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Ideology trumps science for the Right

Written By: - Date published: 9:38 am, February 9th, 2010 - 63 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, minimum wage, science - Tags:

Consider these results from opinion surveys of experts different areas of research, I won’t tell you the areas of research just yet:

  • In one, 97% of actively publishing experts agree with a statement (I’ll give you the statement below) concerning their field.
  • In the other field, 46.5% of experts fully agreed with the statement, 27.9% agreed with privisios, and 26.5% disagreed.

Now, which would you say is an accepted fact among experts and which would you say is contentious? Which would you be comfortable accepting as the concensus view of the people who know most about the topic and, therefore, is probably correct (especially as evidence and theory can be presented to you that confirms the consensus)?

Now, which do you think most on the Right reject and which do you think most accept? Clue: it’s the opposite of the rational answer.

  • 97% of publishing climatologists replied ‘yes’ to the question “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?” and 96% said the temperature had risen since 1800.
  • Only 46.5% of economists agreed that “a minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers” and over a quarter refuted that.

97% is a pretty damn strong consensus. I’m willing to bet that less than 97% of physicists agree with Einstein’s theory of relativity, and that’s accepted unquestioningly by the public. Yet, many on the Right steadfastly reject what 97% of climatologists agree is true. On the other hand, less than half of economists are willing to unconditionally state that minimum wages increase unemployment, but the Right hold this up as a self-evident truth. Why have they got it backwards?

Money trumps science for the Right

Dealing with climate change requires us to stop behaving like we are, change our ways, and it requires leadership and spending by the government – it requires society to act together to counter the threat and that means constraints for the privileged. So, the Right needs to believe that climate change isn’t real, no matter what the experts say, to justify not doing anything about it so they can maintain the privilege of the few.

Likewise, paying a decent wage for a person to give their time and labour means smaller profits and executive salaries for the rich. So, the Right needs to believe that the minimum wage is bad for the poor to justify their avarice, even though there is no consensus among the experts.

This shows, again, that the Right’s ideology isn’t based on rationality. It’s about protecting the status quo, the privilege of the few. It also shows that the Left bases its ideology on what works. The Left doesn’t bury its head in the sand but has the courage to acknowledge and confront problems.

63 comments on “Ideology trumps science for the Right ”

  1. luva 1

    “So, the Right needs to believe that the minimum wage is bad for the poor to justify their avarice, even though there is no consensus among the experts.”

    Luckily for you no political party in Parliament believes this. If the current players on the right believed this, the minimum wage would dissapear under this government.

    I have no doubt that some people believe what you say but luckily, not even ACT are part of this group.

    • toad 1.1

      luva, the Act Party does believe it:

      Abolish all minimum wage laws and cut taxes significantly.

      Great post Marty, BTW.

      • luva 1.1.1

        Apologies, I stand corrected.

        Luckily for students and those starting out in their working lives ACT will never get the chance to hold any sway in a government.

        • Lew 1.1.1.1

          You mean, like they don’t at present?

          L

          • luva 1.1.1.1.1

            Quite clearly they hold little sway.

            They do not believe in a minimum wage, yet while ACT has been in government, National has raised the minimum wage twise.

            • Lew 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Quite clearly they hold little sway.

              Tell that to the people of greater Auckland.

              L

              • Gosman

                Wasn’t it the Labour Government that set up the Royal Commission that recommened a ‘Super City’ for Auckland?

                Bit rich for you to blame the local government changes in Auckland just on ACT. Aspects of the changes have certainly been influenced but that is what you would expect under any coalition political system.

              • Lew

                Gosman, it’s not the “what”, it’s the “how”.

                Democratic politics isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey. When politics sacrifices the journey in service of the destination, it tends to be antidemocratic.

                L

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1.2

              National has raised the minimum wage only because they know that if they didn’t people would realise that JK wasn’t joking about lowering wages.

  2. gingercrush 2

    * 97% of publishing climatologists replied ‘yes’ to the question “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?’ and 96% said the temperature had risen since 1800.
    * Only 46.5% of economists agreed that “a minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers’ and over a quarter refuted that.

    Both of those are entirely meaningless. Particularly when you say 97% of publishing climatologists replied ‘yes’ to the question. Read deeper and you find only 30% actually replied to it. Meaning in reality 29% of publishing climatologists replied ‘yes’ to the question. Also only approximately 5% are climate scientists.

    Dig even deeper and you discover that many of those that responded probably have very little to do with the subject of climate change.

    The second one shares the same problems with the first. Only a selected few were asked to answer or answered the question. I would also argue that one doesn’t need to be an economist to answer this question.

    • Lew 2.1

      I don’t have to be a rocket scientist to answer questions about the atmospheric drag coefficients of various sheathing materials, either, but you’d probably not want to get in one of my rockets if I wasn’t one.

      L

    • Bright Red 2.2

      30% is a good response rate

      • lukas 2.2.1

        not nearly as good as the s59 Referendum 😛

        • Daveosaurus 2.2.1.1

          And the government listened to the result of that referendum and hasn’t made smacking illegal. If only they’d listen to the public a bit more…

  3. TightyRighty 3

    even more so, through the wonder of science and maths, DPF and his mate eric have proved that abolition of the youth minimum wage resulted in higher youth unemployment. wow, ideaology, you blunt instrument you.
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2010/02/youth_rates_and_youth_unemployment.html

    • Bright Red 3.1

      Farrar’s numbers are shit. He hasn’t proved anything.

      • Andrew 3.1.1

        Any reason or evidence that they are shit? Or are you just dismissing it because it’s something you don’t agree with?

        • Loco 3.1.1.1

          Farrar admits – “Now this does not prove beyond doubt it was the abolition of youth rates that pushed youth unemployment up an extra 10%. But it is the most likely explanation.”

          Bollocks that is just what he wants the explanation to be. No proof, no causal link. Nothing. He said it.

          • Andrew 3.1.1.1.1

            it’s very difficult to prove anything beyond doubt, but i would say that there was a rather strong correlation. Otherwise, what other factors could have pushed the rate up so much so fast compared to other groups?

            And yes i know there is a recession going on.

            • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1.1.1.1

              There’s a result to be sure, but what it means is the thing.

              Do we know that if the youth rate had not been cut, that unemployment wouldn’t be higher in older cohorts?

              ie, if you are looking to employ someone in a min wage position, and the law says you can pay youths less to do the job, would that mean older peeps can’t compete on the sloping playing field?

            • TightyRighty 3.1.1.1.1.2

              yea i know, but look at every time when someone brings up AGW and says it hasn’t been proved beyond doubt. every lefty tells you it doesn’t have to be.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Except that AGW has been proved beyond reasonable doubt. The effect of minimum wages doesn’t even get out of the realm imagination.

              • lprent

                Human induced climate change is beyond reasonable doubt as far as people who are trained in the area of science are concerned. They will of course keep looking for flaws.

                However it isn’t proven beyond reasonable doubt by many people who don’t understand the area of science concerned. Many tend to react with their emotions rather than their intelligence, and make a judgement based on spurious values and assumptions. The main one is that they can’t actually see it happening yet. But even the fastest climate change (like we have now) is a slow and ponderous process in terms of the gnat lifetimes and time perceptions of humans. Of course that is idiotic, but many people are

                The problem is that the risk of irreversible change towards a new stability is increasing all of the time. The new stability would probably result from one of

                1. humans giving up most of all of the tools of technological civilisation as we know it
                and suffering an immense dieback within this century
                2. humans changing their technology early enough that they minimise the risks of
                catastrophic climate changes.
                3. it turns out that god does help people who don’t help themselves and a miracle
                happens.

                Personally I suspect that the first is good contender, and the second isn’t too bad. As for the third….

    • Loco 3.2

      Have you even read Farrar’s piece Tighty Righty, even he admits the direct link isn’t there, its just more spin.

      • TightyRighty 3.2.1

        i read it loco. and the graphs tell this amazing story. i shouldn’t need to explain it to you, as you have obivously read it.

  4. vto 4

    ” the Left bases its ideology on what works.” So where does the term ‘looney left’ come from?

    In the old days 97% probably agreed that God created things and nobody agreed with Darwin.

    In the even older days 97% in some societies probably agreed that the sun was a God.

    I don’t know what can be taken out of your post Mr Marty. Perhaps that we should all act like sheep.. Or that nobody should question the ‘experts’.. Or that the ‘experts’ are always right – which has never in human history been the case.

    But nevertheless it is a nice piece of manipulation to suit an agenda.

  5. toad 5

    vto:

    Perhaps that we should all act like sheep.. Or that nobody should question the ‘experts’.. Or that the ‘experts’ are always right which has never in human history been the case.

    vto, you need some expertise to challenge the experts with any credibility. I am a social policy analyst, so I can claim some expertise to wade into the minimum wage debate.

    But my Stage I paper in physical geography I passed 32 years ago does not provide me with expertise to engage in the climate science debate. On that, I go along with the consensus of expert opinion. That doesn’t stop me from being activist on the issue.

    What pisses me off is that the media give credibility on climate change to the likes of Monckton and that Bloom wingnut who celebrated the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior who have even less expertise than me – supposedly on the basis of providing “balance”.

    • big bruv 5.1

      Balance???

      When have the left ever provided balance Toad?”

      I do not remember Al Gore providing any balance in his fictional movie.

      It is bloody rich for you to demand that Monckton and co provide balance when those who have a financial interest in pushing he climate change con do not do so.

      It is also obvious that you have never listened to Monckton, one of the first things he tells his audience is to question everything they are about to hear, they are also told not to take his world for it and to go away and research it for themselves.

      That is why the anti climate change movements is growing Toad, many, many people have realised that they have been conned by you and the rest of the left, they see the climate change con as nothing more than a vehicle for massive wealth redistribution.

      • Macro 5.1.1

        “Balance???

        When have the left ever provided balance Toad?'”

        BB as you call yourself. I have NEVER EVER read any comment by you that could in the remotest way be described as “balanced”.

  6. Pascal's bookie 6

    On the theme…

    Here’s a poll of US citizens of the Republican kind,
    commissioned by the Great Orange Satan,
    to determine what them crazy fools is thinking about.

    http://www.dailykos.com/statepoll/2010/1/31/US/437

    Lawks!

    It’s one of those “I’m sorry I asked ” kind of moments.

    My favorite …..

    QUESTION: Do you believe your state should secede from the United States?

    (all respondents)
    YES — 23
    NO — 58
    NOT SURE — 19

    • Lew 6.1

      Heh.

      So, Kansas, where you going to go?

      L

    • Quoth the Raven 6.2

      And what is so wrong with the answers to that question Pascal?

      • Quoth the Raven 6.2.1

        This short piece has some good reasons to support secession – Why the Radical Left Should Consider Secession

      • Pascal's bookie 6.2.2

        It’s not so much that there is anything ‘wrong with it’ in some sort of grand theoretical sense Quoth. But in this actual world we are talking about mainly southern conservatives all of a sudden talking about secession as if it doesn’t have a history. Or maybe, do you think that history has some bearing on the question?

        There are also certain ironies in self described Republicans being for secession from the republic, especially given how much rhetoric the conservative wing of that party has thrown around with regard to what they consider ‘treason’.

        • Quoth the Raven 6.2.2.1

          There are also certain ironies in self described Republicans being for secession from the republic, especially given how much rhetoric the conservative wing of that party has thrown around with regard to what they consider ‘treason’.

          Completely agree there.

          I don’t know that they’ve started talking about secession ‘all of sudden’. It’s something that’s been in the background for a long time.

          I personally believe a break up of the union would be a positive thing for the people of the America and the world and I think it a distinct possibility in the future. The financial situation of state governments is something bringing the idea to the fore.

          • Pascal's bookie 6.2.2.1.1

            I hear you. But three words. Military. Industrial. Complex. (to which now should be inserted the words ‘financial’ and ‘media’ somewhere). Seems to me that’s a beast that needs a lot of feeding. It won’t give up it’s farms. It needs to be killed in such a way that doesn’t allow it to fight on it’s terms.

            By the ‘sudden’ thing, I guess I mean that nearly 1 in 4 (with another 1 in 5 open to the idea) is probably a big jump from say, 3 years ago.

            • Quoth the Raven 6.2.2.1.1.1

              By the ‘sudden’ thing, I guess I mean that nearly 1 in 4 (with another 1 in 5 open to the idea) is probably a big jump from say, 3 years ago.

              I would have to know what numbers were three years ago. The numbers didn’t seem in anyway odd to me.

              I hear you. But three words. Military. Industrial. Complex. (to which now should be inserted the words ‘financial’ and ‘media’ somewhere). Seems to me that’s a beast that needs a lot of feeding. It won’t give up it’s farms. It needs to be killed in such a way that doesn’t allow it to fight on it’s terms.

              The federal government and it’s military industrial and I’d say banking complex (fed – fractional) would certainly resist, but secessionism seems a practical way to breakup the complex.

  7. Bill 7

    Many unprivileged people deny climate change and believe that raising the min wage is detrimental to over all employment prospects. And they are not seeking to protect the privilege of the few.

    I’d put it to you that most people, regardless of their political leanings, believe that as long as they basically ‘dot their i’s’ and ‘cross their t’s’ as they did yesterday and the day before, then everything will remain fundamentally, more or less the same.

    And if some outside influence, whether that be peak oil, climate change or the approach of an invading army, demands something other than dotting and crossing the i’s and the t’s, the majority of people will ignore thinking about the outside influence and retreat to the comfort zone of dotting and crossing the i’s and the t’s.

    Afterall, it worked yesterday and last year and for forbearers…and so habits become, not successful behaviours contingent upon a favourable environment, but the total considered environment which then allows for the guaranteed success of certain behaviours to be maintained through mere repetition… right up to the point where the unconsidered influence dominates the situation and renders the repetitious behaviour impossible.

    • Gosman 7.1

      Is there a point behind this little rant or are you just bemoaning your view about the pervading apathy of the general population? If so don’t you think it sounds a bit ‘Grumpy old man’ like?

      • Bored 7.1.1

        I get the feeling that Bill is not so much as “grumpy” as realistic about how humans operate en-masse. Couple of Doaist sayings sum it up pretty well, “the path is obvious, false paths are popular” and “people prefer what is not true to what is true”.

        In our current energy and climate case I think the paradigm shifts are so large that they become what Douglas Adams in the Hitch Hikers Guide described as SEPs (somebody elses problem). His scene had a space ship landed on the pitch at Lords and the crowd and cricketers prefering not to see it and carrying on with the game. It was too difficult for them to comprehend so their minds just said it isnt there.

      • Bill 7.1.2

        Marty suggests that the reactions to the economic and climate questions are largely determined by left and right political ideology.

        I don’t think it’s that clear cut when we are talking about the likes of climate change. Much of the ideology of the left and of the right can be viewed as being points on a spectrum that delineates a certain faith in the efficacy of particular fundamentalisms.

        And that faith is the problem confronting us in the face of climate change; not the various right wing and left wing takes on it.

    • pollywog 7.2

      you seen the film ‘city of ember’ Bill ?

  8. BLiP 8

    What frightens me is that first year university text books state as ungarnished fact that a rise in the minimum wage will increase unemployment. As I asked elsewhere, has the RWNJ takeover of our universities been so complete that ideology as opposed to science is now presented without discussion?

  9. Andrei 9

    Talk about selection bias

    In one, 97% of actively publishing experts agree with a statement (I’ll give you the statement below) concerning their field.

    What percentage of Russian Orthodox Priests believe in the Virgin Birth do you suppose?
    A lot better than 97%, it is almost a certainly the answer is 100%.

    Whats your position on this question? Would you change it knowing this?

    I’m willing to bet that less than 97% of physicists agree with Einstein’s theory of relativity, and that’s accepted unquestioningly by the public

    You don’t agree with or disagree with Special Relativity, you apply it where it is useful and ignore it when it is not as an unnecessary complication.

    It is not an ideological question, it is a matter of utility.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      It is not an ideological question, it is a matter of utility.

      No, you idiot, it’s not. It’s a question of which theory most closely describes reality.

      • Andrei 9.1.1

        Well when it comes to describing “reality” AGW is woefully deficient.

        QED

        • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.1

          Actually, the theory behind AGW describes reality quite well. What it’s problem is, as far as you and other delusional RWNJs go, is that it doesn’t describes reality the way you want it to be.

          Of course, reality isn’t the way you want it to be – it’s merely the way it is.

  10. “Only 46.5% of economists agreed that “a minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers’ and over a quarter refuted that.”

    Why do you only report one of the results given on the page you refer to?

    The same page notes that “90 percent of the economists surveyed agreed that the minimum wage increases unemployment among low-skilled workers.”

    But even with regard to the figure you do quote what is written is “A 2000 survey by Dan Fuller and Doris Geide-Stevenson reports that of a sample of 308 American Economic Association economists, 45.6% fully agreed with the statement, “a minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers”, 27.9% agreed with provisos, and 26.5% disagreed.” I do have to ask, Why only 308?

    Another way to state the results of the survey is that only 26.5% disagreed with the “statement, “a minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers”

  11. Chris Diack 11

    97% of climatologists say global warming is occurring and caused by humans

    “The authors contacted 10,200 scientists listed in the 2007 edition of the American Geological Institute’s Directory of Geoscience Departments and received 3,146 responses to their two questions: “have mean global temperatures risen compared to pre-1800s levels?” and “Has human activity been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

    A 30% return rate. I guess the rest are not so sure.

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