Crooks and Liars embedded a video with Neil deGrasse Tyson on the place of science in our society. It’s a good interview.

I mention it here because he talks about the taxicab fallacy. He does  not use that term, but I think he expresses the basic idea.

The Immoral Minority had a post with another good NdT quote. There is a difference between scientific claims and political claims.

Just yesterday I listened to an episode of the Green News Report in which they covered the climate change “debate” between Bill Nye and Marsha Blackburn. Blackburn kept saying there is no scientific consensus on climate change. There is.

98% of climate scientists say it is happening and caused by humans. It is not a scientific controversy. A scientific controversy is when a sizable proportion of scientists in a field have not been able to make a determination. I do not know what the threshold is to stop saying a thesis is under debate, but I am guessing that it is lower than 98%.

A thesis might conflict with your political ideology. Or your religion. It might hurt your profit margin. It might inconvenience you. But all of those are different than scientific controversies.

Not everyone in this world believes in any sort of god or spirit. And not all who do are christian. And since there are so many denominations, obviously there is a lot of disagreement within christianity. So why don’t conservatives apply the same “there is no agreement” logic to their religion?

Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use

Originally posted on Everyday Freethought

Views: 234

Comment by Doug Reardon on March 10, 2014 at 11:19pm

Because conservatives are idiots?

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on March 11, 2014 at 9:05am

Because conservatives are idiots?

Sometimes I wonder. Are they idiots or just evil*?

They're smart enough to know that an informed public would demand reductions in fossil fuel consumption and tighter government regulation. Imagine the impact on billion-dollar corporate profits if an educated public and the federal government began a concerted effort to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

This simply will not do. So they spend big money to attack the source of the political threat: an informed public. Then they scuttle back into the shadows, hoping nobody notices the conflict of interest.

"[IRS data for 2003 to 2010 on 91 climate change counter-movement (CCCM) organizations funded by 140 different foundations] shows that these 91 CCCM organizations have an annual income of just over $900 million, with an annual average of $64 million in identifiable foundation support. The overwhelming majority of the philanthropic support comes from conservative foundations. Additionally, there is evidence of a trend toward concealing the sources of CCCM funding through the use of donor directed philanthropies." (source)

The problem with billion-dollar disinformation campaigns is that they work, at least in the short term:

"In response to a survey question in the fall of 2012: Do scientists believe that earth is getting warmer because of human activity? 43% replied no, and another 12 % didn’t know. Only 45 % of the U.S. public accurately reported the near unanimity of the scientific community about anthropogenic climate change. This result reflects a broad misunderstanding of climate science by the general public.

"A number of analyses have shown that one major factor driving this misunderstanding and an overall lack of legislative action is a deliberate and organized effort to misdirect the public discussion and distort the public’s understanding of climate change. This literature has revealed a great deal about the nature of efforts to deny and/or distort climate science. It clearly shows that a number of conservative think tanks, trade associations, and advocacy organizations are the key organizational components of a well-organized climate change counter-movement (CCCM) that has not only played a major role in confounding public understanding of climate science, but also successfully delayed meaningful government policy actions to address the issue." (source)

(Click on the image below to see all of it.)

*Billionaires using billion-dollar disinformation campaigns to ensure they make billions more, possibly jeopardizing the human race in the process, qualifies as evil in my opinion.

Comment by MikeLong on March 11, 2014 at 10:08pm

"They're smart enough to know..."

Hasty generalization. The Right has two constituencies - the very rich (including their wanabees) and those stupid enough to believe what the super rich tell them to believe.

"nobody notices the conflict of interest"

QED

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