Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rick Perry: Anti-science because liberals like it

National Review's Rich Lowry defends Rick Perry against the "anti-science smear":
Perry’s offenses against science consist of his statements on evolution and global warming, areas where “the science” is routinely used to try to force assent to far-reaching philosophical or policy judgments unsupported by the evidence.

Unless he has an interest in paleontology that has escaped everyone’s notice to this point, Perry’s somewhat doubtful take on evolution has more to do with a general impulse to preserve a role for God in creation than a careful evaluation of the work of, say, Stephen Jay Gould. Perry’s attitude is in the American mainstream. According to Gallup, 40 percent of Americans think God created man in his present form, and 38 percent think man developed over millions of years with God guiding the process. Is three-quarters of the country potentially anti-science?

Similarly, Perry’s skepticism on man-made global warming surely has much to do with the uses to which the scientific consensus on warming is put. It is enlisted as support for sweeping carbon controls that fail any cost-benefit analysis and gets spun into catastrophic scenarios that are as rigorous as Hollywood movie treatments.
In other words, Lowry is saying that Rick Perry is against the established science—but that's OK because liberals use science to try to advocate for liberal policies. Thus, if liberals said something like, "The sky is blue, therefore we must raise taxes," Perry would assert that the sky is pink. And Lowry would approve.

Now, I don't particularly care what Perry as an individual thinks about evolution or climate. But as a potential national leader, I'm concerned because—based on Lowry's defense—it signals an overall approach of ignoring actual facts and settled knowledge if those facts and knowledge suggest policy actions that Perry doesn't like. Rather than come up with a counter-proposal for action, or arguing (as Lowry does) about cost-benefit analyses, Perry simply gets to decide that reality isn't real. It might be too narrow to suggest that such an attitude is "anti-science." It's more like "anti-empirical knowledge." And that's a kind of relativism that "hard headed" conservatives like to decry.


KhabaLox said...

Are two thirds of Americans anti-science?

Yes. At least in regard to evolution.

namefromthepast said...

Multiple industries, thousands of lives, and billions of dollars have been wagered upon evolutionary theory, global warming theory.

The world can't even agree on the data so how can we agree on the analysis and hypothesis needed to be science?

When so-called scientists have entire careers built upon a hockey stick graph scepticism is warranted.

The scientific method requires testing a hypothosis and doing an experiment then analyzing the data of the experiment to compare it to the hypothosis. Until that is done it is merely an educated guess.-which is great fun!

In some crucial issues of global warming, creation, and some of the grand jumps through gray areas of evolutionary theory the scientific method can't be employed in the interest of time or space.

Until someone can make life from nothing evolution without some form of creation requires at least as much faith as any religion.

Therefore we are left to the bickering about good and bad science. I think it's just a matter of the "science" we believe in.

Kind of like how many licks to the center of a tootsie roll pop? The world may never know.