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May 06, 2013


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I was mid-way through my Environmental Science degree in 2000 when Bush was elected. Many of my professors lamented that science funding was doomed, that the EPA would be shut down, and that scientific progress would be forever stunted. I thought at the time that they were being a bit dramatic.

Does the party/ideology of the sitting president matter? Yes. Do many scientists exaggerate the benefits of a Democratic president and the drawbacks of a Republican president? Yep.

Especially these days, there are people on both the left and the right that use science as a villain to rally the troops against.

Michael W. Kruse

"... that use science as a villain to rally the troops against."

Or as an unquestionable authority in support of their position in order to shut up opposition.

Sociologist Anthony Giddens wrote a book a several years ago called "Runaway World" that talks about how we need to do a better job of really bring science into public decision making, respecting both its strengths and limitations. Sometimes I feel like we are moving backwards on that mission.


I regularly read Plait's column and let me assure you, he has no fondness of scientific illiteracy when it's sprouted by the left.

For example, look at the number of articles he's written about the anti-vax movement, which seems to be far more popular on that side of the political spectrum. New Agey 'woo', as Plait calls it, is also more popular in the left, and he regularly calls people out for teaching it. In fact, he was president of the James Randi Educational Foundation for a couple of years, and made a lot of enemies on the left during that time.

Plait is as biased as anyone, but he does put his cards on the table---he readily admits his political sympathies and regularly reminds his readers about them.

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