Arguing with Myself in the Car About Scientific Expertise and Partisanship

And lookie-lookie. When I get in to work I notice this Ars article and another it tags about the pure bunk of scientists lying about climate change to rake in bagillions of dollars in grant money.

The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party—the anti-science party—we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012. When we take a position that isn’t willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Science—Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.

Spoken by John Huntsman who is trailing incredibly in the polls right now. If he doesn’t drop out by October, I’ll be registering for the Republican Party so I can vote for him in the primaries. For no other reason than to send the message that despite his ridiculously underpants’d Space God’s Golden Tableted prophecy, we can agree on the need for scientific expertise and setting aside partisanship. Hell, if Black George Bush doesn’t stop earning his testicle-less moniker, I might even vote for Huntsman for real.

The whole piece itself goes into the decline of  trustworthiness in scientific expertise. Mostly this comes from the conservative party, but the author still makes the point of the bad logic from the other side of the political spectrum (Dems against GMOs, against testing on animals, in favor of Organic for reasons they totally misunderstand).

The root of the problem, the author believes, is that cultural norms within certain groups do not allow them to have universal trust in expertise. For example, they may not have the level of arrogance to stumble into a steel mill and start handing out orders, but they do pretend to supercede the specialism of climate scientists, specifically because climate science disagrees with their cultural traditions (I would imagine the cultural tradition here being one whose Apostles are the Hummer, Strip Mall, and nickel/gallon gas). Ditto the anti-science via cultural traditions argument for evolution, birth control, interracial marriage, etc.



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