Yet this recognition that the left is anti-science in this decade has come from...liberals. Yes, liberals are friends of science and increasingly standing up to progressives. Social authoritarian progressives have painted themselves as liberals and it is only recently that actual liberals in science media have begun to notice they really aren't. Scientists always noticed, they just prefer to stay out of politics, but if you privately ask most scientists who is a direct threat to their job performance in academia, who bogs down science the most, they will describe fellow academics who are not interested in science, but instead political agendas. Science academia is 6:1 left (and far more lopsided in the humanities and social sciences) so it is obviously not Republicans getting in the way of science. There aren't enough of them.
Social authoritarian progressives (which is to say, all progressives, unless they are hipster liberals trying to be cool and edgy and calling themselves progressives) use the courts to impede and even block the opposition, like with power plants (including solar ones) and use well-funded public relations efforts to promote their anti-science fallacies about food and medicine.
Jeremy Bowman tackles that suppressive mentality in a recent piece, he just doesn't seem to recognize the common political trait they all share. He writes:
To stifle an opinion on the grounds that it is “unscientific” is backward, parochial, illiterate and illiberal. It is backward, because it is to do exactly what religionists do. It is a profoundly anti-scientific, authoritarian move to protect orthodoxy.Now, there are two ways to take this. Clearly this thinking spread in blanket fashion can be used to hijack science and bog it down in useless relativism about what is real science and what is not. I don't want to be told that unless I accept some new Theory of Everything by an engineer I am being illiberal. Progressives use that 'stifling' defense, along with the precautionary principle, to combat science all of the time. And scientists, primarily liberals, react to it and give their arguments more tolerance than they deserve. In many instances, these arguments have been debunked so many times they can't get a fresh hearing, so it is not stifling to dismiss them, it is saving time. In climate science, the skeptical and advocacy communities use 'nuisance' requests and lawsuits against each other and their rationale is always that they are blocking orthodoxy.
Bowman's context is primarily religion and why scientists should not let a minority of loud, militant atheists (and what trait will they share? It certainly is not liberalism, beyond faux use of the term) use science as a weapon in a culture war.
Bonus: He references Matthew Arnold’s “darkling plain”. Is he a Utopian idealist? Can rationality really work this way? I am skeptical it can. How much tolerance should science have for people who insist that the eye did not evolve or that if we can't prove genetically modified foods can never harm anyone, they should have warning labels? At what point are we dignifying or even legitimizing kooky anti-science arguments by addressing them seriously?
Regardless of where you mentally fall on the progressive/liberal (or perhaps, for 16% of science, conservative) scale, he condenses his concepts into easy-to-remember chunks of wisdom: Don't be backward, parochial, illiterate or illiberal. That doesn't mean you have to promote false balance for cranks either.
Words to live by.