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Leftists disguise themselves with lab coats

Posted by John Reed on

I sort of agree with some of the principles of the demonstrators around the world—called the March for Science. The headline on our local paper was “Fans of facts take to the streets.” But is was on the occasion of Earth Day, a day when liberals say they support the earth in order to imply that conservatives do not.

This wall has long been explicitly devoted to drawing conclusions based on facts and logic.…/60887299-intellectually-honest-…

One of their clever placards said,

“What do we want? Evidence-based science.
“When do we want it? After peer review.”

I like the first half of that. Peer review, however, is the subject of item #27 in my list of intellectually-dishonest debate tactics:

27. Peer approval of subjective opinion: “Proving” correctness of a subjective statement by citing the approval of political allies in the same subject—so-called peer review in academia. Peer approval has value when it relates to objective standards like those in STEM subjects like mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Such peers check the accuracy of calculations, the cleanliness of laboratories, and whether they can replicate the results in their own experiments.

But peer review is of little probative (proving) value when it relates to subjective areas like sociology, economics, or women’s studies where the peers in question, and indeed the whole field or large portions of it, have a particular political agenda. What is considered correct academic teaching in high schools is determined by long-term, circular, self-reinforcing, peer group-think unaffected by results achieved by their students.

Meanwhile, at those very same high schools, numerous coaches and athletic directors decide what is correct by whether it produces victory in athletic competition against other high schools, a.k.a. results. 

Global warming advocates are big on using this. I heard one opponent scientist observe dryly when hit with the global-warming “consensus” argument, “In science, we do not take a poll to ascertain the truth.” 2 + 2 = 4 no matter how many people say it is 5.

By the way, the Global warming/climate change theory is not based on science. It is based on a computer model. There is such a thing as model error, which does not require science error. See the Wikipedia article on Butterfly Effect. In Latin, this logic fallacy is called Argumentum ad numerum or Argumentum ad populum.

Is peer review good or bad? It depends on the peers in question. If they are all federal government employees and/or academics whose salaries are paid indirectly by federal grants, not so much.

I was not at any of the demonstrations. The thought would never occur to me.

Unfortunately, these were Trump haters, not facts lovers. Their real agenda was climate change and federal funding for Democrat programs.

Their definition of science is a person with a scientific degree who agrees with their agenda, usually an employee of government.

Bill Nye the Science guy, who spoke at the DC rally, is actually a lapsed mechanical engineer. How did he get to be a science guy? He took a course on astronomy from Carl Sagan at Cornell, started wearing a bow tie, and made sure that whenever the Leftists talked about science, he swore by it on PBS.

An underlying assumption of all this is that science exists only when the US taxpayers pay for it. The Wright Brothers and Thomas Edison were mythical characters. This is akin to the notion that Big Bird would cease to exist if funding for the National Endowment for the Arts were cut. (Big Bird and his fellow CTW characters were signed to a five-year contract by the for-profit HBO in 2015.) If it ain’t federal, it doesn’t exist.

Tellingly, actual scientists were turned off by the demonstrations. “Activism doesn’t belong in science,” they said. Science is a disciplined search for correct conclusions. Activism assumes their agenda is correct without science. Activism is a disciplined pursuit of political power.

Conservative publisher Matthew Cunningham got it right when he said,

“All they’re saying is that their policy preferences are science-based and anyone who disagrees with them is anti-science.”

Another clever sign said,

“The Empirical strikes back.”

Empirical is a fancy academic word for results. If the Left is so fond of results, where did I get the impetus to write articles like…/69792323-process-orientation-ve….

Liberals love the Head Start Program. They promised it would result in long-term improvements in the performance of inner-city public students. Then their own study—empirical—said it did not. They utterly ignored it and again funded it. “The empirical strikes out” is more like it with the people waving that sign.

One demonstrator in Livermore, CA did not get the memo. Her sign revealed the wolf inside the lab coats clothing,

“Only You Can Resist Fascist Liars.” Lots of empirical facts in that sentiment.

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