The Right’s War on Science…Not!

John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) posts articles on his blog about environmentalism’s extremes and provides a bit of commentary as well. The first article in the post that I have marked was interesting because I keep hearing about this war on science, but when it comes down to it, there isn’t.

“For six and a half years under President Bush,” Senator Hillary Clinton told an audience in October 2007, “it has been open season on open inquiry.” Senator Edward Kennedy, in an April 2007 speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, bemoaned the many ways in which “the truth is taking a beating” under conservative influence in Washington. One popular recent book on the subject is entitled The Republican War on Science; another, by former vice president and Nobel laureate Al Gore, is called The Assault on Reason.

But beneath these grave accusations, it turns out, are some remarkably flimsy grievances, most of which seem to amount to political disputes about policy questions in which science plays a role. Ethical disagreements over the destruction of embryos for research are described instead as a conflict between science and ignorant theology. Differing judgments about the proper role of government in sex education in schools are painted as a quarrel between objective public health and medieval prudishness. A dispute about the prudential wisdom of a variety of energy policy alternatives is depicted as a clash of simple scientific facts against willful ignorance and greed.

The American right has no desire to declare a war on science, and nothing it has done in recent years could reasonably suggest otherwise. The left’s quixotic defensive campaign against an imaginary enemy therefore has little to tell us about American conservatives-who, of course, do have a complex relationship with science, though it is not the one the left seeks to describe. But if this notion of a “war on science” tells us little about the right, it does tell us something important about the American left and its self-understanding. That liberals take attacks against their own political preferences to be attacks against science helps us see the degree to which they identify themselves-their ideals, their means, their ends, their cause, and their culture-with the modern scientific enterprise.

I have heard the same things from Democratic leaning scientists whom I respect, such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, a noted astronomer. When asked the question at a forum in Los Angeles, he responded with, and I’m paraphrasing, there is no Republican war on science.

Read the whole first article.  You can read the second and third articles as well, if you want.


The Right’s War on Science…Not!

  1. Tom says:

    Thanks for finding these, Jeff. People are all agog over health care and what we have going on now is the politicization of reform. We need real reform. There is a great article in the Atlantic…sorry no URL. Smart people know what has to be done and how to do it, but our political leaders (both R and D) are so entrenched in dogma that they cannot do what is right. This is in the same league.

  2. Thomas says:

    Republicans have been most supportive of science. Healthcare reform as currently proposed ala HR-3200 is nothing less than a thinly veiled Democratic effort to utilize a emotionally hyped need as a political weapon (as was done with stem cell research) combined with appeal to crude class warefare to move our nation toward welfare state socialism. As currently proposed and advocated by the administration and left-wing liberal extremist, nationalization of healthcare in America would give the Federal government near total control of healthcare in our nation, the consequence of which would be a real and present danger to the economy of our nation and the future of taxpayers. Republicans have been most supportive of science. It may be that Republicans must wear the label of scientific obstructionism to drive a stake through the heart of this fiscal vampire that goes under the cloak of heathcare reform. So be it. Once upon a time, there were those who called our Founding Fathers rebels. History has seen fit to label them patriots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tags: ,