Thursday, December 22, 2016

OMG I Got It: Trumpsters Reject Science Because it Too Successfully Proves Facts

Facts in a post-truth world are inconvenient to say the least. Solution? They're not true!

A broad consensus has accepted human-caused global warming.
The general conservative view? No way! Looks pretty cold to me!

No need to go into much, but I find the furious movement in the scientific community to move as much federally acquired climate data as possible to safe repositories extremely disquieting, not because it's crazy but because it's not. It's a sound decision based on rational expectations.

And now we hear that the new director of the Office of Management and Budget, Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, who might have a profound effect on how and whether federal money is spent, has a skeptical view of the value of federally conducted research, most especially on the Zika virus. He claimed that the data from Colombia cast doubt on whether the Zika virus even causes the birth defects so prevalent in neighboring Brazil. It turns out that Mulvaney merely took the first report, which was in no way the last word on the subject, as gospel, not waiting to find out that, indeed, after the data really started to flow from Colombia it was shown that birth defect rates started to track Zika infection rates.

But what good is science if you're not busily refuting it, eh? And who cares if a vast amount of progress is made due to state and federal support of research in so many areas of human endeavor? Who cares if it took the Defense Department to invent the Internet, and yes, for visionary politicians like Al Gore to insist on funding and promoting its development?

We're entering a brave new world soon to be known as the Trump administration. I for one am not sanguine, especially when it comes to making the kind of progress our scientific community, with broad support for its work, has routinely made possible. Let's hope that we fear the worst and yet will be pleasantly surprised at the outcomes. So far, though, the prognosis is not good, based on the statements of men and woman Trump has put in place. Are we headed for the new Dark Ages?

Note. For the sticklers, I note that science is a method of inquiry, not a set of facts. With the scientific method, theories become so well tested that we elevate them to the status of established fact, even though viewed through the method they remain, technically, theories. Refusing the theory of evolution the status of facthood leaves religionists with a leg to stand on, one they'll take to the bank every time. More's the pity. We become more ignorant as a nation because of it, but oh well, views differ on shape of planet!

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