We’ve written before that it’s not just the political right-wing (Republicans in the US) who have problems with science — the left does too. For example, see Which Political Party Is Anti-Science?. That was followed by Global Warming and Nuclear Power — Big Conflict.
Our point was that politicians and activists in both parties, like the population as a whole, are mostly ignorant of science, but they tend to have confidence in science which supports (or at least doesn’t conflict with) their political positions — like environmentalism, “social justice,” etc. In other words, the parties’ attitudes about science are driven by ideology.
Articles like that distress many of our readers, who prefer to think that ignorance is limited to the “other” party, so we don’t do it very often. That’s why we didn’t write about something we saw yesterday in the Spectator, the oldest continuously published magazine in the English language, which is located in London. Their forthright headline is The left’s own war on science. It’s about an American anthropologist, Napoleon Chagnon, who studied a tribe in the Amazonian rain forest, and concluded that there was nothing noble or innocent about them — rather, they were genuine savages. His colleagues turned on him, condemned him, and he was forced into early retirement. But he has lately been vindicated and has resumed his career.
It didn’t occur to us that creationists would find anything of interest in that news, but even your Curmudgeon is sometimes wrong. Look what was just pasted at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog: The Myth of the Objective Scientist. It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Though rare, it’s gratifying to see someone in the media pulling back the covers that normally hide the fact that passions and prejudices can drive scientists just like everyone else.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Klinghoffer describes the article in the Spectator about the ideological assault experienced by Napoleon Chagnon, and uses it as an example of the prejudice that the Discoveroids experience in attempting to promote their “theory” of intelligent design. He says:
Liberals were too committed to their liberalism to allow the results of his research to stand, and so denounced and demonized him: [big quote from the Spectator ].
Then he gets carried away and applies that to the Discoveroids’ situation:
A related problem is that just as liberals are devoted to their noble savage, they are perhaps even more devoted to the myth of the objective scientist. In this perspective, scientists are special, uniquely clear-sighted, distinctively noble, not unlike the precious, peace-loving, environment-friendly indigenous peoples of the world but with a lab coat instead of a loincloth.
The truth is that a vision of how the universe ought to look can blind us. In the current prestige view, physical existence ought to be driven, in the final analysis, by unguided forces to the exclusion of purpose, wisdom, or intelligence. All evidence must, therefore, be interpreted in that light, confirming the vision in a tight little circle.
Yes, dear reader, just as Napoleon Chagnon was wrongly maligned by ideological fanatics, so too are the visionaries of the Discovery Institute being maligned and ridiculed. This is the end of Klinghoffer’s post:
Misled by the myth of objectivity, many in the media and in education are themselves blinded. And so you have a dynamic that goes beyond a vague confirmation bias to an absolute insistence that when it comes to certainties like Darwinian evolution, no challenge is permitted and anyone willing to consider counterevidence is demonized as a “creationist.”
So there you are, dear reader. If scientists can behave badly — even if they’re only “social” scientists — it means that all scientists are scoundrels. And this is especially true of those who disregard the brilliance of the Discoveroids. Perhaps you ought to re-think your attitudes about intelligent design.
Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.