Global warming and partisan divides

Global warming and partisan divides

Global warming and partisan divides

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
July 22 2008 12:14 PM

Global warming and partisan divides

I find politically-based interpretation of science fascinating. Why would party affiliation have anything to do with how you view science?

Maybe if the top politicians in your party lie constantly about the science, that plays a part.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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A recent survey indicates belief in global warming is slightly lower than last year, due almost entirely to Republicans denying it. Incredible. With Inhofe claiming it's a hoax, and with Bush and Cheney doing what they can to suppress real research and public release of information on the effects of GW, I'm not surprised.

I hope people don't get their science from Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck, but I do a lot of hoping.

And speaking of which, you also have the right-wing machine which takes any little thing, spins it madly, and totally destroys reality in the process. The American Physical Society -- a professional society representing tens of thousands of scientists -- has long been vocal about the reality of global warming. However, in one of their newsletters, a single editor posted a ridiculous assertion from a long-debunked GW denier. That was from one editor, who does not speak for the APS as a whole at all... and mind you, this was in a newsletter, and not a peer-reviewed journal.

However, Drudge picked it up, and then so did many neocon blogs. A lot of them, including Drudge, claimed that this was coming from the APS itself. That is clearly and obviously false, but the pressure got so high that the APS had to issue a followup restating their support for the reality of global warming.

Incredible. The influence of smear tactics on science is truly terrifying; we have an election coming up in November where the future of this country and the people in it are profoundly affected by how well the voters understand reality. That's why I'm so vocal about this; there are very bad people doing very bad things, and if those of us who like reality the way it is -- real -- don't speak up, then things will get very bad indeed.

I'll add that Jennifer Ouellette has an excellent blog post on this topic as well.