I think the creationist controversy sheds a lot of light on the conservative movement as a whole. So, in the comments of this post by Brad DeLong that wondered how in the hell anyone still seriously argues on behalf of the Treasury View in economics, I remarked that it reminded me of creationists:
….in biology, for example, the profession itself does not lend credence to creationism. The fundamentals, as opposed to the cutting edge (or arguments about the relative importance of various phenomena), are not in question. These are political controversies, not scientific ones. That is, evolution happened–biologists, biological societies, etc. agree on this.
The revival of the “Treasury View” sounds almost like dealing with creationists. Evidence and first principles seem to have gone right out the window. At some point, the Treasury View proponents are going to want to ‘teach the controversy’ in economics courses….
So then Paul Krugman noted:
One of Brad DeLong’s commentators compares what’s going on to the discovery that some eminent biologists are creationists, but it’s actually worse than that: it’s like discovering that some eminent biologists have never heard of the theory of evolution and the concept of natural selection.
How did we get to this point?
Either way, it’s really stupid. Of course, creationists are pretty factually challenged too. Consider DeLong’s question:
I had thought that the questions of whether the “Treasury View” was correct, whether the money multiplier was a constant, and whether the velocity of money was constant in normal times had been settled and were no longer live parts of economics. But here we are…
Where I think Krugman might be wrong is that he’s assuming intellectual honesty on behalf of the Treasury View proponents. But could a professional economist be this foolish out of good intentions? Or is this letting ideology override evidence?
Related post: Dean Baker writes:
If the Washington Post had a science section it would be filled with accounts of creationism and the latest thoughts from the Flat Earth Society. This is the only conclusion that one can get from reading its treatment of economics in the Outlook section.