Science in the service of politics
We’ve talked about this at other times in the past but there are some examples in a recent Victor Davis Hanson peice that make the point again. Science is science. It should not be something in service to anything, especially politics. It should stand alone and we should deal with its findings as objectively as possible. Unfortunately, today we have “science” (and yes the quote marks do indicate that what I’m going to note has nothing to do with real science) in the service of politics and for hire to whomever can provide it the most grant money. It’s become a bit like expert witnesses in court. Need one to conclude a certain way? We can find that “expert” for you.
Anyway, there is one particularly egregious example in the VDH piece (at least more egregious than some, at least to me) that I want to note because it has so recently been in the news and used in politics to further an agenda:
The president still talks of “settled science” in the global-warming debate. He recently flew to California to attribute the near-record drought there to human-induced global warming.
There is no scientific basis for the president’s assertion about the drought. Periodic droughts are characteristic of California’s climate, both in the distant past and over a century and a half of modern record-keeping. If the president were empirical rather than political, he would instead have cited the logical reasons for the fact that this drought is far more serious than those of the late 1970s.
California has not built additional major mountain storage reservoirs to capture Sierra Nevada runoff in decades. The population of the state’s water consumers has almost doubled since the last severe drought. Several million acre-feet of stored fresh water have been in recent years diverted to the sea — on the dubious science that the endangered delta smelt suffers mostly from irrigation-related water diversions rather than pollutants, and that year-round river flows for salmon, from the mountains to the sea, existed before the reserve water storage available from the construction of mountain reservoirs.
In other words, government has been lax (no forward planning or construction for the water needs of an expanded population), environmentalists have been extreme (demanding an entire valley be dried up for a mostly useless fish) and the result has been to aggrevate a natural penomenon to disaster levels.
But they will tell you that it has to do with “global warming”, not poor government, not environmental extremism. What Obama is pushing is pseudo-science, fashioned to support a political position. There is no reason that this drought should be as severe as it has been. And again – it isn’t global warming causing the severity.
Remember, this was the guy who promised he’s put science back in the place it belonged. Apparently that place is the same place he claimed it was before he took office. As a political tool to push an ideological agenda. That’s precisely what he was doing in California.
But then, the fact that he lied shouldn’t suprise anyone, given his track record.