Why science and the straw man

OK: Why should government money go for science, anyway? Sandwalk picked up the chain with Why Do We Do Science?

“Phill Plait of Bad Astronomy hits the nail on the head as far as I’m concerned [Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Member Gets Schooled on Science Funding]. His defense of science should be the primary talking point whenever anyone questions the value of learning about the natural world.”

The idea is a good one, the straw man doesn’t help it. The idea:

“We research the Universe around us because we are curious, inquisitive, intelligent animals. We don’t know what snail mating habits might teach us. That’s why we study it. Maybe it’ll lead into insight on how animals behave, or a new chemical secreted during the process, or to insight on the environment where snails live. Maybe none of that.”

The staw man? It’s those evil conservatives.

“It’s an uphill climb, to be sure; the forces of antiscience are strong and loud. One of them is the Wall Street Journal, which frequently publishes ridiculous OpEds baselessly denying global warming.”

Of course, they couldn’t stick to just “If you don’t engage in the kind of research that Conservatives want, then you won’t get funded” but have to identify a few sample villains with generic topics of dear interest to ideologs – climate change and creationism in these samples. The meme here is also significant because it expresses the anti-capitalism ethos in another straw man. That is that the rationalization for science research is strictly a matter of return on investment. These are characteristics to watch for as they indicate that it is not suppporting ones’ point of view that is paramount but rather demeaning the opposition. That indicates the intellectual integrity is not a priority, either.

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