As you may have seen in Chad’s post, both he and I are disappointed with the obviously political left turn of the new Bill Nye “science” show. Both he and I grew up on Bill Nye the Science guy and loved learning about science from his fun, zaney but informative show. Science made fun for kids is definitely something we need more of in this world. Science is cool! Science is exciting!
Science is unbiased?
Not in this new show by Bill Nye. It is more like a show that is designed to weaponized science to shove a political agenda down our throats. Oh don’t worry, they have a token panel with one dissenting person they can make look ridiculous for daring to disagree with the show’s preset agenda. While there are some episodes where I do agree with Bill’s stance (like vaccinations), there is no real discussion, no real addressing of people’s concerns. In short if you are looking for a show that confirms your predetermined beliefs, you will find it. If you are looking for something that will give a good unbiased argument to help you consider things you never thought of before, prepare to be disappointed. In summary, both scientifically and politically, the show adds little to the discussion.
Which leads me to the point of my article:
Weaponization of facts, public shaming, labeling and name calling, inflammatory responses and news all in the guise of being unbiased, moral and Intellectual condescension, oh and don’t forget the limiting of freedom of speech: these are all tactics that the left uses of late to get their way.
On my Facebook feed, I follow a group known as Alliance Defending Freedom. It is a group dedicated to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. While I acknowledge that this group is a conservative group formed to defend conservative views, it highlights the disturbing trends on college campuses around the US to limit freedom of speech by implementing speech codes, designated free speech areas, fining groups that are “controversial,” and uninviting speakers who dares to disagree with the liberal dominated agenda by labeling them as bigots, racists, and fascists.
While the 60s and 70s movement was all about civil rights and counterculture, we rightly condemn those who tried to silence those who were speaking and demonstrating their beliefs. Today liberals, who dominate college campuses, don’t want to grant conservatives their place and their voice. They use labeling and name calling and inflammatory speech to seek to silence them out of hand instead of engaging in healthy dialogue. A speaker comes to your college campus that you disagree with? Go ahead, tear them apart in a well argued newspaper or blog post. But stopping them from speaking altogether is indicative of something much, much more sinister. The idea to force others to think the way you do by denying them access to alternative ways of thought. Think the way I do or don’t speak at all. For someone who hates manipulation, I have to tell you this reeks of manipulation. And when I see manipulation, the points of the argument become lost on me altogether. Now persuasion is a much better way, it has been known to win me over on occasion.
I am not necessarily here today to attack the stance of the left on any one issue. What I am writing about today is how the tactics that are becoming entrenched on the left keeps me from really feeling free to decide how much to the left I lean on different and often difficult policies. I grew up in a conservative family and culture. My natural inclination is to lean toward the right side of the political spectrum.
I also recognize that neither side of the political spectrum is completely right or has a monopoly on truth. Many times we bend facts and other information to fit our own personal narrative. BOTH SIDES DO THIS. While I am firmly on the right on some issues, there are many issues that I would say I actually lean toward the left (Refugees, illegal immigrants, caring for the poor, a dislike of our current president to name a few) because the left’s stance fits more with my personal beliefs that I have developed over my 32 years of life.
But here is the problem: when the left starts using disorienting tactics to force people to think and speak and act the way they want, it often sends me careening back to where my natural inclination lies, to the right.
There was a study done recently by a man named John Dehlin. In it he interviewed around 1600 members of the LDS church who identified as gay. In that study, he found that, of those who had been married or still were married (in mixed orientation marriages) 51% of them had been divorced. Dehlin then used this number to project that upwards of 75% of mixed orientation marriages end in divorce. So as he goes and presents his findings, what is it that is shared with people? Oh, 75% of all mixed orientation marriages end in divorce. The left then jumped on this number, ignoring the actual 51% and starts using it as a bludgeon as to why mixed orientation marriages don’t work. What? You are talking about your happy mixed orientation marriage? Oh you shouldn’t do that because you know 75% of all mixed orientation marriages end up in divorce (some people have quoted 95% to Chad and I before). So you shouldn’t talk about it because your marriage will just end within a few years anyway.
Now there have been some quite well done critiques of this study, notably the one done here by Jacob Hess: http://www.flirtingwithcuriosity.org/?p=1734. While it can be fun to make gross generalizations about studies so that we can appear smart and use them to back up our personal beliefs, anyone who has been taught how to critically analyze and has learned anything about studies and bias need to know that is not the best idea to make gross generalization about a study. And before you start talking about a study it is important know the details about how it was conducted, who it was conducted on, what kind of questions were asked, how they generated their results, how they advertised and found their volunteers and what kind and how many people were in subgroups (like the number of people within the 1600 that were actually married or had been divorced) among other things.
Instead the left jumps on these facts like it is a bandwagon and then turns around and weaponizes them, using them like a whip to back up their preset agenda. Don’t disagree with me! I have a number! I have a study! I have “science”! Oh you poor ignorant conservatives, making life choices based on your woefully outdated personal beliefs. Didn’t you know that 75% of all mixed orientation marriages end in divorce? Or was it 95%? Or perhaps 51% of a subset of 1600 people who volunteered for a study done by a man who obviously had a preset agenda.
So my problem isn’t that the study was done or even necessarily with the findings. It is how the left jumps on facts and uses it as a weapon to attempt to silence and manipulate others into their own point of view. It is how they forsake real science and ignore nuance and bias in real studies so that they can use the study as a way to force their personal beliefs onto others.
I believe in healthy relationships. If I were married to someone who uses the tactics that the left often uses, not only would we have serious problems in our relationship, that relationship probably wouldn’t last very long.
So here is my plea: Dear left, I would like to have a relationship with you, please stop using unhealthy tactics, because every time I try, I end up having to leave because even though I can divorce my beliefs from your tactics, your ways of manipulating people is so noxious I can’t stand to be on your side for very long.