Thursday, August 20, 2015

Why Do Conservatives Hate Science?

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Full Text of Iran Nuclear Deal


I've been arguing with a bunch of people on a conservative site that mostly opposes the Iran Nuclear deal. They demand transparency! They want to see the deal for themselves! They suspect there are nefarious reasons why the Obama administration is keeping it secret.

I asked them if they thought they would understand it if they did read it. After all, you have to know about chemistry and physics and how nuclear enrichment works and the mechanics of centrifuges and more. They insisted that they weren't as dumb as I seemed to think they were (though I admitted that I didn't believe I would understand all this exotic science) and they could perfectly well interpret the deal for themselves.

So, I posted it....the full deal (you can read it above if you care to). So far, no one has gotten back to me with their expert analysis.

I don't understand why Republicans seem to hate science so much. Practically every problem we face in the world today, almost every issue, involves science. Science is certainly critical to understanding the Iran deal....that's why we had our top physicist central to the negotiations....and so did the other countries in the coalition.

Climate change which may end up being THE issue of the 21st century is pure science.

Energy resources? Science.

Abortion and the mysteries of of the reproductive system? Science.

Whether homosexuality is innate or learned? Science.

We even learn about our economy through the use of scientific models to predict markets and consumer behavior.

Of course, anything to do with the world of medicine relies on science.

If we ever find a "cure" for addiction, it will be scientists who find it.

Space exploration depends on science.

Farming has become more and more about science.

Computer technology - science.

Every stride mankind has made, both positive and negative (cures for diseases versus nuclear weapons) has come about because of science. People live who would have died because of science. We gone to the moon and to Mars because of science. We've built great buildings and bridges and monuments because of science. (The creators of the pyramids and the Great Wall of China used science whether they knew it or not). We've learned about our earth and our oceans and our air because of science. It was rudimentary science that gave us fire and the wheel.

So, why do so many conservatives pooh-pooh science and scientists? Why would they rather believe fundamentalist preachers than those who devote their lives to research and actually know what they are talking about? Albert Einstein or Mike Huckabee? Stephen Hawking or Rick Santorum? Carl Sagan or name your garden variety "send me $50 and I'll say a prayer for you" preacher.

One possible answer is that conservatives like to be assured that they are absolutely, positively right about everything. Science hardly ever makes such definitive statements. Scientists speak in terms of theories ("what we know so far") because they accept that knowledge is ever-changing and there will be times when they will have to change or expand their theories due to new evidence coming to light.

Preachers don't do that. The Bible is forever correct on all things. Once you know what the Good Book says, you can put that subject aside and never consider it again. There, isn't that much more comfortable than engaging in a constant quest for further enlightenment? Never knowing for sure what all the answers are causes stress and insecurity.

With the casting out of science by conservatives, we are watching the dumbing down of America going on right in front of our very eyes.