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Archive for October 29th, 2012

The Republican War On Objectivity: Nate Silver Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 29, 2012

Paul Krugman reads Brad DeLong, and via Brad he found out about the National Review’s bizarre attack on Nate Silver for what they, without meaningful evidence, insinuate are wrong and biased poll numbers. Like all decent people, he is horrified:

Yet the right — and we’re not talking about the fringe here, we’re talking about mainstream commentators and publications — has been screaming “bias”! They know, just know, that Nate must be cooking the books. How do they know this? Well, his results look good for Obama, so it must be a cheat. Never mind the fact that Nate tells us all exactly how he does it, and that he hasn’t changed the formula at all.

This is, of course, reminiscent of the attack on the Bureau of Labor Statistics — not to mention the attacks on climate science and much more. On the right, apparently, there is no such thing as an objective calculation. Everything must have a political motive.

This is really scary. It means that if these people triumph, science — or any kind of scholarship — will become impossible. Everything must pass a political test; if it isn’t what the right wants to hear, the messenger is subjected to a smear campaign.

All so a bunch of really rich businesses can continue to run roughshod over us without contributing to the larger community.

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