The recent frigid weather over much of the US and the predictable climate denier cries of “global warming, what global warming?” that followed got me to thinking. When it comes to pushing a political or personal agenda, facts are useful only insomuch as they further whatever is desired by said political or personal agenda.
I observe the same phenomenon when bible zealots cherry pick certain verses but ignore others to make their point.
It comes across equally comical and sad to me when I take a step back from all the conspiracy cries right now and just observe. Let’s take a glance at three hot button issues.
I see a group largely comprised of members of the left, but including a small subset of health-nuts from the right, inventing science facts to push against the proliferation of what is generally thought to be a very promising technology – GMOs. Though a large part of the concern about GMOs comes from an unsubstantiated fear of harm, much of it also stems from a hatred the left has long held against corporations. Evil, lying multinational companies. Monsanto bears the largest brunt of this rage. Lucky for them they have the resources to handle it but unfortunately, smaller biotechnology companies, companies with grand visions of helping our planet, don’t have these resources and the public backlash against GMOs is holding them back. Benevolent uses for GMOs such as life and sight-saving ‘golden rice’ are not understood because anti-GMO activists throw them all in a great big pile labeled ‘bad’.
A similar demographic to the one described above grabbed onto the anti-vaccine beast and in spite of there being no scientific basis whatsoever for choosing not to vaccinate, is holding fast to it, even though the movement’s most visible celebrity spokesperson, Jenny McCarthy, has since learned that it isn’t even autism after all that presented in her son. He is in fact recovering.
Damage control, anyone?
I actually have my own little anecdote to share regarding vaccinations. A hotbed of anti-vaccination steadfastness occurs in Ashland, Oregon where my daughter goes to university. My mother and I visited Ashland the summer before last, right about the time there was a pertussis or whooping cough outbreak and shortly upon returning to Portland, my poor mother came down with a nasty, almost life-threatening case of that illness. She was traumatized daily by violent coughing fits and had to make several trips to the emergency room when she coughed so hard her throat seized up and she couldn’t breathe. Granted, I have no evidence to prove that she caught whooping cough from an unvaccinated child in Ashland, but the real point is, we have the technology to see that no one catches this bacterial nightmare. It’s called a shot and adults can get them too.
The term ‘gobal warming’ really kind of makes me want to throw up but I used it on purpose. I prefer to call it climate change. The left loves to poke fun at the right when it comes to science ignoring climate denial but I got news for you lefties, when it comes to GMOs, you’re just as bad. When science suits you, you believe it. When it doesn’t you make up your own! The climate deniers do the same thing and in addition, they look at their plunging thermometers in the winter during rare weather events like polar vortexes and convince themselves they’re right – global warming is a conspiracy. Just as the left is generally anti-corporate, the right is of course generally pro-corporate and to admit climate change is to create insurmountable problems for big business like oil companies. There goes capitalism. There go our stocks. Not to mention it might mean we have to drive a smaller car, or drive less often. Or maybe walk. The horror.
Agendas. Agendas. Agendas.
It seems I’m not the only one noticing the fact that agendas and facts don’t seem to mix. I came across this excellent article, When Politicians Fight, Facts Take Beating, published in the Courant, which looks deeper into this fact ignoring phenomenon. There is a name for it: Identity-Protective Cognition Thesis or ICT
Related article of interest though I don’t necessarily agree with it: One Big Difference Between GMO Skepticism and Climate Change Denial.
Disclaimer: My post today is based on my own personal observations and is an opinion from start to finish. I know it is an oversimplification of three highly contentious issues and I know I only hit on a few key items within those issues.
It’s nice to write a volunteer blog that doesn’t have to answer to an agenda. 🙂 Peace!