The Republican War on Science
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20-06-2012, 12:06 PM (This post was last modified: 20-06-2012 12:11 PM by ghostexorcist.)
The Republican War on Science
I recently finished reading a book on how scientific illiteracy threatens the future of America. It was co-authored by a marine biologist-turned-congressional science fellow and a science journalist. It was a decent book, but I kept on reading about how much better the journalist's previous book was. I'm glad I bought it. The book is The Republican War on Science: Revised and Updated (2005) by Chris Mooney. It is basically a history of the crazy things that the republican party has done from the 1970s to the 2000s to undermine science. Their shocking misuse of power has left my mouth hanging open in disbelief. For instance, there have been numerous times that republicans have held back the reports of scientific bodies on various issues, and other times they have altered the contents to water down the conclusions--obviously without permission to do so. The dumbest thing that I have read about so far involved two steps. First, Newt Gingrich fired Congress' internationally respected science advisory board because their conclusions based on the scientific method never agreed with the republicans' ideological-based or industrial funded policies. Second, they would hold a sort of court to decide which science was the real "sound science." They would first hear consensus-backed evidence from highly respected scientists, and then they would hear evidence from scientists active at the fringe. The biggest problem was that congressmen with absolutely no scientific training ultimately decided what science they wanted to accept. Obviously they mistrust any science that doesn't jive with their religious views or the views of their big industry campaign contributors, so they often support the advise of fringe scientists. Just imagine it, non-scientists deciding what science is. Now how stupid is that?

A representative of the journal Scientific American says the book is "A well-researched, closely argued, and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists." I highly recommend it myself.
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20-06-2012, 12:14 PM
RE: The Republican War on Science
This is one of the many things that tick me off about the religious right take over of the republican party.

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
David Hume
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20-06-2012, 12:46 PM
RE: The Republican War on Science
It's horrifying. And in my opinion, the implementation of these practices are terroristic, if not treasonous. Undecided

Does this book go into scientific research with respect to how other nations (besides US) go about discussing and agreeing on scientific research information? I'd like to know the opinion of other nations on this dangerously shoddy practice.

This is the kind of skullduggery we always suspect, but really hope doesn't go on within our governments. Kubrick was right; Dr Strangelove gave us a glimpse into the mirror of our government while it was shaving... an everyday task. This book sounds like much the same -only escalated.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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20-06-2012, 01:32 PM
RE: The Republican War on Science
(20-06-2012 12:46 PM)kim Wrote:  [...]

Does this book go into scientific research with respect to how other nations (besides US) go about discussing and agreeing on scientific research information? I'd like to know the opinion of other nations on this dangerously shoddy practice.

[...]

It does mention that Europe was so impressed with Congress' scientific advisory board, Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), that they created their own branch called the European Parliamentary Technology Assessment (EPTA). They still actively advise Europe on various scientific issues. The book points out that Europe was stunned when Gingrich disbanded the OTA. Lord Kenner wrote, "That the leading technological state in the world, a democracy like us, should have abolished its own main means of democratic assessment left us aghast" (p. 53).
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20-06-2012, 02:05 PM
RE: The Republican War on Science
[Image: 3770.jpg]

Ah hatd scynce in skul, jus lik aljubrah, readn n' spelun.

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20-06-2012, 11:10 PM
RE: The Republican War on Science
That book has been on my Amazon wish list since I first heard of it months ago, this article may be the motivating factor to finally buy it.

"A man who dares waste an hour of his life has not discovered the value of life." - Charles Darwin
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21-06-2012, 12:17 AM
RE: The Republican War on Science
One thing I just read about concerned Phillip Morris, one of the largest producers of cigarettes in the US, getting pissed off because several studies linked cigarettes and second hand smoking to cancer and a host of lung diseases. Internal documents show that they started a campaign in order to discredit this research. They threw a whole bunch of money at republicans, who turned around and fought hard to reform government regulations that hampered the cigarette company, while also making it harder for research highlighting the dangers of smoking to influence policy. This paragraph explains it all:

Quote:Indeed, the leading regulatory reform proposals would have inappropriately legislated the very nature of science itself. Not only did the bills prescribe rigid rules for the assessment of risk, potentially stifling scientific adaptability; in many cases, agencies would also have had to submit their studies to "peer review" panels, which could potentially be dominated by industry scientists. Furthermore, regulatory reform would have created new opportunities for federal court challenges over the validity of the scientific studies required under the new law, an ideal opportunity for business interests to deploy their lawyers and engage in scientific warfare over analysis they didn't like (the EPA secondhand smoke report, for instance). The whole process, Georgetown University law professor David Vladeck wrote at the time, smacked of an attempt to achieve "paralysis by analysis" (p. 70)

Another stupid thing is that the republicans almost got rid of the freaking United States Geological Survey! I guess they didn't think tracking earthquakes or volcanic eruptions were that important. And to think people like this are in charge of our country.
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06-10-2012, 12:01 PM (This post was last modified: 06-10-2012 12:04 PM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: The Republican War on Science
We all know that many of the more vocal conservative republicans know jack about science. This thread would have been much longer if I had added every instance of scientific illiteracy that came out of that camp. But I felt it necessary to add one bit of news that is blowing up on the net. Republican Paul Broun recently gave a speech at a "good ol' boy" type of church in Georgia in which he claimed science like evolution and the Big Bang "is lies straight from the pit of Hell" (video). And he got applause. Someone might ask how this is any different from past gaffs. Well, Mr. Broun sits on the House Committee of Science, Space and Technology. Anyone who holds such views obviously has a conflict of interest and, therefore, should be removed from that office.
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06-10-2012, 01:41 PM
RE: The Republican War on Science
(06-10-2012 12:01 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  We all know that many of the more vocal conservative republicans know jack about science. This thread would have been much longer if I had added every instance of scientific illiteracy that came out of that camp. But I felt it necessary to add one bit of news that is blowing up on the net. Republican Paul Broun recently gave a speech at a "good ol' boy" type of church in Georgia in which he claimed science like evolution and the Big Bang "is lies straight from the pit of Hell" (video). And he got applause. Someone might ask how this is any different from past gaffs. Well, Mr. Broun sits on the House Committee of Science, Space and Technology. Anyone who holds such views obviously has a conflict of interest and, therefore, should be removed from that office.

And William F. Buckley Jr. continues to roll over in his grave. ... Fucker might've been a delusional Roman Catholic, but at least he wasn't a member of the Just Fucking Stupid club.

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06-10-2012, 05:12 PM
RE: The Republican War on Science
Ireland may be crazily catholic, but I am so grateful that everyone in Ireland is scientifically literate. Right now there is some big CERN exhibition going on somewhere about the Higgs boson and what not.
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