tv Book Discussion on The War on Science CSPAN September 6, 2016 4:00am-6:01am EDT
and was a very complicated, complex person. the result is a complicated, complex portrait of her. i think anyone who read something about themselves has mixed feelings about it. i would hate to read something this long about myself, i mean really. [inaudible] anyway. >> thank you everyone, let's give her another round of applause. [applause] again we have books up at the register as well as wine to your left.
service award is a novelist and a filmmaker his novel since of our fathers which is a literary thriller which was a book prizes that house of cement in fog that isai years ago with ed is a terrific film and i would suggest that this is available on amazon in the tube and i was a just if we have a chance you view that. nominated for three academy awards and he co-wrote the screenplay. his latest book is displayed
up here "the war on science" in that is what he is talking about today. he lives in minnesota and has a and environmental house, a solar and brainpower -- wind power. the way that we will do this is a power point presentation then we will have a conversation and open it to queue and day and then with those that are left colt not take up any more of his time. [applause] [applause] still makes for coming
representative mccollum let me know she is not sure if she could make it do to the voting schedule to day but we will see if she can join the rest later as well. so i was involved in an organization that is still around i wedding kerry juju signed on and it is basically a nonprofit effort to talk about technology health and environmental issues and as you will see from my presentation there will only grow in importance as we move forward. what we tried to focus on is appreciating a gap in large part between what we are
able to do with science and think and talk about it he said chile that is how is started out and grew out of that effort is an observation on the core relationship between science and democracy and to force for equality said it is the effort to defend democracy so people had day panel questioning that and spoiler alert there is a war on science right now. i would like to give some
examples. in four pieces that i explain it is not partisan but they are certainly participating. >> two 1/2 years old but to have it a back seat then one week later got a tremendous beaver very sick is now autistic. >> somehow over the course of the last 20 years it has become acceptable in american public dialogue. as a kid that would not have been tolerated. it would have been the end of their career. it leads to a curious examination of politics and
what has changed to make that possible? >> although many think that'd is but it is happening on the left the bernie sanders has the most aggressive climate plan and broadly embraced and supported and that the save time against nuclear power to support alternative medicine. >> this isn't just happening in presidential races but as
so what they could say to put those appointees so for them to close the libraries of the scientific enterprises. talks about a science are no evidence or no truth gore democracy. >> it is also happening in australia where cities representing dash million people have been and fluoride also in france there is a outbreak of measles because of what is the man the united kingdom has the research of the anti-back see movement. :did germany isn't ireland
fluoride, israel the health minister who does not have a background in science recently been and fluoride for the entire country. nigeria they are reacting in their version of the right-wing reaction again science. in china with the environmental movement is that the same time a movement that is genetically modified crops. so why is this spreading particularly many times through western democracies with three dead men and free thought and critical thinking.
but there is something happening that is quite odd with that exploration that tries do get that in the best place to start is understanding why it matters. science is the great equalizer. though one thing that stevens between two brothers as the coke brothers isn't the brothers have as much as when the fuse is in chicago. in theory these two sets said the united states should have the same in the potential spade to education or employment. a and a science is the one in equalizer of the left
side of the screen to provide an opportunity. this is based on core idea is that date back to the very founding of units states. wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with our own government. here is the crux of what we read into. if you have never been to the library of congress you have seen thomas jefferson's library it is recreated which contained virtually all the knowledge at that time. he was a scientist is an attorney. and that was day possible idea back then. but what happens now when
science has continued to regain its -- advance? how do we have those well informed voters? that that is a we are bumping up against. but in order to come up with this idea into ruth convince other elimination's to reach for the greatest thinking of the greatest men in thinking of isaac newton at the time that they may have imagined things that our false in this is part of where we're getting trouble turnout
yourself alone to say unscrew which. it is hard to have the know-how or to understand what is true when science and technology is so complex it is too hard in to buy a kit to but that is no longer true with the cell phone. in those with the other strange incantations the moment it becomes a distinguishable because science by its very nature is a function in of believe. they choose to believe in the process.
with certain for-profit journals next turned jews francis bacon the attorney general of the mclellan to circumscribe the up power of the monarch and worked very hard of the core ideas in say of the man were true which is one of the reasons she worked hard to create deductive reasoning and that it to call western science on the other muslim scholars with the observational science the tendency to see what we want in the
environment with that top down thinking i think therefore i am to see what nature hast to say about that and confirm the observations and with that jefferson turn to food they appreciate these days john locke this side from others credentials seeking to solve a problem looking at the factions that were broken down and arguing with one another who has a true path to god in a real knowledge to go what is real and what is knowledge city came up with intuitive knowledge to
plus two is for. we can see that intuitively there is no arguing with that. and next is demonstrative and at different rates. in to say that it has any effect on different objects. i built the from intuitive knowledge with the induction into the van experiment of that demonstrative knowledge i smell a rose. but i might be deceived by may be smelling perfume. so the common sense was the least reliable.
those that most often deceived us. anything that fell short that anybody could argue in the political sphere then science begins to breakdown in society. so to say every argument should be argued to bring it to the source and that is what jefferson sought to do to write the declaration of independence with the core functioning idea to discover the truth for himself. no monarch or wealthy llord
that we do our solace. that is the argument is a reason to support the discovering called democracy without science we would not be here. it is all dependent upon this type of thinking so now falling into common traps and fought this type of thinking is not intuitive. it is difficult here is an early draft of the declaration of independence that we hold these truths to be sacred day of the undeniable that of men are created equal. that doesn't sound quite right. but he fell into a mistake of thinking we hold the
truth is to be undeniable but the moment he did that anyone who has said different faith to argue there is was the more sacred and undeniable. they had a greater authority said desmond with franklin franklin, they that backlash at it that is his handwriting in the word is self-evident so in this edit it is arguably the most important at it in the history of the united states it is circumscribed democracy it is independent
so jefferson davis democracy him is in a circle with the governance issue with the educated end informed to draw a the congress with scientific research with the elusive and clark expedition is based on that knowledge congress would debate the way it was supposed to work but what has been happening over the last 40 or 50 years we have had some corruption of that process the vested interest to provide alternative theories to children and propaganda to adults.
the way she bin beings came to be but instead of turning to ruth scientific research it turns to ideology for knowledge. so debating that best policy it is based on dogma in the way for transforming democracy so who writes a dog much? instead of turning to knowledge than the one of the citizens could generate from those already in authority.
but this is not a conservative for progressive problem sciences non-partisan. but it is always political and that is important testing -- a distinction creates knowledge and knowledge is power it gives the authority to change the world when you do that you will either confirm or disrupt the interest in that is always a political process. new knowledge about it and issue when and how life begins causes us to refine those codes to respond to that new knowledge. and that is a political process as well as a science
often poses and we will see that drives much of a we are experiencing right now. is dead so that left to right continuum certainly between left and right-wing in also zero the top down into authoritarian. because it is conservative than progressive in what has been established before that tradition. in they could embarrass themselves. event fora that frontier where knowledge is happening that is how you make your career. you have to be both in to
say show me the evidence i will judge for myself. so it does take a position if you think of a river can politics of a liberal conservative in they once were. it is hard if your liberal conservative. we're so used to hearing about the spectrum. that means open to evidence and conservatives is not exclusive of vat. what i would argue of the republican party says the argument of the authoritarian and some in
those whose few policy being dictated the this is in just happening on climate change your back signor evolution. because of the emerging science the globe with all of the blue lines represent facebook connections the great fireball of china. that we might as well represent in those federal loan incurred geographically constraint at the same time. with a vastly increasing number of scientists working in the last 13 or 40 years
so now we have a vast increase of scientist and quality to the point over the next four years will be creating as much new knowledge as a scientific revolution. think about that and the issues listed and how many past discoveries have engendered large political discussions end gridlock with those of the cold when dash ethical implications or disruptions we could be in for a rocky half century and we certainly need to find a new and better system to put complex information into our dialogue in the democracy yoruba breakdown in pre-be to find a new strategy. the question emerges are they still well enough
informed to be trusted with their own government? this works particularly well with those signs he will be voting on all of these issues. and it becomes easy to see we have an issue with a rage with education and the well-informed schroeder. but judging from congress there they are working hard on their laptops the answer is probably not the 535 members of congress will "the war on science" have a professional background in science. according to the congressional research survey of microbiology, a physicist and chemist and eight engineers of may take issue with the engineers but i'm not going there. but by comparison of the two
are lawyers? 400? [laughter] we have some cynics in the audience. [laughter] but you were not far off but it is 40% 211 now this is important because attorneys approach problems the fact in a different way they use science but they don't start from the ground up a have a predetermined conclusion to convince you then selectively use that science that supports that conclusion. so that they can argue against it that becomes a problem with more issues have vast inputs of knowledge. these people are not necessarily well equipped to make the best decisions in
that case and is special sense to abolish the science advisory body that abolished but defund i should be fair but it has not come back and that is dead issue only to the extent that members now rely on a lobbyist of the internet i think we will probably be okay but to the extent that they don't we are in trouble so where does the battle come from? in order to understand we need to understand society because those of the points with the entire science campaigns so take a quick look at that broader line of politics talking about the emotional movements were that attitude of science is
you will see over a hundred years ago science was quickly commercialized technology was developed based on science and fortunes were made to assess source of great economic growth and pride as the american can-do attitude aside from certain democrats from william jennings bryan who campaigned against evolution of the moral underpinnings of society and most had favorable attitude of science but then something happened around 1945 with the atomic bomb that brought the unit is states and to a great moral reflection with military generals talking how they felt we had become intellectual giants but ethical infants there is a
lot of discussion on whether or not we have overstepped our ability to self govern with our ability of technology and if we have made a big mistake and additionally there is a lot of fear that begin to happen in 1949 as they ignited the atom bomb and the possibility to come back and kill our population began to haunt the lot of americans and many in this generation will recall that duck and cover the you can be annihilated any moment but that figure crystallizes 1957 with the launch of sputnik and for the first time that idea that we should have a peacetime investment was finally funded the national science foundation received money
and began to fund government science in peacetime that this also led to a big race much as the space race but the science race to beat the soviets to the moon and established american dominance. it is injustice science objective but a political objective using the tools of science to deflect democracy as they stood to you do. but something very interesting happened another government granting agency had to develop methods of judging grant applications otherwise you cannot just grant taxpayer money willy-nilly but if they have a goofball application that could open the program chook criticism so they'd
developed a reasonable and rational system of judging these applications judge by another scientist but what day did not add to this provide for the same level of public and engagement that scientists had to make it in the years prior to that to travel around the content -- the country addressing standing-room-only for the telescope in this type of public engagement suddenly began to prove transform because they did not need to engage with the public in the same way to get their funding is start to come through the university your the tenure system but there was some strong disincentives against the hour reach so they became
much more silent unintentionally and for good reason with the consequences that we now live with. but the postwar period we saw other changes particularly in the application of technology is our developed during the of war with the use of ddt that protected soldiers in the pacific evans from malaria and use throughout the united states and this pride use of chemicals in the environment led to the silent spring 1960 to. the birth of environmental science and the movement in a lot of ways. also a massive target of a puerto rico campaign by bacharach complaints that paralleled some of the climate scientist we see today.
so we saw a splitting off of the petrochemical companies whose business models who have developed prior to the war and during the war seeking to maintain production costs suddenly are undermined by the science coming out so we saw the beginning of modern wars but 10 years later the fundamentalist started to see the objection to the grounding and dash growing control and they have it now since 1960 in this cover from "time" magazine talks about the test tube babies religious conservatives were talking about if the in vitro babies would have
souls. so far as we know they do seem to have a soul like the rest of us. [laughter] but the fundamentalist objection to science whether or edges of us as human beings was on god's turf ironically it is rare western science had come from but the discomfort between these two groups of petrochemical companies and religious conservatives start to sound familiar in that division between old industry in religion or one side in science and environmentalism on the other is the basis of the modern political party structure as democrats and republicans realign themselves around these issues. today anti-science on the right is under creeping socialism and generally
directed at climate change evolution reproduction and recently vaccines but there are two arguments one is a tv age peavey eliminating cervical cancer would encourage women to have sex and the tether is the al libertarian concern with on the left it is more about hidden dangers some of this is justified but with the anti-science sickens extends those concerns the suspicion of mainstream medicine or brain cancer i can tell you that is physically impossible don't worry about your cellphone but they're driving climate change that
the pollution is making use it or the florida water genetically modified crops are not safe to eat now there are political issues about whether or not a company should control the broad use of pesticides but that has nothing to do with the science there is no ingredient that is added to the ingredient in the food it is the ingredient. in fact, asci note you can am bombards seeds with cancer causing chemicals and radiation in order to get them to change genetically then you can play and to those resulting changed plans and called that organic. the motivation on the right is anti-regulation am pro
corporate but on the left that is pro and fired live pro-choice but it is starting to sound a familiar? on the right to have liberal scientist to control your life and the mayor freedom so really is about the ultimate individualism and don dell left impersonal doctors greedy corporations in those dangers of the environment but the interesting they needed is that scientists have not participated with the discussion that has mostly have been among those that cannot working scientists. said going across three major battlefields those being fought by the fundamentalist event corporations as a profit structure.
and then we will have a conversation the first is the identity politics that has grown out post war with the idea that all the truth is subjective than we should have suspicion of the of the dead narrative's that is a story that group some power in order to retain power. and sciences just one of those narratives therefore it is just another way of knowing the alternative medicine or any of their way of knowing. it was to strip what was true out of those individual
sources. so what is true away from the gender identity in the cultural or sexual identity so that we arrive that the colonel that is reliable matter who does the measuring not to us but to nature. they are being deposed by the science departments and then they got that wrong. even though lot of those departments still point to him i have a friend to teaches screenwriting sitting in a classroom in the ted your committee and was telling the students we cannot know for sure. he walked up after words in
said you need to get them to be engaged to be provocative how do we do that? have you read thomas? the structure of scientific revolution? he went to the committee and said i cannot vote for this person she is disseminating nonsense how can i support her? they consider that and they backed her up because whether the earth goes around the sun. it is happening across the country right now.
in to take advantage of we really shouldn't believe coming to fruition in that maybe a good idea with the object to the end it is important with the more perspective of the problem it is to arrive that the truth. what that is not the same thing but there is no such thing as objectivity. not to pick on them there are one of many publications rose says paying as the objective of the.
even with the objective best publication says there is no such thing as subject to read a. as a journalist believed this how can day drill down to do get the facts? are we devolving into a pre-john locke era were all parties war with one another with people claims with only a matter of one's opinion. here it is illustrated in journalism and not an expert on anything there are two sides to every story to present the different points of view. somebody standing in the quarter.
and the arabia to flesh out the truth in the process in not to a yahoo but of very informed person that is contradicted by the evidence. journalist says there is two sides to every story the controversy rages. the scientist will say one exit is objectively wrong. to have no legitimate reasons to say i can show you. in then of course, you have politics. then we have the new lot to say the politics that it is
that they often fail to take on of balance and bin up modern form in the postwar period with those conflicts to take that issue galileo. of what he was pointing to do but after they detonated the bomb billy graham took to the road howdy are elevating and -- men and society was beginning to crumble all due to science. at the same time a decade
later we have television and evangelical saw this as an opportunity of the commission and of matthew to take advantage of the new medium of television and to encourage them to run for office to instill those values in democracy. end of the other day franklin gramm was preaching the they were against gay marriage to be in a moral nosedive soda much has
changed but but what they a failed to take on and regulation where science has provided with commercialized with 10 years down the road to provide new information we have unintended consequences take a look can regulate than business has been built up like that to protect the profit model. so there are all these aspects of regulation and with the few others. with the stanford research institute to become a
private research institute did a study of the final report of what is almost certain to roper. of climactic changes back from 1968. and the petroleum companies they knew about this at that point in time. and in a the '90s will of the kyoto protocol discussed of curbing emissions with whale companies and other actors in that same vein of public relations firms to created that global science communication action plan. those were the talking points over and over with
those uncertainties calling into a collection the viewpoints of unconventional wisdom. in with mainstream science is stukas day controversy. in to be formed by opinion handed it is not a fair fight. journalist of course, with a focus on balance. en bin 2008 we noticed us discussion of those issues by the top five tv news anchors.
in n. we noticed this and in fact, a half point in time they had conducted 171 different interviews nearly 3,000 christians, and he mentioned the words global warming or climate change? guesses? ten? two. stick your stealing all of my material. there were three questions about ufos. [laughter] so that is the relative seriousness of the press corps linking on the issue and now we have, long way in
december of last year 195 different countries came together for the first time to rebuild the international economy in the week following democrats and republicans had presidential debates. how many expose on the republican debate? o. >> o. so when it comes to do journalists to have the political benefit cajuns of
the evidence of science. but yet we cannot talk about that. if we don't face the decisions because nature does not care what party we are. in those two never perpetrate of the american people bin did in 1920 right weighing relativity in the is our terms commonly used that bill woolwich's pulled over their eyes and this is