Skepchick Quickies, 4.26


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. For what it’s worth, the anti-vaxxers have slowly been building up to the point where terrorist attacks on vaccine researchers is no longer an unlikely outcome.

    The only difference is that technically speaking, the anti-choice movement isn’t based on ignorance of the science involved, but on a moral position.

    But considering the source of the anti-choice movement, scientific ignorance wasn’t far behind.

  2. Re Earthquake story: Huh?

    The earthquake hysteria kind of reminds me of the shark hysteria that happens every few years. Someone gets attacked by a shark, the local news does a story, and because they’re having a slow news day, the national news organizations pick it up. Then, suddenly, sharks become the hot thing to talk about, and every shark attack gets reported. People start freaking out, thinking that the number of shark attacks has wildly increased, and the sharks are after us or some such nonsense.

    This is the same thing, propelled by three major geological events occurring in populated areas in a short space of time, so now every little tremor gets reported on when it would not have before.

    And this guy is not the first person who I’ve heard blaming global warming. That’s so incredibly helpful to scientists who are trying to get people to understand that climate change is actually happening. Doesn’t make people who believe in global warming look like idiots at all.

  3. @exarch:

    I kind of think it’s a good thing, though. A lot of anti-vaxxers are super liberal, and anti-choicers are ultra conservative. Finding themselves on the same side as the anti-choice nuts might make a few anti-vax people take a step back and consider their position. Maybe. I hope.

  4. @exarch: though the anti-choice movement doesn’t rely specifically on bad science, it does require a certain level of scientific (and statistical, sociological, empathetic) ignorance. There are ways to reduce the number of abortions; anti-choice people ignore them and they ignore the realities of what criminalizing abortion would bring about.

    Some cop to it and argue that the injured and dead mothers from unsafe, illegal abortions are being justly punished, but most pretend abortion will just go away and that is a profound ignorance.

  5. @mikerattlesnake: Not to mention their complete disregard for science when it comes to sex education.

    Yes, the anti-choice movement ignores science regularly, or skews it completely to fit their agenda.

    It’s not just a moral position.

  6. anti-choicers & anti-vaxxers are completely compatible, since they are both anti-intelligence

  7. Re: earthquakes.

    There is a correlation between El Niño cycles and earthquakes and volcanic activity in South America. Pardon me for not digging up a reference, but I believe it was covered in New Scientist in the last 12 months or so. Apparently shifting gigatonnes of water from one place to another can affect the pressure on the underlying crust.

    I have been given to wonder if and to what extent the same applies to glaciers, especially in the Antarctic. A major plot point in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy is a massive and rapid ocean level rise on Earth, caused not (at least explicitly and directly) by global warming, but by Antarctic vulcanism.

  8. Conspiracy:
    While he is a conspiracy theorist theorist, he is more specifically a conspiracy theorist conspiracy theorist.

    A straight conspiracy theorist theorist would simply look at how conspiracy theories are started and propagate etc. I expect there are a few professors in the world who do this for their serious research.

    I have thought that if I was running some genuine conspiracy (say, secret biowarfare program in Area 51), I’d seed a few conspiracy theories (alien autopsies in Area 51) so that if any of the truth did leak out, it would be dismissed as crackpot conspiracy theory.

    It has worked really well with my secret mind control drugs in the vaccines. The only ones not vaccinated are really easy to dupe anyhow.

  9. Well, (IIRC) the original Roswel incident was a government conspiracy to cover a secret program testing the use of weather balloons for spying on the Russians.

    These facts are out there (after all, it’s been 50 years and the cold war ended over 20 years ago, so none of this stuff is secret any more). But conspiracy nuts were never good at using Occam’s razor when faced with facts.

    On the contrary, it’s like they’re using Occam’s glue to stick as many useless, unrelated (and false) facts together into one big impossible conspiracy.

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