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Republican Brain on Science
The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science -- and Reality by Chris Mooney
Publisher Wiley; available on Kindle

During the darkest days of the Bush era, science writer Chris Mooney made a big splash in the publishing world with his first book detailing the Republican war on science. This month his newest effort, what could be nicknamed the Republican brain on science, hit the shelves. In it you will find Mooney is a stickler for detail, always important in any book on science, especially one with a bold title. But this is no clinical read, the book is a blast right off the bat, framing the main subject marvelously in the juiciest claims and tastier bits of conservative pseudoscientific lore readers here have come to lovingly know and ridicule.

The book opens with a synopsis of Conservapedia and a zany entry on relativity, where relativistics is portrayed as some kind of neo-liberal attack on staunch conservative values rendered in math and physics. This was quickly followed by a deft series of knock out punches dispatching classic right-wing chestnuts including birtherism and climate change. Thus, Mooney had me both chuckling and hooked by page four.

Given the title readers might be forgiven for assuming this is a purely partisan pseudoscientific attack—projection being all the rage on the right these days, eh? In fact the book is quite fair, the author carefully reviews instances where non conservatives resist evidence. He writes early on and illustrates throughout it's not that liberals or independents are always right about science, it's that, lately, conservatives are wrong a lot. From all outward appearances they often seem to be sincerely unaware of how wrong they are. At times they can even make a good faith effort to grasp why they're wrong and still fail. The book also introduced something new, at least for me, called the smart idiot effect: the more educated conservatives are, the more sure they are about their false beliefs.

How is that possible? There's no way a short review is going to craft and assemble all the parts Mooney puts together in the span of 250 pages. Maybe it could be summed up—in my words—that human brains didn't evolve to be dedicated truth detectors, they are also fitness engines for a highly social species. There's more than one way to socially integrate, leading to the book's main thesis: there are personality traits correlated with conservatives and there are other traits common, on average, to non conservatives, which imply the two groups as they currently exist fundamentally process facts and beliefs a little bit differently. One manifestation is modern-day conservatives are more difficult to persuade than non-conservatives using documented facts or reasonable inferences, particularly on issues where there's a partisan axis, even in the face of a robust scientific consensus or just plain common sense.

That is a big check to write, but it's not radical and Mooney is not the only one writing it. The same general idea has been considered by researchers in one form or another for decades, it has been used convincingly by other authors like John Dean to explain the sometimes irrational beliefs of conservatives despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Whether Mooney's science-brain version leans too much to nature and not enough to nurture is something that will continue to be examined and debated by experts in the same fields of study he writes about so well. But the book is extremely well researched, and a hell of a lot of fun to read, making it a great starting point for anyone interested in the science of anti-science.

Chris MooneyChris Mooney is a science and political journalist, blogger, podcaster, and experienced trainer of scientists in the art of communication. He is the author of four books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science. He blogs for "Science Progress," a website of the Center for American Progress and Center for American Progress Action Fund. Chris plans to be available this morning to respond to a few comments below.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter and Readers and Book Lovers.

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Comment Preferences

  •  About the human brain... (18+ / 0-)

    A very informative article can be found at the Cracked site:

    Five logical fallacies that make you wrong more than you think

    (warning: it's very informative, but it's still a humor site oriented toward young men.  So there is a lot of foul language and crude humor.  It's probably NSFW.)

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:06:41 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for the link (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SaintC, Rick B, bythesea, Aunt Pat

      the read is gold and cutting because it also shows us on the left some of our biases, if we're only willing to consider them.

      liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

      by RockyMtnLib on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:44:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks. Loved that. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SaintC, bythesea, Aunt Pat

      The best one:

      It's called the fundamental attribution error.

      It's a universal thought process that says when other people screw up, it's because they're stupid or evil. But when we screw up, it's totally circumstantial. Like if you notice a coworker showing up to work high on mescaline, it's because he's an out-of-control peyote hound. But if you show up at work high on mescaline, it's because you had a flat tire and you needed the distraction.

      "I don't want to blame anyone. I just want to know how lowering taxes on the rich creates jobs" --Informed citizen at Congressional town hall

      by Time Waits for no Woman on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:08:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  None of those are logical fallacies (0+ / 0-)

      although quite a few were committed by the author.

    •  false equivalence (0+ / 0-)
      Do you support the Occupy Wall Street movement? If so, do you find it frustrating when opponents claim the protesters have a hidden agenda and are just tools of the communists?
      Regardless of whether it's frustrating, the claim is false.
      Do you support the Tea Party? Do you find it frustrating when opponents dismiss the movement as a bunch of racists?
      Regardless of whether they are frustrated, the claim is largely true.

      In addition to the fallacy of false equivalence, the author engages in what might be called "rebuttal by ridicule" ... he doesn't actually have, or express, any rebuttal to the claim that the Tea Party is a bunch of racists.  Also he attacks a strawman, uses a false dichotomy, and makes his argument seems stronger than it is by employing a "weasel word":

      Either admit that maybe this person honestly thinks what they're saying is true, or just talk about sports.
      Of course maybe some Tea Partier honestly thinks what they're saying is true. In fact, I'm certain that many of them do ... but that doesn't make them not be racists.

      And those fallacious mistakes are just in one section. The article isn't entirely useless, but there's so much wrong with it, starting with mislabeling certain human behaviors and limitations as "logical fallacies" that I would be very hesitant to recommend it.

      •  So you missed the point? (0+ / 0-)

        The point with the point you mention isn't whether something is true or not. It's that if you don't trust the messenger, you won't believe them either way.

        The fact is, most Tea Partiers are not racists (so yes, that claim is actually false). A TP'er is more likely to be racist than an average person, but it's invalid to conclude that the majority of TP'ers are racists, unless the bulk of the general population is, as well, or there is other evidence showing most TP'ers are racist (there isn't).

        Tea Partiers believe that the government should serve their needs and reflect them and their priorities, which include help for themselves but not for others.  They are pretty up front about it, so it's not hard to believe they believe it.  Dismissing them as racists is not only just wrong, it obscures their actual message so we don't end up fighting it.  Well done!

        Pointing out that your cognitive biases aren't logical fallacies is nitpickery of the most pointless sort (please, let them know, though, in their comments section).  The article writer does not call them such (e.g. "the very wiring of our brains ensures that all these lively debates only make us dumber and more narrow-minded"), nor does the writer write the headlines.  

        Besides, the article links to dozens of studies and examples where you can review the science behind the claims.  When more 'useful' journalism bothers to do the same, they will gain readers and stop bemoaning the death of their industry.  In the meantime, we'll "make do" with this.  smh  

        Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

        by nominalize on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:11:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Smart Idiots are so maddening (40+ / 0-)

    when they talk about the myth of climate change, job creation by the rich , energy independence by drilling and intelligent design.

    It is a perverse accomplishment to be so wrong about so much .

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:09:30 AM PDT

  •  And Moony's one of those (17+ / 0-)

    hot geeky / nerdy guys i dream of ;-P

    Chaos. It's not just a theory.

    by PBnJ on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:09:45 AM PDT

    •  A real disappointment to me... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PBnJ, MT Spaces, LynChi, Aunt Pat

      I imagined he'd be a distinguished academic in his 50's (ahem, like me). Could the photo be of a younger relative, perhaps?? Having trouble processing this fact through my belief system.

      ~On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Raise her glowing flame!~ I am proud to say three generations of my family lived in WI. Though I live elsewhere, am with you in spirit!

      by sillia on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:23:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can't it all really be summed up in $ (21+ / 0-)

    1) Military Industrial Complex trumps any environmental concerns

    2) Science interferes with Christian Mega-Churches and funding

    Response: If you "got it" you wouldn't be a republican

    by JML9999 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:13:02 AM PDT

  •  Okay, great, we now understand (13+ / 0-)

    the Republican brain. Does the author go on to tell us how we can actually change these Republican minds? Or is it hopeless?

  •  to what extent, Chris, is the current GOP belief (21+ / 0-)

    system caused by their brains being wired differently, and to what extent is it simply opportunism, i.e., the fossil fuel co's pay them well so they advance fossil fuel cos' agenda? In other words, is the current GOP more a product of nature or nurture?

    The world is on pace for 11 degrees F warming. Nothing else in politics matters. @RL_Miller

    by RLMiller on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:19:27 AM PDT

  •  Didn't know they had a brain, to be honest (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, PBnJ, Dragon5616, a2nite, Matt Z

    The might have been better off calling it "The Science of Nothingness."

    I have cheese in my veins. Wisconsin cheese!

    by trekguy66 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:22:03 AM PDT

  •  I know this is appealing to think (10+ / 0-)

    But my most frequent battles with ideological anti-science are on the left. Plant science, alt-med, anti-vax, that sort of thing. And it looks pretty much the same to me.

    “I apologise ...for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation --@ProfBrianCox

    by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:23:17 AM PDT

    •  from the diary (9+ / 0-)
      the author carefully reviews instances where non conservatives resist evidence. He writes early on and illustrates throughout it's not that liberals or independents are always right about science
      I would guess that the fact that your personal 'battles' are with people on the left is for the same reason I deal with that.  My friends are 'on the left.'  They're the people I talk with most the time so their hocus pocus is what I come in contact with.  

      But my friends being anti-science about their herbal remedies or mind reading or whatever the feel is the truth is hardly on the same level as organized groups attacking schools for teaching known facts.  

      When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

      by Sun dog on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:33:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's wrong. (12+ / 0-)

        I've seen Jill Richardson come here and ask for people to call their Senators to prevent legislation based on complete lies.

        I saw anti-vaxxers at a Daily Kos convention, and these people are actually damaging to public health.

        It's real, and it is on the left, and it is the same thing.

        “I apologise ...for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation --@ProfBrianCox

        by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:53:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It (9+ / 0-)

          just doesn't seem as universal or as absolutist on the left. I have run into it, believe me, but not to the degree I see among the GOP these days.

        •  It may annoy you more (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dragon5616

          because it's closer to home and personal but what you're describing just isn't on the same scale.  As someone who is clearly into empirical evidence, you should be able to see that.  'Anti-vaxxers' are somehow on the same level of influence and power on the left as the anti evolution, anti climate change MAJORITIES on the right?   Those people are driving the conversation in much of the country and they're being pushed that way by industries pushing massive propaganda campaigns.  In response, the mainstream press must be Fair and Balance their commentary on these subjects so as not to offend ignorant people.   You're not actually giving any examples of something like that on the left.  You've seen anti-vaxxers at the Daily Kos convention?  Ok.  Clearly a fringe group that is not driving Democratic policy or the national conversation.  

          Please use that scientific mind of yours to recognize that you're creating a false equivalence here.   Otherwise this is getting pretty darn ironic.  

          When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

          by Sun dog on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:07:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In liberal enclaves (5+ / 0-)

            public health is actively being damaged by alt-med and anti-vax nutcases.

            http://news.yahoo.com/...

            "Many of the vaccines are unnecessary, and public health officials don't honestly know" the effects of giving so many vaccines to such small children, said Jennifer Margulis, a mother of four and parenting book author in Ashland, Ore., a small liberal community that has unusually high vaccination exemption rates.
            That's one example among many liberal communities where they are the MAJORITY.

            This has real consequences on public health right now. What level of damage to the society makes it true to you? I don't understand.

            And the anti-evolution stuff actually doesn't have impact on the cutting-edge science and public health the way anti-vaxxers do. We are wasting research dollars tracking down and proving over and over that they are wrong.

            Evolution is an education issue and does not have the same consequences on public health. And I would argue it's in pockets of conservative enclaves exactly the same way that vaccination is. It's not an issue here in Massachusetts.

            Please use your scientific mind not to deny the evidence to support your case. That's pretty ironic.

            “I apologise ...for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation --@ProfBrianCox

            by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:23:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Those folks are responding conservatively (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AaronInSanDiego

              Left-right linearity doesn't work in the real world.

              look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

              by FishOutofWater on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:56:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I think the data disputes that (0+ / 0-)
              And I would argue it's in pockets of conservative enclaves exactly the same way that vaccination is.
              I'm not talking about a majority within an enclave (which by definition is a minority) but a majority of conservatives nationwide.  That's what the data shows.  You're equating thousands to millions.  

              We're talking about a subject that is close to your heart and you think I'm diminishing that.  But I'm not.  There is a noisy minority of people (actually some of them are on the right too) who deny science when it comes to vaccines and I agree they are hurting people and putting some people at risk.  But that fact doesn't make them equivalent to national majorities of conservatives who are led in dangerous directions by industries who wish to keep destroying the planet in favor of their bottom line.  

              And this;

              And the anti-evolution stuff actually doesn't have impact on the cutting-edge science and public health
              Tell that to scientists seeking funding for their research in an increasingly hostile to science society.

              I'm not ignoring the point you're making.  I agree with you about the anti-science people on the left being a pain in the ass and hurting people.  But it's also a scientifically proven fact that false equivalence makes Baby Jesus cry.  

              When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

              by Sun dog on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:04:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I do genomics (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AaronInSanDiego, StratCat

                I assure you there is no one at the NIH flogging creationism grants and getting funded for research on it.

                Public health and food security are current and active fronts of liberal anti-science sentiment which do have real consequences. The NCCAM institute takes funding from real science, and food security bills for Africa have real consequences on the ground. Today. And I just provided a few examples of specific instances.

                Since when is Oregon not a liberal majority place anyway?

                It's actually strange to me how much space and chatter creationism battles get when I think public health and food security have more specific and direct consequences. Maybe people just don't realize (or want to admit) how much liberals are screwing those up.

                “I apologise ...for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation --@ProfBrianCox

                by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:59:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  mem, you make a good point. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sun dog

                  There is a lot of woo and sloppy thinking on the left, and it does real harm. We have work to do over here as well. (I'm looking at YOU, Senator Tom Harkin).

                  I don't buy the equivalency assertion you make, though.
                  If I may make an analogy (I know, it's a weak form of argument): Both GOP and Dem parties have a long and shameful history on race and civil rights through the middle of the 20th century. One party took the painful steps and dealt with that legacy and remade itself, and one party embraced the southern strategy. Think we all know which is which.

                  On the progressive side, it is possible to engage and educate. On the right, that is damn near impossible. That's the difference, IMO.

                  Insert your own pithy comment/angry screed/wise homily right here!

                  by StratCat on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 12:46:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  yes (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          badger, Matt Z, Fonsia

          The anti-vaccine people are extremely dangerous. A nearby town just had an outbreak of whooping cough, very scary, especially to parents of kids with poor immune systems etc. (or to adults who have those issues, too.)

          It is infuriating how many people don't stop to think about the many lives vaccine still save. Growing up, I had a neighbor who had had polio and was still very impaired, and who died way to young. Do we want to go back to that?

        •  Which lies, specifically, are you referring to? nt (0+ / 0-)

          "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

          by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:18:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This (0+ / 0-)

            "Bill to Mandate GMO Research for Africa/S. Asia Passes Unanimously" and the claims she made about it in multiple diaries, was false.

            But there are lots of other lies on this topic as well, about many aspects of plant science.  She's usually wrong about the research, and completely ignores facts that contradict her monomania.

            “I apologise ...for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation --@ProfBrianCox

            by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 12:05:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  it is different (6+ / 0-)

        I think that some of the left anti-science stuff is very similar to the conservative side. But, there is at least one difference: whereas on the right the CT seems crafted to benefit believers and/or defend their other beliefs, on the left the CT seems to be motivated by a rejection of authority and "conventional wisdom".

        The effect is the same though: evidence selction that reinforces the belief and creates a closed loop logic that denies reality.

        •  Yes, I've lost friends (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Naniboujou, Dragon5616, ebohlman

          when I've stepped too hard on their mystical mumbo jumbo.  This does point to a problem for me with the idea that it's something specific about the right that makes them anti-science.  I think the difference lies in the political effect of the tendency on each side.  There aren't massive industries on the left manipulating ignorance to protect their bottom line as we see with the fossil fuel industries.   I think you nail it with this

          on the left the CT seems to be motivated by a rejection of authority and "conventional wisdom".
          Incredibly, the right even frames their mumbo jumbo in the same way.  A push-back against "elites," even as their regurgitating garbage they've been fed from Exxon or crazy flat-earth religious leaders.  

          When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

          by Sun dog on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:13:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Political effects are definitely different (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            a2nite, Sun dog

            The main direct effect of right-wing antiscience is to get harmful public policies enacted. The main direct effect of left-wing antiscience is to make the Left less effective politically by dragging it into wild-goose chases and purity battles. Thus its contribution to bad public policy is indirect, but still present.

            I strongly recommend Alan Sokal's A Plea for Reason, Evidence and Logic which is all about these issues.

            If you integrate fantasy with reality, you do not instantiate reality. If you mix cow pie with apple pie, it does not make the cow pie taste better; it makes the apple pie worse. --Mark Crislip

            by ebohlman on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:41:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  What about left anti-science? (22+ / 0-)

      Hi There,
      I'm not surprised it looks the same to you. You're immersed in it, and people engage in all manner of biased reasoning to support their beliefs.

      But I think you have to look at how the left versus the right handles these things. And none of these examples you've cited represent mainstream or prominent positions on the left. That's telling.

      In the book I explain the reason for this. Liberals are naturally allied with scientists and it frankly causes psychological pain to fly in the face of what they are saying--at least for very long.

      Conservatives have no such worry, especially since they now powerfully distrust scientists. And moreover, since their styles of thinking are so different.

      I would have added nuclear power to your list--but here, I present new evidence in the book suggesting that liberals may actually be less biased than conservatives on the issue.

      Chris

      •  I disagree. (8+ / 0-)

        This site has had prominent folks actively working against food security legislation because it had the word "biotechnology" in it. Using the exact same strategies of lies and amplification of their circles, false claims made the rounds through the mainstream left.

        And here's what happens with the natural alliance, which is widely supported on the left:
        Pay No Mind to These Harassed Scientists

        “I apologise ...for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation --@ProfBrianCox

        by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:58:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I definitely have to get the book (6+ / 0-)

        There are a few topics - things like genetically modified foods, nuclear energy etc where I end up arguing with people I know.

        For GMO's especially, do you think it has something to do with how the left is also frequently allied with the environmentalist and conservationist movements, so things that seem "unnatural" bring this out in us?

        When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

        by PhillyJeff on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:00:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It isn't hard to find instances (0+ / 0-)

          where environmentalists are anti-science and the predominant environmental philosophy (for example, Nash's Wilderness and the American Mind vs. Cronon's The Trouble with Wilderness,  or "deep ecology") has drifted far beyond science into ideology over science, and even into mysticism and superstition.

          And that has significant impact both locally and nationally, sometimes with negative environmental consequences.

          It's never too late to have a happy childhood - Tom Robbins

          by badger on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:46:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's been frequently noted that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          badger, Lizabet

          most moral systems contain a purity component, associated with the emotion of disgust. It's often said that purity plays a greater role in conservative morals than liberal morals, but I'm not sure this is true. In conservative moral systems, purity tends to be heavily associated with sexual matters and the subjugation of women, and so it can be hard to recognize it outside that familiar context.

          I sometimes like to say that liberals will often show the same attitudes toward other people's eating habits that conservatives show toward other people's sex lives. History, of course, shows that food is very frequently associated with purity issues, as in religious dietary laws intended to increase tribal cohesion.

          The "natural/unnatural" distinction is a classic case of purity, though often sort of an alias, as many purity concerns are, for other interests (e.g. conflicts between the landed aristocracy and industrialists, as in "my ancestors won what they have with the battle-axe, not through 'trade'!").

          Similarly, some on the Left seem to see profit as inherently evil, as opposed to something whose obsessive pursuit is destructive.

          If you integrate fantasy with reality, you do not instantiate reality. If you mix cow pie with apple pie, it does not make the cow pie taste better; it makes the apple pie worse. --Mark Crislip

          by ebohlman on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:55:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Oy with the quantum theory of structured water (5+ / 0-)

        Could not agree more. Many, perhaps most of my lefty friends cannot clearly explain or comprehend what the scientific method or any of the Laws of Thermodynamics are or mean. As my Tennessee Granny would say they just wear me out with free energy, quantum entanglement of the human spirit, vaccinophobia, irrational and harmful food practices (yes I said it) wildly internally inconsistent theories of everything and often just as much outraged sulkiness as any republican when made aware of the fact that perhaps they really don't know squat about the inherent constraints of physical reality. Not everybody can or should be a scientist, but dang, some basic literacy would be good.

        /rant

        Just getting a handle on the knobs and dials.... Hey, don't touch that!

        by Old Lefty on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:03:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  do you have any example of the assault (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dragon5616

      on reason from the left, excluding Libertarian types, Paulbots and anarchists who don't realize they are anarchists?

      •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Hurd, Dragon5616, badger

        I just gave them above.

        Jill Richardson: http://www.dailykos.com/...

        These false claims she made went quite mainstream on the left, causing the bill's author to have to address the lies:

        Let me be clear. The bill does not require the use of GM technology by any farmers, implementing partners or government agencies. It does not condition the receipt of food aid on a recipient country’s adoption of GM. The use of any technology must ultimately be left to individual farmers based on their particular circumstances.
        Yet when I tried to explain this here, I was harassed as usual.

        And here's a diary I did on the folks who were at a DK convention: Troll booth.

        “I apologise ...for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation --@ProfBrianCox

        by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:10:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We have to realize that votes are traded (0+ / 0-)

          and swapped like horses and mules at a county fair. So we must look to the sponsors of the bills to determine if the Left has indeed sold out on GMO.  The sponsors were
           " Dick Lugar (R-IN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Bob Casey (D-PA)"

          Now which of these sponsors are Progressives?  Also where has resistance to the bill come from? Has it come from the Left or the Right.  After all, one aspect of the left is that it is not monolithic and represents a large tent.  Are you asserting that the Left uniformly supports GM related legislation such as this?

    •  Or maybe (0+ / 0-)

      you are yourself a version of the person who not open to other ways of thinking or looking at real facts?

      My facts stack up on the side of alternative medicine where western medicine tends to fail beyond anything that can't be fixed by immunization, antibiotics, a toxic drug or surgery.

      •  Checkmate. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Naniboujou, badger, StratCat, bythesea

        ROFL.

        “I apologise ...for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation --@ProfBrianCox

        by mem from somerville on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:23:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ouch (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bythesea
          My facts stack up on the side
          That was funny and right on cue.  

          But I wasn't denying that we have these folks on 'the left.'  I do see the problem with trying to claim that there is something fundamental to be charted in the 'conservative brain' regarding anti-science tendencies as opposed to the 'liberal brain.'  But I do believe the political effects and the scale are quite different.  

          We see pretty eye to eye on this for the most part.  I was mostly pointing out what I felt was a fallacy implied in your original statement.  

          But my most frequent battles with ideological anti-science are on the left. Plant science, alt-med, anti-vax, that sort of thing. And it looks pretty much the same to me.
           You're talking about your own experience in your own field and going from that to being dismissive about what is a massively destructive anti-intellectual movement on the right.  

          Consider; if we're to be seen as 'very liberal' on the spectrum of American politics and how we've gone about this very conversation.  I just don't see anything like it in the public sphere on the right.  I don't see ANY respect for facts but instead deep seated ability to fight against the most obvious truths with an almost perverse abandon.  There is an aggressive, easily steered anti-fact brigade that shapes much of our public policy.  Rank and file conservatives will join the chorus on just about ANYTHING they're led to believe by their perceived leaders.  Finding examples of similar behaviors on the left (and again, I agree about your examples) doesn't negate the overall differences in cultures and possibilities of the two sides when it comes to science.  

          You're a scientist in a field that has a lot of detractors and distractors on the left.  I value your perspective in that.  But I don't accept the generalization about the overall picture of right and left on this.  I'm guessing a climate scientist would have a radically different view of all this from you.  

          Anyway, I appreciate the conversation and I'll keep an eye out for your diaries.  Peace!  

          When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

          by Sun dog on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 01:38:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Science (0+ / 0-)

          Actually science is a rigorous process where one tests hypothesis with facts and data. One has to - has to - be willing to consider that ones basic assumptions can be wrong. What you have just displayed is that you only "believe". When I said evidence, you did not ask what evidence.

          So if you looking for a true believer who will not question what they believe on the left, go look in the mirror!
           

      •  The attractive thing about pseudoscience (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fonsia

        is that it purports to offer certainty, something most people crave, whereas science frequently has to say "maybe" or "we don't know." Altmed practitioners can seldom if ever be heard telling their patients that there's nothing that can be done for what ails them. There's a school of thought that says it's better to offer false hope than no hope at all, but that coin has a pretty ugly flip side: if the touted treatment doesn't work, the only explanation winds up being that it was somehow the patient's fault.

        We can see the problem with this when someone on the Right claims that if you aren't wealthy, it's because you're lazy or incompetent.  But it's a lot harder to recognize that an awful lot of "New Age" (which I rhyme with "sewage") thinking is based on the exact same assumptions and the main difference I can see is that 40 years ago, the people spouting it had long hair whereas the people spouting conservacrap had short hair.

        If you integrate fantasy with reality, you do not instantiate reality. If you mix cow pie with apple pie, it does not make the cow pie taste better; it makes the apple pie worse. --Mark Crislip

        by ebohlman on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:07:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have seen this in discussions re nuclear power (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fonsia, Sun dog

      Whenever I put forward arguments how essential nuclear power is now and will be in the future, especially sustainable next generation versions thereof, to stop billions of tons of CO2 and methane from being pumped into the atmosphere, to provide energy abundance with the smallest possible net environmental impact...  no matter the arguments, regardless of facts brought forward, the science, evidence debunking fear and paranoia around low-level radiation, etc. - there are many, MANY people here that react like I just farted loudly in church.  I don't get rational discussion, just angry reaction because it challenges long held belief and conventional wisdom around here.  

      So, I've seen first hand how this happens no matter your political stripes!

      I think people are wired to think via internalized models that define how they see the world.  Anyone or anything that challenges these models, especially after they have become part of core beliefs, becomes a threat thereby generating an emotional response.  Once emotions are driving the situation, rationality stops.  

      The rational brain has a lot less to do with our actions than most of us would ever want to admit.  We are beings animated by emotion and instincts, tempered by reason from time to time, some people more and others less.

      The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

      by mojo workin on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:41:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But your comment belies the equivalence (0+ / 0-)

        Because I see no such self-reflection on the right.  

        When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

        by Sun dog on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 02:10:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would argue that on the left side (0+ / 0-)

          we are on the "more" side and the right wing on the "less" side when it comes to tempering emotional, instinctive behavioral patterns of thought by self-questioning rationality.  But, I think none of us are completely immune to the siren sons of pride when long-held beliefs are challenged.

          I have read Altemeyers' "The Authoritarians" and I firmly believe that being a fundy conservative is akin to having a mental disorder that allows them to fit into the authoritarian mold.  How else to you explain people who willingly submit to the propaganda spoon-fed by Fox and the RWNM?  They desperately want to believe, they want to judge others and to hate while willingly following vindictive authority figures!

          The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

          by mojo workin on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 07:33:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I know people on the left with (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sun dog, bythesea

      beliefs in those sorts of things, but they generally do not try to impose their beliefs on others or on the political or educational systems. And I think the stakes are smaller on those issues than with global warming and science education.

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:16:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've got it, mem! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mike101, bythesea

      I've figured out what is vexing me in this discussion.  Like I've said, I agree that there are examples of anti-science behaviors on the left that compare with the right.  I believe the fundamental difference lies in the fact that you can't even BE on the right at this point without being anti-science.  It's intrinsic in what the GOP is selling; from climate change to economic theory to historical facts.  

      When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

      by Sun dog on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 02:16:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. The other issue with (0+ / 0-)

        trying to say that the left is equally ignorant about certain issues is this. No liberal politician feels pressured to say they are antivaccine, etc. to gain votes from liberals. On the Right, if they don't denounce global warming and support trickle down economics, they are screwed. That alone shows you that the equivalency between both sides that the poster tried to point out is nonexistent...

  •  Nice article (6+ / 0-)

    I've read Mooney's explanations on the title and what he didn't mean and I accept them but surely  one would understand why Republicans might not be so willing toi try and understand Mooney's points.

    I think it was an unfortunate choice for Mooney's work.

    He's a great writer who really is very fair imo, and it's a shame that his work will be viewed and just another "Liberal Fascism" style polemic.

    Books are published to be sold of course, but sometimes there are better ways.

    •  Mooney (5+ / 0-)

      did state there were two approaches:

      1.  Trying to persuade conservatvies; or

      2.  Advancing a progressive agenda.

      He has said the two are not the same, and he chooses No. 2.

      Conservatives will never accept any assertion they process information in anything other than logical ways.....

      You persuade conservatives by beating them.....primarily in the popular culture.   They know that.   The Da Vince Code hurt them big time.   By way of contrast, religious progessives could enjoy the book and movie without feeling so threatened.

      You cannot win against conservatives with reason.   They operate on a different plane.  Not to say reason is to be abadoned by progressives.  Not at all.  But reason is not the way to sell reaonable policies.....

      So, the title is irrelevant.  Conservatives would not have read it if the title were different.
       

    •  does it matter? (6+ / 0-)

      The author is never going to convince conservatives no matter the title. I see these books and the frank and shocking (to some) discussion of the facts of the neurobiology, as an exercise purely to benefit liberals and left-moderates. These teabagger types are wired differently and we need to come to terms with the differences so that we can formulate an effective response (as opposed to our current ineffective one that hands these people the levers of power). 

  •  I would, and have, called is Confirmation Bias (13+ / 0-)

    as I discussed in this diary - Everything That's Wrong with the GOP in 1:48 - facts are merely "opinions" for them to navigate through while magic logic spaghetti.

    It's always easier to believe and accept a fact that matches your already established theory - it's much harder to accept one that contradicts it.  That's true of almost anyone, but some of us come to realize this natural internal bias and seek to counter-balance it by never assuming we know what we think we know - we go out and prove it.

    Some conservatives, in fact, many, don't need proof.  They just Know.

    Facts have a Liberal Bias.

  •  My brother is an optics engineer and inventor (12+ / 0-)

    with a couple of patents under his belt. However, he is an evangelical "born again" Christian and keeps resisting the reasonableness of evolutionary science.
    His scientific capablilities allows him to argue that there may be questions unanswered, therefore it's false.
    Drives me up the wall.
    The good news is that he's a Dem. and believes in the social safety net, etc.

    I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

    by David54 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:31:46 AM PDT

    •  there are always the apologists who attempt (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pdxteacher, Dragon5616, Matt Z, Fonsia, David54

      to meld science and religion w/o realizing that they are in two different distinct spheres

      •  I think he secretly knows better, but he just (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        entlord

        likes to sow doubt among the doubters.
        I think there's actually some theologians and thinkers who have more concrete thoughts on this, but I tend to think of  some "born again Christians" as "existential Christians" who have confronted the meaninglessness of life and filled the void with "faith" that is simply beyond the reach of reason. This manifests itself in a broad array of behaviors.

        I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

        by David54 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 03:15:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        entlord

        conservatives think of themselves as religious believers who accept everything they are told as a need to prove their "faith". I find the word faith to be so abused by the right that they actually wield it as a sword to cut down anyone who they consider not up to their high standard of "faith". It is ludicrous that espousing the need to have "faith" by political aspirants or others to accept anything you are told by so-called religious leaders is somehow something to be looked up to or to be aspired to. The "faith" statement, and within it the absence of any factual evidence or plain scientific reasoning, is nothing but a mental crutch.

        The Universe is strange enough, you don't have to add hocus pocus

        by rsie on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:38:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  As Michael Shermer said (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LynChi, David54, Mathazar, BlueJessamine

      (quoting from memory, but it's pretty close) "Smart people frequently believe weird things because their intelligence makes them particularly skilled at defending to themselves decisions that they arrived at for non-smart reasons."

      Or as Robert Heinlein said "Man is not a rational animal. Man is a rationalizing animal."

      If you integrate fantasy with reality, you do not instantiate reality. If you mix cow pie with apple pie, it does not make the cow pie taste better; it makes the apple pie worse. --Mark Crislip

      by ebohlman on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:12:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Propaganda Addict (10+ / 0-)

    ".....the propaganda addict...see in everything its propaganda content and nothing else....Everything is for or against him. nothing is innocent, nothing is pleasurable, everything is connected with his diseased apprehension of power. Before he gets power, he hates the people who have power; he does not trust their intelligence...personalities...good will...or motives. They must be scum because....he the propaganda infatuated man...should hold it."

    -Psychological Warfare, Linebarger, 1948

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:39:53 AM PDT

  •  Loyalty is what matters to them (9+ / 0-)

    So, when Obama supports something, it must be wrong

    They spend their time hating us

    www.tapestryofbronze.com

    by chloris creator on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:41:45 AM PDT

    •  Loyalty/Tribe (9+ / 0-)

      There is a ton of truth to this statement and the research supports it.

      However, important not to claim conservatives are just driven by one thing. Research also suggests they they have a stronger disgust sensitivity, to give just one instance.

      What I try to do in the book is paint a canvas that covers all of the emerging knowledge on left and right differences. I am not sure there is one grand unifying theory that unites it all. But there are a ton of common themes, like authoritarianism and closed-mindedness.

      •  Disgust Sensitivity (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quill, Dragon5616, Matt Z

        This would seem related to their need to be in the majority.  To be validated by authority.

        Thus, religious freedom for them means being validated in the public square by the government.

        Making a conservative position unpopular in the popular culture seems to be especially hurtful to conservatives.

  •  Deliberate, Nothing to do with being conservative (10+ / 0-)

    The neo-conservative attack on science and embracing of a particular stream of evangelical Christianity based on biblical literalism is a deliberate strategy.

    Someone who thinks critically, and demands facts back up assertions or someone who understands and embraces the scientific method and rational analysis, is less easily led than someone who believes that the earth was created in seven calendar days by a supernatural being, who created all living things in their present form.

    The goal of the current Republican party elite, is to create a majority of citizens who no longer question what they are told by the ruling elite. Their emphasis on "social values" issues and legislation is not grass roots driven. It is a cynical ploy to distract from the complex and more insidious legislation being enacted to effectively disenfranchise the 99%.

    Attacks on unions, public schools, universal health care, tax reform, campaign finance reform are all cogs in the machine. The "War on Women", opposition to gay marriage, anti-abortion legislation etc are all delaying and diversionary tactics distracting those on the right, and tying up those on the left in skirmishes on unimportant issues while we are being outflanked on the main battlefield.

    Discrediting science and rationality makes it easier to put forth an agenda with no rational underpinnings. There's no 'science' behind the way Republican's think, just plain old propaganda and dezinformatsiya.

    •  The point is, it works better with conservatives. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      There are always manipulative, unscrupulous people around, trying to influence people for their own ends.  Mostly, it doesn't work.  But for some reason, every now and again they manage to start an avalanche, and it's usually on the conservative side.  We need to understand these things because they can cause a lot of damage by the time they run their course.

      Nobody actually reads these things, do they?

      by Babbling Hill on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:10:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It does work and has for most of my life; they (0+ / 0-)

        win elections this way that way it makes it easier to rob rape and pillage at will. We are arguing over moldy crumbs because they have gotten the their evil minions to buy their lying BS.

        Evil in America is winning; the quote about the arc of justice bending is a bunch of crap.

        The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

        by a2nite on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:28:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think it's just political (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, Dragon5616, foresterbob, Matt Z

    with the use of cherry-picked verses from the Bible to support opposition to whatever it is the scientists and Democrats present as truth.  It's a seriously post-modern approach, and in order to perpetuate opposition, the Republicans have to lie and keep lying about science.  

    So big lie and faux piety.  That's today's Republican party, and the fact it's also anti-intellectual shouldn't be a big surprise.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:47:59 AM PDT

  •  Thanks DarkSyde, anything 2 understand "them" (5+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:50:51 AM PDT

  •  336 Pages? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dragon5616

    Cliff Notes version:
     - Picture what is inside a ping pong ball
     - THAT is a republican's brain.

  •  My experience with Republians indicates that (8+ / 0-)

    debating them is pointless. They'd rather go down in a hail of bullets than admit they're wrong about anything.

    Given that, how do we beat them in messaging to the low-information voters we need to win elections?

  •  I think people believe what they WANT to believe. (15+ / 0-)

    The trick is making them want to believe it.

    For forty years I sat in my law office and watched people change the facts to what they realized the facts needed to be.  And the ones who did it best were the smartest ones.  Intelligence is no defense against self-delusion.

    I can see this in the Trayvon Martin case.  The only way Zimmerman could justify the shooting was if, incredibly, he broke off the pursuit and Trayvon doubled back and ambused him.  Surprise, surprise!  Why, that's exactly what happened!  

    And, as soon as the Right Wing saw that this case had political implications for gun control and civil rights and ALEC sponsored legislation, they all cried "We believe you, George!"

    A right answer to the wrong question is a wrong answer.

    by legalarray on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:54:07 AM PDT

    •  Yes, memory can be so maleable (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dragon5616, legalarray, BlueJessamine

      And, the brighter the person, the better at developing rationales for where they already decided to go.

      But even conservatives know in the back of their mind there are contrary facts out there.  So, when a breaking point is reached, they can change their position.  So, the facts can seeo in.

      But as to the witness issue you note, the trouble is that they can get themselves in trouble because other facts can hurt them.

      But the sincere but uncertain person will always lose the "credibility" battle with even the insincerely certain person.

    •  Just as Justice and the Law (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, Mathazar, BlueJessamine

      are two very different things, so are Science and Belief. As a Lawyer your job is to make people Believe your narrative of the case at hand. Science is the antithesis of this. In essence, with the exception of a few very basic assumptions Belief is irrelevant to Science. Unfortunately, the reverse is not also true. Belief wants answers and thrives on constancy, Science wants questions and embraces the fundamentally chaotic nature  of reality.

      As Buckley noted the politically conservative mind opposes change while any scientist worth the name sees that change is the only constant. Given that science is a potent agent of change it MUST be fundamentally disconcerting to the regressive that lurks in most of us to some degree and in some to excess.

      Just getting a handle on the knobs and dials.... Hey, don't touch that!

      by Old Lefty on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:25:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As a lawyer, I have taken an oath never to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Old Lefty

        lie or present evidence or arguments that are not consistent with the truth.

        Truth is a fixed objective thing.  Immutable.  But only God can know it.  Evidence is the manifestation of truth.  Legal proof is the interpretation of that evidence by a designated tribunal authorized to settle a specific limited dispute over what is true.  Legal proof, then, is what designated people believe after interpreting the evidence.  On one hand, it is imperfect.  On the other hand, it is temporal and isn't generally binding on anyone but the litigants.  We cannot run a civilization without a mechanism for deeming some things to be true that might not be.  (That's why "Not Guilty" doesnt mean "innocent.") That is the essence of law.  To the self-righteous: It's not a feature, not a bug.

        Science also involves the interpretation of evidence.  Its objective is to seek the truth generally.  Nobody has to "believe" it or 'believe in it."  It is also imperfect, but it is binding only to the extent it's useful to mankind.  (There's a story that the Soviets purged all of the "academic" botanists and suffered catastrophic crop failures.)

        Apples and oranges.

        A right answer to the wrong question is a wrong answer.

        by legalarray on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 01:36:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My favorite phrase (4+ / 0-)

    was "the science of anti-science."

    Excellent review.

  •  only needed a pamphlet for this topic (0+ / 0-)
  •  Chris, thank you for your work. What do you think (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    etbnc, Dragon5616, foresterbob, Matt Z

    Jonathan Haidt is missing re:  understanding how the Republican brain/mind works, in his new book The Righteous Mind?  Or is he fully on target?

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:00:04 AM PDT

  •  "Belief" is anti-scientific (6+ / 0-)

    because science embodies  doubt, curiosity, open-mindedness and intellectual humility.  While "belief" means certainty, incuriosity, stubbornness and intellectual arrogance.  The practical difference between science and faith is that one uses 'argument' as a tool for exploring reality, while the latter uses it as a tool to batter "non-belivers".

    •  Fortunately (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mathazar

      Believers need Science, but this is a non-commutative relationship. They reject Physics while tapping away on their Laptops, fighting a losing rear guard action against Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and most of the rest of the great minds of humanity.

      Just getting a handle on the knobs and dials.... Hey, don't touch that!

      by Old Lefty on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:37:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Beliefs vs science (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pdxteacher, Dragon5616

    "People believe what they are told over and over again."

    Isn't the simplicity of the right-wing juggernaut's success the converting of rational and critical thinking into beliefs?

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:05:39 AM PDT

  •  History reminder (6+ / 0-)

    The Nazis attacked the revolution in physics and chemistry pioneered by men such as Einstein, Haber, and Born as "Jewish" science and therefore a-priori false and corrupting of "pure" Aryan ideas.

    Anyone who doesn't see real danger here for our freedoms of speech, inquiry, and thought better wake up.

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:13:45 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the review, DS. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dragon5616, freerad

    Ordered and anxious for it to get here. Best thought i ever had on the topic is that feelings trump reason.

    On Trump: "What can one say about the hair? Flying squirrel, hard landing, fallen and can't get up." —R. Brenizer

    by perro amarillo on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:23:27 AM PDT

  •  There but for the grace of Reason, go we. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Naniboujou, RockyMtnLib, rsie

    One of the points Mooney makes is the ability of conservatives to adopt a contrary belief when the leader of their party is in power.

    We saw this during the GW Bush years, when prior antipathy toward policies such as "nation building," grow of power and size of the fedgov, or deficit spending, turned into ambivalence or outright support.

    Unfortunately, very, this defect in reasoning is not exclusive to the conservative mind. One of the hallmarks of honest intellectualism is self-reflection and the ability to avoid denial.

    The Left, also, has become more ambivalent or supportive of things it once opposed, once they were backed by the party leader.

  •  thanks everyone! (9+ / 0-)

    I just wanted to say that I appreciate greatly DarkSyde's review and all the thoughtful comments. I've got to get a move on--traveling, book tour--but it has been great to engage with everybody! Thanks so much for your interest in the book!
    Chris

  •  Global warming and right-wing tinfoil-hatters (6+ / 0-)

    Some time ago,  I decided to "roll up my sleeves" and try my hand at computing my own global-average temperature results from the publicly-available GHCN (Global Historical Climatology Network) raw temperature data.

    Last year, I put together a very simple global-temperature averaging program, ran the raw temperature data through it, and was able to get results that were very much "in NASA's ballpark".  

    I Refined the program a bit to perform proper area-weighted averaging (i.e. simple gridding), and my results ended up matching NASA's results very closely.

    Also tried some variations (processing rural stations only, processing only stations still actively reporting data, throwing out 90% of stations at random, etc.), and all those runs produced results similar to NASA's as well.  I also compared results that I got by processing raw vs adjusted data -- warming results were very similar.

    So I started a new thread over at the San Diego UT message-board to show folks there my results.  Linky here: http://forums.utsandiego.com/...

    Didn't have a single "skeptic" there post anything thoughtful in response.  But I did get some real loonball responses.  Here are some samples:

    You guaranteed your results would be invalid, when you chose to use an adjusted data set.

    ........

    You guaranteed your results would be invalid, when you chose to use an adjusted data set.

    ..........

    Even the data set you call raw, is adjusted. Now, what about those buoys?

    ............

    Here's a suiggestion for you- since you've always done little other than to appeal to authority, and scream out words such as "REKNOWNED","ACCREDITED", and "PEER REVIEWED" regarding your eco-scientist menagerie, along with perjoritives directed toward skeptics on a daily basis, why not publush your C++ source code here via text or link (prefereably with comments and perhaps YOUR algorithm) along with your open office spreadsheet template, so that it too can be reviewed? there are many people here who are software savvy, and in some cases, have access to professionals who are system architects, analysts, or IT auditors that can give it a once or twice over "smell test" for valdity and lack of self serving massaging...

    ............

    Quite a load of BS. Surface temperature records from selected sites near population centers provide a skewed input for an analysis that lacks sufficient information to provide a meaningful result. The bottom line, your belief in a stupid postulation lacks any scientific basis.

    ..............

    Even if you ignore that surface station temperatures tell nothing about heat content, the data you started with is the garbage. The selection of surface stations for temperature information, not the adjustments you keep trying to attribute, took care of putting the blade on your hockey stick. How you massage the garbage is of little interest.

    .............

    You are so confused. The problem with your approach is that you are presuming that you are starting with something that is unadjusted.

    ......

    You are not. The "anomolies" that you are starting with have already been polluted by bone headed politically motivated folks like Hansen.

    Your simple analysis is testament only to your simple minded love of garbage.

    .....

    caerbannog's garbage massage and ad hominem attacks are a poor substitute for science.

    ...........

    The fact is that there is no science that leads to the conclusion that atmospheric CO2 concentrations have affected, or are affecting Earth's climate.

    One should trust science, not the fraud that is perpetrated by corrupt tax sucking bureaucrats and charlatans, and repeated by brain dead fools.

    ..........

    You start with NASA's corrupted data, which is what is in dispute; and continue to make the claim that you are proving something significant about the global surface temperature record by using it. Easy, or stupid?

    And one of my favorites:
    What you have done only confirms that the dropped stations were of little influence before 1990. But, you have not addressed what the dropped stations are saying about what has happened to the temperature since 1990; which is that it has no changed much.
    Amazingly stupid, isn't it?  How could stations that were dropped in 1990 say anything about post 1990 temperatures?  

    But wait.... there's more!

    Wow, you really did throw up.

    I'm sure that probably made you feel better, but if you have to throw up again, would you please consider the rest of us and do it somewhere else?

    Now someone has to clean up a big pile of smelly vitriolic hyperbole.

    ............

    The problem is that the data being used have been corrupted by “homogenization”, and are not the original readings.

    ................

    No, the message is that the GHCN data has been corrupted to show warming consistent with the NASA/NOAA/CRU published reports, no matter which individual records you pick.

    ................

    he "preliminary findings" were not based on any of the analyses that the BEST program set out to accomplish. It looks like Muller was either pulling a fast one all along, or he was pressured by the Berkeley power elite to go support Babs. (Link to WUWT deleted -- don't want to boost its Google ranking).

    But, as usual, caerbannog offers nothing to support the contention that there is a scientific reason to believe that a trace amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has any influence on climate,.

    ..................

    That is an allegation based on anecdotal evidence, not a fact. The more likely fact is that the oceans have warmed slightly causing them to release CO2.

    ...................

    You may be right about the timing of the industrial revolution, but steam does not emit much CO2. Although it does increase the amount of water vapor, the largest "greenhouse gas" by far, into the atmosphere. So did that water vapor cause a global temperature increase?

    ................

    The CRU have been caught manipulating the data to match their story.

    n that link, one can find that the data has been manipulated in several ways, and that they make ridiculous claims about its accuracy. But, to an AGW-theist like caerbannog, this represents raw data.

    What caerbannog presents is nothing more than garbage out from garbage in.

    But the truth is, there is no scientific basis for the contention that CO2 is causing Earth's surface to warm.

    ...........

    What good is that, when the data he is partitioning has already been manipulated?

    There is a lot of work showing how the data has already been manipulated, plus there are the climategate emails with proof that it was done deliberately by AGW-theists.

    ..........

    The GHCN "raw" temperature data has already been adjusted.

    ....

    cxaerbannog's utter nonsense doesn't address the problem that there is no physical reason to think that the current CO2 concentration influence Earth's climate or temperature, or that any atmospheric CO2 concentration less than 10,000 ppm might exert a measurable influence on Earth's climate.

    .....

    Dispite the ugliness that caerbannog likes to claim that his graphs portray, even if they are not in any way fraudulent (a tough proposition for caerbannog, or anyone else to prove), surface station temperature record averages provide insufficient information to show anything about climate or what influences climate.

    Also, the total peak to peak range of all of the averages that the grant feeders have shown is barely out of the expected error range for the measurements.

    So, why isn't there any scientific explanation of how CO2 could affect climate in any measurable way?

    ..........

    o assert that there has been measurement of an average temperature of the earth by satellites that is accurate to within one degree C is a stretch. To assert this accuracy from surface records (whether adjusted or not) is absurd. To assert an accurate average surface temperature recor, and that it means anything, is ludicrous. Even if the temperatures were 100% accurate and repeatably sensitive to a thousandth of a degree, they would offer no meaningful information about the record of atmospheric heat content without comparably accurate corresponding pressure and humidity.

    Venus has a high surface temperature because it is closer to the sun, and also even more so, because the weight of its atmosphere causes it to be compressed against the planet's surface.

    .........

    I'm not sure amazing correctly describes it, since the "data" for each station has been adjusted to show the same thing as shown by the "data" for the other stations.

    Well, I guess that's (way more than) enough wingnut drivel for now.   Time for me to go find a shovel to clean all this up....
  •  Making science partisan and the other evils men do (5+ / 0-)

    There is no inherent partisan  side to any given scientific fact.  It seems to me that the right could come down on the factual side of climate change just as easily as the side they have come down on.  Their leaders are using the tendency of their followers to fall for this kind of reverse logic to create divisions with the rest of us.  It works because if one side is going to go with facts and logic, you can pretty much guess what their position is.  I do not accept that climate change is real because of some belief system,  I base my opinion on the science.  So do most of the readers of this site.   If the science suggested the opposite, then that is where most of us would fall as well.  No, the leaders on the right (who use to accept the facts regarding climate change) see this as a way to build support and this is why they rail against environmentalists, climatologists, etc.  They know fully what they are doing and so what if we all will suffer in the long run.  It is the same mindless evil as the witch hunts of old or the persecution of seekers like Galileo and should be treated as such.

    The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

    by Do Something on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:28:26 AM PDT

    •  Of Course Facts are Partisan. They're Not Building (6+ / 0-)

      their movement using climate denial --they use ethnic fears and anger, economic frustrations, religious authority etc. to win support for climate denial. Facts are partisan because the facts argue for curtailing their ongoing global conquest, and empower society to resist them.

      We will not ALL suffer in the long run and the pro science community damned well better get that and get it soon.

      Human beings could've survived in the hottest dinosaur era climate when sea levels were 300 feet higher. SOME human beings.

      Ownership and its support community are always going to have places they can get along just fine in. Right now 2 of the 7 billion of us are basically not involved in the global economy at all, and another 2 or more are essentially unneeded by ownership.

      They can handle a mass dieoff just fine and they know it.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:40:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  At least, that seems to be their plan (0+ / 0-)

        How well they can actually "handle" a mass dieback remains to be seen. They can retreat to the their estates over aquifers in Paraguay, surrounded by their Blackwater private armies -- but if the global infrastructure and economy collapse, how will they keep those armies loyal to them? What is to stop private armies from shooting their rich masters and setting themselves up as warlords?

        Women are the only oppressed group not allowed to name their oppressors.

        by atana on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 12:39:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Similar theme, without the brain science. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Naniboujou, Dragon5616

    I'm about half way through Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America by Shawn Lawrence Otto. I'm looking forward to reading Chris Mooney's book next. Thanks, DarkSyde!

  •  I Wonder If There Are Any Real Data Here (4+ / 0-)

    when issues crucial for ownership to defraud the public are taken off the table?

    To me this is a bit like analyzing the theological points of fundamentalists, I don't see it mattering. I see an aggressive conquest being waged by institutional power that is clearly spending billions to create this mentality, and I'd prefer we get on with recognizing that.

    Whether conservative voters are structurally limited in understanding science would take a great deal to tease out from the massive web of anti-science propaganda we all, and especially they, are immersed in, with the same world views being reinforced at every turn and at every level.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:34:38 AM PDT

  •  I must confess that I have not delved very deeply (0+ / 0-)

    into the recently popular issue of differences in cognition/neurobiology between liberals and conservatives.  What instantly raises red flags with me is this  emphasis on two discrete  phenotypes.  This diary has inspired me to see if I can find the actual data.  Typological thinking is not where we should be going - I find the response of my fellow liberals to this studies to be pretty ironic.

    "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

    by matching mole on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:59:14 AM PDT

  •  fascinating (4+ / 0-)

    so one of my questions would be...what can we do to make them see, among other things...

    1.  They are often voting against their own interests and those of their families.

    2.  The economic policies of the Republican party have failed us.

    3.  Climate change is very, very real...

    sh

  •  I agree with Gooserock (7+ / 0-)

    Various attempts have been made to look at brain structure in explaining political proclivities.

    But really, the money that has been spent over at least the past four decades in a systematic way that seems difficult to believe is much more determinative.

    I grew up in an environment in Texas that suggests to me a sociological phenomenon.  People are desperate to believe in something that validates them, and belong to a culture they fit in with.  This is more important than anything else.  

    In college I was always around a cohort of people who were the first generation of the right wing Christian activists that we are dealing with mostly.  They were led by wealthy and influential evangelicals seeking after power, in partnership with special interests in the oil and petrochemical industries who had a Texas sense of divine right to make money unimpeded by any interference.   You could call it "JR Ewing finds Falwell" useful.

    that wouldn't matter except that the key mental construct I found my schoolmates adopting was the idea that lying was necessary to achieving political results.

    There was a fundamental fear that the entire American ethos had gotten put on a wrong track and we were going to lose America.  Therefore, nothing was beyond the bounds.

    Over the decades this has gone from using lies strategically to bending one's perceptions and thought processes in order to conform to the leadership, calling the shots through PR manipulations that are really quite sophisticated.

    I see analysts putting forward a variety of theories as to what is going on that seem to entirely miss the fact that a probably billions of dollars have been spent in an effort to create a seamless environment that is very seductive.  

    I think that is incredibly dangerous.  This is really worse than what Orwell described.  I guess he wouldn't have believed that evangelical thinking from Texas would prove so compelling.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:00:18 AM PDT

    •  Orwell might be disappointed (0+ / 0-)

      but not surprised.  He wrote in the bi-polar cold war setting and did not foresee our current situation globally but he sure did nail the general Shape of Things to Come. Whether Oceania or the Faux Nation, war is peace and NewscorpSpeak has dulled (maybe nulled) the public mind.

      Just getting a handle on the knobs and dials.... Hey, don't touch that!

      by Old Lefty on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:28:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  denial is an essential survival 'skill' re fear (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dragon5616, Matt Z

    The need for certainty is stronger in the cons so natural ever-present natural uncertainty (that we  evolved with) is more easily turned into fear. They're allergic to uncertainty more than liberals. That turns complexity and mystery into fear instead of curiosity. They have to have explanations or the uncertainty turns to fear. They want predictability through order and conformity.

     IMO, sex on the wrong brain is the problem, and it started with civilization. Humans are getting too much sex energy into the logical side of the brain- some people get more, and some people react to it differently.

    Logic is supposed to be patient and objective to find the truth but sex energy wants conclusion, finality. To end the thinking it must have certainty. Thinking becomes like unwanted foreplay.  But the Universe surrounds us with infinite complexity and uncertainty and sex energy's need for certainty only causes stress and fear.

    Our power structures and authoritarian leaders deal the antidote- certainty.  Societies have become  economies of certainty and fear with many manufacturers and suppliers.

    Certainty is the currency of power, more valuable than gold, more important than truth.  Certainty is king.

    It must be created and rationalized and they've been brewing it in those castles and monasteries for centuries. That's why the kings of talk radio have been so successful creating their alternate reality and undermining democratic feedback mechanisms- they offer certainty and simplicity over truth and the left has obliged by giving them a free speech free ride, seldom challenging the certitude until after the alt truth has been established.

    The creative side is used to deny and simplify reality into quick easy answers and absolutes. Yes... and no... black... and white... order... and disorder... good... and evil...  to create certainty and opportunities to apply it through judgement.

    And when logic opens the gate to accept the easy answers some of the trapped sex energy finally  escapes and has its way in the pleasure centers on the right side to produce the pleasure of certitude. So stupid feels good. That's the grin on GW's face. Gingrich's face.

    This was not always the case. Things changed with 'civilization' - that's when human pop densities increased and we came out of the forests and had to delay the age of reproduction.

    That's when the serious masturbation started and without sex ed the default hand is the sword and hammer hand, which is connected to the left/logical side of the brain. Our power structures depend on it to create their paternalism and warrior class.

    That's also the mathematical side of the brain- and where the numbers and magnitudes are done sex energy wants more, bigger, faster....

    http://youtu.be/...

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:03:22 AM PDT

  •  There's not a lot here about the thesis (0+ / 0-)

    So, it's really impossible to say how useful it may or may not be.

    However, when I see "science journalism" i tend to run for cover. The track record of science journalists over the past 10-15 years has been abysmal. Science journalism is not science. It is journalism. We have had a huge problem the past few years with science journalism promulgating all kinds of myths of genetic, innate, "hard wiring," and biological differences between human beings that all can be traced to social and cultural assumptions (and prejudices) from the 19th century (and, mind you, none of the "science" panned out because the assumptions on which it was based were faulty). The latest clap trap is that conservatives and liberals have different "hard wiring" in the brain, never mind that none of this has anything to do with how the brain actually works.

    I'm not saying this is the case with this work, but no one in this field seems to have gotten much of anything right over the past 15 years. Which makes me decidedly not optimistic.

  •  It's not nature, it's nurture (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Mathazar

    and the chief farmer responsible for the cultivation and harvesting of the rotten fruit modern rightwingnutism is, is of course Lee Atwater, who also serves as a fine example of support for the following, since the self-disgust-born shame finally caught up with him, much as it did say George Wallace in the wake of his less than his alleged "fact-based" moral, etc, povs fell apart.

    My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The '80s were about acquiring — acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn't I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn't I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don't know who will lead us through the '90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    I've not read any of his books, but I have followed the publicity and comments regarding the latest with some interest, and have already supplied some of my own. http://desmogblog.com/...

    http://www.desmogblog.com/...

    At this point I'd merely add details that should help bring this case into sharper focus, since the reader can take them and correlate it all with the behaviors and rhetoric choices they make these days.

    Denial as Freud noted,

    Denial is a defense mechanism postulated by Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.

    is all about ego preservation, and that is what the rightwingnut masterminds count on to be able to keep their lying license, because of the self-disgust that must necessarily follow in many of their minions should its revocation occur, and the corrosive effect that shame has on the ego, not to mention the size of their support in this country.

    It also explains why the dems are always their scapegoats -- insert the debt/deficits are BHO's sin, despite them owning the lions share of them here -- and why deflection plays such a prominent role in everything they spew. For example, I'd argue that their at least subliminal awareness of all of this explains the following, because they must not come in contact with reality because of the obvious result, which would be something akin to matter/anti-matter meeting. The recent "war on women" is but the latest of countless examples of such.

    Deflection is ignoring or turning away either an internal or external emotional trigger in order to prevent full recognition or awareness of associated material...e.g., painful memories --(like being so abysmally wrong about almost everything of significance these many years now as the gullible and dishonest dumbasses they are.)

    Characterized in Gestalt Psychology either by blocking the trigger itself or by turning oneself away and going off on a tangent.

    Persons often deflect from their feelings and impulses by endless talking...by laughing instead of taking themselves seriously...or by always focusing on the needs of the other.

    Other examples of deflection include:

    Changing the subject repeatedly when a particular issue is raised

    Appearing not to hear or see something

    Misunderstanding or redefining what has been said or done http://www.internet-of-the-mind.com/...

    In the final analysis, it's not about them being inherently stupid, it's about them being gullible and willfully stupid in an effort to avoid the shame and guilt associated with wholly supporting so many damaging failures for so long, and digging that hole deeper has been their only option up to this point, to avoid the inevitability of swimming and perhaps drowning in, the Sea of Shame.

    As I see it, in terms of the anti-science thingy Chris addressed, the growing impacts of global warming are gonna inevitably shake them outta the tree of stupid much like the discovery and dissemination of knowledge of the death camps did the German people in the wake of WW11.  Stupid and gullible, like misery, love company, but only those that love misery will cling to and perpetuate it, long after all sane reasons to feel it are lifted.

    After all, that's why the unindicted war criminal and burning Bush and their avid support for him, has been ignored and denied in the wake of his reign of error and terror, ain't it?  Unlike however, with the dead jews and AGW, they had someone else to direct, project, deflect, etc their failings into and onto -- that infanticidal marxist muslim born in Kenya who's the terrorists best friend, sitting in the WH today.

    •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

      The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

      by a2nite on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:12:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  indeed (0+ / 0-)

        that's the big fly in their ointment alrighty.

        All the shameless evil they promote and participate in while claiming the right to the white hat, flows from their tireless pursuit of and participation in, one of the seven deadly sins known as greed.

        and just about all of it is in contravention of the contents of that "Good Book" they largely only pay lip service to, at least the newer part of it in almost all cases, and on issues like greed, the old part as well.

  •  Just another definition of insanity. (0+ / 0-)

    When one cannot deal with the reality of a situation and continue to believe it's opposite despite the reality whacking them square in the face. Then I believe they are insane.
     

  •  Another element is consumerism (0+ / 0-)

    The general problem in communicating about issues that are about locating solutions to societal problems at any level is that intelligent discussion is overwhelmed by the necessities and urgencies of consumerism.

    This is where the money comes from that fuels the drive to jam messages that are against the perceived interests of industries that see themselves threatened by regulation.  

    Because evangelicals are committed to not questioning a belief system that calls the shots about what to think from a central authority, this is a great advantage for the billion dollar PR effort that is predicated on the pyschology of persuasion at many levels.

    Reading through comments on various diaries that are somewhat related, it appears that progressives have a kind of vulnerability.

    We all pride ourselves in being able to see through the fog and to be able to think clearly.  We find it hard to believe that anyone who claims education and intelligence would willingly adopt a systematic frame of reference for believing reality.  I think many time, unless we specifically look at how willful this is, we can't see it.  We won't believe it.  How could anyone do this?

    I think the answer is fairly simple.  Most people don't really care about the larger issues.  They care about much more practical things that are specifically on the table at the moment.  Getting through the day and then enjoying what one can of life is the total agenda for most people.  

    If adopting a belief system that helps you do that, and helps you dispense with the need to deal with complex and ultra sophisticated things you don't want to bother with, then it gets you through.  Being OK is OK.  

    That is how advertising and PR basically work.  They are based on very shrewd science about human behavior and how it works and work to manipulate this, primarily for the purpose of the profit in it.  

    That is indeed a mighty tide to swim against.  

    However, I think what progressivism has going for it is the ability to be real.  

    The problems we face in the present, looking to the future are unprecedented.  There have never been 7 billion people on the planet, about to become 10 billion.  

    Pretty much all of our larger issues such as global warming, the price of gas, the sustainability of agriculture in third world countries, the economics of international finance, etc, are all basically because of this condition.

    I think the bottom line is this:

    Using science correctly to inform debate about policy options that matter is imperative.  Arguing with people who want to be lied to is not.  

    We can approach all our institutions from the Democratic Party at the county level to corporations with fifty story headquarter buildings with insistence on this point and this will produce change.

    Our biggest challenge is that normally the political system is very slow to respond to changing and dynamic reality based perception.  It has required decades if not a century or more in the past.

    That doesn't work anymore.  We have to continue to work in whatever way we can to get the whole body politick to speed up in order to deal with what is really happening to our world.   Denial is not an option about any of this.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:36:25 AM PDT

  •  I just bought this book and it arrived Friday! (0+ / 0-)

    I have not had time to read any of it yet because I also bought Drft. I am going the read the first chapter of Brain right now...this entry has made me anxious to read it!

    So man good books...not enough hours in the day!

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:52:53 AM PDT

  •  This is one of those book (0+ / 0-)

    in which I have underlining on EVERY page -- with little page stickers for those primary facts I want to return to most frequently.

    Excellent book!

  •  Can't wait to read it. (0+ / 0-)

    Payday is Friday, and I will be all over it next weekend.

    This is such an incredibly important topic. I have lost count of the times where I have engaged in conversations with conservatives about things like climate change and there is this disconnect. I am a good talker and I keep up on things, and I hammer away with the facts and avoid personal attacks, all those things you should do, but I get very little traction. I have long suspected there is something else going on with the conservative mindset (many of them anyway) and I really appreciate Chris Mooney's effort here.

    Sometimes people will ask me to define progressivism, and my response is always something like this: there are many components to progressivism, but at its core, progressivism is the idea that scientific understanding should drive public policy. So IMNSHO if we don't win the fight to increase public appreciation and understanding of science, we can't win the fight for a more progressive society.

    Thanks DarkSyde, thanks Chris!

    Insert your own pithy comment/angry screed/wise homily right here!

    by StratCat on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 12:35:12 PM PDT

  •  sidebar: (0+ / 0-)

    Mitch McConnell - how does his mind work - - enemies lists like Nixon or the other side of the spectrum; this is a deep guy - who manipulates lots of people to control and keep and get power; who does he pow wow with inside and retired from government / military /security intelligence, corporate boards, lobbyists ????

    GE is big thing in his state - - what's the bigest military installation etc etc crowd that he runs with?

    that would be the premise for the next book on GOP I'd like to see written;  

    V. P. Biden - introduced the "Romney Rule" good blow to Mitten's glass jaw - - just how much capital$$ could Romney et al make under the Romney/Ryan/Rove tax cut plan

    by anyname on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 12:51:44 PM PDT

  •  I just submitted an Interlibrary Loan Request (0+ / 0-)

    with my local library. Of course, they won't be able to borrow it from another library because it was just published this year, but that means they will probably end up buying a copy for me.

    Given that I live in a small rural county with a Republican majority, having that book sitting on the "New Books" shelf in the library will be pretty cool. I'd love to be a fly on the wall and see the faces of the Teabaggers who see it there.

    Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

    by Mr Robert on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 01:06:59 PM PDT

  •  From a guy who never took a science class? (0+ / 0-)

    "Republican Brain"? What's next "Democratic Livers"?
    Mooney is a poser who has never taken a college level math, science, statistics or engineering class in his life. The Republicans suck, no doubt, but biological determinism? Give me a break. Only people who are as clueless as Mooney will take this seriously. What a dope.

  •  Unfair generalizations.... (0+ / 0-)

    Let's be objective.  I know many conservative Republicans and (believe it or not!) they believe in evolution, some are Agnostics, they don't like Rush Limbaugh, and they have degrees!  OTOH, I know some Democrats that believe the moon landing was staged, and other anecdotal oddities.  Bottom line: DarkSyde and Chris Mooney are the very type of creatures they babble about, with usual boredom.

  •  Republican brain???!!! (0+ / 0-)

    what's wrong with that phrase? i think we all know

  •  Science itself isn't always "right".... (0+ / 0-)

    > "He writes early on and illustrates throughout it's not that liberals or independents are always right about science, it's that, lately, conservatives are wrong a lot."

    And science itself (the accepted theory of whatever) is not always "right". That's because (or why) science, unlike theology, progresses in part through the discovery and correction of error.

    To be scientific, a theory or hypothesis must be falsifiable, i.e. a statement possible to prove wrong. Unfalsifiable (always & inerrantly "right") statements are not science; at best they are tautologies, at worst mere dogma.

    Not understanding this basic point, religious fanatics celebrate at the news of an error being discovered in science, because they think it weakens science (as it would weaken dogma).

    Meanwhile, scientists celebrate at the news of an error being discovered in science, because they know it advances science.

    -- Raven
              Say NO to Torture!       Prosecute War Crimes!

    by Raven on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:45:38 PM PDT

  •  Anti Science posture has rational motivation (0+ / 0-)

    To me, the entire Republican Party has gone over the line into a kind of cultural neurosis.

    But, the reason that evangelicals are leading the way into a full blown denial of science is basically simple.

    If you are trying to build a comprehensive worldview that is based on being born again, you have to get people to quit using their critical thinking faculties.

    If science impeaches your essential core beliefs, then you must impeach science or lose control of the fund raising and the voting blocs that give you power.  

    People can be convinced of what they want to be convinced of.  That is basic wiring in the human psyche, probably stemming from the evolution of group identification.  

    We all do this, but being self aware enough to engage in critical thinking, is a challenge we accept if we want to move forward and not back into a 21st century dark age.  

    Let us not deceive ourselves that slipping back would never be possible in an era of cell phones and databases and traffic jams.  This is what Jefferson was really thinking about when he pointed out the need for constant vigilance as the price of freedom.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 12:19:02 PM PDT

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