Re: [asa] World sets ocean temperature record

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Sat Aug 22 2009 - 09:42:01 EDT

On Aug 22, 2009, at 12:05 AM, Cameron Wybrow wrote:

> Are the scientists on this list generally older, children of the
> conformist 1950s, and therefore more inclined to defer to university
> degrees and authority and consensus, and are UD people more
> frequently of the generation of the experimental 1970s, and
> therefore brought up to believe that it is a virtue to argue with
> parents, teachers, and authority figures of all kinds?

In a word, no. The people here are both older and younger than the UD
folks. For a more extended discussion of what I about to bring up
check out Chris Mooney's books, The R epublican War on Science, and
Unscientific American. What marks the most common generational
characteristic of UD is being children of the Cold and Culture Wars of
the Eighties and because of this very politically homogenous. For the
most part ASA sandwiches this generation like the broader evangelical
community. Both younger and older evangelicals don't appear to share
these characteristics and represent pretty much the whole political
spectrum. The older evangelicals in the ASA are probably more likely
to agree with UD than the younger ones.

But even more important than generational differences is the
vocational one. The ASA consists of (by design) scientists that
actually are actively working in the field in the corporate,
government, and university environment. We got to see first hand the
depth and breadth of the evidence. When confronted with the ignorance
promoted by astroturf organizations the assumption was to just
present the data since for us that was compelling. This was -- as
documented by Chris Mooney -- a terrible, terrible mistake. Examples
of such astroturf organizations -- so named because they are phony
grass roots -- include the Heartland Institute, Conservatives for
Patient's Rights, FreedomWorks, and most importantly the George C.
Marshall Institute founded by later Dr. Robert Jastrow to support SDI
against a blistering attack by physicists in the 80s. Instead of
arguing in the peer-reviewed literature they chose to attack the
scientists personally in friendly institutions such as the Wall Street
Journal. This M.O. was copied by the astroturf organizations that
followed. Funding for such groups came from the tobacco, energy, and
health insurance industries to oppose government regulation at all
costs. Creationist and ID organizations followed the same model as the
corporatist ones mentioned above. That is, rather than subject
themselves to the greater competition of the wider scientific
community form their own politically-motivated "think tanks" and only
listen to their own echo chambers. I say politically because in
contrast groups such as the ASA since its founding in 1941 has
remained theologically conservative. The difference is the ASA is
politically diverse leaning conservative while UD is not diverse at all.

Until I realized that organizations like DI were more foundationally
political rather than religious their behavior with respect to issues
such as global warming was confusing. What in the world did this have
to do with intelligent design? In a word, everything. It represents a
political "war" on science itself. Evangelical scientists like myself
thought we believe in the truth like they did and we believe in the
Bible like they do. So, we'll argue that the science of global warming
is both factually and theologically sound. But, sadly, you cannot
argue that way with people that have such a Manichean tendency to
demonize all whom they disagree with. Rather, we should talk past them
to the next generation who are listening as this movement is literally

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Sat Aug 22 09:43:13 2009

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