The Anti-Science Science Committee

April 30, 2013

The reinforcement of the “Republicans are against science” meme continues.

How’s that rebranding coming?

NYTimes Magazine:

About an hour into the session, Anderson walked up to a whiteboard and took out a magic marker. “I’m going to write down a word, and you guys free-associate with whatever comes to mind,” she said. The first word she wrote was “Democrat.”

“Young people,” one woman called out.

“Liberal,” another said. Followed by: “Diverse.” “Bill Clinton.”“Change.”“Open-minded.”“Spending.”“Handouts.”“Green.”“More science-based.”

When Anderson then wrote “Republican,” the outburst was immediate and vehement: “Corporate greed.”“Old.”“Middle-aged white men.” “Rich.” “Religious.” “Conservative.” “Hypocritical.” “Military retirees.” “Narrow-minded.” “Rigid.” “Not progressive.” “Polarizing.” “Stuck in their ways.” “Farmers.”

Anderson concluded the group on a somewhat beseeching note. “Let’s talk about Republicans,” she said. “What if anything could they do to earn your vote?”

A self-identified anti-abortion, “very conservative” 27-year-old Obama voter named Gretchen replied: “Don’t be so right wing! You know, on abortion, they’re so out there. That all-or-nothing type of thing, that’s the way Romney came across. And you know, come up with ways to compromise.”

“What would be the sign to you that the Republican Party is moving in the right direction?” Anderson asked them.

“Maybe actually pass something?” suggested a 28-year-old schoolteacher named Courtney, who also identified herself as conservative.

The session with the young men was equally jarring. None of them expressed great enthusiasm for Obama. But their depiction of Republicans was even more lacerating than the women’s had been. “Racist,” “out of touch” and “hateful” made the list — “and put ‘1950s’ on there too!” one called out.

Showing a reverence for understatement, Anderson said: “A lot of those words you used to describe Republicans are negative. What could they say or do to make you feel more positive about the Republican Party?”

“Be more pro-science,” said a 22-year-old moderate named Jack. “Embrace technology and change.”


13 Responses to “The Anti-Science Science Committee”

  1. Dill Weed Says:

    What is Alexander suggesting should replace peer review?

    Some specifics would be of interest.

    • andrewfez Says:

      Who knows. Maybe a more =fair and balanced= approach that gives each =side= equal weight?

      • sailrick Says:

        And what two sides would that be? The science and the anti science?

        There is no question that the earth is warming and humans are causing it. Those basic facts are settled science, agreed on by virtually every major professional science organization in the world.

        13,950 peer reveiwed climate research papers 1991 – 2012

        only 24 of them reject AGW
        Here’s who wrote most of those 24 papers.

        9 out of 10 leading skeptical climate scientists have connections with Exxon/Mobil

        The Carbon Brief has an article which not very surprisingly shows, that at least 9 out of 10 of the leading ‘skeptical’ ‘scientists’ publishing peer reviewed research on climate change have direct links to Exxon.


        Then of course there’s the ‘fair and balanced’ reporting by Fox News, where 93% of the reporting is False or Misleading.


        “News Corp: overwhelmingly misleading” – the damning indictment of Murdoch’s media empire

        Fox News: from Febuary to July 2012, 37 out of 40 references to climate science were misleading. Only 3 were accurate.

        Yes, the graph is correct: only three incidents of accurate reporting. What more can be said about the “fair and balanced” nature of Fox News?

        {read at Watching the Deniers}

        • andrewfez Says:

          True that.

          I think to the politicians, the game is played the same way, regardless of the subject matter. Lots of political decisions are subjective in nature and there are no clear cut, right or wrong answers. And lots of it is just divvying up resources. I don’t think any of them are thinking, ‘What’s best for the country as a whole?’ because that question is way, way too hard to figure out. It’s way, way easier to just pick a team and try to ‘win’ against the other team using the sets of rules formulated best for subjective and asset grabbing decisions.

          So when it comes to science – something that actively tries to divorce itself from subjectivity, and whose goal is to find what is real and what is not – the political game is not equipped to deal with it. Creating perceptions of what is what (a technique in the political game), just doesn’t mix well with something that actually, with accuracy, tells you what is real and what is not.

          And when these politicians start using Heartland and Cato influenced, low quality ‘science’ to create the perception that they have a significant issues with the consensus, folks that have no scientific understanding don’t see this as extraordinary; they probably see it as just another ‘abortionists vs. antiabortionists’, ‘gays in the military vs. no gays in the military’, type double sided coin. Heck the politicians themselves, so wrapped up in the game, may not even see it as such. Certainly Inhofe and the like either are so humble that they don’t mind looking like fools to further their cause, or they are so caught up in the ‘two sides to every story’ game that they do not perceive themselves as looking like such.

          The recent deal to confound the NSF research grants is a gross escalation of the war on science. It goes beyond just bribing Republicans to vote down wind. It’s now going after the quality of the science itself.

  2. guylacrosse Says:

    My guess would be that they are being lobbied by the fossil fuel industry and climate denier think-tanks for these changes.

  3. Wes Says:

    That NYT article is well worth the long read that it is. As a former Republican I resonated with the discussion of how the Tea Party, anti-science and corporate wings have driven people out. I am encouraged by the suggestion by a GOP operative that it will be at least 20 years before the party can significantly change their public image enough to draw the young and the Latino voters, not because I don’t want them to change, but because any earlier change would likely be putting lipstick on a pig.
    I’m sincerely hoping that they stay irrelevant long enough for us to make real progress on climate. For my grandkids sake.

    • pendantry Says:

      If they’re successfully interrupting US governmental business with crap like proposals to replace scientific research with anti-science bullshit, they don’t seem all that ‘irrelevant’ to me.

  4. miffedmax Says:

    Wes, I’m with you. I stopped being a Republican when they started being Dixiecrats. So far, they show no interest in letting go of the worst aspects of our past.

  5. […] rif. anche The Tea Party Lysenkos e The Anti-Science Science Committee […]

  6. rayduray Says:

    Sticking to the anti-science theme, here’s a recent Guardian newspaper headline:

    “Conservative US shoppers turned off by eco-friendly lightbulbs, study finds”

    Select quote:

    Eco-friendly labels on energy-saving bulbs are a turn-off for conservative shoppers, a new study has found.

    The findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that it could be counterproductive to advertise the environmental benefits of efficient bulbs in the US. This could make it even more difficult for America to adopt energy-saving technologies as a solution to climate change.

    Consumers took their ideological beliefs with them when they went shopping, and conservatives switched off when they saw labels reading “protect the environment”, the researchers said.

  7. […] to our attention by Cenk Uygur, this blistering expose of the GOP’s anti-science agenda being led by GOP Rep. Lamar Smith […]

  8. […] find a GOP science group you get these kinds of sites: GOP Lawmakers an Embarrassment on Science The Anti-Science Science Committee Conservatives Lose Faith in Science over Last 40 Years: Scientific American Conservative Trust Of […]

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