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    Feel-Good Science Explains Domestic Violence
    By Hank Campbell | January 7th 2013 12:40 PM | 42 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0® and co-author of "Science Left Behind".

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone...

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    In the New York Times, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman recently made the case for a return to the 1950s. Keynes-ian economics was still in vogue and taxes were higher for the super-rich, lots more people were in unions. Minorities and women had a tough time employment-wise but he thinks the economy was great, despite those recessions of 1953 and 1957.

    Not every American that cares about women, minorities and poor people agrees with Paul Krugman that the decade was all balloons and ponies. One factoid that would have bolstered his case among his detractors is that women were apparently abused a lot less then. Academics at Sam Houston State University conducted a survey for the Crime Victims' Institute in Texas and correlated women having jobs to relationship violence, and women worked a lot less in the 1950s so therefore domestic violence must have been less. If you don't agree, you will never have a career in sociology.

     
    In Science Left Behind, numerous chapters are spent debunking attempts to frame ideology as science. In the social sciences, for example, it's common to find two curves that match and imply causation. The paper academics wrote correlating partner violence to dual incomes is another example of such 'framing' - in this instance rationalizing inconvenient results by re-configuring them to make a statement about social justice.

    They did telephone interviews with 303 women who identified themselves as being currently or recently (last two years) in a serious romantic relationship. The names were taken from 700 Texas citizens in the Fourth Annual Texas Crime Victimization Survey. 67 percent of those women ages 18 to 81 said they had been subjected to some form of physical or psychological victimization by their partner during that period. Education levels made no difference, college graduates were just as likely to push, kick or pull a knife on their women, but when both people in the relationship were employed, the percentage of violence was more than double than if the man worked but not the woman.

    It means the traditional 1950s nuclear family leads to happiness, right?  Not in sociology. The authors instead concluded that men are insecure if their male authority is challenged by a woman working and those men lash out. We live in a time when only 20% of families have just a man workingTwo generations of dual employment means it is the norm in America. They blame male insecurity instead of obvious money issues and the stress those bring because it matches their cultural agenda.

    For example, dual employment was not the big risk factor for violence two years earlier.  In their 2010 paper “Assessing the Risk of Intimate Partner Violence”, the Crime Victims' Institute determined the issue was unemployment - and substance abuse.  In 2011 their Risk Factors Associated with Women's Victimization paper supported the feminist theory that victimization experiences of women were related to male patriarchy - in college students, no less. The big risk factor instead seems to be the research priority of the sociologists doing the surveying in any particular year. In this instance, Dr. Cortney Franklin is an assistant professor in Criminal Justice who focuses on violence against women and Tasha Menaker is a Ph.D. student who focuses on womens' issues.

    Rather than dual employment being the problem, it could be that some young women in Texas who reported intimate partner violence and then took a survey like the 'bad boys' and bad boys tend to be idiots in lots of ways.  The statistics bear that out, since older women were less likely to report being victimized than younger women. Instead of letting the data speak for itself, the authors speculate that women who are "home bound" lack self esteem and stay meek, whereas working women violate ingrained caveman sensitivities and get clobbered. They even refer to women who do not work outside the home as “domestic workers”, which sounds a lot like ‘maid’, and they say such women lack ‘social capital’ - a patronizing dismissal of stay-at-home moms that would be offensive if men wrote it.

    Franklin and Menaker are focused on violence against women, so it is not expected they would find it everywhere and tackle this topic, just like evolutionary biologists tackle evolutionary biology.  The distinction is that biology is science, and science can have a null hypothesis. Sometimes experiments don't work and the idea is thrown out.  In a survey masking itself as psychological science, there is no null hypothesis, there is no hypothesis at all, they just show a correlation and imply cause and it can never be wrong.  

    These kinds of analyses claiming to be science studies are why so many people on the left have begun to think science is a subjective world view rather than an explanation of the universe according to natural laws.  They take statistics-as-science claims to a whole new level, and it feeds the rising problem of feel-good fallacies replacing data-driven conclusions.

    Comments

    So, much of domestic vilolence boils down to men being insecure with their male authority as soon as a woman becomes an income earner. How freaking sad.

    Hank
    That must be your genetic caveman misogyny talking. Sociology will find it for you.
    There is actually evidence that dual income families typically have more financial stress. Seems surprising, but a lot of families choose to live right at the edge of their means, and if you have 2 people working, you have twice the probability of one of those people losing a job which can result in losing a house or filing bankruptcy.

    Hank
    Sure, in most cases a single income family is more well off in today's America. That is why only 20% of families have just a man working.  But for sociology to claim violence happens instead because men feel emasculated by a woman working is the kind of nonsensical back flips usually reserved for...well...okay, sociology.
    You would base your debunking of an entire field on one study of a paltry 300 individuals? Forgive me, but your analysis here is just as flawed as the lone study you cite. This piece is the very definition of pseudo-science, and nothing more than an advertisement for your book.

    Hank
    You would base your debunking of an entire field on one study of a paltry 300 individuals?
    No, I have debunked it hundreds of other times based on equally bad studies - sociology is full of them.  But oddly, instead of criticizing the authors for making the field look bad, you criticize me for showing how the authors make the field look bad. What would sociologists conclude from that?
    How refreshing to read an article that is not afraid of being PC. A rational dialogue must be started that assesses the real culprit in the destruction of the nuclear family, namely feminism and liberalism. Until we reopen these doors and are able to openly discuss the real issues, that have been effectively suppressed by the cancer that is Political Correctness we will never be able to have productive rational discussions of very serious topics such as the social issues that are at the core of the causes of events such as the recent Sandy Hook tragedy.

    Wow, so the basis of this non-sequitur of a blog about sociology is the mischaracterization of an article on the economics of the 50's?

    Seriously, such illogic has no place in a blog with the word 'Science' in its title. Just to draw attention to one core failure in this blog - you say:
    "Not every American that cares about women, minorities and poor people agrees with Paul Krugman that the decade was all balloons and ponies."

    While Krugman's article includes such sentences as:
    "Needless to say, it (the 50's) wasn’t really innocent." and "There are, let’s face it, some people in our political life who pine for the days when minorities and women knew their place, gays stayed firmly in the closet and congressmen asked, “Are you now or have you ever been?” The rest of us, however, are very glad those days are gone. We are, morally, a much better nation than we were. Oh, and the food has improved a lot, too."

    And that to you sounds like someone who is saying the 50's was all 'balloons and ponies'? You can't even acknowledge that those Americans who care about women, minorities and poor people are in fact agreeing with Krugman and not disagreeing with him?

    Kind of pathetic.

    Hank
    Pathetic? The problem with people who show up to talk about either social sciences or Paul Krugman's pretend economics is a tendency to use emotional verbage. It keeps rational people from taking them seriously. 

    I don't agree with Krugman because he does exactly what sociologists do here - takes a fact and then attaches a meaningless correlation and draws a conclusion that happens to meet his pre-set view. Only a warmed-over Keynes-ian could think that high taxes and union membership are why the 50s were a strong decade.
    Yes, complete mischaracterization of his article is pathetic. The problem with people who shy away from emotional verbiage while at the same time making essentially emotional arguments based on non-sequiturs and strawmen is they are usually trying to cover over their own pathetic shortcomings.

    You actually do agree with Krugman - the 50's weren't the ideal time some people's nostalgia will have you believe. You have to pretend that you disagree with him to keep true to your ideological blinders and dismiss the actual economic impact of the higher tax rates and lower executive salaries.

    Hank
    I don't have ideological blinders, I just know economics is made-up nonsense that economists map to their personal views about how money works. When has he ever been right? There is a reason Krugman does not want to be Treasury Secretary and it is because blogging for the NY Times means no accountability, while actually dealing with money does.

    What do higher salaries have to do with anything in the economy?  It's like saying baseball players were better in the 1950s because they had to have jobs in the offseason. And he leaves out, as do you, that 1950s taxes could not possibly support the services of the 1960s and beyond. Basically, he just likes higher taxes because he is selling what his audience wants to buy. He is welcome to pay them, as are you, but why punish everyone with academic speculation?
    The thesis of this piece is that social science is hopelessly politicized. This thesis is strongly supported by the scathing attacks, counterattacks and tendentious political claims made in the Reply section to this post. What is truth? Is it unchanging law? We both have 'truths', are mine the same as yours?.

    "These kinds of analyses claiming to be science studies are why so many people on the left have begun to think science is a subjective world view rather than an explanation of the universe according to natural laws."

    Correlation rather than causation?

    Hank
    In sociology that is good enough. Obviously there is no way to know the true motivations of people, that is why the social sciences use surveys and talk about statistics and try to pretend that is science. If you read that sort of postmodernist rationalization from the same exact demographic over and over, at some point you stick a flag in the ground and declare that must be a beginning - and then you argue the point until you are shown wrong.  We can't say for sure that Africa is the home of humans either, but you aren't wrong if you say that humans originated there. However, to postmodernists, it's all subjective anyway, so men can certainly beat their wives because they have jobs, just like scientists are out to kill us regarding everything but global warming.

    The right is beset with a different problem, they frame their anti-science beliefs through a prism of skepticism gone amok. Airplanes would never fly if right wing people got to bog us down in the fact that we don't yet understand how gravity works at the very large and very small levels.
    "In sociology that is good enough. "

    My error -- I thought you were expressing your own opinion of the origin of silly postmodernist attitudes.

    The problem isn't just with sociology. I see it often in other social sciences, the media, and politics. To some extent it is result-driven analysis. Other times, it is just plain stupidity about how to analyze statistical data. It is also a failure, many times, to ask the next question. I could run a regression analysis comparing homicides to solunar tables and prove conclusively that all homicides occur with a narrow time frame - within 24 hourst and two minutes of the most recent sunset. Thus, we can conclude that sunsets cause homicides but their effect lasts only a maximum of 24 hours and two minutes.

    The other problem is the tendency of people's innate desire to answer the question "why?" For some reason, however, the simple answer is too inelegant for them to accept. Why do some people commit horrific acts of violence? Maybe because they are sociopathic and/or psychopathic nut jobs? Call me crazy, but I bet that is the correct answer more often than not.

    Gerhard Adam
    ... but he thinks the economy was great, despite those recessions of 1953 and 1957.
    Which is supposed to mean what?  Those were arguably two of the "softer" recessions in the past 60 years.
    http://useconomy.about.com/od/grossdomesticproduct/a/recession_histo.htm
    Mundus vult decipi
    if statistics is not a science,then how come Nate Silverman predicted every state obama was going to win,by almost exact percentage points using only the public polls. oh his science is garbage and the polls were rigged and Mitt Romneys inauguration is in a couple of weeks.

    The same way Nate Silvermann predicts elections by using statistics,and averaging of studies
    is the same way we calculate violence, crime , etc in sociology.

    Hank
    if statistics is not a science,then how come Nate Silverman predicted every state obama was going to win
    So what?  So did everyone else. Instatrade isn't even used by most Americans, it is Europeans betting, and they got as many right as Silver did. How is averaging the bets of European gamblers science?

    The only person who got the election wrong was me. I bet that the American people could not possibly be as polarized and predictable as all of the polls showed, it was beyond the realm of possibility that all 15 major polls said the same thing. I still called the election for Obama in June, I just got more states wrong than all of the polls did. And I didn't need averaging at all.

    Averaging polls is not science. Statistics are not science. Surveys are not science.  I am not saying they are not meaningful, I am not saying they don't have value, but they are not science, just like engineering and math are not science.  Smart people already know that.

    This sociology paper did not do anything at all to predict violence - unless we conclude fewer women should work. All it told us what what the authors wanted to conclude in advance, and used some statistics and implied causation to match.
    Gerhard Adam
    Did anyone actually read the paper?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank, I share your frustration with psychology and sociology. I spent my electives on these subjects without gleaning any useful information. By chance I found a coherent, useful, psychology hypothesis by Richard Bandler, and John Grinder. They explain their theory and practice in a series of books beginning with 'The Structure of Magic', and ending with 'Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D.' You must read all the books in the sequence they were written. The method later became known as Neuro Linguistic Programming. Enjoy.

    Hank
    Neuro-linguistic programming is emotional homeopathy for social science baby boomers.  I am not buying that it is a step up from any method I ridicule here.
    Mr. Campbell, I have read other critics of sociology denounce the practice of drawing a study's population from the student body, and then presenting their results as applying to people generally. Do you find this practice to be prevalent?

    Hank
    Not just sociology, psychology too. As psychology legend Paul Ekman said at the Being Human conference last year (and maybe other places before that, it was the first time I met him), "We basically have a science of undergraduates". In an anthropology paper we highlighted today, not only did they use surveys, they used survey results based on answers in questionnaires translated into the language of an isolated, indigenous tribe. It would be like if someone in a remote Chinese village learned a little bit of english and then wrote survey questions for you and I and then wrote a science paper about how we responded.

    Generally, society is a poor laboratory and college students are even less valid as a way to try and create a science of people.  Adding in surveys makes it harder but at least you can try and control for survey results.  But using students is crippling. In physics, if you get terrific accuracy on the wrong problem, the answer is bad but it is easy to see how to fix it.  Psychologists instead claim we just don't understand how the wrong answer is right.

    It's why a double blind test found that astrologers did personality assessments of people as well as psychologists.  Psychologists didn't even get the assessments correct that they filled out about themselves.  :)
    Stellare
    Correlation crazy sociologists. Maybe physics can offer a better and more scientific approach analysing domestic violence?

    If we accept that in order to have a violent event, both the husband and wife have to be at the same place at the same time. So as with particles and collisions, the probability of collision is smaller when the particles is in proximity of each other. In other words the longer time you spend in the intersection space the more likely it is that you will collide (if you were a particle). Applying this law we can actually prove that the report of violence is overestimated since women do not stay in the home (intersection where domestic violence takes place) for as long when she works. Hence there has to be less violence in the homes due to the fact that husband and wife spend less time there at the same time. Oh, I think I just proved them wrong, didn't I. hahaha Women in the workforce lead to LESS domestic violence.

    By the way, I apply this law of physics when I drive. The less time I spend in the intersections the less probability to collide with another car. Hence I go as fast as I can in road crossings!

    Hurray for science! :-)

    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    Hank
    If we accept that in order to have a violent event, both the husband and wife have to be at the same place at the same time.
    This is why my wife and I own a large house.  Some people ridicule the fact that Americans like such large houses, but it is clearly a safety issue. We own iron frying pans and she does not always think I am as funny as I think I am.

    Could I correlate housing sizes to rates of domestic violence?  I absolutely could. Because they used a subset of people who were victims of domestic violence, I also could have correlated the presence of iron skillets or tattoos.  That is the great thing about sociology - a paper just requires two curves.


    "They take statistics-as-science claims to a whole new level, and it feeds the rising problem of feel-good fallacies replacing data-driven conclusions."

    Precisely!

    I have been asking global warming alarmists for the statistical correlation values supporting their claims for the human causes for the better part of ten years now, thus separating and quantifying the natural components from the human ones. Still waiting. Its nearly all about feel-good politics rather than true science.

    If I pee in the ocean I can make the argument that I statistically effected the ocean levels with a 100% confidence level. The real story, however, is in the correlation of my contribution towards the rising level, which would be so tiny as to be insignificant.

    Correlation does not necessarily prove causation, however, there can be no claims of causation without proper correlation.

    The same argument can be made for the politically correct methods of almost always blaming the male component in domestic abuse cases and nearly always portraying the female as an innocent victim.

    The problems with those who degrade science with "feel good" claims are just as bad as scientists who claim they have exclusive and/or superior knowledge of reality and truths. In reality most scientific claims, no matter how well supported, are nearly always universally updated when new data is analyzed when accepted theories are tested, and often proven wrong or misguided.

    Stellare
    "almost always blaming the male component in domestic abuse cases and nearly always portraying the female as an innocent victim."

    G. I wonder why? ;-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    I'm a survivor from being poisoned (twice, shame one me) by my ex-wife, and not because I was in anyway abusive. It was to cash in on a newly acquired $200,000 life insurance policy.

    I guess that it was my fault, she was clearly the innocent victim here :-)

    Hank
    Two things have become more gender equal in America than they used to be; domestic violence incidents and teachers having sex with students.  The only area where men still dominate in culture is mass shooting sprees.  Pretty soon women will probably take that away too.
    Hank,

    The only reason I keep coming back to this site is that I get a really good laugh. You have one hell of a good sense of humor. That is becoming more and more rare as the inevitable revolution comes nearer.

    When the S.H.T.F, and technology fails us, women will inevitably end up gathering at at home and raising the children and we (men) will be out, thank GOD, hunting and working the fields.

    Stellare
    That is maybe so, but to say that women (generally speaking) are not victims suggests a major unforgivable ignorance - at best!
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    Thank you for underscoring the very point that I made in my original post in this thread.

    Anyone who does not tow the politically correct line will be attacked. Ad hominem attacks are just one of the many typical fallback liberal methods used when they know they can't win an argument based on the merits of their positions. Philosophical fallacies are simply a way of life for a very large segment of our society.

    How dare I assert a possibility that women are not all innocent victims, how unforgivably ignorant of me. Really? You can't forgive my politically incorrect transgression?

    Inevitably there are always a series of events and interactions that lead up to any altercation. To suggest that only one party is at fault is, in fact, the horribly ignorant position. This is indeed a perfect application of correlation, each party shares in some of it. The problem noted in this article points out one groups allegedly unscientific usage of such methods.

    Gerhard Adam
    The problem noted in this article points out one groups allegedly unscientific usage of such methods.
    Oh, why tap dance around it.  Perhaps you could provide a quote from the study that represents such unscientific usage.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "In Science Left Behind, numerous chapters are spent debunking attempts to frame ideology as science. In the social sciences, for example, it's common to find two curves that match and imply causation. The paper academics wrote correlating partner violence to dual incomes is another example of such 'framing' - in this instance rationalizing inconvenient results by re-configuring them to make a statement about social justice."

    Seriously, did you even read this article or are you just trolling?

    Gerhard Adam
    You didn't read it.  Here it is.
    http://dev.cjcenter.org/_files/cvi/Status%20Inconsistencyappr.pdf

    I don't know why you're quoting from an article that references this study, but you didn't read the study.  In addition, you're making claims about the conclusions drawn by a study, but you haven't read the study.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Stellare
    Your misfortune is insignificant in this context.
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    So attempted murder by a spouse does not fit into your definition of domestic violence?

    I'm curious, did your process of dehumanization travel down the path of gender bias or was it simply identifying me as politically undesirable? Perhaps it was a little of both.

    Dehumanization is the necessary psychological process that allows hatred to flourish.

    Gerhard Adam
    Very good.  Now all you have to do is demonstrate that some causation claim was actually made.

    As has been pointed out, correlation does not equal causation.  Well, neither do allegations against papers that people clearly haven't read.
    Mundus vult decipi
    So the causation claim has never been made? I guess I was just hearing things, sorry occasionally my imagination runs wild.

    So we can now drop the "human caused" part from the global warming, error, excuse me, climate change arguments?

    Yippie! We can now cancel the Kyoto Protocols and end the carbon credit pyramid schemes :-)

    Gerhard Adam
    If you can find some place in this article where global warming or the Kyoto Protocols is mentioned, then you might have a point.  Unless, of course, you're suggesting that they are inferred in the reference to domestic violence.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "The same argument can be made for the politically correct methods of almost always blaming the male component in domestic abuse cases and nearly always portraying the female as an innocent victim."

    Yup, I'm the one who's guilty of making the connection, I guess YOU didn't read my post as carefully as YOU accused me of not reading this article. My Bad.