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Should academic research establishments be political?


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On 6/4/2021 at 4:24 PM, beecee said:

On the present subject of the pandemic, Trump said something along the lines of injecting disinfectant, and during many of his meetings/addresses/gatherings etc, mask wearing and social distancing was not evident. He also ignored the advice of science in many other areas, particularly with regard to pollution and climate change.

Well, one does not even need to look at what he said. He held rallies in the thick of the pandemic.

https://siepr.stanford.edu/research/publications/effects-large-group-meetings-spread-covid-19-case-trump-rallies

 

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We investigate the effects of large group meetings on the spread of COVID-19 by studying the impact of eighteen Trump campaign rallies. To capture the effects of subsequent contagion within the pertinent communities, our analysis encompasses up to ten post-rally weeks for each event. Our method is based on a collection of regression models, one for each event, that capture the relationships between post-event outcomes and pre-event characteristics, including demographics and the trajectory of COVID-19 cases, in similar counties. We explore a total of 24 procedures for identifying sets of matched counties. For the vast majority of these variants, our estimate of the average treatment effect across the eighteen events implies that they increased subsequent confirmed cases of COVID-19 by more than 250 per 100,000 residents. Extrapolating this figure to the entire sample, we conclude that these eighteen rallies ultimately resulted in more than 30,000 incremental confirmed cases of COVID-19. Applying county-specific post-event death rates, we conclude that the rallies likely led to more than 700 deaths (not necessarily among attendees).

 

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"Should academic research establishments be political?"

That's like asking "Should we support a crusade?" and not asking why...

 

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Three points: 

1) An integral part of higher education and research is critical examination and questioning of the status quo - be it in the context of physics, biology, sociology, history, art etc. This means that the central mindset within higher learning and research institutions is fundamentally progressive, but not necessarily in the political sense. We have seen universities at the forefront of socio-political change, especially during the Bolshevik revolution, the civil rights movement, Arab spring, etc.  They tend to be agents of change rather than conservatism, by nature of what they fundamentally do. 

2) The Trump administration was an anomalous, unprecedentedly unscientific administration that aggressively attacked both science and education. Being anti-Trump is not the same as being anti-conservative.  

3) In context to the US, the division between the major political parties is a kind of bizarre mish mash of political ideologies that don't necessarily align with quintessential conservative/liberal positions. The GOP is not fiscally conservative. Libertarians vote for right wing authoritarians because of gun rights. The democrats support an exploitative, corporate labor structure and military industrial complex. The GOP has painted itself into a corner with regards to science through climate change and environmental policy. Being anti-GOP isn't necessarily the same as being ideologically anti-conservative. 

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These are great points, though I would add to 2) that I do not think that the Trump administration is an anomaly per se. Rather I think it is almost the next logical development, considering the unholy alliance of anti-science agendas that have been effectively collected under the GOP tent. We have got the religious anti-evolution movement, the industrial-backed anti-global warming movement and so on. Some anti-science movements which were either diffuse or had left leaning roots (e.g. the pseudo-eco anti-vax elements) have been fully embraced and integrated into a right-wing movement which basically has declared science and associated elements as enemies. Strategically it is of course a tactic to avoid accountability but has become a mentality.

3) is spot on, it does not seem to me that the parties in the US have actually any real cohesive philosophy. It is basically an identity of sorts that folks associate themselves with with massive internal inconsistencies. 

 

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On 6/9/2021 at 5:47 PM, John Cuthber said:

In fairness, Nature didn't just take a stand against Trump.
The whole of the Republican party seems riddled with anti-science.
https://god.dailydot.com/moons-orbit-climate-change/?fbclid=IwAR2ty1F0BrUSa02Pk3JZjj5ARQheENsyjLSi41EMfVY9bYC-FUCXbmb4PK4

 Sounds more like a Republican that has a poor understanding of science more so than one that is anti-science.

Are they down to one member? 

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1 hour ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Sounds more like a Republican that has a poor understanding of science more so than one that is anti-science.

No, he’s the same guy who carried a snowball on to the House floor and held it up during a speech claiming that it proved climate change isn’t real. 

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2 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

 Sounds more like a Republican that has a poor understanding of science more so than one that is anti-science.

Are they down to one member? 

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-antiscience-movement-is-escalating-going-global-and-killing-thousands/

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Rejection of mainstream science and medicine has become a key feature of the political right in the U.S. and increasingly around the world

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Now, a new test of defiance and simultaneous allegiance to the Republican Party has emerged in the form of resisting COVID-19 vaccines. At least three surveys from the Kaiser Family Foundation, our study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, and the PBS News Hour/NPR/Marist poll each point to Republicans or white Republicans as a top vaccine-resistant group in America. At least one in four Republican House members will refuse COVID-19 vaccines. Once again, we should anticipate that many of these individuals could lose their lives from COVID-19 in the coming months.

They're down to just a few members that trust intellectual experts.

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40 minutes ago, iNow said:

No, he’s the same guy who carried a snowball on to the House floor and held it up during a speech claiming that it proved climate change isn’t real. 

I guess at least one of us is giving him more credit than he deserves...

5 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Not defending the mentality when 1 in 4 refuse the vaccine...that's an incredibly high number...but it's not the majority.

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18 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

guess at least one of us is giving him more credit than he deserves..

He represents Texas. I used to live in Texas. He was given power to represent me. He doesn’t represent me. 

He’s still in power. I’m not the one giving him more credit than he deserves. His voters are. 

21 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Not defending the mentality when 1 in 4 refuse the vaccine...that's an incredibly high number...but it's not the majority.

vaccine-dvr-1200x900.png

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24 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Not defending the mentality when 1 in 4 refuse the vaccine...that's an incredibly high number...but it's not the majority.

60% of Republicans don't believe in evolution, and call it a liberal conspiracy. Republican leadership mocks the scientific approach to evidence (they regularly call her "Professor" Warren in a sneering tone), and it's easy to see why, since they so often get called out by proper evidence. Belief in an inerrant Bible has also caused many on the right to view all liberal actions as assaults on their entire lifestyles. But mostly I think the majority of GOP leadership is interested in shutting down science because it restricts profit from activities that are harming the planet. It's corporate self-interest trying to keep from paying out for mistakes and dragging their feet against change.

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12 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

 Sounds more like a Republican that has a poor understanding of science more so than one that is anti-science.

It's hard to see how you can get that poor a grasp of science without being actively biased against it.

 

12 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Are they down to one member? 

No.
Do you understand the idea of quoting an (additional) example to illustrate a point?

10 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Not defending the mentality when 1 in 4 refuse the vaccine...that's an incredibly high number...but it's not the majority.

It's the figure Republican House Representatives; you would like to think that's the clever ones.

It's important to recognise that, for most Americans, cuts to public services make their lives worse, so the Republican parity has to rely on deceit in order to get elected. Part of that process is the undermining of objective truth, and one big part of that is the role of science,.

 

10 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I guess at least one of us is giving him more credit than he deserves...

Credit for what?

Edited by John Cuthber
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21 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I guess at least one of us is giving him more credit than he deserves...

I think I was giving him the benefit of the doubt as being perhaps honest but not very bright (at least in scientific matters). INow might have suspected the opposite?

 

11 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

No.
Do you understand the idea of quoting an (additional) example to illustrate a point?

Really?

On 6/9/2021 at 5:47 PM, John Cuthber said:

In fairness, Nature didn't just take a stand against Trump.
The whole of the Republican party seems riddled with anti-science.
https://god.dailydot.com/moons-orbit-climate-change/?fbclid=IwAR2ty1F0BrUSa02Pk3JZjj5ARQheENsyjLSi41EMfVY9bYC-FUCXbmb4PK4

Anecdotal evidence of one Republican's views doesn't do much for your claim.

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So I feel weird keeping asking that, but remember the virus outbreak and how the party in charge of dealing with it kept pretending it was harmless?

I mean, come on, it is not an niche event and it is frigging still ongoing.

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On 6/12/2021 at 1:32 AM, J.C.MacSwell said:

Anecdotal evidence of one Republican's views doesn't do much for your claim.

OK let's start with the fact that a link to a video of a man saying something is not "anecdotal".

Are you aware that Trump is also a republican? So there's at least two.

But that's hardly the point.

I really don't need to go through the record of every Registered Republican and find specific evidence for each individual.
It is clear that many of the Trump voters must be similarly anti-science or they wouldn't support the man who suggested injecting bleach and said that the pandemic would vanish when Spring arrived.

Are you seeking to defend his position?

 

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1 hour ago, John Cuthber said:



Are you seeking to defend his position?

 

No. Why is it all or none? What is remotely scientific about that? I'm questioning your claim that the "whole of the Republican Party" is anti science.

There is plenty of evidence of Democrats claiming the world will end in 12 (10 now?) years. Is the "whole of the Democrat Party" anti-science also?

Anyone polarized in their politics are not scientific when getting to that point. They're biased. Some are extremely so, and they come from both the Right and the Left.

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2 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

There is plenty of evidence of Democrats claiming the world will end in 12 (10 now?) years.

Let’s have it. 

The least you can do is provide the evidence of this, given your complaint about others not doing this.

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2 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

There is plenty of evidence of Democrats claiming the world will end in 12 (10 now?) years.

Really?

I have seen people make the prediction that, if we do not change things, "the world as we know it" will end in 2031.

 

That's not without a scientific basis, though the experimental uncertainty is large.

Assuming you didn't make up your claim and there really is "plenty of evidence of Democrats claiming the world will end in 12 (10 now?) years." then lets see it.

 

And, more importantly, if you can find them, can you show that 
(1) it's anti science and 

(2) it's Democrat policy to say so.

Whereas the GOP is on record for trying to extinguish critical thinking skills in schools and that plainly is an anti science policy.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/texas-gop-rejects-critical-thinking-skills-really/2012/07/08/gJQAHNpFXW_blog.html

So, if a bunch of people vote for a party that seeks to cut science budgets, opposes the teaching of thinking and is led by a man who talks about HCQ as a panacea, but also suggests injecting bleach, why shouldn't I say they seem to be anti-science?

 

2 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Why is it all or none?

Because if you didn't agree with The One, you got sacked.

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3 hours ago, swansont said:

Let’s have it. 

The least you can do is provide the evidence of this, given your complaint about others not doing this.

A CNN take: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/24/politics/fact-check-trump-aoc-climate/index.html

(bolded by me)

"Both statements gave ammo to the other side. Environmentalists lambasted Trump while some journalists on the right mocked Ocasio-Cortez’s 12-year timeline. With a topic as politically divisive as climate change, imprecise language and factually incorrect statements not only provide easy targets for the other side but also hinder conversations focused on building a consensus around real solutions."

3 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

 

And, more importantly, if you can find them, can you show that 
(1) it's anti science and 

(2) it's Democrat policy to say so.
 

Clearly I implied it wasn't.

Why are you unable to see that? And why do you not hold yourself to the same standard on a claim you did make?

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16 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

A CNN take: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/24/politics/fact-check-trump-aoc-climate/index.html

(bolded by me)

"Both statements gave ammo to the other side. Environmentalists lambasted Trump while some journalists on the right mocked Ocasio-Cortez’s 12-year timeline. With a topic as politically divisive as climate change, imprecise language and factually incorrect statements not only provide easy targets for the other side but also hinder conversations focused on building a consensus around real solutions."

So you object to a sample size of one, and then provide a sample size of…one. As if AOC is representative of the democratic party.

And you omitted the part where it said

With her 12-year timeline, it’s possible that Ocasio-Cortez is referencing a major global report from last October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nation’s scientific authority on climate change. 

The year 2030 came up prominently in that report, marking the first year that the planet is likely to warm by 1.5 degrees Celsius

“…warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” according to Hans-Otto Pörtner, a Co-Chair of the IPCC.

So AOC’s remark is based on science, i.e. factual, even as it is hyperbolic, as the world will not literally be ending. (but there’s a minor industry of manufactured outrage over such oratorical or literary devices)

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53 minutes ago, swansont said:

So you object to a sample size of one, and then provide a sample size of…one. As if AOC is representative of the democratic party.

And you omitted the part where it said

With her 12-year timeline, it’s possible that Ocasio-Cortez is referencing a major global report from last October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nation’s scientific authority on climate change. 

The year 2030 came up prominently in that report, marking the first year that the planet is likely to warm by 1.5 degrees Celsius

“…warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” according to Hans-Otto Pörtner, a Co-Chair of the IPCC.

So AOC’s remark is based on science, i.e. factual, even as it is hyperbolic, as the world will not literally be ending. (but there’s a minor industry of manufactured outrage over such oratorical or literary devices)

Also, it is quite disingenuous to equate the probably strongest hyperbole of one member of a party to a the long-standing attack on science and scientists of a major party. This includes denial of evolution and the insistence to elevate creationism to an alternative explanation, dismantling, marginalizing and dismantling institutions responsible for evidence-based protection of public health which directly resulted in a massive number of preventable deaths in the US (in fact, there was only one party which decided to play "identity politics" with simple health measures...).

The GOP decided at some point go over the cliff completely, McCain, in a bid for presidency had highlighted the importance of reacting to client change and now the party has decided that instead, that is a hoax. And consistent with this belief, obvious scientists are frauds. Heck, the whole right-wing ecosystem has untied in claiming that climate science is a fraud, and directly attack scientists like Mann. If you have a whole community ranging from voters, media to lawmakers being united in the belief that science is a scam and not to be trusted, I think it is fair to say that one is not like the other. And if the only means of equating these things is by pointing out an individual vs the history of a  whole ideology, it does not seem that a good faith discussion is to be had.

I may have mentioned it before, but politicians in general are typically not allies of scientists. However, while currently the left tends to ignore inconvenient findings (or in this case, overstating findings), it is the right that has gone on the attack on facts. And it is not a new thing. It is not specific to the US (anymore), the recent rise of right-wing populism through much of Europe has intensified attacks on the perceived "elites" and have put ideology before science.

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1 hour ago, swansont said:

So you object to a sample size of one, and then provide a sample size of…one. As if AOC is representative of the democratic party.

 

No. Despite the fact that she is a representative of the Democratic Party, I've made it clear I don't believe "the whole of the Democratic Party" believes it. (reread my posts if you must)

Therefore, I have no need to provide evidence that they do.

1 hour ago, swansont said:

 

And you omitted the part where it said

With her 12-year timeline, it’s possible that Ocasio-Cortez is referencing a major global report from last October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nation’s scientific authority on climate change. 

The year 2030 came up prominently in that report, marking the first year that the planet is likely to warm by 1.5 degrees Celsius

“…warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” according to Hans-Otto Pörtner, a Co-Chair of the IPCC.

 

That speculation as to where AOC got the idea the world would end was in the link I provided. Am I supposed to quote the whole article? I quoted the part I agreed with most particularly:With a topic as politically divisive as climate change, imprecise language and factually incorrect statements not only provide easy targets for the other side but also hinder conversations focused on building a consensus around real solutions."

1 hour ago, swansont said:

 

So AOC’s remark is based on science, i.e. factual, even as it is hyperbolic, as the world will not literally be ending. (but there’s a minor industry of manufactured outrage over such oratorical or literary devices)

LOL. When's the last time you allowed a Republican that level of nonsense? Hyperbole is not science.

 

49 minutes ago, CharonY said:

Also, it is quite disingenuous to equate the probably strongest hyperbole of one member of a party to a the long-standing attack on science and scientists of a major party. 

It's disingenuous to imply I did, if that's your intent.

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I know JCM tends to be more conservative in his views than me. I like that JCM is here popping echo chamber bubbles (MigL, too). 

I do find the false equivalence about both sides denying science rather laughable though. I also wish the volume could be turned down a bit in this thread.

The bold letters make it feel like several of my friends are fighting and I simply don’t know who to jump in and stab with my prison shank when that happens. 

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9 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Clearly I implied it wasn't.

Why are you unable to see that?

OK.

In summary; saying that the world (as we know it) ends in 10 years* is believed by some Democrats (Though, apparently not the Party leader), but that isn't Dem policy.

And saying that science is wrong/ bad is a thing** some Republicans (Including the Party leader) believe and it is Rep policy.



* a statement that may well be true
** a statement that is not true

Do you see the difference?

 

That's essentially why Nature supported one party, rather than the other.

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10 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

No. Despite the fact that she is a representative of the Democratic Party, I've made it clear I don't believe "the whole of the Democratic Party" believes it. (reread my posts if you must)

Therefore, I have no need to provide evidence that they do.

You mean where you stated: "There is plenty of evidence of Democrats claiming the world will end in 12 (10 now?) years. Is the "whole of the Democrat Party" anti-science also?"

So you claimed "plenty of democrats" (plural, and implying at least several). I see one. And, as we've seen there is a scientific basis for the claim.

You also raised the question of whether the democratic party is anti-science based on this, with the inference being no. But the main differences here are whether statements are based on science or not, and whether the person represents a larger group than themselves.

But Trump leads the republican party, whose platform for 2020 was basically "Whatever Trump says" (no actual policy list and a resolution to support Trump's agenda) so it's perfectly reasonable to take the position that has been espoused here, because the republicans themselves have taken it. 

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I quoted the part I agreed with most particularly

We call that cherry-picking. Include the part that supports your position, and omit the part that doesn't.

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LOL. When's the last time you allowed a Republican that level of nonsense? Hyperbole is not science.

I didn't claim otherwise. 

The issue is whether you focus on the hyperbole or the science. If there's no science, though, all that's left is the hyperbole.

It's also the case that this may be much more obvious to someone living in the US and paying attention than to folks on the outside, where some of the lower-level nonsense gets filtered as noise.

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