0 Morty Asked: July 10, 2019In: Culture, Other why is science so political? And why does it make you seem left leaning to other people when you don’t deny scientific discoveries? 0 why is science so political? And why does it make you seem left leaning to other people when you don’t deny scientific discoveries? In: Culture Share Facebook 5 Answers Voted 00zau Added an answer on July 10, 2019 at 4:57 pm “A man with one watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.” There are so many facts and studies out there, you can say whatever you want and find some data to back it up. And that’s not a left/right divide; on a given issue, both sides have evidence that is compelling to their supporters. The only question is what *you* believe in, and thus which ‘numbers’ you end up following. As a ‘light’ example, the current ‘controversy’ over US Women’s Soccer. One side can *accurately* site that they are paid less than the Men’s soccer team in *absolute* terms, and draw a set of conclusions from that. The other side can just as accurately point out that the women’s team is being paid a higher *percentage* of the revenue their respective teams bring in, and draw a different set of conclusions from that. 0 Reply Share Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp lawlipop83 Added an answer on July 10, 2019 at 5:31 pm Coming from a conservative : Specifically to Climate Change – I do not deny that the climate is changing. What I do deny is the alarmism. A lot of conservative folks feel the same way. The climate is changing, but as part of a natural cycle. There have been too many predictions, and models and scientific certainties touted by left-leaning politicians and established scientific bodies that have fallen flat on their faces….dead wrong….for me to put much stock in it anymore. It just so happens that the left hitched their carriage to that mentality. That the climate change we are experiencing is dangerous and world-ending. There have been too many instances of “corrections” being made to fit the predicted outcome instead of just taking the data for what it is and analyzing it. Below is a list of relatively big “oops” moments. Now most people will argue “Well, since those days we have taken action and averted disaster!”. Unfortunately, America is only 350 Million of 7-8 billion people in the world. Other countries, with much larger populations have MUCH less regulation in manufacturing, garbage disposal, etc. Look up pictures/articles of “trash rivers in india” or “pollution in china”. Some of these countries still regularly dispose of caustic chemicals in their riverways. Yeah the US stopped, but the rest of the world hasn’t slowed down one bit. That being said on to the good stuff. Since the first earth day in 1970 (All of these were wrong) : 1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” 2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment. 3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” 4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” 5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By… some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” 6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.” 7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness. 8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” 9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….” 10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” 11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate. 12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles. 13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out. (Note: According to the most recent CDC report, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years). 14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” 15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990. 16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.” 17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.” 18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” And that is just from the 70s. We have had 50 years of predictions, none of which seem to come true. The new ice age/ The rain forests disappearing – They are actually on the mend/ The maldives being under water – still there/ No snow on Kilimanjaro – Still snowy/ Al Gore’s “Point of no return”/ Global Warming transitioning into Climate Change when the pause couldnt be explained/ James Hanse’s “Critical tipping point”/ The UN claimed that entire countries would be washed away by the year 2000 (in the 1980s)/ There are too many to list. They “correct” data until it fits their model and then write an article. It is tiring. 0 Reply Share Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp MajinAsh Added an answer on July 10, 2019 at 4:42 pm Science is political because it affects policy. If your job is to mine coal and science says coal is bad your job is now on the line. You will vote for someone who disagrees with the science because otherwise you and your family are going hungry Also you don’t always seem left leaning if you don’t deny scientific findings, it just depends on which scientific findings you disagree with. The antivax movement is largely liberal mothers, disagreeing with vaccine science doesn’t seem right wing at all. However the most visible science argument right now is climate change which the right is against because a large portion of their base will suffer (at least in the short term) from policies made to combat climate change. This is why you think agreeing with science makes you seem left wing: the biggest most talked about example of this scenario supports it. 0 Reply Share Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp MackMizzo Added an answer on July 10, 2019 at 5:40 pm Science is powerful and the current, most respected “final authority.” It used to be the church, and that was when clergy got highly politicized as well. And with politicization comes money, with money and special interests come corruption, it picks away at the credibility of an institution. As far as climate change is concerned I don’t think it’s the science and objective findings that are contentious, but rather the interpretation and reaction on part of the media, which is then projected onto science itself. 0 Reply Share Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp DoctorOddfellow Added an answer on July 10, 2019 at 4:30 pm I [answered a similar question](https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/6euf97/eli5_generally_speaking_why_are_conservatives_so/) to this on ELI5 around two years ago (and got gilded for the answer!). The previous question was more specific to climate change, but it applies to the politicization of science in general as well. Here’s what I wrote then: > > Generally speaking, why are conservatives so opposed to the concept of climate change? > > A combination of corporate influence on public policy and a growing anti-science sentiment among American conservatives that is fueled (perhaps simultaneously intentionally and unintentionally) by religion, media, and access to the Internet. How we wound up with this mess took decades to coalesce. > > The corporate influence is the easiest to explain. Many large industries, including the energy industry, have traditionally viewed environmental regulation negatively, as additional regulation can create additional expense for industries, particularly in the short-term. This has put most large industries on the side of the Republican party which has traditionally been a proponent of smaller government and, thus, less regulation. So corporations that view additional regulation negatively throw their financial support behind Republican candidates that will vote against environmental regulation (and other types of regulation as well). > > The Republicans typically spin this as “More regulation = higher expenses for companies = less jobs,” while ignoring that throughout history the shift to newer and better technologies leads to economic growth and better-paying, higher skilled jobs. I.e., yes, we may have fewer horse groomer and wheelwright jobs now than we had before we made the switch from horse & buggy to automobiles, but those losses were more than made up for by the millions of jobs in manufacturing that came with the switch. Likewise, we will lose, for example, coal miner jobs as we move away from carbon fuels, but we’ll wind up with millions of new jobs in newer, greener industries. > > However, that’s not much consolation to the coal mining communities of West Virginia and their elected representatives and the coal companies that support and lobby them, though. So those representatives vote against progress. > > That part is fairly simple and straightforward and has played itself out over and over in the history of American politics. Eventually, progress wins (mostly). Where it gets trickier is when religion and media get mixed into it. > > Science has always had it’s religious detractors (just ask Galileo), but until the mid-20th century there wasn’t a lot of *direct* conflict between religion and science in the American political theater (mostly because religion held sway). However, science really picked up steam in the 20th century and started having amazing positive impacts on people’s daily lives, increasing its acceptance in society and, subsequently, knocking religious/scriptural explanations of how the world works back on its heels. > > This gave rise to a fundamentalist evangelical Christian movement in the US that has a strong anti-science bent, as much science contradicts scripture. It particularly took off in the late 70’s and the 80’s, but you can see elements of it back to the 50’s and earlier. Organizations like The Moral Majority strengthened religious opposition on scientific and science-related issues like abortion, stem cell research, evolution, etc. to the point of things like preventing evolution from being taught in some school districts (or requiring that creationism be taught along with it). Since fundamentalist, evangelical Christians disproportionately identify as Republicans these issues became core components of the Republican platform. > > Concurrently with this, there was a growing backlash among conservatives against universities, as colleges and universities, particularly in the 1960’s, were seen (not incorrectly) as having been a hotbed of liberalism that generated significant support for the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the opposition to the Vietnam war, and other liberal / Democratic issues. And where does science come from? Universities. So science gets branded with the scarlet letter of Liberalism by association. That adds to conservative distrust. > > And it’s in the 70’s and 80’s where — at least in my opinion — stuff starts to really get murky. You have the corporate funders of Republican candidates pushing back against environmental regulations that limit their short-term profits. You have Christian fundamentalists pushing back against particular fields of science that contradict scripture. You have mainstream Republicans pushing back against liberalism in universities, and eventually, in primary and secondary school, which influences the Christian fundamentalists and spawns the home-schooling movement and the school vouchers movement (to use public money to send kids to private religious schools). > > **This all comes together in a weird mix of growing skepticism on the right about both science and education.** I think the corporate funders *picked up on this* and started backing candidates that expressed those skeptical, anti-science views because that landed them more Republican voters, hopefully more successful Republican candidates winning seats to get them (the corporations) more representation in government … which then supports their anti-regulation desires. > > **So somewhere in that late-20th century political realm, religious skepticism about science got in bed with corporate anti-environmental-regulation interests and that anti-regulation, anti-science combo made a powerful mix for getting Republican candidates elected.** > > Then, in the next decade, the nineties, you introduce the expanded role of media — particularly 24/7 cable news — and the Internet into the mix. What this does is create echo chambers, so that the population that is voting for these anti-regulation, anti-science candidates can now get all of their information exclusively from sources (e.g. Fox News Channel and conservative websites) that support and reinforce the same anti-regulation, anti-science, pro-religion positions that they hold. > > That’s how we wind up with a whole political party that not only regularly ignores science and logic, but goes through all sorts of mental gymnastics to come up with alternative explanations that, though having no basis in fact, can be piped through the echo chamber to strengthen their hold on their political base. > > If you [look at the data](http://i.imgur.com/kNAiir4.png), from the early 70’s onward, except for a small bounce in the 80’s under Reagan but *particularly* from the 1992 election onward, there has been a pretty continuous decline of trust in science among people who identify as conservative. (Source of that chart is [this article](https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/apr/28/can-the-republican-party-solve-its-science-denial-problem).) > > I used to think that Republican candidates were just in the pocket of Big Business, and took anti-science stances to keep their corporate campaign donations rolling in. But increasingly I think the Republican candidates that are getting elected now came up and were educated in the political environment of the last 40 years that I described above and _**actually** don’t believe in science_ at all … or believe it’s a liberal conspiracy … or at the least are selective in what science they are willing to believe. That’s *really* chilling. > > This is a troubling position for our country to be in. The one ray of hope that I see is that, in the long-term, corporations know that they have to invest in science to continue to grow and be relevant. > > [Even Exxon Mobile and ConocoPhillips, the two largest US oil & gas companies, urged Trump not to abandon the Paris Accord](https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-31/exxon-conoco-back-paris-climate-deal-as-trump-weighs-pact-exit). Of course, that may have just been a PR move, since they had nothing to lose at that point. But they *are* global companies and know that _they must make the shift to different energy sources **anyway**_ to continue to sell into the global economy. > > I expect that at some point in the next 5-10 years, the corporations that fund the Republicans will be well on their way to making the switch to greener energy policies to stay competitive in the global marketplace and will be driving the Republican candidates they fund *away* from those climate change-denial policies that they drove them *toward* for the last 30 years because the corporations are going to want those sweet, sweet government tax dollars to pay for their conversion to greener sources. > > That does not bode well for Republicans. Republicans benefited over the last 40-50 years from an anti-science alignment between corporate interests and the religious interests of their base. But that anti-science — particularly climate science — stances on the part of American corporations was inevitably destined to be temporary. As soon as the rest of the world — *and the rest of the world’s corporations* — get on board with greener technologies, the corporations will toss the religious Conservatives to the curb quicker than you can say “quarterly earnings report.” 0 Reply Share Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Leave an answerLeave an answerCancel reply Attachment Select file Browse Featured image Select file Browse What is the capital of UK? ( London ) Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.