Saturday, December 10, 2011

Which side is "anti-science?"

Saw a mention at EvC of the broadcast of an interview with eight Nobel prize winners --ONLY AVAILABLE FOR THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS -- so I listened to it. It was interesting in itself just hearing a bunch of science types talk about their work, until it came around to the familiar assumption that the objections of some Americans to evolution, to global warming and to stem cell research are "anti-science." This sort of "analysis" is stupid, just regurgitated bias that can never be answered. The objection to these particular "science" projects or theories is not an objection to science. There are thousands of scientific projects and achievements to which there is no objection whatever but in fact appreciation, but the bias prevails nevertheless.

The objection to evolution is two-fold: it contradicts God's word and THERE IS NO EVIDENCE FOR IT, it's all an edifice built out of conjecture and imagination that is circular and self-validating, that co-opts a lot of real science to it that is mistaken for validation though it just as well validates creationism instead. Evolution is a theory about past events which can never be positively proved or disproved. To call an objection to evolution "anti-science" is to betray a biased stupidity about the very nature of science, and it gets SO tiresome hearing all the lectures about what science is and does when NONE OF THEM APPLY TO THIS TOPIC. Word magic, not science.

The objection to global warming is that the science for it is extremely fuzzy and unconvincing as well as to a great extent politically motivated with dire consequences contingent on the not-so-scientific conclusions. For myself I don't know how far to accept any of it because the science just does not come across as convincing. The number of variables involved in global-scale phenomena should in itself be a caveat against coming to any glib conclusions. To justify implementing the political restraints on all kinds of human activities that believers in global warming think necessary requires a LOT MORE SCIENTIFIC CERTAINTY than is presently possible that human activity has much to do with a global warming trend if even such a trend can itself be established with certainty. There is nothing whatever that is "anti-science" about the objections, the whole issue is far more politics than science.

As for stem cell research, this is a moral issue, similar to the atomic bomb issue. Do you create life in order to kill it in order to save other lives? To call this position anti-science is to descend to an abysmal depth of barbarism and moral dementia. Ethics, not science.