It’s the Authority, not the Science

Jonah Goldberg spotted in the news an instance in which the Obama Interior Department appears to have misrepresented the opinion of some scientists whom it consulted regarding a possible ban of offshore drilling:

The draft these experts saw was substantively different from the document that bore their names. The draft called for a moratorium on issuing new permits, not stopping existing drilling (a move many experts believe would be unsafe).
One of the experts, Benton Baugh, president of Radoil, told the Wall Street Journal that if the draft had said to halt drilling, “we’d have said ‘that’s craziness.'”

As Goldberg writes, “there is something ugly and hypocritical about glorifying the absolute authority of scientists and sanctimoniously preening about your bravery in ‘restoring’ that authority” — only to ignore what they say when it’s “politically expedient.” Actually, I’m sure Goldberg would agree that progressives’ periodic lauding of science is primarily, if not entirely, all about political expedience.
When candidate Obama said he would “restore science to its rightful place,” he meant that he would treat it as an unassailable, procaimedly “objective,” conversation-ending weapon in philosophical debates. The prerequisite, of course, is that science must agree with his own views on a particular issue.
The very necessity of politics arises because there is no objective measure when it comes to policy decisions that must balance competing interests and complement subjective considerations like religion and ethics with practical needs and objectives. Tyranny lurks behind the elevation of any particular input as if it alone settles the question, especially when determination is handed to a limited group with information beyond the comprehension of everybody else.

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chuckR
chuckR
11 years ago

For some politicians, everything is political. We are still threatened with cap and trade, underpinned by the fraudulent conclusions of climatology ‘science’. Science in service to plitics is nothing new, but the AGW conclusions may be the biggest perversion of science since the 1930s. In that time, we had Lysenko’s work supporting the creation of homo Sovieticus. The consequences of not doing so would have been far more dire for Lysenko than just losing grant funding would be for the ‘climatologists’. Meanwhile, Joe Steel’s BFF Adolph stumped up a number of German scientists to denounce Einstein’s Jew physics. The rest of the world caught a break there.
No actual science was involved in either effort.
Back to the fresh prince of DC. He believes in the rule of personal whim, not law. I guess that would include actual physical law as well as man-made law.

michael
michael
11 years ago

“The Fresh Prince of DC.” That’s pretty funny.

brassband
brassband
11 years ago

I learned in school that there were nine planets in our solar system . . . M-V-E-M-J-S-U-N & P . . . not a theory, but a fact.
Then they tell me that Pluto is not a planet.
The point is that much of what we learn as scientific “fact” is really widely-accepted scientific theory, subject always to revision as new data become available.
Someone who expresses “certainty” about AGW is not speaking as a scientist, but as a believer.
Someone who remains skeptical about widely-accepted scientific theories and constantly re-examines them for possible revision? That person is called a scientist.
There’s nothing wrong with belief, except that a person who embraces religious belief understands that the acceptance of those beliefs as truth is based on faith (see Hebrews 11:1).
Advances in human knowledge are the result of inquiry, not blind acceptance.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

The day progressives embrace nuclear power is the day I believe that they have any legitimate interest in science.

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

>restore science to its rightful place
Good Idea! It beats listening to a “higher father” to make life and death (and treasure) decisions any day of the week.
As to nuclear energy, right now that same science tells us that the waste problem has yet to be solved in a manner which is economically and environmentally sound. If it was solved, nukes or similar technology would be quickly embraced by most reasonable people.
BTW, Dan, Stewart Brand….the worlds ultimate progressive and lefty, supports nuclear power big time. You do know who he is, right?
The only difference between lefties who support nuke power and righties who do so, is that the lefties actually educate themselves on the matter before making a decision. We don’t go for dittos nor drill, baby, drill.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

Yeah, ok, Stuart. Why don’t you go over to RIFuture and see how many progressives there support nuclear power. You don’t even know the people with whom you are associating.

chuckR
chuckR
11 years ago

It beats listening to a “higher father” to make life and death (and treasure) decisions any day of the week.
Do you renounce Algore the antiChrist and all his blandishments?
right now that same science tells us that the waste problem has yet to be solved in a manner which is economically and environmentally sound
Who defines ‘economically and environmentally sound’? It’s like saying it doesn’t matter who votes, it’s who counts the votes. Yucca Mt’s selection was more about Harry Reid’s early lack of power to stop it and it’s deselection was more about his later power to stop it.
Also, please tell me where and how you educate yourselves? Courses in nuclear engineering, health physics or ….?

OldTimeLefty
11 years ago

“Tyranny lurks behind the elevation of any particular input as if it alone settles the question, especially when determination is handed to a limited group with information beyond the comprehension of everybody else” is a phrase that can be applied to anyone’s particular bete noir, to many it could be The Catholic Church, not that I necessarily think it is The Catholic Church. I simply use it to show that the quote is devoid of meaning and only seeks to pander.
OldTimeLefty

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