Winning Back Silicon Valley

Once, Silicon Valley -- the center of American technology -- leaned Republican. In recent years, the industry and the region as a whole has moved left. The Reagan tax cuts removed government as an obstacle to progress, helping make possible the era of Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. And Bill Clinton was wise enough not to tinker -- by and large -- with the Reagan consensus on free enterprise and capital formation.

With the threat of government intervention removed in the economic arena, the Valley has been free to indulge its libertarian instincts on social issues. This has been a boon, electorally and financially, to Democrats. Larry Lessig's "free culture" has replaced free markets as the dominant ethos in the Valley. The irony here is that many of the entreprenuers who succeeded in the most unregulated environment possible -- the Internet -- are at once hyper-capitalist and socially-liberal Obama voters. (Good luck creating Twitter or Facebook in any industry as tightly regulated as the auto or banking sectors in the Age of Obama.)

The inherent contradiction of America's most capitalist region supporting America's most socialist politicians may be coming to an end. Especially if this Administration really is dumb enough to treat venture capital like hedge funds. Government would no longer be invisible when it came to raising capital for your startup. Government as the Problem, not the solution to our problems, would return to the economy and to Silicon Valley with a vengeance. And Silicon Valley entrepreneurs -- and the highly educated managers and developers whose interests are aligned with the entrepreneurs -- would be free to vote their pocketbooks once again.

Via TechCrunch comes this piece from James Freeman in the Wall Street Journal. In Tim Geithner's zeal to regulate every financial instrument known to man, it now seems that venture capital -- which had nothing to do with the housing bubble and credit-default swaps -- has been caught in the dragnet.

The Obama administration wants to regulate venture capital firms to prevent systemic risks. Silicon Valley residents are scratching their heads and asking: What risks? The rest of us should ask why Washington is targeting a jewel of the American economy that had nothing to do with the housing bubble.

The confusion began when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently told Congress that large venture capital (VC) firms should be forced to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and submit regular reports on their investors and portfolios. Data collected by the SEC would then be shared with a new risk regulator to ensure that VCs aren't "a threat to financial stability."

Virtually every successful technology startup in the last 20 years has been funded through VCs, creating tens if not hundreds of thousands of jobs, and fueling the engine of technology innovation in a way that's probably created millions more indirectly.

Bill Clinton was wise enough not to muck with this, and Al Gore actually works for Kleiner Perkins. Though tech companies are the most visible success stories, the next wave of big VC success stories will likely be in green energy and biotech, industries which have been hailed as the future by left and right alike.

If Obama's Geithner comes down on the side of more regulation, the right has a renewed opportunity to start capturing hearts and minds in Silicon Valley. And as a result, cast ourselves as the most forward looking and the enlightened party economically -- as the party of technology and free market solutions to the environment. Not only is there a constituency to be won, and new high-tech support to be had, but the macro issue frame helps us with the electorate at large.

Ironically, private equity and venture capital boomed in the Bush years precisely because of tighter government regulations on the public markets in the form of Sarbanes-Oxley. Sarbox dried up the IPO market on Wall Street and moved billions in financial services to London. In the midst of the housing crisis and in the wake of the dotcom bust, private capital was something of a safe haven. No more. And when capital is given fewer and fewer productive outlets, expect a backlash that will move votes as well as money.

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Nice try

So... Reagan invented Facebook? :-)

Seriously, though, read at what you yourself have written - "hyper-capitalist and socially-liberal."  If, as these intelligent folks should know, Reagan's tax-cuts were indeed the reason for Facebook and other Silicon Valley successes, then they already know GOP as the "most forward looking and the enlightened party economically."  And yet, all you advocate is casting the GOP as anything but socially-liberal... If Geithner doesn't come out with heavy regulation of VCs, isn't your entire argument lost?

You seem incredibly unwilling to target the second half of that characterization. All the GOP is these days is an ignorant, intolerant party of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh etc.  Add to that list Patrick Ruffini, I suppose.

I could not agree with you

I could not agree with you more. GOP is supporting and innovation, its really unfair to blame them when you are not too sure about what is going to happen next. However, you could have mentioned that this is a hypothesis only.

 Brown - DUI Attorneys | Catering Equipment

I suppose Government is being

I suppose Government is being the problem himself, Government would obviously no longer be invisible when it came to raising capital for your startup. Car Games

Actually BUDDY, both the

Actually BUDDY, both the DEMOCrATS and REPUBLICANS support big business. Look at Obama, he bailed out just as many banks as George Bush! The entire Stimulus package is one big bailout for all of the democratic party's buddies. Dumb banks failed while smart ones survived, just as poorly managed game companies sunk while MMORPG games like World of Warcraft thrived because of good business policy

The GOP supported big

The GOP supported big business generally, hard money (i.e., the gold standard), high tariffs, generous pensions for Union veterans, and the annexation of Hawaii. So they are innovative, but being the problem themselves does not hide their success. bad credit loans

Interesting but Questionable.

 This is an interesting column, but a lot of the analysis is questionable.  Firstly, there's a consistent odd trend -- to at once blame Democrats for stifling private enterprise at all turns, and then try to reward Republicans for private enterprise. Imprudent deregulation of industries has caused problems just as imprudent regulation of industries has cause issues. Given that incentives for individuals, the managing boards, and their company's actual shareholders are not always aligned it's important to ensure the proper balance is reached. 

So, it's fairly interesting that you would also use Silicon Valley as a topic, and give credit only to Reagan, when the industry in general is due to strong investment in basic science research that is funded by U.S. tax payers trhough DoD, NIH, and NSF grants -- and due to legislation allowing the commercialization of research from public funds -- allows better smoother transfer from publically funded research into private for-profit enterprise.  This public research occurs largely at large institutions that are constently derided by the Right as "liberal Ivy tower," "elitist" etc. 

Beyond the fact institutions that are constantly derided by the Right, there is the is the So-con// / "crunchy con" denigration of both science, science education and science funding -- the same funding that generates not only the basic research, but the research grants that allow scientists to gain the skills necessary to invent the core technology in next Google, Cisco, Tesla a well as increase the suppority of our military.

As a result, Venture Capital is an important part of the picture, but that is FAR FAR FAR down the list of important items, by that time, in this day and age, the core technology has likely spent a decent amount of time in the lab (4-5 years, and is likely patented or patent pending). It is only in the software / Internet community that Venture actually arrives sooner (is this Internet opportunity "solely" due to Gore's perserverence to commercialize the Internet?).

So, back to the Venture portion, the problem is that there is a need to look forward at different investing strategies -- Hedge Fund, Private Equity Funds, Venture Funds have been blurring the lines on investment strategies for years.  So, the problem is less that historically well performing venture funds will look to lever-up, it is more that Private Equity funds and even Hedge Funds will try to re-classify themselves and move downward in the investment cycle; however, use the same leverage / financial engineering techniques.

As a result, it makes a lot of sense to standardize that all private capital pools register, and do the reporting.  However, that argument is far different from the culture of science, scientists and engineers.

Until the GOP expands its view on science and funding science research its doubtful the actual venture technologists -- the one's creating the technology will move over to the GOP side. As far as the finance side, well with all the pools of capital -- financing is becoming easier and easier.

 

ok, I liked Reagan...

but to say he or his tax policies had anything to do with the success of Apple or Microsoft in the 80s is just hyperbole. Those companies thrived due to innovation and marketing, in the case of Apple, or by riding the back of an established industry brand (IBM), in the case of Microsoft.

Apple was the cool computer, and IBM's licensing is what make Microsoft rich. Tax cuts had very little to do with what made those companies successful.

And, to be frank, the PC technology was ripe to explode. If not those two, then it would have been other companies that had their success.

 

One more thing...

Venture Capital actually THRIVES on government protection and regulation -- particularily non-software areas. 

More of the same

Another post saying that the GOP need only continue what it's been doing, and sooner or later those people will start to wise up.

Still, the people look ready for another Perot rather than another Dole.

That is to say, that most people would prefer a palatable alternative to an unpalatable one given a choice. 

wrong wrong wrong

Ruffini packs a mess of BS into those paragraphs.  I'm guessing some VCs hired him to write this drivel, or maybe its a job application.  Advice: learn before you write -- it makes you look better.

1. Reagan was not that popular in Silicon Valley.  Cupertino and Sunnyvale always went for the other guy, to say nothing of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View.  People there saw Reaganomics for the cynical lunacy it was.  Social liberalism wasn't the point.  As you say (the only thing you get right), they are more concerned with money and technology than, say, abortion rights.

2. The financial regulation  that is scaring silicon valley is carrying stock options as liabilities on balance sheets.  Anyone who reads the San Jose Mercury would know that.  The more pressing regulation right now is visa quotas.

3. VC money is hard to get right now because of the Bush recession/depression that was caused in large part by inadequate inforcement of existing regulations by the do nothing "show the world government is the enemy" Bushies.  Silicon valley will welcome anything that makes the economy and VC money more stable, including more regulation.

4. The other thing Silicon Valley had against Reagan was his refusal to apply anti-trust laws to Microsoft, despite their blatant anti-competitive violations.  Remember, Microsoft is not part of Silicon Valley.  It's up in Seattle.  Clinton because instantly loved from Atherton to Morgan Hill when he tried to enforce anti-trust laws.  Bush was instantly scorned when he scuttled the case.

Actually

Reagan carried Santa Clara county twice, by ten points in 1984 and by 13 points in 1980.  In fact, Republicans carried the county in 1960, and 1972-1984.  It wasn't until 1992 that the 20+ point Democratic blowouts began.

this feels beside the point to me...

as silicon valley didn't really get big until the bubble hit. am I wrong on this, and did programmers really take up most of the demographics there, in the 80's?

yes, you are wrong on this

San Jose and Santa Clara

In the 80s most residents of Santa Clara County were not in the technology business.  In 1980 you could buy a house in San Jose without competing with a dot com yuppie. 

  There is a serious point to

 

There is a serious point to this, and one that should be dramatized for the candidates running for RNC Chairman: the Internet is not just blogs and Twitter. New media is a big world -- from websites, to e-mail lists, to fundraising, to online advertising, to search engine optimization, to GOTV applications, to internal databases, to APIs, to YouTube, to mobile, to emerging platforms like iPhone/Android, and yes, to social media. Done wrong*, creating a Twitter account and holding a few blogger conference calls is the lowest cost form of engagement and can be a fig leaf for continuing business as usual in other parts of the  organization. The hard part is integrating new media in everything the cheap logo design organization does, using it to transform volunteer recruitment, or open a new eight and nine figure revenue stream. Those are the big challenges the next RNC Chairman needs to be worrying about.

Moore's Law, not Reagan's tax policies

The Reagan tax cuts removed government as an obstacle to progress, helping make possible the era of Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook.

What rubbish. Moore's Law, not Reagan's tax cuts, is the reason for the success of Silicon Valley.

Have you EVER met a real entrepreneur - not a mere tax planner - who said "I've got a really kickass idea, but I'm going to sit on it until the top marginal rate is reduced"?

presidential worship

I don't get this particular fixation. No one credits Teddy Roosevelt with the invention of the airplane or the Model T, nor George Washington with the cotton gin.

Yet somehow conservatives would have you believe that Reagan was responsible for everything good in the 80s (he single-handedly ended the Cold War!) and liberals would have you believe the same for Clinton in the 90s (he singled-handedly balanced the budget!)

I mean, the reality is that Clinton was a weak liberal and Reagan was effectively senile during his last two years in office. These guys were not the gods they are made out to be.

 

Intel was founded in 1968

and therefore I hold up LBJ as the paradigm example of a President who understands business.

hey! i'm the token liberal

and I say that Reagan won the cold war. All By Himself.

By almost pushing the entire world to nuclear destruction... but hey, we won didn't we?

Reagan gets held up because to a lot of folks he was somehow a hero for doing that -- and Republicans are unified around "Foreign Policy Strength"

Clinton? Liberals are sick and tired of folks screaming Dirty Pinko Commie Scum -- and he presided over a good economy where people in general got better.

Blaming anti-Americanism on

Blaming anti-Americanism on Bush ignores the fact that Europe and the United States have been drifting apart for years.  Without the common enemy of the Soviet Union to drive us together our differences have become more pronounced.  Check out "stationery logo design" by Robert Kagan.  He does a good job hilighting the areas of disagreement that stretch back much further than the current administration.

hey! i'm the token liberal

and I say that Reagan won the cold war. All By Himself.

By almost pushing the entire world to nuclear destruction... but hey, we won didn't we?

Reagan gets held up because to a lot of folks he was somehow a hero for doing that -- and Republicans are unified around "Foreign Policy Strength"

Clinton? Liberals are sick and tired of folks screaming Dirty Pinko Commie Scum -- and he presided over a good economy where people in general got better.

Ronald Reagan

... invented the smile, and was personally responsible for the four-leaf clover.

Days full of sunshine also marked Reagan's presidency.

 

Your missing the point

I have worked as a senior executive in a large public software company in Silicon Valley for 15+ years.  I think you are dramatically missing the point.  The rejection of the Republican Party by smart people in the high tech industry has actually nothing to do with economic or regulatory policy.  Frankly, the parties are not (despite the way they are perceived by the right) very far apart on this.  The rejection of Republicanism has a lot more to do with a massive cultural divide between the leadership of today's Republican and right wing cultural leaders and the ethos of silicon valley.  

(1) We value intelligence, data, analysis--hyper smart people are responsible for the great innovations here.  The Republican party (and talk radio, etc) has a massively anti-intellectual bias and mocks intelligence and "expertise" (eg. See Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, etc.).  This is never going to fly here.  It is toxic. 

(2) Just about everyone I know in positions of influence in the Valley are basically libertarian when it comes to how you live your private life. Republican desire to fight culture wars that restrict freedom, and legislate their view of "morality" is deeply alienating. Not just the hot button issues of gay rights and abortion (though these are key of course) but all aspects of using the government to control what we do, think, and how we relate to others in our private lives is (in my point of view) *the* central focus of the Republican Party circa 2009. Republicans will never win back the leaders of Silicon Valley until they give up on their anti-freedom campaigns and return to being a party that values individual liberty. 

They are also libertarian when it comes to their money

And the Democratic Party is anything but.

So your position is basically

So your position is basically that you believe the Silicon Valley crowd is so devoted to worship of the almighty buck that they'd embrace the GOP just for certain regulatory and tax policies even if that also means embracing the GOP's anti-education, anti-science, anti-personal freedom policies, and its characterization of them as not 'real' Americans? 

 

 

'What's the Matter with Silicon Valley'?!

 

Looks like this blog entry is Patrick Ruffini's Right wing version of What's the Matter with Kansas.

While the Right plots to "win back" Silicon Valley, they may have to give back the South(guns, gays and god) in exchange, and pray that their conservative ecomomic policies are somehow smart and much better than the dems and thereby win back the average silicon valley voter who has a broad world view on economics and the interdependent society s/he lives in than just being a mere pocket book voter . And the Right can have Holly Wood as well as a bonus if they play their clueless cards well.

 

Not just that but also short sighted

So your position is basically that you believe the Silicon Valley crowd is so devoted to worship of the almighty buck that they'd embrace the GOP just for certain regulatory and tax policies even if that also means embracing the GOP's anti-education, anti-science, anti-personal freedom policies, and its characterization of them as not 'real' Americans?

A good summary, acinphx. In addition, he is also saying that they are so short-sighted that they will trade in short term personal gain - a few percentage points off their top rate of tax for a few years - for the long term health of the overall economy - upon which their livlihoods depend. In other words, all those massive brainboxes in San Jose won't notice who f***ed up the economy, so long as they are promised a tax cut.

Good refinements

Current GOP strategy seems almost entirely built on the assumption (or hope?) that no one will think further ahead than next week when a shiny new tax cut or deregulatory scheme is dangled in front of them. 

Ruffini's argument also seems to assume Silicon Valley has no political influence with the Congressional Dems or the administration.  Come again?  Is anyone here naive enough to think that Silicon Valley doesn't have enough influence in D.C. to help shape regulatory or tax policy as it affects high-tech?  The idea that they'll sit idly by for the next few years or get the cold shoulder from Obama and Pelosi to an extent that they're driven into the arms of the current incarnation of the GOP, is pretty hard to take seriously.

Return On Investment

Does the term "Return On Investment" mean anything to you?  Because Silicon Valley isn't going to remain devoted to Democrats if they continue to make it harder and harder to get those returns.  They are not doing what they're doing for charity.

Meanwhile, maybe you could step back and re-examine some of the mindless stereotypes you parrot (e.g., anti-education, anti-science, anti-personal freedom).  In fact, I bet a lot of Silicon Valley will be doing that over the next few years as taxes rise and the Obama administration makes it harder and harder to get a decent return on investment.

anti-education and anti-science

...Are pretty accurate descriptors of the current right wing of the GOP.

Wasn't there just some video of a tea party recently where someone said they should pull our kids out of colleges and burn the brainwashing evolution books?

 I think maybe we need to start a litmus test for "anti-science"... do you acknowledge the common descent of life on this planet (i.e. evolution)? If not, you are anti-science.

Republicans are moving in the opposite direction

I think maybe we need to start a litmus test for "anti-science"... do you acknowledge the common descent of life on this planet (i.e. evolution)? If not, you are anti-science.

The GOP is heading in the opposite debate - remember the primary debates? The show of hands for who believes in creationism? The You Tube debate where the questioner wanted to know which candidates believed in the literal truth of every word in the bible?

Do you think the GOP is anti-Defense too?

Ask yourself this question then - can all the high-tech weapons systems, generally favored by GOP politicians and opposed by Democrats (with some exceptions on both sides, of course) be designed and implemented without educated people who are well-versed in science?  Would missile defense be possible with a bunch of uneducated boobs who were against science?  How about the F-22, any stealth aircraft, new submarine designs, advanced targeting systems, spy satellites, advanced communications system?  How would any of those defense systems be possible without highly educated people who were more than merely competent in science?  And which party is it that is more likely to fund those systems?  How do you square that with your insistence that the GOP is anti-science and anti-education?

The whole evolution vs. creationism thing is nothing more than a tempest in a teapot used by justify your preferred stereotype of the GOP being anti-eduction and anti-science.  Yet it's a stereotype that's easily refuted.  If you are as dedicated to science and more generally, logical thinking as you would profess, perhaps it's time for you to reconsider your own  willingness to hold such a stereotype.

As an aside, one could also argue that the Democrats are far more anti-education than the GOP in light of the fact that they are utterly and completely beholden to the teacher's unions, who are far more concerned with protecting incompetent and unqualified teachers than they are with educating students.

oh, ok

 

So GOP is the party of science when it comes to mass destruction and warfare. Granted. But not so much in teaching evolution, stem cell research, supporting reneweable energy research, protecting the ecosystem etc.

 

And yet ....

... evolution is pretty much taught in every public school in the country, despite coming off of 8 years of a Republican president who had a Republican house for six of those years and a Republican senate for four of those years.  How the hell did a GOP that his hell-bent on not allowing evolution to be taught miss that one?

And hey, if you were so concerned about embryonic stem cell research all this time, you were free to fund it on your own.  You know that, right?  You weren't entitled to federal funding, but many scientific advances are made without federal funding.  So how come you and everybody else that thinks embryonic stem stem cell research was the magic bullet for a host of cures didn't line up to fund it out of your own pocket?  Why did you insist instead on waiting for a federal handout?

Nobody's stopping anyone from doing research into alternate energy either.  Perhaps you should consider whether the alternate energy you support is economically viable.  And may be you should consider whether the Democrats you support are wililng to put their money where their mouth is on that one - e.g., as when the Kennedy clan opposed a windmill farm that would have obstructed their view at Martha's Vineyard.  So much for their commitment to alternate energy.  So much for their commitment to protecting the environment as well.

Becasue school boards are locally controlled.

. evolution is pretty much taught in every public school in the country, despite coming off of 8 years of a Republican president who had a Republican house for six of those years and a Republican senate for four of those years. How the hell did a GOP that his hell-bent on not allowing evolution to be taught miss that one?

Becasue school boards are locally controlled.

Exactly

You're right - boards are locally controlled.  Thus, all of the hemming and hawing over schools teaching creationism vs. evolution has virtually nothing to do with what the GOP does on a national scale.  And it's apparently not affecting that debate much on a local scale either.

Thanks for reinforcing my point.

When Palin and Huckabee and Jindal endorse

When Palin and Huckabee and Jindal endorse creationism it demonstrates that they are not sufficiently intelligent to be president, and it repels sane people from the party.

evolution is pretty much

evolution is pretty much taught in every public school in the country, despite coming off of 8 years of a Republican president who had a Republican house for six of those years and a Republican senate for four of those years. How the hell did a GOP that his hell-bent on not allowing evolution to be taught miss that one?

 

I am 'convinced' with  your logic that GOP is not anti-science. By the same token GOP is not pro-life either. LOL

 

__

Louisiana Coalition for Science

The repercussions that were expected from the Louisiana legislature’s passage and Gov. Bobby Jindal's signing of the creationist 2008 LA Science Education Act have begun. Louisiana taxpayers and schoolchildren are now reaping what the legislature and governor have sowed[...]

The kind of publicity that Gov. Bobby Jindal brought to Louisiana by signing the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), a stealth creationism bill, is the kind that the state could well do without. The December 2008 issue of Scientific American, the country’s most respected science magazine for the educated public, calls the attention of the entire country to the fact that Jindalignored his Brown University biology professor, Dr. Arthur Landy, who publicly requested that he not sign the bill. (Prof. Landy’s appeal was only one of many. See here and here.) In “The Latest Face of Creationism in the Classroom,” Glenn Branch and Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education use Louisiana as the prime example of the creationist strategy of disguising their agenda in legislation such as the LSEA: “Creationists who want religious ideas taught as scientific fact in public schools continue to adapt to courtroom defeats by hiding their true aims under ever changing guises.” Why did they use Louisiana as the prime example? Because we are the prime example—thanks to the Louisiana Family Forum, the Discovery Institute (the LFF’s partner in this sorry episode), the Louisiana legislature, and Gov. Jindal. [...]

 

you don't understand science

If you are as dedicated to science and more generally, logical thinking as you would profess, perhaps it's time for you to reconsider your own  willingness to hold such a stereotype.

 

Why should I do that? All you have done is reinforce it. You think building advance weapons and being knowledgeable about scientific matters makes you pro-science.

Science is not a cafeteria where you can pick and choose which theories are valid based upon their utility. The fact that you dismiss the point about evolution is just evidence of that.

The vast majority of people who discount evolution do so based upon religious objections, not because they feel there is legitimate scientific debate over it's plausibility. Those people are anti-science, even if they know how to use Twitter. That's why it's a good test.

How many Republicans in that debate admitted that they didn't believe evolution? It was a national embarrassment (or laughingstock, depending on your political leanings), and the fundies in the GOP are simply too ignorance to realize their own backwardness on this issue.

 

How have I reinforced it?

I've said nothing in support of creationism or against evolution, so how have I reinforced your stereotype that the GOP is anti-science?

The Republicans in the debate of which you speak were just politicians running for office, doing what politicians do.  But as I mentioned in another post, virtually every public school in the country teaches evolution and few if any teach anything about creationism (certainly not that it's an established fact), even after the last 8 years of a Republican president, with six years of the Republicans controlling at least one house of congress.  If the Republicans are so hell-bent on eliminating the teaching of evolution from the schools, then how did that occur?  Why didn't the Republicans put forth a bill that prohibited the teaching of evolution and/or mandated the teaching of creationism? 

Again, this is just a tempest in a teapot.  You and others seize on that one peice of "evidence", dubious as it may be, to reinforce your comfortable belief that Republicans are anti-science while ignoring all of the other evidence that runs counter to your view.  Who's not being logical or scientific now?

BTW, you do know that Isaac Newton was devoutly religious, don't you?  Would that make him anti-science as well?

"how have I reinforced your

"how have I reinforced your stereotype that the GOP is anti-science?"

By implying that simply understanding the utility of science (i.e. using advanced weapons), means that you are pro-science.

"If the Republicans are so hell-bent on eliminating the teaching of evolution from the schools, then how did that occur?"

It occurred because of courts protecting the schools. The GOP panders to the evangelical vote, so they either support or look the other way when fundamentalists try to get their religious beliefs taught as science... the Dover case occurred during Bush's administration.

However, being anti-science is not just about evolution. I said that would be a good litmus test. When the Bush administration edited studies on climate change because they disagreed with the recommendations, that was also being anti-science.

BTW, you do know that Isaac Newton was devoutly religious, don't you?  Would that make him anti-science as well?

Like I said, comments like that just reinforce my opinion. Being religious does not make you anti-science. Charles Darwin was religious. Albert Einstein was spiritual. It's not the religion, it's the dogma. Being dogmatic is completely incompatible with the nature of science, and that is a common characteristic of many religions.

 

Orwell would be proud

"how have I reinforced your stereotype that the GOP is anti-science?"

By implying that simply understanding the utility of science (i.e. using advanced weapons), means that you are pro-science

The point is that the examples I gave are absolutely dependent on advanced scientific knowledge and competency that goes well beyond the norm.  It's ludicrous to even suggest that people that promote something that is utterly dependent on scientifice knowledge would somehow be anti-science. 

It occurred because of courts protecting the schools. The GOP panders to the evangelical vote, so they either support or look the other way when fundamentalists try to get their religious beliefs taught as science... the Dover case occurred during Bush's administration.

It is interesting that you mention the Dover case.  Now, as an aside, before you accuse me of being anti-science, anti-evolution, or pro-ID, let me put it on the record that I am none of those.  I'm agnostic, believe in evolution, and do not believe in ID.

There are some interesting issues raised by that case.  One of them is that Darwin's theory is just that - a theory.  It is not proven by any stretch of the imagination, and someone would proclaim themself as pro-science, even you have to admit this.  A theory that is proven is no longer a theory, but rather a scientific law.  Second, it is well known that Darwin's theory of human evolution has some significant gaps in it.  Yet if someone even mentions those two points about Darwin's theory, they are immediately branded as some anti-science nutball, regardless of their views on Darwin, evolution, creationism, or ID.  It's gotten to the point where it's no longer politically correct to even question Darwin, much less point out that his theory is flawed.  This, among many of the left, is called being "pro-science".

However, being anti-science is not just about evolution. I said that would be a good litmus test. When the Bush administration edited studies on climate change because they disagreed with the recommendations, that was also being anti-science.

And what about when James Hansen fudges temperature data for global warming studies?  What about when it's pointed out that much of the GISS data was based on monitoring near artificial heat sources, thereby skewing the data?  What about data showing that global temperatures have been on the decline for the last decade?  What about clear evidence that the Earth has undergone numerous warming and cooling cycles long before the Industrial Revolution ever began?  You don't seem so concerned with those things.

There are numerous grounds and plenty of good scientific reasons for questioning the evidence of whether temperature changes are the result of human activity or occur independently thereof.  Yet in this day and age, to even raise such questions is to be branded as "anti-science".  The irony is, it's usually done by people like you who want to call others out for being dogmatic. 

I guess all science is equal, but some science is more equal than other science.

Einstein would not be proud

"One of them is that Darwin's theory is just that - a theory.  It is not proven by any stretch of the imagination..."

For real? You don't even understand a fundamental term of scientific discourse, so you might want to save your Orwellian ad hominems for a topic you're more familiar with.

"Just a theory"

In science, a theory trumps everything - it is even better than facts. Because in science, the word has a very specific and special meaning. Anyone who says "Darwin's theory is just a theory" betrays that they know nothing about the scientific method.

thirteen28: "One of them is

thirteen28:

"One of them is that Darwin's theory is just that - a theory.  It is not proven by any stretch of the imagination..."

This statement shows a depth of ignorance that is breathtaking.

"Theory" is a word that common usage has been butchering, lately.

Check this out:

Yeah. The reason for talking about the law of evolution is so that we can throw anyone who disagrees with it in jail. Just like we do with the law of gravity, or the laws of thermodynamics.

There are two reasons for using the term "Law of Evolution" - one scientific, and one political. The scientific reason for talking about a law of evolution is because the term "evolution" covers a bunch of different things, among them:

  • The process of evolution: that is, the specific observed process(es) by which evolution occurs, including mutation, natural selection, and drift;

  • The fact of evolution: that is, the direct and indirect observations of the results of process of evolution, both historical and experimental in the laboratory;

  • The law(s) of evolution: that is, the rules that describe the observed processes of evolution.

  • The theory of evolution: the scientific theory that is derived from observations of the facts and process of evolution, and from which the law(s) of evolution are derived.

The political reason is because cranks from places like the DI constantly criticize evolution by saying it's "just a theory" - trying to play on the common misunderstanding of what the term "theory" means to make it appear more speculative than it actually is. The "law of evolution" is a law in exactly the same way as "the law of gravity" or "the laws of thermodynamics": all are rules derived from well-validated theories with volumes of evidence. Referring to it as a law is a response to the silly rhetorical trick of playing on the word "theory" to suggest uncertainty.

http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2007/03/lets_arrest_the_discovery_inst.php

When you have an explanation for some events that can lead to predictions, you have a hypothesis. If your hypothesis has lots of good evidence supporting it, then it becomes a theory. Evolution, the Big Bang, gravity, thermodynamics, relativity, and all that good stuff qualify.Common usage, however, places "theory" at the level of any crackpottery, or vice versa. Intelligent Design, for example, is not a theory. It's not even a hypothesis: It doesn't explain anything, nor does it make predictions.Evolution, on the other hand, can make predictions accurately enough for use in practical applications. If you want to overturn an existing theory, you have to come up with a theory that makes even more accurate predictions (Like relativity did to Newtonian physics, though they're still accurate enough to remain useful for our low-speed purposes) and accounts for the existing data.Of course, your hypothesis has to be falsifiable. ID doesn't explain anything because it could be used to explain everything: Design flaws are attributed to imperfections, higher purposes we can't comprehend, etcetera. Anything to excuse the designer from all the monkey wrenches that end up in our internal works.

The reason that the public believes it when cranks dismiss evolution as “just a theory,” it’s because they have no idea what scientific theories are. Scientific theories are generally the highest form of scientific knowledge, backed up by enormous quantities of evidence to the point where they are accepted provisionally and operationally as “true” because of their usefulness and predictive power. That’s not to say that they are “true” or “truth,” just that they are so well supported and so useful in their predictive value that they behave that way.

Unfortunately, many don’t understand this and still equate a “theory” with a “hunch.”

 

you have more patience than I

I have engaged too many people in supposedly rational discussions about some scientifically-related topic only to have them slip up and expose their lack of depth on the topic. I actually once had a discussion on physics deteriorate into someone arguing that since imaginary numbers don't exist, any theory using them was based on fiction! OMG teh stoopid it hurts.

"Just a theory" is one I've seen far too many times with regards to evolution. When I see it now, I just walk away to avoid wasting any more of my time. 

in Pa, we actually legislated based on

politician who didn't understand imaginary numbers...

(citizens're only responsible for paying for Real Power, not the time displaced nature of it. corporations are responsible for paying for the time-displaced nature, which is why they have huge capacitor banks...)

yeah, it is a collossal OY!

You prove my point

You have proven my point.

The transitional fossil record is not complete.  No doubt it has improved drastically since Darwin's time, giving significant support to the theory of human evolution.  But it's still not complete, and that's what separates the theory from a law, such as the law of conservation of energy and its various derivatives in thermodynamics, electric circuits, etc.  Yet even raising that point was enough to set you off into a dissertation of why ID is BS, a trouble you could have saved yourself if you had read the parts of my previous post where I stated on the record that I do not believe in ID. 

One can acknowledge deficiencies in a theory while still believing in its underlying premise.  As someone who would presume to lecture others about scientific methodology, you should be the first to agree with this. 

I see you spent some time on Wikipedia this morning.

I see you spent some time on Wikipedia this morning. Nevertheless, you are still exposed for the numpty that you are by your previous comments.

No. I don't. While you regurgitate wingnut talking points...

 

The transitional fossil record is not complete.  No doubt it has improved drastically since Darwin's time, giving significant support to the theory of human evolution.  But it's still not complete, and that's what separates the theory from a law, such as the law of conservation of energy and its various derivatives in thermodynamics, electric circuits, etc.

 

Take the second law of thermodynamics; it's the tendency of physical systems to evolve toward states of higher entropy. (The first law is of course the familiar conservation of energy.) The basis for the second law is simpe satistical reasoning: there are more ways for a (closed)system to have higher entropy (or less ordered), and "more ways" means it is more likely that a system would evolve into one of these high-entropy configurations. But  this is not a law in conventional sense. Although such events are very rare and unlikely, something can go  from a state of high entropy to one of lower entropy.  When you toss up a random stack of loose pages of a book into the air and then collect them into a neat pile, they can turn out to be in perfect numerical order. You wouldn’t want to wager a high bet on its happening, but it is possible. It is also possible that the the dispersed carbon dioxide molecules from you open Coke bottle can bump and jostle just enough to move in concert and swoosh back into your drink. Don’t hold your breath for this outcome either, but it can happen. And while you may be holding your breath,  it is also possible that the wave functions of all the oxygen molecules in your room can collapse on the dark side of the moon leaving you breathless without a choice.

Your understanding of a scientific law and a scientifc theory is flawed.  Einstein's E=MC*2 comes from Eintsien's special theory of relativity, not a law, even after it has been confirmed by the exploding nuclear bomb. Take the theory of Evolution, sure there are gaps, but so are the gaps in Quantum Field Theory, but like evolution it is a well validated theory. Sure you cannot go back in time and test evolutuon or watch million of years of evolution taking place in you lab, but so is the field of astrophysics and much of particle physics. Evolution is not a conventional law simply because there are elements of randomness and mutations that cannot be predicted with 100% certainity. Just as, you have laws of electromagnetism and the universal law of gravity but there are no laws of quantum mechanics (only the quantum filed theory, and btw QM is very well validated, just as Evolution in biology .)