Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Science and Relativism 

Josh Marshall is a journalist, but he's also a wordsmith. I think he gives "the theory of" the Big Bang short shrift here. The theory has predicted phenomenon that have later been observed, and is by far the dominant theory concerning the genesis of the universe. But I'll leave that to one side.

This post is the best indictment of the Bush Administration's basic worldview that I have read to date. It doesn't harp on one policy angle or another, but it gets to the wellspring of all that's wrong with the whole operation. The context is irrelevant, if mildly entertaining. A young Bush appointee - a veteran of the Bush/Cheney '04 "war room" - was attempting to censor NASA personel. Basically he was trying to keep anyone at the agency from saying the words "global warming" and insisted that references to the Big Bang be deemed "opinion" (a position Marshall ably eviscerates). Then he was forced to resign after someone started digging and discovered that he lied on his resume about having graduated from Texas A&M. So he wasn't even an Aggie.

Sorry...I had to.

Now, you might think that based on what I've written so far, our young appointee - the 24 year old George C. Deutsch - pretended to have graduated with some degree or another in the sciences. He was, afterall, appointed to work at NASA. But it turns out he was a fake journalist, not a fake scientist. Go figure. Anyway...the poor kid's up shit creek with a turd for a paddle now, but I digress.

The point is, this kid's the personification of what's wrong with the Bush Administration's worldview, and by extension its policies and politics. I'll leave the heavy lifting to Mr. Marshall:

The rub here is the failure to see that knowledge which has been subjected to and survived -- indeed been strengthened by -- empirical and theoretical scrutiny stands on a higher footing than information that hasn't. This isn't pedantry. Nor is this some obscure alcove in the science curriculum.

This mindset -- obscurantism and relativism duking it out to be of most use in the pursuit of power -- suffuses the Bush administration: a lack of respect for facts and the set of tools we use to discern factual information from chatter and bombast.

Damn skippy.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?