Anti-Science — Death of Civilization?

Anti-Science: Desert. Will anti-science destroy civilization?
Will anti-science attitudes and behavior be the end of civilization? Desert. Photo: Jerome Bon (CC BY 2.0)

Increasingly, science has become corrupted by corporations and big money. Money talks. Scientists need funding. Those with the most money get science done their way.

Even the term “anti-science” has been misused and abused by those who either don’t understand all the issues, or have a vested interest in the corruption.

Part of the problem is that scientists who raise warnings that are not popular are lumped in with those who are considered by the mainstream to be uneducated and thus “anti-science.” But more confusing is the fact that the ones who have used the term the most may themselves be anti-science. Let’s take a closer look at this controversy.

Cheap Labels, Cheap Shots

People who disagree with the popular, mainstream media viewpoint are repeatedly labeled with cute and not-so-cute labels—denier, twoofer, “anti-science,” “conspiracy theorist” and others.

First of all, the labels are meaningless without facts to back them up. And some labels are entirely ad hominem distraction. The trouble with these labels is that many people read only the labels and move on. This is a plus for those who want to stop all dissent.

When a ridiculer leads with such a label, they are not debating the facts or their merits. They are attacking the person. Some so-called “skeptical” websites say that some people deserve to be ridiculed. I disagree. Ridicule never solved anything except to pump up the perpetrator’s ego. Science by ridicule seems to be growing in frequency and ferocity. And this is eroding the progress we’ve made in civilization.

We already have “witch hunts” in the climate field. Some politicians have attacked researchers who hold unpopular views and those politicians have worked to block the scientists’ funding.

There are numerous examples in history of breakthroughs in science taking far longer because of an atmosphere of hostility. It took over a thousand years for the geocentric view of the universe to fall to more reasoned minds. It seems that we are returning to a Dark Age mentality where logic and transparency are subverted by corporate greed and by groupies with big egos that need feeding.

Anti-Science with GMOs

Unlike every other industry, genetically modified organism manufacturers don’t want you to know you’re buying their product. Imagine for a moment buying a new model of car only to find out that underneath the slick exterior is the worst make of car in history. Would you feel cheated?

If you don’t suspect something fishy about this behavior, I’ll apologize now and recommend you stop reading (this article is not for you). The only time a manufacturer doesn’t want you to know you’re buying their product is when they have something to hide.

In order to get GMOs through the American FDA, they were declared essentially equivalent to natural organisms of the same species. But what the public and the mainstream media clearly ignore is the “M” in GMO—”modified.”

The scary part of all of this is that there has been too little study on the safety of GMOs and Monsanto rushed them to market over a decade ago. Why is this scary? For one thing, we’ve already found problems with GMOs adversely affecting health. But GMOs also contaminate non-GMO crops and organisms. Soon, we may not have any organisms that are not affected by GMOs. Some of the damage is permanent and irreversible.

Genetic Fallacy: How Monsanto Silences Scientific Dissent

At the most basic level of logic, we have to realize that DNA is complex programming. We are still learning how this programming works and we have a long way to go before we know everything there is to know. Any seasoned software engineer will tell you that shotgunning code from one program into another will very likely result in countless bugs in the software. This is virtually guaranteed. Expecting there not to be problems is naive at best; criminally sinister at worst.

Another fallacy promoted by GMO supporters is the notion that GMO techniques are similar to those used for the last several thousand years. This is horribly wrong. With the tried and true methods used in plant grafting and animal husbandry, we give nature a chance to tell us whether the two organisms are compatible. If they’re not, the offspring or produce will wither and die. With modern GMO techniques, nature is forced to accept two species that are not even close to one another. Nature doesn’t have a choice.

There have been many studies showing that there are health problems with GMOs. Perhaps the most famous is that of Seralini, et al. Critics say that Seralini did not use the right kind of mice, the right quantity and the right methods. Supporters say that he and his team used similar methods and mice to the tests performed by Monsanto. The manufacturer’s test was for only 3 months and started to show problems, but those were deemed inconsequential without further comment; Seralini’s went on for 2 years. The journal which approved and published Seralini’s study soon hired a former Monsanto exec as editor. Shortly after Richard Goodman was hired, two articles critical of Monsanto were withdrawn. The Seralini study was one of them.

It’s more than a little suspicious that the peer review process needed an industry insider to set them straight. Does anyone think this reeks of conflict of interest?

Monsanto promotes their GMO products as necessary to feed a hungry world. But right now we produce enough food to feed 11.3 billion people. That means we could store enough food to feed 4.3 billion people against some future drought or other disaster for each year of production.

Soil degradation with GMO crops is making farming more expensive. Crops are becoming more susceptible to diseases, they contain fewer nutrients and farmers are having to use stronger and stronger pesticides and herbicides to manage their fields. Americans may end up dying of malnutrition, despite eating all their veggies.

Anti-Science with Climate Change and Global Warming

Anti-Science: Sri Lanka jungle. Anti-science says global warming is bad.
Sri Lanka jungle. Anti-science alarmists say global warming will destroy the world. Warming will make the world into a lush garden. Photo: McKay Savage (CC BY 2.0).

When Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” video came out, I was an instant fan and fanatic. I debated with others pushing the notion that we are either responsible for what’s happening to the planet or irresponsible.

But then I found out that I was wrong.

One of the logical fallacies used in this debate involves the term “denier.” Deny what? All of the calm scientists agree that the climate changes. It can’t help but change. In fact, it has changed for the last 4.5 billion years—as long as Earth has had an atmosphere.

They don’t deny that Earth has warmed many times in the past and also cooled. They don’t deny that man has some impact on the climate. The point of disagreement is on the degree of impact.

The 600,000 year chart used by Gore in his film shows a correlation between CO2 and temperature. What he forgets to mention is that temperature increases lead CO2 increases by 800 years. Rising temperatures cause CO2 to increase. Why would this be? The oceans contain vast reservoirs of carbon dioxide. The increases in warmth take hundreds of years to change the energy level of the ocean. Warmer ocean emits carbon dioxide.

On the shorter scale of time (years and decades), carbon dioxide doesn’t come close to matching global average temperatures. From 1940 to 1975, CO2 levels skyrocketed with the war buildup and the post-war boom. Yet temperatures fell steadily. In fact, magazine covers in the mid-70s proclaimed the coming Ice Age.

This is ironic, because we’ve been in an Ice Age for 2.6 million years. The current Holocene warm period is overdue to end. Anyone who thinks global warming is bad needs to understand that they’re seriously wrong. Try growing crops in the snow when the Holocene suddenly ends.

Anti-Science: Blue sky. Anti-science wants us to reduce our carbon footprint.
Blue sky. Anti-science fanatics tell us to reduce our carbon footprint. Photo: Bryan Calabro (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Reducing our carbon footprint is like saying “reduce your oxygen footprint.” Stop breathing!

Carbon dioxide is a natural gas in the life cycle of Earth. Modern increases in CO2 have resulted in a greening of the Earth. Plants love the stuff. In fact, many scientists have found that crop yields jump when carbon dioxide is increased.

But warmer is good, too. Not only are we in an Ice Age, but extreme temperature differences between the poles and the equator are what drive violent weather. Melt all the ice and violent storms lose their main energy source.

And warmer produces more rain, too. During the warmer Holocene Optimum (~6,000 BC), rain increases gave us a green Sahara. In fact, today’s wimpy Lake Chad was back then a robust inland sea both far larger and far deeper.

Climate Gate showed us that scientists can become corrupted. Numerous emails were stolen from the UN IPCC’s climate research unit at East Anglia. (IPCC means Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; i.e. political, not scientific.) In those emails were notes between scientists conspiring to fudge the numbers. That’s scientific fraud. In fact, one of the scientists had notified other scientists that he was not going to release his numbers and techniques for fear of having them ridiculed. What happened to peer review?

The hysterics over climate are politically motivated and have little to do with science. One of the IPCC’s lead scientists for the 2001 report later stated that fellow scientists were discussing how to bend the numbers to make them more dramatic. More fraud. A number of IPCC scientists quit in protest over the fraud. In fact, one scientist had to sue the UN to get his name removed from their so-called “consensus.”

Another irony involves the claim by fans of Al Gore that the “deniers” are paid by Big Oil. A little research showed that Biggest Oil—the Rockefellers—are behind the climate change hysterics, not against it. One merely needs to go to the Rockefeller Foundation website to see for themselves.

Anti-Science with Vaccines

Emotions run high with all of these controversies, but perhaps none higher than with vaccines. The term “anti-science” is particularly prevalent on this topic. Sadly, many of those in the camp labeled as “anti-science” are scientists. Oops!

When PBS television’s Frontline program interviewed scientists who were critical of vaccines, they did not include any of those interviews in the vaccine program they ultimately aired. Instead, they showed only hysterical mothers. Biased reporting? When you follow the money, you find the Rockefellers firmly established behind public television.

What is particularly troubling is the fact that vaccines contain many toxins—mercury (thimerosal), formaldehyde (embalming fluid), aluminum, MSG and others. No tests have been done on the safety of these toxins. That alone is troubling. And it’s anti-science to blindly recommend vaccines while these toxins remain in them.

But now, they hysteria is reaching a fever pitch. People are being irrationally divided with buzz words and labels. Those who recommend caution are called “baby killers.” Legislators are increasingly calling for mandatory vaccinations. Parents are threatened with jail time if they do not have their children vaccinated before sending them to school.

There have been numerous studies which show a relationship between vaccines, autism and other neurological problems. Yet, the mainstream media persists in ignoring these studies in favor of those which find vaccines perfectly safe.

Those who support the use of vaccines seem almost violent in their condemnation of those who hesitate. In recent news, California legislators threaten to make vaccines mandatory for everyone, to the cheers of vaccine supporters. “It’s about time!”

But what supporters of vaccines seem to forget is their own argument that vaccines are effective. If they are indeed so effective, then those who opt out will have no effect on those who are vaccinated. Those who choose to avoid the toxins will have what they want, and the vaccinated with have their peace of mind. So, why is it necessary to force other people to get vaccinated? For their own safety? What if vaccines are a health risk to them?

Every body is genetically different. But no human body can thrive on mercury poisoning. Or formaldehyde.

Yet, the anti-science mentality that thinks they have science all figured out, makes it seem that you’re a criminal if you don’t take your regular shot of toxins. Lunacy!

Anti-Science with 9/11

Anti-Science: Apollo 17 Lunar Rover. Will anti-science keep us from going back?
Apollo 17 Lunar Rover. Will anti-science keep us from going back? Photo: NASA.

America went to war over 9/11. It invaded Afghanistan to get Osama Bin Laden. And it invaded Iraq because it had weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda. I went along with this scenario for a decade before questioning it. When I found information that proved the official conspiracy theory was wrong, I was angry.

Defenders of the official conspiracy theory call the skeptics “truthers” or “twoofers.” They accuse the skeptics of being conspiracy theorists, which only sometimes is true. Facts and questions do not make one a conspiracy theorist.

One of the key facts that turned me around was the perfect free fall collapse of World Trade Center 7. For the first 8 floors, this building collapsed at perfect free fall. This means that the steel, I-beam structure of the building offered zero resistance. Solid steel never offers zero resistance. Yet, the scientists at NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) tried to sell the world on the notion that solid steel did just that because of office fires.

Not only that, NIST scientists initially tried to hide the perfect free fall by starting their timer artificially early and counting the average acceleration of the entire period. That’s scientific fraud. That’s anti-science.

The government scientists, bureaucrats and political appointees have been shown increasingly to be corrupted—9/11, vaccines, global warming and GMOs.

Logical Fallacies at the Heart of Anti-Science

Quite often, the corporate fan compares those who disagree with a viewpoint that is more radical. Climate realists are called deniers—similar to Holocaust deniers. But this is a logical fallacy, because the Holocaust has nothing to do with climate. Belief in one has nothing to do with belief in the other. Buzz phrases like “climate change deniers” are extremely misleading, because no one denies climate change. Climate can’t help but change.

Such tactics seem to work in the realm of public opinion where critical thinking seems to be waning in strength. Multitudes of people who pride themselves on their skepticism seem to fall all over their ego on the way to more logical fallacies.

Space Exploration in an Anti-Science Climate

America sent its last batch of astronauts to the Moon in the early 1970s. For one thing, the Vietnam War was too expensive. In fact, NASA had planned on sending men to Mars by 1983, but that mission was scrubbed because of the horrible expense of war. Now, we know that the Vietnam war was escalated based on a lie. The Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened. The government lied to get more money for their buddies in the corporate war machine. War was made to seem more palatable by calling it a “peacekeeping action.”

The educational system of America has become increasingly corrupted with anti-science ideas. While the news media talks about Texas school board books being slanted by religious fundamentalists, a more subtle and insidious corruption of education is taking place elsewhere. Students are shown Al Gore’s video without critical thinking. Activists in Great Britain were able to have a list of errors included with each showing of the Gore flick, but I know of no such caveat included in American showings.

Students in America are ranked pretty low in the world for reading, mathematics and science (Weisenthal, 2013). The United States comes in at #35 on mathematics. They fare slightly better on reading, coming it at #24. On science, America pulls in at lousy #27.

Nations far ahead of America include Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, Australia, Estonia, Austria, Slovenia, Viet Nam, France, Czech Republic, UK, Luxembourg, Iceland, Slovak Republic, Ireland, Portugal, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Israel and Hungary. Yes, several Asian countries are ahead of America, too, but that seems to be a given. It seems that the stereotype is true—Asians are typically more knowledgeable in math and science. At the top of the list are China, Singapore, Taipei, Korea and Japan.

The Corporate media frequently seems to blame the increasingly anti-science attitude of Americans on the religious right. Such generalities rarely hold under even casual scrutiny. Many of the so-called right are top scientists. But labels alone are a lousy way to analyze a situation. I have some views that are liberal, some conservative, some libertarian and some that are in flux. If a label could be applicable to me, it might be “searcher of Truth.” Change is natural when you know that you have not yet arrived at a perfect answer.

Could America ever send men back to the Moon or to Mars? I don’t doubt there are still plenty of scientists to accomplish such a feat, but their numbers are dwindling and the quality may also be dwindling. In today’s political climate, scientists are increasingly asked to accept bribes or to fudge numbers.

America seems to be resting on its laurels, coasting into the future, blithely oblivious to its own sloth and gluttony. As an American, I’m both proud of what we’ve done and ashamed. But change is natural. Can we change in the right direction?

Reference

Weisenthal, J. (2013), “Here’s The New Ranking Of Top Countries In Reading, Science, And Math.” Retrieved on March 15, 2015 from http://businessinsider.com/pisa-rankings-2013-12

This article was originally published 2015:0315 on Blog.AncientSuns.com

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