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In A Democracy, Everything Is Political. Even Science.

Stream: On the Left, Bad Politics Leads to Bad Science

(Insanity & Doom updates resume after Christmas.)

“All I Want For Christmas Is Full Communism Now”.

Not I. It is the desire of BuzzFeed’s UK science editor Kelly Oakes. The verified user tweeted out that sentiment to her many followers.

She soon thought better of it and locked her account because of the reaction from readers who reminded Oakes of communism’s tens and tens of millions of victims.

[…]

Victims of Trumpenpanick

Another BuzzFeed reporter and verified Twitter user, Blake Montgomery, earlier tweeted “‘Victims of Communism’ is a white nationalist talking point. Trump just made Nov 7 Natl Day for vics of Communism.” He later apologized.

[…]

Not-so-banned words

Trumpenpanick accounts for the mini-frenzy caused by the Washington Post. Last week, it reported that the Trump administration “banned” the Center for Disease Control from using certain science words.

With a face as straight as poker legend Nick the Greek’s, the paper said […]

Fake news

Turns out it’s fake news.

Responding to the flap, CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald tweeted “I want to assure you there are no banned words at CDC. We will continue to talk about all our important public health programs.”

She also had to write, “As part of our commitment to provide for the common defense of the country against health threats, science is and will remain the foundation of our work”, and she called the Post’s report “a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process.”

Incidentally, you might ask yourself why there would a revolt over terms like “evidence-based” or “science-based”. That’s because these have specific meanings within science, and relate to a devotion to a certain method of analyzing data and communicating results, a devotion many scientists find annoying (and not particularly compelling).

Necessity of politics

Now there is little point to complaining about the politicization of science. Ever since governments became its main financial support, science has been political. (The National Science Foundation dates only to 1950.)

It is not wrong per se that science is political. Politics, after all, can at least in theory be a force for good. It was politics that decided it would be nifty to toodle off to the moon.

[…]

Diversity

As an example of the intrusion of bad politics, take the recent report in “prestigious” Nature magazine, “Five priorities for weather and climate research” at the World Meteorological Organization.

You might think one of these priorities would be education on the (severe) limitation of climate models, since the ones they have stink at predicting the future. But, no. The real problem, they say, is—wait for it—the lack of diversity.

“Female scientists,” they say, “and those in developing countries need support.” By “support” they mean […]

Be scientific. Explore the remainder of the post!

3 thoughts on “In A Democracy, Everything Is Political. Even Science. Leave a comment

  1. Briggs —

    “Politics, after all, can in theory be a force for good. It was politics that decided it would be nifty to toodle off to the moon.”

    Hmmm. So it is justified — good — to use the gun to steal money to fund pet projects. Then why is it not OK for someone else to do the same?

  2. Jim, this is for you. Merry Christmas!

    Zardoz: Zardoz speaks to you, his chosen ones. You have been raised up from brutality, to kill the brutals who multiply, and are legion. To this end, Zardoz your god gave you the gift of the gun. The gun is good.
    Exterminators: The gun is good.
    Zardoz: The penis is evil. The penis shoots seeds, and makes new life, and poisons the earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the gun shoots death, and purifies the earth of the filth of brutals. Go forth and kill!

  3. Briggs: “communism’s tens and tens of millions of victims”

    I took a look at that topic. Consequently, I lost the certainty that the range of ‘tens of millions’ is true.

    “BuzzFeed’s UK science editor Kelly Oakes: “All I Want For Christmas Is Full Communism Now”. ”

    Given her ‘job,’ she might (i) have a penchant for contrarianism, and (ii) be a fan of the Star Trek franchise, that, in turn, depicts a state of affairs that’s quasi-communist. Maybe that connection is what she had in mind. Maybe.

    This past month I wrote down my observations and reactions on these matters. https://mybreaddaily.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/what-of-communism/

    Don’t go combative on me, I don’t compete with you.

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