Friday, August 05, 2005

Truth or Consequences 

Truth is becoming increasingly unpopular these days, whether spoken in a courtroom or by scientists refusing to tow the party line.

Leah's post yesterday, in which she dissects the right-wing's dogpile on Judge John Coughenour, U.S. District Judge of Seattle, for daring to give a reasoned, thoughtful statement during his sentencing of "Millenium Bomber" Ahmed Ressam, and for taking a shot at the Bush administration's Cheka-like handling of prisoners since 9/11, should be read with an eye to the impending Roberts appointment. Not for a minute do I believe Roberts won't ultimately become a Supreme Court Justice, because whatever Georgie wants, Georgie gets. But it's worth reflecting that even the best-laid appointments can blossom into surprising outcomes, and Coughenour, who was appointed by the Right's own saint, Ronald Reagan, is now the very same being excoriated by them for his "liberal" behavior.

In the meantime, following on the heels of my own post yesterday, it was interesting to see that Krugman, in today's NYTimes, is remembering Irving Kristol (father of Bill) as the architect of the strategy that led the right to develop think tanks and foster academic research to debunk both economic and scientific findings they found inconvenient to their ideology:
"The most spectacular example is the campaign to discredit research on global warming. Despite an overwhelming scientific consensus, many people have the impression that the issue is still unresolved. This impression reflects the assiduous work of conservative think tanks, which produce and promote skeptical reports that look like peer-reviewed research, but aren't. And behind it all lies lavish financing from the energy industry, especially ExxonMobil."
He goes on to tie this in to the support of the right for Intelligent Design, which has gotten yet another goose in the media since Bush's recent remarks in Texas:
"The important thing to remember is that like supply-side economics or global-warming skepticism, intelligent design doesn't have to attract significant support from actual researchers to be effective. All it has to do is create confusion, to make it seem as if there really is a controversy about the validity of evolutionary theory. That, together with the political muscle of the religious right, may be enough to start a process that ends with banishing Darwin from the classroom."
Not to mention the ultimately fatal operation to remove truth from the body of science.

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