Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why Social Science is so cool

I found this column in today's NY Times by David Brooks to be fascinating:


Some people think political science is all about the professor's personal political opinions and their desire to make students mimic those opinions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Political science is about understanding political behavior, the consequences of institutional arrangements, and the how choices between competing values have policy consequences. The political animal is a fascinating beast, and with the use of the tools of social inquiry, we can gain a much better understanding of how that beast operates in a political environment. It's about teaching students to evaluate evidence, and how to use evidence to make good arguments--arguments which are falsifiable. That's political science, and that's what most political scientists do.

To quote the esteemed Dr. Peter Venkman of the Ghostbusters: "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."

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