Year 4, Month 9, Day 9: The Fool Hath Said In His Heart…

The Baxter Bulletin (AR) features a columnist named Tina Dupuy, who takes on the science-accepting science-rejecters:

We believe as a culture — as a community — that if science, in the form of medical care, can improve and prolong life then we’re required to enable it to do so. People of faith can concede God gave us medicine and we can all forgo the horrors of life before penicillin and aspirin. Zero controversy.

See, the Schaibles and hundreds of parents like them think pneumonia and other illnesses stem from a lack of faith, a life of sin. They’re bacteria deniers. As a constitutional government we don’t care what they believe until they’re culpable in a child’s death (in this case two deaths). Our government believes in science over biblical diagnosis.

So it is therefore not a stretch, not in any way contentious or unreasonable, to simply accept climate change as a reality for one simple reason: It’s science, and we believe in science.

There are two types of climate change deniers: Those who take a faith-based exemption citing God’s divine plan, and those on energy company payrolls.

Good article, but she doesn’t go far enough. Time for some epistemological updating. September 3:

While political and social conservatives have no problem, as Tiny Dupuy points out, with using the products of scientific thinking for their own convenience and enjoyment, this acceptance does not automatically translate into an informed understanding of science itself. The late Arthur C. Clarke famously remarked that, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” and therein lies the key: creationists and their political fellow-travelers are magical thinkers, relying on updated and digitized superstitions to make a confused and contentious world once again orderly and safe. From this perspective, the conservative rejection of climate change, evolution, or other inconvenient facts is no more paradoxical than adherents of one religion denying the claims of another.

Scientific method, by contrast, privileges the search for truth, letting the chips fall where they may. No magic required, only rigorous examination of data and a readiness to admit error in the face of fresh evidence — both of which are impossible for magical thinkers.

In prehistoric times, these modes of thought would have little consequence outside an individual’s own sphere of influence. Now, alas, scientific illiteracy may well be the deciding factor for our species’ future on a climatically-transformed planet.

Warren Senders