Dr.Dawg

Harper's war on data, cont'd.

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Harper Cabinet.jpg

The Harper government (seen above) utterly rejects hard data and scientific inquiry. That’s old news, but every few days it’s lather, rinse and repeat. The rueful joke has been that facts have a progressive bias: but I think what we’re seeing instead is the expression of a genuine pre-Enlightenment mentality, in which ideological faith, not reason, rules.

The muzzling and minding of scientists by the Harper regime is common knowledge. We have the previous example of Galileo and the Catholic Church, of course, but if a more modern instance is wanted, Josef Stalin decreed in 1948 that only Lysenkoist genetics—an early example of junk science—was properly Marxist-Leninist: accordingly, he made Mendelian genetics illegal. Mendelian geneticists were hounded from their jobs, imprisoned or executed.

No one is being shot or imprisoned in Canada—yet—but the same mentality is in full flower under the Harper Reform Church.

Despite a rich literature on such things as safe injection sites, the catastrophic war on drugs and the deleterious effects of minimum sentencing, for example, the government has blindly ploughed ahead to try to abolish the first, while enthusiastically joining the second and imposing the third.

In Harper’s Canada, 2012, we have a creationist Minister of Science and Technology and an environment minister who is anti-Kyoto and a tar sands booster. Tony “Gazebo” Clement, the kleptocrat now running Treasury Board, was the innumerate industry minister who abolished the mandatory long-form census with a statistically useless voluntary one, leading to the resignation of Statistics Canada’s Chief Statistician.

And the war against data continues unabated. This week, nearly half of the employees of Statistics Canada received notices warning them that they may be laid off. Meanwhile, plans for an Office of Religious Freedom are full steam ahead.

Most Canadians are still paralyzed, so many deer in the headlights. It’s as though we can’t bring ourselves to believe what’s happening: reason and science seem helpless before this endless yokel onslaught. A hard truth is emerging, though: if we don’t organize to bring an end to this mediaeval madness, we may as well get down on our knees and pray ourselves. Call it Pascal’s Wager v2.0.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr.Dawg published on May 1, 2012 7:42 PM.

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