What Will Change When Social Science Becomes An Actual Science?

Charles Murray: Right questions and wrong answers | LIVE STREAM
Charles Murray: Right questions and wrong answers | LIVE STREAM

On January 8, Charles Murray will celebrate his 75th birthday and retire as the W. H. Brady Scholar, shifting to an emeritus role at AEI. In his lecture, Dr....


​It's not long before genetics and neurological science become so advanced that social science studies will be considered "hard" science, in other words, predicated on confirmed data rather than "trends" or observed behavior.

Social scientist Charles Murray, author of many controversial best-sellers on success, happiness, IQ, and class studies and a rigorous adherent to data analysis, describes what to expect (this starts at 1:19:03 in the attached video).

All of these social science experiments and a whole bunch of other stuff that is just flaky data, you know, and the kinds of things that don't replicate, those are going to become so silly in the eyes of the world because we are making enormous advances, we, meaning the neuro scientists and the geneticists, that we are going to have all sorts of leverage. We, meaning social scientists, are going to have all sorts of leverage in understanding how the world works. And this is not going to lead to genetic determinism. It's not going to lead to anything bad, it is simply going to be that finally the social sciences will be grounded in the same kinds of standards of rigor and causation and the rest of us that the harder sciences have enjoyed for the last couple of centuries.

And in the course of this, an awful lot of the people who make their living in the social science faculties of the nation's universities are either going to have to retool, or they are just going to be irrelevant to a lot of the most important work that's going on. If I were a young social scientist at this point, I would be really excited. This century is going to give the chance for social scientists to produce their amperes and Faradays just like the hard sciences could produce them back in the beginning of the 19th century. It's a fascinating time to be alive, but most of the social sciences faculty in today's universities are scared stiff of what's coming, coming down the pike.

Social science is filled with cognitive biases. Here's one of the most famous examples of leading a horse to water, also known as confirmation bias. Here's a cheat sheet for recognizing a bunch of different types of cognitive biases.

Imagine what will happen to all the "studies" that are reported on weekly in news media can no longer be found valid based on the current quality of "research."

What do you think will change as a result of neuroscience, gene mapping, and other breakthroughs in understanding how the brain functions?