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parallaxicality
2013-Apr-30, 06:03 PM
This is quite alarming (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/lamar-smith-science_n_3165754.html)

Lamar Smith, head of the House Science Committee, has authored something he calls the "High Quality Research Act", which would require the National Science Foundation to

1. Not replicate any experiments performed outside the NSF's remit

2. Submit any technical peer review discussions for political peer review.

I don't know whether these proposals are due to ignorance of science or an attempt to silence publicly funded science in the United States, but in either case there must be something that can be done to stop it.

PetersCreek
2013-Apr-30, 08:15 PM
Moderator's note to all: the concern has been raised (via report) that this thread might not be in keeping with our rules. On the contrary, while rule 12 generally prohibits political (and religious) discussions, it goes on to explain:


However, the following exceptions apply:

A) Political impact upon space programs, exploration, and science.

Please keep it focused, keep it polite, and keep it away from political areas that are prohibited, such as partisan politics, party bashing, or using this thread as a vehicle for a pet political agenda, to name a few.

Carry on.

Solfe
2013-May-04, 02:31 PM
Perhaps it is buyers remorse? Congress asks a lot of questions of scientists and teams that are pretty silly.

Of course, that theory doesn't address the underlying problem with this sort of policy/law. You need duplication otherwise you will run down paths that are worse than useless. That and the issue of having science research vetted by people who don't have a clue; if they had a clue, they wouldn't need the NFS.

All I can picture is that guy in "Contact" arguing "One antenna, one channel."

parallaxicality
2013-May-04, 08:50 PM
Given that 251 people have looked at this, it seems odd to me that only two have replied. I think that the vicious reaction reserved for politics on this forum has chilled debate on political issues of scientific import.

I'm reminded of this discussion (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?111098-Feynman-on-answering-in-quot-layman-s-quot-terms) in which it was argued that representative democracy keeps ignorant laypeople from undermining science. Except when those same ignorant laypeople elect other ignorant laypeople to undermine science for them.

Hlafordlaes
2013-May-04, 09:59 PM
@OP

Yes, I came across a reference elsewhere to this policy idea and was equally aghast. On reflexion, it seems the attitude stems as much from a poor notion of how science works in general as it does from other bias, which shall remain uncharacterized.

I find the best response, instead of head-on criticism, in Congress would be to keep asking questions of the type "so that if situation A arises, we should not investigate?" where "A" is obviously desirable; say, debunking an outrageous ATM claim one knows even good old Lamar might object to. Do that over and over with more examples and similar leading questions, and the if the guy has any sense at all, he'll at least realize a tad more about how ridiculous he sounds.

[I had a customer, a friendly one, ranting the other evening about deporting all the foreigners. By the time I was finished, he had been pushed into agreeing that their native-born spouses and children all ought to be tossed, patients abandoned by 'alien' doctors now on the run, and so on. There came a point where he simply apologized and said, "I don't know. Sorry."]

beskeptical
2013-May-04, 11:36 PM
I'm afraid to post.
GOP Push Politicization Of Scientific Research says why.


Think Progress (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/11/28/1248751/rep-lamar-smith-who-criticized-the-idea-of-human-made-global-warming-set-to-be-chair-of-house-science-panel/?mobile=nc)
Smith is a climate skeptic who has taken to the House floor to rant against scientists and journalists “determined to advance the idea of human-made global warming.” Here’s Smith in a 2009 speech after scientists’ emails were hacked from a server at the University of East Anglia:
“We now know that prominent scientists were so determined to advance the idea of human-made global warming that they worked together to hide contradictory temperature data. But for two weeks, none of the networks gave the scandal any coverage on their evening news programs. And when they finally did cover it, their reporting was largely slanted in favor of global warming alarmists. The networks have shown a steady pattern of bias on climate change. During a six-month period, four out of five network news reports failed to acknowledge any dissenting opinions about global warming, according to a Business and Media Institute study. The networks should tell Americans the truth, rather than hide the facts.

In fact, independent reviews found (http://www.skepticalscience.com/CRU-tampered-temperature-data.htm) that climate scientists neither hid nor tampered with data.

H (http://www.statesman.com/news/news/opinion/house-science-panel-sees-no-climate-change/nTrM2/)ouse science panel wears blinders
(http://www.statesman.com/news/news/opinion/house-science-panel-sees-no-climate-change/nTrM2/)
“All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell.”
That scientific opinion comes courtesy of Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, who also apparently sees geology as originating in the devil’s realm, since he also has said he believes the earth is only “about 9,000 years old” and “was created in six days as we know them.” We wish that what we’re about to report was a joke but, alas, it is not. Broun is a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
And thanks to an appointment by the science committee’s new chairman, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, Broun will lead the panel’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight during the recently convened 113th Congress.

How do you have this discussion about these anti-science nut-jobs and not discuss the elephant in the room that they are all GOP?

Jens
2013-May-05, 02:14 AM
Given that 251 people have looked at this, it seems odd to me that only two have replied. I think that the vicious reaction reserved for politics on this forum has chilled debate on political issues of scientific import.

For me, it's more like this. If somebody posted something arguing it's a great idea, I'd be tempted to post. But so far I haven't come across anything I really wanted to respond to, except yours!

parallaxicality
2013-May-05, 02:26 AM
I'm afraid to post. says why.


Think Progress (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/11/28/1248751/rep-lamar-smith-who-criticized-the-idea-of-human-made-global-warming-set-to-be-chair-of-house-science-panel/?mobile=nc)

H (http://www.statesman.com/news/news/opinion/house-science-panel-sees-no-climate-change/nTrM2/)ouse science panel wears blinders
(http://www.statesman.com/news/news/opinion/house-science-panel-sees-no-climate-change/nTrM2/)

How do you have this discussion about these anti-science nut-jobs and not discuss the elephant in the room that they are all GOP?

Leaving aside the poison of partisan politics, there is also the problem of preconceived notions. Don't forget, it was Bill Clinton who cancelled the Superconducting Supercollider.

Solfe
2013-May-05, 03:54 AM
I have typed, retyped, deleted, rewrote, and so on.

I guess all I can say is these none of these guys are doing a really great job, and these few who think this idea is good are the poster children.

schlaugh
2013-May-05, 04:45 AM
While Rep. Smith is demanding the "technical peer review discussions" in his letter to the NSF for the five projects described in the article, the proposed act seems to only require the NSF to do a better job of explaining how it determines the uniqueness and appropriateness of the research it funds.

But...doesn't it do so now? Maybe I'm reading the bill wrongly, but the proposed legislation does not seem to require any scientific process of the NSF.

Here's the key bit:


[The director]....shall publish a statement on the public website of the Foundation that certifies that the research project (1) is in the interests of the United States to advance the national health, prosperity, or welfare, and to secure the national defense by promoting the progress of science; (2) is the finest quality, is ground breaking, and answers questions or solves problems that are of utmost importance to society at large; and (3) is not duplicative of other research projects being funded by the Foundation or other Federal science agencies.

The remainder of the act says come back and tell us how you're going to do this and how might we apply this same concept to other science agencies funded by the government.

When I read this my first thought was that Rep. Smith was firing a shot across the bow of the NSF for some other reason which hasn't been made clear yet, or he's looking for some other reason to keep the collective feet of the NSF to the fire. Certainly budget constraints are affecting all agencies of the federal government and if the chairman of the NSF's oversight committee did not require strong justification then he or she would be remiss in duties. But the fundamental why of this act remains to be seen (other than posturing). And the timing doesn't seem to be tied to anything.

If it's just to place more control over the NSF then this bill seems rather weak. The committee already controls the NSF budget.

beskeptical
2013-May-05, 06:56 AM
Leaving aside the poison of partisan politics, there is also the problem of preconceived notions. Don't forget, it was Bill Clinton who cancelled the Superconducting Supercollider.
You call it "poison" but you give an example of legislation you take issue with. My examples were of science denial and young Earth creationism beliefs. It's a false equivalency.

Solfe
2013-May-05, 01:36 PM
You call it "poison" but you give an example of legislation you take issue with. My examples were of science denial and young Earth creationism beliefs. It's a false equivalency.

So is this. I am a republican and I suspect I am more hardline on science than most people.

In fact, in the past, I have suggested (here and elsewhere) that BAUT members should write the definitive books to prove "anthropological global warming" doesn't exist, that "Nibiru" is a fact and will destroy everyone and everything and another title to absolutely prove that the Earth is merely 6000 years old.

Once these books are written, we would use the demographics of sales and money earned to transform the BAUT into a militant political unit that would combat stupid everywhere starting with key elections around the US. I think I also suggested that we should use some funds to pay the mod team and give them cool things like motorcycles and gaming systems.

Perhaps people were lead to believe that I was being funny, but no, I really think this is a good idea. It worked for Moby, it could work for us.

swampyankee
2013-May-05, 02:08 PM
This is quite alarming (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/lamar-smith-science_n_3165754.html)

Lamar Smith, head of the House Science Committee, has authored something he calls the "High Quality Research Act", which would require the National Science Foundation to

1. Not replicate any experiments performed outside the NSF's remit

2. Submit any technical peer review discussions for political peer review.

I don't know whether these proposals are due to ignorance of science or an attempt to silence publicly funded science in the United States, but in either case there must be something that can be done to stop it.

I worry much more about the second one than the first, as many US politicians are openly and avidly opposed to science. As demonstrated during the primaries for the GOP's presidential campaign, anti-science is a critical component to winning primaries in some states. Indeed, I think it's incontrovertible that a requirement to "[s]ubmit any technical peer review discussions for political peer review" is designed to place a stalinist control on science. Remember Lysenko?

R.A.F.
2013-May-05, 02:25 PM
...I have suggested (here and elsewhere) that BAUT members should write the definitive books to prove "anthropological global warming" doesn't exist, that "Nibiru" is a fact and will destroy everyone and everything and another title to absolutely prove that the Earth is merely 6000 years old.

Once these books are written, we would use the demographics of sales and money earned to transform the BAUT into a militant political unit that would combat stupid everywhere starting with key elections around the US. I think I also suggested that we should use some funds to pay the mod team and give them cool things like motorcycles and gaming systems.

Perhaps people were lead to believe that I was being funny, but no, I really think this is a good idea. It worked for Moby, it could work for us.

So you would have us humiliate ourselves, by adding to the "junk" science that is already "out there" in order to "militantly"
impose our will/opinion on others??

You can't "force" people into rationality...they either "arrive" at it by themselves, or they do not.

My personal opinion...bad idea.

R.A.F.
2013-May-05, 02:43 PM
How do you have this discussion about these anti-science nut-jobs and not discuss the elephant in the room that they are all GOP?

Simply replace the term "GOP" with the term "certain politicians"...rational readers will know what you are talking about without bringing partisian politics into it.


Naw...that wouldn't "work", because everyone would know which certain politicians were being talked about.


Never mind...:)

Solfe
2013-May-05, 02:53 PM
So you would have us humiliate ourselves, by adding to the "junk" science that is already "out there" in order to "militantly"
impose our will/opinion on others??

You can't "force" people into rationality...they either "arrive" at it by themselves, or they do not.

My personal opinion...bad idea.

Most BAUT members are the experts on these fields, and we have great outreach method. Are we embarrassed for this today? No.

Is it snide? Yes.

Is it jaded? Yes.

But does it work? Don't know... if someone debunked an ATM thread using the parlance of the advocate of the theory, would it not still be debunking? I think it would, even in the case where the OP didn't understand what was happening. Generally, BAUT does not endorse this method of approach, but it isn't exactly prohibited. You'd just have to be very savvy with the rules and not stomping other people.

This approach eliminates possible bad choices by society in general. I don't apologize for that. This is what happens in the world. It is very much like a meme, the successful ones are remembered and the unsuccessful aren't. (I hate the whole, lets throw Darwin under the bus, Evolutionary quotes for stuff like this.)

R.A.F.
2013-May-05, 02:59 PM
Most BAUT members are the experts on these fields, and we have great outreach method. Are we embarrassed for this today?

??? I posted that it would be humiliating/embarrassing/whatever to be involved, in any way, with the promotion of bad science.

What that has to do with what you posted, I do not know.

Solfe
2013-May-05, 03:18 PM
??? I posted that it would be humiliating/embarrassing/whatever to be involved, in any way, with the promotion of bad science.

What that has to do with what you posted, I do not know.

But isn't that what we do? We provide a forum for bad science.

On paper, the onus is on the advocate to prove their theory or conspiracy.

In reality, the onus is on the BAUT members to reply to weird stuff in a polite, logical, consistent, and correct way, despite the fact that 99% is pure crud and the other 1% is simply is coated with crud. Without all of those responsibilities taken on by the members of this board, this is a forum that prompts bad science. We aren't even required to reply. The OP of conspiracy or ATM isn't really under any of those obligations, they can simply not reply for 30 days and they have a permanent place on the board to advocate weirdness.

R.A.F.
2013-May-05, 03:25 PM
But isn't that what we do? We provide a forum for bad science.

Yes...to debunk it, not to "promote" it....do you not see the difference between the 2?

Hlafordlaes
2013-May-05, 03:46 PM
Apropos of the discussion, here's a tidbit from Ars Tecnica (http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/05/weird-science-bases-all-of-its-political-positions-on-ignorance/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+arstechnica%2Findex+%28Ars+Te chnica+-+All+content%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher):


Moderation through explanation. Alternately, this section could be called Where Dunning-Kreuger meets politics (http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/04/24/0956797612464058.abstract). Four researchers at three different institutions joined forces to ask a simple question: why is it that people have such extreme positions on subjects that are rather complicated and nuanced? "We hypothesized that people typically know less about such policies than they think they do," the authors write, going on to discuss their experimental method: asking people with extreme opinions to explain the issue. That brought an end to their subjects' belief that they actually understood the issue they were otherwise willing to argue passionately about (or, as the authors put it, "undermined the illusion of explanatory depth"). Once people recognized their ignorance, positions tended to moderate.

In contrast, simply asking people to explain why they like their preferred policy kept the illusion intact. "The evidence suggests that people’s mistaken sense that they understand the causal processes underlying policies contributes to political polarization," they conclude.

beskeptical
2013-May-05, 07:52 PM
So is this. I am a republican and I suspect I am more hardline on science than most people.

In fact, in the past, I have suggested (here and elsewhere) that BAUT members should write the definitive books to prove "anthropological global warming" doesn't exist, that "Nibiru" is a fact and will destroy everyone and everything and another title to absolutely prove that the Earth is merely 6000 years old.

Once these books are written, we would use the demographics of sales and money earned to transform the BAUT into a militant political unit that would combat stupid everywhere starting with key elections around the US. I think I also suggested that we should use some funds to pay the mod team and give them cool things like motorcycles and gaming systems.

Perhaps people were lead to believe that I was being funny, but no, I really think this is a good idea. It worked for Moby, it could work for us.This is the problem with discussing this issue. Just because some people who believe in a bizarre reality are Republican doesn't mean I'm saying all Republicans believe such things. Of course they don't, and of course there are plenty people on the left who have an unscientific basis for their realities.

The problem isn't the continuum of beliefs vs the continuum of the political spectrum. The current problem is people with certain anti-science agendas, be they based on religious ideology, economically motivated, or some other ideology, are trying to inject those beliefs into the political arena. And it's been exacerbated by the GOP courting the fringe, they make a good voting base. I don't think being a political conservative means you are more likely to be Creationist or a AGW denier, I believe the GOP leadership courted these people and now they are reaping the side effects.


How do these people with such ignorant beliefs get elected?


And I fault my own Party for timidness calling out the anti-science beliefs. We tiptoe around them. The left is just as afraid of the voters that the right courted, as the right that courted them now seem to be.



I worry much more about the second one than the first, as many US politicians are openly and avidly opposed to science. As demonstrated during the primaries for the GOP's presidential campaign, anti-science is a critical component to winning primaries in some states. Indeed, I think it's incontrovertible that a requirement to "[s]ubmit any technical peer review discussions for political peer review" is designed to place a stalinist control on science. Remember Lysenko?Remember Bush's NASA fact minders (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Deutsch)?




Simply replace the term "GOP" with the term "certain politicians"...rational readers will know what you are talking about without bringing partisian politics into it.
Naw...that wouldn't "work", because everyone would know which certain politicians were being talked about.
Never mind...:)Not only that but we'd be addressing everything except the elephant in the room. (Pun wasn't intended but now that I see it, ;))

R.A.F.
2013-May-05, 08:57 PM
Not only that but we'd be addressing everything except the elephant in the room. (Pun wasn't intended but now that I see it, ;))

I hadn't noticed it until just now, myself...:)

Solfe
2013-May-05, 09:54 PM
Yes...to debunk it, not to "promote" it....do you not see the difference between the 2?

There is a difference, but my idea is proactive, not reactionary. It drains resources from the foolish and creates a ready made FAQ of refutation on arrival. It also provides amusement.

Proactive, prepared, fun. Win-win-win.

R.A.F.
2013-May-06, 12:19 AM
There is a difference, but my idea is proactive, not reactionary. It drains resources from the foolish and creates a ready made FAQ of refutation on arrive. It also provides amusement.

Proactive, prepared, fun. Win-win-win.

...and in the process, you "sell your soul" to the woowoo's, by promoting anti-science.

Thanks, but no thanks...

R.A.F.
2013-May-06, 12:45 AM
How do these people with such ignorant beliefs get elected?

Ignorant voters?

parallaxicality
2013-May-07, 07:08 PM
You call it "poison" but you give an example of legislation you take issue with. My examples were of science denial and young Earth creationism beliefs. It's a false equivalency.

As it happens, I am a Democrat (or would be if I still lived in the US) from a family of Democrats, so partisanship had nothing to do with my reply. The left is less anti-science than the right, but both have anti-science biases. (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-liberals-war-on-science)

And no, it is not a false equivalency, because beliefs don't matter. Actions do. I don't care if they're Young Earth Creationists, or Scientologists, or Earth-goddess worshippers, Moonies, or racial supremacists. All I care about is that they keep their personal beliefs at home and stick to the rules while at work.

swampyankee
2013-May-07, 10:30 PM
There are anti-science people all over the political spectrum, and if a similar case came up from a different portion of the political spectrum, I'd make the same complaint: ideological controlof science is a hallmark of tyranny.

beskeptical
2013-May-07, 10:35 PM
As it happens, I am a Democrat (or would be if I still lived in the US) from a family of Democrats, so partisanship had nothing to do with my reply. The left is less anti-science than the right, but both have anti-science biases. (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-liberals-war-on-science)

And no, it is not a false equivalency, because beliefs don't matter. Actions do. I don't care if they're Young Earth Creationists, or Scientologists, or Earth-goddess worshippers, Moonies, or racial supremacists. All I care about is that they keep their personal beliefs at home and stick to the rules while at work.Name some legislation initiated by the left that either interferes with or goes against the scientific evidence.

The false equivalency is not which side has more nut-jobs, the problem is turning those against-the-scientific-evidence beliefs into laws. Those Young Earth Creationists have been attacking public school science curriculum with legislation. The AGW deniers are using legislation to block remedies.

Jens
2013-May-07, 11:30 PM
Name some legislation initiated by the left that either interferes with or goes against the scientific evidence.


I can't give you a specific piece of legislation, but there must be some anti-GMO legislation out there pushed by the left.

John Mendenhall
2013-May-08, 12:10 AM
Betcha Lamar Smith uses his cellphone and his GPS every day. Ain't science wonderful, Lamar?

Hlafordlaes
2013-May-08, 12:56 AM
There are anti-science people all over the political spectrum, and if a similar case came up from a different portion of the political spectrum, I'd make the same complaint: ideological controlof science is a hallmark of tyranny.

Recently a PM discussion unrelated to this thread led me to say this:


I worry that what I perceive to be the key contribution of cultural evolution is in danger in today's world. I hold the fruits of the Enlightenment, free inquiry and a healthy respect for the truth (as difficult as that is to define), the scientific method in its broadest social sense, to be humanity's crown jewels.

I think the fight is on, and most definitely do not refer to standard domestic political partisanship as per some of this discussion. I mean that if today's champions of reason do not realize that there is a task at hand, one common to all, then we may be in for a rough few decades.

That task is to help everyone understand that the hallmark of critical thinking among honest brokers is disagreement in good faith, and not a single narrative. That discussion only bears fruit when performed in full respect of all of the rules of proper debate and requirement for evidence. That it is not absolute truth that will save us, but the most ardent pursuit of our best understanding of a conflicting and contradictory world. That perhaps science is like a court of justice, which must resort to best judgment with incomplete facts, and use probabilities, to be fair.

And in marketing terms, it is time to strut our stuff. To focus attention on all the benefits of open debate, the science and political freedom that depends on it, and place the two together as one: open inquiry, regardless of consequence and station, and liberty.

Humanity best advances with a short, clear path forward based on best guesses. It is really best to muddle our way through in little bursts of clarity. Any narrative or dogma that pretends to eliminate chaos, the unexpected, or to provide permanent, long-term answers to all our problems is at best a well-intentioned recipe for disaster, or more likely the prelude to a grab for power on the surging tide of new truths that are sadly neither new, nor true.

Yet the world from time to time demands answers when the old rules seem inadequate, the future unclear. I am of the opinion that we are in dangerous times. So, I engage people when they are open, and really try to add a little something that might strengthen their faith in reason.

And that is the response in action any of us can have to the news in the OP. Those here in a position to do more, can, and I hope, will.

beskeptical
2013-May-08, 01:38 AM
Name some legislation initiated by the left that either interferes with or goes against the scientific evidence.


I can't give you a specific piece of legislation, but there must be some anti-GMO legislation out there pushed by the left.I'll give you that, except it's still not equivalent. You don't see the mainstream party leadership embracing the cause and courting voters by pushing anti-GMO legislation. You don't see anything being pushed in food or commerce committees, do you?

Jens
2013-May-08, 02:57 AM
I'll give you that, except it's still not equivalent. You don't see the mainstream party leadership embracing the cause and courting voters by pushing anti-GMO legislation. You don't see anything being pushed in food or commerce committees, do you?

No, it doesn't seem so in the US at least. I'm not so sure about in Europe, though.

grapes
2013-May-08, 10:08 AM
Name some legislation initiated by the left that either interferes with or goes against the scientific evidence.

What about roadblocks put up against nuclear power? How do we analyze those? Who gets the "credit"?

Solfe
2013-May-08, 11:52 AM
Or someone who states that the overpopulation of Guam may cause it to tip over like a sailboat.

NEOWatcher
2013-May-08, 11:57 AM
I don't know about legislation but this article has some statistics (http://reason.com/archives/2011/10/04/more-anti-science-democrats-or) about republican vs democratic views on some specific items. If the people feel that way, I would assume the party would generally match those views.
Take whatever partisan view you want (yes, one was stated at the end), but I agree with the final statement.

I do also agree with Berezow that scientific “ignorance has reached epidemic proportions inside the Beltway.

Hlafordlaes
2013-May-08, 01:46 PM
Was waxing a bit bombastic last night on my earlier post. Sorry, guys. But let's skip the donkey vs elephant jokes, it ain't worth a minute's notice. Both Rep and Dem critical thinkers need to unite on the core issue here; the rest is detail and water under the bridge.

beskeptical
2013-May-08, 07:09 PM
Or someone who states that the overpopulation of Guam may cause it to tip over like a sailboat.He claimed it was a joke, a metaphor. It's plausible as was his ignorance, I'd need to know more about the man to judge. But I've never claimed the GOP had a monopoly on stupid.


I don't know about legislation but this article has some statistics (http://reason.com/archives/2011/10/04/more-anti-science-democrats-or) about republican vs democratic views on some specific items. If the people feel that way, I would assume the party would generally match those views.
Take whatever partisan view you want (yes, one was stated at the end), but I agree with the final statement.There is a lot of complexity to this issue.

First, the Pew poll was of the general population, and party affiliation, not elected officials or legislation.

Second, you have to sort out bad or unsound science from corporate regulation, pro or con. Dr Ben Goldacre, a respected scientist among the Bad Science community, has thoroughly documented a serious issue with corporate influence on scientific research in the medical field (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0007350740/ref=nosim?tag=bs0b-21). To read an opinion piece in a Libertarian magazine that equates pro-regulation with bad science, I don't find the piece to have a neutral point of view.

OTOH, one has to be careful not to let confirmation bias affect one's perception of this issue.

From Scienceblogs, commenting on the 2009 Pew Survey (http://scienceblogs.com/framing-science/2009/07/09/pew-survey-of-the-scientists-a/)
4. The greatest potential threat to the science-society relationship is not politicization or religion, but rather the increasing privatization of science, especially at the university level.The Pew survey of the public does not ask specific questions about perceived conflicts of interest, concerns over privatization, and/or the “hyping” of market applications, but as we note at Nature Biotechnology, scholars point to these trends as having the greatest potential to generate public distrust of science, perceptions that are likely to span ideological and demographic segments.
While the increasing privatization and marketing orientation of science may be a still latent challenge to public trust, it is a trend that scientists are already deeply concerned about, especially those scientists working in private industry. In the Pew survey, close to half of all American scientists and 68% of those working in private industry agreed that the possibility of making a lot of money “was leading many scientists in their field to pursue marketable projects that do little to advance science.”That's where I see the core of the problem.

And as the core of the problem, it seems to me the profit motive of the Merchants of Doubt (http://www.merchantsofdoubt.org/) tend toward promoting GOP legislators that while are not terribly more sympathetic than the Democratic legislators, have traditionally held more favorable attitudes toward the corporations that promote them.

In short, corporations have a profit motive to promote bad science and it is reflected in the powerful influence these corporations have in our government.

TooMany
2013-May-29, 10:00 PM
The current anti-science trends are most visible in GOP politics. It's rather sad, but conservative politics have changed entirely within my lifetime. Attitudes of conservatives were far different back in the 1950's. Science was seen as the hope for the future, as a means to improve everyone's life and build a strong economy. Atomic energy had strong support. (Read the 1956 Republican Platform. It appears strikingly different from contemporary conservatism in deeds.)

The liberals do not get a pass. While I wouldn't call them anti-science, they certainly seem unable to evaluate some scientific issues objectively. Major examples are nuclear power (which is treated like the devil incarnate) and genetically modified foods which evoke a similar reaction.

In reality, the nuclear safety record is far better than other energy sources. Nuclear wastes can be used as fuel. Nuclear power can be made even safer.

In reality, we have been genetically modifying food and animals since the birth of agriculture, the difference now is that we have a more effective way to do it.

Would political propaganda, that ignores science or even contradicts science, be possible if most Americans were well informed about science?

Even with scientific training, people can be swayed by propaganda, especially when it is tied to already held political beliefs. Take for example the conservative outrage at Al Gore for publishing "An Inconvenient Truth". An argument for public concern over climate, based on science, can be tainted (e.g., for those on the right) simply by suggesting that climate science is some conspiracy created by the left.

I guess the bottom line is that the American people (and others as well), being uninformed about science, are easily manipulated by politically motivated propaganda.

Perhaps the best and most respected of our scientist should to step forward, force their way into the media limelight and denounce the political abuse of science.

publiusr
2013-Jun-08, 06:30 PM
I support fundamental fairness acts, but with science radio required every week.