Thursday, January 28, 2010

Conservatives and Facts

As I have made my posts here and engaged in spirited discussions with people who had opposing opinions I have been struck by one recurring theme of these discussions.

Facts, or the lack there of.

In discussions of global warming I hear opinions. I also here non-factual statements that are not true despite the positive nature of the statement. I got told once that Global Warming was not real because mankind wasn't that powerful. My favorite is that temperature readings more than 50 or so years old are meaningless since older measurements weren't as accurate as they are now. A statement that displays such a basic lack of understanding of science and statistics as to almost disqualify the speaker from being allowed to voice an opinion on any scientific matter.

On evolution I have been told that since the theory of evolution is not perfect and because we haven't found a complete fossil record linking our ancestors to those of the great apes, that creationism is equally as valid as evolution despite the simple fact that creationism makes no scientific attempt to explain the available data.

Talking about Gay Marriage, opponents have all sorts of dire predictions about social consequences if we allow gay marriage but they have no studies or data from those places that do allow gay marriage that supports their beliefs.

One consistent refrain of conservatives and Republicans in the health care debate was that without Tort Reform the reforms would not be able to constrain health care costs. The problem is that every study I have seen shows that medical malpractice awards add something around 1.5% to health care costs and that limiting punative and non-economic damages would change that number very little. They don't mention that Texas placed significant caps on punative awards and then saw malpractice insurance rates go up even faster than before, not down as promised.

The Health Care debate has been one continuous stream of lies in attacks on the various plans, most famously the Death Panels, something the habitually fact challenged Sarah Palin continues to talk about.

I have asked Conservatives/Republicans for some facts that they wanted to brag about and tell me what great things Conservatives/Republicans have done for this country and none of them had any Conservative/Republican accomplishments to brag about.

Republicans/Conservatives advocate constantly for tax cuts as a solution for almost every problem. And they keep claiming that tax cuts pay for themselves and that they spur economic growth despite all the studies that show that tax cuts by themselves have a very small positive short term impact on growth and long term actually retard growth and never never pay for themselves.

20 years ago the same people were claiming that cigaretts weren't addictive.

The amazing thing is that Conservatives and Republicans are consistently wrong about the facts and they just don't seem to care.


Anonymous said...

Wow, it's come to that has it?

You specifically misstated a comment on my blog to make your own specious point (which I can only assume has been partially brought on by my clearly-stated lack of free time to respond to your earlier comments).

In all honesty, while I've enjoyed our past interchanges, that feeling is fading as your comments get less and less civil. If you'd like to be a purveyor of an online forum (as opposed to an echo chamber rant-fest), you might try a little harder to avoid directly attacking those who might like to engage your opinions. A solid percentage of your comments come from people who click through from my site and I'd rather not direct people here if this is how you will treat them.

I recommend you weigh your response carefully if you want me to continue as a contributor on your site. It's not worth it to me to debate my view if it damages (as it's beginning to) our real life relationship. Love you, big guy.

Uncle Walt said...

I apologize to you and your commenter. I have removed that paragraph from my post.

Uncle Walt said...

I have always striven for civility in my posts. Perhaps I don't always achieve that goal.

And I always try measure my responses carefully. I try to avoid direct personal comments (a personal prohibition I stupidly violated in my original post).

But the thrust of my post remains.

When President Obama was meeting with the House Republicans he was asked a question by Rep. Hensarling from Texas. Rep Hensarling asked a question full of gross errors of fact. The President's response was instructive.

Ex-Mayor and Republican Candidate for President Rudy Guliani went on a Sunday morning talkie and stated that America did not suffer a terrorist attach during the Bush Administration. After the State of the Union, Guliani criticized the President for not mentioning Al Queda or the War on Terror or the Underwear Bomber. I both cases he was completely and demonstratably wrong.

I am all about political debate.

No surprise I love the give and take.

But I find that all to often Conservatives/Republicans make their arguments based purely on their beliefs, without regard to the facts, or they lie about/distort/misrepresent the facts.

There are really very few policy issues facing us that should be settled based on beliefs, but on facts.

And I really wish that Republicans/Conservatives would be more interested in facts than they seem to be.

Uncle Walt said...

More lies from a conservative group opposed to healt care reform.

How does this qualify as informed debate.