Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Through the Looking Glass to Truth.

Feminist advocacy research is a political tool.  It's used to support social fictions to create the circumstances necessary to fund non-profits.  These non-profits depend on these falsehoods for survival.  That doesn’t mean that the “research" part of feminist advocacy research is totally worthless.  In the social sciences, the value of research is determined by whether it states valid truth claims that accurately predict future phenomena.  What we have in much of the advocacy research is not research that results in accurate truth claims, but instead, the mirror image of the concept.  Their conclusions often state the exact opposite of legitimate social science evidence.  For economic/political reasons, advocacy research is used to mitigate and contradict inconvenient valid social science conclusions.
For instance, let’s harken back to the esteemed AAUW’s infamous “research” in “The AAUW Report:  How Schools Short Change Girls”.  We know now, these many years later, that the report told the exact opposite of truth.  The AAUW constructed a fiction that painted girls as victims of a hostile educational establishment.  This happened at the very time in our history when girls had surpassed boys in most education indexes.  As former undersecretary of education Diane Ravitch stated, "That [1992] AAUW report was just completely wrong. What was so bizarre is that it came out right at the time that girls had just overtaken boys in almost every area. It might have been the right story twenty years earlier, but coming out when it did, it was like calling a wedding a funeral.... There were all these special programs put in place for girls, and no one paid any attention to boys." 
Although Ravitch thought it “bizarre”, it only seems that way when one doesn’t understand the purpose of the “research”.  With advocacy research, politics trump truth.  In fact, in the aforementioned instance, it totally contradicted truth.  With the onset of the “boy crisis”, the secret got out that the AAUW report was balderdash.  No problem.  The AAUW just conjured up another report.  Entitled, “Beyond the ‘Gender Wars’: A Conversation About Girls, Boys, and Education”, the AAUW ironically attempts to end the very gender war it ignited.
If we assume that advocacy research is used in this way, that is to trump truth by blatantly contradicting the obvious, we can use it to describe the exact opposite of their reported conclusions.  In the above case, the AAUW’s reports stated that girls were having an education crisis, when in fact; it was a developing boy crisis.  The purpose, of course, was to mitigate the results of the truth, and thereby prevent the funding of necessary boy programs at the expense of girls.
The same exact thing happened when the California Chapter of the National Organization of Women created, from whole cloth, ( a report entitled, Family Court Report 2002.  The astounding punch line of the report; “After significant research, CA NOW finds the present family court system in California to be crippled, incompetent, and corrupt. The bias in the system results in pathologizing, punishing, and discriminating against women.”  Of course, that report is now viewed as a political fabrication. 
What can we gain from the report’s conclusion?  Placing a looking glass in front of report and reading it, metaphorically backwards, we see that the truth about California Family Courts is that they discriminate against men.  Why, you ask, would CA NOW create this fiction?  Again, it is to mitigate against the truth, so that family courts don’t change toward equality, thereby benefiting women.
Such looking glass research brings to my mind the Sokal Affair:
“The Sokal affair, also known as the Sokal hoax, was a publishing hoax perpetrated by Alan Sokal, a physics professor at New York University. In 1996, Sokal submitted an article to Social Text, an academic journal of postmodern cultural studies. The submission was an experiment to test the publication's intellectual rigor and, specifically, to learn if such a journal would "publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if it (a) sounded good and (b) flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions…" (citations omitted)
“…Sokal reasoned that, if the presumption of editorial laziness were correct, the nonsensical content of his article would be irrelevant to whether the editors would publish it. What would matter would be ideologic obsequiousness, fawning references to deconstructionist writers, and sufficient quantities of feminist and socialist terminology.” (emphasis added)
The punch line here people is that the process of scientific inquiry is irrelevant in much of feminist "scholarship," because in the “personal is political” world of activist professors and advocacy research, the ends justify the means.  Even if that means one has to hold up a mirror to feminist conclusions to find truth.