Monday, January 23, 2012

Science Nazis


That's right. I said it. Some people are science Nazis. They are Nazis in the sense that they are militant about their scientific conclusions and feel perfectly just in forcing the “ignorant” masses into compliance through propaganda or whatever means possible. The Joseph Goebbels of the movement is Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE).

Before I begin, let me say that I may be annoyed but I am not unhinged. Many times in the past, I have read comments by evolutionists who, I am sure, were foaming at the mouth as they wrote. It's typical for people with this attitude to argue by insult. That's not what I'm trying to do here. I sincerely believe that Eugenie Scott is a propagandist as are many others like her.

OK, now to the meat of my “rant.”

Nature.com recently published a piece titled, “Evolution advocate turns to climate change.” The subtitle of the article says,Education centre known for battling creationists aims to help science teachers convey understanding of global warming. It's interesting that they use the term, “battling creationists.” I think the subtitle conveys the general impression held by the scientific community of the NCSE's true agenda as being militantly anti-creationist. They are not just concerned about keeping “religion” out of science education in schools, they are battling creationists wherever they are found. This has long been demonstrated by Scott's years-long crusade against the Creation Museum and Answers in Genesis.

AiG has always admitted that they are not interested in changing public school curriculum. Like myself, they do not want public school teachers (especially those who might be unbelieving) teaching the Bible to our kids. This is the job of parents and the Church. Also, the Creation Museum is a private institution. It was built entirely with donated dollars and does not receive – nor ever received – any type of public grant or funding. Why then does Scott, and others of her ilk, concern herself with them? The reason is simple: it's because she loathes the idea that anyone anywhere believes in creation.

In the Nature article, reporter Susan Young highlights the same attitude toward global warming. Young begins her article lamenting that, in the same way some students have rejected the theory of evolution, some students are also rejecting the idea of global warming (or man-made global warming). She says that Scott has chosen to intervene because of the “entreaties from educators and textbook authors.” The article quotes Scott as saying, I think we can make an important contribution. If teachers understand that there is a place that they can go to for help, we can use some of the expertise that we’ve gained over the years dealing with evolution to apply to this related problem.”

Well, first off, one might ask how is evolution related to climate change? During any discussion, if a creationist happens to mention something like the Big Bang, the evolutionist is quick to point out that the Big Bang has nothing to do with evolution (cosmology v. biology). Here, though. Scott says two unrelated sciences (biology and meteorology) share a related problem. In her mind, the “problem” is that there are people who don't fall lock-step into established, scientific consensus.  Her's is a political agenda - not a scientific one.

According to the article, “25–30% of [surveyed] respondents reported that students, parents, administrators or other community members had argued with [educators] that climate change is not happening or that it is not the result of human activity.” What is even more alarming is that “[s]ome school boards and state legislators have threatened to require educators to ‘teach the controversy’ about climate change — a term coined in relation to evolution that amounts to presenting a scientific theory as one of various possible viewpoints.”

Oh my goodness! You mean there are actually school boards out there who want educators to tell their students that some people – maybe even some scientists – disagree with their theory?! I can see why Scott is up in arms. (I am using sarcasm in case it isn't obvious).  Honestly, I can't see a "controversy" in teaching students to be skeptical.  In the case of global warming, I believe there is more dissent among scientists about the issue than there is concerning creation.  However, Scott is a propagandist and she sees it as her job to sway the masses to the desired point of view.

Scott believes the solution to this imagined problem is helping people to understand the reasons why scientists overwhelmingly accept climate change.” This is the crux of the issue. It's the elitism of the scientific establishment or “truth by consensus.” Scott believes that the science is settled. Since the overwhelming majority of scientists accept climate change, we know that it's true so dissent is no longer allowed. Her approach is cleverly worded but it's little more than a thinly veiled “appeal to authority.”

I wonder how Scott might have behaved a few centuries ago when Galileo was introducing ideas that upset the scientific establishment. Would she have said, “Look people, the science is settled on this – Ptolemy was right”? Even well established science can still be wrong. Most scientists will admit this. Still, certain elitists only allow debate within the scientific community. Lay people are not allowed to have an opinion other than then current consensus of the establishment.

What is most amusing about the article is this disclaimer:
The statement also says that the NCSE will not take a position on what, if anything, should be done to counteract global warming or mitigate its effects. “What to do about it ranges widely and gets outside of the strict science and into policy issues in which many, many variables are going to have to be considered,” says Scott. “We are not a policy think tank; we don’t have expertise in this area.”
Wait a minute! They don't have expertise in this area? Why exactly, then, is she taking a side on this issue? On the one hand, they claim not to know enough to recommend a solution but on the other hand, they know enough to know it's absolutely true and students don't just need to be taught about it but need to believe it. I know why they are interested. Even though their expertise is not in global warming, Scott is still commenting on her area of expertise – propaganda!

8 comments:

Wesley said...

You're not the first to say so, by any means. So who did you pick up this bad habit from?

Wesley R. Elsberry

RKBentley said...

Wesley,

Thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, I'm sure I'm not the first person who has used the term "Science Nazi." Ben Stein's movie "Expelled" was premised on this very idea. He may have even used the term in there - I can't recall. Of course, there is also the link you cited.

I'm not sure what "bad habit" you're referring to. Is it simply calling someone a "Nazi"? Well, I believe I supported my claim in my post. Many sites I've visited merely call people names without making any argument of substance. Being a conservative, I'm well aware of the usual tactic of liberals to call any conservative a "Nazi." It's used so often that it's lost some of its "shock value." Perhaps I shouldn't use the term but if the shoe fits...

Thanks again for visiting. Please come back. Also, tell your friends about the crazy, right-wing, Christian nut who has a blog.

God bless!!
RKBentley

Wesley said...

Your question about what the bad habit is could be answered by reading the essay at the link. But if that doesn't suit, let me sum up: the use of "nazi" and "soviet" as epithets by the religious antievolution community turn reality on its head. The essay looks at previous examples, but Ben Stein's and your own usage are simply further unwarranted instances.

As for usual tactics, the two incompatible flavors of totalitarianism noted above are nonetheless a commonplace piece of invidious comparison rhetoric aimed at pro-science advocates. See the link for copious documentation of antievolution advocates having their ugly bits of hateful speech.

You think that you've supported your use of the term, but what I see mostly in your "rant" is ignorance. For instance, you make the claim that Genie Scott loathes the idea that anyone anywhere believes in creation. Anyone paying attention to recent events would have noticed that Genie Scott and NCSE have come under fire from a variety of the "new atheist" writers for being too accommodating of religious belief. This doesn't go well with your claim, does it? Speaking of propaganda, let's examine your final paragraph, you know, the one whose message is entirely based on transparent equivocation on your part. Genie obviously was saying that NCSE did not have expertise in the role of "policy think tank", yet you insist that her statement was about NCSE's familiarity with the issues in climate science. Are you really that desperate to claim to have a wholly illusory point?

Wesley R. Elsberry

Steven J. said...

First, you offer no evidence that the NCSE wishes to battle creationists "wherever they are found;" "science teachers" are presumably found in the schools.

Second, Scott is not advocating or defending "truth by consensus." You specifically quote Scott as saying that students should be presented with "the reasons" why scientists believe as they do -- not with the mere fact that they believe as they do. Scott is talking about evidence, not consensus.

Now, I realize that as a creationist, you don't think that evidence is much of a reason to believe something. The evidence must be interpreted, as you say, and your interpretation is that no matter what the evidence is, God just, for His own ineffable reasons, specially created it that way. So you perhaps cannot even grasp the concept that some people think that evidence, in fact, matters, and that the only reasonable interpretation of the evidence rules out some views and rules others in.

RKBentley said...

Wesley,

I did skim through your essay but I really don't see how it applies to me. I have posted about 450 posts on my blog over th last 4 years and, to my recollection, this is the only time I've ever used the term "science nazi." It's neither "usual" nor a "habit."

I see your essay as a rather elaborate attempt to poison the well. As I have said, this isn't a term I ordinarily use but the moment I do, you're there with your link saying, "see, this is what they always do."

Finally, I think it's somewhat disingenuise to suggest Scott is claiming expertise of any sort in the science surrounding global warming. The NCSE is not a research group conducting science at all. They are precisely a political group aimed at shaping policy.

Thanks again for visiting. Thanks also fot the link on the anti-evolution website. Please visit again.

God bless!!
RKBentley

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

Thanks for your comments. You said, “First, you offer no evidence that the NCSE wishes to battle creationists "wherever they are found;" "science teachers" are presumably found in the schools.”

The term, “battling creationists” is from the subtitle of the article I was citing. They certainly don't limit their activities to creationism in schools as “evidenced” by the NCSE's crusade against AiG and the Creation Museum which I also mentioned in the article. You might read on their website the articles, “Creationism, A Trip to the Dark Side” or “The Anti-Museum: An overview and review of the Answers in Genesis Creation 'Museum'.” As I've already said, AiG specifically disavows creation being taught in public schools and the Creation Museum is a private, religious institution. Yet the NCSE targets creationism prominently on their website.

You said, “Second, Scott is not advocating or defending "truth by consensus."”

OK, she doesn't use those words. I was characterizing her argument based on her actual words like, “scientists overwhelmingly accept climate change.” She also doesn't like the idea of “teaching the controversy.” Why not? Is it really better to teach kids to simply trust the overwhelming majority of scientists rather than teach them to consider both sides of an controversial issue like global warming?

You said, “You specifically quote Scott as saying that students should be presented with "the reasons" why scientists believe as they do -- not with the mere fact that they believe as they do. Scott is talking about evidence, not consensus.”

As I said, it's cleverly worded. I restate my point about “teaching the controversy.” If she's only interested in presenting the evidence, why is she so determined to present only one interpretation of the evidence – the popular one?

You said, “Now, I realize that as a creationist, you don't think that evidence is much of a reason to believe something. The evidence must be interpreted, as you say, and your interpretation is that no matter what the evidence is, God just, for His own ineffable reasons, specially created it that way. So you perhaps cannot even grasp the concept that some people think that evidence, in fact, matters, and that the only reasonable interpretation of the evidence rules out some views and rules others in.”

I've always said that truth trumps theory. I believe evidence is important but I realize (perhaps better than most) that evidence is neutral. We invent theories to explain the evidence – the evidence doesn't write the theories. Your theory might seem to explain certain evidence reasonably well (yet other evidence not so well) but your theory is still not true. Your interpretation of the evidence is also guided by a presupposition to naturalism though you have no evidence which justifies methodological naturalism. Of course, we've covered all that before.

Thanks again for your comments and for visiting.

God bless!!
RKBentley

madbat089 said...

"I've always said that truth trumps theory. I believe evidence is important but I realize (perhaps better than most) that evidence is neutral."

I agree. Evidence is neutral, and it trumps theory. Have you talked to anyone living in either of the polar regions of the earth lately? I happen to know a number of folks living and working on the northern edge of Alaska. For anyone living up there, climate change is not a theory. It's truth, evidence happening, millions of square miles of glaciers and sea-ice melting every summer and not returning in the winter, in front of their eyes, every year, every day.

RKBentley said...

Madbat089,

Thanks for your comments and for visiting my blog.

You said, “I agree. Evidence is neutral, and it trumps theory.”

Your comment doesn't agree with mine. I said “truth trumps theory.” You said, “Evidence is neutral, and it [evidence] trumps theory.” I disagree with your paraphrase. How can evidence be neutral and also trump theory?

You said, “Have you talked to anyone living in either of the polar regions of the earth lately?”

I get visitors to my blog from all over the world. At least once, I've even had a visitor from Antarctica. Sometimes they leave comments but I don't recall any who commented about the weather in their part of the world.

You said, “I happen to know a number of folks living and working on the northern edge of Alaska. For anyone living up there, climate change is not a theory. It's truth, evidence happening, millions of square miles of glaciers and sea-ice melting every summer and not returning in the winter, in front of their eyes, every year, every day.”

Your far flung friends may be very credible but their testimony is anecdotal. We could discuss global warming but global warming wasn't really the point of my post so I'll save that discussion for a future post.

Thanks again for visiting. God bless!!
RKBentley