Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shermer on liberal antiscience

Michael Shermer (whose column I used to fact check at Scientific American, thus making me as I liked to say a "skeptic's skeptic") has a Sciam piece now on "The Liberals' War on Science." The persuasiveness of Shermer's piece is not, to me, bolstered by his praise for Science Left Behind, a book I reviewed negatively here, but I think he's right to raise the oft-neglected topic of left-wing antiscience. Shermer is a self-described libertarian, and it reflects well on Sciam that it publishes his politically tinged columns (given that expressed political opinion on the Sciam staff is virtually uniformly liberal).

As usual, discussing the political antiscience subject provokes heated debates about who's worse, left or right. (See the comments at Shermer's piece, as well as at Justin Green's gloss on it.) My own view, about which more here, here and here, among other places) is that there are significant problems of science denial and disparagement on both left and right--and that the right overall is even worse than the left at the moment (given widespread conservative denialism on climate science)--and that these things have changed over time and will change again, pace claims about the "Republican Brain."

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