Who Knew "Anti-Reflexivity" Could be, Uh, Interesting?

By Chris Mooney | August 28, 2011 5:16 pm

I called it a war on science, some academics call it anti-reflexivity–either way, I thought this video was pretty entertaining and also informative:

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Conservatives and Science

Comments (3)

  1. Nullius in Verba

    This seems to be one of those cases where technical terminology is being used to obscure rather than clarify what it going on.

    Reflexivity in science is the property of being related to oneself, and in social sciences it is used for circular causal relations where each factor causes the other in a feedback loop. This can lead to self-sustaining phenomena, self-fulfilling prophecies, cascades, and multi-stable states.

    However, this article isn’t talking about reflexivity, it’s talking about reflexive modernisation. It’s called “reflexive” supposedly because it opposes the previous modernisation, (which suggests that the authors didn’t know what the word actually meant). It is used to describe what might more properly be called demodernisation – the movement for blocking, dismantling, and reversing the science and technology of industrialisation.

    It includes the anti-pesticide, anti-GMO, anti-nuclear, anti-chemical, anti-radiation, anti-exploitation, anti-urbanisation, anti-population, anti-industry movements of the protestors. It’s all that stuff about organic vegetables and sustainability.

    I think the expression “war on science” is quite apt for that, don’t you?

  2. TerryEmberson

    Nullius in Verba, thank you for that summation. I haven’t been able to get into the paper yet and with an essay due this week on a completely unrelated topic, I think I’ll wait until later.

    As modernization has been the single greatest force in broadening human rights and human quality of life, including the ever-important ‘freedom from fear’ that drives the modern progressive movement, you’d think that there would be greater strife between the anti-modernization crowd on the left and the progressives.

  3. Susan Anderson

    I’ll stick with the facts, as represented in the video. The fan club for obscurantism is full of words but they are not truthful. Actions have consequences. Whitewash is whitewash. Lies have been told, and people misled. It’s hardly worth the trouble but I hope anyone who still hasn’t bought this carefully slanted response will respect themselves by taking a good hard look at the real world, not a plausible sounding apologia for buying (and paying for) the power and influence of our influence peddlers for a sadly dangerous status quo. Anyone, for example, who buys Monckton’s nastiness is not listening properly.

    Of course, they will use this as a springboard to continue to multiply these misleading arguments. Luckily it seems nobody is paying much attention.


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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs.For a longer bio and contact information, see here.


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