Thursday, September 30, 2010


"ecologically sound, economically feasible and socially just."

Not too long ago I wrote about how science is being presented less as an objective observation of facts and phenomena and more as an authority on behavior and action. In the place of scientists making statements about what they've learned, we're getting statements from scientists about how we must behave based on what they've learned.

The American did an interesting study of how science is referred to in the the news media and they produced this graph:

This is based on a Lexis/Nexis search of news stories mentioning science, showing how authoritative statements of command from science are becoming increasingly more common. Just twenty years ago such statements were virtually nonexistent. Today, they are more and more common each year.

Part of this is sloppy, ignorant reporting, but that's not exactly new. Reporters were sloppy and lazy and ignorant of science in 1990 too, but they didn't use phrases like "science commands" and "science tells us we must" so often. Something changed, and that change has resulted in science going from telling what is to what ought.

Mark Tapscott at the Examiner provides a clue to what is happening:
In 2002, for example, the Pew Charitable Trust flew a group of elite scientists and reporters from the New York Times, the Economist, Time, U.S. News & World Report, and other prestigious publications to the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean for five days of fun in the sun.

Once there, they could "loll on the island's fine beaches, sip cocktails at the Tipsy Seagull and perhaps marvel at the flamingoes for which Bonaire is famous," Grimes wrote.

But there was an agenda for the gathering, too. Among the attending scientists was Daniel Pauly, author of "Aquacalypse Now: The End of Fish," and head of a fisheries center at the University of British Columbia that received $15 million from Pew.

Following the Bonaire junket, Tom Hayden (no relation to the radical activist formerly married to Jane Fonda) of U.S. News & World Report, wrote a cover story in the magazine, "Fished Out," that strongly supported the idea that commercial fishing is destroying the oceans' fish populations.
Nancy Gaines at the Glouchester Times has been digging into how this triangle works. Activists work with journalists to hone and direct their thoughts on a topic, and train them to work with scientists to get the statements and results they're looking for.

Tom Hayden was the main force behind Hollywood's clueless lefty activist surge starting in the 70s. He had actors and actresses over for parties and lectured them on leftist causes, giving the celebs a sense of meaning and purpose beyond making money and being pretty. This spread through Hollywood until you can't swing a cat without scratching five leftist mouthpieces.

They don't really know what they're talking about and they certainly don't live the lifestyle they demand others do, but that was never the point. The point was to cultivate a group of celebrities to promote leftist causes and sway others to follow them, not to create real and effective change.

This chain of green activists through culture goes higher than you'd think. Jane Lubchenko is President Obama's Ocean Czar for lack of a better term. She's one of the advisers for President Obama on oceanic matters, and she's one of the scientists Hayden cited in his article.

Scientists have a responsibility to stand up and say "look, our work is observational and experimental, we cannot tell anyone what they ought to do based on that. All we do is find things out, what you do with that is up to others."

The problem is, like most people its seductive and flattering to have journalists buttering up to you, making you famous, and using your words in mass publication. It leads to awards, better jobs, and grants for your work. Congress might call on you for testimony, CNN might interview you, some starlet might notice you and want to spend passionate nights on a beach in Aruba with you.

For the environmentalist left, having a study suggesting that something bad might happen isn't enough. That doesn't convince people, it doesn't win hearts and minds. As Dr Schneider said in Discover magazine in the 90s:
On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.
Simple, bare statements of fact may be scientific and ethical, but they don't accomplish the goal, so they have to be jazzed up, sexed up to get the public's attention. And science moves from observation to command.

There's an activist machine out there which is step by step working through the popular culture and media to influence minds and shift politics in America toward the left. It works through the media and entertainment, and people are frankly getting tired of reading leftist press releases as news and having clumsy, preachy leftist cant delivered as movies and television shows.

So it isn't surprising that apparently fewer and fewer people actually trust the news. Confidence in legacy media sources is dropping across the board according to poll after poll, as people find their information from other places not so heavily corrupted by activists.

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