Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Political Wars on Science

Much has made recently of a supposed “conservative war on science” with the global-warming controversy as a centerpiece. The right side of the political spectrum has responded with the traditional “I know you are but what am I?” and claimed there's a “liberal war on science” with the IQ controversy as a centerpiece. I am very dubious about both sides.

On the one hand, there are theoretical and empirical reasons to believe global warming is both anthropogenic and significantly deleterious and there are also theoretical and empirical reasons to believe group differences in measured IQ are both genetic and important. On the other hand, there were theoretical and empirical reasons to believe similar ideas in the past (for both sides) that turned out not be the case. In addition, some of the most fervent advocates for the claims are would-be totalitarians, which makes adopting the ideas much riskier than skepticism.


Anonymous Cambias said...

It is an interesting commentary on how utterly scientific our society has become that political parties now use being "anti-science" as a way to bash each other.

If, say, Theodore Roosevelt had accused William Jennings Bryan of being anti-science, Bryan would probably have proudly agreed. Whereas nowadays even someone who might well be genuinely anti-science would have to conceal that and mutter vague evasions about "consensus" or "theories" or "applications."

We are living in the Age of Science. Even religions nowadays have to borrow the robes of Science when they want to speak with authority.

7:38 PM  

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