Jonathan Haidt writes

The normal person (once animated by emotion) engages in moral reasoning to find ammunition, not truth; the normal person attacks the motives and character of her opponents when it will be advantageous to do so. The scientist, in contrast, respects empirical evidence as the ultimate authority and avoids ad hominem arguments.

Sort of like when I said that an academic is supposed to know the difference between a person and an argument. But Haidt goes on to raise doubts about the ability of even great academics to achieve objectivity.

Haidt has been popping up all over recently, so you must read him. In addition to the article linked above, don’t miss Will Wilkinson’s outstanding unpublished article or Nicholas Wade’s profile. Thanks to Tyler Cowen for the pointer.