Mike the Mad Biologist

Seriously. The political tactics are virtually identical. From The Krugman (italics mine):

As the debate over President Obama’s economic stimulus plan gets under way, one thing is certain: many of the plan’s opponents aren’t arguing in good faith. Conservatives really, really don’t want to see a second New Deal, and they certainly don’t want to see government activism vindicated. So they are reaching for any stick they can find with which to beat proposals for increased government spending.

Some of these arguments are obvious cheap shots. John Boehner, the House minority leader, has already made headlines with one such shot: looking at an $825 billion plan to rebuild infrastructure, sustain essential services and more, he derided a minor provision that would expand Medicaid family-planning services — and called it a plan to “spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives.”

But the obvious cheap shots don’t pose as much danger to the Obama administration’s efforts to get a plan through as arguments and assertions that are equally fraudulent but can seem superficially plausible to those who don’t know their way around economic concepts and numbers.

Anyone who has ever debated a creationist is very familiar with creationist “cheap shots” (or, as I like to refer to them, lies). What’s worse is that they are so familiar with the refutation of their lies (to the point where, if you were unable to keep speaking, they could probably finish your argument for you), yet they still speak them (“Evolution is just a theory”, “Flagella are irreducibly complex”, and so on).

Increasingly, they’ve been dressing up creationism in pseudo-scientific garb, so it sounds like science. When sounds ‘sciencey’ enough, then http://scienceblogs.com/mikethemadbiologist/2008/02/thirteen_things_creationists_d.php“>they flood the rhetorical space:

Pack a sentence with numerous falsehoods, misconceptions and biases so that it is difficult, if not impossible, to rebut them all within a reasonable time. For example (a hypothetical one, exaggerated to illustrate the technique): “Stem cell research, concocted and shamelessly promoted by the same Godless biologists that want to ban the Bible everywhere, has one and only one purpose, which is to kill innocent human babies.” By the time anyone has corrected all the errors of fact, any conceivable audience open to persuasion has fallen asleep.

Unfortunately, this stupidity won’t only harm biological education, but the entire economy (national or global, take your pick).

Comments

  1. #1 Science Avenger
    January 28, 2009

    Their techniques are the same because their epistemology is the same: choose a belief based on faith, cherry pick data to support it, ignore opposing arguments because you KNOWthe truth.

  2. #2 D. C. Sessions
    January 28, 2009

    When sounds ‘sciencey’ enough, they flood the rhetorical space:

    Ah, yes: the Gish Gallop.

  3. #3 llewelly
    January 28, 2009

    The only difference between movement conservatives and creationists, is that not all of the former believe in a 6000 year old earth.

  4. #4 MarkL
    February 1, 2009

    Here’s another example of a technique that they both use.

    I call it the “Shell Game”. It works by abusing labels, for example.

    Step 1: Take a label (e.g. “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, or “theory”)

    Step 2: Stick items/concepts that have vastly different implications, together under that same label (e.g. stick “sarin gas” and “nuclear weapons” together under the label: WMD. Stick “guesswork” and “scientific framework” together under the label: “theory”).

    Step 3: Play the shell game! Talk about the label (i.e the shell), without ever revealing what you’re really talking about. For example, use the WMD label instead of “sarin gas” when talking about evidence, but then evoke the specter of mushroom clouds when talking about risk!

    The same technique is abused using the label “Liberal”.

  5. #5 tiret
    August 22, 2009

    very thanks for article