Sunday, January 30, 2011

Creationism, AGW & The Anti-Science Party

According to Steve Benen at Washington Monthly, the Republican Party is the "anti-science party." His damning evidence:

THE ANTI-SCIENCE PARTY.... This segment . . . helps reinforce much of what's wrong with the state of critical thinking in the Republican Party.

"Real Time" host Bill Maher asked Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) a fairly straightforward question: "Do you believe in evolution?" Kingston not only rejected the foundation of modern biology, he explained it this way: "I believe I came from God, not from a monkey." He added, "If it happened over millions and millions of years, there should be lots of fossil evidence."

Seriously, that's what he said. . . .

Let's pause to appreciate the fact that it's the 21st century -- and Jack Kingston is a 10-term congressman who helps oversee federal funding on the Food and Drug Administration. . . .

In the larger context, there's a renewed push underway for the United States to value and appreciate science in the 21st century -- our future depends on it. And while this push is underway, Republican leaders are more comfortable walking a bridge to the 18th century.

What an embarrassment.

As a threshold matter, the deeply disingenuous Benen extrapolates that since there is one Republican congressman who believes in creationism, then all Republicans are anti-science. Talk about your non-sequiturs. That would be like me extrapolating that since Benen is such an intellectually dishonest donkey's ass, that all on the far left are likewise intellectually dishonest donkeys' asses. While I happen to believe that they are, it does not follow from the single example of Benen.

And while I happen to disagree with creationism or reading the bible too literally, so what. Belief in creationism versus the big bang theory and/or evolution - the latter both embraced by Catholicism and many Christians - has no practical effect on 99.99% of modern science. Embracing either position does not establish whether a person - or an entire group of people - is "anti-science" except in the far left fantasy of Benen.

One clear litmus test to divide the science embracers from the "anti-science" folk is whether a person embraces the "scientific method." The lynchpin of the scientific method is that the scientist postulating results must "document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, giving them the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them."

All of that said, one place where the science/anti-science divide is of absolutely critical importantance is in regards to the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The entire theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is built on mountains of "results" that have never been verified because, in the AGW world, it is not the custom to share the information necessary to verify the results.

Left wing researchers and institutions have made an art form out of excusing their refusal to provide such information and their justifications for refusing to respond to FOIA requests (See here, here, here, here, here). They do not practice the scientific method. Instead of allowing for replicability, they demand that we accept "peer review" as the gold standard for the reliabiilty of their results. But peer review itself, which does not involve replication, is anything but a standard of reliability. That is doubly true in the AGW world, where the Climategate e-mails provided clear evidence of bias and deliberate tampering with the "peer review" process by a small clique at the top of the AGW pecking order In short, AGW proponents, including Obama's EPA, are demanding that we accept their unverified theory on faith. That is the very definition of "anti-science."

One of the most shining examples of this comes out of NASA and the GISS. James Hansen, who oversees our temperature records, has spent years making unexplained adjustments to our historical temperature records, yet he has never made public the raw numbers, nor his calculations or justifications for making changes. And there are significant issues with even the most basic question of how NASA is measuring our temperatures to begin with. Moreover, Hansen's changes have been anything but uniform, with older temperatures being adjusted downward and more recent temperatures upward. So when Hansen announces that 2010 is the hottest year on record, he is not just asking us to take his assertion on faith, he is making a joke.

Now, interestingly enough, Benen is himself a true believer in AGW, as evinced by this supremely snarky article of two years ago, wherein he takes Palin to task for daring to question AGW theory:

I can appreciate Palin being embarrassed about her beliefs now; she's obviously well outside the scientific mainstream. . . .

But Palin's record is Palin's record, and the fact remains that she's so far out there, she's rejected the connection between global warming and human activity. Indeed, she's done so more than once. This not only tells us something important about Palin's understanding of public policy, it also tells us a great deal about how she perceives and considers evidence that runs counter to her ideology

So, Mr. Benen, since you are asking us to take the theory of global warming on faith when all we ask for is honest, replicable science, tell me again, who is it here that is anti-science? "What an embarrassment" indeed.


Anonymous said...

So when will the House Energy Committee now hold hearings on AGW and subpoena data? That would be comedy gold.

cdor said...

I believe Mr. Benen has just received what is commonly called a bitch slap and a take down. Unfortunately, he probably is enjoying it.

MacBeth Derham said...

"Belief in creationism versus the big bang theory and/or evolution - the latter both embraced by Catholicism and many Christians - has no practical effect on 99.99% of modern science. "
Thanks for this. Sometimes the painfully obvious needs to be stated with this kind of clarity so the left can hear it.