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The Motivated Rejection of Science 771

Layzej writes "New research (PDF) to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science has found that those who subscribed to one or more conspiracy theories or who strongly supported a free market economy were more likely to reject the findings from climate science as well as other sciences. The researchers, led by UWA School of Psychology Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, found that free-market ideology was an overwhelmingly strong determinant of the rejection of climate science. It also predicted the rejection of the link between tobacco and lung cancer and between HIV and AIDS. Conspiratorial thinking was a lesser but still significant determinant of the rejection of all scientific propositions examined, from climate to lung cancer. Curiously, public response to the paper has provided a perfect real-life illustration of the very cognitive processes at the center of the research."
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The Motivated Rejection of Science

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  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:31PM (#41262573)

    When a certain in-duh-vidual started claiming there was mercury in vaccines & even RFIDs, I pointed-out that mercury was removed years ago. I also politely asked for proof of the RFIDs.

    At first the guy said I need to do my own research, and I said I already did, but I've found nothing. Then he blew up and started calling me nasty names & other bullshit.

    These conspiracy persons have more problems than just lack of faith in scientific research. They have emotional/anger management issues. Of course that also means I won the argument..... he never did provide proof that vaccines have RFIDs in them.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:32PM (#41262597) Journal

    You, Sir, are what is known as a "data point".

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:33PM (#41262613) Homepage

    Seems obvious to me we're talking about a group of people who are willing to believe what they are told to believe or give in to ideas because one makes them feel better or less uncomfortable.

    It kind of describes a lot of people, but primarily, it describes the religious faithful.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by myrdos2 ( 989497 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:33PM (#41262615)

    We notice that all of the mentioned 'science' issues are tied to public policy positions of the left and that the 'scientists' are working outside their areas of expertise when they push policy solutions to the problems they 'find.'

    Whole lines of research were simply forbidden as career ending. Consipracy theories almost always pop up in vacumns of fact, especially when it is pretty obvious that facts are suspected but being supressed.

    So... is your post some kind of satire, or what?

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:33PM (#41262619)
    Anyone that rejects AGW, vaccination of children, evolution, the earth not being the center of the solar system, or any other of the misguided beliefs the right seems to cling to is, quite simply, ignorant. When an overwhelming majority of scientists give you incontrovertible evidence and you scramble to rationalize your beliefs any way you can rather than doing the logical thing and accepting that you may have been mistaken, you are letting stubbornness and ego cloud your judgment. You might as well be living in the dark ages.
  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:38PM (#41262713)
    Really? He had to do a study to conclude that people who believe in the free market reject attempts to replace it with a state-run economy?
  • by Hartree ( 191324 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:44PM (#41262815)

    From one of the linked articles:

    "More than 1000 visitors to blogs dedicated to discussions of climate science completed a questionnaire"

    I'd agree that it is probably a fairly good representation of those deeply involved in the debate, who read those blogs and are willing to take time to do the survey.

    How much it says about the general populace is a different question. And notably one the researchers don't try to answer.

    This is a classic example of taking a study about a sample of a limited population and broadly generalizing it in the submission write-up for slashdot.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:44PM (#41262819)

    That's right, the only possible way to disagree with the study is if you are opposed to science. A study that took as data online polls on blogs. Yep, some sound science right there. (/sarcasm)

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:45PM (#41262839)

    Being right doesn't mean you win.

    Proving your opponent wrong doesn't mean you win if they don't accept it.

    There are only 2 ways to win an argument:

    You bring your opponent over to your point of view and they agree with your superior logic and evidence.

    You are brought over to your opponents position and agree with their superior logic and evidence.

  • by jodido ( 1052890 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:45PM (#41262841)
    "Global warming" as the term is generally used is not science. It's a political program. It's true that measured temperatures are higher than the last hundred years or so. That's a fact. But the "why it's happening" is not science, it's conjecture (I deliberately don't use the word theory, because I respect theory). IMHO it's not useful to lump belief or disbelief about global warming in with distrust of vaccines. In any case the root is the same--a growing distrust of authority, especially governmental authority, as government less and less appears to be capable of solving the big social and economic problems of our time. Combine this with the dismantling of public education and what other outcome could you expect?
  • by zerobeat ( 628744 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:45PM (#41262851) Homepage

    Its remarkable how many people criticizing this study have concluded the authors are socialists. How do you know? What is your evidence? You have already made up your mind that these researchers are just colluding with other scientists to make a political point that deniers of science are conspiracy nuts.

    But you have no evidence at all. How many of you have already run off and read the paper yet... thoroughly? And yet, here you are condemning it. Wow! Good way to prove the authors point but announcing a conspiracy when you see science you don't like (but haven't read). Their work has just been beautifully f*$king demonstrated here in the comments section of /.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:46PM (#41262881) Journal

    At most a climitologist can rightfully say the Earth is warming, CO2 is the cause and human activity is the likely cause of the increase of CO2. Beyond that they should say NOTHING. Other scientists, in other fields, are qualified to evaluate proposed policies.

    Que? A climatologist is best positioned to evaluate a proposal to see how it may affect the climate.

    The second they use the cloak of science to push policy solutions they aren't scientists anymore, they are amateur politicians. Emphasis on the amateur.

    Oh, it seems that you are confused by the meaning of "politician". For one thing, all good politicians are "amateur" - a professional politician is the worst sort.

    Next, a politician isn't someone who creates "policy solutions". A politician in a representative democracy represents the voice of the people. He selects from the among the expert proposals the ones which align with the people's wishes, puts them forward to a legislature, listens to the alternatives, debates them, and ultimately votes on them in line with the wishes of those he represents.

    To recap: a politician does not create solutions. He is not a professional in any particular field. He can't be - he's voted in as a voice of the people, not an expert on a particular thing.

  • Ad Hominem (Score:1, Insightful)

    by mfwitten ( 1906728 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:50PM (#41262943)

    This research (and how it has been reported to the public) is an example of an ad hominem attack (in this case, an attack against free market "ideology").

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo ( 1000167 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:50PM (#41262953)
    It's funny how idiots like you use words like "socialist", "left(y)", and "liberal" as if they're some sort of insult.
  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quanticfx ( 2443904 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:51PM (#41262967)

    Stubbornness and the ability to cling to your ideas/ideals in the face of overwhelming evidence/facts is seen as a good thing these days.

    God forbid anyone be able to actually consider alternatives based on presented evidence/facts and change a stance on an issue, you'd be known as a flip-flopper!

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:51PM (#41262979)

    or any other of the misguided beliefs the right seems to cling to is, quite simply, ignorant

    While I agree, it's important to note that the left can be equally stupid. Most of the "People are allergic to WiFi" and/or "Vaccines are dangerous" and/or "My naturopath can cure cancer" fools are on the left.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:51PM (#41262983)

    Its a good idea to have scientists advising politicians on science. They know a HELL of a lot more about science than politicians.

    I mean, we just had a guy on a congressional science committee forcefully and publicly proclaim that women emit some kind of magical substance to prevent pregnancy when "legitimately" raped.

    I think that this pretty clearly shows that we need more science in political discussions about science. Just because Akin is a "professional" politician does not mean that he is suddenly great at making political decisions regarding science on his own.

    And hell, we all know that if scientists completely divorced themselves from the political and social ramifications of their work, that you would be whining to high hell about how scientists isolate themselves in their ivory towers and can't communicate with the public. But if they do communicate their results to the public and talk about real world ramifications you get upset that they might be influencing politics directly related to their work.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tooyoung ( 853621 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:53PM (#41263025)
    With the free market bit I don't think that they are labeling anyone as crazy. Rather, they seem to be suggesting that free market proponents will dismiss evidence that counters their established views, which is probably true of many people who hold ideologies.

    One interesting aspect of the report is that the conspiracy theorists tend to side with the corporations over science. While I do see how this is an attractive conspiracy, I would think that people would be more likely to think that the companies are conspiring against science to further their economic goals.
  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:54PM (#41263039) Homepage

    Acknowledging that there might be a problem with lots of extra CO2 in the atmosphere does not require replacing a free market with a state-run economy.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:55PM (#41263055) Journal

    I hear what you're saying and it sounds like "stop oppressing the ultra-rich!"

    Everyone, prodded hard enough, can be shown to hold dear some unsubstantiated hypotheses about the world.

    But someone on the right has the ultimate aim of helping themselves, either convinced or pretending to be convinced that it'll help other people if everyone strives to help himself. This is an ego-increasing exercise, and too much ego produces an insane amount of self-belief. Self-belief is the origin of faith or conspiracy or whatever you want to call it. This is why conspiracy theories on the right are very well-organised: there is a tremendous amound of unwarranted self-belief.

    Those on the left do have their own conspiracy theories, but they tend to be a lot weaker and less organised. This is because it's hard to reconcile "be selfless and love one another" with "here's this thing I think and I have no evidence for it but I am quite convinced in myself". Selfless objectivity and subjectivity tend not to mix. Leftist conspiracy theories are thus more a failure of mind than inherent to the principles of their politics.

  • by zerobeat ( 628744 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:55PM (#41263061) Homepage
    I think there are many reasons to lump disbelief of global warming with the distrust of vaccines. Both groups of people have these beliefs, despite an overwhelming volume of data that says otherwise. Worse yet, showing these people data that contradicts their beliefs bizarrely reenforces the baseless beliefs. There is a common phenomenon (psychological) going on here, and it is worthy of study.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:57PM (#41263105)

    You're talking about people's religious beliefs running contrary to scientific fact. Emotional versus rational thinking.

    That's what Dawkin's, Shermer, and Armstrong don't seem to get - religion isn't about rational thought: it's about feelings. And most humans will trust their feelings over that facts - they are emotionally attached to their World view. They let their feelings overrule what their head says. That's why you have paleontology Ph.D.s throw everything they learned out the door so that they can still believe in the literal truth of the Bible (Dawkins talks about him in his "God Delusion" book) - the science is wrong not God's word. That paleontologist is hardly ignorant - especially about Evolution - but he still chucked everything out the door.

    And that's where most unbelievers don't understand, they are trying to state a rational argument for an emotional one. And that's where the believers fail miserably - they try to stand toe to toe with science and try to challenge facts with a book of fairy tales and myths.

    There will never be an agreement. The only thing that can be done is just keep hammering folks with the data and eventually some will come around and the rest are doomed. to believing in their stories. But if that give comfort to them, if their delusions don't harm anyone else, then who gives a shit. But it's when they start trying to legislate their irrationality on others - like teaching "Intelligent Design" or "the controversy about Evolution" - is when they need to be stopped.

    It's fine for yo to believe in Santa Claus, but don't you dare try to force those beliefs with law - like teaching Creationism in school.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:06PM (#41263291)

    Do you really believe that groups of people, regardless of their level of psychological commitment to any idea, are capable of convincing literally thousands of people in their own profession, aligned professions and knowledgeable bystanders to simply ignore facts and evidence, and to promulgate, knowingly, wrong information, proudly, authoritatively, and consistently without error.

    And then, granting this is even possible, they're able to recruit entirely new generations of people, people who may not even have been born when the "lie" was originally concocted, to repeat the same lies, over and over, to not ask questions, to not pursue the truth, to simply obey, mindlessly, and to do so for nothing more than the remuneration of the occasional government grant (which they gotta fight like hell for regardless).

    The problem is, if you all of this as true, you've successfully killed the Enlightenment and any principle of self-government through reason and debate. If conspiracies decide what the popular mind accepts as "fact," we might as well have kings and clerics decide the best course of action, because democracy in such a world is pointless. The people are sheeple, the books are cooked, and votes are a waste of energy, energy that could be more effectively spent by elite, autocratic decision makers.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:11PM (#41263373) Journal

    That's like saying a butcher is best positioned to evaluate how much meat someone needs to throw a successful barbeque.

    Which they are.

    I'm sure what you're saying is, "But uh there's a butcher conspiracy and they'll all say AS MUCH MEAT AS POSSIBLE because that'll make them rich!"

    Except that - and I thought this is what you free markedroids always argue when you say that All Regulation Is Evil - it's in no butcher's interest to lie about how much meat someone needs, as then they'll stop being trusted and no-one will listen to them any more.

    Not that the analogy is valid, of course, as a climatologist is a lot more likely to get big funding from big business if he sells out his soul and says "global warming doesn't exist.. err I mean has nowt to do with humans yo" than if he gets paid a government wage to tell the truth.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BMOC ( 2478408 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:12PM (#41263397)

    Its a good idea to have scientists advising politicians on science. They know a HELL of a lot more about science than politicians.

    No, not really. It is good to keep scientists around to tell the public when politicians are horrifically wrong scientifically, but there is no reason that scientists should be "advising" a politician. When you mix scientists in with politicians, you lose the scientist. You can't run public policy by the scientific method, or else you would get nuanced versions of healthcare bills with enough exceptions to fill 10^9 pages of text. You also can't investigate the universe with politics, or else you get things like Lysenkoism [wikipedia.org].

    The system we have works best when scientists educate the public of their caveated findings, and the public decides what it wants. When scientists start advising politicians, and wielding the false-flag of scientific authority from a political platform, you get the same problem as mixing religion and politics.

  • by Kergan ( 780543 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:18PM (#41263511)

    From one of the linked articles:

    "More than 1000 visitors to blogs dedicated to discussions of climate science completed a questionnaire"

    I'd agree that it is probably a fairly good representation of those deeply involved in the debate, who read those blogs and are willing to take time to do the survey.

    Err... A regular follower of this kind of blog can only be at one or the other end of the climat extremism spectrum.

    Not one in the lot will give the honest scientist's answer, which is that nobody has the slightest effing clue for the long term, beyond the fact that weather patterns are -- duh! -- variable and seemingly varying upwards.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:18PM (#41263519) Homepage

    So let me get this straight, is your argument that:
    Premise: Scientific consensus with lots of evidence says that a certain problem exists, but
    Premise: The solutions proposed so far to address the problem involve ideologies distasteful to you, so
    Conclusion: The science must be wrong.

    Let me make a similar argument that we'll both agree is absurd:
    Premise: There are reliable historical reports that Stalin sent millions of people to the gulag.
    Premise: But acknowledging these facts means that maybe Communism isn't so peachy.
    Conclusion: The historical reports must be capitalist propaganda.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Americano ( 920576 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:20PM (#41263585)

    Except that HIV treatments have improved dramatically since the early 90's when Mr. Johnson (not Jordan) announced his diagnosis, with people being diagnosed today having a life expectancy slightly shorter than - but actually approaching - the general population. Of course, it depends on how quickly you start treatment after diagnosis, how far along your infection has progressed when you're diagnosed, your overall health, and your access to appropriate treatments.

    But Magic Johnson has survived a bit over 20 years with his HIV under control; That's not even really an outlier based on today's prognosis - proper medication and treatment will turn it into a chronic, but mostly manageable, disease for many people. Given that Johnson was famous, rich, and presumably in excellent physical condition, it's not all that surprising that he'd have access to the best care available, and survive for a long time as a result.

    You should probably also look up Long-Term Non-Progressors (HIV "controllers"), and the general natural history (infection process) of HIV. After initial infection, HIV typically enters clinical latency which can last up to 20 years (avg. of about 10 years, I believe). AIDS is only diagnosed when T-cell counts drop below a certain level, or one of the opportunistic infections associated with AIDS is diagnosed.

    Given his diagnosis about 20 years ago, and the increasing efficacy of HIV treatments in the last 20 years... it's really not all that shocking that a young, healthy, rich man with access to the best care that money & fame can buy, and who also happens to be in excellent physical condition as a professional athlete, even if he's not a "controller," would be able to survive past his initial diagnosis for this long.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dbet ( 1607261 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:21PM (#41263629)
    Using online polls limits the scope of the findings, it doesn't invalidate them, nor is it "bad science". It also doesn't mean this one study is the end-all authority on the matter. It's good information that can be collected into a larger view of things.
  • by pitchpipe ( 708843 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:23PM (#41263689)

    ... as government less and less appears to be capable of solving the big social and economic problems of our time.

    It probably has something to do with putting people in charge of government who believe that government can do nothing right. It's fucking ridiculous. You would have to be a complete moron to put in someone into any position of authority or control in a company if they believed that said company could do nothing right. It'd be foolish. Yet that is the very thing that conservatives are doing with our government.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:24PM (#41263695) Homepage Journal

    No, not really. It is good to keep scientists around to tell the public when politicians are horrifically wrong scientifically, but there is no reason that scientists should be "advising" a politician.

    What's the point of having people who know what to do if they can't tell the people who decide what to do what should be done?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:25PM (#41263757)

    I think that point was covered indirectly. Free market capitalism is a religion.

  • by AdamHaun ( 43173 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:40PM (#41264113) Journal

    Really? He had to do a study to conclude that people who believe in the free market reject attempts to replace it with a state-run economy?

    The supposed existence of such attempts is a conspiracy theory, as is the idea that people who disagree with you do not "believe in the free market". Hardcore Libertarian ideology provides a lot of the misconceptions and straw men needed to justify rejecting climate science. It's those justifications that are the issue here, not the final conclusions drawn from them.

  • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:41PM (#41264129)

    It's really just the same for the other side. There are plenty of honorable characteristics about what you call the far right, conservatives, or republicans.

    Both sides have drawbacks, fallacious logic, and shortsightedness in their positions and ideas. To use a label as an insult, when it only represents a set of ideals, is just bigotry.

    Fucking Liberal. Fucking Republican. Neither one of them is justified. While some ideologies and concepts might truly be mutually exclusive, it is just depressing that we have all this vitriol between them. No one wants to work together to find an intelligent solution and middle ground, and meanwhile, we sink further into the shitter.

    The whole article is +5 Troll and just designed to stir up every demographic on Slashdot that it can.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:46PM (#41264257)

    But when debating the policy implications of AGW a climatoligist is useless. What insight can they offer into whether cap and trade is a good idea?

    There are at least five important questions whose answers are needed to address whether cap-and-trade is a good idea:

    1. How much effect would cap-and-trade have on GHG emissions?
    2. What other direct effects would cap-and-trade have besides its effect on reducing emissions?
    3. What would the climate impact be of the effects described in #1?
    4. Would any of the effects described in #2 have climate effects, and, if so, what effects?
    5. Does the net social benefit of the climate effects in #3-4, combined with the net social benefit of the non-climate effects described in #2, offset the net social costs of effects described in #2.

    #1-4 are scientific questions. #5 is a question that, while there may be some scientific aspects of it (aside from those in the preceding questions on which it relies) is largely about subjective values.

    Of the four scientific questions, two of them are questions specifically about climatology. So, while there's very good reason for there to be other scientists providing input, its pretty clear that climatologists have quite a lot to contribute on the question.

    They aren't economists.

    Since one of the scientific questions listed above is largely an economic one (#1) and one is partially an economic one (#2), there certainly is a role for economists advising on the issue as well. But that role is not exclusive of the role of climatologists, as there remain climatological questions that are important in addressing the utility of cap and trade (or any approach to climate change, since the effectiveness of the approach in addressing the core problem it seeks to address will always involve a question of climatology, even if it also involves other questions.)

    If the conversation turns to carbon sequestration they aren't the person to ask whether that is feasable.

    No, but once someone else provides input on the degree to which sequestration is feasible and what other near-term environmental impacts that sequestration will have, your going to need to turn to climatology to answer what the net effect of the sequestration (both from the direct carbon reductions and indirectly through any environmental side effects) is likely to be on climate.

    If we want to talk alternative energy they can't provide any insight on that either.

    They certainly are the best positioned, once others answer what is feasible and what effects those options would have on GHG emissions and other environmental inputs, to provide insight on what those alternatives are likely to do in terms of climate. Which, when evaluating alternative energy supplies as a solution to a climate problem, is a pretty critical insight.

    You need different scientists and experts to answer those questions.

    Its true that you need a variety of experts to address those questions.

    Its not true that the need for other scientists to address those questions means you don't also need climatologists to address each of them.

    Climatology is a pretty narrow specialty.

    Yes, but its pretty freaking central to evaluating options to address climate change, for reasons which should be intuitively obvious to the most casual observer.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:58PM (#41264551)

    "Leave it to Slashdot commenters to provide free evidence for the study!"

    Two very big indicators -- the title and the very first, opening sentence of the abstract -- very strongly indicate that this paper is anything but unbiased:

    "NASA faked the moon landing -- Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science"

    Even among hardcore "conspiracy theorists", disbelieving in the moon landing is a rather extreme view. The immediate impression I get is that this isn't about correlations with "conspiracy theory" at all, but with extreme conspiracy theory. Which weakens their argument a good deal.

    Extreme conspiracy theories of the kind mentioned ("The CIA killed Martin Luther King, Jr." and "NASA faked the moon landing" are not representative of conspiracies or conspiracy theories in general. Real conspiracies can and do happen. If you don't "subscribe" to at least "one or more" of the less extreme conspiracy theories that are out there, you are probably not a very rational person.

    Then there is the first sentence of the abstract:

    "Although nearly all domain experts agree that human CO2 emissions are altering the world's climate..."

    The very first sentence of the paper is demonstrably false, and indicates a lack of understanding of the very science they cite. That doesn't bode well for the rest of the paper.

    Last but far from least, their "study" was actually a survey of a self-selecting segment of the population that represents only a very tiny percentage of the total, and not at all likely to be representative. To anyone who ever studied statistics in school, that should be a giant red flag.

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kamel Jockey ( 409856 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @03:04PM (#41264677) Homepage

    [citation needed]

    If you read the New Testament, you will find that Jesus never advocated any political ideology, nor did He advocate any government policy. Simply advocating that you personally help others with your own time, talents and resources (as opposed to ordering other people to do it) is not the same thing as advocating for a policy of forced wealth redistribution. I don't call that "socialism" because that doesn't match the textbook definition of socialism, which is an economic regime under which the means of production are owned by the government.

    And the part about Jesus not advocating any political ideology and not supporting any government policy goes for conservatives too.

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @03:09PM (#41264791)
    That's why Saul of Tarsus very rapidly made a takeover bid for the new religion and got it back on track, and why the Protestants are always quoting "Saint" Paul "I hate faggots. Give me money" and not all that awful stuff about loving your neighbor (which is pure socialism).
  • by bheerssen ( 534014 ) <bheerssen@gmail.com> on Friday September 07, 2012 @03:17PM (#41264929)

    ... as government less and less appears to be capable of solving the big social and economic problems of our time.

    It probably has something to do with putting people in charge of government who believe that government can do nothing right. It's fucking ridiculous. You would have to be a complete moron to put in someone into any position of authority or control in a company if they believed that said company could do nothing right. It'd be foolish. Yet that is the very thing that conservatives are doing with our government.

    "Government is the problem! Vote for me and I'll prove it!"

  • by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <DStaal@usa.net> on Friday September 07, 2012 @03:18PM (#41264963)

    I know you are joking, but I think Karl Marx was probably more right on that than we'd think - and that open source, crowdsourcing, and others are the tip of that.

    The problem with his image is that people tried to force it, and changes like that can't be forced, they have to come because society has changed to the point where they are necessary. Trying to force it just means you'll get it wrong, as the structures needed to even understand what you are doing correctly haven't been built yet.

    Which means what we'll get is nothing like what tried to imitate it, and probably nothing like what we'd imagine it to be.

  • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @03:20PM (#41264991)

    Sometimes the best way to "love your neighbor" is not to hand them a check every month, but to tell them to get off their lazy ass and get a job. There's a Jesus parable about teaching men how to become a fisherman, so they can get their own food rather than have to beg others for fish.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @03:22PM (#41265029)

    I think some people forget, or have not considered, that there are four major levels to the global warming discussion:

    1) The fact of global warming, meaning that the average surface temperature has been increasing outside of known cycles. This is a question of fact, of observation, and though it is a complex one (average global temperature is not an easy thing to measure) it is solid. The only thing that can be questioned on this is if someone can find an error with the methods.

    2) The theory of man made global warming, that the primary or exclusive cause of said warming is the increase atmospheric CO2 (also measured, which is easier to measure) that is caused by human emissions. Like any theory, this is always up for debate. If a better or more complete explanation can be found then it'll be replaced. That doesn't mean it is wrong, just that it could be, theories can always be wrong. You don't prove them true, you repeatedly show they aren't false.

    3) The judgement/claim that this will be a net bad thing for humanity. This is based off of various theories, hypothesis and claims of what may happen due to this warming. Any change will have good and bad parts for humans, that's just how it goes, so someone can look at what they believe is likely as a result of the change and make a judgement that overall the change will make things worse.

    4) The policy/politics position that the correct thing to do about this is to drastically cut CO2 emissions, institute cap and trade, and increase government control of industry. This is a policy view, not a science one. Science doesn't dictate what we must do, only helps us understand the world we live in. We then decide how to act on that. Nor is it the only proposition for what to do (other than do nothing, which is a valid option though perhaps a suboptimal one).

    Well here's the thing: People can agree with some but not all of that. Someone can agree that the Earth is getting warmer, and that CO2 is likely the prime cause, but reject that it will be worse for humanity. Or they could agree that it will be worse for humanity but reject what to do about it.

    However it seems many people want to lump it all together. A situation of "You have to accept that the Earth is getting warmer, the evidence is extremely solid. Once you accept that, everything else follows logically, you can't question the proposed solutions, they are science!" As such if someone rejects any part, they accuse them of being anti-science and blind to the observations.

  • by alispguru ( 72689 ) <bane@EINSTEINgst.com minus physicist> on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:24PM (#41266217) Journal

    Debate skills are almost orthogonal to logic/reasoning skills.

    The purpose of science and peer review is to convince people doing science that propositions match the real world - that they are reproducible by knowledgeable practitioners.

    The purpose of rhetoric, sophistry, and debate skills is to convince the majority of voters/jurors that propositions are right. No connection to the real world is needed.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:49PM (#41266579) Journal

    So you filter the science you accept based purely on your ideology. How does that make you one bit different than a Creationist?

    Or to put it another way, if puking millions of years of sequestered CO2 into the atmosphere in the space of three centuries is leading to serious, even severe consequences, how exactly does your political ideology matter in the least?

    It strikes me that the story of King Canute demonstrating to his subordinates that his status and power could not stop the tide is on you should ponder. The universe doesn't give a flying fuck about your political leanings, or mine or anyone else's. It will crush a libertarian, a communist or a conservative equally.

    All you are telling me is that libertarians and other absolutist free market types have formulated an economic system profoundly unsuited to deal with substantial changes in our environment. Instead of saying "the free market can solve the problem of AGW", what you are really saying is "it cannot, so science must be ignored in the pursuit of short term goals."

    Did I mention the universe doesn't care about dollar bills either?

  • by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @05:12PM (#41266971)

    I think communism works great at a community level but doesn't scale very well. It's why families who pool resources thrive. The allocation of resources is better defined. The incentive to contribute is stronger because the benefits are more apparent. It's communistic principles working within a larger, more capitalistic environment.

    The problem when you try to do implement this on a national scale isn't due to people being forced into it. If anything, the masses are probably more likely to go along excepting they'll get something out of it. The problem is that you're eliminating incentive. If you're getting a stable allotment regardless of what you do, what's the reason to work any harder? The betterment of the nation is too abstract for most to appreciate.

    And the fact of the matter is that humans will abuse any system they implement. You're always going to need some form of leadership and inevitably those who are connected with find a means to aggrandize themselves. People are pretty good at finding ways to cheat any system. So inevitably you end up with the haves and have nots, except that in communism it's institutionalized.

    As always, the best approaches borrow from a wide variety of mindsets and implement them at levels where they fit best. And it's probably a sliding scale, requiring more or less of any particular element based on prevailing conditions. And when you account for cultural tendencies things get even more complex.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moeinvt ( 851793 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @05:13PM (#41266985)

    Your accusation about libertarians is a strawman.

    Corporations are creatures of government. Government has granted then special legal privileges, most importantly certain legal immunities. Even the most ardent libertarians agree that a tort system is necessary for a society. The officers and owners of a corporation are not legally responsible for their decisions, it's small wonder that abuses occur.

    Why do you think we need government to provide infrastructure? Aren't roads just subsidies to automakers and the petroleum industry? Would CO2 emissions, pollution, urban sprawl and other environmental problems be so serious if government had not FORCED us to divert resources into roads? What about the number of deaths and injuries in traffic accidents?

    Re Somalia, you can't expect a nation that endured decades of rule by a military dictatorship (government) to blossom into paradise after the violent overthrow of the regime. Especially when the US government launches an immediate invasion under the auspices of a humanitarian mission and has continually intervened in the country ever since. Somalia might be populated by warring clans, but how many foreign countries have they invaded and how many foreign civilians have they murdered in the last decade?

    What happened to those Wall St. speculators when their bad decisions were about to destroy their companies? Along comes GOVERNMENT to bail them out and force everyone else to take responsibility for those decisions. In a libertarian world, you take responsibility for your own actions. Half the problems with the U.S. economy are a direct result of propping up a failed financial system.

    I don't reject science. I reject the idea of giving government any additional power. They've done enough damage.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dryeo ( 100693 ) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @01:52PM (#41274645)

    As I said, the collective does not have authority to steal freedoms from the individual, and when it tries, it always backfires and makes whatever the perceived problem is worse.

    The collective always has the authority to steal freedoms from individuals. Even the smallest society, one without a government, will deny you the freedom to shit in the communal water supply. They'll shun you, they'll banish you, and they'll ignore the fact that someone just killed you because you had it coming by practicing your freedom to shit in the communal water supply.
    That's reality, if you're part of a collective, you don't have total freedom.

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