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Biological, not "medical" basis. Biology and biomedicine are not synonymous. All biomedicine is biological, but not all biology is medical (see, fallacy of composition). Saying this, I don't think anyone disagrees that this subject should be sourced to the appropriate secondary scholarly literature and that preferrably this should be reviews in the genetics, neuroscience, etc. literature. -- (talk) 18:05, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Primary, secondary, etc.[edit]

As Wikipedia articles are not to be based on WP:PRIMARY sources, I'll say this article is of very low quality. Here are some secondary sources I found by searching for "genetic" and "politics" as topics then narrowing to reviews in ISI Web of Knowledge:

I haven't read any of these secondary sources, so I don't know how much detail the Neuron review devotes to political leanings. From the journal name and citation count it looks like a reliable medical source. I don't think the other two from journals indexed by PubMed. The most recent primary study I saw was

From a glance it casts more doubt on the quality of this article. Primary studies, such as the PNAS one, can be used as secondary sources to cite information from other studies. I bet if this article was rewritten with these four sources, it wouldn't need any cleanup tags. The lay press is not reliable for biological information, so I don't know why we are citing it. Biosthmors (talk) 23:42, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

In other words, WP:SCIRS applies. Biosthmors (talk) 20:14, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Brain studies et al.[edit]

The edit was done on the basis of MEDRS. No one is saying it didn't have sources but 3 primary sources is very bad sourcing for conclusions about the brains of people with different political views. CartoonDiablo (talk) 01:38, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Which was discussed in an above section already Talk:Biology_and_political_orientation#MEDRS. Consensus is that the article is not covered by MEDRS. Don't use that guideline as an excuse to delete content you don't like. There is no way possible anything here will influence people to seek a certain medical treatment since there are no medical drugs or procedures for this. Dream Focus 03:41, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
I think the consensus is that it depends, and MEDRS is a useful guideline, as is SCIRS. Both explain that we are a WP:TERTIARY source. We aren't based off of primary sources, but secondary ones (and I have listed some secondary ones above). This article should be rewritten with articles like the ones I point out. Biosthmors (talk) 03:52, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
CartoonDiablo, have you done a literature search to identify all the citations each of these three primary sources received, and then sorted to identify how many/if any reviews have cited them? I'm not sure if there is a free way to do this. I know it can be done with ISI Web of Knowledge. Biosthmors (talk) 16:18, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
The only review of brain studies and politics that I could find was Knudsen et al. which is already cited in the article. However to the other points, clearly the consensus is for MEDRS when it comes to a direct medical claim and not when it's anything else. If it can't be solved here I think dispute resolution would help. CartoonDiablo (talk) 16:55, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Would you like for me to do a search for you? I'd be happy to if you were planning to improve the article by replacing primary sources with secondary sources. I don't get a hit for the word "Knudsen" in the article. Does the review (what is its doi?) cite each of the three primary studies? If so, then I don't see a reason to cite them individually. Let's source things to the secondary source, because we are an encyclopedia. Biosthmors (talk) 17:11, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
I believe they are referring to the Knutson et al. (2006) study (ref 10), which is not a review and is misspelt as Knudson in this article. The Jost and Amodio (2012) review (ref 1) cites all of the primary studies mentioned in this article, except for whatever study ref 20 is referring to. -- (talk) 23:30, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, and thanks for pointing out that secondary source. Biosthmors (talk) 15:15, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
You're welcome, the only other paper I know of that cites this particular combination of neuroimaging studies, Knutson et al. (2006), Amodio et al. (2007), Zamboni et al. (2009) and Kanai et al. (2011) (refs 10, 6, 9 and 2 respectively), is Theodoridis and Nelson (2012). I'd also point out that there is a more recent review of the genetic studies than the doi:10.1080/19485565.2011.568276 paper that you linked to above, Hatemi and McDermott (2012). -- (talk) 17:38, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

I had a brief(ish) look for any reviews in the neuroscience literature proper that discuss studies relating to politics and couldn't find anything more than brief mentions except for a review of neuromarketing which discussed several relevant studies in that context (specifically Westen et al. (2006), Kato et al. (2009), Spezio et al. (2008) and Kaplan, Freedman and Iacoboni (2007)).

Much of the politics related discussion in the neuroscience literature seems to be about the furore caused by this New York Times op-ed. -- (talk) 18:35, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Moving away from journals, I see two edited volumes which have some discussion of political attitudes/ideology and neuroimaging:

  • Dominguez D., Juan F.; Lewis, E. Douglas; Turner, Robert; Egan, Gary F. (15 December, 2009). "Chapter 4: The Brain in Culture and Culture in the Brain: A Review of Core Issues in Neuroanthropology". In Chiao, Joan Y. Cultural Neuroscience: Cultural Influences on Brain Function. Progress in Brain Research, Volume 178. Burlington: Elsevier. p. 59. ISBN 9780080952215.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Cunningham, William A.; Haas, Ingrid Johnsen; Jahn, Andrew (12 September, 2011). "Chapter 13: Attitudes". In Decety, Jean; Cacioppo, John T. The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience. Oxford Library of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 221–222. ISBN 9780195342161.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

The first cites Westen et al. (2006) and Amodio et al. (2007) (ref 6) and the latter cites Kaplan, Freedman and Iacoboni (2007), Westen et al. (2006), Kato et al. (2009), Knutson et al. (2006) (ref 10). -- (talk) 19:41, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

"Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans"[edit]

"Liberals and conservatives exhibit different cognitive styles and converging lines of evidence suggest that biology influences differences in their political attitudes and beliefs. In particular, a recent study of young adults suggests that liberals and conservatives have significantly different brain structure, with liberals showing increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex, and conservatives showing increased gray matter volume in the in the amygdala. Here, we explore differences in brain function in liberals and conservatives by matching publicly-available voter records to 82 subjects who performed a risk-taking task during functional imaging. Although the risk-taking behavior of Democrats (liberals) and Republicans (conservatives) did not differ, their brain activity did.... These results suggest that liberals and conservatives engage different cognitive processes when they think about risk, and they support recent evidence that conservatives show greater sensitivity to threatening stimuli"

Neo Poz (talk) 16:56, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Thank you! However, your study is a primary source, and, as stated in the section above, there are too many primary sources in this article as it is. Could you find a secondary source (a review)? Lova Falk talk 18:46, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
It's not my study, but I'm pretty sure the literature review in the introduction counts as a secondary source. Is that your understanding? It's been years since I've read the precise definition, but in any case that subsection with the literature review certainly went through peer review like the rest of the article. Neo Poz (talk) 19:33, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that is how I see it too! Primary sources often have a secondary-source-part in their introduction. Lova Falk talk 20:11, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

A secondary source for this study could be this brief review of the field in Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Actually, the short summary style of that review is something this article would do well to emulate; there is too much detail on primary studies in the current article. Amauahe (talk) 15:45, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

A hot mess[edit]

"deology"? Really? I'd clean this up but I ain't no filth eater. Lycurgus (talk) 08:39, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

I don't understand your comment, but I fixed the typo. HiLo48 (talk) 08:54, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
Acknowledged, ty. Biology and sexual orientation is a model/standard for what should be happening here. Lycurgus (talk) 22:47, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

This article is trash[edit]

This whole biology thing is total trash. All of this is unfalsifiable just a lot of propaganda and has nothing to do with biology

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