Sen. John McCain is getting blasted for comments he made on gun control yesterday.
Here's what he actually said:
I think we need to look at everything, if that even should be looked at, but to think that somehow gun control is — or increased gun control — is the answer, in my view, that would have to be proved.
And here is the conclusion from a 2005 National Academy of Sciences expert consensus report that examined the (voluminous) data on various forms of gun control:
In summary, the committee concludes that existing research studies and data include a wealth of descriptive information on homicide, suicide, and firearms, but, because of the limitations of existing data and methods, do not credibly demonstrate a causal relationship between the ownership of firearms and the causes or prevention of criminal violence or suicide.
Who is behaving more like a "global warming denier" here-- McCain or his critics?
The reaction to McCain is impressionistic proof--akin to pointing to the U.S. summer heatwave as evidence of climate change--of the impact of politically motivated reasoning of expert scientific opinion relating to policy-consequential facts.
If you demand rigorous proof (you should), take a look at the CCP study on "cultural cognition of scientific consensus." We present experimental proof that individuals selectively credit scientists as "experts" on climate change, nuclear power, and gun control conditional on those scientists taking positions consistent with the one that predominates in individuals' cultural groups.
Actually, I wouldn't criticize people for this tendency; it's ubiquitious.
But I would criticize those who ridicule a public figure (or anyone else) who says let's take a "look at everything" but demand "proof" before making policy.