Tuesday, January 08, 2013

the bipartisan ship

What is left to say to those poor souls who still, even now, call themselves "moderates" or "centrist" or some other silly veschsh of that sort, and tell you that most of our problems could be solved if the ship of state became a bipartisan ship.

Other than "Have a nice day," I can't think of anything. We're dealing here with people who believe (or claim to) that one party represents one "radical extreme" and the other party represents the other "radical extreme," and that the "moderate" and hence correct course of action is exactly midway between them.

Not only do centrists deal with the world as if it was made entirely of abstract categories, they also deny the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Centrism is a lie, and like all other political lies takes refuge in ignorance.

Therefore, I was surprised to find the website of the reputable science journal Nature has published a lame article which begins:

"To prevent science from continuing its worrying slide towards politicization, here’s a New Year’s resolution for scientists, especially in the United States: gain the confidence of people and politicians across the political spectrum by demonstrating that science is bipartisan."

Which prompts PZ Myers of the science blog Pharyngula to ask "What the hell does that even mean?" For PZ Myers is aware, even if the author of this bit of puffery (and, sadly, the editors at Nature) are not, that science isn't bipartisan, because it is not, and cannot be political.

For example, at what temperature does water freeze? Is the number Republican or Democratic? What's the distance between the earth and the sun? Does this great a distance "lean right" or "lean left?"

Now, if you turn on your telly and hear some Senator from Oklahoma or Texas calling global warming "a hoax," or some representative from Alabama declaring that school discipline has gone missing due to the teaching of evolution and the absence of "pray-er in our skew-els," you may have noticed that it's easy to guess the party affiliation of such speakers, with 100 percent accuracy.

This is not the fault of scientists, any more than it's their "fault" that average mean global temperatures have risen 0.8 degree centigrade in the past century.

And here's another fun fact to know and share with your pals. Fascists, starting with Mussolini, have always hated science, for obvious reasons, the main one being that scientists attempt to provide an objective view of reality.

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