Two ancient posts of mine, Why Creationists Need To Be Creationists and Creationism Is Just One Symptom Of Conservative Pathology are getting heavy traffic right now from Stumbleupon and Reddit. I posted a comment there trying to get people to come and see the much more recent update: More than just Resistance to Science, from which I’d like to promote a recent comment by Tree:
Thank you for drawing attention to the importance of understanding Phatic Language. While I was raised in a very formal family and as a youngster had an intuitive grasp that the purpose of protocol and etiquette is to establish hierarchy (and safety within that hierarchy), it never occurred to me that transmitting information would be mistaken for attempting to establish hierarchy. This explains to me the rage that some people demonstrate when someone with a perceived lower social rank uses technical language. For example, traditional males seem to Freak Out whenever they hear a female expressing herself in technical language. Well yeah, if they equate technical expertise with social dominance, they’re going to rush to defend their social status, no matter how politely the female expresses herself.
Perhaps the same people who mistake technical language as an expression of social dominance also mistake uncertainty as an expression of social submission. I think we should consider that if our technical expertise makes us threatening, no matter how carefully we state our case, and we’re too careful stating our case, we’ll be considered submissive, that we should take our authority as given, take our dominance as granted and act as the responsible social leaders that the rest of the herd expects. My intuition is that if we act as authorities, we will attain the authority required to formulate reality-based policy.