Saturday, April 22, 2017

Comrades, Just Say No to Earth Day Denialism!

Do you find it suspicious that the founding of Earth Day -- first celebrated on April 22, 1970 -- coincided with the 100 year anniversary of Vladimir Lenin's birthday? Do you think it's curious that the environmentalist movement that produced it was, and still is, packed with radical marxists dedicated to "fighting capitalism" and saving the planet with command-style economic policies? Are you intrigued by the obviously partisan nature of the "non-partisan" March for Science? If so, then you might be a Earth Day "denialist." Regressive leftists would like you to believe that leftist political positions are the natural culmination of scientific research. To deny pseudo-scientific leftist myths in the social sciences is to deny science itself. How do I know? Because the marchers tell me so...

Just in time for Earth Day, top progressive voices are sounding the alarm. What's the threat ? Science "denial"! According to Billmoyers.com, this threat emanates from "people who don't know much about science denying it and rising to power," which is "a recipe for the complete dismantling of our democracy." That's right, the outcome of the election literally means the sky is falling, as we were all previously assured. Trump, the world's only "climate-denying" world leader, accelerated the "Doomsday Clock" by thirty seconds. Nietzsche may have declared that God is dead, but Trump's election proved it. Trump's plans for the EPA will be a "disaster for science and the environment." His views on science will lead to a planetary disaster. Trump's cabinet selections are the "Four Horsemen for Looming Environmental Apocalypse." And so on, and so forth...

Apparently, Trump's "war on science" isn't just targeting the hard sciences. Anthropologists were encouraged to join the March for Science to avoid a scenario in which "science is only in the service of the powerful at the expense of underrepresented minorities." The University of Massachusetts encourages social scientists to join the march in order to focus participants on "Why Science—all science—is such a fundamental driver of human progress around the world." The "non-partisan" March for Science will help specialists in the social and behavioral sciences "connect and organize": the Linguistic Society of America will hold a contest "to find the best linguistically-themed march signs," the American Psychological Association will hold "in-person and online advocacy training," and the American Sociological Association will hold a breakfast on the morning of the march (see here). Why? Because "All Fields of Social Science are Drivers of Freedom and Prosperity." Of course, the unspoken message is that they, as good progressive Democrats, must take to the streets and "resist" Trump's war on science -- that is, Trump's war on all of the sciences.

For some of the "best," and of course, non-partisan, signs in D.C. and around the world, see here. From the Los Angeles satellite march, see here. (Photo below c/o The Los Angeles Times)
 (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

From Boston, see here. As the signs indicate, this was a decidedly partisan event by design, and was clearly organized around the "resist" motif.

While there are numerous reasons to be skeptical of the claims to impartiality in the hard sciences (see my previous blog post about the plight of climate scientist Judith Curry, here), this post will focus on the increasing likelihood of those in the social sciences making empirical scientific claims as means of promoting a leftist policy agenda. The emphasis in the social sciences in the last decade has been on interdepartmental collaboration. However, the lack of ideological diversity on college and university campuses has, rather than providing meaningful cross-pollination, instead produced a corpus of intersectional literature and studies that suffer from systemic confirmation bias. These "studies" give the illusion that leftist assumptions are, in fact, broadly accepted scientific truths.

The lack of ideological diversity on campus is now a well-documented trend, and particularly in the social sciences -- psychology, history, sociology, anthropology, etc. But it doesn't stop there. Some of the most ardent activist scholars are in the Englishlaw, and the various "studies" departments -- race, class, gender. The causes behind the lack of ideological diversity are not elusive. They are well-known; discriminatory hiring and promotion practices, faculty that routinely belittle conservative students, and, recently, violent attacks on conservative speakers have become the norm.

Consider the case of Black Evangelical Christian sociologist George Yancy, who claims that the bias he has faced as a black male pales in comparison to the persecution he's faced in academia as a result of his religious identity. Yancy conducted a survey that found that 30% of the faculty surveyed admitted to being less likely to support a professorial hiring if they knew the candidate was a Republican. That number jumped to well over 50% in some departments (English, Anthropology) if they discovered that the candidate was an Evangelical Christian. So much for tolerance and diversity.

In recent years, psychological and sociological concepts, such as the stereotype threat, microaggression theory (for an excellent overview of the methodological flaws associated with micro-aggression theory, see here), and privilege theory, have been weaponized and used as a partisan bludgeon against conservative positions in the academy (for an excellent overview, see here). The leftist media never tires of pressing these "studies" into service as click-bait headlines. The net result is the creation of pseudo-scientific cover for the widespread dissemination of sacred liberal myths -- the wage gap, campus rape culture, law-enforcement biases, institutional racism, etc.

As some authors admit in writing, the express purpose of building a corpus of intersectional "research" is ultimately to affect policy changes. Now do you see, cowpoke? This is the academic machinery of "hope and change" -- of progress. There's only one snag -- Hillary lost the election. With Obama out, and Trump in, many of those policy proposals are now wishful thinking that will be shelved for a future progressive administration. But make no mistake, the politicization of academic inquiry provides a pseudo-scientific backbone to claims that Republican policies are unscientific, conservatives are a bunch of science-deniers, and educated people naturally support the policies of progressive Democrats.

The so-called "war on science," as described by regressive leftists, is a bunch of leftist bologna. The truth is that the regressive left is guilty of psychological projection. There's a war on science alright, and the regressive left is the aggressor; it's been slyly and silently waged on reason itself. In this war, science -- like compassion -- has been enlisted and weaponized for the purpose of destroying traditional American culture and institutions. To be clear -- our colleges and universities are "occupied" territory.

- The Cowboy Historian

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