We all know the American right’s relationship with science is… complicated. On the right, creationism and global warming denial abound. You hear claims that the Earth is only 6,000 years old and homosexuality is a treatable disease, those sorts of thing. Scientific American’s new article points out the left also enjoys using science only when its convenient.
There is more, and recent, antiscience fare from far-left progressives, documented in the 2012 book Science Left Behind (PublicAffairs) by science journalists Alex B. Berezow and Hank Campbell, who note that “if it is true that conservatives have declared a war on science, then progressives have declared Armageddon.” On energy issues, for example, the authors contend that progressive liberals tend to be antinuclear because of the waste-disposal problem, anti–fossil fuels because of global warming, antihydroelectric because dams disrupt river ecosystems, and anti–wind power because of avian fatalities. The underlying current is “everything natural is good” and “everything unnatural is bad.”
Whereas conservatives obsess over the purity and sanctity of sex, the left’s sacred values seem fixated on the environment, leading to an almost religious fervor over the purity and sanctity of air, water and especially food. Try having a conversation with a liberal progressive about GMOs—genetically modified organisms—in which the words “Monsanto” and “profit” are not dropped like syllogistic bombs. Comedian Bill Maher, for example, on his HBO Real Time show on October 19, 2012, asked Stonyfield Farm CEO Gary Hirshberg if he would rate Monsanto as a 10 (“evil”) or an 11 (“f—ing evil”)? The fact is that we’ve been genetically modifying organisms for 10,000 years through breeding and selection. It’s the only way to feed billions of people.[Emphasis mine]
This article shines the spotlight on issues where I’ve had to alter my views based on new evidence; environmental issues are particularly important to me. However, to be intellectually honest, we must put aside our preconceived notions and respect evidence. One cannot berate a global warming denier for ignoring climate science while one ignores science on GMOs.
There is no such thing as ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ science. There is no ‘western’ or ‘eastern’ or ‘American’ or ‘Chinese’ science. Science cuts through culture, identity, theology, and ideology.
We must base our opinions on the best evidence available. Science provides that evidence, and we must respect it even when destroys our most cherished beliefs.