Evolutionary psychology Intelligent Design

Is there such a thing as “liberal” science denial?

Spread the love

Some of us don’t buy the whole “denial” thing altogether. As our kairosfocus says, “De Nile is a river in Egypt.”

And as News says, No one has an obligation to believe stuff that doesn’t make sense just because 99% of the people who make a living fronting it insist that it is true.

The world is crazy, but not that crazy, not so far.

But for those who are interested in the brand, here’s Chris Mooney making clear that unwillingness to sign on to evolutionary psychology is liberal science denial:

There’s no doubt that many left leaning academics have historically been quite skeptical about evolutionary psychology, presumably out of the fear that ascribing certain traits to biology suggests that they cannot be changed — and thus, can perpetuate inequality. The famed Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker extensively challenged their “blank slate” view in a bestselling 2002 book. Going back further, in the storied “sociobiology” wars of the 1970s, evolutionary thinkers like Harvard’s E.O. Wilson sought to apply their understanding of humankind’s origins to modern human behavior — and fell into a ferocious row with broadly left-leaning scholars who attacked biological or genetic “determinism,” and defended the idea that social factors explain most of what we need to know about why people do what they do.

We don’t care if we never hear from “left-leaning scholars” around here, as days of rage are just so not our thing.

But can we not summon an ounce at least of pity for people whose failure to sign on to the most ridiculous outcropping of Darwinism—evolutionary psychology—brings about their downfall? See, for example, “The evolutionary psychologist knows why you vote — and shop, and tip at restaurants”:

A number of voices of reason have been heard over the years. The best-known dissent is not religious, incidentally. Common-sense philosophers David Stove and Jerry Fodor have written books, respectively Darwinian Fairytales and What Darwin Got Wrong, assailing evo psych’s simplistic, counterintuitive assertions. Social scientists such as Steven and Hilary Rose, editors of the anthology Alas, Poor Darwin, weigh in on its ad hoc assumptions about human behavior. Journalist Sharon Begley (Newsweek 2009) notes the evolutionary psychologists’ characteristic backpedalling when challenged on extreme claims, and their comfort with undemonstrable hypotheses: …

Look, it wasn’t us that abolished common sense.

The last time we heard about liberals (today they are progressives with a PR firm really, not in any meaningful sense liberals), they were being attacked as liberal creationists. Some of us have never figured out exactly what provoked that slaughter in the ranks; seems like Ash Jogalekar got hit though.

Just as long as the Liberators are not coming here soon. But if they do, just so they know … de Nile is a river in Egypt.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

25 Replies to “Is there such a thing as “liberal” science denial?

  1. 1
    redwave says:

    UD. In several threads I have noticed the statement, De Nile is a river in Egypt. This statement has little to no meaning for me in the contexts of the comments. The original statement is closer to the phrase, Denial is not a river in Egypt. This phrase is used in chemical dependency recovery programs to confront denial of causes for use and abuse of life altering drugs and alcohol. The intent of the phrase is to stop obfuscation and excessive denials of reality.

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    And in several threads we have noticed the statement, the theory of evolution. This statement has little to no meaning for us in the contexts of the comments and especially seeing that no one can find it.

  3. 3
    News says:

    redwave at 1: Our kairosfocus means – I think – that we don’t take seriously people who insist that our concerns about undemonstrated – possibly undemonstrable – hypotheses are a problem for us. We think that they are a problem for the disciplines in which those people have or seek tenure.

    Thanks for info re the original (?) use of the phrase. We often sponsor word studies around here, and that is a new one for us.

  4. 4
    redwave says:

    News. Thank you for the explanation. UD’s use of the phrase sounds like a reality check, which is most likely necessary for the reason you have given … indemonstrable hypotheses. Thanks again.

  5. 5
    Robert Byers says:

    It means that the moment evolutionists don’t like a conclusion from other evolutionists they easily invoke THOU IS NOT DOING SCIENCE .ism.
    All ideas based on evolutionary presumptions are undemonstrated and untested and are all just unsupported hypothesis.
    They truly do go against the common sense of mankind.
    they do make their case based on degrees on a wall from their late teens and early twenties.
    The blank slate is true but the continuing blank slate is not problem for all these cats and not just this Pinker.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    keith s says:

    Denyse:

    We think that they are a problem for the disciplines in which those people have or seek tenure.

    Denyse,

    What’s with your tenure obsession?

    And your “Brit toff” fixation?

  8. 8
    Barry Arrington says:

    keith s, you are the absolute last person who should be talking about obsessions or fixations, with all the huffing, crossing of arms, stamping of feet and whining about no one meeting your “challenge” when it has been met and overcome several times. You are always good for a grin. Or is that a grimace? No matter.

  9. 9
    wayne moss says:

    “Is there such a thing as “liberal” science denial?”

    Well, as an honest liberal myself, I have the right and responsibility to respond to this question with an emphatic and embarrassing “YES!”
    Specifically in regards to nuclear energy and GMO foods, through denial, my liberal friends are directly contributing to climate change and world hunger collectively; and this despite all the best scientific evidence that flatly contradicts their “anti-corporate” motivated bias.

    Add to that the anti-vaxx’er wing of the so-called intelligentsia, and you can just imagine how frustrated I get, arguing against my own “side”.

    One of the biggest problems we face as a complex society, is the paradoxical hi-jacking of the scientific world-view by the arrogant and aggressive anti-theists who routinely (and loudly) contend that “Science disproves Religion.” Trouble is – the average follower of this oppressive narrative knows very little science or Religion.

  10. 10
    groovamos says:

    Ever wonder why packaged whole orange juice tastes like crap? The pasteurization ruins the flavor. Now what would happen to the flavor if the juice were sterilized with ionizing radiation? In the package? We’ll never get to know because our leftist food police will never allow it. There has never been the slightest evidence that irradiated foods are harmful. In other words the science is contrary to what leftists think and force on us.

  11. 11
    keith s says:

    Barry,

    Yes, I keep bringing up ID on an ID blog. I must be obsessed, huh?

    You challenged me to provide a bomb. Why are you surprised when I challenge you to defuse it?

    Meanwhile, while other folks have attempted to defuse the bomb, I’ve noticed that you seem to be avoiding it. A comment from the other thread:

    This is funny. In the OP, Barry claimed that my argument

    failed at many levels… WJM lopped off the Black Knight’s arms and KF took out his legs.

    I challenged him:

    Let me repeat my challenge from the other thread:

    Barry,

    If my bomb is such a dud, you should be able to defuse it easily, in your own words.

    How about it?

    After you’ve made your attempt, I’ll respond.

    Then we can look to see who is bleeding and who isn’t.

    A day later [now it’s two days], and still no response from Barry.

    Meanwhile, Barry’s new thread shows that he has been frantically trying to learn about cladistics, in the vain hope that he’ll be able to cash the check that his ego wrote here.

    I’ll be back later to address the other commenters, but this was too funny not to point out.

    With your newfound cladistics knowledge, can you explain, in your own words, where my argument fails — and defend your claim?

  12. 12
    Learned Hand says:

    Wayne Moss,

    Specifically in regards to nuclear energy and GMO foods, through denial, my liberal friends are directly contributing to climate change and world hunger collectively; and this despite all the best scientific evidence that flatly contradicts their “anti-corporate” motivated bias.

    Add to that the anti-vaxx’er wing of the so-called intelligentsia, and you can just imagine how frustrated I get, arguing against my own “side”.

    This accords with the conventional wisdom, but the research shows that there isn’t much of a connection between political affiliation and hostility to GMOs or vaccines. (I don’t know of any research on hostility to nuclear power; I’d guess that it does correlate with left-wing politics, but the facts are often counterintuitive.)

    Dan Kahan’s Cultural Cognition project at Yale has been looking at this. There’s a slightly greater but apparently insignificant correlation between being a Democrat and believing GMOs are risky, and a similarly slightly greater but also apparently insignificant correlation between being a Republican and believing that vaccines are risky.

    One of the biggest problems we face as a complex society, is the paradoxical hi-jacking of the scientific world-view by the arrogant and aggressive anti-theists who routinely (and loudly) contend that “Science disproves Religion.”

    Really? That’s one of the biggest problems we face as a complex society? Who is it that believes that “science disproves religion?”

  13. 13
    Learned Hand says:

    Groovamos,

    Check out the link in my last comment. I don’t recall that they tested beliefs regarding nuclear sterilization, but they did look at the related belief that raw milk is risky. It also doesn’t have a particularly strong correlation to politics.

  14. 14
    groovamos says:

    Learned: Who is it that believes that “science disproves religion?

    You’re going to get a plethora of examples from others here I guarantee it. It’s not always stated in those words but can come as ‘science is opposed …’ or ‘science eliminates the need’ or some similar pronouncement by writers and educators. Dozens of examples have been linked on this site over the years.

    It also doesn’t have a particularly strong correlation to politics.

    Wikipedia gives a list of types of irradiated food allowed by the FDA. Orange juice is not listed. Many conservatives are opposed to FDA policies, more so than liberals, and would like for industry to police itself in these areas based on sound science.

  15. 15
    Learned Hand says:

    If someone else equates “eliminates the need for X” with “disproves X,” I suppose that’s their business.

  16. 16
    gpuccio says:

    Learned Hand:

    Frankly, I would say that a statement such as:

    “Science eliminates the need for Religion”

    is rather strong too.

    IMO, it is also obviously foolish and arrogant. I think that even serious atheists would not necessarily agree with it.

  17. 17
    gpuccio says:

    News:

    What about CSI denial? 🙂

  18. 18
    Joe says:

    keith s:

    You challenged me to provide a bomb.

    And the challenge still stands. 😛

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    “Science eliminates the need for Religion”

    Actually science, and reason, are impossible without God, (i.e. Presuppositional apologetics, Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism). Thus the biggest ‘deniers of science’ are, in reality, the ones who believe that science has somehow eliminated a need for God. In anything, from the big bang to the astonishing, awe inspiring, complexities being found in life, science testifies more and more strongly to God’s glory.

    As Dr. Tour has stated,,,

    “I build molecules for a living, I can’t begin to tell you how difficult that job is. I stand in awe of God because of what he has done through his creation. Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”
    James Tour – one of the leading nano-tech engineers in the world – Strobel, Lee (2000), The Case For Faith, p. 111

    Top Ten Most Cited Chemist in the World Knows Darwinian Evolution Does Not Work – James Tour, Phd. – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y5-VNg-S0s

  20. 20
  21. 21
    Learned Hand says:

    Frankly, I would say that a statement such as:

    “Science eliminates the need for Religion”

    is rather strong too.

    As an atheist, I’d agree with that much. But also as an atheist, I’m afraid there isn’t anything I find more tedious than conversations about atheism. I’m a little sorry that I dipped my toe in one, and I hope you won’t mind if I back out of it.

  22. 22
    wayne moss says:

    @ axel, 20

    Yes, I am a fool. I am ignorant on many many issues. And when I decide to learn about something, I do 3 things: research the current professional opinion, observe existing historical facts, and contrast both with experience & common sense.

    Historical Fact: No radiation related deaths at Fukushima after it suffered the largest earthquake in recorded history.
    Also, no radiation related deaths ever in the US after 4 decades of 100 operating reactors…
    Now, common sense: (cui bono?)who benefits from the rejection of nuclear power? Oil & gas tycoons, and their political flunkies.

    Detailed scientific evidence about what ionizing radiation is, and what it does to humans; (airline pilots, sunbathers, medical imaging technicians, naval submariners and power plant workers)is available at 100s of locations.

    But I expect this site does not want a tutorial in nuclear reliability.
    The impetus of the original question, and the focus of my response, was to affirm the position that unrecognized ignorance is indeed widespread
    among liberals, at least proportionate to the “science denial” of conservatives.

    What makes this concept (the Dunning-Kruger effect) most relevant to the original issue, is the absurd level of confidence that can be displayed by people who have almost no experience with the subject at hand. We humans are very tribal in this regard: we pick a side quickly, and we’re too lazy to do any real and unbiased research. In this state of emotional attachment, a flagrant contradictory fact will just bounce right off of us.

    Probably good to remember that ultimately, we’re all fool’s for somethiing

  23. 23
    Learned Hand says:

    [U]nrecognized ignorance is indeed widespread among liberals, at least proportionate to the “science denial” of conservatives. . . . Probably good to remember that ultimately, we’re all fool’s for something.

    I like this phrasing, and I think it’s probably accurate. “Unrecognized ignorance” is a symptom of being alive.

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    Yes, I keep bringing up ID on an ID blog. I must be obsessed, huh?

    Tell us again how intelligent design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent. Really.

    Most of us just find that hard, if not impossible, to believe. So we’d really like to hear what you have to say on that. Assuming you still think it is true.

  25. 25
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    Yes, I keep bringing up ID on an ID blog. I must be obsessed, huh?

    I’m obsessed with people who post here at UD who make false and unsubstantiated claims about ID.

    Were you simply mistaken when you claimed that ID is not compatible with the evidence for common descent? Were you deliberately lying?

    Have you ever retracted your claim that ID is not compatible with the evidence for common descent?

    If not, is it because you believe it is true?

Leave a Reply