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Author Topic: Is the Right Wing Anti-Science?  (Read 31330 times)
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« Topic Start: September 14, 2010, 05:58:42 pm »

Scientists--and sometimes even science itself--have been getting hammered by right-wing commentators recently. Now comes the counterattack. A strongly-worded editorial in the prestigious journal Nature starts by quoting Rush Limbaugh: "The four corners of deceit: government, academia, science and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit. That's how they promulgate themselves; it is how they prosper."


http://news.yahoo.com/s/atlantic/20100910/cm_atlantic/istherightwingantiscience4985_1
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« Reply #1: September 14, 2010, 06:11:58 pm »



From the article...
Quote
And some subset of people respond with tribalism, nationalism, and xenophobia. The right ... offer a space to huddle in safety among the like-minded. The conservative movement in America has created a self-contained, hermetically sealed epistemological reality ... designed not just as a source of alternative facts but as an identity.

Seems to basically sum up the Right-wing strategy.  Us versus Them and anyone who doesn't agree 100% with us is the enemy.
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« Reply #2: September 14, 2010, 08:40:20 pm »

From the article...
Seems to basically sum up the Right-wing strategy.  Us versus Them and anyone who doesn't agree 100% with us is the enemy.

Facile answer.  Easier than thinking.

The Democrats are the ones who are the most outrageous in such matters; they spent most of GW Bush's administration writing books and movies about his assassination, hoping someone would get the hint.  One LaRouchie tagging along at a Tea Party puts an adolph-style mustache on Obama and the entire movement is branded as Nazis. 

When they couldn't find any real examples of racism in the Tea Party movement, they made it up:  they claim that Tea Party protesters spat upon black Congressmen and shouted the N-word at them repeatedly as they walked, with Speaker Pelosi, through the crowd to go vote on the bill.  They intentionally walked through that crowd, hoping to provoke a response they could use; there is a tunnel that is usually used, for security reasons. Congressmen rarely parade around on the Mall in the middle of sessions through protests.  Despite their deliberately provocative behavior, no such incident happened.  There are dozens of cellphone and flipcam videos of their walk, not one documents anything except angry Americans shouting at their Congressional representatives, trying to get through to them, to no avail.  Just to be sure, Andrew Breitbart offered a $100,000 reward for any video documenting the claims.  No one has come forward. The Democrats lied.

As for deceit and science...?  How about the giant international swindle that is man-made global warming?  That data was faked and lied about for two decades, and they're still trying to pretend we don't know they lied; that the famous 'hockey stick' graph was drawn first, and the data massaged to fit it.  When they were asked to provide the raw data so their conclusions could be checked, they refused, and finally University of East Anglia (UEA) Climate Research Unit (CRU) admitted, under duress, that they destroyed the original data to save space! .   All that remains are their doctored adjusted figures.  That's not science.  That's propaganda.

Let's try not to use blanket condemnations.
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« Reply #3: September 14, 2010, 09:28:36 pm »

Facile answer.  Easier than thinking.

That much may be true. That reply was a facile answer.

However, the rest of your reply is a lot of right wing pundit rant material (half-truths at best, for the most part) strung together with zero supporting evidence and often only loose connection to the Democrats. As I've mentioned before, this type of material doesn't prove anything to anyone who doesn't already believe it. It ramps up the Right's base, but doesn't add much -- if anything -- to an actual conversation. It certainly does not answer the editorial in Nature in any meaningful way.

The American Right's main problem with science is that is does not care about religion or political ideology. Science refuses to consider the first chapters of the Book of Genesis to be science. Science refuses to filter its findings through the Right's ideology. The difference between the Left and the Right on science is simple: the left generally accepts the findings of science (even if they wish they were otherwise) and tries to build a political position that works with those findings to produce the best results while the Right simply demands that science support its religious and ideological positions or be considered "bad/irrelevant".

There's nothing wrong with being a conservative, however, if you want to convince others that conservative positions are more correct than liberal positions, the type of information you present isn't going to do it. In fact, it just makes many people see conservative positions as somewhat silly or even stupid.
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« Reply #4: September 15, 2010, 12:16:13 pm »

That much may be true. That reply was a facile answer.

However, the rest of your reply is a lot of right wing pundit rant material (half-truths at best, for the most part) strung together with zero supporting evidence and often only loose connection to the Democrats. As I've mentioned before, this type of material doesn't prove anything to anyone who doesn't already believe it. It ramps up the Right's base, but doesn't add much -- if anything -- to an actual conversation. It certainly does not answer the editorial in Nature in any meaningful way.

The American Right's main problem with science is that is does not care about religion or political ideology. Science refuses to consider the first chapters of the Book of Genesis to be science. Science refuses to filter its findings through the Right's ideology. The difference between the Left and the Right on science is simple: the left generally accepts the findings of science (even if they wish they were otherwise) and tries to build a political position that works with those findings to produce the best results while the Right simply demands that science support its religious and ideological positions or be considered "bad/irrelevant".

There's nothing wrong with being a conservative, however, if you want to convince others that conservative positions are more correct than liberal positions, the type of information you present isn't going to do it. In fact, it just makes many people see conservative positions as somewhat silly or even stupid.

Really.  And I thought you wanted to have a discussion. 

Most right-wingers aren't Jerry Falwell, you know.  There are scientists who are political conservatives.  There are even political conservatives who aren't Christians.  ::gasp::  Just because some evangelicals are the loudest, doesn't mean they are the largest group.

I don't know why you want to call ClimateGate a half-truth or some pundit's rant.  Just because your media outlets didn't carry it doesn't mean it didn't happen.  A whistleblower at the CRU dumped several years worth of email between Michael Mann and the people he worked with, and it became immediately obvious that he and the others had faked their data.  One federal attorney is considering suing Prof Mann to recover the federal grant money he used.  ClimateGate is one of the reasons nothing significant happened at Copenhagen.

As for Speaker Pelosi lying about the Tea Party protesters, why would you doubt it?  Oh, wait.  I'll bet you never heard of the Tea Party, or the million people who showed up in Washington DC on 9-12-09.  That's right.  You only pay attention to dinosaur media.  And it's so easy to shout 'racist' at someone; the sound of the word seems to short circuit some people's brains.

Here's a link to my favorite right-wing Tea Party pundit.  His name is Zo Rachel.

http://www.youtube.com/machosauceproduction

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« Reply #5: September 15, 2010, 01:01:09 pm »



/rambleon

Three things get me about most self-professed 'right-wingers'. The first is that they're usually climate-change deniers. Since I don't know the science, I just keep my head down, but I wonder why they're so loud about it. Why exactly would a global conspiracy of scientists want to fake that? And at the end of the day, the kind of things green campaigners ask for - recycling, renewable energy, minimising consumption, etc - um, well, aren't they things that a prudent person would do anyway? I end up with the confused impression that right-wing (well, any-wing) climate-change deniers simply want to use as many resources as wastefully as possible.

The second is how right-wingers - American ones at least, though Eurosceptic British ones also come to mind - seem at best oblivious to world reaction, and generally receive mockery from the world. Granted, much of it's filtered through the quite obviously left-leaning media I read ('cept maybe the Economist, which seems centrist) and, er, this place, but...there's just too much smoke for there not to be at least a cigarette.

Finally, leaving aside extremists both left and right, there's one thing that damns right-wing moderates in my eyes more than anything else (climate change, guns, unregulated free markets, abortion, gay rights, etc etc). And that one thing is that, well...however bright or brave or articulate or principled...the average right-winger doesn't seem very...nice.

/rambleoff
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« Reply #6: September 15, 2010, 01:03:46 pm »

The Democrats lied.

Bullshit.

And watch yourself, Sine. You may be staff, but calling people liars is an attack.

Quote
Let's try not to use blanket condemnations.

You would do well to follow your own advice.
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« Reply #7: September 15, 2010, 01:37:44 pm »


Finally, leaving aside extremists both left and right, there's one thing that damns right-wing moderates in my eyes more than anything else (climate change, guns, unregulated free markets, abortion, gay rights, etc etc). And that one thing is that, well...however bright or brave or articulate or principled...the average right-winger doesn't seem very...nice.

/rambleoff

This. And not that everyone has to be "nice," but people in general could refrain from mudslinging, on both sides. I find that the conservative people who are willing to have a rational, if heated, discussion or debate often make points that I can agree with. It's when they just start shouting that I stop being willing to listen.
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« Reply #8: September 15, 2010, 01:52:18 pm »

When they couldn't find any real examples of racism in the Tea Party movement...

http://thestir.cafemom.com/in_the_news/106372/hey_naacp_the_tea_party
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« Reply #9: September 15, 2010, 02:05:36 pm »

... The first is that they're usually climate-change deniers. Since I don't know the science, I just keep my head down, but I wonder why they're so loud about it. Why exactly would a global conspiracy of scientists want to fake that? And at the end of the day, the kind of things green campaigners ask for - recycling, renewable energy, minimising consumption, etc - um, well, aren't they things that a prudent person would do anyway? I end up with the confused impression that right-wing (well, any-wing) climate-change deniers simply want to use as many resources as wastefully as possible...

We were actually speaking about this very thing in another thread earlier.  It seems to me that, in the case of ecological issues, the message needs to be changed from "We're killing the planet!" to a more palatable one: "Here are a few easy things everyone can do to help lengthen the amount of time the human race will be able to live here." 

That thread is here, in case anyone is interested or hasn't seen it: http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=13938.0
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« Reply #10: September 15, 2010, 02:18:28 pm »


And from Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams:

Quote

In the voice of slaves, Williams wrote [in a mock letter to Abraham Lincoln, as criticism of civil right organization the NAACP]: "Mr. Lincoln, you were the greatest racist ever. We had a great gig. Three squares, room and board, all our decisions made by the massa in the house.

"We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!"

He went on to say blacks don't want taxes cut because "how will we Colored People ever get a wide screen TV in every room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earn?"

(from a July 18, 2010, article in the NY Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2010/07/18/2010-07-18_tea_party_express_leader_mark_williams_expelled_over_colored_people_letter.html#ixzz0zcfMaPgA)

The National Tea Party Federation itself found this so racist that they kicked Mark Williams and his group out.
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« Reply #11: September 15, 2010, 02:20:29 pm »

Most right-wingers aren't Jerry Falwell, you know.

Most of the more extreme right wingers seem to be much like him when it comes to science and social issues. Most (but certainly not all) of the "tea party movement" folks that I hear of or hear from certainly seem to be like that -- or at least are willing to vocally support pundits and candidates who definitely fall into that area. Most of the candidates the "tea party supporters" have supported during the primaries who have won do fall into this category.

Quote
There are scientists who are political conservatives.  There are even political conservatives who aren't Christians.  ::gasp::  Just because some evangelicals are the loudest, doesn't mean they are the largest group.

Most of them -- if they support the Republican party -- at least, do not seem very vocal in opposing the non-science the vocal conservatives tend to support. Probably because as far as i can tell those who dare to oppose it are branded anti-Christian, communist, liberal, or socialist. Sad

Quote
I don't know why you want to call ClimateGate a half-truth or some pundit's rant.

"Climategate" is meaningless -- even if it happened. The facts are clear. The Earth is getting warmer and relatively rapidly, and this is have negative effects on human, animal, and plant life. Whether this warming is caused by man and pollution or by the sun (or by the JCI God or whatever) does not matter to what we have to do. We can't control the Sun, so even if it is the sole cause of the Earth warming, the only way we can slow the warming is to reduce the things humankind does that make the Earth warmer or reduce its ability to cool. Whether the sun is causing it or man is causing it, the solution is the same. Refusing to do anything about it because one believes science lied about its cause is like refusing to get out of a burning building because you hear some firemen saying the cause was arson when you believe it was caused by a malfunctioning toaster. The cause doesn't matter while the building is burning and people are in it. No matter how the fire started, you still have to save the people and put it out.

Quote
A whistleblower at the CRU dumped several years worth of email between Michael Mann and the people he worked with, and it became immediately obvious that he and the others had faked their data.

Yes, that was the immediate conclusion of Fox News and many pundits. However, more careful analysis by people with actual expertise in the field has shown that it isn't nearly that clear cut and there is little to no evidence that data was faked so much as answers to the constant stream of nay-sayers were not nearly as qualified as they should have been.

Quote
As for Speaker Pelosi lying about the Tea Party protesters, why would you doubt it?  Oh, wait.  I'll bet you never heard of the Tea Party, or the million people who showed up in Washington DC on 9-12-09.  That's right.  You only pay attention to dinosaur media.

Nonsense, Sine. I certainly know of the Tea Party and its many protests and candidates -- and I read media from all sides of the political spectrum. I even look at foreign media which is often less biased in its reporting of US politics than America media (liberal or conservative) is. However, I don't get my facts from political pundits. They give opinion and their opinions are no more automatically correct than  mine, yours, or some random person on the street.
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« Reply #12: September 15, 2010, 02:35:51 pm »

The National Tea Party Federation itself found this so racist that they kicked Mark Williams and his group out.

THIS is what bothers me so much about the entire Tea Party/Movement Conservative groups. (Well, actually, I happen to think the TPF did the right thing here, so my sentence may be a bit misleading.)

It's obvious to anyone with half a brain that, as a whole, the Tea Party, the GOP and conservatives are not racist. It's equally obvious to anyone with half a brain that there are racist elements in those groups. (Sorry Sine, you can take a trip down the rabbit hole if you like, but I'm not going to hold your hand...if you are unable to see the racist elements within those groups, then I consider you part of the problem.)

What drives me over the cliff is that these elements have been mainstreamed. It's acceptable to be racist (or anti-science, anti-government or anti-educated, or whatever we want to talk about.). Hell, those elements aren't marginalized, they're embraced, loved and reveled in.

I, for one, think the political process is much healthier when we have two viable political parties. The system works better and our government is more healthy. Right now, the GOP has a rightwing element that is dictating where that party is going. They've yanked them far to the right and it looks as though the inmates are in charge of the asylum. The GOP is going to have to decide if that's where it wants to stay.
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« Reply #13: September 15, 2010, 02:43:28 pm »

When they couldn't find any real examples of racism in the Tea Party movement...

And one more, since I know you're a fellow New York State resident, and this Tea Party favorite is very much in the news today. From the Buffalo News, August 21, 2010 (http://www.buffalonews.com/city/article42874.ece and widely reported elsewhere):

"Buffalo's Carl P. Paladino was scrambling to save his Republican candidacy for governor Monday after a local Web site released a string of pornographic and racially degrading e-mails....

"Paladino was the forwarder.

"[The e-mails included] ...a photo of dancing African tribesmen titled "Obama Inauguration Rehearsal," a photo of Obama and the first lady doctored to simulate a 1970s pimp and prostitute, and another using a derogatory term for blacks."

For those who don't follow NY politics, this guy won an upset victory last night over the mainstream candidate to become the Republican nominee for governor.

As I've said before, I'm utterly disgusted with Albany, but I won't be drinking that Tea Party-flavored Kool-Aid in this lifetime.
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« Reply #14: September 15, 2010, 02:56:36 pm »

As for deceit and science...?  How about the giant international swindle that is man-made global warming? 

Clarification: Are you denying global warming, or that global warming is a consequence of human activity?
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