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The War on Science - 12/07


By Rich Trzupek
  A friend passed along a terrific piece written by self-described “contrarian” John Tierney, who writes for the New York Times and is one of the few voices in the wilderness criticizing the left’s assault on science in America. It’s a worthwhile read. Search “The Real War on Science? It’s Being Waged by the Left” (without the quotes) and your favorite search engine will get you there.
  The left often criticizes the right for supposedly being “anti-science” and because much of the MSM and academia is part of the left that has become widely-accepted as dogma among those portions of our society. Tierney points to a best-seller written by Chris Mooney entitled The Republican War on Science as a recent example of the left’s obsession with the idea that the right is somehow undermining scientific progress and policy in America.
  Tierney asks the entirely relevant, metaphorical question: where are the bodies? Who are the leftist professors and researchers who have lost their jobs or been denied funding for projects because of right-wing opposition? When have conservatives been able to roll back, or even temporarily derail issues involving science that are rooted in the modern liberal narrative?
  Those are the kind of questions that led me from being a left of center idealist in my twenties to the conservative/libertarian that I have evolved into over the thirty-something years that followed. 
  I’m a chemist, I fancy myself a pretty good chemist, and my career has been focused on dealing with air quality issues as they relate to the environment and human health. Other than my family history, I don’t think I lay claim to being an expert about any other subject matter than environmental air quality.
  Over more thirty years, air quality has improved consistently and remarkably in the United States, no matter which party controlled the White House. Over the last decade the United States has reduced its emissions of Greenhouse Gases by an incredible amount, laws are in place that ensure that will continue to be the case, Meaningful reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions to combat climate change, for those who believe that’s actually a thing, can only come from China and, to a lesser extent, India. At this point, there’s really nothing the US can or should do that would make much of a difference.
  Yet, the drum-beat on the left remains. The United States is actively destroying the environment. We’re ignoring the dire threat of climate change and refuse to do anything to address this vitally important issue. 
  Neither of those statements are anything close to true. In today’s world where anyone can find a supposed “expert” to confirm their would view, I know that I’m not going to change anyone’s mind, no matter how much expertise in my field I might be able to lay claim to. We continue to spend enormous amounts of money to make smaller and smaller incremental environmental improvements and to fund “climate change” research and projects.
  Meanwhile, the left has been doing serious damage to science and policies involving science. Even Mooney, in his attempt to demonize Republicans admits the left has been responsible for some pretty harmful ant-science positions. From Tierney’s piece:
  “… in his first chapter, during Mooney’s (makes a) brief acknowledgment that leftists “here and there” have been guilty of “science abuse.” First, there’s the Left’s opposition to genetically modified foods, which stifled research into what could have been a second Green Revolution to feed Africa. Second, there’s the campaign by animal-rights activists against medical researchers, whose work has already been hampered and would be devastated if the activists succeeded in banning animal experimentation. Third, there’s the resistance in academia to studying the genetic underpinnings of human behavior, which has cut off many social scientists from the recent revolutions in genetics and neuroscience. Each of these abuses is far more significant than anything done by conservatives, and there are plenty of others. The only successful war on science is the one waged by the Left.”
  And there are plenty of other examples indeed. In 2005, about 1.8 million people died from malaria, almost all of them living in Third World nations. In 2006 the World Health Organization lifted its self-imposed ban on the use of DDT and the malaria death rate has been dropping ever since. So who is responsible for the hysterical reaction to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (Ms. Carson called for being more careful in the use of DDT, not an outright ban) that allowed millions to die that should have lived, the right or the left?
  I don’t have any statistics to prove it, but I’d bet a large pile of money that the majority of parents who make the irresponsible and completely unscientific decision not to vaccinate their children lean left, because it’s the left that pushes the mindset that everything natural is good and only with greatest reluctance should a person put something man-made in their bodies.
  Science in America continues to slowly rot from the inside out and it’s the Left that should take the blame.
  e-mail: rich@examinerpublications.com
  www.threedonia.com

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