Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Left's War on Science

During the Bush years, one of the most commonly leveled charges against Bush and conservatives was the “politization of science.” There was more than a little truth to these charges, though Bush did not so much “politicize” science as ignore any undesirable science—Bush probably believed in evolution, but he was sympathetic to intelligent design proponents, and ignored any science proving global warming.

This is, or should be, sort of embarrassing for conservatives. Conservatism prides itself on its strict allegiance to facts (though I guess most political philosophies would do that), and the outright denial of evolution, and the disregard for any evidence of global warming flies in the face of that ethos. Conservatives should do a little self-examination on this issue.

Conservatives should do some self-examination—emphasis on the self part, because they do not need any help from liberals. Liberals are in no position to criticize conservatives for their attitude towards science—their attitude towards science is just as careless and selective as that of conservatives.

Take feminist theory (which isn’t, perhaps, science in the strictest sense, though a bachelors degree in feminist studies is technically a bachelors of science degree, and it does involve sifting evidence and forming hypothesis’s). Feminism is taught in a great many colleges, and is considered—at least on the Left—as a legitimate course of study. Yet the most respected feminist textbooks are full of obviously false “facts.”

In Nancy Lemon’s Domestic Violence Law, Lemon explains that the phrase “rule of thumb” arose from laws in Romulus’ Rome regulating the width of wife-beating rods. She also reveals that between twenty and thirty-five percent of women in emergency rooms are there due to domestic violence, and that women who are domestically abused are twice as likely to suffer miscarriages and birth defects. All these “facts” are completely baseless—yet university professors continue to pass them off as solid truth.

Another example of liberal disregard for science is its attitude towards global warming. Most liberals believe in the existence of man-made global warming, and given that most scientists do too, they are probably right to do so. But their support for climate change regulation too often seems to exist independently of the science of global warming, and they are quite willing to ignore inconvenient truths to advance their agenda.

A while back, environmentalists circulated a poignant picture to bring home to Americans the effects of global warming. It showed two confused looking polar bears stuck on an ice floe, with open water all around them. It was an effective shot—when the iceberg finished melting (thanks to global warming of course), the polar bears would presumably sink to a watery death, all thanks to remorseless Western consumption.

In reality, that sort of thing is quite common, global warming or no global warming. Icebergs exist no matter the earth’s temperature, and polar bears are pretty good swimmers, so they rarely drown, no matter how far they end up drifting.

Japan’s Mount Kilimanjaro is famous for its snowcapped summit. That snow is melting, which was another striking global warming image—until it was revealed that the mountain’s snows had been melting for decades—well before man-made global warming had begun.

Anthropogenic global warming is real, but the proper way to get the public’s attention is not to fabricate scary anecdotes. This sort of thing is every bit as dishonest as those who attempt to disprove global warming using obviously bad science.

It is not only the Right that is guilty of politicizing science. The Left is equally guilty—and sometimes more so. Both sides accept only that science which conforms with their beliefs—and ignores the rest.


At July 5, 2009 at 6:42 PM , Blogger BB-Idaho said...

Generally, scientists are apolitical, but definitely not conservative ..going back to the Scopes Trial, IMO. Nothing infuriates a scientist like usurping math/logic with supersititious nonsense. Various social sciences, while liberal, are not natural/physical sciences, but rather culture studies. But their stats are more objective than Dobson et. al.

At July 7, 2009 at 7:31 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Anthropogenic global warming is real..."

And so long as "conservatives" adopt this orthodoxy, despite massive amounts of factual data to the contrary, they will continue to be a minority party as they will continue to lose the support of individuals such as myself.

While we can concede that global warming has previously occured, though significant and relevant data now shows that since 1998 it has cooled or remained flat, it is not a factual concensus to conclude that such warming is anthropologic.


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