Why Do People Believe Scientifically Untrue Things?

Because to do otherwise would be immoral.

You hear a lot about the politicization of science, but the real problem is the moralization of science. The New York University psychologist Jonathan Haidt has made a compelling case that moral differences drive partisan debates over scientific issues. Dan Kahan and others at the Yale Cultural Cognition Project have identified cultural differences that bias how people assimilate information. Together, Haidt and Kahan’s research suggests that what you believe about a scientific debate signals to like-minded people that you are on their side and are therefore a good and trustworthy person. Unfortunately, this means that the factual accuracy of beliefs is somewhat incidental to the process of moral signaling.

For an illustration, consider a recent skirmish between Skeptic editor Michael Shermer and Mother Jones writer Chris Mooney. Shermer, whose political views lean toward libertarianism, wrote a column for Scientific American titled “The Liberal War on Science,” noting the left’s tendency to deny human cognitive evolution and the safety of biotech crops and nuclear power. Mooney, author of a book called The Republican War on Science, retorted with a story headlined “There is No Such Thing as a Liberal War on Science.” The right’s denial of evolutionary biology and man-made global warming, Mooney argued, are much more consequential for public policy. While acknowledging that a substantial percentage of Democrats don’t believe in human evolution or man-made global warming either, Mooney took comfort in the fact that “considerably fewer Democrats than Republicans get the science wrong on these issues.”

Kahan identifies the ideological left as people who tend to have egalitarian or communitarian views. Egalitarians want to reduce disparities between people, and communitarians believe that society is obliged to take care of everyone. People holding these cultural values are naturally biased toward collective action to address inequality and the lack of solidarity. When the results of scientific research are perceived to perturb those values, it should be no surprise that left-leaners have a greater tendency to moralize them, to favor government intervention to control them, and to disdain conservatives who resist liberal moralizing.

Haidt’s moral survey data suggests that ideological conservatives have a greater tendency to moralize about purity and sanctity than do liberals. This may be so, but it’s pretty clear that liberals are not immune from concerns about purity and sanctity. While conservatives moralize about the purity and sanctity of sex and reproduction, liberals fret about the moral purity of foods and the sanctity of the natural world.

One particularly powerful moralizing tool that is chiefly deployed by progressives is the precautionary principle. Mooney blandly writes that this “is not an anti-science view, it is a policy view about how to minimize risk.” Beliefs about how much risk people should allowed to take or to be exposed to are moral views. In fact, as Kahan and his colleagues have shown, the strong urge to avoid scientific and technological risk is far more characteristic of people who have egalitarian and communitarian values. The precautionary principle is not a neutral risk analysis tool; it is an embodiment of left-leaning moral values.

Let’s look at what scientific research says—and does not say—about the moralized issues of climate change, biological evolution, nuclear power, genetically modified crops, exposure to synthetic chemicals, concealed carry of guns, vaccines, video games, fracking, organic foods, and sex education. I chose this list largely because I could find relevant ideological polling data and majority scientific opinions. Applying Mooney’s standard of seeing whether fewer of one ideological tendency gets the science wrong, we find that Democrats are less wrong on four issues, Republicans are less wrong on six, and the parties are tied on one.

Climate change: The majority of climate scientists believe that human activity is causing the earth’s temperatures to increase. A recent Pew Research poll found that two-thirds of Americans also believe that the earth is warming. But a deep partisan divide yawns between conservatives and liberals on the cause of the warming: Only 16 percent of conservative Republicans believe that human activity is responsible, whereas 77 percent of liberal Democrats do. Moderate Republicans and Democrats accept human responsibility by 38 and 51 percent, respectively. Advantage: Democrats.

Evolution: Both Shermer and Mooney cite a 2012 Gallup Poll that found that 46 percent of Americans are young Earth creationists—that is, believe that God created humans beings in their present form within the past 10,000 years. These constitute 41 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of Republicans. Adding those partisans of both parties who are intelligent design creationists, i.e., believe that God guided the process of evolution, the poll shows 73 percent of Democrats and 89 percent of Republicans holding creationist beliefs. In fact, 78 percent of Americans are either young Earth or intelligent design creationists. A 2009 Pew Research poll produced numbers that were lower but still high, showing that 52 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of Republicans can be counted as either intelligent design or young Earth creationists.

The Pew Research poll also reported that 87 percent of scientists believe that humans evolved through entirely natural processes, whereas only 8 percent thought that God guided the process. Advantage: Democrats.

Nuclear power: A 2012 Gallup Poll found that 72 percent of Republican think that nuclear power is generally safe, compared to just 45 percent of Democrats. Given these views, is it not surprising that 64 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats favored expanding this source of carbon-free energy. A 2009 Pew Research poll reported that 70 percent of scientists favored building more nuclear power plants. Although it seems unlikely that scientists would favor nuclear power if they thought it unsafe, perhaps the Pew poll is measuring cost/benefit views rather than safety views. I have not been able to uncover recent surveys of expert opinion with regard to the safety of nuclear power plants, but in a survey done more than a year after the Three Mile Island nuclear plant meltdown, 90 percent of the scientists surveyed said the nuclear power should proceed. A 1986 poll of radiation health scientists reported that the vast majority believed “the public's fear of radiation is substantially greater than realistic, that TV, newspapers and magazines substantially exaggerate the dangers of radiation.”

In 1993, a study titled “Decidedly Different” contrasted the views found in survey data gathered from the public and from members of the American Nuclear Society. The survey asked both groups, “How likely do you think it is that activities at the nation’s nuclear facilities will in the future cause health problems for those who live near such activities?” The responses were measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not likely to 10 being extremely likely. Thirty-three percent of the public picked 10; 40 percent of the experts picked 1. Overall, 69 percent of the public thought such future health effects were likely and 80 percent of the experts did not.

Recall Mooney’s claim that there is “no currently pressing issue...where the left is monolithically in denial of basic science, or where this drives mainstream political policy—e.g., drives the stance of most elected Democrats.” It is true that the Obama administration has been pro-nuclear, but looking around the country it’s easy to find elected Democrats who take the opposite position. For example, Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley sued to close down the Pilgrim plant, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin is pushing to close the Vermont Yankee plant, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo favors shutting down the two Indian Point reactors in 2013 and 2015. These Democratic politicians seem pretty “mainstream,” and there are no comparable officials from the GOP taking similar stances. Advantage: Republicans.

Biotech crops: Every independent scientific group that has ever evaluated biotech crops has found them to be safe for people and the environment. Sadly, polling data suggests that both Democrats and Republicans have been spooked by anti-biotech disinformation campaigns. The most recent polling on this issue I could find was a 2006 survey by the Pew Trusts that reported 48 percent of Republicans believe that biotech foods are safe, compared to 28 percent who did not. Democrats are just slightly less likely to think biotech foods are safe, with 42 percent saying they are and 29 percent saying they aren’t. As far as mainstream impact goes, the California Democratic Party endorsed last year’s Proposition 37, which would have required the labeling of all foods made with ingredients from biotech crops. Advantage: Republicans.

Synthetic chemicals: The chief worry about synthetic chemicals, stoked originally by Rachel Carson in her 1962 book Silent Spring, has traditionally been cancer. Yet as the American Cancer Society notes, “Exposure to carcinogenic agents in occupational, community, and other settings is thought to account for a relatively small percentage of cancer deaths—about 4% from occupational exposures and 2% from environmental pollutants (man-made and naturally occurring).” A recent article the journal Lancet Oncology argued that costly regulatory efforts to reduce exposures to trace amounts of man-made chemicals divert resources from truly effective measures to prevent cancer, such as modifying lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, and sunlight exposure.

What do experts think? Polling data is scarce on the ground, but a 2009 survey of the members of the Society of Toxicology decisively rejected the assertion that exposure to any level of chemicals is unacceptable by 92 percent to 8 percent. In addition, 87 percent the society’s members disagreed with the claim that organic and natural products are safer, and 81 percent disagreed with idea that detecting any level of chemicals in a person’s body shows a health risk.

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  • Josua||

    No. Science is corrupted by human failings, such egos, obsessive fantasies about having won an imaginary Nobel prize, and incurable addictions to grant money.

  • gaijin||

    Science, like guns or shovels, is a tool. People are the difference I agree. Perhaps it is because I am getting older, but once upon a time I remember science as a means of figuring out what questions to ask next. It seems many people now believe that science has all the answers.

  • Duke||

    I thought science was a process, not a thing in and of itself. Why is "science" being revered over "beliefs?" Science cannot explain everything; hell, it cannot explain most things. The slavish devotion to a humanistic process to many of us seems wackier than believing in a creator. How many times can we see in history where "science" got something wrong or failed to explain something?

    It is beyond apparent at this point that most humans are wired to believe in things or possibilities outside what they can explain in their own rational mind. Why is that always a bad thing nowadays?

  • yonemoto||

    Because NUMBERS! Means AUTHORITY!

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Science is no CORRUPTED by human failings. Science is affected by human failings, as are all human activities.

  • yonemoto||

    sorry, you are wrong. Being an ideal, science (including that which I generate myself) is corrupted by human failings.

  • yonemoto||

    oh man, PM said it below. This blog is corrupted by my failings (and occasionally the failings of the robot squirrels).

  • SKR||

    Science is not corrupted by human failings. Science was invented to overcome those human failings and like all human creations, it is imperfect.

  • ||

    Which is analogous to saying "Government is not corrupted by human failings! Government was invented to overcome those human failings and like all human creations it is imperfect"

    A perfectly good process or concept can absolutely be corrupted by human failing. The scientific method cannot control for things like, say, undermining competing research, packing peer review boards with like-minded colleagues, or the politicization of government funding of research. Science and its practitioners are no more noble or moral than anything else.

  • SKR||

    I disagre. Only moral agents can be corrupt. Institutions can either attenuate or amplify the corruption of moral agents.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I have to agree with SKR on this one. Science, itself, is not corrupted by human failings. Science, as a process, still stands on its own no matter how much bad science is performed. What you have is lousy scientific research or lousy scientific experiments. Government, on the other hand, doesn't exist outside of its realization. That is to say, you can't point to a government outside of its corrupted form interacting with human failings.

  • yonemoto||

    PM, I will largely agree with you, but I do think that Science's practitioners are in the aggregate slightly more moral. If only because a slightly larger fraction of us understand and practice Feynman's 'scientific integrity':

    "I'm talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not [just] lying, but bending over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist."

    Now, In practice, I don't think that the head honcho scientists are any better at it than any other leaders, but I also don't completely subscribe to the 'big man' theory of history.

  • JohnD||

    Exactly. There is a LOT of really bad science because of the things mentioned by Josua.

  • Acosmist||

    Race differences in IQ, entailed by evolution, aren't generally accepted among the Left.

    Guess the Left is anti-science. Or anti-epistemic-closure.

  • ||

    Race differences in IQ, entailed by evolution, aren't generally accepted among the Left.

    "The Bell Curve" clearly showed that those differences were averages and in terms of policy it is actually better to ignore them and focus on equality under the law. Other wise you would be repressing exceptional individuals simply on the bases that the 'race" they belong too has a lower average then some other "race".

    The left tends to ignore equity under the law and focuses on equal outcomes. This is true regardless of race.
    If a white dipshit wins the lottery he is far more likely to squander his resources then some white guy who earned or inherited his millions. The reason being is that possession of resources in a free society generally goes to those who are better at managing it.

    This is where the left gets the science wrong...not so much with race. Though their views on race are generally biased from this view.

  • Acosmist||

    It's better to ignore an important fact about people?

    Expecting everyone to be "above average" doesn't work if this fact is true, so even a pragmatic criterion of belief is going to advise you to acknowledge this.

    Also, not sure what this has to do with equality before the law.

    And race is pretty much the Left's big blind spot vis-a-vis science.

  • ||

    Expecting everyone to be "above average" doesn't work

    Yeah you can stop right there. Go back and read what a wrote.

  • Sevo||

    Acosmist| 3.15.13 @ 5:15PM |#
    "It's better to ignore an important fact about people?"

    You mean "races", don't you?
    People (individuals) vary all over the place.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    The left tends to ignore equity under the law and focuses on equal outcomes. This is true regardless of race.

    It is almost true regardless of racial outcomes with lefties. Its quite appropriate in lefty-land to admit that yes, indeed, black Jamaican sprinters are way faster than just about anybody else. Or black Kenyan marathoners have a genetic edge, or to see no problem in the heavily-skewed racial makeup of a basketball team.

    But it is sacrilege in lefty-land to admit any intrinsic factors leading to a near complete absence of these same folks in pretty much any STEM subject, or exhibition of sophisticated abstract thought (art, literature, architecture, symbolic systems, social structures), throughout written history.

    Its all about the environmental factors at that point in lefty-land. Or a weird defense using rare historical examples that remind me of the white guy who brings up Larry Bird every time the subject is basketball.

    That double-standard is a dissonance very real on the left.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Here's Haidt on the left's blank slatism. (4:00).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9kJkuuedw0

  • ||

    any STEM subject, or exhibition of sophisticated abstract thought (art, literature, architecture, symbolic systems, social structures), throughout written history.

    Same can be said of the Vikings.

    Also after reading Caesar, Xenophon and other ancient European works the only difference i can see is that the stuff i am reading was written down....all the other crap you list does not not seem particularly exceptional.

  • ||

    I should also point out that "black" Africa was for the most of human history separated from the rest of the world by vast oceans and the biggest desert in the world.

    Barriers which neither blacks or the rest of the world crossed until fairly recently.

    It is no accident that people have been looking for the source of the Nile from at least 500BC up to the 19th century and never found it.

    The soft historical footprint you claim is from low IQ is more easily explained by the fact that they were isolated from the rest of the world for so long.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Same can be said of the Vikings.

    Vikings sailed to North America and Byzantium among other places, and developed a script preserving their sagas and mythology alive with an abstract system of info beyond oral tradition. When the Portuguese got to Sao Tome, it was uninhabited. Madagascar was colonized by people from Indonesia.

    The soft historical footprint you claim is from low IQ is more easily explained by the fact that they were isolated.

    Mesoamericans cooked up a civilization from scratch from a far more isolated perspective than African anywhere. And that sophistication lets their history speak to us today, of kings and dynasties and wars centuries before honks in boats showed up - to then centuries after that obsess over their amazing calendar.

    Find something remotely similar in Africa, name an indigenous African calendar.

    It is no accident that people have been looking for the source of the Nile from at least 500BC up to the 19th century and never found it.

    Who was looking for it? Who discovered what and whom versus who got discovered? You inadvertently prove my point.

    And I'm not some ignorant racist running around here. There were plenty of black folks living in Egypt, just like now. What about Nok, or Axum? Aesop I think was black, Neil deGrasse Tyson is hardly a fool, and Larry Bird was really good at basketball. We're talking averages of outcomes.

  • ||

    Find something remotely similar in Africa

    OK

    Africans traveled too and populated the whole world.

    Who was looking for it?

    Really? You don't know?

    Who discovered what and whom versus who got discovered?

    It is a guess and it was a wild one but I would have to say that it was the Africans who were living on it for the past million or so years.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Corning said...

    Africans traveled too and populated the whole world.

    First hominids to travel and populate the world on a wide scale were (the increasingly ambiguous to define) Homo Erectus, not modern humans.

    Homo Erectus also were the first to use and control fire. In various evolutionary tweaks, versions of Homo Erectus walked the earth for more than a million years. Were they all Africans at that point? Gimme a break.

    Anatomically modern peeps show up in Africa hundred-sixty thousand years ago. They appear in Europe proper tens of thousands of years after that at least. Again, how they were still African at that point?

    The rest your counterpoints are simply nonsensical.

  • SiliconDoc||

    I have to add there is a current understanding or claim that Neanderthals, said to be proven to not be in the genetics of "Africans out of Africa" are part of the genetic mix in White Europeans mainly, thus giving us a large separation in "humanity", and in my mind laying a bit of waste to the claim that the first "Africans" have the greatest genetic "diversity".

    A strain ( mutation) developed later, and integrated into white Europeans, and never present in the 1st Africans and those tested today, means "diversity" of their genetics finds itself lacking.

    The implications of this rather recently discovered DNA science are probably "extremely controversial" so it's my opinion we will hear very, very little about it.

    The MSM news headlines claimed something along the lines of " proven that conservative white republicans racists really are Neanderthals !" and of course then it was quickly dropped.

    Those who desire environment or birth disadvantage to be the end all and be all of differences we see in races and their cultures worldwide do not want to go here.

    No worries, I'm certain censorship and lying will take of it all.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Same can be said of the Vikings.

    Scandinavia and Jamaica are barely distinguishable.

  • ||

    Scandinavia and Jamaica are barely distinguishable.

    There are still Vikings in Scandinavia!!!! I wonder why the BBC never reports about summer raids on the coasts of Essex?

    Also a little geography for you; Jamaica is in the Caribbean not Africa.

  • Sidd Finch||

    You're right. The Vikings were too busy raiding to figure out how babies are made.

    Also a little geography for you; Jamaica is where "Jamaican sprinters" are from.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    The vast majority of people in Jamaica are of African origin. And you bring up an interesting point, because the fastest people on earth are black people...from modern populations in the western hemisphere. Best endurance runners? East Africans with the most ancient-but-still-extant DNA in humanity today, and indeed the most genetic variety. Totally different group from 'black' people (look up Bantu migrations).

  • Sidd Finch||

    because the fastest people on earth are black people...from modern populations in the western hemisphere.

    There's been about 20 Africans (born and raised) to go under 10 seconds in the 100m. Compared to two (racially) non-Africans.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    On average, people descended from Africans, living in the western hemisphere, are the statistically quickest. Compare the relative size of, say, Jamaica's population to Africa's. Or America's black population for that matter.

    And again, we're talking averages, the absolute fastest man alive today could be Chinese for all I know (or, conversely, the smartest person could very well be living in Congo somewhere this second).

    It just goes to show the value in libertarian ethos of measuring individuals and not mobs, and never to judge people by arbitrary categorizations - you just end up cheating yourself.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Of course I agree with all of that. My point was that the dominance of the West African diaspora is clearly a nature and nature thing. The naturists cite the running culture in Jamaica, but that doesn't account for Ghana (and Nigeria 10 or so times) accomplishing something that the Soviets and Chinese never have.

  • MikeCool||

    I like your post the best, Z. Well said. And as Libertarians, we are best served by championing the individual.

    We are one by being one.

    I like that.

  • Gordilocks||

    "We are one by being one."

    +1

  • grey||

    +2

    Anthem! I!

  • Nyk1||

    You are incorrect, because a small difference in averages can result in much bigger differences at the extremes. The fastest man alive today is very unlikely to be Chinese. The smartest man alive today is highly likely to be Jewish.

  • SiliconDoc||

    In other words the most primitive and closest to the monkey, wow that's so surprising...
    LMAO

    My apologies for my non PC character of expression that exposes your deep racism for what it is.

    I like the non black caveat though, nice touch.
    I guess they are blue or green. I vote blue, like the poor indigenous avatars.

  • SiliconDoc||

    The rule is, praising minority genetics is good, and do nothing else, except bash non minorities genetics or actions.

    Pretty sick of it. The PC politics belong nowhere is adult scientific topical discussions, but of course they are the hard and fast rule everywhere.

    What a shame it is.

  • SKR||

    Really? no sophisticated abstract thought eh? You must believe the pyramids were built by fucking aliens.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Earlier I said...

    And I'm not some ignorant racist running around here. There were plenty of black folks living in Egypt, just like now. What about Nok, or Axum? Aesop I think was black,

    Then silly SKR comes along and says...

    Really? no sophisticated abstract thought eh? You must believe the pyramids were built by fucking aliens.

    I laugh.

  • ||

    Race differences in IQ, entailed by evolution

    LOL, please show how evolution necessarily caused differences in IQ between races.

  • ||

    Evolution would have to be the only explanation for differences in IQ. This is not the heart of mistake.

    What his mistake was is that the thinks evolution works on groups.

    Much like the left racism depends on looking at averages of groups rather then at individuals. It is no surprise that early progressives latch onto racism.

    Evolution always functions on the individual level. Groups don't die, groups don't survive to breed it is individuals that do that. Groups don't have traits that evolution can work on. It is only the individuals within those groups that live and die and pass on their genes and don't pass on their genes.

  • ||

    Evolution would have to be the only explanation for differences in IQ.

    Because...? Please keep in mind you are arguing with a biological neuroscientist.

  • ||

    ... Because evolution is the only process that explains biological adaptations? Unless you're going for the "IQ tests are culturally biased and non-scientific" angle. To the extent that they measure something innate, evolution would be the process responsible for the diversity of that trait though.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Malnutrition probably has a greater observable effect on it than genes.

  • ||

    Who exactly says IQ is a biological adaption? Are you born with a certain IQ?

    From what I've seen, IQ is just as susceptible to environment as anything else the brain learns. Our brains are very similar, it's what we put in them that's different.

  • ||

    Who exactly says IQ is a biological adaption?

    Cuz no matter how many collage classes your dog enrolls in he will never have an IQ above 3.

  • ||

    Yes, but that has nothing to do with what we are discussing. If you studied a population of crabs and found that a subgroup of crabs had larger claws on average than others, could you then immediately say that larger claws were genetically determined for that group? No, you would be laughed at and your study would be rejected. Without considering other factors that lead to the development of larger claws or linking certain genes specific to that group to larger claws, you have proven nothing.

  • SiliconDoc||

    That's why twins separated at birth often show one dumb fuck and another genius...

    Oh wait...

    Be advised you're arguing with the top .001 percent intellect in the world.

  • ||

    They do show a large gap in IQ if raised in different economic environments. The average black family's income is about 60% of the average white family's income. Maybe you should read some of these studies instead of just the title.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Maybe you should show me the black and white twins...

    LOL - so so stupid, and such a bad liar, and no they do not.

  • ||

    OK so I'm assuming you've read Human Intelligence (2010) by Earl Hunt?

    Or you're at least familiar with the Flynn Effect?

    You don't know what you're talking about, and you're too stupid to learn.

  • Nyk1||

    Do you seriously believe your great-grandfather, along with pretty much the majority of Europeans and Americans at the time, was functionally retarded? Because that's what the Flynn effect implies. Going back even further, do Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Archimedes, Heron of Alexandria, the builder of the Antikythera Mechanism strike you as retarded in any way compared to the leading scientific minds of today?

  • wwhorton||

    Well, IQ tests ARE culturally biased and non-scientific. But, setting that aside, the goal of an IQ test is generally to measure a person's ability to think logically, solve problems, and degree of language comprehension. The problem is that the ability to comprehend standard academic English (in this country) is the limiting factor for the test. Guess which families tend to raise children who speak and understand standard academic English? Traditionally, not people living at lower socioeconomic classes. In this country, that tends to be urban blacks and rural whites. The reason that IQ does a better job at detecting the presence of a type of intelligence rather than its absence is that a person could be an excellent problem-solver but be unfamiliar with academic English, and thus not understand the questions. If you at least get the questions, even a relatively mediocre problem-solver will score higher. It's like saying that I'm a faster runner because I can make it from point A to point B in my home town faster than someone who's never been here before.

  • wwhorton||

    So, then you get into how different various ethnic groups really are in terms of intelligence, and how much of that is linked to a particular group as opposed to variations with groups. I had an Anthro teacher who argued that colder weather helped select for intelligence, because it was more difficult for humans to survive in cold regions without technology. His evidence was that, "...that's why most of the Ivy League schools are in New England, and why people in the South aren't as bright." I've always chosen to believe that it was actually a cunning way of illustrating logical fallacy, but I bring it up because there's a little bit of sloppy thinking going on with regard to race and intelligence.

    I would argue that, to whatever extent external forces have selected for intelligence in humans as a species, it has operated more or less equally on the entire species over time. The actual argument people seem to be making confuses race with culture, and I think what people are really saying is that European culture has promoted education and scientific and technological advancement moreso than African cultures in recent history, which might be true. However, that has absolutely squat to do with genetics.

  • Nyk1||

    But what about the selection pressure for low time preference in the tropical environment of Africa, as opposed to temperate Europe? Would you not agree that the survival of INDIVIDUALS living in the temperate European climate would depend crucially on their ability to plan ahead, to find shelter and to store enough food in preparation for winter?

    BTW, what about groups of finches, each living on a different island in the Galapagos archipelago, differing significantly in beak shape and size due to the environment?

  • SKR||

    I would think phenotypic expression would swamp any racial differences.

  • Sidd Finch||

    White average IQ is 100; black is 85. White SD is 15; black is 12 or 13. Make of that what you will.

  • ||

    And Jews score 113. Obviously we are the master race.

  • Fate||

    You forgot Asians.

  • ||

    Asians got a 103.

  • ||

    You specifically mean Ashkenazi Jews. Sephardi ones score slightly lower.

  • d_remington||

    well, they do have nazi right there in the name, so 'master race' could be quite apt...

  • Azathoth!!||

    Jews are white.

  • Nyk1||

    Of course you are the master race, but you have to choose whether you are going to use your intelligence to help improve the intelligence of your lessers as well (by discovering genetic engineering and ways to create smart designer babies of any race), or if you are rather going to use it to con and steal from your lessers.

    If you choose the latter, remember this: if machines ever will exceed human intelligence, you are going to need good arguments in favor of mercy and kindness towards lesser people.

  • dinkster||

    If your crack addicted mom stuck you in a high school with iron bars on the windows, and your fifth grade reading level makes it hard to understand the questions being asked, then yeah, you are going to score an 85. The data is bunk, and so are iq tests. Get real.

  • wwhorton||

    I'm assuming that's in the United States? I'd need to see sample size and location at a minimum before I gave those numbers any credence. Plus, how are we going about determining race? Does Barack Obama count as white or black, as a for instance? If you're of mixed lineage, do you average around 92?

  • Juice||

    What's a race? Can you define it genetically?

  • TheZeitgeist||

    You genetically can, via haplogroups and, more and more, Neanderthal DNA extant in modern populations. Look it up, it is fascinating story and science.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Yes, as they recently claimed Neanderthal DNA only vastly present in WHITE EUROPEAN populations, and completely absent in the purported founders of humanity, the blacks...

    It was a happy smart alecky revelation because they could claim the evil white man really is a Neanderthal, so the leftist libby info blocking whores of the media complex failed to suppress it completely.

    I'm just glad they've told us all over and over again we are all 99%+ the DNA equivalent of a banana - not certain why they chose the favorite populist snack of the monkey...

  • ||

    Except it's entirely possible that the Neanderthals were smarter than humans, seeing as how they had better tools.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Well that's the problem isn't it ? What did you expect the popular culture MSM to correctly identify the relative intellect of the Neanderthals, or it's effects with genetic inclusion ?

    The easiest conclusion to draw is the Neanderthal mix in gave the white Europeans a distinct advantage, one they still largely enjoy.

    Point being, the leftist MSM simply reported this matter openly for a just a bit so they could get in a good bash and a laugh and chuckle against those they daily fight, and let it die quickly so that larger i9mplications would not be widely drawn or become "common public knowledge".

  • Sidd Finch||

    What's a species? Can you define it genetically?

  • TheZeitgeist||

    I don't think you can truly define a species, biological taxonomy is too old, has too many antiques so-to-speak, to be truly rational.

    And when one speaks of 'race' in terms of genetics, it technically is not true. All genetics says is modern populations intrinsic to Africa can trace their origin to an older Y, and have a greater genetic diversity, than modern native populations elsewhere.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Right. There's no definitive way to define either. Fst between continental races is higher than between some species. Yet the race doesn't exists crowd is several orders of magnitude larger than the species don't exist crowd ...

  • ||

    Anyone who has read an elementary biological text knows that a species is a group of organisms who can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. This definition is may not be adequate in some cases, but in the vast majority, it is. Comparing the concept of race to species, however, is idiotic. Race might imply any combination of skin color, culture, ethnicity, geography, language, religion, etc. Race is an arbitrary classification, while species is definitive.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Yet the lefties in Colorado central banned the pit bull, quite unidentifiable indeed... a loose categorical falsehood.

    And we have affirmative action for minorities of the species.

    Yet with all that, race if arbitrary only when those declaring it's outlines use methods unbecoming of the genetics the very same use to proclaim blacks were first and out of Africa and genetic diversity (presumably superior as worded and delivered).

    In other words, another fancy way to lie about the science involved.

    No worry, the truth is contained within, and no matter the spinning DNA sciences outline the racial differences.

  • ||

    Where is your newsletter, and how do I subscribe to it?

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Tigers and lions are different species yet have viable offspring. Biological taxonomy is organized with same discipline as definition of what a planet is or structures of English language - there's exceptions to the rules all over the place.

  • ||

    So? Species are still well defined, despite some exceptions to the rule. Races are not defined at all, they aren't analogous.

  • ||

    Also, liger males are infertile.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Also, liger males are infertile.

    That is interesting fact I did not know, and I concede the point.

  • ||

    "Tigers and lions are different species yet have viable offspring."
    I thought their offspring was usually sterile?

  • ||

    The females aren't. You can mate a female liger with another lion to get a liliger.

  • d_remington||

    So is the name determined by act?
    Like if it's male lion on female tiger it's a liger, but if it's a male tiger on female lion it's a tion?

  • ||

    Yes, except the offspring of a male tiger and female lion is referred to as a tiglon or tigon.

  • buybuydandavis||

    They're not to fond of sexual dimorphism either.

    Interesting that Reason pansied out and didn't address either of these issues.

  • Ron Bailey||

    bbdd: do you have relevant polling data showing how Democrats/Liberals v Republicans/conservatives think about IQ?

  • crux||

    There's one book on the subject (The Bell Curve) that was thoroughly debunked and refuted by most serious psychologists. The authors of that book have a grave misunderstanding of statistics.

  • Flemur||

    The Bell Curve wasn't about race (one short chapter about racial IQ differences), and it definitely hasn't been "debunked" at all, it's just been decried and disliked by liberals. And there are racial differences in temperament as well as IQ.

    As for "there's no such thing as race". It's quite easy to determine someones racial makeup from their genes.

  • Nyk1||

    Yeah, refuted by cranks like Stephen Jay Gould who accused others of the scientific misconduct they themselves were responsible. Read about the whole Morton's skulls affairs. Morton measured the skulls of Whites and Blacks and concluded that the skulls of Blacks have smaller volume than those of Whites. Stephen Jay Gould claimed that Morton's measurements were imprecise and made in an attempt to justify racism.

    Very recently, scientists measured Morton's skulls once again, and lo and behold: it turns out that the Marxist, Gould, had lied. Morton's measurements were accurate.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Science involves faith. Unless you've collected the data yourself and gone through the method yourself, you're taking it on faith the conclusions you're being fed.

    No one is readily going to accept theories that go against beliefs that they hold in their core.

  • Ron Bailey||

    FoE: Not "faith" but pursuing the scientific method which involves the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses which can then be checked by others. The checking by others is the critical difference between faith and facts.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'm not saying that faith is unreasonable, but you're still relying on the word of others. I'm talking from the point of view of the target of your article, the various skeptics, who have seen evidence of some questionable peer review practices in recent years.

  • ||

    By definition, believing that which you observe is not faith. Scientists can check observations by repeating the experiment. If you don't believe it, you can pay for an experiment to be repeated yourself. Your unwillingness to involve yourself in the scientific process doesn't show that science is based on faith.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If you choose to accept to conclusions without duplicating the process, which again I say is not unreasonable, there is an element of faith.

    Perhaps I should have started my original point with "acceptance of scientific truths often involves faith" as I doubt there's a person alive who has personally tested every single theory to which they've been exposed and subsequently believed is true.

  • ||

    If you choose to accept the conclusions without verifying them, then you are not practicing science anyway, so what is your point? If reading a scientific journal or studying from a textbook was considered science, you would have one.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The article's target isn't limited to scientists but also those who use scientific findings as the basis of policy-making, so my scope was similarly wide.

  • Sevo||

    FoE,
    Your first comment was: "Science involves faith". Pretty sure the goal posts have taken a hike in your last comment.
    Let's keep it tidy here.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In my defense I did admit my first comment was poorly worded.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    If you choose to accept to conclusions without duplicating the process, which again I say is not unreasonable, there is an element of faith.

    I have mongo faith, completely believe in the cult, of my computer existing, typing these letters, to a thing called the internet and all the scientific experiments from quantum mechanics to metallurgy to Faraday's law all proven right as I do.

    Oh, and there's an airliner I can hear. All kinds of science experiments going on there - proven right again and again. My faith in Science Fridge God to keep the beer ready is answered! I'm a total sucker for this cult. I even pay vast sums to cult leaders to ride the airliner sometimes, in a fool's blind faith I'll fly through the sky. I love this religion.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I think people might have a narrower definition of faith than I do.

    For some reason any hint of spirituality brings harsh reactions from some here, but that's definitely not what I was going for. I was thinking more of having faith when you crest that hill the driver coming at you will is obeying the rules of the road and stay on his side of the center line. That kind of faith.

  • ||

    Your concept of faith is too broad, it seems to include any conclusion from probabilistic reasoning. The commonly used idea of faith is believing in something that can't be verified or reasoned out.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Faith is believing to see, versus the science of seeing to believe.

  • Stumpy Pete||

    Science assumes the permanence and uniformity of natural laws, something which can never be demonstrated but only believed.

    Science rests on faith.

  • ||

    Yeah Ron all correct but in the science of climate change you use faith in regards to trusting the science when pile of evidence demonstrate that that "science" is bogus and in most cases nothing more then propaganda.

    Hell you even claim "Advantage: Democrats." when i as a skeptic recognize that humans probably have had some influence over the climate (the debate is to how much) Yet democrats come onto this forum and make outrageous claims about 20 meter sea level rise.

    You talk the talk Ron but you do not walk the walk.

  • ||

    Believing something which cannot be verified = Faith

    Believing something that is proven wrong = Being wrong

  • SiliconDoc||

    I note that global warming and anti-racism are the two huge public policy talking heads political debater favorite topics.
    Those same topical marauders are 90% of left, on the tube, at the big three, all over the media.
    Thus, when I went to libtard leftist the psychologist youtube link, there he was spewing the right in the USA is more often the science denier.
    No indeed, the topics and push of the media and powers that be define who is constantly attacked for denying science, and whom isn't.
    In the case of AGW, trillions are being spent, this demanding the right accept the science and often reminding everyone it has already been settled is of utmost importance.
    Sadly, their Kyoto books baking sessions have crumbled into burnt crust, not of the earth nor of science.
    So I agree, often the one denying science is the one without the vast majority control of the microphone and predetermined monetary backed public agenda.
    When Mr Wizard was famous on the tube, he used language for teaching that made it clear certain assumptions and various fudges are made in order to pass along concepts and conclusions in basic scientific matters.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Today, the wildest of dream future scenarios are often considered wrote history by those promoting their scientific consensus. Even to an idiot, their stances should be easily dismissed.
    The problem again becomes whom is holding the microphone. Now they want to change the world, before we all die, if they don't act, they say.
    We've passed Al Gore's ten year exponential warming tipping point, and the mass extinction has not ensued.
    We're supposed to forget about that somehow, just throw out all that settled scientific consensus all those on board told us we must heed or be the fools that we are.
    So when those promoting their agenda lie so often and are caught so easily, what science really says is what the masses, indeed all of us, fail to be informed about.

  • ||

    "FoE: Not "faith" but pursuing the scientific method which involves the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses which can then be checked by others. "

    And yet you continue to spout this AGW crap..

  • Ron Bailey||

    Sy: with due respect my judgement is based on my reading of the balance of the evidence - I do hope that I am wrong.

  • BigT||

    Ron, You need to read the evidence. Solar cycles, now being examined more closely, best explain the variations in global temperature.

    The current solar minimum and its consequence for climate

    A shared frequency set between the historical mid-latitude aurora records and the global surface temperature

  • BlogimiDei||

    Fist of Etiquette: See Nicolaus Copernicus

    Please.

  • Libertarius||

    Oh it's much worse than that, consider what theoretical physics has done to itself. The greatest scientist in human history, Isaac Newton, has been shoved aside in favor of the mathematical mysticism of quantum theory, which was heartily endorsed by the Catholic Church because it makes creationism appear rational and scientific by comparison.

    Of course, ultimately it is the collapse of philosophy which has made the collapse of the philosophy of science possible. Once you throw the primacy of existence, identity, causality, and Aristotelian logic out the window, you are free to run hog wild projecting whatever rationalistic gibberish you please as 'science'. There is no such thing as reality; there is only the products of man's imagination.

    Pertaining to physicists, time to stop the mathematical masturbation and get back to studying reality and causality.

  • tarran||

    The greatest scientist in human history, Isaac Newton, has been shoved aside in favor of the mathematical mysticism of quantum theory

    Having trained as a physicist, and having done experiments verifying predictions made by quantum theory that falsify newtonian dynamics, I am impressed by how completely wrong you are.

    I shouldn't be surprised. In writing your argument on the instant collapse into famine should the U.S. government end farm subsidies, you established your bona fides as someone so colossally miseducated that your arguments are indistinguishable from those made by the mentally retarded. Why should such mis-education be limited solely to the field of econ.

  • ||

    You too his post seriously? I thought it was a joke.

    You might be right, though.

  • Libertarius||

    I appreciate your butthurt efforts, and am pleased that you didn't forget me.

    I was guilty of bombast in my argument, and I was temporarily overcome by the injustice of how farmers are everyone's favorite scapegoat on these message boards. Despite this, I maintained all along that I am an advocate of laissez-faire, but the process of decontrolling could be extremely painful for everyone involved, so if it were to ever be done, it would have to be done carefully.

    Pertaining to physics, I'll stick with Aristotle and Newton, you can keep the mathematical mysticism of quantum theory. You haven't proved shit; the primacy of consciousness is a rationalistic exercise in self-negation. If you start from the premise that there is no such thing as the primacy of existence and your religion of mathematical equations cannot ever be observed in reality, what the fuck does anybody need you for?

    Keep pushing that string. It's brilliant.

  • ||

    I'm pretty sure that Isaac Newton is credited with inventing calculus (well, him or Leibniz). In what way do you embrace him, but not the "religion of mathematical equations" that "cannot ever be observed in reality"?

    I'm pretty sure that particle dynamics has equations.

  • newshutz||

    Naughty and Nasty equations.

    When the position of a particle is related to its momentum by a probability function (Quantum) rather than an algebraic one (Newton), all sorts of fun happens at those sorts of parties physicists are not invited to.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Relativity, in both special and accelerating (general) cases, is more accurate than anything Newton cooked up, and indeed collides with QM at certain scales - as you would seem to like and want.

    Einstein also hated quantum mechanics as you do, though unlike you (and poor 17th century Newton) he understood the subject. You should be a big Einstein fan then.

    And Aristotle? Meh. I'll take Epicurus and the Atomists for my Greek school of thought any day.

  • ||

    Libertarius' argument seems to be that Aristotle and Newton were geniuses, therefore they can't possibly be proven wrong. It would just make him more butthurt to know that Einstein's determinist rebuttal to quantum theory, the hidden variable theory, has been proven wrong and quantum theory has been proven complete: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.....le_theory.

    Sorry to burst your bubble Libertartius, but Einstein was wrong! (gasp)

  • Sevo||

    "Sorry to burst your bubble Libertartius, but Einstein was wrong! (gasp)"

    And Einstein spent a long time proving it!
    OBE...

  • SiliconDoc||

    Only if the observers are allowed to contain the choice of measurement variables, and...

    Only an IDIOT would be here proclaiming the success of QM proof whilst simultaneously deriding the former absolute proofs science provided us all, noting they have cracked...

    I'll give you credit for being just like all the other fools, repeating history.

  • ||

    Only if the observers are allowed to contain the choice of measurement variables, and...

    What? No.

    Only an IDIOT would be here proclaiming the success of QM proof whilst simultaneously deriding the former absolute proofs science provided us all, noting they have cracked...

    Which former absolute proofs have I denied?

    I'll give you credit for being just like all the other fools, repeating history.

    I don't really want credit from someone who i confused as you are.

  • SiliconDoc||

    " What? No."

    IT SAYS SO RIGHT AT THE LINK YOU USED AS PROOF, which you obviously didn't read.

    Now go away, you lost.

  • ||

    Containing the choice of variables is not the same thing as free choice of a measurement setting, you idiot. In fact they're the opposite. Free choice of measurement settings means that you get a full distribution of outcomes.

    You don't know nearly a fraction of what you're talking about, fuck off.

  • Eric Johnson||

    Having done my time in undergrad courses as a Physics major, and a lot of independent study on my own, I can tell you that Quantum Mechanics doesn't have anything to do with primacy of consciousness.

    Now, some people's stupid-ass *interpretations* of QM are used to try and "prove" some philosophical positions which are very primacy-of-consciousness. But that's not justified by the science. That's just people seeing implications which simply aren't there in the experiments.

    And the actually theoretical predictions and confirming experiments of QM are remarkably accurate, precise, and broadly supported. Which is doing science as it should be, using reality as the ultimate arbiter through empirical testing.

    If you get your view of QM from books on the subject written for mass consumption by the general public with emphasis on the "oh, wow! that's strange!" philosophy spin used to hook people in, I can see the contempt. But that's not QM as science really knows and uses it.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    And the actually theoretical predictions and confirming experiments of QM are remarkably accurate, precise, and broadly supported.

    The quantum 'hook' for conscious-universe types (whether fundie, new age, whatever) is probability distribution - they literally see room for miracles in, say, walking on water.

    They can point to the one in 10-plus-billion zeroes (or whatever probability distribution it is) chance QM says its possible to actually walk on the water any given time you try it.

  • SiliconDoc||

    " I can tell you that Quantum Mechanics doesn't have anything to do with primacy of consciousness "

    LOLOL another know it all....

    " Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays, he commented "It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness."

    Wigner also conceived the Wigner's friend thought experiment in physics, which is an extension of the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment. The Wigner's friend experiment asks the question: "At what stage does a 'measurement' take place?" Wigner designed the experiment to highlight how he believed that consciousness is necessary to the quantum-mechanical measurement processes. "

    " He received a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 "for his contributions to the theory of the atomic nucleus and the elementary particles, particularly through the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles";
    Wigner is important for having laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics[2] as well as for his research into the structure of the atomic nucleus. It was Eugene Wigner who first identified Xe-135 "poisoning" in nuclear reactors, and for this reason it is sometimes referred to as Wigner poisoning.[3] Wigner is also important for his work in pure mathematics, having authored a number of theorems."

    WIKI

    So, are you correct, or is Wigner ?

    ROFL

  • Nyk1||

    "It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness."

    WRONG! The Many-Worlds Interpretation of QM doesn't require any conscious observer for the Universe to "decide" what course of action to take.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I'll stick with Aristotle and Newton

    Well which is it, Newton or Artistotle?? Part of why Newton is famous is that he formulated laws of mechanics (e.g. an object in motion tends to stay in motion) that directly contradicted the Aristotlean laws of mechanics (.e.g an object in motion tends to return to rest) and ended up replacing them.

  • ||

    "Pertaining to physics, I'll stick with Aristotle and Newton,"

    Then start getting used to being wrong. Newtonian physics is easily falsifiable at the subatomic level.

  • d_remington||

    "Then start getting used to being wrong. Newtonian physics is easily falsifiable at the subatomic level."

    Then prove it, sirrah!
    Show me the foot print of this beast you call subatomus and show me his poop in a bag, I shall accept nothing less!

  • ||

    I have the droppings of a man that claims he saw the Higgs Boson.

  • SKR||

    that was lovely tarran

  • Juice||

    Are you seriously typing about your refusal to believe in quantum mechanics on a computer?

  • Sevo||

    That's GOOD!

  • ||

    pure awesome.

    Should i now discuss my ideas about how the big bang is complete fantastical BS?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Ever driven a car with anti-lock brakes? Owned a CD/DVD/Blu-ray player with a solid state a laser? Used anything with transistors in it? Used a LED light? Used a photo-electric sensor? Gotten an MRI? Used a GPS receiver?

    Without "the mathematical mysticism of quantum theory", none of those devices work.

  • SiliconDoc||

    WRONG.
    Man so many people are so stupid and so deceived.

    A transistor works on basic movement of electrons, 6th grade science, with resistive and conductive paths.

    It's a big fat lie that quantum mechanic theory produced it.

    "Quantum tunneling" another happy phrase for the ignorant to believe in, is nothing more than "stray electron movements seen in all electrical devices" to keep it simple for the stupid.
    Bonds of valence electrons, exchanged, broken, moved, left absent, turn into "quasi particles" as a means of explaining something as simple as their absence for instance the outer electron shell, that quantum turdheads love to call a hole, in keeping with the vernacular deceptions.

    As has been often admitted, NOTHING has been discovered since the early 1920's, which by the way was the birth of the transistor, and not by the MSM or science community liars usual proclaimed inventors of GE fame - but by Lilienfeld.
    GE triple party merely used their research money to "perfect" a germanium based marketable product.

    So be very careful spewing the lies you've been so ignorantly taught to parrot, as if you had a clue.

  • Nyk1||

    Explain the interference pattern in the two-slit experiment using only Classical Physics.

  • ||

    It's human nature: people are just stupid.

  • Ray||

    How dare anyone oppose a vaccine mandate? What are you, some kind of science-hater? Mandates are the very definition of free minds and free markets!

  • Ron Bailey||

    Ray: You are not just harming yourself. From my post Vaccine Refuseniks:

    Vaccine refusers are not just endangering their own kids. In February, The New England Journal of Medicine noted that California’s lackluster immunization rate helped fuel a whooping cough epidemic of more than 9,000 cases in 2010, the highest incidence since 1947. Ninety percent of the cases occurred in infants, who depend on herd immunity—the broad protection that comes when enough members of a population are protected by vaccine or other immunity—because they are too young to be vaccinated. Ten of those infants died of the disease.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Be that as it may, vaccine mandates are immoral.

  • KPres||

    So is spreading your disease to somebody else.

  • ||

    And largely ineffective by the time the vaccine hits the shelves.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    This is absolute horse shit. India just went through a round of whooping cough vaccinations a region and those that received the vaccine got whooping cough at a substantially higher rate than those that didn't. Herd immunity is an inferred property not observed experimentally. We now know that vaccinations do NOT last forever, and when vaccinated and later catch the disease, the symptoms are much worse than in those not vaccinated. The vaccination industry has sold us a (number of) lie(s). Why else would they need such extensive govt interference in the marketplace? Immunity from lawsuit? Mandates? Does this sound like a free market?

  • SKR||

    you do understand the differences between live and dead virus vaccines as well as expensive versus cheap right?

  • jili5||

    There isn't a live version of a whooping cough vaccine so I'm not sure what you're getting at here.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    We now know that vaccinations do NOT last forever, and when vaccinated and later catch the disease, the symptoms are much worse than in those not vaccinated. The vaccination industry has sold us a (number of) lie(s).

    Yeah, anyone who lost a family member to Super-Smallpox after listening to that bastard Jenner knows this.

  • jili5||

    Smallpox rates were higher in the vaccinated. Check out the historical data from the MMWR and England/ Wales. Or check out LEICESTER: SANITATION versus VACCINATION by J.T. Biggs. The same information is available in many scientific journals from the early 1900s and late 1800s in England.

  • ||

    Is the *potential* to harm someone else the same as actually materially harming someone else? If so, then you really have no grounds to reject the left's premise on gun control.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    If I start randomly shooting up into the air, can you stop me or do you have to wait until I actually hit someone because until them I'm only potentially harming people?

  • ||

    That's really not a proper analogue because failing to vaccinate oneself has no guaranteed outcome. A projectile fired into the air *must* necessarily come down, so it is reasonable to restrict that activity in areas where the falling projectile is likely to cause harm (it's worth noting that there are non-residential, rural areas where discharging a firearm into the air is not statutorily prohibited).

  • SiliconDoc||

    With 5 times the concentrated illegal population dropping anchor babies...
    Imagine that, how did dat ever occur ?
    Thank you for being so ridiculously stupid.

  • jili5||

    That journal article you quote fails to mention that those kids catching whooping cough had 90% vaccination rates. So how odd is it that somehow we're trying to force people to buy vaccines that don't even work? It's also rather strange that vaccine manufacturers keep perpetuating this herd immunity myth that's never been proven in the slightest. You have to do a little reading and research and use your head before you fall into the trap of believing a product is effective or safe (both of which vaccines are not)

  • ||

    It might help to read journals and textbooks rather than pamphlets.

  • ||

    By which I mean *real* journals, not bullshit for chiropractors.

  • jili5||

    Sure, you should give it a try. You'd find that the journals aren't mentioning this. Did you read this journal article being talked about? Clearly not, because the vaccination rates weren't even mentioned. Instead the authors of the article leave the reader to ASSUME they were vaccinated when in fact they were not. It would help to heed your own advice.

  • ||

    There are two main components of the left-wing purity/sanctity axis: commerce and nature.

    You've already outlined how liberals tend to regard things that are more "natural" as pure, vs "artificial" as impure.

    But commerce is a HUGE one as well. Most liberals tend to regard social transactions that involve money as impure. There is a sense that having to pay, or be paid, for things is degrading, that it's inauthentic. For instance, you frequently hear liberals talk about how capitalism reduces all social relationships to "merely a market transaction". The obvious implicating of that is that trading is somehow base, vulgar, and degraded, whereas giving or sharing is pure and elevated. They are disgusted by the concept of people paying money for things that they think should be provided for free.

    This disgust for money and trade may even have a biological basis. Historically, money changes hands frequently, and hence is a likely disease vector. Commerce and trade put you in contact with people from far away places, again, likely disease vectors. Going to the market may expose you to all sorts of pathogens. And so forth.
    So it makes a lot of historical sense that, over time, money would be regarded as "unclean" that that might evolve into a sense that commerce and trade are "impure". There's a direct way in which the disgust mechanism might act to create and maintain a purity/sanctity axis along these lines.

  • Ron Bailey||

    HM: Don't get me started on leftwing economic fallacies. :-)

  • Sidd Finch||

    Interesting theory. I think it's just a tribal emotion translated to the modern world. You share with your tribe, so someone you're trading with must be an Other.

  • Brandybuck||

    It's not because money is has pathogens, it's because we don't use money in small family groups. We still have a tribal brain, after all. Hand wringers who want everyone treated the same, want everyone treated like family. And we don't use money within the family. For example, we don't charge our children rent, therefore there should be no rent outside the family either.

  • ||

    But couldn't the desire to extend the "family" to include everyone else be a kind of reaction to the disgust generated by living in a modern high-density high-commerce environment.

    Basically, if you live in a modern capitalist society, your constantly confronted with dirty money and crass exchange being shoved in your face, because everyone around you is an other.

    Some people respond to the conflict by becoming desnesitized to commerce (libertarians), and some people respond by trying to extend the concept of the family/tribe (liberals).

  • ||

    This would carry more weight in my view if paper and coin currency weren't being used less and less frequently and online commerce hadn't supplanted a lot of face-to-face transactions, yet the left opposes commerce conducted in that manner as well.

  • ||

    Well, once the norm is in place that money and commerce are impure, then the norm tends to be self reinforcing. The disgust becomes attached to the concept of money itself instead of to the physical object.

    That's how disgust works to reinforce social norms everywhere. Try to tell a Hindu that beef flavoring doesn't contain any actual beef, they won't care. There are all sorts of disgust reaction to things that don't carry any actual pathogens anymore. Look at how the Nazi's dehumanized Jews by comparing them to parasites and rats. All you have to do is associate something with disease in people's minds and they will start to react to it as if it was contaminated.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Hey I look around at all the goodies, want everything for free too. And people that know me should understand I'm so worthy of it, they should just give it to me. There's a lot of it around, like in stores, just sitting on shelves collecting dust, so how is that not a problem for you ?

    Not being selfish, I feel there are "others" that deserve this self esteem boosting kingly treatment of freebies not to go to waste as well, and if there are not enough of you out there to show up with the goodies and hand em over like you should, by golly I think the government can make sure it happens.

    Don't you see ? Our day of utopia is before us, and you aren't sharing !

  • SiliconDoc||

    There we go, now the truth is known. It's not germs, it's not tribal instincts, it's not some desire to travel back to nature and loin cloths.

    It's real simple, much simpler than all that BS about some sort of family extension.

    Lefty sees the goodies, because let's face it they are all over the place, stacked to the max, and it's just not fair - start sharing ! Or we'll force you to !

  • Rrabbit||

    That might have some effect, but I don't think it is the main factor.

    The left abhors charging somebody for nothing, especially charging somebody a lot for nothing, and even more so if that then leads to increased inequality. Say, the golden parachute the CEO gets for wrecking the company.

    If, OTOH, taxpayers have to pay into some government mandated program that transfers from the rich to the poor, that is great.

  • fearsomepirate||

    Close. Liberals abhor transactions involving Republicans. When Obama offers admission to policy meetings for $500K a person, that's quite all right. And George Soros is a kind-hearted philanthropist.

  • ||

    Donations are giving. They aren't trade.

  • mr lizard||

    I blame the rumor about the Cadillac carburetor that got 50 MPH

  • Brandybuck||

    And then you have the libertarians who believe that 9/11 was an inside job, the gub'ment is spraying chemtrails on us, and that fractional reserve banking causes inflation.

  • Sam Grove||

    Really? Can you cite actual libertarians on this?

  • Raven Nation||

    Seriously. I did a lot of reading on 9/11 conspiracy theories a few years back & never saw one originating from libertarians. Most came from leftists with a few on the right.

    On that topic, funniest debunking of 9/11 conspiracy is Penn & Teller:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcrF346sS_I

  • Juice||

    It's a terrible debunking full of logical fallacies and appeals to emotion, but ok funny, sure, maybe.

  • Raven Nation||

    I did stress the humor aspect ;-)

    Best factual debunking is probably the Scientific American book.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    If that's the best, then the Truthers have nothing to worry about.

  • ||

    When your entire viewpoint is built upon rejecting science, yeah, you probably won't be persuaded by science. That's broadly the case with conspiracy theories. You can't debunk them from within the viewpoint of the conspiracy theorist, because the conspiracy theorists entire viewpoint is predicated upon the corruption of everyone who rejects his premise. Ironically, both the conspiracy theorist and his detractors can take comfort and smug satisfaction in the conspiracy theorists' question begging. Win-win.

  • SiliconDoc||

    I agree with your premises, however, we have seen recently many things labelled conspiracy theory at first, that slowly over a few years are finally admitted.
    So another unscientific attack based upon a zealous prejudice, is labeling someone a conspiracy monger, then proclaiming wisely how no one can ever change their minds... to the truth.
    Just come out flatly, say they are insane, you did anyway with a definition - that can hold true for you, so long as their conspiracy is not finally found to be correct by the media gatekeepers and then admitted, reluctantly, to be correct although not quite the sensation it was said to be.

  • Xenocles||

    Conspiracy theories are isomorphic to the mythos of "Last Thursdayism," which posits that the universe began last
    Thursday with initial conditions that suggest it is actually ancient, including false memories, fossils, cosmic background, etc. Anything that makes it look like the universe is older "supports" the belief that the universe was made to look old. Conspiracy theories tend to include the presumption of some malign cover-up effort that is so effective that any evidence against the conspiracy "supports" the idea that the conspiracy exists.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Okay in a pure definitional sense, the problem being, as I pointed out, certain "conspiracies" are very widely or completely one can say, declared just that, conspiracies, in this political milieu, then wind up being correct and not fitting your tight definition.

    So we can agree anyway.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Right here, bud.

  • SKR||

    Well, I suppose a standard distribution will mean that any group of sufficient size will have it's share of helmet requiring retards.

    There there, it'll be ok.

  • Greg Gauthier||

    The reason the political left and right are MORALIZING, is because they HAVE TO, in order to assuage their own consciences.

    Threatening people with theft, assault, kidnapping, and murder, just because they refuse to conform to your personal preferences for how people ought to behave, is morally wrong. But it is PRECISELY what politics, and the state, are designed to do: Impose personal preferences, at the point of a gun.

    The greater my conscious awareness of how wrong it is, the louder I must declare how "right" I am. In the dark ages, I would have invoked a god or gods. In today's zeitgeist, I need to invoke something with more credibility: science.

    Thus, you have men like Rand Paul telling you that "science agrees" that life begins at conception. All I need do is invoke the name "science" in the same way I did the name "god" in the past, and my conscience is assuaged.

    And you have groups like the "10:10" people threatening to blow your children to smithereens if you refuse to turn your lights off, exclaiming not only that global warming is a "scientific consensus".

    If we want to rescue science from false morality, we first have to rescue it from our own ends-justifies-the-means, all-against-all war of personal preferences imposed by violence as absolutes. In other words, have to rescue morality itself, from the clutches of the violent, the corrupt, and the ignorant.

  • Raven Nation||

    PART of this traces back to late 19th-early 20th century thinkers who believed that the scientific method could be applied to non-science disciplines (hence the emergence of social sciences). Thus, historians following von Ranke believed there was a scientific history.

    What made this an even bigger C-F was that social scientists believed their findings could dictate public policy.

  • SiliconDoc||

    See below, Rand Paul has the DNA answer correct, even if you don't like it's "political implications".

    Thus the reason people claim to believe something other than what science has established is in that particular case likely a personal agenda, probably marred by a personal history of a past error.

    I do agree it is astounding, as I have witnessed similar in person, by those who otherwise show a great command of facts and common sense.

    In a religious sense the answer is they must deny their personal sins at any cost.

  • Sam Grove||

    The majority of climate scientists believe that human activity is causing the earth’s temperatures to increase.

    Could this be any more vague?

    How much of warming to date is thought to be caused by human activity by these climate scientists?
    What percentage of them think climate disaster is in the offing due to anthropogenic CO2?

    Unfortunately, environmental science is also rife with a members of a moral community who began their careers with the premise that humankind is destroying the earth.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Tom Sawyer was good at it too.

  • GILMORE||

    Ronald Bailey: Why Do People Believe Scientifically Untrue Things?

    Because

    Left = republicans and corporations
    Right = jesus says so

  • TinCanToNA||

    It's politics. More critically, however, it's about values. Almost everyone values themselves rather highly, but everyone also has a political lens that views things according to their value judgments on other matters. Science isn't a perfect understanding of reality, but it's the best we really have if it is done in such a way as to adhere to the scientific method.

    Here is a drawn-out example that I witness quite a lot. Life (or specifically human life), for instance, is valued to some extent by everyone. That extent varies depending on the life being talked about--few, for instance, place as much value on the lives of people unknown to them as they do on those they know or especially themselves. Fewer still value the lives of those actively posing a physical threat to the one making the value judgment. However, when it comes to the topic of abortion, people who would otherwise place life quite highly will subordinate it to other values like "freedom from consequences" or "happiness" or any number of other things that people tend to apply value to. These people will claim that a conceived human is not human life or "not a person" or anything else to justify what is scientifically untrue--DNA is indispensable for discretely distinguishing one organism from the next, for instance, and once a complete human genome exists in the womb, that's a human life. Any other definition is arbitrary and scientifically unsound.

  • BigT||

    It's not quite that clear. There are many people born who are trisomy - an extra chromosome (usually 13, 18 or 21). Are they something other than human? More rare are folks who are lacking a chromosome, but still within the totality of humanity.

    And when, exactly, is that 'complete genome' formed? When the sperm touches the egg, when the sperm's chromosomes enter the egg, when the two sets of chromosomes are together in the nucleus, etc, etc.?

    And, of course, every cell from the mother has a full set of chromosomes, including all those blood cells that are shed each month. Are they human beings?

    My point is that it is very difficult to define what constitutes a human being simply based on the genome.

    And provided you have identified a human being, recall that we permit people who are brain dead to be taken off life support. Are they not human?

    It is not easy to come to a complete, thoroughly agreeable definition. Hence our troubles.

  • fearsomepirate||

    Sorry, no, the left doesn't get *that* big of an advantage on evolution. The left believes in evolution right up until there's some adorable species failing at it. Then they believe with all their hearts that endangered species ordinances can stop the relentless pace of natural selection.

    Likewise, they believe humans are magically immune from evolution when it comes to the differences between of the sexes. Despite the fact that every single primate species--hell, every single mammal species--has behavioral, social, and physiological differences between the sexes, the left wants to pretend that millennia of evolution can be erased by fiat and equalism imposed by sufficient moral haranguing and reeducation.

  • ||

    Good catch.

  • SiliconDoc||

    It's only a catch because of course, the media tells us the right is anti-science, over and over and over again, and daring to point out the lefts idiocies on that media they own and control, amounts to a quick extermination.

    So of course, the biggest of all scientific frauds are contained within the lefts power agenda, and are the most forbidden to notice.

    We will spend trillions with AGW justifications, just make certain the entire populace knows "creationism" might be a threat to school children, in a fifth grade science class, for a few minutes, for one day, since the right wing crazies have a problem...

    It's pretty ridiculous, but it flies in our face and has been for years.

    BTW - the lefty fruitcake at the link the article is buffered with, declared that creationists would be banned from all evolutionary sciences if he had his way.
    He said that prior to spending 5 minutes lamenting the sad condition of science because of the fact that opposing forces with unmatched belief systems are not present in many disciplines, pointing out there is just a single man from the right in his entire discipline, and named.

    Not sure how he fooled himself so quickly. He spends time lamenting the lack of credible science issue due to enforced politicized group think, yet declares he believes banning creationists is the correct thing to do for all evolutionary related science.

    It's amazing, who could be so crazy except a smiling left wing psychologist...

  • fearsomepirate||

    Young earth creationists are annoying*, but importantly, they don't actually stop people who need geology, astronomy, and biology for their jobs from getting things done. As they've failed in the courts, the "worst" they can do is run their own schools.

    By contrast, science-hating greens are responsible for poor people literally starving thanks to insane corn-burning schemes, shredding birds to bits with windmills, waste of billions of tons of raw materials, counterproductive laws that actually kill off the species they protect, and all sorts of other inanity because they believe anyone who challenges them is a paid-off tool of Big Oil.

    Likewise, evolution-averse equalists literally ruin people's lives with lawsuits, force businesses to run inefficiently, harangue boys and girls in school for failing to be enough like the other sex, want to get people unnecessarily killed in the infantry, and have created the unhappiest generation of women since feudalism ended.

    The problem is the left is far more effective than the right in turning their hatred of science into public policy.

  • Xenocles||

    You can accept a mechanism as existing without accepting it as a moral or aesthetic good. If my favorite restaurant fails because they sucked at running a business that's life, but I don't have to like it. Same goes for a species that dies out because they couldn't adapt to losing their niche habitat overnight.

  • fearsomepirate||

    Yeah, but you don't have to promote anti-evolution policy that imagines it can somehow stop the thriving of the human species. Evolution selects against weak civilizations, too.

  • ||

    If people wanna spend their own time and money propping up some doomed species, they are free to do. You could say being cute enough to manipulate humans is its self an evolutionary advantage. As for sex and gender differences, some on the left many under emphasize them, but it seems some on the right over emphasize them. We are all individuals here.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Isn't it true those people want to spend a lot of others people's money in a manner that destroys others people's livelihoods and economic plans and takes over their property and ruins their lives in court in order to prop up some doomed species ?
    I'd say so.
    The only thing close I can think of is some Zoo, no doubt on the public dole, mating some endangered and thus caged animal they stole from it's free roaming wilderness area.
    I've heard of all the government programs as well creating a farm of some wildlife then releasing to the wild in quantity and harshly prosecuting any "trespassers".
    So the weird geek with the strange spider in his glass case at home, saving it all with his or her own money and time.... ?
    Yeah, not.

  • JeremyR||

    The problem with science is that we think we know stuff because of science, but sometimes what we think we know isn't true. Science can also be very dogmatic, done by popularity of consensus, rather than what is really true.

    For instance, the whole heliocentric theory - that was apparently first proposed by Aristarchus. But he wasn't believed because it didn't quite fit the explainable facts at the time, since they didn't have telescopes.

    And that's just a hard science. Biological things, like nutrition and such require thousands of studies to accurately determine, and until then, things can be contradictory because of other factors they overlooked or the sample size they picked.

    It's often suggested (often jokingly) that the universe is a computer simulation. There's actually no reason it couldn't. In fact, it explains quite a lot. But wouldn't whoever made that computer simulation be God? For all intents and purposes. (Or the Demiurge, take your pick)

    And once you have a computer simulation created by someone, is it out of line to think that he might tinker with it occasionally?

  • Sevo||

    JeremyR| 3.15.13 @ 8:42PM |#
    "The problem with science is that we think we know stuff because of science, but sometimes what we think we know isn't true."

    Nope. We have evidence that X is true, until further evidence says X is true in this circumstance but Y is true if the circumstance is changed.
    Newton's laws have not been falsified; they've been shown to be inadequate under certain circumstances.
    That's not a "problem" with science; that's what the process does.

  • TinCanToNA||

    Actually it can be a "problem" with science due to the inability of many people to handle logical fallacies appropriately. Science is the ultimate bedrock of appeal to authority fallacies, for instance, and that is absolutely problematic for knowing and understanding the real truth. Then there are all kinds of other social interactions that interfere with and "muck up" science which remains problematic to this day. Lysenko was a scientist, after all, and some modern scientists laughably put credence in consensus and computer models.

  • dinkster||

    The threshold of understanding is simply too high to debate in public forums. Appealing to authority is about the best most can do. Also, the same people that failed physics suddenly thinking they are economic sharks doesn't help.

  • ||

    And once you have a computer simulation created by someone, is it out of line to think that he might tinker with it occasionally?

    In my personal opinion, any god which has to tinker with its creation occasionally doesn't have a claim to omniscience & omnipotence.

    Creation flows from formulating the generator function. Mandelbrot was a genius because he figured out the generator function for his set; would he started to change pixels here & there to "improve" his set he would have been a crass fool.

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  • cavalier973||

    "Why Do People Believe Scientifically Untrue Things?"

    Probably because we figure that much of what is called "scientific truth" today will look hopelessly outdated and embarrassingly naive fifty years from now.

  • Tony||

    People believe unscientific things because science is unnatural and difficult. We are wired to adopt worldviews, and science is a worldview breaker. So many examples--you've adopted a creationist worldview, and evolution destroys it, so it comes down to whether the hard work of understanding the scientific process overpowers the comforting stability of believing what you've always believed. If your religion is antigovernment radicalism, fed by the gospel of pro-corporate propaganda, you might have difficulty accepting current science on climate change. For some reason human beings aren't very good at adopting an intellectual stance that says everything is provisional.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    It's true. If your religion is anti-techno radicalism, fed the gospel of pro-government propaganda, you might have difficulty accepting current science on climate change. Hence, you'd oppose fracking, natural gas pipelines, and other innovations that indisputably reduce greenhouse gases.

  • ||

    Another example: Tony immediately dittoed the patently false "facts" presented by an anonymous commenter because he wanted a study about the environmental harm caused by electric vehicles to be wrong regardless of what science said.

    Fucking hypocrite.

  • ||

  • SiliconDoc||

    " According to another Argonne National Laboratory report, if a plug-in hybrid charges from coal-generated electricity, it could be responsible for emitting up to 10 percent more greenhouse gasses than a conventional vehicle and up to 60 percent more than a standard hybrid"

    " The production of / nickel-hydride batteries are responsible for higher sulfur oxide emissions, roughly 22 pounds (10 kilograms) per hybrid compared with 2.2 pounds (about 1 kilogram) for a conventional vehicle."

    " There are additional environmental concerns related to those rare earth metals, like those used in the magnets of hybrid batteries. "

    http://science.howstuffworks.c.....efits1.htm

    How about more of the facts the side screaming about science doesn't like...

  • ||

    How about more of the facts the side screaming about science doesn't like...

    Sorry, I don't speak gibberish.

  • ||

    Also, you seem incapable of separating science, which is about how the environment is doing, and politics, which is about what should be done about it.

  • SiliconDoc||

    You seem to just think that, so long as the agenda you push is the only "science" you are talking about.
    Instead of pretending you don't understand we will quote you so you do:

    " science, which is about how the environment is doing"

    LOL - yes that's what science is about... what a joke

  • ||

    You're too dumb to realize what my agenda is, if I even have one, or to understand my posts in the context of the person I was replying to. Fuck off, retard.

  • cavalier973||

    "...you've adopted a creationist worldview, and evolution destroys it..."

    Define "destroys", please.

  • d_remington||

    'Define "destroys", please.'

    Some weak sauce science type guy or vulgar hardline realist comedian type guy makes a hamhanded comment in regard to creationism and we the audience applaud them them because we agree with them politically and their haranguing of our political opponents reinforces our group identity.

  • dinkster||

    Tell us what you are good at slaver.

  • DavidShellenberger||

    The author apparently remains unaware that there has been no warming for sixteen years. Since there is no warming, there is no man-made warming. http://www.cato.org/publicatio.....e-canceled

  • SiliconDoc||

    Yes, and it's just as crazy claiming they know what percentage of scientists believe what in this area, as the highly politically charged nature of it precludes the truth from being told.

    We already know the true believers went on a rampage against those who provided scientific data that "did not make their model look pretty".

    So it's best to keep your head down and answer in a manner that won't crush you and your career.

  • jili5||

    The problem with many of these claims in this article such as "Every independent scientific group that has ever evaluated biotech crops has found them to be safe for people and the environment" is that this is just blatantly false. The "independent" scientific groups that supposedly evaluated biotech crops are financed by biotech companies. It's also odd that still the actual independent studies showing GMO's cause morgellons and other genetic defects (not to mention destroying biodiversity, soil healthy, etc).
    The author quotes the ACS, which is the most corrupt "charity" (actually a PR machine) in the country. Their board of directors own pesticide companies, so do you honestly think they'd want to admit their products are causing cancer (which they're also profiting from)?

    Overall it's hard to write an article like this when the author isn't even well versed on the actual science and falls into the same trap of believing propaganda.

  • SiliconDoc||

    You'd be more convincing if you just showed dead people, killed by biotech crops.

  • ||

    The "independent" scientific groups that supposedly evaluated biotech crops are financed by biotech companies.

    The National Academy of Sciences is financed by biotech companies?
    The AMA?
    The American Association of Plant Biologists?

    I could list more, because you are dead wrong. The fact is that your FAITH that GMOs are bad leads you to assume that only industry funded groups support it. So much so, that you don't even bother checking before shooting your stupid mouth off.

  • Marc St. Stephen||

    "Yet as the American Cancer Society notes, “Exposure to carcinogenic agents in occupational, community, and other settings is thought to account for a relatively small percentage of cancer deaths—about 4% from occupational exposures and 2% from environmental pollutants (man-made and naturally occurring).”

    "What do experts think? Polling data is scarce on the ground, but a 2009 survey of the members of the Society of Toxicology decisively rejected the assertion that exposure to any level of chemicals is unacceptable by 92 percent to 8 percent."

    Except, apparently, when the subject is Second Hand Smoke, where "there is no risk free level" is taken as gospel and smoking bans inside, outside and in people's homes are greeted with little resistance, damned be private property freedoms.

    Wouldn't it be nice if Libertarians and Libertarian-leaning folks were a little louder on this particular abuse of science?

  • jili5||

    Asking about ANY level of chemicals for a survey is quite manipulative. Of course people will be exposed to even extremely tiny amounts of chemicals. This doesn't discount the fact that pesticides and many chemicals cause cancer (or that the ACS is corrupt to the core). That isn't a way to go about making the argument against smoking bans because the fact is smoking is still unhealthy. The author of this article is really brain dead to tell the truth. The way to argue against smoking bans is that it should simply be up to the property owner whether they want to ruin their health or not.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    Chris Mooney is a hack.

  • ||

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  • John B.||

    The major problem is that science is too complicated to understand it properly, if you don´t dedicate to a specific topic for half of your life. We can see it in case of global warming. To be able to understand biased results of many researches, studies etc., you have to study deeply into the topic and have advanced knowledge of physics and statistics. We hold an interesting debate recently. The guys who were opposed to the fact that global warming is highly influenced by mankind convinced me, even though I was not believing them in the beginning. Their arguments about global warming were just better.

    Then, you have topics that are highly understandable, and scientifically covered, yet people try to oppose each other. In this category, we can find religion, drugs, immigrants and many more. Political parties are often preying on the common believes like immigrants are bad, muslims are bad, drugs are bad. We won´t find any reason in this type of debates.

  • SiliconDoc||

    You didn't find any reason in Anthropogenic Global Warming either, you found out, so you shouldn't have it separated from topics that are "highly understandable", because those are not "highly understandable", and you made your thoughts on those three matters unclear. (religion immigration drugs)

    If I were to guess though, religion bad, drugs good, immigration good.

    My point is all 4 topics are rife with lies pushed by agendas with or without the claim that science has settled the debate, which it never does in any of those instances.

  • Jerryskids||

    The major problem is that science is too complicated to understand it properly

    I couldn't agree more - science is too complicated for many people. (Many people aren't complicated enough to understand simple science.)

    An example - prove to me that the Earth is round and revolves around the Sun as opposed to the Earth is flat and the Sun revolves around the Earth. It isn't that easy to prove when you realize that not only do you have to be smart enough to explain the proof but I have to be smart enough to understand the proof. Yet most of us take it on faith that Science proves the Earth is round and revolves around the Sun.

    (If nobody had ever told you the Earth was round and revolved around the Sun, would it ever have occurred to you to think it so? How would you go about determining such a thing? How did you go about determining that the Earth was not flat and that the Sun did not revolve around the Earth? Did it involve being told and choosing to believe what you were told or did you conduct your own research? Explain your research in such a way that I can understand it.)

    I suspect about 99% of the people discussing scientific issues don't really know what they are talking about. They simply choose which experts to believe know what they are talking about. And which experts to believe are experts.

    FWIW, I believe Ronald Bailey knows more than I do about climate change. I will defer to his judgment in this matter - even though I don't want to.

  • dinkster||

    Easy peazy. Stars move in a semi circle across the sky :)

  • RockLibertyWarrior||

    I don't know why Bailey insists on defending the myth of human global warming. All the statistics and studies "proving" it come from organizations with political bias and government money. That too me makes it highly suspect, of course the government says they believe in global warming its more a excuse to control the peons.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Perhaps he is merely passing along the statistics that are publicly pushed, then declaring which of the two parties he hates "wins" in any of the instances.

    I found the stats on creationism/evolution revealing: " These constitute 41 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of Republicans. Adding those partisans of both parties who are intelligent design creationists, i.e., believe that God guided the process of evolution, the poll shows 73 percent of Democrats and 89 percent of Republicans holding creationist beliefs. "

    I call that a tie. The MSM presents is as a republican mental illness and science denier mantra, so isn't the MSM the real science denier... and liar ?

    I'll answer that - YES THEY ARE, and so are the democrats and lefties that support that totally skewed view.

    The data cited tells me libertarians win the line with two sides of the same party mantra they push.

    So I don't like his scoring conclusions which are silly in this above case and probably more cases he cites I'm not going to look.

    Let's not forget polls and statistics are often just as silly and then some, even as they cite some scientific survey or paper, the spins and lies on it's meaning are immediately taken up, not to mention their probable inclusion in the study, survey, or papers production.

  • ||

    Can a Libertarian believe in God? The Science VS God paradigm you establish ( regarding young Earth) gives the advantage to atheists even when science is not in question. So if I accept all scientific data on evolution, etc., but still believe in God, I am somehow intellectually inferior to someone who calls these same facts random? Randomness is an ill defined construct that is used to avoid the difficult, if not unanswerable, questions.

  • SiliconDoc||

    The problem you seem to be missing is, with an all powerful God, He could create all that earthen and universe data scientists dig up and argue over in the flash of an eye, 6,000 or 10,000 years ago.

    You have noticed that, have you not ?
    You might reply that's ridiculous, why would He do that ?
    A good answer is why not ? We humans need something to do.

    A proof for that not having occurred won't be forthcoming, so I'm not certain who has any advantage.

  • ||

    A proof that unicorns didn't fart the universe into existence, or that Santa Clause isn't your real father, aren't forthcoming either. I guess that means you should give some thought to that.

  • dinkster||

    Agnostic santahiest

  • Pulseguy||

    but...but...he is.

  • MarioLanza||

    Science vs religion is a non-issue. Don't apply religion to scientific issues but also don't apply science to religious issues. Trying to do the later will give you some sterile utilitarian code of ethics which would be Hell.

    There will never be a proof that God doesn't exist. A proof that God does exist would violate free will. It necessarily is a faith issue.

  • Ted Levy||

    I think you're misanalyzing the vaccine data, Ronald. On the one hand, we have left leaning types who DENY SCIENCE by claiming vaccines are MEDICALLY HARMFUL. On the other hand, we have right leaning types who oppose SOME vaccines on MORAL grounds--not that the HPV vaccine won't work, or that it will cause other medical diseases, but that it WILL work, and this will lead to what they see as undesirable conduct.

    These are very different critiques. I disagree with them both, of course, but they are different, and only one is reasonably called anti-science.

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  • Kenny||

    Apropos. "Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4MhbkWJzKk

  • Kenny||

    This was recent read that discussed a libertarian's perspective of nutrition science.

    http://robbwolf.com/2013/03/15.....ignorance/

  • nannasin28||

    it should be no surprise that left-leaners have a greater tendency to moralize them. TL494CN

  • dinkster||

    Corning is the reason we can't have nice things.

  • MSD62581||

    The idea that the Earth is warming and humans are contributing to it are actually only two parts of the global warming agenda that the left wants the public to believe. In order to believe it to their satisfaction, you also have to believe that environmental catastrophes are inevitable as a result of this warming. And you must believe that if we pass enough laws and regulate enough human behavior, the negative effects of global warming will either decrease or reverse themselves. Take any of these pillars out and the whole house falls.

  • Robert Enders||

    No medical procedure is 100% safe, but vaccines do more to prevent disease than to cause it. But when the government makes a medical procedure mandatory, it can provoke irrational beliefs about the risks. The same goes double for seatbelt laws and manditory airbags in all vehicles. I wear my seatbelt whether the government requires it or not, but I fear for my fellow libertarians who think they are safer without it.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Only took me one low-speed car accident (cut my head open on the rearview mirror)and one over-the-handlebars head-into-a-bridge-railing motorcycle accident (my neck hurt for a week, but I didn't get my head split open because I was wearing a helmet)to convince me about seat belts and helmets. I don't need a law and neither does anybody else. It's true that I wouldn't have been wearing the helmet without the helmet law, but now I wear one after repeal of the helmet law. Other people can make their own decisions. OTOH, on an LA highway in heavy traffic, a suit of Krell-metal armor isn't going to help you if you go down.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Only took me one low-speed car accident (cut my head open on the rearview mirror)and one over-the-handlebars head-into-a-bridge-railing motorcycle accident (my neck hurt for a week, but I didn't get my head split open because I was wearing a helmet)to convince me about seat belts and helmets. I don't need a law and neither does anybody else. It's true that I wouldn't have been wearing the helmet without the helmet law, but now I wear one after repeal of the helmet law. Other people can make their own decisions. OTOH, on an LA highway in heavy traffic, a suit of Krell-metal armor isn't going to help you if you go down.

  • gaoxiaen||

    I got the double-post curse again.

  • gaoxiaen||

    ?

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  • MarioLanza||

    "The majority of climate scientists believe that human activity is causing the earth’s temperatures to increase."

    The only problem is that we don't do science via polling. Why don't we state, "The majority of scientists who have gotten grants for research on 'climate change' believe in anthropogenic global warming." No selection bias here! Move on. Shut up, you religious kooks.

    Key term is believe. The hockey stick was a despicable lie knowingly put forth by immoral scientists. Al Gore has made billions hyping the hysteria.

  • juliusaugustus||

    Why do libertarians deny climate change? I say it proves libertarianism right. The energy industry gets massive government subsidies. The automobile as a mode of transport is heavily subsidized. Industrial agriculture is heavily subsidized as well. Wars create huge amounts of pollution. Government is the cause of global warming.

  • MarioLanza||

    We had AGW. Then the emails showed the guys pushing the hockey stick were lying hacks and that there hasn't been any warming for the past decade - something not predicted by the hacks.

    Oops. What to do? Let's create a non-falsifiable theory of "climate change". Then we can blame every tornado or hurricane on "climate change". There have far worse years for tornadoes or hurricanes in the past? Just ignore that. Al Gore gets billions. That's what counts.

  • Nyk1||

    Libertarians deny climate change because, if true, government would try to fix it using our tax money. So, it's best for climate change to be false, for strictly utilitarian reasons. Either way, we can't fix it, so why worry about it and make our lives worse in the process?

  • juliusaugustus||

    but pollution can be reduced through getting the government out of the energy, transportation, and agriculture. Suppressed technologies such as thorium or Tesla's free energy could move society forward and train travel being fully deregulated will once again be a cost effective. Electric railways used to be even in the smallest of towns until the government regulated and taxed them out of existence. Fractional Reserve banking and the Federal Reserve create a paradigm of exponential growth which will indefinitely lead to pollution.

  • ThomasD||

    This issue will never be resolved in terms of morality versus science. To do so avoids the ultimate question. The real question is determinism versus free will.

    Decide that and all else will follow.

  • richarddozier@gmail.com||

    Perception of risk of crimes against children and stranger abduction, in particular, is an area where those on the left and right may be roughly equivalent in holding beliefs not supported by facts. In this way, particular victimist beliefs favored by both broad cultural expanses have merged, in a rare display of cross-political conformity, to fundamentally distort public policy having massive cultural implications. This social upheaval is an area which has not received the acknowledgement or attention it deserves including, I have to say, by Reason magazine.

  • Pulseguy||

    People would be foolish to believe science in the way the author suggests we should. He rates an issue based on how science views it. I make decisions very differently than does a scientist. I make them because of what the perceived effect is on my life. Science makes decisions based on what appears to be correct based on lab experiments usually. Sometimes science turns out to be right. Sometimes wrong. Actually, it is wrong very, very often. I need to be right for me, as often as possible. I don't act based on theories. Theories are ideological.

    Let's use Creationism, as an example. Does it matter what I believe? Yes...to me. If part of what helps me get up in the morning is my belief in Jesus, and somehow I've decided Jesus believed in the earth being only 10,000 years old, why should science tell me I should think differently? What can it possibly offer me that would make me change my mind?

    And, I don't even remotely believe the figures in the polls. I know plenty of fundamentalists. None of them actually believe in creationism. A few entertain the idea, even quite strongly, but no one I know really 100% believes in it. Yet, almost everyone of them would answer a pollster that way. If you ask why would they do that, ask yourself....where is the payoff? In denying it, or in upholding it to a pollster? Upholding it reaffirms their faith, and their faith really, truly supports them during tough times. The Big Bang Theory comforts no one.

  • gaoxiaen||

    The Big Bang Theory comforts me. It tells me that America's Christian Taliban are nut cases.

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