While philosophers emphasize the distinction between description and prescription, in practice people’s beliefs about contentious issues seem to reflect their normative commitments. Less is known about the way that people infer others’ ideology from their reports about matters of fact. In the context of scientific research on the heritability of intelligence, scientists’ normative views (Study 1a) and motives (Study 2) are inferred from the evidence they report–independently of their stated research objectives. Two pre-registered replications (Studies 1b and 3) revealed that these effects generalize to other contentious domains of behavioral and social science research. Thus, laypeople view social scientific inquiry as (partly) a guided pursuit of evidence in favor of scientists’ personal ideology.