Anti-Science Movement Explained

This forum is for friendly discussion among DesignCommunity members on weather, sports, politics, fishing, and those other parts of life that don't fit into the topic-specific DesCom discussions.

Anti-Science Movement Explained

Postby WalkerARCHITECTS » Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:17 pm

The anti-science movement by Republicans, the anti-health care movement by Republicans, the anti-wage movement by Republicans and the anti-democracy movement created by the Republican conspiracy and empowered now by the Citizens United Decision, by Republicans in the Supreme Court,... has most Democrats in a twist.

What exactly are Republicans in favor of? What do they intend to use Citizens United to achieve? In a word it is all about money. That is all they care about.

The anti-science movement is hilarious in the sense that it reveals how absurd the failure to engage design intelligence has become. They are not planning ahead or preparing for the future. How do you make money that way? Money is made by exploitation not innovation or superior business processes in the Republican mind, exists an idea, we call "the god given right to make money".

There are fundamental differences in worldview that drive people to become political liberals or conservatives. The biggest fundamental difference may arise from the attitudes and polarity of the way a person thinks when you exploit the labor of others to make yourself money.

I am of the opinion that there are a small number of "basic cognitive traits" that drive a lot of our political differences, and that most of the time we're not even aware they exist. People are different and they have different physical attributes. Perhaps Republicans have different brains and different cognitive processes driven by the architecture of the brain. These traits developed via interactions of both biological evolution and cultural evolution, and they've been confirmed by a wide body of research (anthropology, MRI scans, psychological testing, etc.).

So why am I convinced that it is about money and the exploitation of others to get it. Simply by observing what is actually so. As a professional I am paid to carefully examine the solutions to Architectural problems. In this case I am skeptical in particular about the idea that conservative attitudes toward science, as a discipline, arise from one or more of these innate "cognitive traits"? I have three supporting reasons.

First: When you read arguments that conservatives are anti-science, the bill of particulars is often fairly long. But really, there are only two big-ticket items: evolution and climate change. Both of these represent obstruction to the right to dominion over the Earth. The rest of the objection to science is not threatening to their profit potential. To acquire wealth requires exploitation of labor and natural resources.

But really, how central to conservative thought can these two things be? After all, mainstream conservative Europeans don't deny climate science and conservative Catholics don't deny evolution. So what is wrong with Republicans?

What's more, conservative suspicion toward both evolution and climate science is pretty easy to explain. Doubt about evolution is obviously bound up with religious belief, and the god given right to make money. This establishes why conservatives tend to be more literally religious than liberals and American conservatives tend toward the evangelical Protestant strain of literalism in their Biblical interpretation. Clearly the doubts about climate change are motivated by a dislike of the business regulation that would be necessary to bring correction to the Carbon Dioxide impact.

Not surprisingly, once again that is simply self interest, because regulation limits the capacity to exploit others and natural resources to make money. I really don't think you need the sledgehammer of innate cognitive traits to explain either of these functions obviously there is a more simple and direct explanation . GREED.

Second: Conservatives tend to value in-group loyalty more than liberals and are more sensitive to outside threats. Why? Democrats should be equally concerned about outside threats. This produces high levels of nationalism and support for the military.

The simple extrapolation makes sense. What cognitive trait makes you anti-science in that context? Science is your best hope for military superiority. We must be skeptical of Republicans being skeptical of science in general. It appears that science is subject to skepticism when and only when it interfears with the exploitation of natural resources or labor. If it costs more, like Health Care does then it is bad. Science must not interfere with the god given right to make money. Health Care is closely associated with science and it must also not interfere with the right to make money.

Consequently Republicans in such circumstances take science with a grain of salt, where ever the rule applies.

Third: Liberals also can be skeptical of science. The science wars of the '80s and '90s didn't get the headlines that climate change and evolution do today. The academic left that was vitriolic ally opposed to a new and emerging science. They were opposed to the emerging science of innate cognitive traits and their effect on human behavior. They had good reason to be skeptical. For one it made explaining Republican behavior easier and not related to greed centered thinking. They were opposed to this science (and still is, to some extent) because they didn't like some of the conclusions you get when you acknowledge that human cognition is partly determined by biology.

This still does not explain something like climate skepticism, resistance to health Care reform or the Citizens United Decision which my money theory does explain but never the less the science has become more certain, and it shares a lot of the same features in a roundabout way.

Republicans are interested in building “institutions” that provide their followers with reliably conservative answers to social and political problems. Even though they frequently make up their own data or interpret data through the myopic lens of special interest. Given either theory that’s hardly a surprise. They are invested in delegitimizing institutions that are either liberal or neutral and therefore don't provide their followers with reliably conservative answers consistent with the objective of exploiting natural resources and labor to augment wealth. The "it’s about money theory" and the theory of "cognitive traits" both explain why they attack the institutions of science, mainstream journalism, entertainment, and academia in general, where ever it might impact the god given right to make money.

There's a complex interplay of biology and culture that produces liberals and conservatives in the first place. But once a conservative movement is in place, it's inevitable that it will attack conclusions it doesn't like and institutions that aren't on board with the conservative agenda. That includes the institutions of science to some extent and a few specific scientific results to a very large extent. This is driven by the common sense of money. Could it be that simple? I don't think you need evolutionary psychology to explain it.

The deeper religiosity of conservatives is probably due in part to some innate cognitive trait or the money theory. Take your pick. Skepticism of evolution is just a subset of that cognitive trait, or it is driven by the idea that the god given right to make money must be protected and that the pecking order in human society must be sustained as well. All of this must be combined with a healthy dose of path dependence within American Protestantism, not the result of some kind of generalized anti-science trait.

In conclusion the "money theory" is more elegant than the idea of "cognitive traits". Tests and scientific studies will confirm our rough analysis or disprove the theory and its intrinsic conjecture. Like all Architects I draw conclusions and people build upon them.

There is a serious side to it.

Every minute of every day, 17 children die from hunger and preventable diseases.

The countries most affected by the food crisis in the Sahel are Niger, Chad and Mali, where irregular rains and swarms of locusts and pests destroyed entire harvests. Most families in Niger, especially those living along the border with Mali, are running out of food. Refugees are resorting to sleeping in the open, without access to basic services. Many are forced to drink muddy water — putting them at risk of waterborne disease.

Denial of climate change science may contribute to the mounting crisis and the consequential failure to act may contribute to and expand the climate driven disasters around the world. The first action taken must be to acknowledge the best available science and to form policy accordingly.

Not surprisingly, the Senate's most vocal climate change denier, Sen. James "Global Warming Is a Hoax" Inhofe (R-OK), is the first out the gate. He has sworn to offer a resolution that would strike the EPA climate rule down and work to prevent EPA from working on similar regulations in the future. This validation of the money theory is no hoax.

Here in the USA climate deniers and the Dirty Air Lobby are already plotting to sabotage the EPA's proposed standard for climate pollution from new power plants. 30,000 Americans in the USA die every year because of dirty air according to Harvard Studies and the Clean Air task force.

Everywhere you look, evidence is mounting that the planet is already experiencing unprecedented climate events from the record-shattering March heat wave across much of the U.S. to the exceptional drought and heat across most of Texas last summer to the continued rapid melting of the planet's glaciers. Thankfully, the EPA has stepped in to propose a common sense rule to limit climate pollution from new power plants a crucial step to keeping us on a path to cleaner energy.

Reason must prevail over price.
Posts: 808
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 3:12 am

Re: Anti-Science Movement Explained

Postby Kevin » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:46 pm

I'm with you on the general idea that a scurrilous and broadly counter-productive anti-science movement is rampant in the U.S.

And I also think the idea of innate characteristics, and how they are reflected in our actions, attitudes, and politics, is very intriguing.

However, I'm not convinced that our psychological and sociological sciences are nearly advanced enough to provide us with solid, reliable knowledge to build on this area.

And in the absence of really practically useful science, I'm concerned that attributing the views of different political groups to innate characteristics will dilute ones good intentions and ultimate effectiveness through stereotyping and even demonization.

My own first-hand experience suggests that innate personality characteristics are fairly broadly distributed - even if only because our bureaucratic systems have no functional basis for sifting them apart.

There are sensitive, caring people in the military. There are savage brutes in social services. Etc.

Further, my first-hand experience suggests that in the context of certain kinds of deeply collaborative, consensus-oriented participatory process, one can readily see the common humanity that scares and comforts at least 95% of us.

One example of such a process that I had the privilege to be part of was the West Eugene Collaborative community planning effort, in which a full spectrum of community leaders, including design, business, government, conservative, progressive, environmental, and extraction industrial perspectives, reached full consensus on a new vision for a traffic-blighted sector of Eugene, Oregon: ... laborative

Another example, on a larger scale which I know only from a variety of sources, not first hand, is the process that broke down polarization between farmers, salmon-oriented tribes, and hydropower interests to reach the historic shared decision to take down four dams on the Klamath river along the California/Oregon border, and to rework water allocations for a balanced benefit of all parties, not just victory for one or another.

(The ultimate outcome of that amazing and broadly healing process, involving a number of Federal agencies, is currently awaiting approval in the U.S. Congress. One shudders to contemplate the sausage-making.)

I agree with you that the current U.S. system, overall, is not getting the job done.

And the problems and roadblocks are obviously non-trivial. I'm just not sure they are, in most cases, innate to the people. I suspect most of our divisions in the U.S. are actually more cultural - even if deep in various subcultures - than fundamental.

I tend to think an alternative hypothesis provides better opportunities for great design-thinking — diffusing the exploiter smoke screen of polarization to focus on deep, basic common human values, enabling the envisioning and implementation of creative win-win solutions through participatory public-interest problem solving.

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 1886
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 6:59 pm
Location: Eugene, Oregon

Return to Fireside Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

User Control Panel


Who is online

In this forum zone there are 3 users online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 3 guests (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 593 on Sat May 26, 2018 5:18 pm

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests
DesignCommunity   ·   ArchitectureWeek   ·   Great Buildings   ·   Archiplanet   ·   Books   ·   Blogs   ·   Search
Special thanks to our sustaining subscribers Building Design UK, Building Design News UK, and Building Design Tenders UK.