Monday, November 26, 2007

Conservatives Aren't Getting It

Lorne Gunter writes a commendable piece in today's National Post, but one that seems a little shortsighted to me.

He says:
Turns out UN scientists have been using flawed methodology to estimate [AIDS] cases worldwide. And on top of that, Third World governments have been taking a grab bag of diseases and labelling them all AIDS because they learned a long time ago that politicians and NGOs in the developed world will open their wallets faster and wider for AIDS than bilharzias, cholera and schistosoma.
From which he infers that:

The lead UN scientists on any issue are often as interested in ideology and political change as sound science. Their conclusions are typically based on sound bites and pieces of research done by less cause-oriented scientists. It's in their wild extrapolations from those bits that their errors arise and their biases show.

So how come, given the UN's horrendous misuse of science on so many issues, so many people are prepared to give UN climate-change scientists so much credibility?

The question is rhetorical; Mr. Gunter would appear to be under the impression that, now that these ideological and political agendas have been exposed, it must follow that the general population will become sceptical of any of the UN's other causes célèbres.

It seems to me, though, that what Mr. Gunter is failing to notice is that the general population is far more likely to become indignant at the attempt to debunk AIDS and Climate Change science than it is to become indignant at ever having been misled in the first place. For the proof of this, I'll ask you only to tell me what the effect was of Judge William Osteen's comprehensive debunking of the EPA's landmark report that declared second-hand tobacco smoke a Class A carcinogen.

That Mr. Gunter is in the right is, very sadly, well beside the point. Bad science is not the enemy of right thinking men now. Bad morality is. (I think we call it Charter Morality here; where even God and Death are held to account.) Against this, reason hasn't even a prayer.