Entries Tagged as 'empirical reality'

Do Facts Matter in the Inequality Debate?

November 9th, 2011 at 4:58 pm 28 Comments

In the Weekly Standard, diagnosis Matthew Continetti warns conservatives that the data on income inequality might, just might, not be backing up conservative talking points:

What too many [conservatives] have done is accept the premise that the purpose of government is to lessen inequalities of goods. To dispute the studies on income inequality is not to deny the presupposition on which those studies rest. To argue that “income inequality is a myth” is to imply that, if income inequality were not a myth, there would be a problem. As soon as one runs to social science’s vast library of Babel, where a study can be found to prove practically anything, one is conceding valuable ground.

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To Govern Better, GOP Should Work From Reality

November 4th, 2011 at 12:00 am 104 Comments

In my previous blog post, I discussed how many Republican criticisms of the Obama administration’s policies are not backed up by data.

Republicans don’t just have a problem with specific critiques, they also have a view of America that doesn’t match with how the country actually is. Their view disagrees with the reality of many important socio-economic problems. In some cases, such as America’s lack of upward mobility, some deny the problem exists.

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GOP Climate Stance Could Have Been Different

August 4th, 2011 at 3:16 pm 19 Comments

Citing an essay by D.R. Tucker, online Peter Sinclair asks: What if American conservatives had followed their British counterparts and not allowed partisan animus against Al Gore to distract them from the scientific evidence on climate change?

Imagine if Reagan had delivered speeches similar to Margaret Thatcher’s 1989 and 1990 speeches on combating climate change, troche suggesting that this was a cause beyond the threshold of partisan politics, pharm and that the threat of a warming planet imperiled conservatives and progressives equally. What if Reagan had heeded Dr. James Hansen’s June 1988 call for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and encouraged members of his party to seek alternate energy routes?

Would conservatives have dismissed “Ronaldus Magnus” as a crank, or would they have listened to his words?

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Creationism Gains Ground in Tennessee

April 8th, 2011 at 2:43 am 74 Comments

Tennessee House Bill 368, buy the creationist friendly legislation that we have previously covered on FrumForum, help has passed through of the Tennessee House on a vote of 70-23. The Senate is expected to take up the bill for a vote on April 20th.

As many observers had feared, the bill passed successfully on a near-party line vote. 8 Democrats joined with 62 Republicans and one independent to vote in favor of the bill, while 22 Democrats voted against it.

WPLN News has a good collection of some of the statements that were made in support of the bill by lawmakers:

Anti-science rhetoric was common as the House debated the bill. Williamson County Representative Glen Casada says science proponents are intolerant of dissent.

“But there’s now the new religion of evolution. And they in turn are now trying to suppress questioning and free thought.”

Representative Sheila Butt, Republican from Columbia, says things she was taught in high school turned out to be untrue.

“I remember so many of us, when we were seniors in high school, we gave up Aquanet hairspray. Do you remember why we did that? Because it was causing global warming. That that aerosol in those cans was causing global warming.

Since then scientists have said that maybe we shouldn’t have given up that aerosol can, because that aerosol was actually absorbing the earth’s rays, and was keeping us from global warming.”

Representative Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, called the bill a return to common sense.

“And ever since the late ’50s and early ’60s, when we let the intellectual bullies hijack our education system, we’ve been on a slippery slope.”

Dr. Joey Hensley, a Republican from Hohenwald, says a scientific theory is…well, more theory than science.

“Every theory is… just that, it’s a theory. And many scientific theories that we’ve heard from, that people claim, every scientist believes a certain theory, that’s certainly not true.”

One Republican did vote against the bill however, Representative Bob Ramsey. According to his website, Ramsey also holds a B.S. in Biology.


GOP Votes Against Climate Change Reality

March 15th, 2011 at 4:45 pm 70 Comments

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have just voted to deny reality. In particular, they voted against an amendment offered by ranking Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman that stated the following:

Congress accepts the scientific finding of the Environmental Protection Agency that ‘warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.’

This amendment, failing on a party-line vote of 21-30 on March 15, was one of three amendments proposed by Democrats in a wrangle over Republican-backed legislation that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.

The other two amendments affirmed that human-caused emissions are causing climate change, and that such climate changes poses threats to human health and welfare. Both of these too failed on party-line votes. Of course, worrying about whether climate change is anthropogenic or harmful makes little sense if you don’t believe climate change is occurring at all.

However, the position that climate change isn’t occurring is utterly untenable. The positions that it isn’t anthropogenic or harmful aren’t much better, but at least on those you could find small minorities of scientists who agree with you.

But outright denial that warming is taking place is a position that has virtually no support among scientists anywhere. It’s a position that puts one at odds not just with the scientific mainstream but also with those “climate skeptic” scientists who argue that solar fluctuations or other natural phenomena are causing climate change, or that human-caused climate change is happening but may not be so harmful.

And of course, one might acknowledge that global warming is real, anthropogenic and harmful, and still not think a particular policy proposal to mitigate it would be effective or affordable. There can be reasonable debate about what should be done about climate change. But the Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have opted for something else: a pathetic denial of reality.