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Why does the Right cling to ‘fake’ science arguments?

Jul 17, 2023

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Is global warming real? Are vaccines dangerous? What is the origin of COVID-19? These are a few topics where certain individuals hold opinions that contradict established scientific conclusions. The battleground for determining factual science from fabrication has morphed into a highly divisive fight between the Left and Right.

Straight Arrow News contributor David Pakman explains why some on the Right still reject the scientific process.

But to say that, because science doesn’t always immediately give us the right answer, it’s mostly fake, couldn’t be more wrong — unlike, by the way — the religious texts that some of these people worship. And there’s nothing wrong, you can be religious. I’m not attacking religion. What I’m attacking is religion and dogma as a replacement for the scientific process.

Science is not a final answer. It’s a continuous process subject to revision. If you go to most clergy and say, “Hey, you know what, I’m kind of thinking we should revise this entire thing from the sermon last week. I think I just view it differently. We should have a new view on it” — that is not something clergy in most religions are going to welcome and that is part of the rigidity that reminds us why the scientific process is so important.

So saying science is mostly fake — it’s low-energy thinking and it’s exactly the simplistic black-and-white view of the world that a lot of the modern right-wing wants and loves. Because they’re actually losing on the facts and when you lose on the facts you attack the process and that’s exactly what they’re doing.

There’s this guy, Michael Knowles, who’s program I’ve appeared on before. He’s part of this right wing daily wire, I appeared on there two or three times, I stopped accepting invitations, because I would get so many threats when I appeared there that it just was not worth doing. But needless to say, his show continues, just my presence was not the only thing keeping his show alive, good for him. And he continues to say crazier and crazier things. And I want to drill into one specifically today, on a recent episode, Michael Knowles said, science is mostly fake. And I want to talk about this in some detail. It has become very popular among the American right wing to attack science to attack science as a process, why they say some combination of science is sometimes wrong. Scientists are sometimes biased, scientists act in bad faith. As individuals, they can’t be trusted. Things that we thought were true, were not true, at cetera, et cetera. Now, this is a very self serving narrative for many of these folks, because what they want to do is to replace science as a process, in some cases, with their religion, and their religious texts, and the apparent confidence and definitiveness with which their religious text tells us things about the world. And this is very dangerous, and it’s a very unserious argument to make. Let’s talk a little bit about this concept of science as fake science is not a collection of facts that are real or fake. That’s not what science is. Science is a process where we investigate, we discover, we revise science is real. But sometimes it doesn’t have the answers at all, doesn’t have the answers yet. Or it may have answers that become more precise or better defined over time. Sometimes science finds something that completely changes what was previously our best view of what the world was substituting some religious text or an authoritarian ideology, or vague right wing talking points for science is not valid or respectable as an alternative science. Also, at the end of the day is a human endeavor, we we are the ones doing science. That means that to some degree, science is limited by the humans and the biases and the limitations of the people doing it. But the whole point of the scientific process is to try to limit and restrict or restrict the impact of that bias and those limitations. There is a real crisis in science today, if you want to attack science, and the crisis is the replication crisis. The replication crisis refers to the difficulty of reproducing the results of many studies, there will be meta studies done where you take 100 studies that are accepted as good studies. You try to replicate them, and you get totally different results for half of them. And then that makes us say, Wow, does that mean there’s only a 5050 shot that any of the stuff we’re basing our views on is actually replicatable replicable? That’s a problem in science. And that affects many fields. It affects psychology, medicine, economics, sociology, and there’s a whole bunch of different reasons for that. We could say statistical methods need to be improved, okay, that’s something we can deal with. Or there’s a publication bias that when you find good news, or controversial news, you get published, and therefore this has cropped up with a whole bunch of studies being published with unreputable results. But there’s a ton of studies that simply don’t get published published, because they do replicate the established results. That’s a possibility. In academia, there’s this publish or perish thing, where if you’re not publishing enough, it’s possible research funding is at risk. And that encourages work, that may not be the best work or whatever, we should address this we should as progressives, we should say, hey, here is a real issue in science. But to say that, because science doesn’t always immediately give us the right answer. It’s mostly fake, couldn’t be more wrong. Unlike by the way, the religious texts that some of these people worship, and there’s nothing wrong, you can be religious that’s I’m not attacking religion, I what I’m attacking is religion and dogma as a replacement for the scientific process. Science is not a final answer. It’s a continuous process subject to revision. If you go to most clergy and say, hey, you know what, I’m kind of thinking we should revise this entire thing from the sermon last week. I think I just view it differently. We should have a new view on it. That is not something clergy in most religions are going to welcome and that is part of the rigidity. That reminds us why the scientific process is so important. So saying science is mostly fake. It’s low energy thinking and it’s exactly the simple

This thick black and white view of the world that a lot of the modern right wing wants and loves because they’re actually losing on the facts and when you lose on the facts you attack the process and that’s exactly what they’re doing

 

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