Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dan Rather: Ignoring science isn't just a Republican problem. It's an American problem.

I was working on how best to build my own response  to some of the foolishness said by the Republican candidate wanna-bes and caught this from Dan Rather: "Ignoring science isn't just a Republican problem. It's an American problem."  Everyone should read it.  What he does isn't try and solve the issue, or even identify all the root causes -- although he does mention quite a few (loss of faith in authority, suspicion of big corporations, a general political balkanization).  He focuses on one of the reasons the anti-science feelings seem to be so prevalent, the one he knows intimately, as you would expect, journalism and how the press covers science.  He identifies some of the problems:

  • Hyping certain "advances" that are more PR than science
  • Shying away from covering important stories because they're "too complicated." 
  • Don't even do a good job explaining how scientific research works
  • Scientific issues don't lend themselves to simple soundbites for TV

He does mention one of my pet peeves, which got my attention [I added the underlines for emphasis]:
"And then there is the danger of false equivalency. Not every issue has two sides, or certainly two equal sides. Yet when you put two people on screen to tell both “sides” of the story, in the viewer's mind it immediately connotes 50:50, even if you say it doesn't. Giving someone equal time to explain their side doesn’t mean there is equal data, research and science behind their view. Often times, the “other side” of the story has very little data to support its very big exceptions to the rules." 
You might recall I have mentioned this a time or two, usually in regards to the Discovery Institute's lack of science and kennie ham's lack of anything.  He also had a link to a John Oliver video, which is a personal favorite.
I wonder if Oliver has done a show about Evolution?  I'm going to have to look!  Hang on a second . . . no, he hasn't addressed Evolution or Creationism, however his take down of Televangelism is a classic.  I would love to see his take on the Discovery Institute!  OK, back to Dan, who says:
"This is not to say that every science policy question has an easy or correct answer. There is a lot to weigh in how we should employ science and what we should fund. But it is not a debate we can afford to shy away from. I think that any politician who doesn't take those questions seriously is not fit to lead our country in the 21st century."
We need to ask our potential leaders more questions about science!  One of the things that has to be important is not only what the candidate says, but where are they getting their information -- from people who are actually doing the work or from folks with a philosophical axe to grind.  Trump failed badly on vaccines, Carson failed on so much!  You just have to love that last line 'I think that any politician who doesn't take those questions seriously is not fit to lead our country in the 21st century.'

I understand they are pandering for votes, but why are they pandering in such a way that makes them seem positively uneducated!  I thought Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry was bad, but Ben Carson and Donald Trump?  It's crossed the pandering line and reached epic stupidity.  Is Donald Trump or Ben Carson fit to lead us in the 21st century?  They certainly haven't shown it yet, have they?  I wonder which candidate kennie or the DI will back?

No comments:

Post a Comment