Three professors from the political science department will speak in a presentation titled “The Science of Anti-Science” on Thursday, Oct. 13 for the next Science on Tap event sponsored by the Ore Dock Brewing Co. NMU professors Carter Wilson, Steve Nelson and Hanna Kassab, each with their own unique take on the subject, will have 10 to 15 minutes to present on the topic of why politicians feel the need to ignore and deny science.
The discussion is hosted by the NMU biology department and will start at 7 p.m. at the Ore Dock Brewing Co. located on 114 W. Spring St.
Science on Tap in Marquette started in January 2015 and has been held on the second Thursday of every month since then. It is primarily hosted by NMU faculty but it also invites members of the community to speak as well. Nelson, political science professor, said this is not the traditional Science on Tap. “The Science of Anti-Science” will use subjects of hard science to combat political stances that deny the scientific method.
“I was going to the Science on Tap events and I found them interesting but I also thought that there was room for something a little less ‘sciency,’” Nelson said. “To be honest, I think it’s great to have the October slot because we have an election coming up.”
Nelson will make points on current political issues using examples of politicians’ rejection of science due to conflicts of faith.
“We’re uncomfortable with changing our thoughts,” Nelson said. “So with things like homosexuality, the difference between the younger and older generation is drastic because [the older generation] is having a harder time changing these life-long beliefs that homosexuality was a bad thing—an abomination in some religions.”
Wilson, head of the political science department, will speak about relativism and the acceptance of verifiable scientific facts.
“Scientists will tell you that the Earth is several billion years old and that we can do carbon-14 tests of dinosaur bones and find out that they go back hundreds of millions of years. Scientists do this, yet there are people who still believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old,” Wilson said.
Many politicians ignore scientific evidence in the same way people ignore evidence of the age of the Earth, he added. For example, politicians ignore the majority of the scientific community when they deny climate change as a byproduct of human activity.
“I think some of the politicians may be genuine liars, but some of them really believe what they’re saying and there is a science to that. To me, that is the science of anti-science.”
Kassab, assistant professor of political science, will speak about how people make decisions based on personal attachments, including money.
“Politics is not a science per se —it’s more of an art. But we want to know why politicians ignore scientific evidence like climate change,” Kassab said.
Kassab will base his presentation off the second chapter of his book “The Power of Emotion in Politics, Philosophy and Ideology,” which looks at how decisions are made based on emotional attachments to things.
“It’s good to examine oneself,” Kassab said. “We have to understand that some of the decisions we make or some of the beliefs we have are not a product of our rational behavior, it’s really a product of our social upbringing—what we hold dear.”