It was President Dwight David Eisenhower who laid out why Science in Amerika is such a Potemkin enterprise. In his Farewell Address he describes what happens when government monopolizes science.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
So science doesn’t exist anymore to produce actual knowledge. It is now charged with providing political power and prolonged employment. It credentializes propaganda memes required by people who want certain political outcomes. In Good Old American fashion we’ve managed to self-inflict both equal and oppositional problems recognized by Eisenhower. This is accomplished via regulatory capture from a three-step process.
- Scientists discover a problem. A problem that demands further study. The bigger the problem and the more they can frighten people, the more money in grants and the more people are needed.
- Politicians see an opportunity to regulate. They got elected to solve problems after all and the scientists have given them one teed up like a golf shot.
- But then the science has to be regulated by someone with proper expertise. At this point the scientists who identified the problem in the first place now feel honor bound to implement the brilliant scientific solution.
Now a problem gets identified, politicians get mobilized and a solution gets applied, but never, never is the problem solved. This is accomplished by hyping the problem loudly, but never really articulating it clearly enough to put an absolute point on it. Meanwhile the problem is publicized loudly so that a worried public will demand political action without understanding the issue. This makes it a goldmine for the skilled propagandist.
If the issue is Global Warming, than the propagandist gold digger is none other than Bill Nye, The Former Engineering Guy. The issue was teed up, the demands for political action were loud, and only experts like Bill Nye, The Scientology Guy. That was until he tried sinking his teeth into Tucker Carlson…..
First he tried to pile on the hyperbole. Only a person suffering from cognitive dissonance could possibly doubt global warming. That’s coming from a guy belonging to not just one, but both major skeptic organizations.* So he forgives you your shortcomings because he loves you as a person. That notwithstanding, Bernie Sanders, and only Bernie Sanders can save us now from climate bedlam.
But then that dastardly Tucker Carlson decided to probe some of the holes in Mr. Nye’s rather ragged epistemic perimeter.
Bill Nye the not-really-Science Guy was on Tucker Carlson tonight. Tucker tried time after time to get Nye to say how much of the change was due to humans … and time after time, Nye refused to say what his opinion was. So Tucker got him to agree that the climate has always been changing. Then, in response to the question as to “what the climate would be like if humans weren’t involved right now”, Bill Nye said (according to my own transcription):
NYE: “The climate would be like it was in 1750. And the economics would be that you could not grow wine-worthy grapes in Britain as you can today because the climate is changing. The use of pesticides in the Midwest would not be increasing because the pests are showing up sooner and staying around longer. The forests in Wyoming would not be overwhelmed by pine bark beetles as it is because of climate change. That’s how the world would be different if it were not for humans”.
So, by his own attestation, Mr. Nye doesn’t know how much warming can be attributed to human industry. But he does know things would be better if we would just quit meddling. How the Romans grew grapes in the British Isles under Emperor Hadrian goes unexplained. Why the Vikings referred to Greenland as green or why having the Thames River freeze in the 1750s is an ideal aren’t addressed either.
We might as well be hearing from Bill Nye, the Barstool Guy. He’s attempting to ram through data-free, unsubstantiated opinion as if it were fact. Fact-free speculation flows cheaper than the Busch Beer at your typical Fishtown Dive. But if it gets funded, Eisenhower warned us that some disingenuous politico would describe it as science.
Yet perhaps all of this will come under the kosh. President Donald Trump is not The Sciencey Guy or The Sugar Daddy Guy. He is threatening the lifeblood for politically pandering research.
A source informed of the budget plans told E&E News Trump will push for a nearly $2 billion cut to EPA’s $8.1 billion budget. A source told Politico Trump also “proposed reducing EPA’s 15,000-strong workforce to 12,000, a level not seen since the mid-1980s.”
So the Science-Government Complex takes a cut. Perhaps this is part of Donald Trump’s efforts to drain one quadrant of the swamp. It would be a nice piece of climate change if science were to feature intense thirst for knowledge that would bore the incurious, inspire the legitimately intellectual and again force back the shadows of a Demon-Haunted World. Stop and ponder for just a moment why it took the threat of firing and debunking of so many super-scientists to give us the opportunity to Make Science Great Again.
* — He’ll have you know.