One of the biggest problems of our hyperpartisan culture is that everything has been turned into a morbid game show. Gone are the days when politicians and the media acted in the best interest of the American people. Instead, we have manufactured controversy and faux outrage over the most mundane of events. Instead of world news, we get 24/7 coverage of the President's Twitter feed. And instead of serious analysis, we get programming that resembles some horrifying merger of Family Feud, Hunger Games, and Real Housewives of New Jersey.
With 32 G.O.P lawmakers retiring it can be said that the media narrative about a "wave" of Republicans leaving Congress is wrong. Here are the stats behind that assessment.
These days having a conversation about politics and the state of our nation often devolves into an ideological pitched battle of wills. That's why this year my Christmas wish is for 24-hours of argument-free discourse.
Taking advantage of today's toxic, confrontational mindset are outlets like SourceWatch. The website is like a politicized, unscientific version of Wikipedia. Volunteers – rather than qualified experts – write smear articles about people and groups they don't like (one of them being us).
Nate Silver, statistician and election forecaster, told ABC News that election forecasts that gave Hillary Clinton a 99% of chance of winning didn't "pass a common sense test." That is certainly true. What he left unsaid -- possibly because it wouldn't be good for his career -- is that all election forecasts that provide a "chance of winning" don't pass the science test.
During a recent monologue Bill Maher instructed America on the importance of knowledge. He's right, of course, but the talkshow host is a rather imperfect messenger: Listening to him is like receiving a lecture from Bill Clinton or Donald Trump on the importance of marital fidelity. Maher's political viewpoint was illuminating, but probably not in the way he had hoped.
Unbeknownst to David Seidemann, a Brooklyn College geology professor and ACSH scientific advisor, he was placed on a "hit list" by the academic politically-correct mafia. In an article for Minding the Campus, Prof. Seidemann recalls a chilling tale in which he was investigated by the administration for alleged misconduct.
French philosopher Joseph de Maistre is credited with saying, "Every country has the government it deserves." That may serve as a stinging rebuke to those of us who dwell in 21st Century America, where partisan gridlock, mutual distrust, and general nastiness have culminated in an election that has made history for all the wrong reasons.
Traditionally, science has been a refuge from this hyperbolic nonsense. But no longer. More and more scientific journals are wading into partisan politics. Current Biology, in its most recent issue, has published a feature article that is every bit as ghastly as it is incoherent.