Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Science denial... on the left

Yes, the Republican Party has become the anti-science party, the party of scientific ignorance and denial, the "stupid party," as one of their own politicians put it. The Republican war on reason has almost completely driven scientists away.

But, sadly, they're not alone. Leftists have their own anti-science idiocies (not just vaccines, but GMO foods and 'alternative' medicine, among others).

Now, please note that the Democratic Party is pretty good at accepting science, though far from perfect. In general, this anti-vaccine idiocy is not promoted by the Democratic Party. But it's always easy to see the mote in someone else's eye, while ignoring the beam in your own.

If you don't accept an overwhelming scientific consensus when you don't want to believe it, that makes you no different than the faith-based crazies you despise on the other side of the aisle. It doesn't matter if you think that your denial is justified. (They think the same thing, of course.)

If you understand science, the only rational position for us laymen is to accept every scientific consensus, where there is one (tentatively, of course, as all science is tentative, but no less firmly, for that). If you pick and choose which consensus you want to believe, that's not evidence-based thinking.

After all, science is evidence-based. The scientific method has procedures to combat natural human biases, and there would not be a consensus unless the evidence is firm. (If there's no consensus, then just reserve judgment. Of course, sometimes we must act on the best available knowledge, even if there isn't a consensus. If so, we shouldn't expect to agree.)

A consensus is not absolute - science is never absolute - but scientists will be the first to discover a problem with the scientific consensus, if there is a problem, not you. You know this, I know you do,... when it's some idiot on the other side.

But just remember that it applies to your cherished beliefs, too.

Edit: Oops! Did I say that anti-vaccine idiocy was science denial on the left? My mistake:
All adult citizens should have the legal right to conscientiously choose which vaccines are administered to themselves, or their minor children, without penalty for refusing a vaccine. We oppose any effort by any authority to mandate such vaccines or any medical database that would contain personal records of citizens without their consent.

Not quite the same thing, perhaps, but trust Republicans to jump on any anti-science bandwagon.

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