Log in

No account? Create an account
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2012-11-29 05:43
Subject: [politics] There's no objective reason for reality to have a liberal bias
Security: Public
Tags:christianists, culture, economy, gender, politics, religion, sex
There's no objective reason for reality to have a liberal bias, but it most certainly does these days. When the GOP elected to pursue an anti-science, anti-education, anti-reality electoral strategy in their long term effort to generate more angry white guys, they explicitly and knowingly placed themselves outside of the reality-based community. That privileging of faith and ideology over objective evidence put conservatives on a permanent collision course with reality.

This wasn't done by people who were idiots. It wasn't done by people who didn't know what they were doing. Atwater, Ailes, Rove, et alia, knew exactly what they were doing, and they did it anyway. Votes in each electoral cycle were always a much higher priority for Republicans than either the long-term success of the country as a whole, or even the long-term success of their own party. In effect, they solved a short term problem — dissolving the old FDR-LBJ Democratic coalition, and maintaining the energy of that newfound base for the GOP — by letting someone else deal with the consequences much later.

The basic error was in cultivating conservative Christianists who (among many other toxic errors of thinking) place their faith in Creationism above the absolutely overwhelming evidence for the Theory of Evolution. This immediately privileged personal belief over objective reality. In the years since the GOP first began stirring the Christianist pot, that privileging of personal belief over objective reality has extended to other matters of science such as climate change denialism, as well to matters of ideology, such as the supply side economics myth that tax cuts promote growth.

None of these positions are positions that anyone comes to from an objective evaluation of the evidence. There is absolutely no evidence-based position for evolution denial whatsoever, that's just a matter of very theologically confused people mistaking private faith for external reality. The very slender potential evidence-based position for climate change denial collapses at even a cursory examination — the BEST project proved that decidedly, though it wasn't exactly in objective contention before Dr. Muller decided to test the data in line with conservative assertions about flaws in climate science and came to realize they were flatly wrong. The tax cut benefits promised by supply side economics have never materialized in the thirty years since Arthur Laffer invented the theory as a gag on a bar napkin, but the GOP is currently busy suppressing the evidence against one of their most important pet theories. (Obviously they learned from the BEST project what happens when someone takes an objective, evidence-based look at a core conservative idea that can't be defended on its own merits.) Talking about the Republican position on women's reproductive health as so clearly evidenced in this past election would take up half a dozen more blog posts, but suffice to say that in this most recent election cycle the GOP boldly proved on the national stage over and over again that cherished conservative beliefs about reproduction, contraception and pregnancy wouldn't pass muster in a reasonably well-run junior high school health class.

In other words, you have to have faith strong enough to ignore reality in order to hold any of these conservative positions. Which pretty much forces reality to have a liberal bias, as the natural world doesn't care what your pastor or Rush Limbaugh or the GOP party platform says.

There is no objective reason for reality to have a liberal bias. It does so because conservatives have painted themselves into an intellectual and philosophical corner over and over and over again. Both the conservative movement and the nation as a whole would be far better served by them coming to their senses, so our national arguments can be constructive ones about how to deal with what's happening in the world around us, rather than the endless, ridiculous culture wars the GOP has damaged our society with in an effort to generate more angry white men.

We can only hope, but I do not find much cause to do so.

Post A Comment | 9 Comments | | Link

User: mevennen
Date: 2012-11-29 14:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
One of the problems is an inadequate understanding of the principle of underdetermination: when phenomena has competing underlying hypotheses. To the creationist, if Darwinism is shown to have flaws, which like any good scientific theory, it does, it must be disproved.

And thereby, creationism is automatically shown to be true.

Logically, this clearly isn't the case, for a whole host of reasons.

I wish they taught the philosophy of science as well as science itself in schools. Fat chance, though.
Reply | Thread | Link

Jay Lake: tech-generator
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-11-29 14:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Philosophy of science? We don't even teach science in many American schools any more. Not in the sense you and I understand it. Any state with 'academic freedom' laws, ie, that 'teaches the controversy', has abrogated basic science education in their public school system.

(In my high school, an elite private school ((equivalent to a very top drawer UK public school)), we were grinding through Thomas Kuhn in great detail in Fifth Form, but that's very unusual for a US secondary school.)

Edited at 2012-11-29 02:31 pm (UTC)
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

User: joycemocha
Date: 2012-11-29 15:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It gets worse. Essentially, social studies and science are meant to be handmaidens to the primary goal of the Common Core, which is literacy, and the Common Core supplants No Child Left Behind in a year and a half. I spent yesterday afternoon in a PLC (professional learning community) where the basic message from my peers was--bag the content, we're here to teach critical thinking, writing and reading skills using content information. After a hideous session with students ticked off because I actually got ticked off at them and made them read the Declaration of Independence.

Let's just say I came home and cried for what American education has become. And raged because at age 55, I have no other career options.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

User: mevennen
Date: 2012-11-29 15:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Dear God. I didn't realise it had got as bad as this.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

Danny Adams
User: madwriter
Date: 2012-11-29 20:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This was part of why I ended up never becoming a teacher even after getting certified to teach K-12. And that was back in the late 1990s.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

Debbie N.
User: wild_irises
Date: 2012-11-29 16:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Reality only has a liberal bias because the other side (who are not, in fact, being "conservative" these days) deserted reality.

If you walk away from something, that something leans to the other side. But of course, that's a physics/engineering metaphor, and thus not useful to the right wing.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: etcet
Date: 2012-11-29 16:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think you've been caught up in the argument-framing phraseology - reality has no bias whatsoever, and repeating the phrase that "reality has a liberal bias" plays into the hands of those who want to control the discourse by dictating its terms. "Liberal" has become a slur, a term of derision, among people who wouldn't otherwise dig in their heels against progress and sensible thought; we all need to stop giving it currency with this shading, because we're doing those who wish to continue to denigrate its work for them, to our own detriment.

Counter-factualism is a conservative trait; not the opposite.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: klwilliams
Date: 2012-11-29 18:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
When the GOP starting attacking women's health with those outrageous claims, did it never occur to them that actual women might know the truth about how their bodies worked, and hold an opinion about how they wanted their bodies managed? Yeah, I know, "occur" doesn't work in a sentence with "GOP" as the subject.
Reply | Thread | Link

Max Kaehn: Economics
User: slothman
Date: 2012-11-29 19:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As I understand it, the Laffer Curve isn’t a joke, but most reality-based economists put the peak at about a 70% top marginal tax rate. Cutting taxes from 90% to 70% back in the 1960s made sense; since then, not so much.
Reply | Thread | Link

my journal
January 2014
2012 appearances