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Democrats and Liberals Engage in Science Fiction, Too

Brett Davis

Posted on November 12, 2018 14:18

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Democrats and liberals fancy themselves champions of science against evolution- and climate change-denying Republicans and conservatives. This myopic view, however, obscures the fact Democrats and liberals should remove the plank from their own eyes before castigating those on the right side of the political aisle as anti-science.

It’s an article of faith among Democrats and liberals that the Republican Party and conservatives are anti-science. Democrats, naturally, see themselves as defenders of science and the scientific method against the Republican Party and its troglodyte adherents who deny evolution and climate change.

Now, it is true some Republicans do discount the theory of evolution, often for no other reason than they are shockingly ignorant of the science of biological evolution. It is also true that some GOP politicians dismiss climate change science in its entirety by labeling it a hoax.

Believing they are safely ensconced in their own house of rationality – which turns out to be made of glass – Democrats often throw stones at what they consider to be their scientifically-dimwitted Republican colleagues. On a slew of other issues, however, it’s Democrats whose views are out of alignment with the scientific community.

Both President Obama and Hillary Clinton have in the past at least flirted with the unsound idea that vaccinations cause autism. In 2005, leading anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. published a piece in Rolling Stone and Salon.com on the supposed dangers of a certain chemical then used in flu shots.

The article contained several factual errors, resulting in Salon.com eventually retracting the piece. Rolling Stone’s response was less emphatic, but could hardly be viewed as a ringing endorsement of the article.

On the issue of hydraulic fracturing, it’s Democrats who tend to believe there is a link between widespread groundwater pollution and fracking. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders came out strongly against fracking. Hillary Clinton less so, although she did pledge to essentially regulate fracking into oblivion. Nevertheless, actual science has debunked the notion of fracking causing massive pollution of underground water, as you see here, here and here.

The anti-GMO folks who worry about Frankenfoods tend to be from the left side of the political aisle. It’s Democrats who dominate the push for labeling GMO foods to create the perception there is something wrong with GMO foods, even though the scientific evidence – see here and here – doesn’t support that notion.

When it comes to nuclear power – the only competitive energy source with almost zero carbon emissions – Democrats are more identified as being virulently against this option than Republicans. One of the challenges with nuclear energy is the storage of byproduct waste. In 2011, the Obama administration halted the development of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository program for what the Government Accounting Office called strictly political reasons.

Bottom line: Republicans and conservatives who clash with science on the hot-button issues of evolution and climate change have been greatly exaggerated in many cases (but certainly not all), while Democrats and liberals generally get a pass for their own scientific shortcomings. Science left behind indeed.

Brett Davis

Posted on November 12, 2018 14:18

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Source: Forbes

Where is the line between skepticism and bias in science? Some perspectives from the worlds of science and psychology.

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