Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

When anti-science hides behind science

original article: The Left’s New Cure-All: ‘Science’
April 12, 2017 by HEATHER WILHELM

Ah, science. If you’re even loosely engaged in the wild and dark art that is politics these days, you know by now that “science,” as a word, has taken on an almost mystical meaning. “Science,” in many of its modern incantations, now serves as a form of code, as vague and fuzzy as a Wiccan chant. For a growing number of political activists, the meaning is simple: Science, you see, is a lively mix of standard progressive hobbyhorses, tossed wild-eyed and cranky into one cantankerous bag.

Witness the upcoming March for Science, scheduled for Saturday, April 22. This also happens to be Earth Day, which is nice enough — and hey, who could object to a good old-fashioned rah-rah session for science? I, for one, always welcome a refresher on string theory, or the confounding conflict between the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, or that long, troubling episode in our planet’s history when a few impertinent continents apparently traipsed all the way over to the other side of the globe and no one was there to panic about it.

Alas, this March for Science does not appear to be largely about science, or about people who know a great deal about science, or even about people who want to know a great deal about science. (It would be kind of fun, in fact, to quiz earnest potential attendees about the details of the scientific method, or whether Johannes Kepler should finally win that well-deserved Oscar.) Keeping up with today’s hottest trends, the March for Science has wrapped itself in identity politics, cranked up the oven to “scorch,” and potentially set things on track to unceremoniously collapse into one giant intersectional soufflé.

The troubles brewing within the March for Science surfaced in January, marked by a now-deleted official tweet: “Colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, ableism, queer-, trans-, intersex-phobia, & econ justice are scientific issues.” Since then, the addled march has torn through four different diversity statements, shellacked by critics on both sides. (Harvard’s Steven Pinker bashed the march’s “anti-science PC/identity politics/hard-left rhetoric,” while others complained the statement didn’t go far enough.) The march’s latest set of “Diversity and Inclusion Principles,” when paired with its more shame-faced and apologetic sibling, the “Statement on Diversity and Inclusion,” tops out at over 1,000 words.

You might think that this amounts to a protest march protesting too much. But the hits keep coming. When Bill Nye, the children’s TV personality-turned-science-advocate, was announced as an honorary chair of the march last week, critics bemoaned his status as a white male. Oddly, no one seemed particularly riled up about the fact that Nye is not an actual “scientist” at all. “I was born a dorky white guy who became an engineer,” Nye told BuzzFeed, reportedly “baffled” at the brouhaha. “I’m playing the hand I was dealt. We can’t — this march can’t solve every problem at once.”

But “science,” at least according to the new dogma, can. Since the election of Donald Trump, a trendy new sign has popped up in yards across America: “In this house, we believe black lives matter, women’s rights are human rights, no human is illegal, science is real, love is love, kindness is everything.” People of various political leanings could talk for hours about some of the tenets of the sign — which specific “women’s rights” are we referring to, for instance? — but the “science is real” line confuses me every time. What, after all, can it mean? Most likely, the line refers to anthropogenic climate change, and a beef with the Trump administration’s approach to that contentious issue. But if that’s the case, why not just have your sign say “Manmade climate change is real”? There’s clearly something else afoot, and it strikes deep into the heart of progressive politics today.

What, after all, can it mean? Most likely, the line refers to anthropogenic climate change, and a beef with the Trump administration’s approach to that contentious issue. But if that’s the case, why not just have your sign say “Manmade climate change is real”? There’s clearly something else afoot, and it strikes deep into the heart of progressive politics today.

Of course science is real. Earnest scientists are busy sciencing it up, right now, all over the world. In some cases, as the BBC recently reported, they’re accidentally growing chickens with actual dinosaur faces, a terrifying activity that I sincerely hope they stop. But science is not a doctrine or a dogma. It’s a method — a method of questioning, gathering facts, developing hypotheses, and testing them to get a better understanding of the world.

But here’s the thing about science: Sometimes, it’s a method that reveals answers you’d rather not know. Science might, for instance, make you think about human life, and certain facts about human life, and specific policies that end human life. It might, in fact, turn a few of the most passionately held dogmas of the supposed “party of science” — and the progressive left — completely upside down.

But never mind. Today’s march for science is apparently for the science that affirms our priors. That, after all, is much more fun.

bias, corruption, culture, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, reform, relativism, science, supply and demand

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Filed under: bias, corruption, culture, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, reform, relativism, science, supply and demand

Fake News: Media distorts Jeff Sessions’ comments on Mexican gangs

original article: Fake news: Media distorts Jeff Sessions’ speech about illegal alien gangs
April 12, 2017 by Carlos Garcia

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is being excoriated for supposedly using charged language against immigrants, but a closer look at the text of his speech shows that he is being misrepresented by some in the media.

In the speech to border guards Tuesday, Sessions referred to violent criminal gangs such as MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, and the infamous Zeta drug cartel, but some are applying his words to all immigrants. And while the word was in the prepared remarks, he omitted it in the actual speech, a detail lost to his critics.

Politico White House reporter Josh Dawsey tweeted this without the full context of the quote, “Sessions to border agents: ‘It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth.’”

Washington Post writer Dan Drezner tweeted about the quote, “Filth. He described illegal immigrants as ‘filth.’ Whatever your views on immigration that’s f**king embarrassing for a US official to say.” That was retweeted more than 3,700 times, while his retraction and apology only got slightly more than 100 retweets.

Chris Taylor of Mashable tweeted, “The Attorney General of the United States just called Mexican immigrants “filth.” But by all means, keep being outraged about United.”

But as Becket Adams of the Washington Examiner reported, not only was that phrase attributed to criminal gangs and not simply immigrants, but Sessions decided against using the word when he actually gave the speech.

“When we talk about MS-13 and the cartels, what do we mean?” Sessions asked in the speech. “We mean international criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into war-zones, that rape and kill innocent citizens and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders. Depravity and violence are their calling cards, including brutal machete attacks and beheadings.”

The misquoted line followed, but without the word “filth.”

“It is here, on this sliver of land, on this border, where we first take our stand,” he proclaimed.

The false quote took a life on its own on social media:

Not all news outlets got it wrong, fortunately.

Sessions praised Trump in the speech for the precipitous drop in illegal border crossings that has been reported by law enforcement officials. Illegal crossings are reported to have dropped by 72% in the first few months of the year, to a figure not seen in 17 years.

Even Trump critic Jorge Ramos had to admit that the “Trump Effect” was probably saving the lives of those who were turning away from the perilous and dangerous trek northward to the U.S.-Mexico border.

bias, corruption, false, fraud, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, immigration, news media, propaganda, racism, scandal

Filed under: bias, corruption, false, fraud, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, immigration, news media, propaganda, racism, scandal

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