Obsidian Wings bloviates a bit about Science being Democrat.
I say the following:
Eugenics isn't science, right?
As a conservative, and as one who respects science but doesn't 'do' science, one always has to ask whether or not science is on the side of morality. The difference in political philosophy, if it is not a moral matter, is only a kind of self-interested partisanship. So therefore if there is a disconnect between principled science and principled conservatism one should ask which is more value laden. My implication is simple, scientific discovery is amoral, political philosophy is not. If we are to be moral human beings first, then don't let the tail of science wag the dog of humanity.
And remember Cliff Stoll.
What I don't understand is why this so-called 'scientific community' manifests itself so often in athiest partisanship. As Duff so ably illustrates, there is not often any 'scientific' argument for public schools to teach theology. So I am routinely amazed that this simpleminded creationism vs evolution argument rules the day, a la 'the science is in' and further discussion is terminated. But to be against teaching theology in public schools is nothing more or less than anti-intellectual. If this is the hallmark of what passes for healthy debate among the Republican-less scientific community, I'm not sure we're missing much.
I grew up as a Progressive and I understand the affinity between the sentiments of scientific discovery and progressive politics. But that too is a bias that shouldn't remain unquestioned. How it is that the spin initiated by the Kerry campaign managed to distort the truth about what actually transpired in the realm of stem cell research is a perfect example of how these biases have ossified into what folks in the intelligence business call 'pretexting'. Now it is almost an axiom of faith that Republicans are 'anti-science', and the open source Left blogosphere employs a million eyeballs to find bugs in the conservative system. What's so astonishing is the shallow level of bugtracking that satisfies their 'curiosity', which is why you know what Sarah Palin said last week about North, oops I mean South Korea. And why minds like Christopher Hitchens is fact-checking numbskulls like Glenn Beck, all as proxies for dealing with actual intellectual equals, such as those associated with Stanford and Claremont.
In the end, it doesn't really matter how many Republicans are doing what science we need, just as it didn't matter how many Hungarians were doing the math at Alamogordo. Unless you are filming a reality show.
I'm fresh from watching Dan Nocera's presentation on artificial photosynthesis, and I watch, TED, SALT and Fora.tv all the time. I am amazed at how much self-congratulation passes for intelligence in many of the audiences for such material in contrast with the real science that Nocera has demonstrated. It only goes to show me how so much of this obiter dicta serves the purposes of political and social engineering rather than real engineering. I think Nocera put it nicely. How did all of those audiences forget economics? Why did money become the enemy of the Left?
But let's migrate back a bit to the matter of political philosophy, because it is at that level we should ask the question of exactly how much science it is we actually need. Maybe it wasn't science or scientific for me as a kid to grow up and want to be an astronaut. Maybe the entire aerospace industry and NASA in particular was nothing more than a big fat barrel of pork and PR campaign designed as a cover for developing better ICBMs. After all, the whole thing went broke and we stopped way short of Arthur C. Clarke's imagination. Was manned space exploration science? Were we right to pursue it in the first place, or did we really get nothing more than 'space age' consumer goods out of that whole deal? Today, Elon Musk is the aeronautical ass kicker. He has individually out engineered Detroit and Houston for a fraction of the cost. How much science did we get out of that and how much do we really need? Where does all the money go for the great discoveries? Is Bill Gates really a friend of science? Then why is he trying to rid the world of malaria? Where is the cure?
What I'm getting at is how does this kind of logic survive, the logic that ignores economics and puts the entire edifice of Republicanism at the feet of 'Christianists'. How credible are such anti-Republican screeds when there are such simple matters they omit from their arguments? How indeed has this so-called 'scientific community' come to represent and defend such arch Lefty positions? I think it's because of something I implied today, which is that scientificky Progressives are actually more Libertarian than they think and that they find more comfort with Democrats. But theirs is not a principled stand but one that is co-opted by a crafty Left Old Guard.