Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Age of Denial

In the NYTimes editorial page, Adam Frank, an astronomer at the University of Rochester discovers Stephan Lewandowsky

Today, however, it is politically effective, and socially acceptable, to deny scientific fact. Narrowly defined, “creationism” was a minor current in American thinking for much of the 20th century. But in the years since I was a student, a well-funded effort has skillfully rebranded that ideology as “creation science” and pushed it into classrooms across the country. Though transparently unscientific, denying evolution has become a litmus test for some conservative politicians, even at the highest levels.
Meanwhile, climate deniers, taking pages from the creationists’ PR playbook, have manufactured doubt about fundamental issues in climate science that were decided scientifically decades ago. And anti-vaccine campaigners brandish a few long-discredited studies to make unproven claims about links between autism and vaccination.
The list goes on. North Carolina has banned state planners from using climate data in their projections of future sea levels. So many Oregon parents have refused vaccination that the state is revising its school entry policies. And all of this is happening in a culture that is less engaged with science and technology as intellectual pursuits than at any point I can remember.
Gee, whoda thunk.


Anonymous said...

Eunice tires of deniers, too.

Tires of

Botany deniers that deny plants grow faster in CO2 enriched atmospheres.

Agronomy deniers that deny crop yields increase in CO2 enriched atmospheres.

Hydrology deniers that deny the plants transpire less water in CO2 enriched atmospheres.

Physiology deniers that deny human mortality peaks in the cold season and troughs in the warm season.

Astronomy deniers that deny the existence of the warmer Holocene Climatic Optimum and a much warmer Arctic for most of the next 100,000 years due to orbital variation.

Anthropology deniers that deny the advancement of human civilization in the form of the Mesopotamian cultures during the period of much hotter, longer summers.

Biology deniers that deny that nearly all species in existence today endured the glacial cycles of the past and are, in fact, evolved for 'climate changes'.

Climatology deniers that deny a long history extreme events, most of which have no substantiated theory of causation.

Data deniers that deny the margin of error in energy balance studies which are much larger than hypothesized changes.

And Psychology deniers that deny the emotional bias of themselves and members of 'the cause' who find it emotionally satisfying to believe that global warming is a calamity.

Yes, let's hold deniers accountable.

EliRabett said...

Eunice darlin, it would be better for your blood pressure if you actually read up on the issues you spew about. For example, it's complicated is a pretty good answer to all of your that.

Martin Vermeer said...

Eunice is tired of killing.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Eunice, dear, did it ever occur to you that having ALL plants grow faster might not be a good thing for agriculture? A look at the weeds in my garden might convince you.

Perhaps you should consider as part of your "Oh it'll be all right" philosophy that the fact that we have gotten by in the past was because folks anticipated and worried about potential threats.

Or not. Feel free to remain happy and ignorant. I doubt you'd have much to contribute to the problem solving anyway. Run along, now. The adults are talking.

John said...

Adam Frank thinks that creationism used to be a minor movement, but now has become much stronger. I'm not sure about that. For example, the Gallup polls show very little change in the last 30 years.
Wikipedia's history of creationism says that creationists in the 1930's conquered local school boards.

Following up on the Butler Act, antievolutionary laws were passed in Mississippi in 1926, and then in Arkansas in 1928. However, the 1928 election and the onset of the Depression changed the playing field. Creationists shifted their attention from state legislatures to local school boards, having substantial success. They set themselves to the tasks of "the emasculation of textbooks, the 'purging' of libraries, and above all the, continued hounding of teachers." Discussions of evolution vanished from almost all schoolbooks. By 1941, about one third of American teachers were afraid of being accused of supporting evolution.

One trend in the opposite direction was the big national push for science education in the US after the 1957 Sputnik launch.

In conclusion, there are certainly a lot of creationists out there. But I'm not at all certain whether the problem is getting better or worse.

Russell Seitz said...

Since Eunice doesn't "deny that nearly all species in existence today endured the glacial cycles of the past and are, in fact, evolved for 'climate changes'."

Unless she thinks extinction is a Good Thing, she should admit that the critters conspicuously evolved to deal with the ice ages, , like wooly mammoths, did not survive their end.

Anonymous said...

This little piggy built a house out of straw.


exusian said...

Poor Eunice is so easily distracted by the shiny but irrelevant 'CO2 is plant food' gambit that she just can not grasp that Liebig's law of the minimum means that although plants will grow faster in CO2 enriched atmospheres, it is only when water, nitrogen, phosphorous, and all other essential plant nutrients are also suitably elevated that crop yields and carbohydrate and protein content increase.

Moreover, poor Eunice also manages to completely misunderstand the interaction of the Milankovitch orbital cycles; that the Akkadian civilization collapsed during the cited period of much hotter, and more important drier, Mesopotamian summers; that almost no species in existence today, and certainly no modern cereal crop endured or evolved to adapt to the last period of 400 ppm atmospheric CO2 and consequent 2-3C warmer mean temperature.

But at least Eunice serves to demonstrate what true confirmation bias looks like.

Anonymous said...

"Unless she thinks extinction is a Good Thing, she should admit that the critters conspicuously evolved to deal with the ice ages, , like wooly mammoths, did not survive their end. "

Evidently, mammoths inhabited ranges from Northern Eurasia and the Arctic to Florida to Southern Mexico to the San Francisco Bay area.

Even during the Glacial, this represented a wide range of climates that the mammoth could tolerate.

No one was taking notes ( beyond the cave paintings ) but I'm thinking it was direct human predation, not indirect climate that hastened their demise.

Also, Wiki cites this paper which indicates that the two mammoth species went extinct 45,000 ya and 12,000 ya, respectively. No doubt things were changing 12,000 ya, but there was still a lot of ice ( that's still before the Younger Dryas, que no? ).