Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Here's a rare bit of what to my unbelieving eyes appears an attempt at even-handedness from an unlikely source: Slate magazine article Rigging a Study to Make Conservatives Look Stupid. Blowing out a candle in a blazing building, but, well, any port in a storm.

A study was done on the reaction time in milliseconds to images on a screen, and conservatives were found to be slower to give the correct response, ergo they are stoopid. That's perhaps a crude synopsis, but you've got the link up there; feel free to read for yourself.

Anyway, the author of the article, one William Saletan, takes umbrage at the conclusion of this study and at the nature of the study itself. There are a few apparently fair-minded readers who agree with his conclusion, but it's entertaining and telling to see the rabble of Slate readers jumping on the bandwagon this specious study lurched into motion, so eager are they to find conservatives dimwitted and therefore a waste of carbon.
I did enjoy the following statement from a reader:

The study can reach the conclusion "liberals are smarter than
conservatives" only by making the sort of unscientific, intuitive, and ultimately indefensible leap of faith which science should never make. There is a lot more to adaptive intelligence than can be measured by a few minutes of button-pushing.

The funny thing to me about this is that since there were periods of great cooling and planet-wide tropical heat before the advent of upright bi-pedal humanoids and their attendant SUVs, then how do they justify their intuitive and ultimately indefensible leaps of faith that scientifically "prove" that we have cause global warming? And if in their omniscience they can make these conclusions about a system so enormous as the entire planet, then what's the big whoop about relegating a mere human creature with whom they disagree to the trashheap?

In the comments section for this post, DBA Dude directed me to a clever Dilbert blog post on the same "news" story. Funny!


Christina RN LMT said...

Global warming - I call bullshit!

Oh, noes: the polar bears are going to be extinct by 2050...it's called "evolution".

Adapt or die.

And I think it has very little to do with how many SUVs we drive.

Pssst, don't tell anyone...I used to belong to Greenpeace, when I was a young, idealistic and liberal teenager living in Berlin!

Anonymous said...

With all that boo hooing I was bored to death reading that. They sure want to be heard and all I heard was we are right and no one listens. Oh, for goodness sake shut the f**k up!

I'm usually not so unpleasant about this kind of stuff, but enough is enough!

Mother Nature has her way of doing things in her time.

DBA Dude said...

The dilbert dude had a well funny post on this "scientific" report.

You can find it here.

Lady Muck said...

Er? Different kinds of 'scientific' investigations methinks... SUV driver make me laugh. Sorry. Mind you so do liberals and conservatives. Defining your entire worldview via a label that politicised can be limiting.

phlegmfatale said...

christina - It's this Chicken Little thing that's sending me 'round the bend. We have to have the definitive last word on what's going to happen, and sometimes, we need to put on our big girl panties and admit that we just don't know, as far as things like the environment, etc.

lainy - true. What I just said - some things we won't have the privilege of knowing how it'll pan out in advance, and no amount of fit-throwing will bring us the answer.

dba dude - Thanks - brilliant illustration of the point - more cleverly put than I did...

lady muck - I agree with you on liberals and conservatives, at least most _I_ know are WAY more complex than can be completely serviced by one political ideology, and I think most people are more complex than that. I've always said if one political party meets all your needs and completely satisfies you with their collective performance in office, you aren't thinking for yourself. Thank the goddesses for gridlock, I say - better they be pinioned than given free reign to run roughshod and kill all our rights...

By the way, lady muck - I'm loving the shit out of your avatar!

Kevin said...

What crap. Liberals pushing their prejudices under the colors of "authority" - men in white coats making up a BS study and then publishing it in a social sciences journal. They can blow me.

Silver the Evil Chao said...

Sooooo...liberals have faster reflexes? And that makes them smart? Sure, they'll be able to beat some whiny twelve year old at Halo 3, but still...I just don't see the connection between fast reaction times and intelligence.

As for me, I think we're contributing some portion to global warming, but it is such an insignificant and tiny portion that we really shouldn't worry about it.

Besides, if Al Gore can't change his ways, no one can.

g bro said...

You'll never get "beyond a reasonable doubt" here. It's more like "preponderance of evidence."
Best I can tell, climate's going to change. Best I can tell, we're probably a major contributor. As others have pointed out, things will be different when we're gone and possums and platypi rule the earth. I'm looking forward to it, but I won't be there,