Saturday, August 06, 2005

Krugman on the undermining of science

Paul Krugman's column today is must reading. The 25-words-or-less summary: The SOBs on the right are trying to sow doubt about evolution just like they did with the facts of global warming, and their sneaky methods might work. Okay, so that's 28 words.

Slightly longer summary: Right-wing think tanks, funded by big business, promoted unfounded ideas like trickle-down economics in recent decades. Since then, they've mucked around with the issue of global warming so much that plenty of people think the scientific data are inconclusive, and that maybe none of this so-called global warming is actually happening. Hey, wasn't it really cold that one week in January? Those liberals are just making things up now. After attempts at pushing "creation science" flopped, the right-wingers realized they just needed to implement the same plan, inventing "intelligent design" and pretending that the issue of evolution isn't settled, that it's subject to debate. The science teachers of Kansas were hip to this, of course, and refused to join the "debates" several months back.

All of this gets obfuscated in the media, where reporters bend over backwards to demonstrate that they don't have a liberal bias. Krugman writes, "I once joked that if President Bush said that the Earth was flat, the headlines of news articles would read, 'Opinions Differ on Shape of the Earth.' The headlines on many articles about the intelligent design controversy come pretty close."

If you haven't read the column yet, please do.


Suzanne said...

Thanks for the link! This topic, particularly the intelligent design "theory," distresses me to no end.

The Un-Apologetic Atheist said...

In my early college years, I was fascinated with the rise of the National Socialist (Nazi) party in Germany, as it had caused my dad's mother's family to flee Germany with her when she was 7 years old.

One of the things I found most interesting was the shift of public "knowledge" from science-based (which made Germany the technology leader going into the war) to pseudoscience and propaganda based. It was through those techniques that the people began to believe completely false ideas--- that history meant the Germans were the inheritors of the Arayan legacy (our version is that America was founded as a Christian nation), or that the Jews and Slavs were a diseased and predatory people who were harming the German civil society (our version is the gays and atheists of course).