Birds of a feather

The similarity between creationist ‘scepticism’ about evolutionary science and rightwing ‘scepticism’ about climate science is obvious to nearly[1] everyone, whether pro-science or anti-science. So, it’s no surprise that creationists have sought to combine the two issues, and that, conversely, opponents of climate science have pushed ‘teach the controversy’ legislation modelled on those of the creationists. Here’s the NYTimes describing the US scene.

In Australia, Quadrant offers the whole package – anti-science climate delusionism, and historical revisionism as well as anti-Darwinism. This recent book review by DM Armstrong , echoing the ‘science is not settled’ line on climate change, says ‘let us not regard the case is closed’, gives a sympathetic reference to Behe, then rather bizarrely goes on to endorse sociobiology. In between he cites Ian Plimer against climate science.

Update An interesting feature of this process is the emergence of anti-vaccination as a cause embraced by the right, pushed by figures such as Glenn Beck and the unofficial leader of the US Republican Party Rush Limbaugh. As a commenter here pointed out, itseemingly started with vaccination of girls against HPV. The final trigger seems to have been the mass vaccination campaign against H1N1 flu, which hit even more hot buttons for these guys – big government, the WHO, preparation against something that might not happen and so on. Anti-vaccination used to be one area of anti-science thought where lefties predominated, and it still has some support on the fringes of the left, but not from anyone comparable in influence to Limbaugh. But it’s rapidly becoming part of rightwing orthodoxy.

In particular, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they will get vaccinated

fn1. Except in Australia, where lots of people who will accept just about any anti-science talking point on climate science get unaccountably riled when it is suggested, by consistent thinkers on both sides of the debate, that they ought to accept the parallel talking points on evolution (gaps in the data, alleged frauds by evolutionists, evolution as a religious belief etc etc).

32 thoughts on “Birds of a feather

  1. @Fran Barlow
    Oh please Fran…

    “It all goes to show that the whole idea of germs was a conspiracy between the catholic church and drug manufacturers …”

    This takes the cake of delusionism award from an old nurse like me.

    No.. germs, bacteria and viruses are not a conspiracy between the catholic church and the drug manufacturers. Antibiotics and antivirals have saved lives for decades, including mine.

    Tell your conspiracy theories to someone dying of septicaemia Fran or a kid with leukaemia. It happens everyday in our hospitals. Some live, some die, but more would die without the conspiracy that produced antibiotics.

    Or if you omitted the irony alert…please post it.JQs blog is full of far fetched ideas Fran. Your comment may be giving the wrong impression.

  2. Dear oh dear where does Jack Strocchi come from (although his support for Quadrant, Behe, and Windschuttle perhaps provides some clues)? I have rarely seen a post so full of bizarre interpretations of history.

    “Granted the Aboriginals were treated poorly both before and after 1967. But to obsessively focus on the one major blemish is just neurotic … this was a racist proto-DOCS program which used a little too much force …. I am also deeply suspicious of the discipline currently sailing under the flag of anthropology and cultural studies. This whole domain is hopelessly infected with political correctness.” One major blemish? Neurotic? A little too much force (reminds me of the “rougher than usual treatment” once said by a judge in a rape case)? I guess the political correctness would be in recognising that there was bad treatment (including a lot of murder, by various means, stealing of land, rape, deliberate cultural destruction, and so on) from virtually the moment Phillip landed to the most recent “intervention”.

    And “I’d myself look for some naturalistic explanation for the whole process of evolution, but let us not regard the case as closed.” Is Jack not aware that indeed “some naturalistic explanation” was found 151 years ago and has been confirmed ever since by tens of thousands of biologists as well as ancillary disciplines like geology? The case was closed by the end of 1859. And is he not aware that “Behe is an “informed and resourceful critic” of Darwinism” is based purely on the fact that Behe is a committed Christian who cannot believe in the evolutionary process for that reason and that reason alone?

  3. @Mike
    So Mike …you didnt realise that extreme right wing think tanks were funding organisations in Australia like the CIS and the IPA? Its only been goiing on for decades now…so tell that to the subscribers.

    They too, can have a model of right wing US extremism that was so helpful to the U.S. They can have it all here if they want….just dont ask me to bail the mess out with my taxes to the extent they got to do in the US.

    But boguns follow the bogun sloguns that money gives them. They dont think. They subscribe.

  4. David Horton@#25

    Dear oh dear where does Jack Strocchi come from (although his support for Quadrant, Behe, and Windschuttle perhaps provides some clues)? I have rarely seen a post so full of bizarre interpretations of history.

    David Horton I was going to savage you for comment, which was a strong blend of silliness and falsity in equal measure. (“Support for Quadrant and Behe”?) But I see from the link to your blog that you are obviously a nice gentleman, perhaps a little bewildered and confused by the pace of post-modern events.

    I wish you all the best in your effort to come to grips with things.

  5. Two points on Jack’s stream above.

    It’s very hard to maintain politeness with the delusionist crowd because so many of them refuse to pay any attention. They;ll make some egregious claim (eg, no warming since 1995), and you’ll patiently explain why this claim is wrong and here’s the evidence, etc, and then they’ll just go on making the same claim. They (the very great majority) persistently ignore anything that is contrary to their beliefs. So their position is analogous to a religious style fundamentalism, clinging to certain ordained facts and damn the evidence. That’s hard to take seriously or politely after a while. I take your point that civility is required, but dealing with some who argues 1+1=3.8 is not easy!

    Also, a lot of delusionists I come across have strange ideas about what constitutes a “good” theory in science (assuming they know what a theory is in the first place). For many, if it’s not some bullet-proof, 100% guaranteed blockbuster, then they think it can be ignored, or belittled (or that’s their excuse). I work in science every day, dealing with and applying theories in a number of physics related fields, and I am pretty happy if I have something with about 70% predictive power. 90% and I am overjoyed. 100% never happens except in outlier circumstances (it’s always possible to destroy something!). Modern climate science is somewhere around the 90% mark say – that’s what I hear from climate scientists, and that’s pretty damn good. I’d be satisfied with 70%, because I know what that is like… Funnily enough, some of the worst offenders are retired scientists and engineers. It’s as though they’ve forgotten what they went through in their working lives, or in retirement they’ve set themselves to Working on the Big Picture and Sorting Out the World’s Messes. Well, hilarity ensues.

  6. I’v always envied John’s list of comments, especially, perhaps “‘More intelligent than Britney Spears’ Jason Soon”. Now, I can put on my blog “‘obviously a nice gentleman’ Jack Strocchi”. Eat your heart out John Quiggin.

  7. @jquiggin
    Jack is still fighting the cold war…anything not right is left to him and I doubt he would really know what a postmodern left or right was….he somehow got stuck in a timewarp JQ and no-one has been kind enough to wake Jack up and we just get the same old left rv right views from him (and he doesnt seem at all perturbed that the right wing has moved to pluto and todays left are the new conservatives).

    In fact he hasnt noticed at all.

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