Libertarian John Stossel writes
This year is the 10th anniversary of a book called “The Republican War on Science.” I could just as easily write a book called “The Democratic War on Science.”
Oh yes, that’d be the one by Chris Mooney. Wasn’t he the fellow who claimed that the big shill for 99% DNA identity beteen humans and chimps terrifies creationists.
Hey, we still get Darwin followers in the combox, insisting on that stat. What mainly terrifies us is their simplemindedness.
They can’t seem to absorb the fact that the more they claim that chimps are exactly like people, the less they are credited with providing useful information. We know that’s not true by the most elementary observations.
I would regard a study that “showed” that Mars is more habitable than Earth in the same way. What would “terrify” me is simply the knowledge that people who could believe that would help make public policy.
I feel the same way about the remaining defenders of “junk DNA.” They don’t get it that the Age of Darwin is coming to an end among intelligent people, overwhelmed by information that doesn’t map onto their cozy little grid. (Take heed, Darwin’s followers can still legally destroy careers! And it will be decades before anyone who watches Airhead TV finds out.) Anyway, Stossel:
The conflict conservatives have with science is mostly caused by religion. Some religious conservatives reject evolution, and some oppose stem cell research.
But neither belief has a big impact on our day-to-day lives. Species continue to evolve regardless of what conservatives believe, and if conservatives ban government funding of stem cell research, private investors will continue the work.
Stossel has got quite a few things wrong here, but I will leave that to readers. He goes on to note:
By contrast, the left’s bad ideas about science do more harm.
Many on the left — including a few of my fellow libertarians — are paranoid about genetically modified organisms. These are crops that have DNA altered to make them grow faster or be more pest-resistant. The left calls that “playing with nature” and worries that eating GMO food will cause infertility, premature aging and a host of other problems.
The fear makes little scientific sense. There is no reason to think that precise changes in a plant’s genes are more dangerous than, say, the cross-breeding of corn done by American Indians centuries ago or a new type of tomato arising in someone’s organic garden. Nature makes wilder and more unpredictable changes in plant DNA all the time.
Stossel should go ahead and write that book; it is much needed. One could buy gift copies for Christmas for Whole Foods friends.
The reality is that all science claims that are held without good evidence degenerate into mere politics.
Oh, and then there’s the Islamic State on women in science:
“They claim that most important knowledge is the worldly one and that the only true knowledge, Shariah, is not a knowledge! Because of this, a woman studies these worthless worldly sciences in the farthest mountains and the deepest valleys. She travels, intent upon learning Western lifestyle and sitting in the midst of another culture, to study the brain cells of crows, grains of sand and the arteries of fish! But that the ummah is saved, generations righted, and the flag of Islam raised,” states the document.
The document nonetheless claims that a woman cannot raise her children if she is “illiterate or ignorant,” so ISIS has designed a special educational program for women. From ages 7 through 9 girls should learn Arabic, religious studies and science (accounting and natural sciences). From 10 to 12 they should learn more religious studies, especially those related to women and those concerning marriage and divorce, as well as continuing on in Arabic and science.
G’bye Jane Goodall, Barbara Mcclintock, Lynn Margulis…
Science subordinated to strictly religious politics could be even more benighted and less likely to achieve anything.
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