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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Confidence Lost

Stop the presses a new study has found that belief in science among conservatives has dropped sharply in the last quarter century. Gordon Gauchat a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill reported in a review of data from the General Social Survey that conservative’s confidence in science has dipped from nearly 50% to 35%. Moreover Dr. Gauchat was trying to support the thesis of Chris Mooney’s’ 2005 book “The Republican War On Science”.

Dr. Gauchat and Mr. Mooney theorize that conservatives have lost confidence in science largely because of the influence of religion in conservative thinking, a general distrust of government regulatory power, overall growth of government and the political nature of science. Each of these theories accurately assesses conservative skepticism of modern science but there is a why behind each reason.

Over the past century scientific dogma has sought to replace faith in God with faith in science. Disciples of Darwinian evolution have taken extreme measures to purge the mention of God from public schools and the public square in general. Faith in God and the Bible still held in high esteem among conservatives has been maligned, impugned and ridiculed as a fairy tale by science. Science has set itself at opposition with faith rather than seek to coexist with it. Is it a wonder then why conservative religiously minded people choose to ignore “science” that seeks to undermine their faith? 

This same anti faith science has been used by an ever growing government to restrict and regulate practically every area of our lives. From the cars we drive, the fuel that powers them, what makes a healthy meal how food is grown, how our homes are built and on and on and on are regulated by government which is “supported” by science.

Of particular interest here is food and nutrition. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the current My Plate began as a child of politics in a Senate subcommittee in the 1970’s that went looking for “science” to back up its desire to insert itself into our lives. Many of those recommendations were based on the scientific idea that saturated fat and cholesterol are the direct causes of heart disease as hypothesized by Ancel Keys in the Seven Countries Study published in the 1950’s. The problem is that the theories postulated by Dr. Keys have been disproven by more recent scientific discovery yet government recommendations and policy still operates under the former paradigm.

Furthermore science or what is called science has become hyper political. For example consider that since the 1970’s science has gone from predicting a coming ice age to declaring an impending global warming apocalypse. What causes conservatives to question the science of global warming is the childlike insistence that global warming is a fact and no opposing opinion or view point can be held on the subject. As open minded as those on the left claim to be they only on rare occasions demonstrate that open mindedness. Therefore since the science of global warming is not subject to debate our government has taken the opportunity to regulate more of our lives including banning incandescent light bulbs to investing in phony green energy companies to subsidizing electric cars and mass transit for everyone to prepare for the global cooking.

Looking at the evidence and drawing conclusions based on that evidence then being able to verify those findings through further investigation is the scientific process. Much of what passes for science falls far short of being verifiable through further study.  It is then entirely plausible to infer that conservatives have lost confidence in science because much of what is called science is biased against the conservative point of view. It appears that anti conservative point of view is all that is needed to be considered sound anymore. Speaking for myself and I think many others conservatives as well I don’t need science to validate my faith, my common sense, my family or my life. Until science gets outside of the fish bowl I suppose they will continue to lose credibility with us conservatives.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Friendly Neighborhood Produce Man

Some time ago I was invited to be a panelist for a men’s health forum. Heart health and nutrition were the main topics and as such weight loss was discussed. Weight loss and a low fat diet have long been regarded as key nutrition interventions for a healthy heart. One man in the audience shared his experience with weight loss while working in an Africa country.

There, he explained, it was easy to eat healthy because readily available fresh fruits and vegetables were and part of every meal. As a result of having worked in that environment for a number of months he pointed out that weight loss was easy. He noted that he lost a considerable amount of weight and felt great as a result. What he said next however was quite curious.

Upon his reassignment to the states and consequently resuming the “American” diet the same fellow noted that all the weight he had lost came back and then some. The reason he gave was that fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods are just not as accessible here as they were to him there. After unfurrowing my brow I asked “Have you been to your local supermarket lately”?

Far too often the sentiments just described are espoused without question. Many in the health establishment like to pontificate on the difficulties of eating a healthy diet in our modern society. When I hear these things I have to wonder if they ever even go out of the house.

Within a few miles of my house there are five or six grocery stores with a produce sections containing hundreds of different varieties of fruits and vegetables. All I have to do is be willing to go there, pay what they are asking then bring those fresh healthy foods home to eat which I do with relative frequency. This is why I have such difficulty going along with what is routinely said regarding the availability of healthy foods in our country.

Furthermore the fruits and vegetables found in these stores is much less expensive per portion that so called “junk foods” or other choices that could be made. For example bananas the last I saw were 69 cents per pound putting one banana at between 25 and 30 cents.

It is always easy to complain about certain circumstances and glamorize how they would be better somewhere else. That is the essence of the saying how green the grass is beyond the fence. In terms of food availability and inexpensive nutrition we have it great right here at home in the good old United States. If you have a doubt about that pay a visit to your friendly neighborhood produce man.