Because democracy is on the line! So says Shawn Otto
A Plan To Defend Against the War on Science
The challenge of creating a public able to parse evidence-free “facts” rests with the press, educators and other thought leaders
In other words, the plan is to turn all three into arms of the Cult of Climastrology, pushing a political view. Which is not happening now at all, right?
Four years ago in Scientific American, I warned readers of a growing problem in American democracy. The article, entitled “Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy,” charted how it had not only become acceptable, but often required, for politicians to embrace antiscience positions, and how those positions flew in the face of the core principles that the U.S. was founded on: That if anyone could discover the truth of something for him or herself using the tools of science, then no king, no pope and no wealthy lord was more entitled to govern the people than they were themselves. It was self-evident.
Of course, that is what has happened. Those who are deemed “anti-science” have put in the time to research the material, while those in the “science” camp simply toe the line in mostly/solely blaming Mankind for the current warming (yet, again, refuse to match their actions with their beliefs). In Otto’s world, of course, people being skeptical is all some sort of nefarious plan, as you see in the following paragraphs
Consider, for example, what has been occurring in Congress. Rep. Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, is a climate change denier. Smith has used his post to initiate a series of McCarthy-style witch-hunts, issuing subpoenas and demanding private correspondence and testimony from scientists, civil servants, government science agencies, attorneys general and nonprofit organizations whose work shows that global warming is happening, humans are causing it and that—surprise—energy companies sought to sow doubt about this fact.
See, in Warmist World, it is mean that anyone should actually have to provide the evidence and facts that back up their assertions, which are often paid for with the People’s money.
Over the last 25 years the political right has largely organized itself along antiscience lines that have become increasingly stark: fundamentalist evangelicals, who reject what the biological sciences have to say about human origins, sexuality and reproduction, serve as willing foot soldiers for moneyed business interests who reject what the environmental sciences have to say about pollution and resource extraction. In 1990, for example, House Democrats scored an average of 68 percent on the League of Conservation Voters National Environmental Scorecard and Republicans scored a respectable 40 percent. But by 2014 Democrats scored 87 percent whereas Republican scores fell to just over 4 percent.
Sure thing, sparky. We aren’t the ones saying that a man can believe he’s a woman and a woman can say they are a man. We believe that life begins at conception. Liberals are very, very intolerant of opposing views.
Anyhow, remember that democracy is at stake!
Such rejection is essentially an authoritarian argument that says “I don’t care about the evidence; what I say/what this book says/what my tribe says/what my wallet says goes.”….
So, allowing people to form their own thoughts and have their own opinions without government force is authoritarian. Huh. While pushing for more and more government control over the lives of citizens and private entities is democracy. Huh.
Those on the left are more inclined to accept the evidentiary conclusions from biological and environmental science but they are not immune to antiscience attitudes themselves. There, scientifically discredited fears that vaccines cause autism have led to a liberal anti-vaccination movement, endangering public health. Fears that GMO (genetically modified) food is unsafe to eat, equally unsupported, propel a national labeling movement. Fears that cell phones cause brain cancer or wi-fi causes health problems or water fluoridation can lower IQ, none supported by science, also largely originate from the political left.
Well, that’s funny. Those are actual anti-science positions. Let’s add 9/11 Trutherism to the mix. Are these things Leftists actually believe, or simply believe because they’ve been told to believe in them and the views are popular within their leftist clicks? Leftists do not seem too interested in actually researching material, and are utterly disdainful to listening to opposite facts. Climate skeptics say “show me the evidence that man is mostly/solely responsible for this warm period.” Warmists, and other anti-science leftists, say “shut up” and cover their ears.
Interestingly, Otto goes on to write about confirmation bias at college and how it affects people, forgetting who really runs college
Such confirmation bias has been enabled by a generation of university academics who have taught a corrosive brand of postmodernist identity politics that argues truth is relative, and that science is a “meta-narrative”—a story concocted by the ruling white male elite in order to retain power—and therefore suspect. The claims of science, these academics argue, are no more privileged than any other “way of knowing,” such as black truth, female truth or indigenous truth. We can’t know, a Minneapolis professor recently argued, that Earth goes around the sun, for example, because these sorts of worldviews have been dislodged by paradigm shifts throughout history. Thus, each of us constructs our own truth, and the job of an educator or a journalist is to facilitate that process of discovery.
In other words, Leftists have zero basis in science, everything is just based on their sketchy thoughts, which, according to Otto, sets the stage for authoritarianism, which is still laid at the feet of Skeptics.
Anyway, it keeps going on and on and on, before Otto gets to his point: that the media, academics, and such should refuse to allow any opposing viewpoints. Because science! Warmists sure seem afraid to allow people to debate and discuss, to be exposed to countering views, and draw their own conclusions. Could it be that their ideas do not stand up to the light? Yes.
“Wherever the people are well informed,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “they can be trusted with their own government.” We have to develop more robust ways of incorporating rapidly advancing scientific knowledge into our political dialogue, so that voters can continue to guide the democratic process and battle back authoritarianism as we did at our foundation and have done throughout our history. That will require the media to rethink their role in reporting on issues in which scientific knowledge is crucial. Is that idealistic? Yes. But so were America’s founders.
Funny, because everything that the Warmists push is designed to increase the power of government, to initiate that authoritarian government. And it starts by restricting the flow of information.