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    The Left Is More Anti-Science Than The Right Unless The Right Is More Anti-Science Than The Left
    By Hank Campbell | September 30th 2011 01:56 PM | 32 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes...

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    Question: Quick, what is the fastest way to make the term "false equivalence" appear?

    Answer: Contend that whatever side of the political spectrum the person you are talking to is on is more anti-science than the other side.  Or even equal.

    The Left is More Anti-Science than the Right 

    Ken Green, writing in The Enterprise Blog, recently endured this go-around when he claimed the left had its anti-science kooks too.   What was the response?   Well, the usual, like that PETA is not anti-science, they simply have 'moral' positions that disagree with science.  Huh???  A decade ago when some Republicans had 'moral' positions on human embryonic stem cell research, they were anti-science.  How is it different?  hESC research has yet to benefit a single human whereas animal testing has literally made all of modern medicine possible.  Willingness to dismiss the anti-science of the same side is simple rationalization, we could even call it "like voter bias", so while Green engages in nuances about Republicans denying 'some aspects of evolution' his left-wing counterparts can claim not standing up kooky environmentalists and animal rights people is not acceptance of anti-science in their ranks, it is acceptance of allowing their intellectual freedom to be all anti-corporation-y.  It's basically Sweet Lemons Equivalence.

    Green's response list is much funnier, especially his bit about 'if the media reports that Republicans are more anti-science, they must be more anti-science'.   The progressive bias of science writing is the big white elephant in the media room but only two people acknowledge it. Maybe three.

    Yet he found that if you point out that the overblown partisan nature of these claims the derision and scorn erupt, especially since dissing Republicans is a cottage industry in science media.  It isn't solely in science, of course.  Joe Nocera at the New York Times says Solyndra isn't a scandal at all, just wholesome capitalism at work - despite the fact that Solyndra got government rates a percentage point lower than other companies, which is not capitalism, the government subordinated taxpayer debt to billionaire venture capitalists, which is not capitalism, the IRS bypassed their own policies and gave the company a pass on the laws the rest of us must follow, which is not capitalism, and then Energy Secretary Steven Chu personally made the decision to keep giving them taxpayer money after they had already defaulted - apparently the fact that one of the investors was a key Obama fundraiser was just coincidence.   No scandal? If a Republican had done that?  No, funding a known technology failure and calling that a fundamental aspect of basic research is 'advancing science' when a Democrat does it, despite the fact the CIGS technology isn't new at all and it was never viable and the government should not be in the venture capital business anyway.

    Green can defend himself, and does, though his responses will be unsatisfactory to the partisan people after him, including those scientists who wanted to believe partisan rhetoric.  It's just sort of funny to see his critics demanding a standard of evidence when 'Republicans are anti-science' is evidence they happily accept without qualification.  Green has a Master's Degree in genetics and a Ph.D. in environmental science so seeing him called anti-science by Chris Mooney, whose science credentials are writing a book saying all Republicans hate science, is as funny as Knight Journalism Tracker's Paul Raeburn declaring a similar piece by Dr. Alex Berezow invalid because a Google search found Berezow wrote a guest piece for National Review once - which makes him an evil conservative and therefore invalid to Raeburn.  Does a scientist have to forfeit his Ph.D. if he disagrees with the progressive manifesto? 

    The Right Is More Anti-Science Than The Left

    Science 2.0 fave Phil Plait, the rightfully legendary Bad Astronomer, takes the "Republicans are anti-science" tack as well, though he has more credibility than the political bloggers dabbling in science that responded to Green, so he gets to represent.  Love ya, Phil!

    His contention is that the most dangerous anti-science of the left, things like being anti-vaccine and anti-GMOs, are not core tenets of the Democratic party, which would seem to imply that being skeptical about global warming is a tenet of the Republican party and that no candidate can get elected disagreeing with that - sort of like abortion for Democrats is - yet I have never seen it in a campaign platform.  Barack Obama himself claimed concern about a link between vaccines and autism in 2008.  Does he think that now?  I certainly hope not.  But there is also no Republican campaigning on a platform against hESC research yet that same tired argument gets dragged out over and over, even in 2011.   No Republican objected to stem cell research for three decades but their leader limited federal funding of hESC research to existing lines - partisans spinned that it was banned, a blatant lie, and ignored the fact that the law that limited hESC funding was actually signed by Democrat Pres. Clinton.   Partisans don't like specifics, they prefer vitriol, but it brings back the question, why is PETA simply taking a 'moral' position when they are against science while Republicans are simply labeled anti-science?  GMO foods have not caused so much as a single stomachache in a decade of use, we could feed the world easily using science, but the ranting against evil scientists and invoking "Frankenfood" is invariably left wing and no Democratic candidate stands up to them or gets media attention for not denying them.  Republicans are held to an artificial standard on that one.

    Greenpeace, a leftwing group, claims scientists are to believed when it comes to global warming yet are out to kill us when it comes to food.  Phil dismisses that irrationality as "anti-corporate"  and not anti-science, the same way other anti-science positions are dismissed as 'moral' and not anti-science - it is rationalization and therefore terrible logic.

    In 2008, the partisan Science Debate 2008 group (which I endorsed anyway - they put science in the name) didn't ask either candidate about evolution.   Their important question vital to public understanding of candidate science positions that made the list instead of evolution in schools?   Fish hatcheries.  Who was on that panel determining what fundamental science questions to ask? Chris Mooney, who literally wrote the book contending Republicans are anti-science.

    Why would a panel of people so learned in controversial science and political positions leave out the most controversial of all, evolution?  Because the answer from both candidates would have been exactly the same, and that was unacceptable in the goal of framing Republicans as anti-science, so they picked safe questions, like about global warming, and then completely useless ones like about fish hatcheries.  Only 16% of Americans agree with the statement that evolution is solely science - no religion, just atheist science.    That's a lot of Democrats who do not accept evolution.  In 2008, they could not risk having candidate Obama look anti-religion, so ScienceDebate carefully picked their questions to make one guy look bad and one look good.  

    Phil likes Chris Mooney's article on equivalence but had it been written by someone he didn't agree with politically in advance, he would have noted there was no data, just dismissal of anti-science positions on the left as trivial.  And that's the problem; those kinds of articles are written by true believers for true believers, the kind of echo chamber thinking that supposedly only happens with Republicans.

    Phil lays down the gauntlet and says if you are a pro-science conservative, you need to 'talk to your leaders' to shuck off the stereotype progressive political writers have invented and continue to perpetuate about their opponents - I would argue that is like telling black people they should talk to their leaders about changing so they can shuck off the claims of the KKK.  I live in California so there aren't many Republicans (though we have Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer and Maxine Waters and thus plenty of kooks who do for the left what Rick Perry does for the right) yet I haven't found one who takes Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann seriously or regards them as a 'leader' and I don't know any Republicans who are anti-science. I can accept my self selection bias in a way progressive political pundits cannot and accept that an anti-science Republican would get goat noises made at them the same as an anti-science Democrat will, so they likely avoid me.

    Phil does not say Democrats need to stand up to their crazy people on the left who undercut equality in academia or promote real danger in their anti-vaccine positions, like he does Republicans. Why not? Evolution denial is a concern but it isn't endangering children's lives like vaccine boycotts do.  Why not demand Democrats stand up to their leaders and make them call out the anti-science hippies in their midst?

    Phil does make a good point at the end of his piece that I have often made; there was a time when the right was far more pro-science than the left.  It isn't simply that the right has been taken over by crazy people, though those that exist are certainly being pumped up by the media, it's instead that the political demographic of science shifted wildly to the left.   As a result, it's safe for Republicans not to stand up to Young Earth Creationists because it makes no difference; scientists are not voting for a Republican no matter what.   Ronald Reagan gave the greatest defense of basic research that any president has ever given and Pres. George W. Bush boosted NASA after a decline during the Clinton years and doubled funding for the NIH - but he was still labeled anti-science for taking the same kind of 'moral' position Mooney and Plait say is legitimate for PETA and others.

    Likewise, Democrats do not stand up to their anti-science kooks because it would make no difference.   People on the left can rationalize that all they want, but it is still just rationalization.

    So who wins?  Is the left more anti-science than the right or vice-versa?  There is no way to find reliable data for this but we kind of know because we are all in science media and know the audience and read a great deal.  If I am submitting a 68% confidence interval answer based on experience, the left will have more anti-science positions than the right but the right will have more anti-science people.  Whichever side you regard as a greater threat is largely a matter of your personal preference.

    Agree? Disagree?  Either way, I know how you vote.

    Comments

    I've thought the left was as anti-science as the right for a long time. They are different about it in different ways. The right, speaking from my own experience, seems to get it's anti-science mostly from heaven and carbon fuel based economy interests. Thus, complete dismissal of AGW concerns and grass roots efforts to bring creationism into science class. But they love media technology and the control of large segments of entertainment programming. They like space science, as it relates to military advantage and communications. And they seem to be just crazy in love with political science, which they're extremely good at. The left likes trendy nutritive claims, alternative medicinal options, spiritual energy, is dubious of any research by, for or about corporate interests. That includes vaccines, non-natural food production but many still like their cigarettes. They can tell you all about your chakras and and energy levels and astrological pre-determinations but they don't know anything about the electromagnetic energy spectrum, and ALL radiation is bad. They also like such fruits of science like media, cell phones, cars and bicycles. What the two sides seem to have in common is what they don't understand about science as a whole, how it works and can how it it's designed to self-correct, over time. Neither side has ever really cared about it and their curiosity about it has been nourished with french fries (yet another artifact of science). By that I mean trendy dramatic psuedo-science, spiritualism or religious dogma.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Wow, nicely put rootsmusic. Got any good roots music links to also share here?
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Well, thank you, Helen. And, since you ask about roots music links, I'll blow my horn a bit. The link attached to my moniker goes to my website which promotes my rootsy music CD. WTJU.net is where I am host of Walking Blues every Sunday at 9pm ET, a pallate of other folk, old-time,, jazz and classical also streaming live 24/7. Also, try just searching on 'old-time music' at youtube.com. Check out the Clifftop links for some great videos from the Appalachian String Band Festival. Enjoy.

    I would add on more comment to get back on topic. The left is as anti-science as the right because and for the same reasons that the right is as paranormalist and superstitious as the left. To each their own favorite flavors, and it doesn't take a scientist to take advantage of the fruits of science, however guided or misguided politically people may be. Enjoy those music links.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    To each their own favorite flavors, and it doesn't take a scientist to take advantage of the fruits of science, however guided or misguided politically people may be.
    Again very nicely put rootsmusic and thanks for the links, I will definitely be checking them out. I will also tell my 86 year old father Peter Murray Scott who has played the clarinet in a trad jazz band most of his life and who has written an educational and free to download ebook called 'Deconstructing Jazz'. He's always complaining about Australian radio choice and will probably enjoy your live, 24/7 streaming, he also collects and is compiling a large database of the lyrics and music of obscure as well as popular, trad jazz music.

    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Your father sounds like an interesting guy, Helen. I downloaded Book1 and I'll be having a look at it. Please extend my sympathies to him if he's living in a radio outback, so to speak. WTJU is a listener supported college radio station under the auspices of the University of Virginia. I'm one of numerous musicians and serious audiophiles who have volunteered long term to program and host interesting shows. They who thirst for good radio give us purpose.

    Stellare
    I knew you'd had to balance or respond to Phil's article! :-) I occasionally visit Phil's blog and I happened to see his political 'manifesto' the other day. And I immediately thought of you Hank! You must have achieved something with your writing here on Science 2.0. hehe

    For a non-American coming from a dreadful SOCIALIST COUNTRY, there isn't really a left or right wing in the US, just plain right. Observed from this perspective it seems rather like a non-political issue then. It is more cultural statements than political colors that are revealed.

    I wouldn't know whom to vote for in the US. ;-)





    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    Hank
    But you make a great point.  When people who wanted to be convinced were convinced things would be so much better in 2008 I said they were not going to change.   It's belief (or irrational optimism) that changes but the actual government does not go left or right more than a few small degrees.

    We are still at war, Guantanamo Bay is still open, hESC research using federal money is still limited.  It's no different than 2004 and one side can't be blamed since the other had not only a majority on Congress, but a veto-proof majority.

    I'd go for socialism at this point.   I already pay European taxes and free health care would be nice.
    When you posted this were you expecting your *wish* to come true?? (free healthcare....) Although it just means those who pay taxes already will just being paying more. (I'm not accusing you of really wanting that, I've read plenty of your comments throughout this site).

    Hank
    The ruling was better than I expected.  The Supreme Court finally established some limit to the commerce clause and it could roll back 70 years of goofy laws.  I was certainly happy to let government nationalize health care for the reasons I said - it would be worse for American self-image but better for poor people.   Army soldiers cannot sue Army hospitals if anything goes wrong so costs would plummet unless lobbyists for lawyers put in a loophole to let people sue the government if the government gave the people free health care and it was bad.

    I'm tickled that they are denying this is a tax, though.  They are hiring thousands of new IRS employees to collect a 'mandate'?  That makes no sense.  And if this survey is not crap a whole lot of doctors will quit.  But it won't matter, activists who said there would be no drop in quality coverage are now laying the groundwork to shuffle poor people off to community health centers, by claiming those are just as good as visiting a doctor's office.
    Shortly after the ruling I was slightly optimistic too, but then other factors started to weigh in. While there was a limit set on the Commerce clause, a new avenue was opened up. The Constitution is clear in declaring what taxes are, and what kinds of taxes Congress could set...a penalty was not one of them. So Roberts essentially practiced judicial activism, but that's another argument for another place.

    As you said, if many doctors leave the profession, there are going to be less doctors at a time of an influx of new patients (granted, not every citizen will visit a doctor at the same time, but the potential is still there), and I can't imagine that our current quality of care that we've grown accustomed to (those of us that receive quality care) won't suffer. And I'm not sure if you're aware of the many "exemptions" written into this law. If I can find the link, I'll be happy to share that if you're interested. As this is a science site and not political, I don't want to intrude with my brand of preferred discussion too often.

    Here's a nice synopsis of a few aspects that can be considered regarding this ruling: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230356150457749652001139529...

    **a potential of there being too many patients and not enough doctors...not the potential that all citizens will visit all doctors at the same time...just to clarify :-)

    MikeCrow
    One of my employers us to gave us free lunch, most of us commented that we got what we paid for.
    Never is a long time.
    Hank
    That's why I use the restaurant chef analogy; the government can promise 100 million families a personal chef and say it will be just as good as the high-end restaurant ones only the rich can afford - but what they get will be a teenager from McDonald's because there just ain't that many chefs.
    Gerhard Adam
    Personally, I'm not convinced that any of these positions are actually anti- or pro-scientific in any meaningful sense of the word.  Those in favor aren't necessarily supporting these positions for scientific reasons, just as those opposed to them aren't.

    As a result, I think that the overwhelming majority of these opinions are based on cultural and political values rather than scientific evidence.  Scratch the surface of the anti-AGW arguments and you find economics.  Scratch the surface of the anti-GMO arguments and you find anti-corporate sentiments.  In neither case, does science appear to be a factor except in trying to lend credence to one side or the other as being more "scientific" and therefore more "correct".

    Similarly, we toss around labels like "capitalism", "socialism", and even "communism" as if we have the slightest idea of what any of these mean beyond the propaganda we've absorbed regarding various countries we do or don't like.  In most cases, the average American can't actually differentiate the meanings between "communism" and "totalitarianism", so such discussions are also fundamentally useless.

    Overall, the political climate in this country has virtually nothing to do with the well-being of the nation or its citizens.  It's simply degenerated into a mindless power-grab that doesn't even pretend to offer solutions to problems any longer.  Rather it's just become a means of advancing populist agendas.  Needless to say, you can gather that my opinion is that if any problems actually get solved by the political leadership in the U.S., it will be more by dumb luck than intentional act.


    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Gosh Gerhard, you really have a wonderful way with words and I almost totally agree with you, except for where you say 'Scratch the surface of the anti-GMO arguments and you find anti-corporate sentiments' yes you do but also you find some very genuine scientific concerns too.  
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Actually, I would expect that any scientific topic would have some legitimate scientific concerns, but when it comes to the general dialogue, I believe most of the expressed sentiments are not scientific.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    Both "it's anti-corporate, not anti-science" and "it's moral, not anti-science" can be applied to virtually any position. I basically agree and if that litmus test were uniformly applied to all sides by science media, there would be no need to write articles on the topic.  But it isn't applied uniformly, it is a defense for positions of people that happen to vote for the same side.
    Gerhard Adam
    My only disagreement here is that I don't believe the media involved is anymore scientific than any other media source.  Therefore, the terms are used to fuel political agendas and have little to do with science on either side.

    While I understand that you're suggesting that scientists also accept these arbitrary distinctions, I still don't view them as particularly scientific, but rather a reflection of individual political bias.  For that reason, I'm reluctant to even consider such positions as "anti-science" rather than simply referring to them for the political agenda they do support.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Really appreciate your lucid take on this, Hank. Thanks. I wonder, however, if you're argument might be futher clarified by distinguishing between "science" and "technology" where the latter is the application of the former, and more dependent upon the guidance of values. My feeling is that the right IS rather anti-science and very much pro technology, regardless of possible negative consequences--and the left is pro-science and very much anti technology, regardless of possible negative consequences of that stance. Then again, overgeneralizations abound, don't they.

    Hank
    That's a great point.  If I were arguing against Bush's science efforts, for example, I would argue that his increases for NASA and the NSF, etc. were out of desire to advance military technology and not science for the good of science in the way most scientists practice it - for love of creative knowledge and the public good.  I can argue either side because I am not working for partisan groups, like those guys are (except Phil - Discover is consumer science, not a political site).  Basically, Science 2.0 is politically agnostic in a way few others can or will be.

    Framing is the cancer here and most of the people I was writing about were doing plenty of it; they crop their own party kookiness out and then center on the kookiness of the opposition. I keep hoping that, like pet rocks, framing becomes enough of an anachronism we can identify it by the decade in which it was cool (2000s) but it keeps creeping back into the discourse even now.

    Anyway, I agree, and your take is as succinct a distinction between them as any and it explains the goofy Greenpeace-ish "we trust scientists on X but they are evil on Y" mentality better than being 'moral' or anti-corporation rather than anti-science.
    How refreshing for someone to actually look at the facts. As a conservative scientist I find it laughable that the "left" feels we are anti-science, especially when they tout predictions and estimates in promoting global climate "science" yet, demand hard numbers for anything that might be of "moral issue" to the "right. I am in the process of writing a non-fiction workktext on polar bears for elementary students and just finished a review of the polar bear population statistics in North America - it didn't take long, don't worry. There are only a handful out there and they all (2) clearly state that evidence supports an increase in populations when looking at direct capture methods, while ice melt causality is iffy at best, but their best "predictions and estimates" CLEARLY point to extinction in 50 years. THAT, is SCIENCE? And don't even get me started on Darwin - I'm not a Creationist, but please. Darwin's "theory" isn't science - the man was clueless as to what actually caused traits to be inherited form one generation to the next. In physics and chemistry we throw out the old all the time, we move one, and we move forward. But in biology we hang on to aging, unscientific, never proven "theories" because the secular left is threatened by anything that might suggest life has a purpose.

    Hank
    In defense of Darwin, I think not having access to genetics made him that much more brilliant.
     In physics and chemistry we throw out the old all the time, we move one, and we move forward.
      Physics does not throw out old ideas like Newton's, it augments them, and so it goes with biology. Evolution is a framework that helps us understand the world according to natural laws, just like chemistry does. Chemistry can't explain everything but it is a roadmap.

    I'm not surprised biologists still admire Darwin, I am more surprised critics of biology attack him; who spends time debunking Freud?  Who spends time debunking Henry Ford because he didn't build a modern car?  Yet a lot of people fix on Darwin and don't consider that, for his time, he was...well, way ahead of his time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Your comment regarding Darwin seriously misses the boat.  Darwin never proposed a mechanism for inheritance and recognized this particular deficiency in his theory.  However, Darwin's theory was NOT about inheritance.  Instead, it was a general explanation regarding how natural selection operates against organisms so that changes (i.e. evolution) occur.

    It also seems that you're a bit reckless in pronouncing that physics and chemistry "throw out" theories all the time.  This clearly isn't the case, and demonstrates a somewhat cavalier attitude towards the formulation of such theories and the role they play in scientific development.

    I do find it interesting that you want to rant about what is "scientific" and close your comment by arguing for a religious interpretation.  After all, why else use a term like "secular" unless you want to contrast it with a religious viewpoint.  So, despite all your other claims, I can clearly see exactly what your agenda is.
    Mundus vult decipi
    vongehr
    Congratulations Anne, you could not have made the point about "conservative scientists" being mostly clueless about science any better. 10 points.
    J. Anne said:"Darwin's "theory" isn't science - the man was clueless as to what actually caused traits to be inherited form one generation to the next. "
    So, by that reasoning, Newton's Theory of Gravity was not science - the man was clueless about Relativity! Euclid's Geometry was not mathematics, the man was clueless about non-Euclidean geometry, not to mention n-dimensional spaces.
    As a conservative "scientist", by what scientific reasoning do you assert life has a purpose? Quoting scripture is not science, so don't go in that that direction. A text that asserts its own veracity and asserts that it cannot be falsified by any technique is not valid in any scientific sense, despite its emotional and spiritual value.

    Anne,

    I think i smell logical fallacies. I'll try to point some out.

    Being that the article above is about the left being as anti-science as the right, I'm not sure what "secular" has to do with anything or how it gets to be associated with your ad hominem, you're attacking arguers, but not arguments, that the left is somehow afraid of a purposeful life or by virtue of being left they are caricaturized as both secular and afraid of a purposeful life.

    "As a conservative scientist I find it laughable that the "left" feels we are anti-science, especially when they tout predictions and estimates in promoting global climate "science" yet, demand hard numbers for anything that might be of "moral issue" to the "right."

    The overwhelming weight of "hard numbers" is at least there for global climate science. We certainly don't have to worry much about statistics of small numbers or inadequate sample sizes there. And I think it's safe to call "moral issue" an argument from authority, the non-secular kind.

    Whatever's clever. But,... this Christian thinks Gerhard's a genius. Hank aint so bad neither.

    Chris Mooney's and Phil Plait's points are silly on another level as well: Just because Democratic leaders don't openly endorse anti-science, left-wing beliefs doesn't mean those beliefs aren't influential. The obsession with organic food--a movement on the left-- has transformed how we eat. Whole Foods profits from this scam. The anti-vaccine movement has killed people. The opposition to nuclear power has blocked energy progress. Just because Democrats don't openly endorse these stupid ideas doesn't mean they haven't had a tremendous impact on our society already.

    Opposition to animal research is actually mainstream. It used to get near-universal support among Americans. Today, only about 50% of Americans support it.

    Eventually, after you get enough kooks together, the politicians will start to reflect those kooky beliefs. Remember, the Tea Party existed before there were Tea Partiers in Congress. And look at Europe: Anti-GMO is mainstream for Europe's politicians.

    Gerhard Adam
    Once again, I think many of these examples are overly simplistic in being branded anti-science.  While it is true that being anti-evolution isn't particularly important in setting policy, it is one of the clearest examples of a purely anti-scientific position there is.  Many of these other examples deal with technology and social policy rather than science alone.

    Just as an example, considering animal research; the problem is the view that too much animal research is frivolous and involved in little more than limiting liability for cosmetics manufacturers.  Therefore it's not surprising that many people are opposed to using animals to research mascara.  Similarly, as I've stated before, it is quite reasonable to be skeptical of GMO foods, when the people being asked to accept them don't need them.  This looks like it's a scam to allow greater corporate profits.  After all, if the intent is to feed the world's starving, then why peddle it to U.S. citizens and Europe?

    Similarly much of the issue with organic foods stems from the view that there are too many short-cuts taken by businesses to promote profitability rather than concern for people's health.  This is particularly clear when one hears people's views on the over-use of steroids and antibiotics in livestock and how these drugs enter the food chain.

    Even though I disagree with the anti-vaccine perspective, it is clear that many attitudes have originated from the same premises.  Time and again, corporations have demonstrated their interest in profits outweighs their interest in people.  Whether it be the issue around Toxic Shock Syndrome, or Love Canal, or any number of other items.  Consequently it shouldn't come as a surprise that many people are increasingly skeptical.  However, these positions aren't anti-science as much as they are anti-business.  People's trust has worn thin.

    I'm not an apologist for the "left" or "progressives", and there's no doubt that there can be just as many strange and whacky views as from the "right".  However, most of the examples provided aren't a clear indication of being anti-science, and I believe that many of these positions do deserve closer scrutiny than the science alone and extend well into the technological implementation arena.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    At Reason Ron Bailey takes up the same arguments I made regarding the head scratching intellectual equivalence that goes into progressive political bloggers declaring false equivalence regarding the anti-science agenda of weird left-wing people who correspond to similar kookiness (though about different issues) on the right.

    Precautionary principle run amok?  Just policy, not anti-science, when left wing people do it.  Of course, if Republicans do it about giant economic seizures to fix one driver of climate change, they are anti-science.   Anti-vaxxers, overwhelmingly progressive, are not anti-science, they are just concerned parents.   Bailey has to rehash the hESC issue, because leftwing bloggers are stuck in the last decade (when was the last time anyone gave a crap about hESC research, 2006?) but otherwise Bailey's reasons are still topical; anti-science positions are ones where people dispute the consensus so if 80% of scientists are fine with nuclear power and 70% of progressives are against it, they are anti-science, plain and simple, not simply people who have 'distrust of corporations' or other rationalization mumbo-jumbo.
    Another great article! It’s so refreshing to see someone in the science media who tries to see through the sorry political rhetoric we are constantly bombarded with. If Chris Mooney and his ilk think that Republicans are mentally ill, then what does that make the 50.8% of Democrats who think 9/11 was an inside job: http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0411/More_than_half_of_Democrats_...

    Hank
    I hadn't seen that stat before - it's pretty funny.  Both sides have their cranks, that is clear, but which ones are more dangerous?  As I said, not believing in evolution has not killed anyone but not believing in vaccines most surely will.  I'm intrigued at who will 'stand up' to the plebians who think Bush knew about 9/11 and let it happen because Saddam tried to kill his daddy, or whatever that goofy rationale is supposed to be.