On TVO's The Agenda with Steve Paikin, yesterday's topic was "The Anti-Science Left" and it starts off with a quote from my book with Dr. Alex Berezow, called "Science Left Behind", about the feel-good fallacies that anti-science progressives (and science media pundits who have to defend their political positions) use in order to claim to be on Team Science...but in reality are engaged in the scientization of politics.

It starts off with super-skeptic (and guest columnist here) Michael Shermer, who does what a skeptic does; he sees anti-science where it is and doesn't buy into claims that science registers as a Democrat. Then Paikin moves on to Mark Lynas, a one-time anti-science progressive who learned how science works and then learned to stop denying science, and finally science journalist Chris Mooney, self-proclaimed liberal and author of "The Republican Brain" who contends that even if the left has some anti-science positions, the right is still worse.

I don't agree with everything they said - I think the problem is more dangerous than they do, that's why I wrote the book. The hard left's anti-science positions are far more problematic because they revolve around food, energy and medicine, which are pressing concerns right now and will be for the rest of the 21st century. The hard right is against evolution - which is annoying but isn't killing anyone - and disagree about the severity of global warming. Hardly in the same ballpark. Evolution denial among the left, for example, is a few percentage points lower than on the right, so no Democrat can legitimately claim their party is more pro-science about that than Republicans, but 52 out of 55 members of Congress who petitioned the FDA to put warning labels on GMOs are Democrats.  That's not 'bipartisan' the way evolution denial is. The progressive anti-science threat is institutionalized, it is monolithic, it is mainstream and it is dangerous.

That said, I enjoyed watching three smart guys, all excellent communicators, arguing over points we made in the book. It's worth your time, even if you don't agree with me (or them):

It's better for science acceptance, and science itself, that science not be regarded as part of a political machine. Scientists can't be unbiased, nor can they be totally impartial, but if scientists recognize that one party is not on their side - and that is the case - and the other is not against them - also the case, it is better for everyone involved. Scientists may be liberal but science is a libertarian endeavor for the common good and people will regard it that way once again if science media stops promoting the myth that science registers one way.