It Sounds a Lot Like Creationism to Me

I know I make the point a lot that much of movement conservatism/Modern Republicanism operates in a intellectuallycognitively similar manner to the creationist movement. But the reason the comparison is instructive is that creationism (whether young earth or intelligent design) is so obviously stupid that it forces you to confront what is actually going on. For many people, economics or foreign policy (or at least subtopics in these areas) are difficult enough that you are tempted to cede that they might have a legitimate point of view, but one that is nonetheless very different than yours. But creationism puts the lie to that.

You start to comprehend the sheer disingenuity (or lies) that creationists put forth–they have to know, at this point, what scientists mean by theory. And they choose not to know (the more recent and sophisticated version of this strategy involves ‘irreducible complexity’, which is also routinely demolished by biologists). Perhaps that’s why, unlike digby, I’m not surprised or astonished at all by willful ignorance by conservatives–the theopolitical ones have been doing this for years (italics original; boldface mine):

Krugman had to explain the “paradox of thrift” yesterday on television, something that seems pretty elementary to me just from my rudimentary understanding of Keynesian economics, but is apparently something that is entirely rejected by most conservatives. It’s not that they don’t understand it, it’s that they refuse to believe it. They make their own reality (or, as I used to say during the Bush years, it’s the politics of “you can believe me or you can believe your lying eyes,”) by building an edifice of knowledge and scholarship to make it appear that their “revisionism” is common knowledge. They are not content (or able) to make their arguments from the standpoint of a commonly agreed upon set of facts. They insist on offering a completely alternate narrative based on entirely different facts — post modern politics at its most sophisticated.

Isn’t this the Creation Museum in a nutshell? It’s very sad: I certainly appreciate the conservative impulse and a healthy skepticism towards government (in my life, I’ve lived in Providence, New Haven, Long Island, and Boston, among other places. I realize that government can be corrupt). But Republican economics, as espoused by leading Republican politicians and pundits, is utterly insane, just as creationism is. Even David Brooks gets that….

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9 Responses to It Sounds a Lot Like Creationism to Me

  1. Blake Stacey says:

    Just think: fifteen years ago, breaking out the social constructivist jargon to denigrate science was a leftist thing to do.

  2. Eric Lund says:

    Blake: One of the reasons that stopped was because Alan Sokal, himself a leftist (he traveled to Nicaragua during the Sandinista era in order to teach mathematics there), pointed out the absurdity of the whole thing in his parody article, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”. (That paper, and the follow-up “A Physicist Experiments with Cultural Studies”, are available at Sokal’s website. You should read both articles if you have not already done so.) Sokal recognized early on that postmodern mumbo-jumbo would benefit the right more than the left. As the quoted passage from Digby says, that is exactly what has happened.

  3. Edward says:

    While it is popular to bash Republicans in these parts, and I’m not above doing my fair share, I think that it is important to draw the distinction between being conservative and being an ideologue. At this point, I think it is safe to say that all creationists are ideologues. However, I think that some economic views that are traditionally labeled as conservative do have a rational basis. The problem is that the Republican party is dominated by ideologues who cling to discredited economic theory for ideological reasons.
    The fundamental conflict is between ideology and rationalism, and one must remember that people of just about any stripe in the political spectrum can be motivated by ideology. We need to watch out for ideologues on the left as well as the right, and ask for rational solutions supported by all the available data. We don’t need more Reaganomics, but we don’t need Bolshevism either. A mix of socialism and market based capitalism seems to me to be consistent with the data, but I’m willing to listen to rational arguments one way or the other.

  4. llewelly says:

    We don’t need more Reaganomics, but we don’t need Bolshevism either.

    Based on the results of the last election, I guess about 40% of Americans want more Reaganomics. About 0.01% of Americans want Bolshevism.

  5. “We need to watch out for ideologues on the left as well as the right, and ask for rational solutions supported by all the available data. We don’t need more Reaganomics, but we don’t need Bolshevism either.”
    Yeah, because we all know how prevalent Bolshevism is on the American left. *eyeroll*

  6. but we don’t need Bolshevism either.

    Who is currently proposing “Bolshevism?”

  7. jay says:

    There is a big difference here.
    Creationism is demonstrably inaccurate and contradicts well established evidence.
    Economics does not remotely fall into this category. Each time a crisis happens, people decide (as on this post) that it happened “because the other guys are wrong and won’t admit it”.
    The current crisis (other than demonstrating that fraud is bad) does not in iteslf ‘prove’ anything because this huge complex system (which involves much more than the US) is neither a free market nor a managed economy, it’s a spotty bastardized mix.
    It is profoundly disingenuous to presume this is even remotely similar to the creationist issue.

  8. jay says:

    I want to add a couple of points. Economics (and ESPECIALLY economic ideology) is NOT hard science, at best it can be analyzed by some scientific methods but only with advisory quality results.
    Interestingly one of the causes of our current situation is over reliance on mathematical models; in the 90s there was a move to bring physicists into financial institution which became mainstream, it was the models built by scientists, based on navier-stokes equations and similiar ‘scientific’ approaches actually helped create the derivative trading concept. A model, no matter how ‘scientific’, incorrectly applied to a poorly understood system is often worse than useless.
    There is a certain hubris when scientists try to apply scientific authority outside of scientifically defined areas which seems to be an unfortunate attitude of some of the science bloggers.
    Much of the difference between (other than the wackos) ‘conserviative’ and ‘liberal’ economic theory is more to do with sociological issues. Various types of economic systems can be made to work acceptably, the difference is the kind of system different people would prefer to live under; optimizing personal freedom or optimizing protection.

  9. Joseph Cassles says:

    Evolution Resumed
    President Obama issued a presidential memorandum and spoke of scientific integrity.
    “Promoting science isn’t just about providing resources – it is also about protecting free and open inquiry,” Obama said during the signing ceremony. “It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda – and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.”
    In honor of of this return to sanity, I would like to add dos centavos.
    “The absolute surest way for creationist to disprove ‘Darwin’s Theory,’ is by homeschooling generations of their children.”
    Blessings, Ned Cassles
    Creationists make it sound as though a “theory” is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.
    ~Isaac Asimov~
    “Evolution has seemingly passed over those that cannot understand it.”
    “May we please have a moment of science, for those poor souls that cannot understand evolution as God’s scientific method.”
    “Science is no longer frozen; global warming has thawed it.”

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