However, claim the critics, it's got nothing to do with politics, it's merely that the scientific basis for 'The Spirit Level' is flawed beyond redemption. Thus, whether or not a more equal society brings all manner of benefits, this book doesn't prove it.
So far, so good. My will to live is holding up, so I go further and start reading the comment string. Big mistake, especially on my first coffee of the morning. Here's an early comment:
"Fair enough, I've not read the book, but I understand it proposes that a more fair and equal soceity is benificial for the majority and therefore soceity as a whole. Picking away at a few graphs doesn't stop that being an obvious truth."To paraphrase this person "okay the book is bollocks, but the book is still right, as it's asserting an 'obvious truth'".
And here's another one, and I will go no further down the thread:
"Science is about testing empirical claims, which is what we've done."
"Meh...this is sociology, which is about as scientific as astrology. This argument is like listening to Russel Grant attacking the rigour of Mystic Meg.
That said, the sympathy of any compassionate human being will sit with the authors of The Spirit Level in this circumstance. Why? Well mostly because...
ANY HUMAN SERIOUSLY CLAIMING INEQUALITY MAKES SOCIETY BETTER IS SELF EVIDENTLY A TWAT.
...it doesn't take science to prove that point, just a conscience."
Firstly, sociology is a science. As we humans are the object of study, it is more contentious than looking at rocks and butterflies, but this doesn't make it not a science. Scientific principles can and must be used. The problem is that long ago socialists and their ilk lept upon social sciences because they believed that they would be able to use them to prove the scientific case for their erroneous ideas, and when this was not the case, they started denying that such things as sociology and economics were any more than sub-divisions of politics. This fellow above shows the tendency. Firstly the critics of 'The Spirit Level' are not claiming that inequality makes society better, merely that the book doesn't prove the opposite case. Secondly he gives the anti-scientific game away by stating that science should be subservient to a conscience, a clear rejection of science. So his view can be summed up as 'sociology is not science... but even if it is, my morally-superior conscience out-ranks it'.
It's difficult to argue with such a position, as argument involves the use of reason, and he has explicitly rejected reason, so ... I'll just call him a prick.