Austin Ruse kindly sent me a copy of his new Fake Science: Exposing the Left’s Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data, a book readers of this blog will take to like a socialist reaching for your children.
My review, if you can see it, is in tiny print on the image’s left. Excerpts from the Introduction:
…Late-breaking news: A man isn’t really a woman just because he “identifies” as female. Unborn babies are living human beings…
The sea level is going to rise twenty feet and everyone will starve because of catastrophic global warming. But when those disasters fail to materialize, no, wait, it’s not warming at all, it’s “climate change.”
And when the real, hard science actually is settled, it’s ignored, even if that means that people suffer and die unnecessarily. Rice genetically modified to produce beta-carotene could have saved the vision—and in some cases the lives—of literally millions of poor people across the globe if the anti-food activists on the Left hadn’t kept it off the market for more than twenty-five years.
Humility—the willingness to submit your opinion to the real facts of the matter, wherever they may lead—is the hallmark of real science. But the purveyors of leftist pseudoscience are anything but humble. No matter how often their predictions fail to pan out, how often they reverse their advice, or what obvious facts contradict their theories, they’re never deterred. They go on making absurd, unscientific assertions and issuing new recommendations with absolute assurance, all on the authority of “science.” Being wrong—even laughably wrong—doesn’t even slow them down…
[The Left has] distorted, faked, misreported, and skewed the real science, all the while claiming its mantle for their highly unscientific political agenda. And dangerously, the fake, politicized “science” is undermining our faith in the real thing. Whole disciplines have become profoundly degraded and therefore increasingly worthless—except as a source for political propaganda…
And the fake science doesn’t just affect scientists and the tiny minority of disturbed people whose delusions they are enabling. With the full authority of “science” behind them, the leftists are imposing their agenda on the rest of us, backed by the crushing power of the state. You can now be fined up to $250,000 by the New York City government if you’re a shopkeeper and you persistently refuse to use someone’s preferred gender pronoun. In other words, you will be bankrupted if you don’t go along with the fiction that a person with XY chromosomes and male genitalia is really a woman.
And if you’re a scientist, you’ll discover that vital funding, opportunities for publication, and the other necessary accouterments of a successful career are difficult to come by if your research challenges the leftist narrative. As we’ll see in chapters six and ten, research results that tell against the global warming scare, for example, or the lie that same-sex-couple parenting is good for children, can be highly dangerous to your scientific career. The Left controls what counts as “science” by excluding not just inconvenient facts but inconvenient fact-finders. Any scientist whose work turns up evidence that calls the program of the Left on any issue into question is inevitably said to be “discredited.”
But it deserves repeating: fake science is not just a problem for scientists. The fact that science has become so degraded by ideology does not give any of us an excuse to simply ignore it. We’re not off the hook; it’s too important. The current state of the debate requires that we evaluate the “scientific” claims made by the other side. A surprising amount of them are junk science—while real science often backs up conservative claims…
Even now, your local school board is probably debating what to do about the transgender issue, inviting so-called experts into their meetings and into the halls of your schools to spout the latest nonsense. Will you simply stand aside and let them have the field uncontested? There is plenty of hard science that debunks “transgenderism.” Boys are boys and girls are girls; science confirms what we all know is common sense. But to fight the crazy ideology you need to have the real science at your fingertips—so that you can engage at all levels of the public policy debate, from the dinner table, to the school-board, to your college campus, to the U.S. Congress, to the United Nations.
Here’s a brief rundown on the chapters: (1) Pollsters’ Waterloo (bad statistics), (2) The Transgender Moment (the lunacy most supreme), (3) Not Born That Way (there are no such creatures as ‘gay’ etc.), (4) Everything They Say about Abortion Is a Lie (or a vicious damned lie, or worse), (5) Never Mind the Herpes, Full Speed Ahead (I read lower-intestinal cancers are way, way up in Millennials; golly, I wonder why).
(6) The Grand Experiment on the Children (families are hated above all), (7) One Hundred Eighty-Two Pounds of French Fries (cancer and other food scares), (8) Poverty Could Make You Rich (if you’re an activist selling tears), (9) Flaming Water, Flaming Lies (frack you).
(10) Global Warming is Real—and It’s a Good Thing (in which Yours Truly is quoted), (11) Life on an Empty Planet (you can’t have too many people), (12) Back Off, Man, I’m a Scientist (take it from me, a scientist, scientists get too much respect).
Categories: Book review
‘no, wait, it’s not warming at all, it’s “climate change.”’
This is a common confusion disseminated by people not familiar with the scientific vocabulary but eager, nevertheless, to broadcast their opinions. “Global warming” and “climate change” have different meanings, and the terms have been used to mean different things for decades.
Lee Philipps–you’re quibbling and not answering the main arguments, says this physicist (who is familiar with real scientific vocabulary–mathematics).
“you’re quibbling and not answering the main arguments”
You spelled my name wrong.
Point proved. (good reply!)
Well, well, well, maybe Briggs is getting somewhere:
“This is not a book about science. … This is a book about fake science. There’s real science, and then there’s “science,” or what passes for it these days. And there’s a big difference.”
“Real science is about data that can be measured, about facts and biological processes that can be established by observation and experiment, about results that can be replicated. Science has enormous credibility in our society. And for very good reason. …”
“But that reputation has been hijacked by a cause that’s anything but scientific. “Science” is not a cover for the leftist agenda.”
“Real science improves all our lives exponentially because it tells us the truth about the world we live in. The fake “science” that the Left is pushing does just the opposite. It establishes fraud, propaganda, and even (…) literal insanity as the basis of our public policy, with disastrous results. We can’t concede science to the Left. It’s too important. We have to fight to take the mantle of science back from the leftists who have appropriated it for their very unscientific agenda.”
The quotes are from the very beginning of the Introduction to the book “Fake Science….” and what a refreshing viewpoint to find here!
For years we’ve seen Briggs overgeneralize and repeatedly use examples of bad/quack science to indiscriminately bash science in general. Now he’s endorsing a book that expressly acknowledges a significant distinction between credible science and bad science — both co-exist and both are appropriately addressed on their respective merits. Hopefully, Briggs will apply that distinction from here on.
That’s important — believe it or not, just like some on the Left, there are even well-intentioned people on the Right that employ “fake science” to retain or further a “rightist” ideology. To some extent that’s human nature, to hang onto some cherished belief, damn what the facts say. Its often painfully hard to let go (sometimes even when we want to). One thing is certain, when one side on a contentious topic sees the other side maintaining a hammerlock on some “fake science-based position” … that side is thereby motivated to retain its similarly irrational viewpoint — even after realizing and conceding (if only privately) the wrongness of that belief. Contentious debates are, to some extent, a negotiation and one side won’t give up a position when the other side won’t either.
What I found interesting, long-since become tedious, is the holier-than-thou ideologically-justified rationales for maintaining intellectual rigidity under the illusion of [prideful] moral superiority. By both sides exhibit this. And both sides miss no opportunity to ‘lord it over’ the other at every opportunity [pride again].
Individual exceptions aside, neither side really takes to heart the lesson from that dude pretty much everybody agrees is to be listened to: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
“Fake Science” is an example of that. Sure, many if not all of the basic points raised are valid and the analyses credible and worthwhile. But presenting them as intellectual armament to battle an opposing view–on the basis of the opposition’s broadly held values (“Left”) is a very poor way to go. That establishes the ideological battle lines. Like those old anti-smoking commercials that showed graphic black lungs and so forth — demonstrated to actually increase smoking — presenting credible science along ideological battle lines is sure to polarize the positions held by both sides as well. And when a given source of information is ideologically based, those willing to read it are invariably of that ideology, which makes it very very difficult to perceive if the seemingly credible science presented really is credible, or itself fake. Gullibility to blindly accept a viewpoint that fits one’s preconceptions/biases is what happens when we leave the plank in our eye.
If “global warming” and “climate change” are generally understood terms, why the link to a detailed explanation?
Wait. I’ll answer that for you.
Because words can have technical and general rhetorical meanings? And those meanings do not have to be the same (You know this from standard post-structural, Derrida-esque linguistic theory).
To appeal to a technical definition to undo a rhetorical equivocation is to prove the point.
Global warming and climate change are rhetorical words that have meaning outside of Skeptical Science’s definition. They are used to convey meaning generally interpreted by readers (the best you can claim is the words are used to obscure a message, but even that implies meaning). So they can be taken, just as they are used, in the general rhetorical sense.
In short: you are wrong. And you know it.
I remember when we were doomed by global cooling (Google Paul Ehrlich) and when that didn’t kill us we were doomed by global warming (Google Al Gore) and when that didn’t kill us we are now doomed by climate change. The past 50 years I’ve watched environmentalism turn into an apocalyptic doomsday cult. We are always doomed by the doom du jour. Climate change is just the latest fad in doom.
Exactly right Ray. Remember the ozone hole?
For goodness sake K, it’s late and I’m too fed up to argue with you but you’re just wrong, and you know it on your last paragraph.
I think the only point on that list thatI I disagreed with was the one on colon cancer.
I know nothing of the research end of the subject although I knew/know a group who developed the equipment for it’s investigation and the GP’s at the surgery where I worked specialised in the topic, well my favourite on anyway.
I just would like to hear more about that. I will ask Tariq. I don’t doubt that certain types of cancer are on the increase but cause is another matter. It sounds too convenient a thing. Are people trying to say that everybody’s gone off the rails? To put it politely.
All these scientific words have technical meaning.
This man is a real meteorologist and you can trust what he says.
I was in college when Rachael Carson published her book, Silent Spring. Pesticides were going to kill all the birds, give us cancer and poison us. I was alarmed at the prospect. Later I discovered that Rachael Carson was a big liar. After that I became a skeptic of environmentalism. Don’t forget acid rain which was going to kill all the forests and dissolve our cars.
Just purchased kindle download on Amazon. Thanks for the notice, Doc.
“Are people trying to say that everybody’s gone off the rails?”
Joy, Yes, everybody has gone off the rails!
Except you and me.
That’s why we keep coming back here.
I don’t think Briggs was ever on the rails, so he can’t have gone off them.
Okay, here’s another book to buy, but only after I buy Uncertainty :).