The Left’s War on Science

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government reviews the policies and beliefs of the progressive left that clash with scientific reality, and the harm those policies have caused.

America has generally been an optimistic nation, eager to employ scientific advances to move rapidly ahead. That inherent characteristic is now being challenged.

Campus Reform’s Toni Airaksinen reports that  Sara Giordano, a “ feminist professor at the University of California-Davis has vowed to ‘challenge the authority of Science’ by ‘rewriting knowledge’ through a feminist lens. Ms. Giordano “left the field of neuroscience to become a Women’s Studies professor. She believes ‘We need to disrupt the epistemic authority of Science…[and] the assumption that science = truth.”  She equates science with colonization, racism, and  slavery, and is currently being used to “perpetuate racism and colonial practices.”

Her views, were they restricted to just a few, would not be worrisome, but they are part of a larger trend, encompassing a wide swath of those on the extreme left.

Scientific American’s Michael Schermer maintains that there is a left-wing “ war on science.” Schermer, who is not a  conservative, points to a number of specific examples.

Leftists led an all-out assault against evolutionary psychology via such Orwellian-named far-left groups as Science for the People, he notes. “On energy issues, for example, progressive liberals tend to be antinuclear because of the waste-disposal problem, anti–fossil fuels because of global warming, antihydroelectric because dams disrupt river ecosystems, and anti–wind power because of avian fatalities…Try having a conversation with a liberal progressive about GMOs—genetically modified organisms—in which the words “Monsanto” and “profit” are not dropped like syllogistic bombs…The fact is that we’ve been genetically modifying organisms for 10,000 years through breeding and selection. It’s the only way to feed billions of people.”

Heather Heying, a former biology teacher,  recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal amusingly asks, “Who would have guessed that when America cleaved, the left would get the National Football League and the right would get uncontested custody of science?…What may not be obvious from outside academia is that this revolution is an attack on Enlightenment values: reason, inquiry and dissent. Extremists on the left are going after science. Why? Because science seeks truth, and truth isn’t always convenient…what is going on at institutions across the country is—yes—a culture war between science and postmodernism. The extreme left has embraced a facile fiction.In a meeting with administrators at Evergreen last May, protesters called, on camera, for college president George Bridges to target STEM faculty in particular for “antibias” training, on the theory that scientists are particularly prone to racism. ..unhooked from any expectation that they be put to the test of evidence.”

City Journal’s John Tierny, reports that “the Left has repeatedly skewed science over the past half-century. In 1965, when Daniel Patrick Moynihan published a paper presciently warning of the dangers for black children growing up in single-parent homes, it was greeted with such hostility…that the topic became off-limits among liberals, stymying public discussion and research for decades into one of the most pressing problems facing minority children. Similarly, liberal advocates have worked to suppress reporting on the problems of children raised by gay parents or on any drawbacks of putting young children in day care. In 1991, a leading family psychologist, Louise Silverstein, published an article in the American Psychologist urging her colleagues to ‘refuse to undertake any more research that looks for the negative consequences of other-than-mother-care.’..

Despite the dangerous, inhumane and deadly results of  placing leftist dogma over science, the practice continues. Tierney provides examples: “The work of left-wing population alarmists inspired China’s monstrous one-child policy, which included forced abortions and infanticide…”

But the horrid consequences of the left’s anti-science animus pre-dates Mao. The Eugenics movement, so beloved by progressive heroine Margaret Sanger, led to the the involuntary sterilization or castration of more than 35,000 Americans. “Even after Hitler,  [A National Socialist] used eugenics to justify killing millions, the Left didn’t lose its interest in controlling human breeding…Eugenicist thinking was revived by scientists convinced that the human species had exceeded the ‘carrying capacity’ of its ecosystem. The most prominent was Paul Ehrlich, whose scientific specialty was the study of butterflies. Undeterred by his ignorance of agriculture and economics, he published confident predictions of imminent global famine in The Population Bomb (1968). Agricultural economists dismissed his ideas, but the press reverently quoted Ehrlich and other academics who claimed to have scientifically determined that the Earth was ‘overpopulated.’”


The Report concludes tomorrow.