Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

May 7, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON SCIENCE....Michael Gerson today:

There are few things in American politics more irrationally ideological, more fanatically faith-based, than the accusation that Republicans are conducting a "war on science."

....For the most part, these accusations are a political ploy — actually an attempt to shut down political debate. Any practical concern about the content of government sex-education curricula is labeled "anti-science." Any ethical question about the destruction of human embryos to harvest their cells is dismissed as "theological" and thus illegitimate.

The disingenuousness here is breathtaking. Yes, liberals and conservatives have different views about sex education and stem cells, but those aren't even close to being the core issues in the liberal critique of the Republican war on science. The core issues, rather, are global warming denialism; creationism and intelligent design; the Gingrich-era shutdown of OTA; the promotion of phony cost-benefit analysis; and politically motivated lying about things like Plan B, breast cancer links to abortion, and condoms and STDs. Gerson surely knows this, but chooses to ignore all these genuine issues because his goal isn't to talk about science at all. What he really wants to talk about is a conservative trial balloon of fairly recent vintage: namely that liberal support of abortion rights and genetic screening constitutes a "new eugenics" in which science trumps morality and Dr. Mengele has the last laugh on all of us. Liberals' blind support of science über alles, he concludes ominously, is leading them into a "war on equality."

Good luck running that up the flagpole, Michael. Better than flag lapel pins, I suppose. In the meantime, what do you think about global warming, evolution, and condoms?

Kevin Drum 1:27 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (101)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Gerson surely knows this,

Do these people know anything?

Posted by: craigie on May 7, 2008 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

There is, of course, a new eugenics. For example older women have their fetuses screened for Downs. Or Ashkenazi Jews screen would-be marriage partners for Tay-Sachs.
Presumably, as screens get cheaper and we learn more, we'll also be screening for things like Huntingtons.

Would the GOP like to go on record as opposing these sorts of screens and preferring that kids get born into the world defective, the way god intended? I'd be interested to see how well that polls in modern America.

Posted by: Maynard Handley on May 7, 2008 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

Better than flag lapel pins

Obama should start wearing a Constitution pin. That would confuse 'em.

As for the "war on science," it is a bit of hyperbole in that it implies a concerted effort to displace scientific investigation as a means for better understanding our world. What I think the term really refers to is the concerted effort to obfuscate or deny empirical data that doesn't correspond to Republican policy positions that benefit business or popular ideological stances that win votes with "the base." You've cited the most egregious examples, but I'm sure there are others. This isn't exclusive to Republicans, but their examples are just so bald faced.

Posted by: lobbygow on May 7, 2008 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

The right-wing has adopted certain anti-science claims as articles of faith. And woe to anyone who departs from the script. John Derbyshire writes for National Review Online, but disdains the apologists for creationism he finds among his conservative colleagues. Then he dared say so aloud by criticizing Ben Stein's Expelled, the pseudo-documentary that blames Darwin for Hitler. Now Derbyshire has been flamed by none other than David Berlinski, the supercilious semi-mathematician who was featured in Expelled. [Link]

Posted by: Zeno on May 7, 2008 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

I think I need to clarify my comment a bit.

A true "war" on science would be disastrous to big business because scientific investigation feeds technological innovation AND because in order to make money, you need to have the best possible information about reality. You can be that the oil companies take climate change very seriously, even if as they make investments to keep the unwashed masses in the dark.

This is about strategic obscurantism, not a return to some magical thinking dark age. Unfortunately, it may not be so easy to predict the impact of deliberately misleading people about reality. These things have a way of getting out of hand. It's quite possible to look and the same set of facts and come to different conclusions on the best course of action to address those facts. It really doesn't benefit anyone, regardless of their core values or tastes, to obscure known facts or strongly supported theories. There is still plenty of room for debate

What is so scary about the obscurantist tendencies of the Bush administration is that it seems possible that hiding or denying the facts has progressed from intentional misdirection to collective self delusion.

Or something like that.

Posted by: lobbygow on May 7, 2008 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

Now let me get this straight: Republicans have time and time again promised to protect Americans. But then they invaded Iraq, making us less protected from terrorism. Then through a combination of tax cutting, social service cutting, and corporate welfare they continued to make us more vulnerable to hunger, homelessness, social insecurity, and inevitably crime. They continue to deny an imminent threat of global warming, giving us the chance to have our world as we know it destroyed by climate change. And the final rub: they won't even support us from protecting our genitals from sexually transmitted illnesses. Rule number one in voting: Never trust a politician who discourages you from protecting your genitals.

In fact, it seems that the main things that the conservative agenda is interested in protecting are the institution of poverty. They love protecting and promoting that institution. Growing threats to national security...let's protect that and keep people on their toes. And while they're at it, they protect genocide (the war in Iraq has tied us up from doing any thing about the genocide in Darfur). They've also protected the opportunity to watch polar bears drown and watch environmental devastation in Burma, New Orleans, Indonesia, Northern Africa, etc. And they've protected the perpetuation of teenage pregnancy, AIDS, and chlamydia.

Posted by: Andrew Slack on May 7, 2008 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK


My prediction about global warming which I am not afraid to commit to the blogosphere.

1. The earth may warm a little bit this century as well as it may cool, but no catastrophic events will ensue because of this. Many researchers will back off the most strident claims as this happens.
2. Still, activists will continue to call for radical solutions to escape the coming "Global Warming Catastrophe" even when it is clear there is none. Just like some still believe the gospel of overpopulation.
3. Like over-population, every resource depletion threat before it, and other trumped up "end of life as we know it" catastrophes, this problem will be ameliorated by a combination of natural forces, and unforeseen technological advances

If, this happens, will those of you who ranted about the false view of science practiced by those of the "...global warming denialism..", admit that maybe the global warming skeptics practiced better science than the global warming alarmists?

Probably not. You still haven't learned the lesson of the lost bets of Paul Ehrlich.

But it would be nice if someday you admitted that you don't practice any better science than us. You basically have different faith assumptions which you can't prove either. You don't have objective viewpoints, and though you try, as we do, to best follow the evidence, most of the time your irrational or emotional side makes the decision for you.

IMHO it is pretty foolish to think right now you or anyone else armed with only a computer model, has climatology figured out so precisely that you can predict what will happen 70-80 years from now. How arrogant to believe you have global weather patterns and the hydrology cycle so well figured out that you can accurately predict what will happen as the result of a fraction of a degree of warming. Yet some of you will rant that anyone who doesn't believe the same way is an "enemy of science".

Posted by: John Hansen on May 7, 2008 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks Kevin. That's really bitter, and it's about time.

Posted by: Rich McAllister on May 7, 2008 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

This is just Republican politics by religious means. Real religious are not so defensive about science, since its a matter of faith. Only political operatives in religious clothes are engaged in this battle.

Compare Huckabee with Robertson, the latter supported Rudy even though thrice divorced and noted cross dresser. Robertson is a political operative in religious clothing. Huckabee is a religious operative in political clothing.

Posted by: Bub on May 7, 2008 at 3:29 AM | PERMALINK

When you add up all the hours Republicans spend in church and in traffic each week it's no wonder they devalue science and think their all-powerful God will solve any problem we create.

I'm guessing Republicans spend 3 hours weekly praising God and 10 hours in traffic paying homage to God's annointed princes on Earth, the CEOs of Exxon, Mobil, Shell, BP (but not CITGO). That's a minimum of 13 waking hours a week engaged in activities that deny science and numb our intellects.

What does it take to counter 13 hours a week of anti-scientific behavior? How do we create conditions that get people out of their cars and into their communities, dealing constructively with neighbors who have a different take on what God wants us all to do with our physical world?

Posted by: pj in jesusland on May 7, 2008 at 4:41 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, it was inspiring to see last October all those Democrats stand up against Republican attacks on America's most eminent man of science, James Watson.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on May 7, 2008 at 4:43 AM | PERMALINK

JH>You still haven't learned the lesson of the lost bets of Paul Ehrlich.

"When playing Russian roulette the fact that the first shot got off safely is little comfort for the next." - Richard Feynman

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on May 7, 2008 at 5:34 AM | PERMALINK

What a disgusting, loathesome individual Michael Gerson is. I'll bet he's descended from monkeys.

Posted by: Anon on May 7, 2008 at 5:44 AM | PERMALINK

"Yes, it was inspiring to see last October all those Democrats stand up against Republican attacks on America's most eminent man of science, James Watson."

In the first place, Watson isn't *science*, he is *a scientist.* Secondly, he was not criticisized for his science, he was criticized for an unscientific, racist comment. Everything that trips off the lips of scientists isn't necessarily science. Even he acknowledged that his comments were wrong.

When you get to high school, Steve, this will all make much more sense to you.

Posted by: Joel on May 7, 2008 at 7:01 AM | PERMALINK

I know I'm preaching to the choir here but Gerson couldn't be more misleading.

The War On Science isn't a war over the ethics of what science created, it's a war over what science IS.

The Republicans have launched a full-scale attack on what constitutes facts, extending the "I don't care what people say, Jesus is just all right" to everything that came out with results for which they don't care.

Posted by: BrianInAtlanta on May 7, 2008 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe I'm not remembering correctly, but didn't Francis Collins & Co. start working on the Human Genome Project LOOOOONG before W. came to the White House? Like, in 1990 or so? And wasn't Collins tapped to replace James Watson during the Clinton administration?

You'd think a guy dedicated to scientific fact would have checked on that...

Posted by: PC on May 7, 2008 at 7:46 AM | PERMALINK

I think this should be answered easier than Kevin tried to do it with his multi-semi-colon bearing sentence-

One way to look at it is to say, "The contraceptive based sex-ed programs work- they get less teens to have pre-marital sex and less teens to get pregnant; the Republicans promote the abstinence-based programs, though, which everyone knows don't work by now. That's a war on science. That's denying data just because you want a different outcome," and so on.

Another way to look at it though- and when you start to realize how much dumber or at least uneducated and irrational the conservatives are than us, you really start to wonder about whether explanations like this have merit- is this: "The conservatives hear the words 'sex ed.' To them, those words mean 'education about sex'- from a normative view, or a scientific view, or whatever. They don't necessarily see it as a social program to help teens' lives so that they don't make bad mistakes and suffer from social problems. They see it as the opportunity for schools to teach teens whatever it is appropriate for teens to know (or think) about sex. So if older people are revolted by any hint of condoning teenagers' having sex, then accordng to conservatives, the sex ed class should teach the teens only abstinences, end of story."

Posted by: Swan on May 7, 2008 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

should teach the teens only abstinences, end of story."

Er, abstinence. But, you get the point.

Posted by: Swan on May 7, 2008 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

In the meantime, what do you think about global warming, evolution, and condoms?

Don't forget happy forests and caribou warming themselves by the pipeline.

Posted by: B on May 7, 2008 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Ah lobbygrow, you hit the nail on the head and did not even realize it. Some of our largest business organizations now do have a very large problem with some of the good empirical data we have now. The most serious is global warming. It largely dictates major shifts, if not complete overhaul in the business models of some of the very largest corporations. A good business model is hard to come by, and some of these businesses have been around a long time. So the equation has changed. Science is now taking away what it at one time provided, and, yes, these major corporations are fighting back. Republicans would support science, if indeed these corporations were on board. However, what they do now is not just a wink and nod towards the religious base.

Posted by: dwn on May 7, 2008 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, I do not recommend that you look at my 'second explanation' above and use it to 'understand' conservatives to the point that your resolve to fight abstinence-only programs is lessened. I think you should recognize that sex-ed programs were probably implemented in the first place when congress heard a bunch of fact-based info from policy experts about the value of fact-based sex-ed in preventing pregnancy and STDs, and I think congress implemented the programs with that goal in mind- that is, not so "sex ed" could be a program for parochial bumpkins to indoctrinate the nation's childrens with their anti-health personal peeves about people's sex lives. I think to look at it otherwise is wrong and unnecessarily capitulationist. We just need to keep explaining to people what good government is and what it's trying to do and how it's making our lives better. You don't need to keep finding excuses to be the weakest, most cowardly liberals you can be. It's cowardly to abandon the modern world to ignorance and the past when we have modern knowledge.

I apologize in advance to anyone the above paragraph may seem unnecessary to, but I just think that a lot of liberals are motivated in part by their blind prejudices, and sometimes when you actually explain the other side to them better, if those same liberals are also a little gutless or too poorly ideologically grounded, they end up having feelings that are too accomodationist for the real world we have to function in, where if you let the stupid get real power they eventually use it to create regimes like Nazi Germany.

Posted by: Swan on May 7, 2008 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

This thread could lead to the Holocaust.

Posted by: Ben Stein on May 7, 2008 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

I just want to add a little to my previous comments:

I think part of the solution is for us as liberals to communicate better that we do not want to "teach teens to have sex." I think too often conservatives read comments that are something like what I wrote before, and they think it means we want to do that (which is a reaction we should work to prevent). Also, I think too often liberals hear of that conservative reaction, and their reaction is too close to being something like, "Well, so what if kids want to have sex," or "Oh well, we can't do anything about it anyway," and that also is a reaction we should work to prevent.

For one thing, despite all the dogma to the contrary, I don't think anyone really doesn't care if her 17-year old daughter runs off to have sex with Thag, the 36-year-old Harley Davidson riding gang member. And that makes sense, and we shouldn't push standards that take into account our own views we can't abandon. This is why people feel the waythey do about Thag, I think:

I guess I can't really be the arbiter for anybody of whether it's okay or not for them to have one-night-stands with strangers. But that's the morally normative point of view on relationships- let's look just at what's safe & practical! I think we all can agree that it's a safer life to live- emotionally, economically, and health-wise- to seek out relationships with people who really care about you, and who are similar to you in terms of power and experience. Then, they care about whether something hurts you (what the consequence of it for you are), and they are less likely and able to take advantage of you and basically less likely to be working contrary to your interests when you are letting them so close to you. Teenagers are especially vulnerable, because they are especially inexperienced. Therefore, it makes sense to encourage your teenager to limit his/her relationships to those that are monogamous, those that are about caring for the other person, and those that are with another similarly-aged teenager from a similar economic background. When a person is older (25+), they are better able to defend themselves, and have more experience to decide on their own whether to have one-night-stands with the stupid person they just met, or the person who just verbally abused them (but looked cute) in the bar. No matter what libertarian dogma people have about sex, I think they all can agree with this.

So I think it is entirely appropriate for us to, in agreement with conservatives, dissaude our teenagers from having sex with Thag or I guess Thagetta (and as you can see, I'm not saying that you didn't already realize this in some way, just that you may not have admitted it to yourself and other liberals), and I think we should communicate this to the conservatives. Once they see that we are not trying to promote teenagers' harming themselves (really, keeping the conservatives from making our kids vulnerable is the same thing we think we are doing by promotig realistic sex-ed) then they will be less likely to misunderstand out view on sex ed and to respond to our arguments with epithets instead of a real discussion.

Posted by: Swan on May 7, 2008 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

As to the comment at 8:30-- what was Al Gore's states basis for claiming that 22,000 people died from global warming? You sure didn't provide that in your comment.

It doesn't sound impossible to me- 22,000 is very few relative to the whole world's population- couldn't global warming have killed out some species or something that effected economies in a few very primitive places, and thereby produced poverty in some villages or something?

If Al Gore's claim is just based on incorrect facts or incorrect conclusions, then it may just be bad science- a mistake- and not "like" the preacher's remark. I really doubt that Al Gore tried to base his remark on anything other than science.

Posted by: Swan on May 7, 2008 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

I wish the global warming deniers had applied the same degree of skepticism to the "evidence" for WMD in Iraq.

And by the way, the fact that Paul Ehrlich might have been wrong once does not mean that 97 percent of world's climatoligists are wrong now.

The bottom line for me is: What are we being asked to do to help mitigate climate change? Not to eat thumbtacks, but to conserve energy. This is something we should do anyway for a dozen other good reasons that have nothing to do with global warming.

Posted by: Virginia on May 7, 2008 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Michael Gerson: crackpot christer & speechwriter (I write policy!) for a mean, stupid, dishonest president before he started sucking dollars as an op-ed jackass. After years of braying against reason, is it any wonder that he's enlisted (no, accepted a commission) in the war on science?

Posted by: Boolaboola on May 7, 2008 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Long term climate data--and I mean paleoclimate data, not a hundred years' worth of historic period weather reports--indicate that while periods of global warming have always occurred because of a variety of factors, the accelerated warming we're seeing now is something new. Global warming periods documented by oxygen isotope proportions in ocean foraminifera indicate that temperature fluctuations in the deep past occurred over tens of thousands of years, not in less than a human lifetime! I came across such paleoclimate data in graduate school before anyone, including Al Gore, was talking about global warming, so I was inclined to agree when they did start talking about it. Religious conservatives who have a problem accepting the old age of the earth and evolution, however, aren't going to accept paleoclimate data, either.

Posted by: Varecia on May 7, 2008 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans hate scientists but love engineers...

Posted by: e. nonee moose on May 7, 2008 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Andrew Slack:

Now let me get this straight: Republicans have time and time again promised to protect Americans. But then they invaded Iraq, making us less protected from terrorism. Then through a combination of tax cutting, social service cutting, and corporate welfare they continued to make us more vulnerable to hunger, homelessness, social insecurity, and inevitably crime. They continue to deny an imminent threat of global warming, giving us the chance to have our world as we know it destroyed by climate change. And the final rub: they won't even support us from protecting our genitals from sexually transmitted illnesses. Rule number one in voting: Never trust a politician who discourages you from protecting your genitals.

You've nailed it Andrew. This is the most concise post I've seen yet, in language ANYONE can understand.

Posted by: G.Kerby on May 7, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

namely that liberal support of abortion rights and genetic screening constitutes a "new eugenics" in which science trumps morality and Dr. Mengele has the last laugh on all of us. Liberals' blind support of science über alles, he concludes ominously, is leading them into a "war on equality."

Damnit, he's onto us! Who told? WHO TOLD!?!?

Posted by: Stefan on May 7, 2008 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

You can be that the oil companies take climate change very seriously, even if as they make investments to keep the unwashed masses in the dark.

You'd be suprised. I know some of these energy guys, and their ability to deny the reality staring them in the face because they want to keep making money now (even though this ensures that they won't be able to make money in the future) is truly breathtaking. Never underestimate a businessman's ability to engage in short-term thinking. Making the quarterly numbers is all.

Posted by: Stefan on May 7, 2008 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

There's a new book about this by David Michaels, entitled Doubt is Their Product. Heard him on NPR last week, talking about the industry that's grown up around attacking the science underlying regulation in order not to prove anything, but simply to try to up-end the political process of making regulations by casting doubt on the science that shows regulation is justified. It's not merely a Republican phenomenon, but the tactics aren't all that different a lot of the time.

Posted by: Crabgrass on May 7, 2008 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

I think part of the solution is for us as liberals to communicate better that we do not want to "teach teens to have sex."

We...we don't? B-but that's why I became a liberal!.....

Seriously, though, I'm afraid that any solution that relies on liberals to earnestly communicate once again simple basic facts may be no match for convervatives' ability to twist and distort such simple basic facts. We can say "we don't want to teach teens to have sex" and the headline on Fox News tomorrow will be "Liberals: Teach Teens to Have Sex!"

Posted by: Stefan on May 7, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

This clearly shows that the republicans have found a new club to hit the left with. First it was liberalism, what with its support for equality and freedom, and now it is the left's support for science, what with its rationality and mistrust of blind faith.

Surely a winning strategy, for most Americans cannot tell modus tollens from a gay bar in San Francisco.

Posted by: gregor on May 7, 2008 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

You asked so here are my opinions: (1)There is no scientific evidence of man-made global warming. As to warming there is overwhelming evidence that the earth warms and cools and always has. (2) People should provide there own condoms, just as they provide their own shoes. (3) I believe the theory of evolution is correct. I don't understand why people with scientific knowledge and viewpoints always use ad hominem arguments against creationism instead of scientific arguments.

Posted by: Fred Beloit on May 7, 2008 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

I think that the relationship between science and sex education has changed recently. Science tells us something different about sex education, because there is a lot of new information. In particular abstinence only sex education has been tried and the attempts have been, imperfectly no doubt, evaluated.

Before the experiment performed under the Bush administration, it was not anti-science to argue that abstinence only sex ed would cause lower levels of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. IIRC in 2001 that was a testable hypothesis in social science.
To continue to argue this is to contest a, by now, large body of data. This is still not necessarily anti-science, as there is often a scientific debate about how to interpret data.

To ignore the data completely and stick to the exact same position based on the exact same arguments that one had before large amounts of relevant data were collected is anti-science. I think that is a tautology no ?

The scientific method is so utterly alien to Gerson that he doesn't seem to understand that a position that was not anti-science 7 years ago might be anti science now. The body of scientific knowledge changes. I stress that the new knowledge is that people have seriously attempted to evaluate abstinence only sex education and estimate that it's benefits are definitely close to zero (hence less well than comprehensive sex ed is estimated to work). Neither I nor Gerson nor anyone really knows that they are right. But to ignore the research entirely is to be anti-science.

Note Gerson's use of the word "practical". Any practical concern would lead any rational person to attempt to measure effects of policies and take the measurements (imperfect as they must be) into account. Gerson simply doesn't accept that new data makes any difference. He wouldn't recognize the scientific method if he tripped over it.

On the other hand ethical views, however strange I or anyone might find them, can't be pro or anti-science.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on May 7, 2008 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan wrote:

Seriously, though, I'm afraid that any solution that relies on liberals to earnestly communicate once again simple basic facts may be no match for convervatives' ability to twist and distort such simple basic facts.

Nah, the problem is that we neglected to reconize and correct a simple distortion and false impression. This is often a reason why we lose people over a particular issue that is important to them. It's hard for some liberals to believe, but a lot of the formula to our future political success is just yeoman's work, the nuts-and-bolts thinking and communicating that explains things for people and convinces them.

Posted by: Swan on May 7, 2008 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

PS-

Some liberals may be a little too adolescently-defiant, so that they'd rather be obstinate and hold onto an iconoclastic image than advance the good of our politics and our society, too.

Just a general thing that applies to a lot of my comments- when I write "some liberals" and then I write something negative about them, I'm almost always not making a general characterization of liberals- but I am talking about a small group of liberals who are big enough and influential enough for their mistakes to influence other liberals & to greatly cost us.

Posted by: Swan on May 7, 2008 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

(2) People should provide there own condoms, just as they provide their own shoes.

The condoms I can understand, but good Lord, just what are you using the shoes for when you have sex???

You know what, forget it, I don't even want to know....

Posted by: Stefan on May 7, 2008 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Progressives are pretty good at ignoring science.

Posted by: Matt on May 7, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

RWOS author Chris Mooney responds:

In short, Gerson's oped is a joke. No need for debunking, just laughing.
Posted by: JJ on May 7, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

CraigDo these people know anything?

Oh, sure. One of the most consistent elements (I'd argue a necessary element) of organized opposition to science is near all-eclipsing disingenuity, to the point of outright lying. Duane Gish's statements about bombadier beetles and quinone/peroxide explosions is a perfect example - it was demonstrated by a chemist, in front of both him and an audience, that his claims were factually false, and yet he just kept on repeating them.

Religio-political ideologies like Creationism simply wouldn't exist if their adherents/proponents were remotely honest or cared about facts. Just look at any of the posts from that Hansen guy for some perfect examples. Without deliberately misrepresenting what he opposes, he would get nowhere. Hell, if Hanson were merely required to use the term "arbitrary" accurately, he'd have nothing, period, to say about religion.

Ideologies like these can't survive the inclusion of honesty. It's like bleach. It kills BS dead.

Posted by: DH Walker on May 7, 2008 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

The Bush White House has been censoring science data like a bunch of goddamn soviets.

If Gerson can't confront that, he's too much of a coward to engage.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 7, 2008 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

I think Kevin is reading Gerson's motives wrong.

This is the old conservative "political ploy" of inverting reality. The pro-science crowd are "more irrationally ideological, more fanatically faith-based" than the anti-science!

Get it? It's just the old up is down, black is white ploy.

Posted by: agave on May 7, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Swan,

I think part of the solution is for us as liberals to communicate better that we do not want to "teach teens to have sex."

One would think that, assuming that the people on the other side are just as reasonable as we are and are simply misguided.

The 25% core Republican supporters are not as reasonable as we are and they are intentionally misguided by their social dominator.

Attempts to be reasonable with authoritarians will fail. They don't reason. They don't follow a chain of logic. They have their conclusions handed to them and assume the evidence shows they are correct.

In their worldview abstinence only is the only correct method of teaching sex and the facts simply don't matter to them. Their leaders will mislead them and tell them not to trust the liberal media or even "liberals" and will give the flimsiest reasons which are accepted as articles of faith.

You want to convince an authoritatian? They have extreme respect for laws, so make worthwhile sex-ed the law. They also, over time, become convinced by personal experience. They are fearful by nature and distrusting of outsiders but with work can be reached. "Liberal" church groups should offer joint projects with the "Fundies" and over time some fundies will believe their own eyes instead of what they've been told, but this must be done gently and over a period of time, otherwise the gate is shut, the drawbridge is raised, and they'll cower in their castle with their eyes closed and ears plugged.

Posted by: Tripp on May 7, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

DH Walker,

Just look at any of the posts from that Hansen guy for some perfect examples.

You nailed that one. Hansen simply cannot state his own positions and then defend them. He is not capable of logic or reason, not in the traditional sense.

He routinely attacks other's position because he can do that and he mistakenly thinks proving them wrong proves him right. That is a logical fallacy. Other creationists use appeal to authority, another logical fallacy, and also think if they can make everyone think as they do that also proves them right.

When Hansen is asked to clearly state his positions he won't do it and if you try to pin him down he'll change his statements. All the while he will be attacking strawmen and if pressed hard enough for a defense of his position he will run.

I tried to draw him out but his tactics are so routine to him that he simply cannot state and defend his positions.

Once you know that about him he becomes completely predicable. The same with all the authoritarians. They cannot "reason" in the normal sense. In addition their minds are compartmentalized and they are perfectly satisfied holding two contradictory statements and knowing they are both correct.

Posted by: Tripp on May 7, 2008 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Tripp: You want to convince an authoritatian? They have extreme respect for laws, so make worthwhile sex-ed the law.

I think you're right on the money except for this one part, considering the "rule of law" party's apologia over the Bush administration's blatant, visible-from-orbit lawlessness and disrespect for the constitution.

I'd say that what defines authoritarians is the fact that they only believe what is told to them by people they trust. This is why their views are so personality-based. I personally know people who support Bush "because he's a Christian". Facts? Actual behavior? Irrelevant. This is why those hugely bogus "character" questions make such traction with them during elections. This is why they invest so much into personal narratives. Just listen to any McCain supporter tell you what "kind of guy" he is - that's all they have.

It's just all about perceived personality qualities. Everything else is fixed around that.

Posted by: DH Walker on May 7, 2008 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Tripp:

Exactly. What's the basis for Hansen's choice of religion? There isn't a single argument that can be made in favor of believing in his god that can't equally be made for any other religion's god; and there isn't a single argument he can make for not believing in those other gods that can't be equally well applied to his.

His position is the exact definition of arbitrary, but he claims that "atheist" morality is "arbitrary" because it's based on reality, while his makes "rational sense".

He uses the term "arbitrary" to mean the exact opposite of what it actually means, in order to make his "points". In other words, lying. It's what people like him do. It's what people like him have to do.

Posted by: DH Walker on May 7, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

He started OK in the Wash Post- then he sounded odd with Wright and now he finally derailed.

Posted by: raoul on May 7, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Condoms prevent evolution.

Posted by: Brojo on May 7, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

(1)There is no scientific evidence of man-made global warming. As to warming there is overwhelming evidence that the earth warms and cools and always has.

Fred, you're making a logical leap here. The existence of natural warming/cooling periods in the past does not mean the CURRENT trend is natural.

There have been millions of forest fires since the first forest was struck by lightning hundreds of millions of years ago, but that doesn't mean today's forest fire wasn't caused by an arsonist.

Posted by: PC on May 7, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

I see that the post deal with the War on science from the rethoric and phylosophical point of view. But also there is a more real war on science done by the underfunding of NIH, and NSF (which is always promised but never given an increase in budget). That is really hurting science more than anything

Posted by: adyacent on May 7, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

How do I feel?

Global warming: bad.
Evolution: good.
Condoms: better than the alternatives.

Posted by: Starfish on May 7, 2008 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

The way the "War on Science" manifested itself in the stem-cell debate was not in the ethical debate, but rather the shoddy science Bush used to justify his incoherent position. He essentially argued a "well, the barn door's open, and the horses are out, but we'll shut it anyway" argument.

Bush wanted to have it both ways: he wanted to simultaneously argue that using stem cells from embryos was immoral, but that he wasn't standing in the way of science. But he was standing in the way of science.

(Oh, and anybody who thinks there isn't any evidence of man's contribution to global warming is getting his science from policy think tanks who are paid to represent viewpoints, not from actual scientists who are paid to seek answers regardless of what they are.)

Posted by: Whispers on May 7, 2008 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

John Hanson-

We are presently taking geologic hydrocarbon deposits that were stored over millions of years and releasing the carbon back into the atmosphere over the span of a few hundred years. Is it more arrogant to fear this might affect the earth’s climate, or to rule out the possibility it might have some effect? Not to be too harsh, but your stand strikes me as “fat, dumb and happy”.

Posted by: fafner1 on May 7, 2008 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

I am currently reading Al Gore's The Assault on Reason. It addresses why the radical right wants to create confusion and why, precisely, their disingenuousness is working, especially in regard to science. If you want a lucid and alarming understanding of what's going on here, read this book.

Posted by: Gaia on May 7, 2008 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican war on science is fall out from the Republican philosophy that ideology trumps competence. This philosophy is implemented by appointing a cadre of fresh faced simpleton Monica Goodlings to routinely overrule knowledgeable professionals at all levels of government. The end result is faith based missile defense, faith based tax cuts, faith based contraception, faith based Iraq invasion, ad infinitum.

Posted by: fafner1 on May 7, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

I am so glad to hear Tripp use the word authoritarian for about the 19th time on this site to describe me.

My question is, Tripp, I bet I probably can accurately predict your stand on many issues ranging from abortion to global warming to evolution to universal health care to sex outside of marriage to the Iraq war to windfall profits taxes on oil companies, just by assuming the standard liberal response.

If your predictions conform so much to some viewpoints which are probably only shared by 50% of Americans, what makes you think you are such an independent thinker? Wake up! Your just as much an authoritarian as me. You just get your marching orders from a different source.

Don't be arrogant enough to think you really are making up your mind objectively. Admit your weakness as a limited human being, and maybe we can have an intelligent conversation. Stay with this idea that I am a non-thinking authoritarian and you are a completely rational objectivist and I would just be tossing my pearls before swine to enter into a substantive discussion with you.

Posted by: John Hansen on May 7, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

And speaking of authoritarians, I should add that when I bought the above-mentioned book at an airport bookstore, two of the clerks actually tried to talk me out of it, telling me "not to waste my time reading a book by a guy who wants to be president but doesn't want to work for it." They were just sure that Gore was going to win the nomination after Obama and Clinton deadlocked, and their horror was palpable. Is that how Scary News Network is whipping up fear in its constituents these days--with the spectre of a Gore presidency?

Is it really the job of Borders Bookstore clerks to hassle consumers about what they read? Is this corporate policy now?

Posted by: Gaia on May 7, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Gaia: For a good companion piece to The Assault On Reason, I'd recommend Trust Us, We're Experts by Rampton and Stauber. Guaranteed to make steam come out of your ears.

Posted by: DH Walker on May 7, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Gaia,

Perhaps you can explain why you would credit a man who received a C and D in his only two college science classes as an expert on any matter of science or science policy? That suggests to me that he lacks a basic understanding of the scientific process, at the least, not to mention a lack of scientific knowledge.

Does this criticism apply to lots of politicians, reporters, movie stars and other celubtantes? You bet!

Posted by: DBL on May 7, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Many researchers will back off the most strident claims as this happens.

Right. Just like Bush will be vindicated in history. Have you visited this alternate reality in which you finally happen to be right?

Meanwhile, back in reality, the previous decades' models that were similarly dismissed as strident, etc., have proved to have been overly optimistic, which no doubt Hansen will use as yet another excuse for his defensive strategy of epistemological nihilism.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 7, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Maynard Handley -- they of course oppose genetic screening, although they won't say so explicitly. But check out this blog from this Discovery Institute fellow if you want to see where the thinking is going.

Posted by: mtraven on May 7, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps you can explain why you would credit a man who received a C and D in his only two college science classes as an expert on any matter of science or science policy?

Um, because that was back around 1969?

Let me guess: it made sense when Rush said it, right?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 7, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Not to be too harsh, but your stand strikes me as “fat, dumb and happy”.

Well, since he seems to think that all the other crises somehow magically resolved themselves, rather than being addressed by people who were actually, you know, willing to work on those problems, I'd say that you've identified a fundamental blind spot, there.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 7, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

GMT: Let me guess: it made sense when Rush said it, right?

Hey, every single thing Rush says makes perfect sense, if you never actually think about them.

But be careful shooting down Hansen's BS with basic common sense. He may stop casting "his pearls" before us. Then we might have to resort to The Onion for that kind of thing.

Posted by: DH Walker on May 7, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

(3) I believe the theory of evolution is correct. I don't understand why people with scientific knowledge and viewpoints always use ad hominem arguments against creationism instead of scientific arguments.
Posted by: Fred Beloit

Because creationism isn't science, and refuting it using scientific arguments ascribes to it an empiric validity that it simply doesn't have.

Creationists aren't interested in debate -- from what I can tell, anyways. Religious authoritarians rarely are.

Posted by: on May 7, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo: Condoms prevent evolution.

No, it's just that evolution selects against condom users.

Posted by: anandine on May 7, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

DBL: Perhaps you can explain why you would credit a man who received a C and D in his only two college science classes as an expert on any matter of science or science policy?

As opposed to what, taking the word of a dry drunk Bible thumper and Ivy League frat boy whose only accomplishment was handed to him by the Supreme Court? I credit the man's ideas and eloquence and EVIDENCE (look it up), not his college transcript. I got a C in typing and I'm a writer and editor. Go figure.

Posted by: Gaia on May 7, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Creationists aren't interested in debate

Nah, they're happy to debate, as long as they're allowed to lie about various things. Whether it's lying about Darwin's words, lying about the history of science, lying about the scope of naturalism, lying about probability mathematics, or simply lying about what evolutionary theory states, lying is the lifeblood of their ideology.

This is what most people don't understand about the "debate". Why don't scientists use rational arguments to disprove Creationism? THEY HAVE. Over and over and over again. Creationists are the science-world equivalent of the pushy asshole at the bar who keeps propositioning you even after you've said no a hundred times. At some point, you stop being polite.

Posted by: DH Walker on May 7, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

You forgot to mention that certain NASA administrator who censored public statements by NASA officials regarding the origins of the universe. The "Big Bang" theory isn't politically correct by Republican standards.

Posted by: CT on May 7, 2008 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

The real Republican "war" is the war on anything and everything that might stand in the way of empowering the powerful and enriching the rich, and concentrating all wealth and power in the hands of a tiny, increasingly hereditary, ultra-rich ruling class. It is, fundamentally, a class war of, by and for the ultra-rich, against everyone else.

The so-called Republican "war on science" -- i.e. the distortion, censorship and suppression of scientific knowledge and the dissemination of pseudo-scientific right-wing propaganda -- is just one battle in this war.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on May 7, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

John Hansen,

Thanks for proving my point. You think a rational discussion is about you and me and you attack me.

Just like an authoritarian.

You want to disprove me? Clearly state your beliefs regarding intelligent design and defend them without attacking me, attacking liberals, without resorting to authority and without resorting to the bandwagon.

Posted by: on May 7, 2008 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

True enough, although one of the Republican "battles" is to at least give lip service to keep their 25% fundie authoritarian base quiet.

They promise over and over, for example, to ban abortion and then when they fail to do it the authoritarians, gullible to a fault, never learn and trust them one more time.

Posted by: Tripp on May 7, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Gaia,

Is it really the job of Borders Bookstore clerks to hassle consumers about what they read? Is this corporate policy now?

You should ask the Borders manager that. If you can't do that then ask the corporate office.

I'm serious. I stopped putting up with that crap years ago. Once you get to someone who actually wants to make money they'll act pretty quickly.

Posted by: Tripp on May 7, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Hansen,

Stay with this idea that I am a non-thinking authoritarian and you are a completely rational objectivist and I would just be tossing my pearls before swine to enter into a substantive discussion with you.

Bwahahahahahahahaha. You are so predictable. I've told you how you can prove me wrong but (as I predicted) you won't do it because, why, I predicted you won't do it?

Now that is a sweet little tight excuse you've got there. Someone tells you that you have no means to do something and when you do not do it you claim you have the means, you just won't bother?

Too bad this kind of thing didn't work in the real world. For example I participate in the State Games of America. I show up with my shot put and claim I can set the World's record, so put that down. The judge says "you'll have to do it for me before I believe it." I say "well now I won't do it because you don't think I can and it would be wasted."

Be honest - you are simply parroting back pre-canned responses to this stuff. Just like an authoritarian. Once you spout one response you must move on to another because you really can't carry on a rational stream of thought.

But hey, I'm fallible, prove me wrong. Go ahead.

Posted by: Tripp on May 7, 2008 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK
Still, activists will continue to call for radical solutions to escape the coming "Global Warming Catastrophe" even when it is clear there is none. Just like some still believe the gospel of overpopulation.

Hansen

Yes, because it sure is "radical" to ask people to use CFLs ... to request better gas mileage for our cars ... to look into options other than gas to power our cars (e.g. electricity) ... to require the building of power plants that don't pollute and poison the environment ... to research better farming techniques ... to use environmentally sustainable products in our homes ...

Yep. Sure are a bunch of "radical solutions" in there!

After all, they are all relatively easy to accomplish, would get us off foreign oil, would increase our national security, would create new industries that employ millions of people, and ensure our grandkids inherit a world worth living in.

If that's what you call "radical," I'm okay with that.

Meanwhile, those of us in reality will call it "common sense" and a "moral duty."
.

Posted by: Mark D on May 7, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Gerson has never been anything but a shill for the right wing; that's exactly why the Post hired him. In fact, the Post has more shills for the right wing than they have legitimate reporters. It's so sad to see a once great paper slink into the darkness and slime of the radical right wing. They deserve their new nickname of Pravda on the Potomac. They continue to work hard to keep it.

Posted by: Mazurka on May 7, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK
Still, activists will continue to call for radical solutions to escape the coming "Global Warming Catastrophe" even when it is clear there is none.
Assume for a moment that this is correct, and that "radical" solutions are undertaken when there is no need. What's the worst-case scenario? That a few filthy-rich CEOs make a slightly smaller profit.

Now assume that the "Global Warming Catastrophe" really IS coming, but we sit on our asses as some advocate. What's the worst case scenario then? Destruction of our ecosystems, combined human (and other life-form) suffering beyond our wildest imagination ... (kind of like the rapture in the book of revelation? --- maybe that's the point ??)

I'm no expert in risk-analysis, but given the 2 scenarios, I know which course of action *I* would recommend.

Posted by: G.Kerby on May 7, 2008 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp,

So what we have here is I am an authoritarian. I admit it. I can't prove that God created the world. I just do things like consider how mathematically possible it is to eventually create a human being by chance processes, and I come to the conclusion that there is not enough time, and that the unguided processes could not have done it.

Admittedly like any limit problem in mathematics, this is a problem that is very hard to analyze. But this inherent difficulty is compounded by the fact that the evolutionary gatekeepers will not allow formal research into this interesting question. The science demagogues have declared this question not to be science.

The point here is you are too wrapped up in your intellectualism to realize that you are an authoritarian also. You can call that an attack, but I would prefer to call it a description of your current lack of honesty with your own self.

Posted by: John Hansen on May 7, 2008 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

G. Kirby -

Please read Bjorn Lomborg - He understands that tilting at windmills fighting global warming is not an exercise without cost.

Posted by: John Hansen on May 7, 2008 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

I just do things like consider how mathematically possible it is to eventually create a human being by chance processes, and I come to the conclusion that there is not enough time, and that the unguided processes could not have done it.

What do you base this conclusion on? Why is there not enough time?

If there was a "guided" process, what caused the guide to be developed? By what mechanism does the guide guide the process? If there is not sufficient time to develop a human being by "chance" processes (though evolution is not really chance), then why is there sufficient time to develop a guide with the complexity necessary to guide such evolution?

Be specific. Show your work.

Posted by: Stefan on May 7, 2008 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

But this inherent difficulty is compounded by the fact that the evolutionary gatekeepers will not allow formal research into this interesting question. The science demagogues have declared this question not to be science.

Oh boo hoo. If you think this is such an interesting question, then why don't you (or someone else in the field) simply write up a grant proposal and send it off to the Heritage Organization or Liberty University or some other deep-pocketed wingnut welfare bank? I'm sure there's no shortage of cranks willing to underwrite your research.

Posted by: Stefan on May 7, 2008 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Why does this idiotic, right-wing hack who previously wrote speeches for the worst, most divisive, most partisan, and most incompetent president in history (Bush) have a job writing columns for the Washington Post? Is the talent pool REALLY that thin?

Posted by: Doofus on May 7, 2008 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

I was a witness and a victim to the Republican War on Science. It's not just a difference of opinion between conservatives and liberals. There have been systematic efforts to defund and muzzle neutral non-partisan scientific bodies such as the National Academy of Sciences in addition to the huge funding cuts in scientific research at government agencies. Funny how NASA slashed funding support for the NAS after it's president publicly defended James Hansen and his stance on global warming.

Posted by: HokieAnnie on May 7, 2008 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on May 7, 2008 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK


"The core issues, rather, are global warming denialism..."

do you deny that global temperatures have been flat, according to NASA, over the past ten years?

How does that fit into the scheme that global temperatures rise as co2 emissions increase?

Warmists are at war with the facts.

Posted by: neill on May 7, 2008 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

anyway global warming is a useful red herring from the left.

6 more months of smoke and mirrors and they'll have control of the executive and the legislative branch, the media, the academy and they'll ram through the Fairness Doctrine to silence any meaningful dissent to their Agenda.

It'll be like 1984.

Can't wait.

Posted by: neill on May 7, 2008 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

Fred Beloit: You asked so here are my opinions: (1)There is no scientific evidence of man-made global warming. As to warming there is overwhelming evidence that the earth warms and cools and always has..."

Of course there is. I said above that we've had paleoclimate data for some time that indicates that warming and cooling cycles in the past occurred over much greater lengths of time. The main difference between then and now...is US.

Posted by: Varecia on May 7, 2008 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

what was the 'cause' for the medieval warming period?

Posted by: neill on May 8, 2008 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

"(1)[a]There is no scientific evidence of man-made global warming. [b]As to warming there is overwhelming evidence that the earth warms and cools and always has. "


OK, let's for the sake of argument pretend 1a is true (it isn't), and forthrightly agree with 1b - the earth has experienced climate changes in the past - although with the extremely important caveat that Varecia brings up. I'm not sure how this makes things any better. By stressing "man-made global warming," Fred, you seem to agree (correctly) that there is evidence of global warming. As for the fact that such things have (kinda) happened before - well, 1a&b are a bit like arguing that yes, that does look like an outbreak of the Black Death, but we don't have any scientific evidence that it was caused by humans (ie, whether through sloppy lab protocol or bioterrorism), and hey, global epidemics with a mortality rate of up to 60+%? No big deal! Been there, done that! Don't worry, be . . .[thump][gurgle][silence].

For example, during the most recent Ice Age (to oversimplify), the climate was very different, presumably not as a result of human action. But that doesn't mean that most of NYC (and points north) once again being under about 1000 feet of ice would be a good thing, or that the replacement of Amish farms here in PA by tundra would be something to look forward to. Were the glaciers to start inexorably heading south at any pace faster than a multi-century creep, we would be be desperately fighting them with whatever means possible, probably at unimaginable cost and with enormous social upheaval and disruption. (And feeling extremely resentful at any folks who could have prevented the whole horrible mess at far less cost and effort).

Now, if you're going to pretend that there's no evidence to support anthropogenic global warming, you could argue that the current focus is misplaced, that it won't help us actually solve the problem, but only waste money. The problems with that include:

a) To the best of our understanding, even if we were pretending that there was no evidence to support that global warming is caused in large part by human activity), dumping CO2, etc. into the atmosphere would only make matters worse. Perhaps (let's pretend) the boat's leaking simply because it sprung a leak, not because you made a hole in it - but even if that was the case, it's still prudent to stop poking holes in the bottom.

b) As always, one wants to watch what people do, instead of just what they say. If we were facing a serious bout of totally 'natural' climate change - perhaps with no way to fix it, the sensible response would be frantically trying to research a) any possible way to stop or ameliorate the situation. It's worth nothing that denialists often seem to have very little interest in these things except as a delaying tactic.

" I just do things like consider how mathematically possible it is to eventually create a human being by chance processes, and I come to the conclusion that there is not enough time"

And you are (most likely, at least) entirely correct. Your mistake is in thinking that you're talking about modern evolutionary biology. In reality, you're referring to Tornado-in-a-junkyardism, a strawman (strawtheory?) bravely battered around by creationists (who take advantage of the fact that many ppeople make this mistake, thanks in part to creationist successes in driving evolution partly or entirely out of pre-college science ed. )

Posted by: Dan S. on May 8, 2008 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

warmists are heading our friends, families, cities, states, beloved country, continent, globe in a very specific, isolated direction in terms of policy and investment based on......

EXACTLY frickin WHAT?

computer "models", the basis of which has always been "garbage in, garbage out"?

are you frickin insane???????????????????????????

Posted by: neill on May 8, 2008 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

"I just do things like consider how mathematically possible it is to eventually create a human being by chance processes, and I come to the conclusion that there is not enough time"

Dan S.
You might also point out to him that human beings are a chance product of the non-directed (but not random) process of evolution. Humans are not the target of evolution. If he can't think of how the human design could be improved, he hasn't much imagination.

Posted by: reason on May 8, 2008 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

neill...
No we're not insane, just prudent. But your abuse of the '?' key suggests you very well might be.

Posted by: reason on May 8, 2008 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

then I'm sure you'll respond prudently to my question above about flat gobal temperatures over the past decade.

or more likely, dodge it.

Posted by: neill on May 8, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

"The new study, detailed in the April 5 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters, marks the first time that researchers have been able to give a progress report on Antarctic climate model projections by comparing climate records to model simulations. (These comparisons have already been done for the other six continents.)

Information about Antarctica's harsh weather patterns has traditionally been limited, but temperature records from ice cores and ground weather stations have recently been constructed, giving scientists the missing information they needed.

"This is a really important exercise for these climate models," said study leader Andrew Monaghan of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Co.

Monaghan and his team found that while climate models projected temperature increases of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.75 degrees Celsius) over the past century, temperatures were observed to have risen by only 0.4 F (0.2 C).

"This is showing us that, over the past century, most of Antarctica has not undergone the fairly dramatic warming that has affected the rest of the globe," Monaghan said.

The gap between prediction and reality seemed to be caused by the models overestimating the amount of water vapor in the Antarctic atmosphere.

The cold air over the southernmost continent handles moisture differently than the atmosphere over warmer regions."

oops.

Posted by: neill on May 8, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

swan: I think part of the solution is for us as liberals to communicate better that we do not want to "teach teens to have sex."

combine teen sex...the war on science and a red state and what do you get?

Fla. Teens Believe Drinking Bleach Will Prevent HIV - Local6 Orlando 4/2/08

Some Teens Also Believe Mountain Dew Will Stop Pregnancy (same station)

Posted by: mr. irony on May 8, 2008 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

and the above is only ONE of the the myriad of computer models that comprise the warming house of cards.

but there's only six months left til the election.

after you're in power, the fact that you got there through fraud really doesn't matter.

You're IN POWER.

Posted by: neill on May 8, 2008 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

if you f*ck America in the ass to get there, hey, it not only FELT good.....

but now WE call the shots, no matter that they're totally disconnected from reality.

WE call the shots.

Posted by: neill on May 8, 2008 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

If the commenters on this thread opened their eyes and looked around a bit they would discover a very disturbing fact.

That fact is that the war on science is an utterly bi-partisan activity. There is a liberal / progressive / democratic front of the war on science and it is arguably the most destructive part of the war on science.

It would be helpful to the continuation of rational, science based policy if this front of the war on science got some attention too.

Posted by: TJIT on May 11, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

I agree your article points. My reading has shown your ideas to be true, then again, I have also read the opposite from other articles like this one. Do you have any thoughts to post more quality articles? I would certainly appreciate it!

Posted by: acrylic jewelry chest on March 1, 2011 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly