Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tea Party madness has brought the US to the brink of economic mayhem, risking taking much of the world with it. In the face of obdurate unreason, the president of hyper-reasonableness was forced to surrender. The economic credibility of the country that holds the global reserve currency has wobbled. The political credibility of the world's beacon of democracy has failed in the face of an insurgency of unreason. Facts, evidence, probability, possibility – none of that matters to a movement founded on ferocious fantasy.

But American intellectual fashions waft our way: a taste of the Tea Party comes to these shores in the strange paranoia of the climate change deniers. You can see some air space such as fruit cake or oil company lobbyists, but when Andrew Turnbull, the former head of the civil service shows that he is of their number, it should alarm us.

Professor Steve Jones 's report on BBC coverage of science increases the difficult question of impartiality: the BBC should be impartial between sense and nonsense, between flat and round-Earth? On the MMR / autism controversy and genetically modified plants of the BBC was a "false balance" between minority views and the consensus of most scientists. Jones suggests that agree with the great weight of international scientific consensus that global warming is caused by humans means that the BBC does not need more, proportionately balancing deniers, if only "the pretext of the debate remains". Instead of alleviating the real debates about the best way to move. E-Mail and Telegraph commentators called this the "quasi-Stalinist thought police '. For some reason it as "the warm ISTS" a left-wing conspiracy, although why is never clear. Mr Turnbull wrote in the Sunday Times, Jones called for every weary denier 's argument: didn' t Galileo and Darwin, against the science of their time? I 't rehearse the paranoia of the deniers who think the world is against them: yes, it is.

In matters of fact, those of us not only to scientists with what scientists say, listen and trust such an overwhelming global consensus. As cabinet secretary, would have Turnbull, evidence on numerous topics, from which he could gauge to know something: Trust in the best know-how is the only sensible approach. So, what part of his psyche, the Tea Party resided idea that scientific facts don 't matter? Our service is proud of the higher drawing on the finest Oxbridge heads, because they should be trained in evidence-based thinking. Turnbull was in charge of Public Service at the beginning of the Iraq war: the evidence on his clock in the infamous dossier was used Dragoon public support.

Reason should rule, but none of us are as rational as we do every inhabit our imagination more than we do to the real world, driven by opinions of beliefs, passions, beliefs, hopes, fears, and a hundred conflicting thoughts and impulses . But to make sense of the world, there is an obligation to seek evidence of know-how and confidence. Where there is conflict, we are fighting for our political corners.

But science is different. Chief scientist John Beddington said in a candid speech this year that we have to "grossly intolerant of pseudo-science, the cherry picking of facts and the lack of scientific knowledge and scientific method \ use". The refusal to consider evidence Tea Party - and we would do well to challenge his every manifestation in this country, especially in the seats of power.


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