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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

making science the enemy « Previous | |Next »
September 25, 2013

Australia's public culture is becoming one in which a politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise and science has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is now mistakenly up for grabs again; whilst scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to "debate" on television.

The 20th century's belief in progress---science drives prosperity and progressive political thought --- should be questioned, and the various models of science debated and evaluated. So should the politicization of science, given the history of totalitarianism (right and left) in the 20th century. That type of questioning however is quite different from it being politically effective, and socially acceptable, to deny scientific fact, reasoning (ie., its open-ended, evidence-based processes) and knowledge.

For example, denying evolution is becoming a litmus test for some conservative politicians along with a rebranding of that denial as “creation science” coupled to a political demand that it be taught in classrooms across the country; even though the "biblical literalism" school of thought, which believes that each and every word and story in the bible is the inerrant word of God and that anything that "conflicts" with it is evil, makes science the enemy.

Another example is the climate deniers' manufactured doubt about fundamental issues in climate science that were decided scientifically decades ago. Denying climate change is now a standard part of Australian conservatism; even though manufacturing doubt is a campaign by corporations to avoid the very real liabilities that should be associated with the environmental and health hazards caused by the products they sell and the ways in which they manufacture and or extract those products.

A lot of this has to do with Australia conservatism increasingly taking its bearings from an American conservatism that has embraced and become part of the counter-enlightenment tradition's attack on enlightening reason. This holds that since the application of critical reason can only divide and disunite, the only rational course of action, at least for the counter revolutionary is to harness the force of irrationality into the service of political authority.

This is a fight in postmodernity against the influence of reason, natural science, liberalism, progressivism, secularism and meliorism. It is an attack on all those who hold that all human beings are born free, only to be shackled by the garlanded chains of socialised injustice and class oppression.

Political authority is to be grounded on the irrational which has the power to sustain itself against the onslaughts of rational critique in perpetual rebellion against divine authority, the family, and social hierarchies . Reason dissolves the rigid bonds of a well-governed ordered society, without which human beings will inevitably destroy each other.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:13 PM | | Comments (14)
Comments

Comments

The old Liberal Party of Menzies is being been transformed into a party beholden to ideological zealots who see little need to make policy with respect for facts, evidence, science and a willingness to compromise.

What we have learned from the recent federal election is that big money can buy the politics it wants. It can also buy the facts it wants through its think tanks.

The executive director of the Liberal Party-aligned Institute of Public Affairs, John Roskam, has led a campaign to denigrate climate change science and has said he’s sceptical about peer review science (as held by the Australian Academy of Science ) “in as much as you’re reviewed by your mates”.

We have a conservative government that appears intent on slowing down the transition to a low-carbon economy – if not bringing it to a full stop – even though Australia has suffered a dramatic increase in climate vulnerability of any G20 country in the past two years.

Australia has recorded the biggest increase in temperatures of any G20 country, the second worst deterioration in water availability, and has the second higher cost per GDP from extreme weather events.

Australia does have the resources to buy or build its way out of the worst impacts.


"Another example is the climate deniers' manufactured doubt about fundamental issues in climate science that were decided scientifically decades ago."

The most senior members of the Liberal Party have described climate change as a “myth” and the science as “crap”. There is little support for Australia’s cheapest renewable energy resource--most are hostile to wind farm--in the Liberal Party

The next three years will see bitter battles over culture, the humanities and science, because fighting climate change science and environmental issues is the new battle line for the right.

Given the current political climate.... is it so hard to imagine a rebranded version of Eugenics getting another run??

Speaking of the liberal party of Robert Menzies and how it has been transformed into a party of ideological zealots, perfect proof of that is provided by the existence of the Menzies House outfit, as distinct from the Menzies "Research" Centre.

Zealots all the way down, including some very right-wing Christians.

Re Menzies House. Their "religious" editor Chris Ashton has an essay in this weeks Australian Spectator magazine advocating home "schooling" in order to innoculate children from the alleged pernicious influence of progressive ideas and of course any kind of well informed critical thinking.

If science was important we would have a minister for it.

Turner says: "If science was important we would have a minister for it."

That's a great argument. Since we don't have a minister for science, therefore science is not important.

If families were important we would have a minister for it. Since we don't have a minister for families, therefore families are not important.

If children were were important we would have a minister for it. Since we don't have a minister for children, therefore children are not important.

Very persuasive reasoning Turner.

mars08,
Isn't the shift from the previous pay per baby system ($5000) to the Paid parental leave system Eugenics?
Seems to me that it discourages dole bludgers,single mums and spazz's from breeding and encourages fine upstanding working families who are less likely to have their children relying on welfare, free medical and housing.

The conservative movement has dumped climate science in order to oppose the kinds of values they see environmentalism representing.

Climate change is part of the culture wars. Conservatives see climate change as a Marxist--- or a leftie socialist environmentalist---- conspiracy.

the conservative war cry: we gotta save the world from wind turbines and solar farms.

Their view of the energy world, is to seek to dig up more coal, and extract more gas. So ignore climate change science. There's nothing wrong with greenhouse gas emissions.

Marianne,

Turn the power off to your house for a week and then come back and tell us all about it.