Nature Comments on Science Scorned By The American Right Wing

The most important issues in American politics are not the fights over a few percentage points in the marginal tax rate, or the silly arguments from the right wing claiming that Barack Obama is a Muslim. The most important distinction between left and right is support for science and reason or support for the anti-intellectualism of the right wing. Nature has weighed in on this:

There is a growing anti-science streak on the American right that could have tangible societal and political impacts on many fronts — including regulation of environmental and other issues and stem-cell research. Take the surprise ousting last week of Lisa Murkowski, the incumbent Republican senator for Alaska, by political unknown Joe Miller in the Republican primary for the 2 November midterm congressional elections. Miller, who is backed by the conservative ‘Tea Party movement’, called his opponent’s acknowledgement of the reality of global warming “exhibit ‘A’ for why she needs to go”.

The right-wing populism that is flourishing in the current climate of economic insecurity echoes many traditional conservative themes, such as opposition to taxes, regulation and immigration. But the Tea Party and its cheerleaders, who include Limbaugh, Fox News television host Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin (who famously decried fruitfly research as a waste of public money), are also tapping an age-old US political impulse — a suspicion of elites and expertise.

Denialism over global warming has become a scientific cause célèbre within the movement. Limbaugh, for instance, who has told his listeners that “science has become a home for displaced socialists and communists”, has called climate-change science “the biggest scam in the history of the world”. The Tea Party’s leanings encompass religious opposition to Darwinian evolution and to stem-cell and embryo research — which Beck has equated with eugenics. The movement is also averse to science-based regulation, which it sees as an excuse for intrusive government. Under the administration of George W. Bush, science in policy had already taken knocks from both neglect and ideology. Yet President Barack Obama’s promise to “restore science to its rightful place” seems to have linked science to liberal politics, making it even more of a target of the right.

Related Story: Anti-Science Friday: Demonic Possession Yes, Relativity No According to Conservapedia

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15 Comments

  1. 1
    Launce Rake says:

    It’s a huge and growing problem. The right wing doesn’t just reject evolution, climate change and evidence of massive environmental damage. It also rejects the Theory of Relativity and General Relativity. It is a full-on assault upon the reality-based community.
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Theory_of_relativity

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Yes, I had a post on that a while back. Fortunately Conservapedia is even more bat-shit crazy than most of the conservative movement, but even without this insane view of relativity there is a huge anti-science bias among conservatives.

  3. 3
    Brett Robinson says:

    RT @RonChusid: Nature Comments on Science Scorned By The American Right Wing #p2 #p21 #topprog http://bit.ly/bBUWC4

  4. 4
    MKS says:

    “The more thoroughly I conduct scientific research, the more I believe that science excludes atheism.” 
    - William Thomas, Lord Kelvin

  5. 5
    Ron Legro says:

    If conservatives deny Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, then they should immediately announce that if elected to the majority, they will decommission all US nuclear weapons. After all, nuclear and thermonuclear chain reactions were engineered into weapons and nuclear power plants based on Einstein’s theories, and, obviously, they don’t work. So why waste more money on them?

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    As it has now come up a couple of times in comments, I added a link to the previous post which looks at how some conservatives deny relativity but do believe in demonic possession must be possible because it is mentioned in scripture!

  7. 7
    bob says:

    This phenomenon is not new.  Think back to what they did to Galileo for having the audacity to theorize the earth orbits around the sun.

  8. 8
    Michael Shirley says:

    Nature Comments on Science Scorned By The American Right Wing http://bit.ly/bHfws7

  9. 9
    Batocchio says:

    Movement conservatives don’t care about reality or responsible governance, only power.  That covers basically every issue, from their zeal for giving more money to the wealthiest Americans to their hostility toward science.  It’s reckless, selfish, tribal and sometimes downright nihilistic.

  10. 10
    Alice Taylor says:

    » Nature Comments on Science Scorned By The American Right Wing … http://bit.ly/dkpnil

  11. 11
    mbfromhb says:

    » Nature Comments on Science Scorned By The American Right Wing Liberal Values http://goo.gl/4LJ0

  12. 12
    Beverly says:

    RT @RonChusid: Nature Comments on Science Scorned By The American Right Wing #p2 #p21 #topprog http://bit.ly/bBUWC4

  13. 13
    Captin Sarcastic says:

    Scientific research studies generally don’t fit on bumper stickers, which pretty much eliminates them from the conservative curricula.

  14. 14
    Annemarie Cairns says:

    RT @ronchusid: Nature comments on Science Scorned By The American Right Wing #p2 #p21 #topprog http://bit.ly/bBUWC4

  15. 15
    Michael L. Love says:

    RT @RonChusid: Nature comments on Science Scorned By The American Right Wing #p2 #p21 #topprog http://bit.ly/bBUWC4

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