It’s easy to dismiss Jenny McCarthy as an airhead, but maybe her airhead knows something the doctors don’t know.Right -- liberals politicized climate science. The fault doesn't lie with the Koch brothers and other zillionaires who have a vested interest in the climate status quo and have spent vast amounts of money on climate disinformation campaigns -- they didn't make the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate controversial, it was the damn liberals who created controversy by defending science! And now those damn liberals have queered the pitch for vaccines, too, because now everyone thinks all of science is controversial!
... [The] problem ... is the eroding credibility and authority of science. If too many people think even scientists are lying to them, humanity is headed toward the lemmings’ famous cliff.
Partisanship alert: If you believe with all your being in the indisputable truth of climate-change science, turn to the sports page now, because I’d hate to see anyone ripping up The Wall Street Journal in rage or smashing an LCD screen.
For the purposes of the argument here, what anyone thinks about climate change isn’t the issue. There was a point in this combustible debate, though, when I began to think that science and the people who do the work of science beyond climate were allowing the credibility of their profession to be put at risk with the broader population.
That turning point was when the cause changed its name from global warming to climate change. When the warming-only argument became scientifically difficult and the subject became the irrefutable “climate change,” it was clear that politics, not science, was running the show.
The people doing basic science should learn a well-proven truth about basic politics: Any cause taken up by politicians today by definition will be doubted or opposed by nearly half the population. When an Al Gore, John Kerry or Europe’s Green parties become spokesmen for your ideas, and are willing to accuse fellow scientists of bad faith or willful ignorance, then science has made a Faustian bargain. The price paid, inevitably, will be the institutional credibility of all scientists.
I'm still not sure how we get from the ginned-up climate controversy to vaccine skepticism on the part of Marin County liberals, the vast majority of whom are presumably on Al Gore's side with regard to climate. But never mind -- as Henninger says,
The rise of the vaccine doubters proves that, in the Internet age, all authority can be turned overnight into a house of cards. Scientists ought to get back to the business of taming fire, not playing with it.In the case of climate science, you righties lit the matches, Daniel, and you light more and more every day. The scientific community is just trying to put out the flames.