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Conservatives aren’t credible on scientific matters

Posted by Richard on July 2, 2009

Dafydd at Big Lizards has identified the greatest weakness of the conservative movement, the one that cripples them in debates over some of today's biggest issues (emphasis in original):

… What do all these contemporary issues hold in common?

  • Cap and Trade — rather, Cripple and Tax
  • The expansion of nuclear power generation
  • The EPA's attempt to outlaw CO2 (and now NO2 as well; hat tip to Hugh Hewitt)
  • Missile defense, both theater and strategic
  • Nationalization of major industries
  • Nationalization of health care to a single-payer, government-controlled system
  • The promiscuous proliferation of "endangered species" that are, in fact, not endangered

First, each of these controversies is a wedge issue by which Republicans and conservatives can oust Democrats and liberals from Congress — and potentially from la Casa Blanca, as well.

Second, each is fundamentally a scientific question, from climate science, to nuclear physics, to aeronautics and cybernetics, to the optimal pursuit of medical research, to economic science, to the biological sciences.

And most important, for each of these wedge issues, the Right can only win if it is more credible when speaking about scientific matters.

It's not good enough merely to be no less credible than, on a par with the Left — in this case, a "tie" in rationalism goes to whoever is best at slinging emotional arguments; and in that arena, the Left always has the home-field advantage.

All of which leads me, by a commodious vicus of recirculation, back to the hubris-flaw of conservatives; and that is, of course, the squirrely refusal of so many prominent conservatives to accept the findings of a century and a half of evolutionary biology.

Read the whole thing.

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3 Responses to “Conservatives aren’t credible on scientific matters”

  1. Newborn Republican said

    I don’t know if I would agree with you that conservatives don’t agree with or acknowledge science. I think it is always important to remember that current science research is based on theories, some better than others and some with much mroe evidence than others. I think conservatives are trying to look at the whole realistic spectrum that must be considered to make good legislation. Before i go any further let me so in no uncertain terms, that I firmly beleive the republican party has not done enough to take the environment into consideration and I think this country should be doing more. However, it is important to also think about things like the economy, jobloss, technology advances, international affairs, etc. these problems become even more important in the short term when it comes to suddena nd drastic shifts in policy. Something to think about.

  2. David Bryant said

    What the heck is a “commodious vicus of reciirculatiion”? The best I can figure, it means “big house of recirculation”, but even that doesn’t make much sense. Huh?

  3. rgcombs said

    Newborn, it’s not “looking at the whole realistic spectrum” to embrace irrational, indefensible nonsense like insisting that the earth is only 4000 years old and organisms don’t evolve through natural selection. And as Dafydd argues, those who embrace such twaddle have little credibility on other scientific matters.

    David, it’s from the first line of ”Finnegan’s Wake”:

    ””riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.””

    Like just about everything in ”Finnegan’s Wake,” the phrase is, um, subject to interpretation. I think Dafydd had tongue firmly in cheek when he chose to use it.

    FWIW, “vicus” is Latin, according to Wikipedia. But that doesn’t help much with Joyce’s (or Dafydd’s) usage. 🙂

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