My New Rules for Science Deniers
I spent the last two nights watching the Republican National Convention. I very much disagree with the politics of today’s GOP and found many of the speeches hard to watch. How did I amuse myself? Twitter. For the past two nights I have tweeted more than I ever have before. I did this more my amusement than anything else and did it in a snarky and sarcastic manner. Someone on the stage would say something moronic, and I would tweet a snarky comment under the #GOP2012 #Romney/Ryan hashtags. It made watching the convention rather neat and I met some new people on twitter.
Things were going great until Romney’s speech. During that speech he made the following comment, “President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.” (Huge applause). I tweeted something to effect that I was dismayed to see Romney deny climate change and to see the crowd react so positively to that. I really do find it a sad state of affairs that so many people do not see the need to take steps to slow this warming trend.
I then went to bed. I woke up this morning and took a look at twitter. I had 4 tweets directed at me from GOP climate change deniers and nine direct messages on the same topic. I found this surprising. My tweet regarding climate change was one of my least sarcastic and critical tweets counting all of the tweets from both nights. The messages I received were full of piss and vinegar. I was asked if I enjoy being so superior and yet so wrong, I was told that man-made climate change has been scientifically proven to be false, I was told me several people to stop drinking the leftist Kool-Aid, I was told that god would care for the planet so we don’t need to worry, etc—you get the gist of it. I find this curious on so many levels.
First, as I mentioned, I was far more snarky and sarcastic when tweeting about health care, women/abortion, gay marriage, taxes, the various speakers and their various lies and not a peep came from the right. I mention climate change and people get all pissed off? I really did not see that coming.
Second, I was stunned by the complete lack of respect for science from a number of my responders. Some flat out denied that science has anything of value to add to the conversation. On the other hand, a handful told me that science had debunked climate change.
Third, I was very surprised by the nine people who privately direct messaged me. Why did they choose to message me privately? I thought about that for a second and came to a possible conclusion. The only answer I can come up with is that they did not want all of their followers, friends, and family to know that they are climate change deniers. Do they realize that it is a position that is on very shaky ground? Were they, at least on some level, embarrassed by their stance? Who knows, but I find it quite interesting.
All of this has led me to re-think how I deal with science deniers. I encounter them all the time. I talk with them in person, I hear from them on twitter, I get some leaving comments on my blog, I encounter them in the comment section of other blogs, etc. My new policy is to never leave them unchallenged. I find the rejection of science to be a very dangerous prospect for our future. So much of what can and needs to be discovered to help make this planet a better place to be will come from science. There will be a tremendous market for new jobs in the various scientific fields in this new century. I do not want my country to fall behind the rest of the world in science. Not because I am jingoistic or super patriotic, but rather, because I feel that is where the future of this planet is heading and I want the U.S. to be a part of that.
From this point forward, I will demand that science deniers offer valid and reasoned evidence for their position. I will insist that this evidence be empirical, testable/falseifiable, repeatable, peer-reviewed, and not possess logical fallacies in the presented argument. One cannot just punt to the bible/god without meeting the above requirements. One cannot say that something has been scientifically proven false without providing that proof in the manner described above. This is not an unreasonable demand. After all, science must go through the same process, so if someone is going to deny a scientific claim, they too must provide evidence that has met an equally rigorous standard. This is quite fair. If the person denying a scientific claim can provide this information, the conversation can proceed. If they cannot, I will call them out on their nonsense.
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