09 April 2010

Pseudoscientific myopia

Perhaps the most common problem in our society today is myopia. We can see those things, ideas and beliefs that we hold close quite clearly, but we are unable to see things at a distance.

Consider the case of Sandi Siefker of Rock Island, Illinois. Sandy attended the Tea Party Express when it visited the Quad cities of Illinois and Iowa. Now please know, I am agnostic regarding the Tea Party as a movement. I am thrilled to see more people involved in politics and concerned about issues that I think are potentially devastating for our country, but whether this will be translated anything... well, I'm agnostic. Ms. Siefker, however, is quite clear that this is an act of evil.
Sandi Siefker of Rock Island attended the rally, but not in support of the Tea Party's message. She stood quietly on the edge of the gathering with a sign that read "Tea Klux Klan, Modern Day KKK."

"I'm pleasantly surprised," Ms. Siefker said. "There's no hoods or capes, but I know they are racists."

Ms. Siefker said these protests didn't occur when America had a white president. She said she believes much of the Tea Party fervor started when a black president took over the Oval Office.
Given that Pres. Obama is our first black president, and given that there have been street demonstrations, many of them much more violent than anything the tea party is even accused of by even the most ranting lunatic critics, it seems to me that Ms. Siefker is suffering from a case of political myopia. Because she "knows" ... she KNOWS ... that these people are racists, apart from any evidence, she cannot see the lack of evidence that she is right as possibly evidence that she is wrong.

This same sort of myopia occurs on the subject though Wobal Glarming. Consider former VP Gore, quoted here, making it clear that today's weather is a result of climate change:

Gore, the self-anointed climate change alarmist-in-chief, told supporters on a March 15 conference call that severe weather in certain regions of the country could be attributed to carbon in the atmosphere--including the recent rash of rainy weather. "The odds have shifted toward much larger downpours," Gore said. "And we have seen that happen in the Northeast, we've seen it happen in the Northwest--in both of those regions are among those that scientists have predicted for a long time would begin to experience much larger downpours."

And contrast that with this report from the Hill:
A top Obama administration scientist on Monday struck back at climate skeptics who claim that record snowstorms this winter have undercut evidence of global warming. “It is important that people recognize that weather is not the same thing as climate,” said Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In other words, we know that wobal glarming exists, we know that human beings cause it, and therefore if today's weather fits our expectations, it is proof; if it does not, it is not proof.Scientific myopia prevents them from seeing that the lack of evidence-or contrary evidence-is proof that they could be wrong.

One more example. As I commented, I recently spent some time on avowedly liberal blog. (I don't know why. I did let myself get drawn into a p***ing match that was ultimately pointless. It is hard to discuss Scripture with someone who doesn't believe that some of the most important books the New Testament are. in fact, inspired.)

One of the frequent commentators to the blog has made it very clear that while we cannot know the source and origin of human sexual orientations, the experience of homosexual and bisexual persons, while not normative for the rest of us, is normative for them. (My phrasing, but trying to be fair.) But it is simply impossible but that could be the case when dealing with someone who claims to have recovered from homosexual attractions. She writes:
Richard Cohen cites anecdotal evidence, ie his own marriage, as scientific proof that gayness can be cured. I’m sorry, but a case study of 1 is hardly scientific proof. It only proves that he is either bisexual or lying to himself and others.
I will stipulate that a case study of one is not scientific proof, there is certainly more than one case. But, rather than accept the possibility, that someone can in fact be changed in their sexual orientations, and the experiential testimony of someone who says it happened to them, the preconceived notions amount to "proof" that he is "bisexual or lying".

Myopia rules.

No comments: