Saturday, December 10, 2016

When Science Tries to Shingle the Roof in the Fog

There is an old standard from Cape Cod, "Don't shingle the roof in the fog", you run out of roof real soon. But it seems that Nature and the Intellectuals have seen fit to keep on shingling despite the dense fog about them.

Nature especially has taken to this road. As Nature has recently touted:

In the United States, the regions hardest hit by globalization have become more politically extreme, according to a working paper published in September by David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and his colleagues. They found that these areas elected more hard-line candidates of both stripes to Congress between 2002 and 2010 — Republicans in majority-white communities and Democrats in ethnically and racially mixed areas. A separate, as-yet unpublished analysis by the team suggests that the trend towards extreme candidates favoured Republicans in presidential elections from 2000 to 2016 — perhaps enough to win Trump the White House this year.

Thus one must be "extreme" to vote this way.  If one does not agree with you then one is extreme. The epithets continue without basis.

The author continues:

The Nazis took advantage of the extreme economic hardship that followed the First World War and a global depression, but today’s populist movements are growing powerful in wealthy European countries with strong social programmes. “What brings about a right-wing movement when there are no good reasons for it?”Anheier asks.

Always good to call them Nazis. Especially if you are from across the pond. Try a trip to Munich, I saw that they are still there in places. Not a lot in Iowa.

Then the author continues:

Trump also prevailed in part because the structure of the US electoral college gives outsized influence to Republican-leaning rural areas over Democratic urban centres. And some of his predominantly white supporters voted for President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in past elections.

This is a good one.  You see the Founding Fathers were smart. They did not want New York City and LA to elect the President. They wanted some balance. The Electoral College system does balance a bit. The author may want to read the Federalist Papers. Nice explanations. But it appears that these scientists are devoid of facts.

One should ask in a clinical fashion "why" the election turned out the way it did. I have sat through dinners where the battle back and forth never examined the question. Not for want of trying..

Science deals with facts. Facts and causes and results. Science does not deal with name calling as this piece seems in my opinion to reek with.