Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hardly Working


Jonah Goldberg (above right) provides us with valuable insight into his working methods:

[O]ff the top of my head, the examples of anti-science bias on the left are easy to come up with.
You don't say.

What follows is a whirlwind tour of exceedingly familiar terrain:
The MIT biology professor who got the vapors like a 17th century wallflower in response to academic speculation about cognitive differences between the sexes seems a good place to start.
Yes, because neither this nameless professor (Nancy Hopkins, for the record) nor anyone else had a single substantive argument to make against the content or the context of Larry Summers’ “academic speculation.” It all boiled down to hysteria and hissy fits, probably aggravated by PMS or menopause or a bad hair day. After all, what other possible reason could there be for a prominent professor of biology to get upset by an economist's pseudoscientific theorizing about genetics?
The abortion-breast cancer link might be another.
Yeah, it might be...assuming a conclusive link between abortion and breast cancer is someday demonstrated. Meanwhile, in the real world, the link remains dubious at best.

“Easy to come up with,” indeed. He's only on his second example, and he's already channeling the Amazing Criswell.

You'll never guess what comes next.
There were thoughtful criticisms to the Bell Curve from the left, but they were few and far between.
Putting aside the irrelevant issues of quantity and frequency, what’s important about these “thoughtful criticisms” is that they were absolutely devastating. (If you ask me, Gould and Lewontin effectively demolished TBC before it was written, but that’s an argument for another day.)
Most came to a conclusion that any such science had to be bad and then went looking for evidence to support their case.
Maybe they did, for all I know. But what Goldberg fails to mention is that they found it. The Right, generally speaking, failed to look for it and ignored it when it was presented to them.

Here’s where things get a tiny bit more interesting:
[T]he harms of out-of-wedlock birth seem to still be discounted irrationally on the left.
Without debating whether or not this is true, I’d point out that there are several possible ways of dealing with these “harms.”

One would be to make out-of-wedlock births illegal, which requires choosing an appropriate punishment. I think it’s safe to say that neither conservatives nor liberals would want to impose mandatory abortions. Failing that, we could allow her to have the baby and then prosecute her, or give the baby to a willing married couple (or both). These sound like “big government” solutions to me, and I suspect they might result in “harms” of their own.

Since there's no realistic way of forbidding “illegitimate” births, and conservatives generally object to both sex education and birth control, their default stance is that single mothers should be scapegoated as slutty or irresponsible, and denied a social safety net, to whatever extent is politically feasible. Undermining social programs is the real purpose of the entire charade, natch, so any negative outcomes will accordingly be portrayed as the “natural” consequence of being born out of wedlock (to some filthy whore). These children are at a disadvantage; to prove it, we'll do our best to put them at a disadvantage.

But enough about that. Goldberg goes on to claim that environmentalists engage in scaremongering and alarmism. He's right, of course. It's all part of their plot to bring back Stalinism and cave-dwelling and Medieval medicine, which'll kill us all in the wind-up.

He wraps things up by complaining that Marxists did “violence to rational inquiry," which is pretty rich coming from the Right’s leading exponent of class-addled pseudosemiotic horseshit.

But the biggest laugh comes in the last line:
Anyway, back to work.
I can't tell you how amused I am by the idea that in this post, Goldberg was taking a break from his work...as though the dunced-out nonsense he spouts here is somehow distinguishable from the dunced-out nonsense he spouts day in and day out, without let or hindrance, and with no more shame or self-awareness than a goddamn planarian worm.

Oh well, back to work. Those peep-show floors won't mop themselves!

7 comments:

ntodd said...

If Jonah is an example of babies born IN wedlock, our society is doomed. I wonder how his book is coming...

Joseph said...

That was a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, wasn't it? Not that he didn't deserve it and all, but come on. The guy's not only lazy, but cognitively retarded.

P. Drāno said...

What's odd is, presumably he has a computer that's attached to the internet, and, golly, all kinds of information is right there. It's not like you have to spend an afternoon at the library looking up stuff.

Phila said...

That was a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, wasn't it?

Sure. And I wouldn't have bothered with it, if it hadn't been for his "back to work" line. That really did strike me as incredibly funny.

Phila said...

What's odd is, presumably he has a computer that's attached to the internet, and, golly, all kinds of information is right there. It's not like you have to spend an afternoon at the library looking up stuff.

How touchy-feely of you. You must live in a Dairy State.

The Kenosha Kid said...

the Right’s leading exponent of class-addled pseudosemiotic horseshit.

Sorry, but when I hear "pseudosemiotic horseshit," I immediately think of Jeff Goldstein.

Phila said...

Sorry, but when I hear "pseudosemiotic horseshit," I immediately think of Jeff Goldstein.

Understandable! But to be fair, I don't really think he deserves the "pseudo" part. And he sure as hell doesn't have Jonah's readership.