The Party of Scientism, Not Science

obamaIn a commencement speech at Rutgers, President Obama took an indirect shot at Donald Trump and the Republicans:

Facts, evidence, reason, logic, an understanding of science: These are good things. These are qualities you want in people making policy . . . We traditionally have valued those things, but if you’re listening to today’s political debate, you might wonder where this strain of anti-intellectualism came from.

Obama here indulges one of the hoariest progressive clichés: that they are the party of enlightenment, reason, and fact, while conservatives are ignorant obscurantists, “bitter clingers” to the superstitions of religion and tradition. This prejudice is false about both conservatives and progressives. Most of what many progressives think is science is, in fact, scientism: the application of the methods, techniques, and jargon of genuine science to subjects for which they are inappropriate.

Indeed, leftism was born in scientism. Karl Marx believed that his ideas about the historical development, economics, and human nature comprised “scientific socialism,” as true as the laws of natural science. As Friedrich Engels said at Marx’s funeral, “Just as Darwin had discovered the law of development of organic nature, so did Marx discover the laws of human history.” Of course Marxism is no such thing. It is a reductive view of human nature and action, based on selective evidence, unexamined assumptions, and jargon modeled on real science.

As we now know, Marxism is in fact a political religion based on faith more than reason. It identifies the good (the proletariat and the intellectual left) and the evil (capitalists and petty bourgeois); promises an earthly paradise (a society of equality and justice without private property); and provides a totalizing narrative that explains everything (historical progress driven by the struggle for control of the means of production). And despite its bloody failure, a Marxism dressed up as “democratic socialism” still attracts leftists like Bernie Sanders who fancy themselves thinkers of cool reason and empirical evidence.

Or take eugenics, an expression of progressivist ideology that dominated American social policy from around 1900 until the Second World War. The most prestigious universities and professors in the country preached eugenics and the “scientific racism” on which it was based. Its authority came from Darwinism and its theory that natural selection favored the fit, including humans. As Darwin said in The Descent of Man, “At some future period . . . the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.” Calling on Darwinian ideas, Margaret Sanger created Planned Parenthood in part to keep the “less fit” races from overbreeding and hence overwhelming the “more fit” Anglo-Saxon and Nordic races.  For the same reason, state governments passed forced sterilization laws upheld by the Supreme Court in the 1927 decision Buck v. Bell. Of course it was all scientism, fake science based on biased observation, the confusion of culture with nature, and quantitative silliness like measuring skulls.

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  • Avatar

    JayPee

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    This will be the legacy of the self-declared and self-adoring g-d of the universe.

    A trail of dishonesty and fraud so gargantuan as to be the stuff of surrealism.

    A serial list of incongruity understandable to only drug crazed maniacs as himself.

    And yet, his party and other supporters will stand by his memory as if it were something diametrically opposite.

    The level of depravity the USA has been lowered to might never be recovered from.

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    GR82DRV

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    [b]Perhaps the most significant essay I’ve ever seen linked here.[/b]

    We can argue science with leftists until we’re blue in the face, but unless we appreciate [b]their[/b] purpose and perspective it’s all wasted effort. We must understand that Marxist principle is central to all else. Science is merely a tool – a means to an end for Marxism, and as such it is entirely acceptable to manipulate the scientific process to the benefit of the goal.

    We must understand the absolute arrogant belief in [u]intellectual superiority[/u] that leftists apply to themselves, and the reflexive dismissal of all other opinions. This also explains why they feel entitled to interpret such things as the Constitution at will… They know better than the founding fathers… Likewise, they know better than anyone else how science should work.

    Here is the central take-away from this essay:

    [i]”So what do all these examples have in common? They have been embraced to a greater or lesser degree by most progressives and liberals, the people like Obama who pride themselves on their belief in “facts, evidence, reason, logic, an understanding of science,” as he told the cheering audience at Rutgers. [b]Progressives argue they are more fit to rule [/b]because they rely on these habits of thinking when they make “policy.” Thus they display the misplaced progressive faith in technocratic elites who armed with knowledge from the new “human sciences,” will avoid the self-interest, superstition, religious dogma, and fossilized traditions that conservatives supposedly base their policies on.”[/i]

    Add to this the personal proclivity of most university academics toward leftist politics and there is ambivalence, if not a willingness toward surrender of scientific principles. The fact that politically directed mega-grant funding now dominates the academic landscape only fuels this AGW meme. The perfect storm.

    What an epic mess! Scientism -another legacy of world Marxism…

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    The Liberals / Marxist’s like to believe in facts they create to support their agenda . If some in the scientific community can be sufficiently bought they produce what the customer wants . IPCC for example .
    Obama will be gone soon but a $$trillion
    industry was created on nothing more than a massive lie . Humans are good at that .

    Even with the $$billions in tax payers grant money and loan guarantees the “renewable” company flame outs
    are accelerating and when investors see them as a fast way to lose their money
    the global warming fear industry will collapse .
    People like Al Gore know it and this latest
    circle the wagons AG lobby group is a sign of the desperation . Any pension fund managers still in that house of cards are fools .

  • Avatar

    David Lewis

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    In the “read rest” part of this article it said, “Gaps in understanding are filled by computer simulations”. This is not always true. Some times data that contradicts the conclusion of the researchers is replaced with computer simulations. The PMEL research that asserted we have an ocean acidification problem replaced the data before 1988 with a computer simulation. The earlier data showed that their conclusion wasn’t correct.

    Climate change isn’t the first time that science has been miss used to support a liberal agenda. In an effort to pressure nations into nuclear disarmament, Carl Sagan invented the nuclear winter. This is the theory that a full nuclear war would put so much debris in the atmosphere that the sun would be blocked and we would have a year around winter and not be able to grow food. Other scientist did calculations and showed a full nuclear war wouldn’t put enough debris in the atmosphere. Not to be discouraged, he modified his theory to say that forest fires caused by the war would add smoke and that would be enough. Other scientists again calculated that there would be no nuclear winter. The press was bias just as they are with climate change. Most everyone has heard of nuclear winter. Few have heard that it is has been discredited.

    Gun control is another area where liberals have abused science to further their cause. Scientific American published one article by a so called scientist who kept all his data and methods secret. The CDC’s research was more open, but in doing so they revealed that they seriously miss used the concept of what a vector is.

    All this shows just how low the ethical standards are for many liberals.

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    John Wilder

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    It is to laugh. They don’t use science, facts or logic but it all about emotion. The “science is not settled”. In order for it to be settled it has to be done by the GOLD STANDARD IN LEGITIMATE SCIENCE the Scientific Method.

    You first devise a theory and then create an experiment to prove your theory that has to be able to be replicated by any scientist anywhere in the world. THERE ARE NO SUCH EXPERIMENTS proving CO2 caused global warming.

    In fact CO2 is not a pollutant at all but without it we would all be dead and there would be no O2 on our planet. Remember photosynthesis where the trees take in CO2 and spit out O2?

    In science there is a principle called “Occam’s Razor” the idea being that the simplest solution is usually the correct one.
    If CO2 were a problem or pollutant simply plant more trees

  • Avatar

    GR82DRV

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    [quote name=”John Wilder”]
    …You first devise a theory and then create an experiment to prove your theory that has to be able to be replicated by any scientist anywhere in the world. THERE ARE NO SUCH EXPERIMENTS proving CO2 caused global warming…

    …In science there is a principle called “Occam’s Razor” the idea being that the simplest solution is usually the correct one.
    If CO2 were a problem or pollutant simply plant more trees[/quote]

    Exactly. Why accept logical and simple theories when we can have an ever-changing Rube-Goldberg-on-steroids version that conveniently names socialism as the default answer to every problem?

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