The Public Interest

On Pettigrew and Armor: an Afterword

James Q. Wilson

Winter 1973

THOSE who have read David Armors “The Evidence on Busing” and now find in this issue a lengthy rebuttal by Thomas Pettigrew and colleagues and a surrebuttal by Armor might be forgiven for throwing up their hands in despair at the apparent inability of social science to give clear and simple answers to important questions. One is powerfully tempted to decide that social science has nothing to say—or worse, too much that is inconclusive to say—about matters of public policy. Why not, one might ask, let the question of desegregation and busing be decided entirely on the basis of what one feels is right without regard to scholarly haggling?

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