In an attempt at calm discussion, ScienceBlogling Chris Mooney is trying to explore some of the issues around framing. With that in mind, I want to raise one unacknowledged ‘axis of argument’: the extent to which various sides in the debate are willing to have the ranks of science supporters filled by
complete fucking moronslow information content supporters. I don’t mean informed non-scientists, I mean flat-out ignoramuses. For example, consider this story about the Clinton-Obama race set in Hazelton, PA:
A couple blocks east, at Jimmy’s Quick Lunch, Clinton’s the favorite of many regulars.
“I like her backup man,” said retired machinist Ronald Duser, referring to former President Bill Clinton. “And her family’s from Scranton. She seems to be an honest person, just like my wife.”
Of Obama, Duser said: “I’m not crazy about voting for a colored guy, but that’s not why I don’t support Obama. I’m not prejudiced. I just like Hillary.”
A couple tables over, Jean Fetterman, a foster grandparent, said of Clinton: “Oh, I love her. She’s a very intelligent person, and she has her husband who went through this.”
She scoffs at the idea of voting for Obama: “I don’t want to be a Muslim!” She looks dubious when told Obama is Christian. “Then why did he go see what’s-his-name over in Iraq, that Lama?”
She isn’t clear about whom she means. She may have seen a photo of Obama wearing traditional clothing during a visit to Africa. “I don’t care what color he is, I don’t care if he’s pink,” she said. “I don’t think he’s got the same education Hillary has, and he’s so young. He’s arrogant, too.”
Rosella Sheppard, 62, plans to support McCain because she’s a Republican, and her son, who’s in the National Guard, will leave for Iraq in the fall. “I’m not a war person, but I do feel we need to address the terrorists,” she said.
I understand why one would be willing to have these morons’ votes, but I wouldn’t be proud of it.
A serious concern is that if there is too much knowledge sacrificed in the name of short-term political expediency, then this hurts subsequent framing in the long run (which is one of the concerns I think PZ has).