Thursday, February 26, 2009

Erupting Perversity

PZ Myers noticed Bobby Jindal's anti-science comments from a few nights back and got closer to what's so deeply perverse in them:

Bobby Jindal gave a rebuttal to one of Obama's recent speeches, and what does he do? Criticizes the investment of "$140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.' Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C." Heck, this isn't even any of that abstract, difficult-to-understand stuff — it's work that directly helps people.
Here, here. Even the likes of Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin have heard of Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii, right? Perhaps Mt. St. Helens? Krakatoa? Torrents of fire, ash, and lava? Globe-encircling dust plumes? Catastrophic explosions? Is this mic on?

The reckless and stupid mockery of science from the American right surely puts Matt Nisbet's vision of framing into perspective. Nisbet repeatedly advocates saying only the kindest of things about reactionaries and nihilists because conflict
distracts from the narratives and frames that are actually likely to build broad-based support for action. As I note in the Environment article, these frames include an emphasis on the moral and religious imperative to action along with a focus on the public health ...
It's not clear what line of scientific inquiry could have more self-evident resonance with moral and religious imperatives and public health than knowing when the volcano is going to explode, and yet there he is, Bobby Jindal, the new spokesmodel for American conservatism, smirking before the largest possible audience as he reviles "volcano monitoring" as nothing more than a pointless, wasteful, fraudulent, wealth-redistributing folly of tax-and-spend Democrats.

I'm all for making nice when it's possible. But I'd rather be alive and in bad spirits with conservatives than burned to death and bipartisan.

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