Obama's Last Address and the Standard Social Science Model

President Obama’s State of the Union address was precisely what you would expect from him in his last year of office: a call to protect his perceived legacy. And it in fact is not his legacy really, but a larger concept that exists under the progressive world view. And facts that don’t fit into that world view are downplayed or ignored.

In the early 90's Tooby and Cosmides - an anthropologist and psychologist respectively - coined a phrase and started a movement that still infuriates progressives: Evolutionary Psychology and what they call the Standard Social Science Model, or SSSM. One could argue with Evolutionary Psychologists - mainly because of an uncomfortable perceived association with Social Darwinism of the late 1800's - but you had better be willing to take on a boatload of hard evidence they have produced on how the human mind works.

These are not shouted statements or ad hominem attacks. They are astonishing leaps and bounds in understanding and explaining how our minds work, with collaborators like MIT's Steven Pinker. But the Standard Social Science Model says basically that the contents of our minds are social constructions, brought in from outside us by external social and psychological factors. Our minds are blank slates in other words, according to the SSSM. And everything - by this flawed reasoning - is a construction. Including gender.

SSSM is an old creaking giant snarling at the Evolutionary Psychology upstarts and denouncing them as wrong or prejudiced, or whatever epithet they deem necessary to hurl to preserve their cherished political correctness. SSSM is taught at most schools across the nation and around much of the world. And it ignores the evidence of much of recent research, which is seen almost as a betrayal to be crushed,

Harvard, of course, mostly teaches the SSSM view of the world. Obama was raised intellectually on this model. And the fact he happens to literally be of African-American heritage is quite meaningless, aside from the political symbolism. He has to carry the SSSM on his shoulders, as a proud Harvard graduate, and leave it's fractured and stitched-together collection of self-righteous assertions for the next bearer. Hillary Clinton - in the hopes of the majority of academics and media commentators who subscribe to SSSM's tenets.

Perhaps that's why Common Core - part of Obama's agenda of regulated job security, universal healthcare, public education, and climate change regulation - produces such frustration. Common Core is a Frankenstein - a botched attempt to catch up to East Asian student's Science and Math scores by using progressive teaching techniques. Often with teachers who fail to fully understand the math and science concepts being taught.

But that would be letting the evidence have some weight. And when it comes to the Standard Social Science Model that President Obama is stubbornly nudging down an empty golf course - to shamelessly mix metaphors - devoid of real spectators who want to see applied psychology, physics, and geometry in action; the evidence can always be adjusted to suit the assertions. Just ask Al Gore and the Climate Change crowd.

So yes, Obama is no Tiger Woods, who has to (or had to) produce real results with a real golf ball under trying conditions with the world staring at his every stroke. But that would be relying on evidence. And at some point, the evidence does matter. No matter what your beliefs.

Posted by Keeley at January 14, 2016 8:54 PM
Comment #401977

What part of the SOTU defends SSSM? It seems the only association between Obama and SSSM is the fact that he completed a degree in law at Harvard. Obama is not a sociologist nor is he a psychologist, so I don’t think he is much of a stakeholder here.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 15, 2016 11:32 AM
Comment #408101

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