It's disrespectful and derisive, and that's all well and good because I love to be derisive and disrespectful to anyone who disputes my infallible wisdom. But it's inaccurate, which is unforgivable. If science media were even as politically neutral as, say, political journalism, being a trusted guide for the public on complex topics would be more important than sticking it to religion and Republicans - and as a result there would be no controversy, evolution education would not be a national issue at all. Instead we get the same old claims that one side is anti-science because only 41% of super-smart Democrats deny evolution but an alarming 49% of stupid Republicans do.
This whole business we witnessed recently of people in science media being shocked that a religious leader like Pat Robertson denies Young Earth Creationism only happens among simpletons who view people culturally different from themselves through a prism set firmly on 'stereotype' - on the right, it is people who think atheists are immoral or that gay people openly being jerks to the coach at their kids' soccer games will ruin America, and on the left it is people who think the 94% of the world that is religious or doesn't support 100% taxes is some sort of slack-jawed intellectually immature yokel.
Granted, anecdotes are not data but I have never actually met a Young Earth Creationist. I know they exist but I know lots of religious people inside and outside of science and I have just never come across one of the true crazies. However, living in California I have come across all kinds of anti-science atheists who are just as creepy and nuts as any religious zealot. Because I am not a science blogger who wants to be a political one, I am not worried about evolution - Young Earth Creationists can't even convince other Christians they aren't batty so they are not convincing the country to make a federal standard for education and include religion in the science curriculum. If we just ignored them, they would be patronized and disregarded as harmless cranks, like they are in every civilized country where people have more interesting things to talk about.
We saw the problem with American science media a few weeks ago when Marco Rubio waffled on the age of the Earth, preferring to parse theology and science separately, though nonsensically. He was, of course, heaped with scorn by the bloggers and writers who never actually read the responses of Democrats when it comes to science issues. Yet in 2008, as Daniel Engber notes in Slate, Obama had the same goofy answer to the age of the Earth question,
What I've said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that's what I believe. I know there's always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don't, and I think it's a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I'm a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don't presume to know.There is a reason that ScienceDebate 2008 did not include a question on evolution for the candidates and determined that the super-important fish hatcheries issue was more vital to the nation, despite the fact that evolution and global warming are supposedly the twin pillars of the anti-science right that make the left so distinct; an answer like he gave above would have made Sen. Obama look bad. Who in America outside Science 2.0 noted Sen. Obama's anti-vaccine pandering? No one I found, no one wanted to look. But when a Republican presidential candidate issued the same crackpot belief this past election, she was ridiculed. Michele Bachmann has hopefully faded gracefully into political invisibility but the Obama administration has actual power, so during the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic, when they refused to accept the science consensus embraced by Canada and even Europe and allow adjuvants in vaccines to boost immune response, or allow multi-dose vials because they contain a preservative (that anti-vaccine people believe causes autism), they caused real harm.
How many of the over 12,000 deaths and over 270,000 hospitalizations could have been prevented if anti-vaccine beliefs were not in the administration?
Well, none that can be proven, and that is the problem with claims about the right too; there should be a filter for skepticism and a standard for data and political agnosticism about the beliefs and crazy positions of both parties - instead we get 'even Pat Robertson has to agree' type statements, which is a way of continuing to insult religious people while engaging in self-puffery.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) went on a vaccine-autism rant against the CDC, which is far more dangerous than Marco Rubio hedging the age of the Earth, and then she goes on to use anecdotes as evidence just like Michele Bachmann.
Why aren't more people calling Democrats anti-science over this?