June 5, 2014

Science-denying... is it right-wing... or left-wing?

I've unembedded the video, which you can watch here.

54 comments:

tim maguire said...

Depends on which side the science helps. Though it's worth noting that most of the right's "the left is anti-science" claims are just a reaction to the left's habit of using "science!" as a shield and sword for their hobby horses.

Curious George said...

Big difference in the science of vaccination, where we have decades of testing and actual results, and the global warming scam, that uses modeling, which is always wrong but shut-up.

The left has decades of science denial...DDT, Alar, on and on and on.

Walt Taylor said...

Yep, I guess this is incontrovertible proof that science-denying is left-wing. Good work!

YoungHegelian said...

Every political stripe abuses the term "Science" when it suits their political purpose. It's too powerful a word not to --- "Ooooohhh, we've got the Science on our side!".

Marxism was a science. Freudian psychology was a science. National Socialist Racism was a science. "The government will be run by technocrats according to scientific principles" describes the New Deal, Italian Fascism, and the modern EU bureaucracy. Hell, Mao created history's worst famine by implementing disastrous agricultural practices based on Lysenkoist "science".

When politics & science collide, politics always wins. That is, until the laws of Physics start to take effect.

Walt Taylor said...

Yes, I guess this is incontrovertible proof that science-denying is left-wing. Good work!

Now can we talk about logic-denying?

chuck said...

Stewart, of course, is spreading climate panic BS. He's not that much different from Jenny McCarthy in that regard. The quality of the science matters. For example, the Lancet's publication of Wakefield's fraudulent papers connecting MMR to autism and colitis did much to energize the anti-vaccination movement.

The Drill SGT said...

It was a good segment and Jenny McCarthy has blood on her hands.

The cure?

replicating those WWII VD movies the troops were shown with untreated diseases.

Babys with whooping cough, the results of Rubella on a pregnant women...

tim in vermont said...

My analogue for TLDR is VDW.

Unknown said...

If you use your theory to construct computer modules to predict future conditions and those predictions are wrong then I think you might want to revisit the theory.

I believe that is called science.

Denying data to skeptics, fudging computer models, and ostracizing critics aren't usually considered science, but they do seem to be "SCIENCE!"

Krumhorn said...

It was Lancet's "science" that produced the George-Bush-has-killed-1,000,000-Iraqis canard/meme that has been a leftie fave for years. The libruls will corrupt every institution they can to be used as an engine for their political and ideological purposes.

The man made global warming hoax is but one glaring example.

- Krumhorn

traditionalguy said...

Hilarious. But the game of Let's Pretend that trace CO2 plant food is a dirty carbon pollutant by using 100% faked data and craftily altered historical records and scary cartoons of water vapor cooling towers made to look black like real Carbon smoke, is not a Science. That's why it took hundreds of billions of dollars of government grants to fabricate a new found pseudo science.

But the new pseudo-science cannot ignore increasing cycles of cold weather and call it warming weather for 18 years while people and their livestock and crops freeze to death.

But apparently it can suck up billions of dollars of grant money for "model making artists" who claim to be able to save the planet from living people and animals that emit traces of clean CO2 gas. All they require is to Establish a State Religion that worships at untested feedback loops while penalizing blasphemy from real world test results.

viator said...

When it comes to global warming or whatever Orwellian moniker it assumed when it stopped warming - Climate Change, Climate Chaos - it puzzles me that everyone knows science has great difficulty predicting the weather three weeks in advance, but seem to embrace predictions five, twenty, or a hundred years in the future.

JHapp said...

To look at any soft-science or political issue logically one must look at the issue hard and unselfishly, and not just go with the fist convenient line of reasoning. My gut feeling is that the left does not look at these issues hard and the right does not look at these issues unselfishly.

CatherineM said...

Anti-vaccine crowd are more dangerous. I remember reading that Sarah Pope person saying that yeah, her kids got whooping cough and they suffered for 6 months to recover, but so what? It's natural! Like death! And she cures ear infections with a little olive oil behind the ears.

I loved Seth Mnookin's book, The Panic Virus. Great read and in great detail (with links) shows what a charlatan/snake oil salesman McCarthy is.

Is it that there are "climate change deniers," or that people disagree with the cause and the cure? Or that ruining our industry is a drop in the bucket compared to what China and India put into the atmosphere.

I think everyone is anti-pollution. I just don't think I need to be reading by candle light and wearing a hair shirt to get there.

Unknown said...

this is a very funny video, but i'm still skeptical about the vaccines.

The Crack Emcee said...

It's like white supremacy - both sides share in it equally. The NewAge umbrella on the Left, Apocalyptic boogiemen (of various flavors) on the Right.

They've been my thing for years now and they're all depressing as Hell,...

jacksonjay said...

Let's leave out Katrina and Audrey because it fucks up the model!

Science!

CatherineM said...

Offitt was great on Colbert too:

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/svsc0q/preventable-diseases-on-the-rise---paul-offit

Unknown said...

"SCIENCE!"

http://en.musicplayon.com/play?v=183386

Strelnikov said...

"Stay on top of all the articles by The Times’s influential communists: Covering the full spectrum of opinion from the merely leftwing to the far Leftwing."

Unknown said...

speaking of computer models

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UJ9K8lMxPA

Unknown said...

There was a TED talk a while back by Jonathan Haidt that discussed biases, pointing out that while conservatives tend to reject science that does not support their viewpoint, liberals also tend to reject science that does not support their viewpoint. Very interesting. It's been a while & I'm not sure what the title was, but I notice "The moral roots of liberals and conservatives" http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind comment section pretty much displays the way bumper sticker phrase and hot buttons displace thought.

I'm not sure irony is a strong enough word to describe Stewart's story starting with an AGW scare.

Illuninati said...

Before we can decide which side is anti-science perhaps we need to define what science is? It is improbable that either side is against basic science which is based on experiments under carefully controlled conditions which are repeatable in other labs.

The problems arise when we move beyond basic science into less well documented areas of study which are not amenable to strictly controlled laboratory experiments such as the efficacy of vaccination, climate change and CO2, or the origin and evolution of life on this earth. These fields depend upon the preponderance of evidence.
1. The efficacy of vaccinations is easy to establish in the lab but possible side effects is much more difficult to evaluate.
2. Knowledge about climate change from CO2 is derived from laboratory experiments which show that CO2 absorbs a small spectrum of IF radiation, but that its absorption bands are rapidly saturated. CO2 is not enough to account for the predictions in the models without positive feed back loops which generally are based on guesses. Until someone comes up with the reason why there have been Ice Ages and why we are now in an interglacial it is absurd to claim that you know what causes climate change.
3. Evolution is also amenable to study in the laboratory, but the origin of life so far has eluded scientific explanation. Even after life exists the science of evolution does not explain why life evolved as it has and can not make any long term predictions about how life will evolve in the future.

So which side is more anti-science? I'd say the side which politicizes the practice of science the most is the most anti-science. Science depends upon the scrupulous honesty of people practicing science. Politicizing science destroys it. So far the track record of honest science on the left is spotty at best. That is the real tragedy of the Climategate emails, they destroyed any opportunity for an honest debate on climate change.

Bob Ellison said...

Well, it was a funny video. I like Samantha Bee's performance. Has she been on that show long?

Bob Ellison said...

I'm stupid. After I posted that, a little voice reminded me "there's this thing called Google."

Bee has been on the show since 2003. I don't watch it regularly, but I'm surprised I didn't know about her work.

Fernandinande said...

“The Daily Show” reminds us ...

What you mean "us", goofy person?

Human evolution seems to be disliked by members of both parties, the right because of religion, I guess, but the left actively practices Lysenkoism, which was dreamed up by their not-so-secret heroes.

Peter said...


Science is only a form of inquiry.

The only "science" one finds in politics is the game of "Science Says," wherein assertions are made regarding what's heresy and what's not within the True Religion of Scientism.

And the game of "Science Says" is never so spectacularly nonscientific as when practiced by journalists. Is there a journalist alive who understands anything at all about science (other than what it supposedly says)?


Hagar said...

Both - since you are specifying "wings."

Larry J said...

Ralph Hyatt said...
If you use your theory to construct computer modules to predict future conditions and those predictions are wrong then I think you might want to revisit the theory.


When your computer model doesn't match reality, it isn't reality that's wrong.

Political science is an oxymoron. Politicized science is a danger to society.

Jason said...

I got a lot less tolerant of libtards cloaking themselves in the science robes after Michelle Obama accused Republicans of wanting to "override science" by letting poor people buy potatoes on WIC.

Eeyore Rifkin said...

Elections in Australia and the UK suggest that the nutjobs are more popular than the status quo. In the US, control of the Senate will likely shift to the Republicans this fall, in no small part because voters prefer the nutjobs to the Democrats' ever so sane energy policies. The strategy of tarring critics as nutjobs has become counterproductive.

Comedy Central's "satire" is propaganda intended to reinforce the message that critics of the left's energy policies are nutjobs. The anti-vaccine nutjobs are too few to topple national governments or fundamentally alter the direction of international affairs, or shake down citizens to the tune of trillions of dollars, which is what is at stake in the so-called global warming debate. Anti-vacciners cause more trouble than the flat earth society (whose leader embarrassingly shares the Democrats' concerns about global warming--go figure), but they are small potatoes. The comparison is deceptive.

Carl said...

Science-denying is human nature. Science, to the extent it has any use at all, is the process of discovering unpleasant and/or surprising, counter-intuitive things about reality, through a process of hard-nosed empirical measurement and skeptical double-checking of what seems true and right and good.

We don't need the inefficiencies of science for things that are both true and pleasant to contemplate. Nobody needs science to prove that having sex or taking care of cute babies is good for the species.

Pretty much by definition where science issues its most important and powerful statements, they are unpalatable to most or at least many, and it's plain human nature to doubt them, wish them otherwise, or otherwise "deny" them. To accuse someone of being a "science denier" in the sense of wanting to avoid or minimize what science says is pretty much to accuse him of being a human being. So everyone should just shup up about that, I think. Glass houses, stones, et cetera.

Matt said...

Twelve years ago when I was still largely politically indifferent, I kept hearing the "Bush is anti-science!" line. I wanted a way to actually check out the charge and I remembered that in 2001 there was the arsenic in the water controversy. Considering I was no longer hearing anything about it, I decided to look it up and see what the deal was.

As Clinton was in the waning moments of his Presidency, he dramatically reduced the acceptable levels of arsenic in water systems. At the time the change was not supported by the science. (It was not unsupported by the science. There was not sufficient research done to know if it made a difference.)

When Bush took office, he rolled back the requirements and noted that the largest study of the issue was currently underway and that the administration would re-evaluate the limits once the study was completed. He rolled back the requirement because the cost of compliance was tremendous for communities. The press and environmentalists attacked Bush as allowing poison in water and giving handouts to industry at the expense of public health.

The large study was completed and landed on Bush’s desk on September 10, 2001. Needless to say, that is a noteworthy date. In the ensuing months, Bush’s approval numbers skyrocketed. With such popular support, there was no political need to change the standards for arsenic in water. Bush could continue as he was and the industry he was allegedly beholden to could reap the benefits.

However, the study recommended the lower levels for arsenic that Clinton had put in place. So, in late October 2001, Bush followed the recommendations and re-implemented the Clinton-initiated standard. Bush waited for the science to come in and acted as the science indicated. What did his critics say? Well, look how the NDRC describes it in their Bush record on drinking water:

“EPA issues an arsenic-in-tap-water standard higher than that recommended by public health advocates (10/31/01)”

Yes, by that point activists had changed their own standards. After all, if your livelihood is based on political activism, what do you do after you achieve your goal? You just put yourself out of business! NO! Must change goal!! Bush had done what they lobbied for and they still could not give him credit.

This continued my political evolution to where I am today: I will NOT vote for a Democrat.

The Godfather said...

Being for or against "science" isn't a useful way to look at these things. The vast majority of the anti-vaccine people and the CAGW skeptics probably accept the current teachings of "science" on other issues. They just have concluded, for good reasons or bad ones, that the "scientific" consensus on this particular issue is wrong.

But if we label those we disagree with as "anti-science" we gain a rhetorical advantage, because we put the burden on them to prove that the consensus is wrong. That's just the "appeal to authority" that (I was taught in elementary school) is the opposite of the scientific method.

Rather than appeal to the "scientific consensus", what we non-scientists need to do about important issues is to pay attention to the arguments and evidence cited on both sides and, using intelligence and judgment, try to evaluate them.

Drago said...

Eeyore Rifkin: "In the US, control of the Senate will likely shift to the Republicans this fall, in no small part because voters prefer the nutjobs to the Democrats' ever so sane energy policies."

Whoa there sunshine.

As much as I'm hoping that's the case, the reality is the republicans basically have to run the table.

Yes, I know that the polls show the playing field growing, but there are still only 7 or 8 races that are truly competitive as potential pickups and we have to get them all.

Never underestimate the ability of the establishment party and individual candidate performance to throw a race or 2 away.

Drago said...

crack: "They've been my thing for years now and they're all depressing as Hell,.."

If there is anyone with the training, experience, background, deep understanding of "science" and what it is and how it should be conducted, it would have to be crack.

Our very own self-appointed genius.

He's been very busy hiding all these skills 'cuz, you know, the Man.

But late at night, when no whitey is watching, crack is busy.

Very busy.

I can't tell you more.

Let's just say it involves ...(air quotes)....LASERS....

Anthony said...

"Science-denying" is itself a stupid phrase. "Science" isn't a thing 'out there' that we can argue about; it's a methodology carried out by people who can, will, and do introduce biases at nearly every step. Just like religion or racism or sexism or good intentions or anything else about the human condition, it can and will be used as a tool to control people.

Unfortunately, once you get out of the truly basic experimental hard sciences and into epidemiology and climatology and such, the biases turn it incredibly soft and malleable.

gerry said...

Hell, Mao created history's worst famine by implementing disastrous agricultural practices based on Lysenkoist "science".

So did Stalin. Hell, Stalin even imprisoned scientists who contradicted the official Marxist-backed Lysenko.

Real American said...

it's not just that the left or right is "anti-science" it's that for the most part, the left politicizes science to the point where it stops being science and starts being politics.

n.n said...

Denying science, or rather conflating science and faith, is predominantly a failure of secular individuals. Secular individuals are more likely to believe that inductive reasoning is a legitimate and conclusive scientific method. Worse, they frequently exceed a limited frame of reference, and accept circumstantial or limited evidence as fact. This is especially a problem when a theory can never be proven, and it is worrisome when a proof is not forthcoming. Their egos prevent them from acknowledging what is known, can be known, and is impossible to know.

Case in point: spontaneous conception or "stork's delivery".

Case in point: evolutionary creation as fact, while evolutionary principles remain negotiable.

Case in point: conclusive evidence of systemic changes in the earth system (e.g. global warming or climate change), while ignoring the chaotic processes which characterize it.

There is also a strong correlation with a degenerate religion which maintains doctrines of collective and inherited sin.

n.n said...

The problem with vaccines is several fold, including: varying antigenic potency and side-effects; adjuvant or accelerant side-effects; inflammation, especially of the brain. Vaccines have a risk profile, which should be published, reviewed, and acted upon accordingly.

Bruce Hayden said...

Being for or against "science" isn't a useful way to look at these things. The vast majority of the anti-vaccine people and the CAGW skeptics probably accept the current teachings of "science" on other issues. They just have concluded, for good reasons or bad ones, that the "scientific" consensus on this particular issue is wrong.

A couple of things. First, by now, the AGW proponents are probably the anti-science people. The models are wrong, very wrong. The glaciers (on average) are not melting, nor is the sea rising at a rate that would threaten buildings in the next 50 years or so - and by then, they will need to be replaced anyway, on higher ground if necessary. Which is why a lot of the proponents are now pushing AG Climate Change, or even AG Climate Disruption or Climate Weirding, but using the same basic "science" - if the temperatures aren't going down (e.g. no AG Cooling) and aren't going up (e.g. no AGW), then maybe the weather is changing. But, with bad hurricanes down, maybe that is a good thing. The desperation to hang onto a rapidly debunked hypothesis, regardless of confounding evidence seems more anti-science to me, than pro-science.

The problem with vaccines is that they pose a small risk, which, if you are overly protective of your children, you might want to skip. But, the problem with not vaccinating is that enough people don't do it, herd immunity is lost, and those who didn't vaccinate their kids put them at a much higher risk than if they had vaccinated. The parents who don't vaccinate are essentially free riding on the herd immunity provided by the parents who did vaccinate. But, the problem there is that the parents who tend to skip vaccinating often tend to clump together, and, thus, the chances of losing herd immunity are much higher. A classic example was the whooping cough that went through Boulder, CO, a couple years ago. Boulder is one of the most highly educated cities in the world, with a lot of high tech, NOAA, NCAR, NIST, NREL, etc. all located there, along with a number of hard science Nobel Laureates.

Bruce Hayden said...

I should add that this vaccination issue is one that my partner and I do not discuss, because we are diametrically opposites. My kid, of course, was vaccinated. Hers were not. Luckily, her grandchildren have been, but no thanks to her. I think that refusal to vaccinate your children, unless you are going to home school them, is socially irresponsible. A great Law & Order SVU episode pointed out why - a young kid too young to be immunized died from whooping cough, caught from a kid whose mother refused immunization. Her kid survived. My view is that the kids who are too young to be immunized are the ones who should be protected by herd immunity, and not kids of parents who want to free ride.

Drago said...

gerry: "So did Stalin. Hell, Stalin even imprisoned scientists who contradicted the official Marxist-backed Lysenko."

We have leftists in the West who are calling for the same thing:

http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/17/u-s-college-professor-demands-imprisonment-for-climate-change-deniers/

Chilling snip: "“We must make the critical distinction between the protected voicing of one’s unpopular beliefs, and the funding of a strategically organised [sic] campaign to undermine the public’s ability to develop and voice informed opinions,” he argues.

“It is time for modern societies to interpret and update their legal systems.”"

What a perfect quintessential lefty.

Eeyore Rifkin said...

@Drago. Fair enough. What is clear is that the Dems are willing to sacrifice their chances of winning competitive races (e.g. Kentucky) for the sake of their global warming agenda. They're using the same tactics that have recently failed spectacularly in Australia and the UK. That can't bode well for them.

Nota Bene, I'm not a partisan Republican.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Left:
Population bomb
Silent Spring
Malthusian/Peak Everything
Genetically Modified Foods
Human biodiversity
Gender differences
Behavrioal econonmics (incentives)
Vaccines, homeopathy, etc.

There's a list for Right, too. Climate science, evolution (ancient), and so on - basically anything you can be called a "denier" for.

But isn't it all denial?

The Crack Emcee said...

Drago,

"Let's just say it involves ...(air quotes)....LASERS…."

No, but it does involve something you don't have, which is common sense. My interest in con artists helped me figure out a lot of shit - without a science background beyond the conventional - that I've found a lot of people to be very confused about.

You know, like you and racism,...

Michael Fitzgerald said...

The democrats/liberal leftists believe that if a man cuts his penis off, and ingests the right hormones, and changes his name from, say Brad to Chelsea for example, then Voila! , now he is a woman... Science! But republicans are backward redneck ignoramuses because they are skeptical about researchers who hide their data and lie about their findings and distort the results of their work. Science!

Original Mike said...

Ask a lib about GMO food and then get back to me on their fidelity to science.

Shanna said...

Vaccines have a risk profile, which should be published, reviewed, and acted upon accordingly.

True, but for older vaccines the risk profile is very well known. They have been around long enough. The problem is people have forgotten the other side of the risk, which is the risk of the diseases themselves. That fact alone shows the benefits of vaccines.

That said, I would look at all newer vaccines with a keener eye. For instance, I just saw a notation that the new HPV vaccinations might have a higher risk profile than the risk of getting the cancer they are supposed to prevent. I can't find the link right now, so I guess we'll find out more, but I think there was a bit of a rush to vaccinate everyone.

jr565 said...

Shanna wrote:
That said, I would look at all newer vaccines with a keener eye. For instance, I just saw a notation that the new HPV vaccinations might have a higher risk profile than the risk of getting the cancer they are supposed to prevent. I can't find the link right now, so I guess we'll find out more, but I think there was a bit of a rush to vaccinate everyone.

I think Mccarthys flaw was that she definitively argued that vaccines caused her kids autism (and it turns out her kid doesn't even have autism). But even if she was wrong about that it doesn't mean that vaccines are a ok. I've taken my share of them, but I am leery of over vaccinating.

Drago said...

Crack: "My interest in con artists...."

Say no more.

We get it.

n.n said...

Shanna:

I am not arguing for or against vaccines. I am presenting three issues: risk, benefit, and independence. The first is represented by statistics. The second characterizes its value. The third orders the significance of the assessment.

We should not underestimate the hazards involved for convenience sake. As you observed, the hazards remain a potential, and are only mitigated with a larger sample (i.e. people and time). This implies that we must forever remain weary, especially of seemingly insignificant side-effects which are the cause of a progressive (i.e. emergent) condition.

That said, since life is a chaotic process, as are the processes which constitute the Earth system, while we must remain alert, we cannot submit to fanaticism. Life is an exercise in risk management. Vaccines have a value which varies with context. They have a risk profile which must be known and accepted. The full profile is not characterized, and may only ever be circumstantially (e.g. assuming independence) characterized.

jr565 said...

anyone who calls a fetus a parasite or a clump of cells shouldn't lecture anyone on being anti science.