Summary: Current social psychology research is probably on average compromised by political bias leftward. Conservative researchers are likely discriminated against in at least this field. More importantly papers and research that does not fit a liberal perspective faces greater barriers and burdens.  

An article in the online publication inside higher ed on a survey on anti-conservative bias among social psychologists.

Numerous surveys have found that professors, especially those in some disciplines, are to the left of the general public. But those same -- and other -- surveys have rarely found evidence that left-leaning academics discriminate on the basis of politics. So to many academics, the question of ideological bias is not a big deal. Investment bankers may lean to the right, but that doesn't mean they don't provide good service (or as best the economy will permit) to clients of all political stripes, the argument goes.

And professors should be assumed to have the same professionalism.

A new study, however, challenges that assumption -- at least in the field of social psychology. The study isn't due to be published until next month (in Perspectives on Psychological Science), and the authors and others are noting limitations to the study. But its findings of bias by social psychologists (even if just a decent-sized minority of them) are already getting considerable buzz in conservative circles. Just over 37 percent of those surveyed said that, given equally qualified candidates for a job, they would support the hiring of a liberal candidate over a conservative candidate. Smaller percentages agreed that a "conservative perspective" would negatively influence their odds of supporting a paper for inclusion in a journal or a proposal for a grant. (The final version of the paper is not yet available, but an early version may be found on the website of the Social Science Research Network.)

To some on the right, such findings are hardly surprising. But to the authors, who expected to find lopsided political leanings, but not bias, the results were not what they expected.

"The questions were pretty blatant. We didn't expect people would give those answers," said Yoel Inbar, a co-author, who is a visiting assistant professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and an assistant professor of social psychology at Tilburg University, in the Netherlands.

He said that the findings should concern academics. Of the bias he and a co-author found, he said, "I don't think it's O.K."

Discussion of faculty politics extends well beyond social psychology, and humanities professors are frequently accused of being "tenured radicals" (a label some wear with pride). But social psychology has had an intense debate over the issue in the last year.

At the 2011 meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Jonathan Haidt of the University of Virginia polled the audience of some 1,000 in a convention center ballroom to ask how many were liberals (the vast majority of hands went up), how many were centrists or libertarians (he counted a couple dozen or so), and how many were conservatives (three hands went up). In his talk, he said that the conference reflected "a statistically impossible lack of diversity,” in a country where 40 percent of Americans are conservative and only 20 percent are liberal. He said he worried about the discipline becoming a "tribal-moral community" in ways that hurt the field's credibility.

The link above is worth following. The problems that arise remind me of the situation with academic and our own ethics in light of this paper.

That speech prompted the research that is about to be published. Members of a social psychologists' e-mail list were surveyed twice. (The group is not limited to American social scientists or faculty members, but about 90 percent are academics, including grad students, and more than 80 percent are Americans.) Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of those surveyed identified as liberal on social, foreign and economic policy, with the strongest conservative presence on economic policy. Only 6 percent described themselves as conservative over all.

The questions on willingness to discriminate against conservatives were asked in two ways: what the respondents thought they would do, and what they thought their colleagues would do. The pool included conservatives (who presumably aren't discriminating against conservatives) so the liberal response rates may be a bit higher, Inbar said.

The percentages below reflect those who gave a score of 4 or higher on a 7-point scale on how likely they would be to do something (with 4 being "somewhat" likely).

Percentages of Social Psychologists Who Would Be Biased in Various Ways

  Self Colleagues
A "politically conservative perspective" by author would have a negative influence on evaluation of a paper 18.6% 34.2%
A "politically conservative perspective" by author would have a negative influence on evaluation of a grant proposal 23.8% 36.9%
Would be reluctant to extend symposium invitation to a colleague who is "politically quite conservative" 14.0% 29.6%
Would vote for liberal over conservative job candidate if they were equally qualified 37.5% 44.1%

I can't help but think that self-assessments are probably too generous. For predictive power of how an individual behaves when the behaviour in question is undesirable, I'm more likely to take their estimate of how "colleagues" behave than their estimate of how they personally do. 

The more liberal the survey respondents identified as being, the more likely they were to say that they would discriminate.

The paper notes surveys and statements by conservatives in the field saying that they are reluctant to speak out and says that "they are right to do so," given the numbers of individuals who indicate they might be biased or that their colleagues might be biased in various ways.

Inbar said that he has no idea if other fields would have similar results. And he stressed that the questions were hypothetical; the survey did not ask participants if they had actually done these things.

He said that the study also collected free responses from participants, and that conservative responses were consistent with the idea that there is bias out there. "The responses included really egregious stuff, people being belittled by their advisers publicly for voting Republican."

This shouldn't be surprising to hear since to quote CharlieSheen: "we even have LW posters who have in academia personally experienced discrimination and harassment because of their right wing politics."

Neil Gross, a professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia, urged caution about the results. Gross has written extensively on faculty political issues. He is the co-author of a 2007 report that found that while professors may lean left, they do so less than is imagined and less uniformly across institution type than is imagined.

Gross said it was important to remember that the percentages saying they would discriminate in various ways are answering yes to a relatively low bar of "somewhat." He also said that the numbers would have been "more meaningful" if they had asked about actual behavior by respondents in the last year, not the more general question of whether they might do these things.

At the same time, he said that the numbers "are higher than I would have expected." One theory Gross has is that the questions are "picking up general political animosity as much as anything else."

If you are wondering about the political leanings of the social psychologists who conducted the study, they are on the left. Inbar said he describes himself as "a pretty doctrinaire liberal," who volunteered for the Obama campaign in 2008 and who votes Democrat. His co-author, Joris Lammers of Tilburg, is to Inbar's left, he said.

What most impressed him about the issues raised by the study, Inbar said, is the need to think about "basic fairness."

While I can see Lammers' point that this as disturbing from a fairness perspective to people grinding their way through academia and should serve as warning for right wing LessWrong readers working through the system, I find the issue of how this our heavy reliance on academia for our map of reality might lead to us inheriting such distortions of the map of reality much more concerning. Overall in light of this if a widely accepted conclusion from social psychology favours a "right wing" perspective it is more likely to be correct than if no such biases against such perspectives existed. Conclusions that favour "left wing" perspective are also somewhat less likely to be true than if no such biases existed. We should update accordingly.

I also think there are reasons to think we may have similar problems on this site.

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It's worth noting there are a few (unlikely) alternative explanations, like:

  • Studying social psychology tends to cause one's politics to drift left, because the facts in that particular field genuinely do point to the correctness of left-wing positions. (For possible examples, see here and here.) Being right-wing is correlated with being a bad social psychologist.
  • Social psychologists are well-calibrated about their own behavior, so the reason they describe themselves as biased is because they are taking the outside view, thinking something like "I try to be fair, but in reality I'm probably biased".

I am convinced that it makes sense to assume there are important right-leaning research findings that aren't being publicized.

I'm less worried about Less Wrong than I am academia. If we really are committed to figuring out what's true even when it's uncomfortable, what's comfortable and uncomfortable should matter less.

Another point: Less Wrong isn't obviously a bastion of left-wing ideas, so it's possible whatever is filtering out conservatives from posting here is also filtering them out of academia.

Back in the OB days, iirc, Eliezer referred to the community as mostly libertarian; recent surveys indicate that it would be more accurate to describe the community as mostly liberal with a strong libertarian streak. This would seem to indicate that there is some force driving the community in that direction; however it is also totally possible (and I would expect likely) that this has more to do with "science" as being a liberal applause light than it does with liberalism approaching truth-seeking.

Back in the OB days, iirc, Eliezer referred to the community as mostly libertarian;

Robin and Eliezer both are libertarian-leaning, and participated for a long time (accumulating audiences) in libertarian transhumanist circles such as the Extropians. New audience members aren't primarily attracted through those channels, so the effect should decline with time.

This makes me wonder, is there a reason to expect Harry Potter fans to be more liberal than average? And... yes, I guess there is.
I know of several parents who forbid their children to read the books because of some ridiculous fear of witchcraft, stemming from their conservative fundamentalism... so that would be one factor.
Well, reading Harry Potter probably at least marginally increases the child's chances of embracing some form of witchcraft later in life. Whether that's enough to bad the books is a different question.
Do you mean it as an objective statement or what a certain (probably strongly mainstream-religious) parent would think?
Objective statement. In fact, it strikes me as fairly obvious once one gets past thinking that any argument that even marginally helps the enemy must be wrong.
Hmm, it does not strike me as obvious. For example, one could advance an argument that reading about witchcraft as fiction at an early age actually inoculates children from believing in the reality of witchcraft later in life. I do not see a way to believe either argument without experimental testing. Maybe some has been done already? This reminds me of the varying positions religious parents take on Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. Some say that such beliefs, bound to be proven false eventually, cause children to doubt their faith in the true God, others say that this highlights the difference between paganism and true beliefs. I am not aware of any studies on the matter.
When I started posting on LW, I was - depending on your terminology - very conservative. If there are any barriers that prevent conservatives from joining, then they didn't affect me. (Edit: this is anecdotal; I might just be an outlier.) I should point out that my views have drastically changed since joining. Though I try to avoid aligning with any particular political group, libertarian-progressive might be accurate. I'm interested in seeing where other people in the community stand after the next census.
That sounds like an interesting question to put on the next census: What were your views before LW, what are they now, and if there was a change how much did LW influence it.

I wonder what would happen if they unpacked 'liberal' and 'conservative' into their component parts and repolled.

I hope (but not necessarily expect) that a lot of the discrimination would come out as social scientists being 'biased' against specific positions whose advocates claim to be conservative, that make no sense from a social science perspective - and not against other conservative positions with no such implication. These could be swept up by bandwagon formation.

It might possible to find certain other disciplines where the participants would have a similar bias against liberals due to some particularly popular boneheaded positions claimed by their advocates to be liberal, and again bandwagon formation.

Or it could just be a liberal dominance of social science, complete with discrimination. A more detailed poll might help to elucidate this.

Cynical response: I wouldn't necessarily expect this. American academia has a well-known left-wing bent. (Come to think of it, though, I might expect more scattered results in economics in particular.)

First, I am surprised that a serious study would settle for self-assessment, the least accurate of all possible polls (for example, it's hard to tell if the liberal-identified participants exaggerated their bias due to their pangs of liberal guilt or understated it, as usually happens). Second, I am even more surprised by the high degree of identification with such a broad movement, like it's all Berkeley out there. Surely many of them disagree with at least some of the ideas proclaimed by other "liberals". I guess they are not up to date on their Paul Graham studies:

there is a step beyond thinking of yourself as x but tolerating y: not even to consider yourself an x. The more labels you have for yourself, the dumber they make you.

A interesting NYT article I saw linked to in your inside higher ed link.

Social Scientist Sees Bias Within

SAN ANTONIO — Some of the world’s pre-eminent experts on bias discovered an unexpected form of it at their annual meeting.

Discrimination is always high on the agenda at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s conference, where psychologists discuss their research on racial prejudice, homophobia, sexism, stereotype threat and unconscious bias against minorities. But the most talked-about speech at this year’s meeting, which ended Jan. 30, involved a new “outgroup.”

It was identified by Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who studies the intuitive foundations of morality and ideology. He polled his audience at the San Antonio Convention Center, starting by asking how many considered themselves politically liberal. A sea of hands appeared, and Dr. Haidt estimated that liberals made up 80 percent of the 1,000 psychologists in the ballroom. When he asked for centrists and libertarians, he spotted fewer than three dozen hands. And then, when he asked for conservatives, he counted a grand total of three.

“This is a statistically impossibl

... (read more)
Obviously since non-liberal post-graduate students of social psychology cause all sorts of nasty stuff by their presence. For example the achievement gap between black and non-black students is probably entirely due to their evil racism. Their presence is probably also sometimes detected by sensitive female students who detect patriarchal bias from them and thus avoid social science, it might even serve as a trauma trigger for them. Don't forget hail! Even a simple look in a certain contexts probably suffices for that so we can't really trust official investigation to keep us safe from this insidious hidden menace. What if some of them start a right wing students club with regular meetings on campus! All these problems brought by non-liberal students also need to be put into context when it comes to the health costs to other students we would incur by making them feel non-excluded. It might for example induce infertility or impotence. Also what if they don white robes and start ridding by night and carrying out meetings?? Pacts with shadowy right wing organizations and them privately repudiating social justice, freedom or equality are also horrible possibilities. They might even speak ill of MLK or FDR, engage in meet ups in order to marry off their female members so they can experience missionary position procreative sex! They also probably use non-fair trade chocolate in their baking recepies! Really? Why don't you just use human blood! Also we already know reality has a liberal bias, so us being biased that way is no biggie makes us more accurate really.
In fairness, most forms of discrimination involve choosing among bodies while ignoring the minds. It's much easier to end up with unbalanced numbers of, say, liberals or atheists or whatever if you select based on intelligence, qualification etc.

Political bias on LessWrong as well?

We rely heavily on academia for determining what is true or isn't and academia has turned out to be biased in a certain way. I have recently grown convinced we can see examples of such bias playing out here as well. Considering politics is the mind-killer and how strange our demographics are this isn't really that surprising a realization. Similar conditions and incentives may recreate the problem here This compounds the progressive bias we inherit from academia.

Remember LessWrong is 3% conservative and ~30% socialist and another ~30% "Liberal"! People say "Wow" when they see someone being socially conservative.

Even many of our libertarians are probably left libertarians and nearly all of our high quality right wing thinkers are somewhat eclectic, eccentric and often aren't really conservative in the small c sense of the word. Examples include machinations like Anarcho-Capitalism, Moldbuggian Progressivism-curing Rationalist Uberfact, Eugenic Aristocratic Monarchies or Multi-universe spanning TDT zombie computational theocracies (something like that! ^_~ ).

Intellectual hipsters indeed. I'm not sure such fun ideas cooked ... (read more)

Yes. In particular, shoddy cheap shots toward conservatives will receive a pass, and often acclamation.
Really? I can't say I've noticed many cheap shots at conservatives that weren't downvoted - unless you count cheap shot at stupid positions that happen to be mostly held among conservatives, like religion. But even cheap shots at religion here seem rarer than on other atheist forums.
I remember reading several posts from the sequences that contained shots at Bush, some of them cheap.
Isn't the point of this site to espouse the process of thinking rationally? to support and encourage others in coming to their own conclusions about the where the map lies over the territory? Indeed, if rationality is reliable at all in improving one's accurate perspective of the world, much of the community will come to the same conclusions - and of course others will I'm sure appreciate the availability of some guiding logic that may assist in them in learning to think more rationally. However, shouldn't others be left to their process and not forced to accept a conclusion they have yet to reach themselves, lest they be deemed irrational? It just seems like pointless signalling hypocritical to the principles of the site itself to thrust a bottom line out there and say, "This is rational and not agreeing to this is irrational - whatever gets you here, I don't care, but make sure you do!" As a summary metaphor: In maths, you can reach right answer using incorrect methods, yet it will be a singular feat.
Sorry, did you accidentally reply to the wrong comment? (or is there some link I'm not seeing?)
My bad, I kept meaning to include a disclaimer notifying you that I wasn't so much responding to your comment as I was saying something that I thought needed saying after having read your comment. This was the impetus: Even though you qualified that statement as a meta example of a cheap shot while noting that cheap shots aren't to be tolerated, I still thought it needing saying.
The description in the survey made it clear that by ‘libertarian’ it meant ‘capitalist libertarian’. (I am a socialist libertarian myself, but I picked ‘socialist’ in the survey, IIRC.)

I would be even more interested in the answer to this question: "A 'politically conservative result' identified by an author would have a negative influence on evaluation/publication of a paper." In other words, are these researchers unfavorable to the expression or advocacy of conservative perspectives or are they unfavorable toward evidence that supports a conservative viewpoint?

In the parts of psychology I have studied, a 'result' is the (apparent) outcome of an experiment.

In other news the group X has decided that the most reasonable set of political positions is held by the ideology Y. It just happens to be the ideology that has a ready made and politically viable arguments for more funding to be funnelled to group X.

This was covered on Prof. Massimo Pigliucci's blog (Rationally Speaking) a few days ago. He points out some of the issues with the Inbar and Lammer paper's methodology and notes that its findings should be taken with a grain of skepticism. Well worth a read, in my opinion.

This seems to be his strongest argument:

Sixth, “we asked whether they would evaluate papers and grant applications that seemed to take a conservative perspective negatively.” Well, I would. But I would also evaluate negatively a paper or grant that takes a liberal perspective, because I happen to think that scientific papers ought to strive for having no ideological perspective whatsoever (they are not op-ed pieces, or works in political philosophy). And psychology, last time I checked, was presenting itself as a science. Incidentally, the authors immediately admit, in the same phrase: “but we did not ask whether they would evaluate work that seemed to take a liberal perspective negatively.” Well, why on earth not?

It's a good point, and I think enough to call the paper's findings seriously into question, but I don't think fixing it would be enough to salvage the methodology. Ideological bias tends to be transparent from the inside: I'd expect any academic with a strong commitment to academic neutrality to punish perceived ideological bias in proportion to its magnitude, but I'd also expect the same academics to perceive viewpoints leaning toward their own ideology as less biased than the alternatives. Probably much less.

You'd need to do something a lot more clever to filter that out: maybe something like asking academics about the perceived rates of each type of ideological bias in papers and grants they evaluate, and normalizing based on that.

Agreed. He also suggests that there were obvious controls that should have been used but were not:

Bear in mind that the labels "liberal" and "conservative" are not timeless or neutral. There is no reason to expect that there would be equal proportions of "conservatives" and "liberals" in any given intellectual movement, phyg, profession, or other group, without first asking what those labels are used to mean, and whether those meanings are in accord with, or opposed to, that group's goals or interests. It is not reasonable to proclaim that unequal representation of political labels in a group is indicative of bia... (read more)



This was not about low representation being an argument for discrimination, this was about people in a field out and out admitting in huge numbers that they would blatantly discriminate against people hurting their careers because of political affiliation!

Worse they would hinder papers and research that carried ideas they don't like for political reasons? Don't you see how that disfigures our map of reality and turns out to be a mockery of what the scientific process should be?

And even if that would have been that argument, like it partially seems to be in say this NYT article describing the work of Dr. Haidt:

“Anywhere in the world that social psychologists see women or minorities underrepresented by a factor of two or three, our minds jump to discrimination as the explanation,” said Dr. Haidt, who called himself a longtime liberal turned centrist. “But when we find out that conservatives are underrepresented among us by a factor of more than 100, suddenly everyone finds it quite easy to generate alternate explanations.”


Naturally I do agree with you and in the commentary I did invoke an argument based partially on demographics that we may be similarly biased. I don't ... (read more)

If you want to get a job providing safety equipment for workplaces, you should probably not proclaim that you believe that workplaces are too safe. If you want to get a job as a doctor, you should probably not announce yourself as a believer in Christian Science and faith-healing. If you want to get a job as a Friendly AI researcher, you should probably not declare that you believe any AI that has been blessed by the Pope is assuredly friendly. The common use of "conservatism" today proudly includes positions that are anti-science; as such, it is unsurprising that scientists might consider affiliation with that label to be evidence of incompetence, unseriousness, or opposition to their field. I do not see a need to introduce the hypothesis of "political bias leftward" when it is quite possible that t he scientists doing this so-called "bias" are merely taking the claimed beliefs of conservatives seriously.

The common use of "conservatism" today proudly includes positions that are anti-science

I could make the same case about "liberalism". The difference being that since liberals have more influence in academia, they can actually force most scientists who disagree with them to keep quiet.

I want to see you do this, but unlike many things that people here are overly concerned about, this idea seems right at the heart of the mind-killing part of politics, so it would probably be best to do it outside of LessWrong.
Look at the discussion below this comment. Notice that the people trying to argue the liberal side aren't even bothering to argue that their position is "true", but merely that people should pretend it is for the sake of making people feel good. Call it what you want, it's definitely anti-science.
You may note that in the thread you linked, there is a current unresolved disagreement LITERALLY BETWEEN YOU AND ME. This is clearly a problematic example when it comes to my own learning, and is the exact reason that I was interested in that example being moved outside of LessWrong; perhaps I should have additionally specified that the example would ideally come from outside of LessWrong.
Yes, and do you disagree with the characterization of the argument I gave above?
At least in part. My primary objection remains that it will be vastly more difficult for me to learn to identify the bias that you are indicating exists if your only examples of it appear to be personal attacks. I don't mean to say that this is what your example is, obviously I only posted one or two comments out of dozens, but my silly little ape brain isn't letting me consider your proposal objectively so I would like it if you could provide a different example.
Given that you seem to be a liberal, what makes you think you won't be equally mind-killed by the other examples?
I often agree with what are labeled as "liberal" positions on many issues. That doesn't mean that anyone who identifies as "liberal" suddenly becomes a staunch friend and ally to me. When I personally am involved in a debate and do not feel that I am communicating my own point well, this is the most emotionally involved state that I regularly get into--I tend not to feel so strongly about debates between other people. I certainly agree that I will have some degree of problems coping with a point that "attacks liberals," but it seems like a pretty weird hypothesis to say that I will have an equal degree of difficulty seeing biases even in friends as I do in myself. Rational is far, right? And anything that involves me specifically puts me in near mode more than anything else possibly can. Mind-killed? Yes. I will have to deal with that, I want to deal with that, that's why I asked for examples. But equally? No way.
It looks like here you have inadvertently provided a good argument for the opposite of what you wanted. Namely, what you write applies even if your belief that workplaces are too safe is correct. (Workplaces can certainly be too safe by any reasonable metric, at least in principle. Imagine if office workers were forced to wear helmets and knee pads just in case they might trip over while walking between the cubes. Then imagine a thriving industry of office helmets, an ever expanding bureaucracy for regulating and inspecting them -- and august academic experts getting grants to study them and issue recommendations for their use.) If your stated beliefs are misaligned with the institutional incentives in the business or bureaucracy in which you work, it will indeed be very bad for your career. And what reason do you have to believe that the institutional incentives in the contemporary academia are aligned with the truth on all (or even on most) ideologically charged matters?
That's odd, it looks to me as if you're taking a rather loose analogy in a direction somewhere away from the topic. Getting back on topic: My point was that "conservatism" isn't a thing — it's a label, and that people's responses to that label have to do with what they take it as referring to. It's been noted elsethread that the survey has serious problems. One of them is that it doesn't ask what the surveyed psychologists think they are talking about when they say "conservative". If you ask someone, "What do you think about conservatives?" you will get different answers based not only on what that person's values are, but what they think "conservative" means. If scientists use "conservative" to mean "a person who values religious doctrine over scientific results", then you are ill-advised to represent yourself as "conservative" when trying to get a job from a scientist. Especially if you don't mean that when you say "conservative"! Note the difference between "scientists use 'conservative' to mean 'a person who values religious doctrine over science'" and "scientists think that conservatives value religious doctrine over science". The latter implies that scientists are referring to an objective class of "conservatives" whereas the former considers that scientists may not be referring to the same set of people when they say "conservative" that someone else refers to by that word. I think we have a problem of sneaking in connotations here.
I find it interesting that this is never pointed out when occasional casual speculation based on reasoning similar to my own (except without actual examples) that our large libertarian minority might be biasing us towards libertarian ideas? Same goes for those talking about Feminist biases btw.
Our large cryonicist population is probably biasing us towards cryonicist ideas. Our large computer scientist population is almost certainly biasing us towards explanations of consciousness/intelligence which rely on computational metaphors. Our large, outspoken atheist contingent probably biases us away from conveying positive attitudes towards religion, lest we be publicly ridiculed. Are these biases problematic too? Social groups form based on shared ideas. Of course they will be biased! I think most of us would be unhappy in a totally unbiased LessWrong, because we'd be so busy debating things like theism vs. atheism that we'd have no time to delve into the finer-grained implications of our philosophical worldview.

I feel like you're conflating "unbiased" with "zero-knowledge". Flat-earthism is not an accepted viewpoint here, but that's not because we're biased against flat-earthism, it's just that flat-earthism is stupid. If it turned out that flat-earthers on average were happier and better at getting things done than other people, and if we failed to acknowledge that because flat-earthism is stupid, then that would indicate a harmful bias against flat-earthism.

If the reason we don't debate theism vs. atheism is mere bias, then we're all fooling ourselves terribly. If the reason is that we've thought sensibly about it and come to the conclusion that atheism is correct and the expected benefit of further debate is less than the time and energy costs, then that's okay.

I agree with you; I am abusing terminology. For the record, though, I do think we have a bias against theism in the sense that you've described. I understand why LessWrong might choose to consider the "does God exist?" question settled, but we go further than that. We frequently discuss how terrible religion is, and applaud efforts to promote atheism, despite the benefits to happiness etc. that religion provides. I think it's understandable that we have such a bias. On LessWrong, we value truth and truth-seeking; this goes far enough that it's almost a moral value. When other groups actively discourage truth-seeking, we oppose them. I don't know anything about social psychology, but my experience with other social sciences suggests that liberal, humanist values are deeply ingrained in their system. What I mean is, the social sciences are not just truth-seeking engines looking for facts about humanity. They have their own moral values attached (e.g. reducing discrimination). Just as we on LessWrong are reluctant to engage in discussions with people who oppose truth-seeking, social scientists may be reluctant to engage in discussions with conservatives, because conservatives tend to hold moral values that are actively opposed to the social sciences' agenda. This article suggests implicitly that the social sciences should be about truth-seeking, not about promoting some political/moral agenda. The willingness of social scientists to admit their bias against conservatives suggest that they feel otherwise.

This article suggests implicitly that the social sciences should be about truth-seeking, not about promoting some political/moral agenda.

If the social sciences aren't about truth seeking the same way physics or biology are I think we shouldn't be calling them sciences.

Those benefits are primarily based on the communities. If we build similar secular communities, like the link I gave suggests, then there wouldn't be a special benefit to religion.
Religions can make the community-building easier. At least they provide additional reasons for: "Why should I bother joining your community?".
You misunderstand. I'm saying that the argument that we are biased towards say libertarianism because of our demographics (and don't forget libertarians are another minority on LW) is brought up, but the counterargument that fubarobfusco has described against this sort of reasoning is not brought up.

Minor nitpick: "Socially Psychology" should be "Social Psychology" at the beginning.

Thank you! Fixed. (^_^)