social sciences as sorcery

Stanlislav Andreski, in the delightfully understated foreward to Social Sciences as Sorcery, in which he argues that much of social science is worthless:

A renowned author would have to be a most extraordinary character…to be able to write prolifically in the full knowledge that his works are worthless and that he is a charlatan whose fame is entirely undeserved and based solely on the stupidity and gullibility of his admirers. Even if he had some doubts about the correctness of his approach at some stage of his career, success and adulation would soon persuade him of his own genius and the epoch-making value of his concoctions. When, in consequence of acquiring a controlling position in the distribution of funds, appointments and promotions, he becomes surrounded by sycophants courting his favours, he is most unlikely to see through their motivation; and, like wealthy and powerful people in other walks of life, will tend to take flattery at its face value, accepting it as a sincere appreciation (and therefore confirmation). p9

And one more bit

In any case, the most deadly agents of cultural infections are not the brazen cynics, but the sectarians prone to self-delusion and the timorous organization men anxious not to miss the band-waggon, who unquestioningly equate popularity and worldly success with intrinsic merit. p10

The take-away and the tossed bone:

I argue on the pages that follow that much of what passes as scientific study of human behavior boils down to an equivalent of sorcery, but fortunately there are other things as well. P10

Here is a sample from the promising Table of Contents:

1 Why foul one’s nest?
2 The witch doctor’s dilemma
3 Manipulation through description
4 Censorship through mass production
6 The smoke screen of jargon
7 The uses of absurdity
8 Evasion in the guise of objectivity
9 Hiding behind methodology
10 Quantification as camouflage
12 Ideology underneath terminology
and my favorite…
11 Promiscuous crypto-conservatism

1 thought on “social sciences as sorcery”

  1. I saw your pix of a powerful sorcerer creating a fire-storm…

    Howzabout a great sorcerer with a little bird landed upon his hand upon request..?

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