Cognitive dissonance, indeed

Chet shows a bit of hubris in his post on Cognitive dissonance. The topic is Lisa Randall’s book Knocking on Heaven’s Door. The issue is “what I found most refreshing about the book is not the physics, but her emphasis on “scientific thinking.””

The kind of thinking that led to the LHC and string theory has everything to do with the quality of life in the modern world, and Randall is careful to make that point.

Curiosity, creativity, rationality, openness, and tolerance, unconstrained by dogma are characteristics of the scientific temper.

Nothing new here for those of us who have imbibed the scientific spirit, but given the current flourishing worldwide of political and religious fundamentalisms (not least among the current crop of candidates for president of the United States), one has to wonder to what extent the scientific temper has illuminated the “modern world,” even as people enthusiastically construct their lives upon the technological and medical advancements that flow purely from a way of thinking they feel constrained to reject.

Rather than castigate religious fundamentalism and illustrate bigotry by assigning that to the “current crop of candidates for president”, it might have been more honest to use the climate research brouhaha as an example. Candidates for political office are ideological by definition. Researchers in science are supposed to illustrate those characteristics Chet describes. By using politics as the foil, Chet defines his own destructive bias, especially when there is something as egregious and well defined as the climate research scandal.

Or, perhaps, if climate research is too blatant, then maybe the ‘green energy’ scandals might be pertinent. Perhaps a clue for using political candidates can be found in looking at just who are the candidates currently in the public eye. That’d be Republicans. The meme of “religious fundamentalism” being plastered on Republicans would fit as that is a common bigotry of the left, one that lacks intellectual integrity.

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