From Faith in Science by Glenn Reynolds in the New York Post:
In fact, given that Americans have grown broadly more skeptical of institutions in general, it’s not surprising that conservatives are more skeptical of scientific institutions than they were almost 40 years ago. What’s surprising is that liberals have grown less skeptical over the same period. (Perhaps because scientific institutions have been telling them things they want to hear?)
Regardless, while one should trust science as a method — honestly done, science remains the best way at getting to the truth on a wide range of factual matters — there’s no particular reason why one should trust scientists and especially no particular reason why one should trust the people running scientific institutions, who often aren’t scientists themselves.
In fact, the very core of the scientific method is supposed to be skepticism. We accept arguments not because they come from people in authority but because they can be proven correct — in independent experiments by independent experimenters. If you make a claim that can’t be proven false in an independent experiment, you’re not really making a scientific claim at all.
And saying, “trust us,” while denouncing skeptics as — horror of horrors — “skeptics” doesn’t count as science, either, even if it comes from someone with a doctorate and a lab coat.
After a century of destructive and false scientific fads — ranging from eugenics to Paul Ehrlich’s “population bomb” scaremongering, among many others — the American public could probably do with more skepticism, not less.
The chapter from the liberal playbook that the right are anti-science has become dog eared and boring. It also does not reconcile with the reality. The method is different from the institution. The institutions may be corrupt but the method remains sound.
This from the Volokh Conspiracy The 7 political groups most likely to believe in astrology may indicate that the anti-science label has been misapplied.
From Patrick Michaels atForbes Will The Overselling Of Global Warming Lead To A New Scientific Dark Age?
Science changed dramatically in the 1970s, when the reward structure in the profession began to revolve around the acquisition of massive amounts of taxpayer funding that was external to the normal budgets of the universities and federal laboratories. In climate science, this meant portraying the issue in dire terms, often in alliance with environmental advocacy organizations. Predictably, scientists (and their institutions) became addicted to the wealth, fame, and travel in the front of the airplane:
“A new and rewarding research lifestyle emerged which involved the giving of advice to all types and levels of government, the broadcasting of unchallengeable opinion to the general public, and easy justification for attendance at international conferences—this last in some luxury by normal scientific experience, and at a frequency previously unheard of.”
In effect, the academies, which are the most prestigious of the institutions of science, formally nailed their colours to the mast of the politically correct.
Since that time three or four years ago, there has been no comfortable way for the scientific community to raise the spectre of serious uncertainty about the forecasts of climatic disaster.”
Every year that elapses without a significant warming trend more and more erodes the credibility of not just climate science, but science in general:
“In the light of all this, we have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem—or, what is much the same thing, of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem—in its effort to promote the cause. It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science, because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis of society’s respect for scientific endeavour.” [emphasis added]
While funding from industry is clearly considered to pollute the results, so will funding from government. It is ironic than the right is often considered anti science (Chapter 4 of the Liberal Playbook) because of the small segment that believes in creationism in its most literal sense, but it is the pollution of science from government funding that will do the most damage to the profession. It is tremendously telling that one’s political affiliation is more correlated to acceptance of AGW than any degree of scientific education.
The utter failure of the ACA website roll out is just a cover for the fact that the real failure is the plan itself. The shitty website does not explain the cancellations and the painfully higher costs.
But the disaster has triggered a collapse in the confidence of this administration from all but the hard core Kool Aid addicted. It may have caused many to question the honesty and integrity of those who claim to have the answers. This destruction of faith will reach beyond health care.
At the same time there some growing skepticism about the reality of catastrophic anthropomorphic (man caused) global warming or (just in case it is not currently warming) climate change. More and more books are questioning the prediction of the climate apocalyptic junkies, and the statistics that have preached an overwhelming consensus (an unscientific term if there ever was one) of scientists who support the predictions of impending catastrophe.
Once we acknowledge that those who pretend to solve our problems will willfully lie to us it becomes more palatable to absorb the fact that this trust has also been breached by the scientific establishments. It makes it just a little more believable that the AGW movement is just another group of assurances that are false and promises that are empty.
from Mark Steyn in The National Review Online, Ice Everywhere, But No Hockey Sticks:
Global warming will kill us. Global cooling will kill us. And if it’s 54 and partly cloudy, you should probably flee for your life right now. Maybe scientists might usefully consider moving to being less hung up on “consensus” – a most unscientific and, in this context, profoundly corrupting concept.