WND: Jack Cashill thinks he wins science debate March 10, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in News and politics, Science, wingnuts.
So I haven’t seen anything but Jack Cashill’s self-serving report about his debate with Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science, and that’s the really sad part: even Cashill’s own words describe exactly how anti-science the crazies over at WorldNutDaily truly are.
Before the evening was through I would make the case that if there really is a war on science in America today, it is being waged by the hard left with an able assist from a largely Democratic media.
This should be good.
Part of the war is real. Of the last thousand acts of violence against research science, leftists – animal rights activists, eco-terrorists, anti-nuclear provocateurs – perpetrated just about all thousand of them.
A paragraph later, he’ll accuse Mooney of conflating “Republican” and “conservative,” which makes the above really hilarious. Because surely crazy extremists must be Democrats. You know, for some reason that Cashill doesn’t quite explain.
Several times in the book, in fact, Mooney had mocked the right’s hope that adult stem cells might substitute for embryonic ones, calling it “dogma” and a “leap of faith,” one that had been “resoundingly rejected by researchers actually working in the field.”
Not so fast. As anyone who has followed this debate knows, November 2007 witnessed the remarkable discovery in two different labs that adult skin cells eventually could replace the use of human embryos in stem cell research.
Which would be relevant if we were certain this new procedure will replace the need for embryonic stem cells–we are not–and if it were not for the fact that only the embryonic stem cell research Cashill is mocking allowed the discovery in the first place, as one of the researchers who discovered the new methods noted:
“This does not mean that it is the end of embryonic stem cell research, if only that we need a gold standard to compare to,” the University of Wisconsin’s Thomson told reporters. “Over time, I believe embryonic stem cells will be used by fewer and fewer labs. These new stem cells would not have been derived if it had not been for the last 10 years of research on embryonic stem cell lines. I do, nonetheless, think that the world has changed.”
So while Mooney was apparently incorrect in his argument (I don’t own his book, and don’t completely trust Cashill–I’ve seen too many quote mines), Cashill missed the larger point: for all the conservative complaints about embryonic stem cells, they key to what advances have been made are in those same embryonic stem cells conservatives have tried to restrict and/or ban.
But he doesn’t want us to notice that. Instead, the Gish Gallop is on:
If possible, the conversation on global warming grew even more detached from the real. In explaining my skepticism, I stuck to the easily graspable, starting with the historic record of the medieval and Roman warmings.
This information seemed to come as news to both Mooney and the biologist. “How do we know that?” the biologist challenged me. Equally skeptical, Mooney reminded the audience that the thermometer had been invented only 150 years ago.
I suggested that the Vikings did not name the island “Greenland” as part of some real estate scam. I then talked about the settlements there, the vineyards that stretched into Northern England, the town names, the historical artifacts, the memoirs and the various core samples that suggest these warming events were not local.
Ah yes–at one point in the past, the world is warming, therefore I’m “skeptical” about global warming. Because there’s absolutely no other lines of evidence that tells us humans are causing global warming. No wonder Cashill’s opponents were confused: he just keeps tossing out nonsense and hopes no one catches up to call him on it.
I suggested to the audience that when they get the chance, they Google “global warming” and “Mars.” When I did so afterwards, I got 463,000 hits. The first hit was from a 2007 National Geographic article, “Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Human, Cause for Warming, Scientist Says.”
The melting on Mars is one of those inconvenient truths that the literary/science complex all too often dispenses with by distorting to fit the prevailing party line or ignoring altogether.
This is all the proof you’ll ever need that Cashill is an anti-science hack. See, the “literary/science complex”–score one for the dumbest conspiracy theory I’ve ever seen named–is all over this so-called problem, which isn’t a problem at all. There’s very little reason to find the Mars story even a little credible, and a lot of reasons to suspect that humans are indeed contributing to global warming. Meanwhile, Cashill makes unsupported claims designed to cover for his desire to undercut the actual science, which is strong and well-supported.
And he’s doing so while claiming its those mean liberals who are anti-science. Right.
As a parting shot, I showed an article that I had pulled from the previous Sunday’s New York Times. The headlines said it all, “After Linking New Strain of Staph to Gay Men, University Scrambles to Clarify.”
In a science free of politics, he noted, there should be no reason to scramble and nothing to clarify.
My sentiments exactly!
“I think we were looking at this from a scientific point of view and not projecting any political impact,” he said. “We were focusing on the data. You want to make sure it’s as right as possible and written up in a form that reviewers would understand what you’re trying to say, and do it in a clear manner so it’s not subject to misinterpretation. Which is what happened later, it appears.”
Indeed, despite claims from anti-gay groups, this doesn’t have anything to do with Teh Gay Sex, though you wouldn’t know it from Cashill’s galloping claims.
Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, which helped finance the study, affirmed on Wednesday that the disease was not sexually transmitted or limited to a certain type of person. It is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, the agency said in a statement, and is widespread in hospitals and among hospital workers.
“These infections occur in men, women, adults, children and persons of all races and sexual orientations,” the statement read, adding that while the particular strain identified in the report had been found in gay men, it had also been found in people who were not gay.
Cashill is engaged in exactly the behavior that he’s accusing liberals/Democrats/the media/the literate/scientists of committing: he’s intentionally distorting the science to make political gains, and he’s doing it while accusing his opponents of it. That takes some gall!
So Cashill is a deceitful scumbag who lies about science to support his political agenda. Nice of him to prove Mooney right about how wingnuts approach science.