Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Facts vs. Values, or Why Are Republicans so Wrong?


Source, chart created by me.


Source.

I understand when groups of people disagree about values issues like abortion, gay marriage, or government spending. I'm frustrated that we can't agree on factual issues even when evidence abounds.

Regarding evolution, you have to be an idiot or completely uninformed to believe that "humans have existed in their present form" since the beginning rather than believing in evolution by either naturalistic or theistic causes.

The case for global warming is less solid than that for evolution, but there's no rational reason people should be split on the issue by political party. 23% of Republican vs. 75% of Democratic college grads believe in it!

On both issues, Democrats are significantly more likely than Republicans to be factually correct.

Evolution speaks for itself for the majority of my readers, but if they haven't looked into global warming, they may not have realized how strong the case is:

The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme, IPCC's purpose is to evaluate the state of climate science as a basis for informed policy action, primarily on the basis of peer-reviewed and published scientific literature (3). In its most recent assessment, IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth's climate is being affected by human activities: "Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations" [p. 21 in (4)].

IPCC is not alone in its conclusions. In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members' expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements. For example, the National Academy of Sciences report, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions, begins: "Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise" [p. 1 in (5)]. The report explicitly asks whether the IPCC assessment is a fair summary of professional scientific thinking, and answers yes: "The IPCC's conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue" [p. 3 in (5)].

Others agree. The American Meteorological Society (6), the American Geophysical Union (7), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) all have issued statements in recent years concluding that the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling (8).


(BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change)


Can anyone think of a factual issue that Republicans are significantly more likely to be correct on? Please provide data.

30 comments:

Ezzie said...

...because the IPCC is a POLITICAL, not scientific, organization.

Duh.

[Note: I, and MOST conservatives, from what I see on mailing lists I'm on, are simply undecided on global warming until we see more evidence. We have NO clue if weather cycles are 10 years, 100 years, 500 years, or even a million years. We have NO clue about most of the things we're seeing. We don't even know if it's actually "warmer" than average, or if the beginning of the century was "colder" than average. Or neither. We have little evidence that human activity has any effect, let alone a major one, and the suggestions put forth by environmentalists are so extreme with little basis that they will have any effect that there creates an intense amount of skepticism. The social and economic costs of some of those changes are huge... while waiting (say) 10 years would have almost no net effect on what we're causing as it lets us gather and understand far more - and better - data. As opposed to dangerous despots with nuclear weapons ambitions, this is not a 'ticking time bomb' where each second is of the essence. We also would likely have far better (and cheaper) technology in 10 years than we do now when we have a better understanding of just what is it we need to do. And it is RIDICULOUS to have the poster boy for global warming be a person whose own house uses 20 times the power of the average one. It is unsurprising that people whose expertise in "global warming" think that there is "global warming", as well.]

Perhaps, just perhaps, you'll notice that Democrats shoot up in their belief of global warming in college - while BOTH Republicans and Independents move down slightly. Perhaps, just perhaps, it's because liberals are buying everything that liberal professors are selling - while thinking people actually develop a keen sense of skepticism of the same. People's opinions going into and coming out of college is not a measure of intelligence, but a measure of what they've learned in college. And while that often is a good thing, on certain issues, it is not - because professors are people with biases (usually liberal) as well.

Honestly, this is perhaps the weakest post here in a while. It would be like me posting whether people believe in God after going through a religious institution. Those who went in with similar beliefs to the ministers/rabbis/imams in advance would probably show a nice increase in that similarity at the end; those who went in with skepticism would show a decrease. Am I wrong!? Yeah, didn't think so.

Jewish Atheist said...

...because the IPCC is a POLITICAL, not scientific, organization.

What about The National Academy of Sciences, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science?

Perhaps, just perhaps, it's because liberals are buying everything that liberal professors are selling - while thinking people actually develop a keen sense of skepticism of the same.

As you know, I'm a big fan of skepticism, but going against the overwhelming consensus of modern scientists is sheer folly. While I'll grant that most professors lean to the left, most college students probably don't even take any classes that deal with global warming. I'm sure a fair share of them believe the right thing for the wrong reason, but Republicans seem more likely to believe the wrong thing for the wrong reasons.

It would be like me posting whether people believe in God after going through a religious institution.

God is different. It's not really an evidentiary question, since most theists believe God is undetectable. You can't compare the beliefs of rabbis or imams to a scientific consensus.

Sadie Lou said...

Civil Rights came to mind.
In the 26 major civil rights votes after 1933, a majority of Democrats opposed civil rights legislation in over 80 percent of the votes. By contrast, the Republican majority favored civil rights in over 96 percent of the votes.

[See http://www.congresslink.org/civil/essay.html and http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1982/3/82.03.04.x.html.]

Jewish Atheist said...

Sadie:

Civil rights is a values issue, not a factual one. Besides, when LBJ (the Democrat!) signed the Civil Rights act all the racists ditched the Democrats for the Republicans. That's why the South is overwhelmingly Republican to this day.

Mark said...

In lieu of trackback.

asher said...

Abortion...disposing of fetus is an end to a life. Is this a fact?

Evolution is not a fact. It is not even science. Try again.

Capital punishment. There has to a reason to keep convicted murderers alive.

Gay marriage. Is it a fact that same sex parents are just as good as heterosexual parents?

The war on terrorists. Is it a fact that Jihadist Muslims are out to kill americans and jews?

Taxes. Do raising taxes on everyone help the country?

Israel. Should America continue to support Israel despite it's conflict with the "palestinians"?

Make up another chart.

David said...

>Besides, when LBJ (the Democrat!) signed the Civil Rights act all the racists ditched the Democrats for the Republicans.

I thought KKK member Robert Byrd was a Democrat. If he is a Republican, then why is he always banging on about your president?

Thanks for the link on Sadie Lou's blog. Which was obvious and I should have found it myself. But no thanks for wasting my afternoon while I jumped from link to link in Wikipedia, educating myself about all sorts of obscure subjects ;-)

Scott said...

What is the function of this asher gimmick?

Jewish Atheist said...

David:

I thought KKK member Robert Byrd was a Democrat.

Well, yeah. Not every single racist southerner jumped ship, just the majority.


Scott:

What is the function of this asher gimmick?

Best I can figure, when I post something that leads to a conclusion he doesn't like, he throws as many non-sequitors into the mix as possible to try to derail the conversation. :-)

Half Sigma said...

The global warming question is poorly worded. It doesn't distinguish between human activity causing 1% of global warming or 99% of global warming.

People are reading the question as "should we make a massive change in our lifestyle even though we don't know how much of an effect human activity is having on the global climate?" I say no to that question myself.

beepbeepitsme said...

Do you think that the Bush administration may have trouble recognizing global climate change and the human contribution to it because EXXON Mobil is the richest corporation in the world?

Or is that just conspiracy theory..

beepbeepitsme said...

:)

Random said...

I'm with Ezzie on this one, all that your numbers prove is that Democrats are most likely to believe what "experts" tell them without thinking for themselves.

Two thoughts on this issue - (1) it's easy to forge a consensus on this issue if you can censor your opponents, and (2) if global warming is largely or wholly man made, then how come Mars is also heating up?

Speaking slightly more personally, one of the reasons why I'm sceptical on this is that I'm old enough to remember when the consensus was that we were heading into a new ice age, and have some difficulty knowing which "consensus" to believe. Though in fairness I should add that there is a small but intriguing body of evidence out there that suggests we would be in an ice age by now if it wasn't for anthropogenic global warming. The activists appear to hate this theory (or at least those of them who have heard of it, at least) however - doubtless because it would require them to admit that global warming was saving the planet, not destroying it:-/

Random said...

"Civil rights is a values issue, not a factual one. Besides, when LBJ (the Democrat!) signed the Civil Rights act all the racists ditched the Democrats for the Republicans. That's why the South is overwhelmingly Republican to this day."

So it's not a fact that people of different races are fundamentally equal then?

"Well, yeah. Not every single racist southerner jumped ship, just the majority."

Oh come on, JA, we've been round this block before. Do you really want to re-hash the statistics showing how almost every state house and senate in the south has a Democrat majority, which in several cases is as high as 3:1? The fact that you're still repeating this line does not say much for the supposed superiority of Democrats in absorbing factual information.

Virtually the only time the South votes Republican is in presidential elections, which may have something to do with the sort of candidates the Democrats nominate (John Kerry? Walter Mondale???). For the record, Carter was able to win virtually every southern state in 1976 (more than 10 years after civil rights) and depending on how you define "The South" Bill Clinton won up to half of the southern states in both his elections.

David said...

>>I thought KKK member Robert Byrd was a Democrat.

>Well, yeah. Not every single racist southerner jumped ship, just the majority.

But Byrd remains a member of the Democrat Party. In this country, a member with views like Byrd's would be expelled from a party as soon as those views became known. Such as Pauline Hanson, who stood for the Liberals, but was thrown out when she voiced racist opinions. To do otherwise would be seen as either an endorsement of the views by the party, or that the party didn't think it was a big issue.

On the Republican side, I see a more diverse administration than any before, including two black Secretarys of State and a black National Security Advisor. On the Democrat side, I see old style racists like Byrd filling senior positions and enjoying long careers. What is so hard with just replacing him as the Democrat candidate next time there is an election?

asher said...

JA,

I'm sorry. I guess I burst your balloon.

David Horowitz's new book is called Indoctrination U....do you think there's anything to the idea that colleges and high schools are having their agendas?

CyberKitten said...

ezzie said: ...because the IPCC is a POLITICAL, not scientific, organization.

Actually the UN is the political organization. The IPCC is chock full of the best climate scientists in the world. To dismiss their reports out of hand is just plain silly.

Jewish Atheist said...

HS:

People are reading the question as "should we make a massive change in our lifestyle even though we don't know how much of an effect human activity is having on the global climate?"

That's a different question entirely. Indeed, it's a values question.


Random:

Speaking slightly more personally, one of the reasons why I'm sceptical on this is that I'm old enough to remember when the consensus was that we were heading into a new ice age, and have some difficulty knowing which "consensus" to believe.

There was never a consensus about global cooling anywhere close to the consensus today about global warming. Look it up. The media went nuts, but the scientists were much more rational.

Virtually the only time the South votes Republican is in presidential elections, which may have something to do with the sort of candidates the Democrats nominate (John Kerry? Walter Mondale???).

Fair point.


David:

In this country, a member with views like Byrd's would be expelled from a party as soon as those views became known.

He no longer holds those views, he claims. I wouldn't vote for him, but I don't live in WV.

Markrmorris2 said...

First I would have to agree that all education is a good thing. True or false: most academics have never left academic circles? If true maybe what we are looking at here is a type of intellectual inbreeding. A group of self confirming scholars with an axe to grind against religion. If god exists do you really believe he needs your recognition?

beepbeepitsme said...

Ok, I will harken back to the concept of when do economic agendas influence the desire to deny scientific conclusions?

Possibly when EXXON Mobil is the richest corporation in the world.

Getting a Perspective on Global Energy Reserves and Consumption
http://beepbeepitsme.blogspot.com/search?q=getting+a+perspective

(Sorry to plug my own blog)

Scott said...

The United States Federal Government is the richest corporation in the world.

CyberKitten said...

scott said: The United States Federal Government is the richest corporation in the world.

Is that before or after you take into account the biggest budget deficit in the world?

Scott said...

Deficits mean nothing when you have a central bank printing your own cash.

dbackdad said...

Asher said, "... do you think there's anything to the idea that colleges and high schools are having their agendas?" -- You caught us. We give up. Schools are perpetuating the myth of evolution and global warming because they will obviously profit from it. We'll sell boats when the ice caps melt and gas masks when we can't breathe our air any more. I can't even think of a good joke to explain how we'd profit from perpetuating the evolution myth.

Using David Horowitz to support your argument is dubious. Him accusing schools of pushing an agenda is ironic consider the right wing agenda and censorship platform that he is selling.

"Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here." -- As Good As It Gets

CyberKitten said...

scott said: Deficits mean nothing when you have a central bank printing your own cash.

I'm sure there were similar sentiments expressed during the Weimar Republic..... and we all know where *that* ended up....

beepbeepitsme said...

The key to economic success is to not only print your own money, but to make sure that your currency is always in demand. The currency which is in the most demand, is the currency and the economy which thrives.

One way to ensure that your currency is always in demand and hence valuable, is to ensure that it is used often. And that most trade transactions are performed using the specific currency.

Presently, the global currency in which the majority of transactions occur, is the american dollar.

This ensures the value of the american dollar as there is a worldwide demand for it in order to perform international trade. Most countries require a stockpile of american dollars in order to perform international trade.

The majority of the world's trade in oil, for example is performed using the american dollar as the global currency of trade. All of the middle east now trades oil in american dollars. The demand for oil ensures the demand for the american dollar which ensures the value of the american dollar.

Oil producing nations, like Iraq, for example, which changed from the american dollar as the currency standard, meant less of a demand for the american dollar and an increased demand for the euro.

If all oil rich countries decided, for example, that they would use the euro as the currency of oil trade, nations would flush the american dollar from their systems in preference for the euro, or the dinah, or whatever the choice became.

The value of the euro would increase and the value of the american dollar would decrease. One estimate of the effect of this is that the american economy would suffer a dcrease in its economy of about 30%.

I am reasonably confident that the richest corporation in the world, exxon mobil, is completely aware of this.

littlefoxling said...

even if you don't hold of evolution, the evidence that humans are younger than the earth is still great

JDHURF said...

asher:

David Horowitz is an ultra-rightist extremist and neo-McCarthyite who has outright denied that racism and sexism exist, apparently they're liberal illusions on planet-Horowitz. In a public lecture at the University of Texas, Horowitz claimed that the fact that Oprah Winfrey - whom he called “a fat Black woman" - has made it to the top of society proves that racism is no longer a barrier to success for most Black Americans. He has also argued that Blacks benefited from slavery.

In short Horowitz is an ultra-rightist demagogue who views reality with contempt.

Anonymous said...

Horowitz might not always get all his facts straight, and his remedy for college bias probably (legislation) isn't much of solution, but he understands the big picture pretty well. Many libs use the terms racism and sexism so loosely that just about anything qualifies. The racism against minorities is at the fringes, not in the mainstream. Except for some isolated incidents, that Horowitz deplores as much as anyone else, it's negligible, unless you define racism in a way that can cover just about anything.
As far as sexism goes, well yes there's a lot of it, but it's mostly against white males. Feminism has really put a chip on women's shoulders. Not in all cases, of course, but in many.

Ichabod Chrain

beepbeepitsme said...

"Feminism has really put a chip on women's shoulders. Not in all cases, of course, but in many."

Feminism removed the chip.