Take it or Leave it: “IT’S THE SCIENCE, STUPID!” But for Conservatives and Progressives Alike, the ‘Science’ has to FIT…by Jim Stiles


Portland and Mt Hood

“Portland and Mt Hood” by Amateria1121. Licensed under CC via Wikimedia Commons

Climate change ‘deniers’ are a never-ending source of frustration and dismay to those who believe that global warming is real and already having an adverse effect. To them, the time for debating its existence is over and the conclusion inescapable—human-caused activity is altering our world in ways we never dreamed possible. Unless a comprehensive global plan to combat these effects is implemented very soon, the future of our earth, as we know it, is in peril.

It’s no longer a debate because the evidence, studied and analyzed and critiqued by scientists the world over, overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that human activity, specifically the use of fossil fuels to power almost every component of our society, is altering the planet’s climate in an adverse way.

It’s the science.

Efforts to discredit the scientific evidence are often financed by the fossil fuel industry and multi-billion dollar corporations with a vested interest in maintaining the conventional energy industry. Consequently, the ‘denial’ movement is most often ridiculed and criticized for either its greed and self-interest or its ignorance and stupidity. Science is not, and should not be, a political football, to be altered, modified, or ignored, to suit anyone’s preconceived beliefs or prejudices.

There is an inference in this debate, that if one wants to find the heart and soul of backward, uninformed, uneducated, anti-scientific thought, one need not look further than the right-wing Christian, conservative political movement in America.

But those who invoke science as the last word cannot pick and choose its application, any more than a conservative can reject the science out of hand. While ‘progressives’ mock their conservative cousins for their climate change denial tendencies, there are some inconsistencies and contradictions–even hypocrisies— that need to be explained by them as well.


James Hansen.

James Hansen.

For example, one of the most respected climatologists in the world is NASA’s James Hansen.  He is, to many, the Father of Climate Change. Hansen believes we must end our use of fossil fuels soon or face catastrophe. But Hansen also believes that the best way to meet our ever-expanding energy needs is to embrace nuclear power on a massive scale. In fact, most of the scientific community believes that the latest technology can make nuclear power safe and economical and help drastically reduce green house emissions. But most opposition to nuclear power comes from the same constituency that cites the science as proof of global warming.

There’s more.

Most scientists believe that GMOs—genetically modified organisms–as a food source of the future, are safe and, indeed, essential for a world population that may exceed 10 billion by mid-century. But opposition comes mainly from progressive environmentalists.

PQ-SCIENCE2More…The recent outbreak of measles across the country has exposed a growing irrational opposition to vaccinations that can prevent this kind of childhood disease. The scientific community overwhelmingly, almost unanimously, believes that the resistance to these vaccines borders on insanity. Some have even suggested that parents who fail to provide vaccinations for their children should be held criminally responsible.VACCINE

But where is the resistance coming from? Not from rural Mississippi. One of the lowest vaccination rates in the country can be found in Marin County, California. It is one of the most affluent and educated areas in the United States and one of its most liberal–it cast 78% of its votes for Obama in 2008.

In Portland, Oregon, one of the most progressive and open-minded cities on the West Coast, its citizens recently voted to ban the fluoridation of its water supply. Science says fluoride is safe; Portland’s progressives say ‘no.’

Clearly, when it comes to science, both sides of the political spectrum are inclined to pick and choose their ‘proof,’ depending on their own political and ideological beliefs. By embracing only the science that ‘fits’ their particular philosophies, and rejecting the ones that don’t, both sides run the risk of dumbing down any intelligent, fact-based discussion of the issues, and their own credibility as well.

Jim Stiles is Founder and Co-Publisher of the Canyon Country Zephyr.


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5 comments for “Take it or Leave it: “IT’S THE SCIENCE, STUPID!” But for Conservatives and Progressives Alike, the ‘Science’ has to FIT…by Jim Stiles

  1. Scott Thompson
    April 1, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Points well made, Jim. There are plenty of inconsistencies, left, right and sideways.

    I been tangled up in a few.

  2. April 2, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    yo Jim–exactly! Yer damned if you do and damned if ya don’t. The answer to all this madness? Damned if I know… at least we’re all still truckin’ along.

  3. Rand Lompe
    May 21, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    I was somewhat amused to go to the link on “safe” nuclear power only to find nothing about any new technology to make it s0. Specifically, how to deal with the highly radioactive, and therefore deadly, waste generated by nuclear fission. One of the elements of spent nuclear fuetl rods is Plutonium 239 which has a half-life of 24,100 years. Quite a thing to bequeath to our faraway descendants. To say nothing of catastrophes like the Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns. That example of your thesis that progressives are as dumb and/or ignorant as radical right-wingers doesn’t hold water.

  4. Rhonda
    November 11, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Idiotspeak with a splash of koolaid

  5. Bob Phillips
    September 14, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Right on the money, Jim. And, to counter Rand Lompe’s comment: modern thorium reactors can produce less waste, have less mining impact, and less risk of nuclear proliferation than uranium-based technology. [And, coal, oil shale, tar sands produce far, far greater health, safety, and environmantal damage than even the current (essentially obsolete) uranium-based technology.]
    Other: a lot of right-wingers (not just lefties) are also anti-vaccers (jives with their bullshit conspiracy theories). [Could go on and on about homeopathy (placebo), chemtrails (water vapor cloud from jet exhaust), cell phone radiation (harmless)…]

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