When fact’s at odds with theory, your theory has a problem

Jim Manzi, guestblogging at The Daily Dish while Andrew Sullivan is away, niftily summarizes the whole premise of this blog. He’s talking about the vast galaxy of nonsense that is Intelligent Design “theory, but it applies just as surely to virtually any other kind of science where observable facts are at odds with the magical world that some (inaccurately) self-described conservatives wish they lived in:

The debate about evolution is a great example of the kind of sucker play that often ensnares conservatives.  Frequently, conservatives are confronted with the assertion that scientific finding X implies political or moral conclusion Y with which they vehemently disagree.  Obvious examples include (X = the Modern Synthesis of Evolutionary biology, Y = atheism) and (X = increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 will lead to some increase in global temperatures, Y = we must implement a global regulatory and tax system to radically reduce carbon emissions).  Those conservatives with access to the biggest megaphones have recently developed the habit of responding to this by challenging the scientific finding X.  The same sorry spectacle of cranks, gibberish and the resulting alienation of scientists and those who respect the practical benefits of science (i.e., pretty much the whole population of the modern world) then ensues.

In general, it would be far wiser to challenge the assertion that X implies Y.

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