In another post, I mentioned that independent commissions were clearing the UEA climate scientists of charges that they had "faked data." When Bob Murphy saw the commissions had been commissioned by the House of Commons, he responded, "Are you kidding me?" These were government folks, and nothing they do could possibly be independent or honest.
Now, I want to suggest this response is a member of a family of similar positions:
X: Well, Phizer set up an independent study that found their new drug was not dangerous.
Marxist: Are you kidding me? They're capitalists!
X: Of course, the Catholic Church did seriously examine Galileo's claims.
Positivist: Are you kidding me? Those guys were priests!
X: You know that Einstein felt he had proved relativity quite adequately?
Nazi: Are you kidding me? Einstein was a Jew!
(STRONG WARNING TO NETWITS: I am NOT saying "Bob is as bad as a Nazi." I am sketching a family resemblance, and some members of a family are much worse than their siblings!)
These are all species of Gnostic ideology, all of which share the feature that "the cast of characters appearing in the Gnostic’s dream world can be divided, neatly and without remainder, into the adherents of the party of light and the demonic members of the party of darkness."
Now, those who agree with Bob are likely to respond, "But we are right -- the people in government really are the party of darkness!" Of course, the Marxist appearing above will make an exactly analogous claim: "The capitalists really are the party of darkness!" And so on. And, I suggest, they are all being perfectly honest, and are quite sure the evidence is on their side -- even though they might be aware of the evidence the others think make their own cases slam dunks.
How can this be? The reason is that a large portion of what goes into the ideology-learning process is learning how to filter the evidence according to the ideology one is learning. For example, Paul Krugman, in learning Keynesian ideology, learned how to filter everything through a Keynesian framework. He can't read a letter from two highly esteemed economists who happen to disagree with him without seeing it as rubbish. All data whatsoever confirms his Keynesian view: if an economy recovers from a slump, it was stimulus; if one fails to recover despite stimulus, the problem was not enough stimulus. This is not because he is dishonest, but because he is bewitched: he has bought into an ideology that seemingly makes everything simple and comprehensible, and gives him an easy answer to every problem, and filters out everything that would normally act as negative feedback about his position.
And that, as Eric Voegelin pointed out, is why it is almost impossible to have a rational discussion with someone in the grip of an ideology: they are viewing a mental construct of their own instead of the real world, so anyone addressing reality will be talking past them. They are looking at a theoretical world, but, as the late, great Sudha Shenoy once said to me, "Reality is not theoretical; it is historical." And history is made up of complex contingencies they don't mechanically yield up easy answers to any and every problem that arises.
Pearce: British Journal for the History of Philosophy Deneen: The American Conservative Chao-Reiss: Computing Reviews
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