When anti-science eco-terrorists threatened to destroy a plot of genetically modified wheat at the government-funded Rothamsted agricultural research station in their "Take The Flour Back" campaign last spring, the backlash against them was swift. Anti-science progressives who have counted on liberals quietly enduring them in common cause for decades suddenly found that was no longer the case. Liberals had enough of being dragged into the anti-science mud on energy, medicine and food, three of the most vital issues facing the world. Meanwhile, the right wing was now only denying global warming, making them look absolutely rational and enlightened by comparison.
A few months later, French activist Gilles-Eric Séralini released a paper claiming GM food caused tumors in rats. Science turned on his suspect methodology and he refused to show any data and the work was quickly debunked.
In November, after spending their way to an early lead in polls, the anti-biology movement in California, manifested in California's Proposition 37, collapsed when critics noted that the new law couldn't be fixed by the legislature and was not actually helping anyone. Even Californians thought their position was too fringe.
Then last week Mark Lynas, environmental activist and award-winning author most famous for throwing a pie in the face of Bjorn Lomborg, said learning about the scientific method to understand climate change showed him he was wrong for illogically claiming scientists in every other field were out to kill the planet. He issued a mea culpa and apologized to the poor people his claims hurt and the public he scared with his anti-GMO stance. It wasn't a huge surprise. Last year, he wrote in "The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans" that nuclear power should be a green option, which had to have concerned his brethren mired in their anti-science ways.
Keith Kloor writing at Bloomberg is cautiously optimistic but doesn't think decades of cultural distrust of science by the anti-science left is going away. Well, that's okay, they can stay anti-science. The problem was that pro-science left has been apologizing for their progressive crackpots and only finding anti-science positions among people on the right, which undermined acceptance of science by all of the public, who began to think science academia was just another weapon in the political culture war.
Anti-science people, left and right, are uniformly social authoritarians as well. They rely on force of law and the Scientization of Politics to reach their goals. The veneer of science is just a costume they wear to appeal to moderates in science.
But as we are seeing, that Emperor has no clothes.
Keep up the good work, science.
Greens on the Run in Debate Over Genetically Modified Food by Keith Kloor, Bloomberg
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