March 27, 2011

Moving Science to the Political Realm

If we have abdicated our birthright to scientific progress, we have done so by moving the debate into the realm of political and cultural argument, where we all feel more confident, because it is there that the Gut rules. Held to the standards of that context, any scientific theory is turned into mere opinion...This is how there came to be a "debate" over the very existence of global warming, even though the considered view among those who have actually studied the phenomenon renders the debate quite silly.
- Charles Pierce, Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free

Pierce goes on to explain that we have big tobacco to thank for this particular strategy that every American will surely recognize as a favorite of the corporations that run our country. It was laughable when tobacco used it, and it is laughable when the fossil fuels industries use it. Or at least, it would be laughable if we weren't paying such a price for it.