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Liberal's War On Science

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Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Pops » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 08:30:53

This post is a couple of years old so I'm gonna quote most of it (leaving out the stats on anti-science conservatives because we all know those):
The left's war on science begins with the stats cited above: 41 percent of Democrats are young Earth creationists, and 19 percent doubt that Earth is getting warmer. These numbers do not exactly bolster the common belief that liberals are the people of the science book. In addition, consider “cognitive creationists”—whom I define as those who accept the theory of evolution for the human body but not the brain. As Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker documents in his 2002 book The Blank Slate (Viking), belief in the mind as a tabula rasa shaped almost entirely by culture has been mostly the mantra of liberal intellectuals, who in the 1980s and 1990s led an all-out assault against evolutionary psychology via such Orwellian-named far-left groups as Science for the People, for proffering the now uncontroversial idea that human thought and behavior are at least partially the result of our evolutionary past.

There is more, and recent, antiscience fare from far-left progressives, documented in the 2012 book Science Left Behind (PublicAffairs) by science journalists Alex B. Berezow and Hank Campbell, who note that “if it is true that conservatives have declared a war on science, then progressives have declared Armageddon.” On energy issues, for example, the authors contend that progressive liberals tend to be antinuclear because of the waste-disposal problem, anti–fossil fuels because of global warming, antihydroelectric because dams disrupt river ecosystems, and anti–wind power because of avian fatalities. The underlying current is “everything natural is good” and “everything unnatural is bad.”

Whereas conservatives obsess over the purity and sanctity of sex, the left's sacred values seem fixated on the environment, leading to an almost religious fervor over the purity and sanctity of air, water and especially food. Try having a conversation with a liberal progressive about GMOs—genetically modified organisms—in which the words “Monsanto” and “profit” are not dropped like syllogistic bombs. Comedian Bill Maher, for example, on his HBO Real Time show on October 19, 2012, asked Stonyfield Farm CEO Gary Hirshberg if he would rate Monsanto as a 10 (“evil”) or an 11 (“f—ing evil”)? The fact is that we've been genetically modifying organisms for 10,000 years through breeding and selection. It's the only way to feed billions of people.

Surveys show that moderate liberals and conservatives embrace science roughly equally (varying across domains), which is why scientists like E. O. Wilson and organizations like the National Center for Science Education are reaching out to moderates in both parties to rein in the extremists on evolution and climate change. Pace Barry Goldwater, extremism in the defense of liberty may not be a vice, but it is in defense of science, where facts matter more than faith—whether it comes in a religious or secular form—and where moderation in the pursuit of truth is a virtue.


We see this here all the time, I guess it is the nature of being curious to occasionally slip over the line into anti-authoritarian rejection of any and every status quo, consensus, orthodox and even scientific view. The problem of course is cherry picking fact, studies, sources in order to make your argument. For example, we had a long running clique of 9/11 conspiracy enthusiasts here at one time (as if a conspiracy of foreign nationals to hijack and fly jet airliners into the world trade centers wasn't exotic enough). As well, there are even longer running debates on the more understandably non-science topics of economics, politics, religion...


So my question is, how does one know if they are simply employing healthy skepticism in investigating alternate explanation for [whatever] or rather, are indulging in an ego trip fantasy that they are the real life Neo with greater insight into reality than that of mainstream science?*


*Hint, 345 hits in a search for "red pill" on PO.com, LOL
If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby dohboi » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 08:44:10

Good questions, bad thread title.

I think what is required is basic critical thinking skills, especially evaluation of sources.

It should be also pointed out that some what might be called conspiracy theories have turned out to be true. Just a few years ago, anyone (whether from the left or right) who claimed that the government was listening in on everything they were saying on their cellphones would have been considered a psycho whack job by most people.

Now after wikileaks we know that the NSA is doing exactly that and more.

So it does indeed become difficult to know what kind of claims can be declared automatically beyond the pale. I would say that any claim having to do with oversight of electronic information by the gov and corporations cannot be easily dismissed anymore.

But look--the main 'war on science' is being waged by the likes of the Koch Brothers and their mostly-Republican lackeys in congress and elsewhere, i.e. by the right, not the left (to the extent that the latter even exists any more to any significant extent any more in the US).
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Timo » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 09:20:11

Peer reviewed, replicated results of scientific theories and experiments! Theories published for the sake of self-gratifacation are summarily discounted as being remotely credible. Science is never a fixed discipline. It survives and evolves based on proven replicability by other scientists. Evolution is a theory, based on credible, verifiable facts that support that theory. Creation is pure 100% faith with no scientific explanation, whatsoever, unless, of course, the Big Bang is considered the moment of creation, several hundred billion years ago, and that disproves the faith of godly creation according to the known "facts' of evangelicals.

One thing i agree on, though, is that the title of this thread is inappropriate. "Moderator's War on Rational Thought" would be more appropriate.
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Fishman » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 09:55:45

Waste of time Pops, at this website. By definition peak oil itself can be both conspiratorial and theoretical science. We have and always will struggle with "science" vs "faith" Our natural biases cloud thought even among the best. Its just a natural struggle. The ones you must always be most wary are those who say they have no bias. I've given lectures to medical students and resident physicians, balance logic, faith and empathy. One without the others never works.
But on the other hand, "But look--the main 'war on science' is being waged by the likes of Soros and his all Dem lackeys in congress..."
Obama, the FUBAR presidency gets scraped off the boot
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby kanon » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 10:52:03

Pops wrote:So my question is, how does one know if they are simply employing healthy skepticism in investigating alternate explanation for [whatever] or rather, are indulging in an ego trip fantasy that they are the real life Neo with greater insight into reality than that of mainstream science?

dohboi wrote:I think what is required is basic critical thinking skills, especially evaluation of sources.

At some point I am going to search for a concise explanation of classic logical fallacies and the methods of persuasive rhetoric. A short book should be all that is needed, if such a book can be found. When I have looked in the past the things I found were lists of varying completeness and less usefulness. Critical thinking is a skill that must be learned and practiced. There are patterns of fallacy that can be learned and recognized, and they are quite common. Pops, who is a great source of knowledge, should start a thread on the topic.

I would add that we are not as smart as we think, so all knowledge is inherently suspect and subject to revision.
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Timo » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 11:00:14

kanon wrote:I would add that we are not as smart as we think, so all knowledge is inherently suspect and subject to revision.

Speak for yourself! :badgrin:
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Pops » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 11:04:46

Timo wrote:One thing i agree on, though, is that the title of this thread is inappropriate. "Moderator's War on Rational Thought" would be more appropriate.

The moderators of what, Scientific American?
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Timo » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 11:13:41

Why bother!
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Plantagenet » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 11:19:26

dohboi wrote:the main 'war on science' is being waged by the likes of the Koch Brothers ....


I enjoy your posts, Dohboi, but the claim that the Koch brothers are waging a "war on science" is silliness pushed by Ds who decided to demonize the Koch brothers to aid in D fundraising. Actually, the Koch brothers are among the biggest supporters of science in the USA. I just checked and one of the brothers --- David Koch --- has given more than $1.2 billion to cancer research, medical centers, educational institutions, etc. I assume his brother also donates a considerable amount of money to science.

Here are some of David Koch's efforts to support science and research:

Medical & Cancer Research
A prostate cancer survivor, Mr. Koch has donated $100 million as prime contributor for the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. Other pledges and contributions for medical and cancer research includes:
$100 million to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital to help build the David H. Koch Center, a new ambulatory care center, plus $28 million to other research causes
$20 million to Johns Hopkins University for the David H. Koch Cancer Research Center
$66.7 million to support cancer research at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City
$26.5 million to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for the David H. Koch Center for Applied Research of Genitourinary Cancers and other causes
$26.2 million to The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City for the 'Building on Success' campaign and other causes
$10 million to Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Mount Sinai Medical Center to create the David H. and Julia Koch Research Program in Food Allergy Therapeutics
In 2011, Mr. Koch received the Humanitarian of the Year award from the American Apparel and Footwear Association for his long-standing support of organizations working to find a cure for prostate cancer. The awards gala raised more than $1.1 million for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. In 2007, he was honored with the Double Helix Medal for Corporate Leadership from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for supporting research that, “improves the health of people everywhere.”

Mr. Koch was honored by the Smithsonian Institution in
2012 for his generous support, and presented with a piece of
Smithsonite by G. Wayne Clough (left), secretary of the
Smithsonian Institution.

Education & Science

Mr. Koch supports science-related projects including funding the long-running PBS documentary series, “Nova,” and a science and technology center at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts.

A $35 million pledge to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History will renovate the dinosaur hall, which will be named after him. Once renovated, the hall will showcase the museum's unrivaled collection of 46 million fossils, including one of the largest and most complete T. rex specimens in the world. His $15 million gift to the museum created the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins that opened in 2010. The 15,000-square-foot exhibit helps answer the question, “What does it mean to be human?“

The Koch Biology Building and the David H. Koch School of Chemical Engineering Practice at MIT

A $20 million gift to the American Museum of Natural History, establishing the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing


etc. etc.

OK--- So please explain how giving over a billion dollars to PBS, museums, universities, observatories, etc. for science education and research is "waging a war on science"? :idea:
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Apneaman » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 15:03:21

A few things to ponder. The left-right, republican-democrat world views are, to a great degree, fabricated to keep Americans divided. There is plenty of evidence that we have inherent leaning towards being more conservative or liberal in our thinking, but not to the religious like degree we see in American politics. Most people are closer in their beliefs than they are aware of or care to admit.
There is no such thing as unnatural. Everything is natural. Unnatural is simply another word people use to mean they don't like something. For liberals it's related to pollution, environment and "civil liberties" for conservatives it's usually morality - often sexual or patriarchal or any threat to their perceived traditions.
The human operating system is emotional, science is counter intuitive. We tend to try and make the science work within our emotional/worldview framework. That's why you see many people deny simple physics & chemistry - like that CO2 traps radiation or that alternative energy can replace fossil fuels.
We had this game in the 1970's - Twister - you had to contort your body to make your hands and feet fit around other people and into a certain spot. We do that with science - contort it to make it go where we want it to.
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Timo » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 15:07:42

Apneaman, you have an unnatural ability to put concepts into words.
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Plantagenet » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 15:40:36

Apneaman wrote:We had this game in the 1970's - Twister - you had to contort your body to make your hands and feet fit around other people and into a certain spot. We do that with science - contort it to make it go where we want it to.


????

The scientific method has nothing in common with "twister"---- :lol:

Its convenient for people who don't understand science or don't want to accept various scientific findings to imagine that scientists just make things up and all science is twisted or contorted to fit various preconceived notions or political ideas, but that isn't how science itself works.

Image
Science

Image
Not science

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---President Obama, 4/25/16
"Il bel far niente"
---traditional Italian saying
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Timo » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 16:11:01

At least science can be fun at a party!

With the right company, of course!
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Pops » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 16:37:45

Timo wrote:At least science can be fun at a party!

With the right company, of course!

When I was a kid and played Twister with my cousins, my thoughts were invariably on biology.
If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby kuidaskassikaeb » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 16:53:14

I think that when lefty's talk about the right wing war on science they mean the well worn path from when a corporation is accused of doing something evil, to Corporation goes to PR firm like the heartland institute, to PR campaign to create doubt. To Republicans and "conservatives" start to believe some non-fact or that something is controversial that isn't. This happens so fast now that it is a major funding source for "Right wing think tanks."

(Lefties shouldn't think they are immune to this type of influence. PR firms look for trusted third parties and don't have any problem trying to influence the left. Even I know all you have to do to piss off a lefty is put the adjective "big" in front of something).

This path is so well worn that the first instance I can relate is the lead paint industry. Lead paint was banned from children's toys in the 1930s, and by that time everybody knew about lead poisoning (The Roman empire knew). Still it took till 1977 to ban all lead interior paint, and it may never have happened if TiO2 hadn't been better in every way. In between the industry invented Pica. So that parents were responsible for their own children's lead intake. (Pica was a disease of eating non food items). They accused scientists of misconduct for determining that lead levels that were considered low were also harmful. They lobbied and delayed. Same play book as global warming denialism.
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby dohboi » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 20:26:11

Plant, most big money supports both dem and repub candidates--that's the way the game's played.

But it is simply a fact that ExxonMobile, Koch Bros and other oil and ff interests pour considerable sums of money to push lies about science. Also it is fact that repub administrations in two states have outlawed the use of the very word climate change. It is also well known that the Bush admin censored and altered scientific docs and tried to muzzle James Hansen...

The list goes on and on. All pointed in the same directions.

Dem and 'liberal' interests give to all sorts of stupid things, I'm sure. But there is no larger concerted effort to distort, suppress and confuse the public about important scientific info than that being waged by ff interests and their Repug lackeys.

Find me a few leading R candidates for pres who vocally accept CC, and maybe I'll reconsider.

(It wasn't always this way, and it shouldn't be this way, but it is--Rep have devolved into the party of race hatred, every other sort of bigotry, and utter and totally denial of climate science...once upon a time the (southern) Dems had a pretty good lock on the first two, but the Rep's have pretty well taken over that mantle.)
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Apneaman » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 20:59:02

It's true that David Koch has donated a fair bit of money to many causes and I myself have enjoyed many episodes of PBS NOVA. Thanks Dave! The man is very intelligent too, but that does not mean he has not spent an equal or greater amount tipping the political scales in his favor. He is a chemical engineer, so no doubt he knows were in trouble. That does not preclude him from being human and suffering from cognitive biases and rationalizing his support for the denial industry. What are the chances that if the Kochs gave up FF and sunk their money into alternatives that their competition would follow suit? Zero. TPTB know what is coming, but no one is giving up their power. I'm not excusing; just explaining. They are guilty on all counts. Money and power make people act in a very selfish manner and disregard consequences to others - even to the entire species. The great religions and philosophies have always warned of this and science has recently confirmed it. Learn all about it in this David H Koch sponsored episode of NOVA.

Mind Over Money

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpHaA4xwkgE
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Timo » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 21:25:33

To be fair, David is the least obnoxious of the Koch brothers. William and Charles are evil, and I use that word with its fullest meaning. David isn't invited much to the atrocities of the other two. His hands aren't spotless, but they're not dripping with the blood of others, either.
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Thu 23 Apr 2015, 23:32:12

Timo wrote:Evolution is a theory, based on credible, verifiable facts that support that theory. Creation is pure 100% faith with no scientific explanation, whatsoever, unless, of course, the Big Bang is considered the moment of creation, several hundred billion years ago, and that disproves the faith of godly creation according to the known "facts' of evangelicals.

While expounding on theories and credibility, you might want to do some BASIC fact checking if you want to be taken AT ALL seriously. Science believes the universe is roughly 13.8 billion years old. Maybe before you expound your belief that the universe is "several hundred" years old (over an order of magnitude off).

http://www.space.com/24054-how-old-is-the-universe.html

(and many others,which tend to agree, and have within 500 million years for a LONG time).

I understand where you're coming from, but when you make such a blatant and basic error with NO fact checking, it kind of ruins your credibility.
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Re: Liberal's War On Science

Unread postby Pops » Fri 24 Apr 2015, 09:12:34

The fact that most of the responses here are to defend a US political party, kind of answers my question doesn't it? IOW, knee jerk subjective opinion wins every time, at least on social media.

Surveys show that moderate liberals and conservatives embrace science roughly equally (varying across domains), which is why scientists like E. O. Wilson and organizations like the National Center for Science Education are reaching out to moderates in both parties to rein in the extremists on evolution and climate change. Pace Barry Goldwater, extremism in the defense of liberty may not be a vice, but it is in defense of science, where facts matter more than faith—whether it comes in a religious or secular form—and where moderation in the pursuit of truth is a virtue.
ibid



I guess my problem is, my opinions have proven wrong so many times I've come to doubt my omniscience. Doubt is kind of limiting when it comes to knee-jerk battles. :-D
If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.
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