Opinion

Facebooking the issues

Facebook is the future. Or so it would seem. So let’s get on with it.

Time magazine named Mark Zuckerberg man of the year!

Flight attendant Steven Slater was robbed!

Take that, Julian Assange!

What is a magazine?

Twitter announces 10 most powerful tweets. No. 2 was President Barack Obama to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev: “Hi everyone! I’m on Twitter, and this is my first tweet.”

Epic!

OMG!

Um, really?

Congress passes $858 billion tax cut/spending package

Whew!

Glad that debt crisis is over!

Who wants to go yacht shopping?

$8 billion in earmarks stalls $1 trillion spending bill

Let’s have a tea party!

A bridge to somewhere!

About time they got serious about the debt!

Billions in cuts to spread pain across Washington state

People need to fend for themselves.

Live within their means.

They’re closing a museum? Outrageous!

Idaho lawmakers face budget shortfall

I blame Obama.

Bring back the gold standard!

Go Broncos!

2000-’09 is warmest decade on record

Junk science!

It’s cold out.

OK, back to FarmVille.

GM, Chrysler bounce back on strength of SUV sales

America is back!

Take that, tree huggers!

Can we have our money back?

Richard Holbrooke’s final words: “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.”

I blame WikiLeaks!

In Karzai we trust.

Support our troops!

Jobless benefits extended to millions of Americans

Now they’ll never get a job.

Repeal the estate tax!

I blame the illegals.

“Obamacare” challenged in court

Can’t make me buy coverage!

Get your socialist hands off my Medicare!

Quit legislating from the bench!

cool to science. Daniel Sarewitz of Slate has a baffling observation about science and politics. Only about 6 percent of U.S. scientists claim to be Republicans, according to a 2009 Pew Center Research Poll. Fifty-five percent are Democrats, 32 percent are independents and the rest “don’t know.”

Now, I know that religious conservatives have always been troubled with scientific findings such as evolution and the estimated age of Earth because they contradict literal interpretations of the Bible.

But it hadn’t occurred to me that Republicans would be generally turned off to science as a career. Maybe there isn’t enough money in it. Of course, shilling for corporations is always an option and that can be lucrative. This is the path many scientists took when the link between tobacco and cancer was actually debatable.

Now the lucrative “science” jobs are in the field of global warming, where corporations form fake public interest groups that tout studies or analyses performed by scientists for hire.

The danger of this is that science will become just another mud pit where people wrestle over every single detail and politicians exaggerate the divisions. In a rerun of evolution, they want schools to “teach the controversy.”

Every single relevant scientific organization is on record as saying global warming is real and that mankind is the main perpetrator. Are there scientists who disagree? Sure. Have they been able to sway their colleagues via the venerable process of peer review? No.

What’s happened is the same thing that has happened with all policy disagreements. Separate realities are created and the results are repeated ad nauseam. The scientific method is not only ignored, its practitioners are placed under suspicion. A prime example is last year’s outcry over something dubbed Climategate. Based on leaked, out-of-context e-mails, opponents spread the word that actual data had been deleted or manipulated.

Never mind that independent inquiries have found these charges to be bunk or that data elsewhere tell the same story skeptics and deniers don’t want to hear.

The result is that this most important of all issues has been met with a political standoff, with virtually all Republicans in Congress on one side and Democrats on the other.

And what of the scientists? Well, they’ve been trashed and harassed. Few of them want to be involved in politics. Perhaps some of them started off as Republicans and left the party when the party left science.

Associate Editor Gary Crookscan be reached at garyc@spokesman.com or (509) 459-5026.


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