When denying science is a progressive moral imperative

climate protestWhy do liberals hate science?

The Left has long claimed that it has something of a monopoly on scientific expertise. For instance, long before Al Gore started making millions by claiming that anyone who disagreed with his apocalyptic prophecies was “anti-science,” there were the “scientific socialists.” “Social engineer” is now rightly seen as a term of scorn and derision, but it was once a label that progressive eggheads eagerly accepted. 

Masking opinions in a white smock is a brilliant, albeit infuriating and shabby, rhetorical tactic. As the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Science is the language of facts, and when people pretend to be speaking it, they’re not only claiming that their preferences are more than mere opinions, they’re also insinuating that anyone who disagrees is a fool or a zealot for objecting to “settled science.”

Put aside the fact that there is no such thing as settled science. Scientists are constantly questioning their understanding of things; that is what science does. All the great scientists of history are justly famous for overturning the assumptions of their fields. The real problem is that in politics, invocations of science are very often marketing techniques masquerading as appeals to irrefutable authority. In an increasingly secular society, having science on your side is better than having God on your side – at least in an argument.

I’m not saying that you can’t have science in your corner, or that lawmakers shouldn’t look to science when making policy. (Legislation that rejects the existence of gravity makes for very silly laws indeed.) But the real intent behind so many claims to “settled science” is to avoid having to make your case. It’s an undemocratic technique for delegitimizing opposing views and saying “shut up” to dissenters. 

For example, even if the existence of global warming is “settled,” the policies for how to best respond to it are not. But in the political debates about climate change, activists say that their climatological claims are irrefutable and so are their preferred remedies.

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    GR82DRV

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    I follow the scientific counter-arguments offered by many people contributing here and I notice a commonality. None of them [b]demand[/b] acceptance or claim to be infallible.

    Only one side of the debate is demanding acceptance. Only one side of this debate is trying to [b]stop[/b] the debate… Only one side of the debate is proposing penalties for free speech.

    Jonah makes some important points here:

    [i]”For example, even if the existence of global warming is “settled,” the policies for how to best respond to it are not. But in the political debates about climate change, [b]activists say that their climatological claims are irrefutable [u]and so are their preferred remedies[/u][/b].”[/i]

    And this:

    [i]”If climate change is the threat they claim, I’d rather spend billions on geoengineering to fix it than trillions on impoverishing economic policies that at best slightly delay it.”[/i]

    But then again, under Marxist socialism the ends justify the means. Science and truth are merely innocent bystanders trampled by the the frenzied zealots.

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    David Lewis

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    [quote name=”GR82DRV”]

    [i]”For example, even if the existence of global warming is “settled,” the policies for how to best respond to it are not. But in the political debates about climate change, [b]activists say that their climatological claims are irrefutable [u]and so are their preferred remedies[/u][/b].”[/i]

    And this:

    [i]”If climate change is the threat they claim, I’d rather spend billions on geoengineering to fix it than trillions on impoverishing economic policies that at best slightly delay it.”[/i]
    [/quote]

    This is an excellent point and a piece of a much larger picture. The alarmists have skipped many questions to go straight to their solution.

    Ignoring the fraud in these studies that claim 97% of scientists support the alarmist agenda, let’s look at just the question in one of the surveys. It basically asked, “Is the earth getting warmer.” The earth has been naturally getting warmer so we would expect the answer to be “yes”. The first question skipped was “are the emissions from man the reason the earth is getting warmer?” The second skip is, “is the warming going to be enough to be a problem?” The third question skipped, “are the proposed solutions worse than the do nothing approach?” The fourth skipped question as stated above, “is the solution of forcing emission reductions better than other possibilities, such as geoengineering?”

    Their primary goal is to drastically alter our economic model, reduce our standard of living, give wealth away, and increase the power of government. Forcing a reduction in emissions (as long as nuclear power isn’t used to do it) is there means to their end so they skip right to that solution.

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    GR82DRV

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    I rarely seek out arguments with my friends on the left about man-made climate change, but when forced into a stand I often ask this question:

    “If the man-made climate change you believe in is a [i]scientific[/i] problem, then why are all the proposed solutions [i]socioeconomic and political[/i] in nature?”

    I can tell by the stammering and confusion that follows they never expect to be called out on this point.

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    Amber

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    Al Gore is a salesman and a good one at that .
    Testimonials from people who wear white
    smocks and a Dr. in front of their name all to validate a gross fabrication of scary global warming propaganda .
    “Ice free Arctic , settled science , and a list of other goofy predictions .
    Now we get some AG’s to help validate a witch hunt to silence and hopefully sue Exxon or others who can write some big checks before the scary global warming industry fades to black .

    It kind of makes sense doesn’t it . The “renewable ” companies are flaming
    out faster than melting Arctic ice so their stock price glory days are over . Who are some of these States going to go after to pay for their gross incompetence . How about a bit of shut up cash from fossil fuel companies ? Didn’t they know the earth had a fever and failed to warn everyone . Or something to that bizarre effect .

    It’s too bad they have now discovered there
    is only global lukewarming .
    Who should big oil believe ? The 1970’s scary global cooling scientists , the earth has a fever climate modellers and global warming business industry , or the recently discovered (and apparently scientifically based ) global lukewarming science discovery ?
    Wouldn’t scary global cooling be the best marketing vehicle ? So we can go from
    really really scary global warming to the catch all nondescript phrase climate change for the transition back to scary global cooling . Well …global cooling only after the global lukewarming phase to soften people up . After all a new campaign takes time to put together doesn’t it . New mascots , Hollywood actors ,some white
    smocks ,and the media re-education that will take a couple of minutes . OK the Guardian and LA Times 30 seconds .

    This was never about the science . A basic premise of science is challenging hypothesis and theories not wetting your pants looking for people that don’t sing from your song sheet .

    I will miss global warming it was such a comforting thought .

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    John Farnham

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    The ‘debate’ seems to completely miss an essential point. When did ‘climate’ become stable so that perturbations could be calculated ; let alone assessed for causation.

    Reply

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