The Anti-Science Left: Equal Opportunity Science Denial
We know that far-right Republicans have a long-running reputation for, well … not exactly embracing good science when it comes to things like climate or evolution. This doesn’t mean that all Republicans deny science, or that any of them are “dumb” or “stupid” (because very intelligent Republicans deny very good science).
But just as no one has a monopoly on truth, no one has a monopoly on untruth. The far left can be just as unscientific in their own ways. There is equal opportunity science denial out there, whether it’s vaccines causing autism or wind farms causing cancer or the blanket dismissal of GMO foods.
If you’re looking for something that might challenge your preconceived notions of what it means to be a science denier, take some time and watch this hour of great conversation.
Those of us trying to fight for science shouldn’t succumb to the labels and polarization that create an “us vs. them” tribal battle. We should remember that one of humanity’s great talents is being wrong. But that talent is only exceeded by our ability to learn why we are wrong, and figure out what’s right.
I highly recommend watching this; it’s a little long, but worth it, in my opinion.
CLIMATE CHANGE MISINFORMER OF THE YEAR: MARC MORANO
Media Matters, Jill Fitzsimmons and Shauna Theel:
ClimateDepot.com founder Marc Morano has been called “the Matt Drudge of climate denial,” the “king of the skeptics,” and “a central cell of the climate-denial machine,” and he revels in these descriptions. Although he has no scientific expertise, he is adamant that manmade global warming is a “con job” based on “subprime science.” Morano gained prominence working for two of the most vocal climate deniers in the U.S.: Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who notoriously called climate change “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” and Rush Limbaugh, who we named Climate Change Misinformer of the Year in 2011 for his steadfast denial of climate science and wild conspiracy theories about the climate change “hoax.”
These days Morano is paid by anindustry-fundedgroup to run the climate denial website ClimateDepot.com. At Climate Depot, Morano serves as the de facto research department for the right-wing media’s attacks on climate science, and mobilizes his readers to target individual scientists and reporters for telling the public about climate change threats. The site was instrumental in manufacturing the 2009 “Climategate” controversy, which Morano incorrectlyclaimedexposed “deliberate manipulation of facts and data” by climate scientists. Morano is a darling of the organization most committed to climate denial, theHeartland Institute. He regularly speaks at their conferences and defendedtheir controversial billboard comparing those who accept climate science to “murderers, tyrants, and madmen” including the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.
Due to his history of smears and lies, Morano’s media influence is usually confined to Rush Limbaugh, FoxNews, and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. But in December, CNN invited him to “debate” Bill Nye on climate science, and in doing so elevated his marginal views to the mainstream press for the first time all year. For all this, Marc Morano has earned the distinction of 2012 Climate Change Misinformer of the Year.
I’ve been thinking a lot about climate change. About this situation we’re in, where the denial comes from, and why it’s so important that we move beyond it. And if you’re not interested in this topic, then, well, change your mind. Because it’s one of the most important…
The root of any real conversation is empathy.
South Korea surrenders to creationist demands
Publishers set to remove examples of evolution from high-school textbooks.
Mention creationism, and many scientists think of the United States, where efforts to limit the teaching of evolution have made headway in a couple of states1. But the successes are modest compared with those in South Korea, where the anti-evolution sentiment seems to be winning its battle with mainstream science.
It’s been almost a year and a half since I visited the Jenny McCarthy Body Count. In that time, it looks like over 250 unnecessary vaccine-preventable deaths and over 20,000 illnesses have occurred because of Jenny and her ilk spreading brain-meltingly frustrating misinformation about the safety of vaccines.
This from a woman whose website has the following headline up today: 21 Benefits of Enzymes and Why You Need Them … oh I dunno, maybe to complete basic biological functions and literally BE ALIVE?!?!
A society that cares about science more will be a society that cares less about Jenny McCarthy. Keep up the good fight, and keep sharing science with your friends. Someone’s life may depend on it.
People who strongly resist data indicating that human-induced climate change could spell catastrophe aren’t ignorant about science or numerical reasoning. Quite the opposite, a new study finds: High science literacy actually boosts the likelihood that certain people will challenge what constitutes credible climate science.
Who will be receptive to climate science, the study found, depends more on cultural factors such as attitudes toward commerce, government regulation and individualism than on scientific literacy.
“Simply improving the clarity of scientific information will not dispel public conflict” over climate, the study’s authors conclude online May 27 in Nature Climate Change.
There has been a prevalent view among scientists that skeptics of climate change and its ramifications would come around if they understood the facts, says Dan Kahan of Yale Law School. But studies by his group and others have shown that cultural factors can strongly influence what people accept as truth about certain technical issues.
For the new study, Kahan and his colleagues surveyed 1,540 American adults on science, capacity to comprehend and use quantitative information, political orientation, attitudes on the roles of government and commercial enterprises in affecting risks to society and risks posed by climate.
The survey characterized cultural outlooks along dimensions of individualism and egalitarianism. People with high degrees of individualism tended to have attitude that were pro-industry and skeptical of risks. People exhibiting a high degree of egalitarianism “tended to be morally ambivalent towards markets because they think that’s what causes social disparities,” Kahan says.
The data show that on climate change issues, “cultural identity is what is disposing people to find evidence convincing or not,” Kahan says. And “the study shows this divide only gets bigger, for ordinary people, when they become better able to understand science.”
The findings point to the steep uphill challenge for advocates of climate science and policy to broadly communicate risks, says political scientist Arthur Lupia of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In fact, some of the most science-literate critics will listen to experts only to generate compelling counterarguments, he says.
In America today, climate change has come to approach abortion in its cultural impact: “It’s immediately polarizing,” observes sociologist Aaron McCright of the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “Hard-core deniers seem to be no more than 10 percent of the [U.S.] population — which in some ways is good,” he says. “It means we might still reach the other 90 percent.”
They go after me a lot at the Uncommon Descent website, a vehicle for intelligent design [ID] creationism, and I usually ignore them. But their latest tirade is so ludicrously ignorant that I have to single it out. Here it is in full:
She was Blossom. She plays Amy Farrah on The Big Bang Theory. She holds a real-life PhD in neuroscience. There’s a lot to love about Mayim Bialik.
Marziah had this to say on the Wired “GeekMom” blog:
Stop being responsible for the measles or pertussis revivals. Once you blog about it and talk about it on interviews, like the one you did recently for Science Friday, you’re no longer just influencing your friends. It’s no longer a private, personal decision. You’re influencing everyone within earshot. Stop being a disease vector. Stop pretending like the only person affected by your decisions is you. Start acting like the role model you aspire to be.
Someone with Bialik’s influence and credentials shouldn’t be endorsing this kind of behavior. She plays someone very smart on TV, and she should start acting like that instead of sharing a pediatrician with Jenny McCarthy.
I say this because so many of my readers are fans of hers and of her show, and if you believe in science you know that this is wrong.
Here is a Science fair project presented by a girl in a secondary school in Sussex . In it she took filtered water and divided it into two parts. The first part she heated to boiling in a pan on the stove, and the second part she heated to boiling in a microwave. Then after cooling she used the water to water two identical plants to see if there would be any difference in the growth between the normal boiled water and the water boiled in a microwave. She was thinking that the structure or energy of the water may be compromised by microwave. As it turned out, even she was amazed at the difference, after the experiment which was repeated by her class mates a number of times and had the same result.
It has been known for some years that the problem with microwaved anything is not the radiation people used to worry about, it’s how it corrupts the DNA in the food so the body can not recognize it.
Microwaves don’t work different ways on different substances. Whatever you put into the microwave suffers the same destructive process. Microwaves agitate the molecules to move faster and faster. This movement causes friction which denatures the original make-up of the substance. It results in destroyed vitamins, minerals, proteins and generates the new stuff called radiolytic compounds, things that are not found in nature.
So the body wraps it in fat cells to protect itself from the dead food or it eliminates it fast. Think of all the Mothers heating up milk in these ‘Safe’ appliances. What about the nurse in Canada that warmed up blood for a transfusion patient and accidentally killed him when the blood went in dead. But the makers say it’s safe. But proof is in the pictures of living plants dying!
NO, YOU PIG-IGNORANT ASSWIPES.
SOME KID’S CLASS PROJECT IS NOT REAL SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH. YOU’VE HEARD OF “DOUBLE BLIND”, RIGHT? CALL ME WHEN IT’S PUBLISHED IN NATURE.
the structure or energy of the water
what the fuck does that even mean you realize that a water molecule is made up of three fucking atoms and if you rearrange it it isn’t water anymore and you would fucking notice
the problem with microwaved anything is not the radiation people used to worry about
Here is a handy diagram I drew of all the different types of radiation:
Microwaves != nuclear reactors, so calm your tits.
it’s how it corrupts the DNA in the food so the body can not recognize it
…do you understand what DNA is and how eating works? DNA is a jumble of protein in the middle of each cell and it tells the cells in that particular organism how to make more cells. Your body does not care about whether your food has any DNA in it or not. The chemicals it cares about are things like vitamins and sugars, as well as inorganic shit like salt.
(You can denature DNA by heating it or using chemicals like urea. It is like what happens when you fry an egg, which is basically a big glob of protein—the strands break apart and it looks like tiny white strings. Very cool.)
Microwaves agitate the molecules to move faster and faster.
I…just…that is the fucking definition of heat, whether you’re heating something over a flame or in a microwave or using the Sun. The difference is that microwaves mostly affect the water molecules in your food and they don’t need to use as much heat. Water boils at 100°C, which is just about as hot as water can get before it just turns into steam; but that’s like the lowest setting on your oven. Oven- or stove-cooked food tastes different partly because it uses higher temperatures and partly because heat is transferred in a different way.
This movement causes friction
That’s not what friction is.
It results in destroyed vitamins, minerals, proteins and generates the new stuff called radiolytic compounds, things that are not found in nature.
Let’s take these one at a time.
- Vitamins are classified as water-soluble or fat-soluble. So cooking things in water will dissolve the water-soluble vitamins (C and all the B’s). Just plain heat doesn’t do that, so microwaving veggies—which keeps the water in—is actually a healthier option.
- Proteins: Breaking the chemical bonds in proteins (denaturing) is a part of any cooking. However, denatured protein is still nutritious—that’s why you can meet your protein intake with foods like fried eggs and baked chicken.
- Minerals are just chemical elements, like off the periodic table—sodium, iron, potassium. (Vitamins and proteins are very complex combinations of elements.)
Which brings me to the “radiolytic compound” bullshit. When you talk about breaking apart, say, iron—you’re talking about breaking down the iron atoms themselves. Which is a whole lot different than breaking the bonds between atoms. It takes hella radiation. You need shit like gamma rays—the OOOH SCARY NUCULAR radiation—which we’ve already established do not come from your microwave.
things that are not found in nature
What the shit does that even mean? You all know radioactive elements occur in nature, right? In rocks and also in living cells. That’s right, you have this radioactive kind of carbon INSIDE YOU. You get it by eating those delicious plants. We can tell how long ago something died by how much of it is left.
Tons of shit that occurs naturally is horribly bad for you. And tons of shit that never existed until we cooked it up is great for you—like the chemical compounds in a lot of medications.
PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THIS SHIT ARE WHY CHILDHOOD DISEASES THAT CAUSED SERIOUS ILLNESSES AND/OR DEATH THAT WE NEARLY ERADICATED WITH VACCINES ARE NOW COMING BACK AND WHY CONSPIRACY THEORIST TWATS ARE ASKING CITY COUNCIL NOT TO FLUORIDATE THE WATER AND WHY GLOBAL WARMING WILL WRECK OUR FUCKING PLANET.
LERN 2 SCIENCE. Think before you reblog. And microwave your veggies.
Bless this takedown of a bullshit reblog.
jesus thank you SO MUCH
someone I follow posted this the other day without commentary and I was was just like
loving this take down.
Whenever I think about doing bad science, I picture Bill Nye the Science Guy glowering at me with disapproval and then I do real science instead.
I’m glad this climate change denial conference has been cancelled, but it upsets me that the Heartland Institute even exists. What is it that they’re trying to accomplish? The suicidal element of this behavior is what I find so shocking. Even if these people believe climate change is not real, the evidence that it is, the scientific consensus supporting global warming, the catastrophic consequences of being wrong, none of these things matter?
It boggles the mind. There are times when the desire to prove these people wrong overcomes my desire for humanity to survive.
This is is an incredibly comprehensive list of the arguments made by climate change deniers, and the science that refutes these arguments. They even have different levels of description depending on how much of a science nerd you are (or aren’t).
Go forth, my minions, and educate!!!
This article points out the difference between short-term and long-term trends, a point that is often lost to climate change deniers.