Secular Right | Reality & Reason



Obama’s science

Obama says he will “restore science to its rightful place.”  All very nice and anti-oogedy-boogedy.  I’ll believe Obama’s self-congratulatory rhetoric, however, when he stands up to the radical green lobby and considers the case for nuclear energy, a power source conspicuously absent from his inaugural list of PC alternative fuels. 

On the oogedy-boogedy front, Texas is once again debating the teaching of evolution.



  • Polichinello · January 24, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    A lot of those other countries don’t pretend that all their kids are above average, and they track them based on testing.

  • Argon · January 24, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    “I’ll believe Obama’s self-congratulatory rhetoric, however, when he stands up to the radical green lobby and considers the case for nuclear energy, a power source conspicuously absent from his inaugural list of PC alternative fuels.”

    Heather, is that the only criterion you’ll accept? I think wiping the YECs from NASA and National Park press offices would be a positive sign, as would sweeping out the Bush lackeys who’ve been intercepting and altering reports from scientists in agencies like the Department of the Interior.

  • Prof Frink · January 24, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Again, I’m feel fairly certain that those who study the climate for a living have taken something as simple as the water cycle into account in making their opinions.

    The water cycle is not simple Grant, and there is not one scientist on this planet who knows whether warming will mean more clouds and snow, thus acting as negative feedback, or more water vapor, which is a potent greenhouse gas and would be a positive feedback.

    And, geez, what do you know?

    I could give you my credentials, but that is completely unnecessary as my case rests on the strength of my arguments, which you have yet to respond to. You’re too busy telling me smart say so, so I should just listen to them. That’s nonsense, you have a brain, use it.

    Let me reiterate. The globe has warmed roughly 1 deg c over the past century. Warming from CO2 could total another 1-2 deg C over the next century. Anything more is theorized from positive feedback. Positive feedback systems are not stable, like nuclear bombs, yet climate has been relatively stable for billions of years. Temperatures have been higher in the past and CO2 levels have been higher in the past, yet climate, supposedly a positive feedback system, has not suffered from runaway positive feedback. Why not?

    And you’re right, I don’t know. But let me tell you what, neither does anybody else. The difference is they and you are trying to make policy that will negatively impact the lives of billions of people.

  • Daniel Dare · January 24, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    I want to give credit here, the wonderful line about the Bushevic October Revolution in one of my posts above.

    I’ve been trying to remember where I heard it first. I think it was somewhere at the von Mises institute, but I am not sure. It’s circulating memetically now anyway.

  • Commentary » Blog Archive » Flotsam and Jetsam · January 25, 2009 at 4:44 am

    […] Heather MacDonald: “Obama says he will ‘restore science to its rightful place.’ All very nice and anti-oogedy-boogedy.  I’ll believe Obama’s self-congratulatory rhetoric, however, when he stands up to the radical green lobby and considers the case for nuclear energy, a power source conspicuously absent from his inaugural list of PC alternative fuels.” […]

  • John Quiggin · January 27, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    This thread makes it pretty clear that the whole project of this website faces huge problems. It’s possible to collect a moderate number of US rightwingers who dislike the religious right for one reason or another. But finding any significant group who don’t engage in quasi-religious wishful thinking (as in the dozen or so comments above which boil down to “climate change has political implications I don’t like, so I don’t believe it”)is much more difficult. And, from what I can see, the contributors here are happy to let sleeping dogs lie, just as the broader US right has found it politic not to offend creationists.

  • J. · January 28, 2009 at 3:48 am

    can they store the spent uranium in your back yard, H-Mac?

  • gene berman · January 29, 2009 at 12:50 pm


    Without pretending to have anything new or even relevant on the subject of windpower, I’d suggest that the experience in UK and Scandinavia have been quite disappointing (though revealing). One thing I recall is that the “carbon footprint” of the turbine manufacture (and installation) is greater than can be returned over its lifetime of operation (without even taking into consideration the carbon footprint of the (average 6 years) frequent repairs; further, the turbines themselves require installation of ordinary generation equipment to provide for the time when they are idle. I remeber 6% being cited as the most reasonable estimate of their ultimate replacement potential.

  • gene berman · January 29, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Ploni Almoni:

    I’m on your side. I’m ag’in compulsory education, so would support the right of the religious to teach as they saw fit (as long as it didn’t incite to riot, etc.). The world can stand it, especially when it doesn’t have to pay for it. Not only that but those so taught may certainly become doubters later and some, even few, change their minds.Not nearly as dangerous as government control of curricular content.

  • gene berman · January 29, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Dave m:

    I think your fears are misplaced. But the real choice is not whether children will be forced to learn some things of which you approve vs. those you oppose: that will always be a point of contention for so long as education is compulsory, with political victory endowing the victors with control of the curriculum. In the absence of countervailing evidence, I’d opt to end such control (and cost).

    It is at least somewhat revelatory to realize that the main origin of publicly-funded education lay in the desire of established Americans to “civilize” the children of immigrants. In that respect, they were somewhat more liberal-minded than the various clamoring partisans of the present (and thus it took over a century and a quarter to have degenerated to the present condition).

    The socialists have always recognized the potential in compulsory education: their early victories (in the 1880s) gave us the Pledge of Allegiance, including the outstretched-arm salute adopted by Hitler (and subsequently abandoned here in reaction, in the early ’40s). It is a requisite to the formation of the “warlike spirit” and “national agendas.” Anyone who wishes for freedom must wish for freedom of education both for others as well as for himself (including the expectation that some may be taught some “wrong” things).

  • gene berman · January 29, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Donna B.:

    Enough already! The fact that someone doesn’t understand the “theory of evolution” has hardly any bearing on their employment potential in all but a few sciences or, perhaps, as an explicator of scientific thought. (And certainly would interfere not the most minutely with the performance of many jobs usually thought of as “scientific.) The plain fact is, that other than as a broad generality, very few people, even those directly involved in the relevant sciences, could describe evolution (again, as other than a very broad, general process of becoming). You’ve even made the mistake yourself in describing the process (evolution) as a “force of nature; it is not. Rather, it is the combinatorial outcome of the actual forces of nature acting on populations of living organisms; we call those surviving such forces long enough to replicate their genetic structure in a subsequent generation “fit” (as in “survival of the fittest”–always an after-the fact observation). Few jobs depend on such recognition, either generally or in greater specificity.

    I’d prefer that most preferred the education of their offspring in whatever passes at the moment as the most scientific, evidence-based knowledge presently available. But NOT that they be required to so educate them by force of law: that way lies more trouble than you’d guess.

  • gene berman · January 29, 2009 at 2:00 pm


    We’ve already done a good job of harnessing the sun’s energy to run a lot of stuff, including automobiles: we call the condensed, convenient form “petroleum.”

  • gene berman · January 29, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Daniel Dare:

    Can’t hurt!

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