Really, that is what everyone in science media should do, but Pielke is one of few progressives who ridicule both sides when they say stupid things.
In a recent blog post he tees off on the announcement by Chris Mooney of his new book, "The Republican Brain". I didn't think much of it when Mooney made the announcement (he was kind enough to link to my piece outlining that the left has as many anti-science kooks as the right, though I know he doesn't agree) but 2012 is an election year and the Democratic party needs him so we all knew a book was going to come out, there was just no point in thinking about it until it was done.
Pielke has thought about it and his concern seems to be that the public will think Mooney knows what he is talking about, given his positions in the science establishment. He links to two snippets, one from Mooney's days at Discover and the more recent one at a progressive political site:
and Pielke writes, "Gee, with an understanding of the "real, scientific reasons" behind such a disability perhaps scientists might develop some sort of medicine or gene therapy for "Republicanism."""[T]here might be a combination of genes acting together that somehow predispose us to have particular politics, presumably through their role in influencing our brains and thus our personalities or social behaviors ..,"Mooney promises to explain:"[T]he real, scientific reasons why Republicans reject the widely accepted findings of mainstream science, economics, and history—as well as many undeniable policy facts."
Yup, he is hinting Mooney wants eugenics for Republicans, which has to make you chuckle.
Pielke then concludes:
In all seriousness, if you want to know something about the pathological politicization of science in the US, consider that Mooney (who holds a bachelor's degree in English, and is probably a swell guy) is on the Board of Directors of the prestigious American Geophysical Union and is frequently hired by the National Science Foundation to teach scientists how to communicate.I think it will make the book a best seller. Mooney may not know science but he knows his market and if he writes a book that matches their confirmation bias and world view and makes them feel science-y, they are going to eat it up.
I wonder how well telling half the American populace that they are genetically/psychologically/mentally inferior will communicate?
In fairness, I think the pathological politicization of science is a lot less now than in 2006, when Chris wrote his first book 'poisoning the Republican well' and hinted at how extra intelligent Democrats are just by checking that box on the voter registration form - traditional science media lost the trust of the public around that time because they became cheerleaders or specialized in 'framing' complex issues to match their agendas instead of providing science context for the audience but most of those kooks are gone from mainstream jobs and the science media that are left after the shake out are pretty darn good.
Plus, the clamor for a science site that actually wrote about science led to the creation of Science 2.0, where people can get smarter even if they are Republican or religious and just want to learn science without enduring another salvo in a culture war. So, thanks 2006.