Both sides do it? (science edition)

“It is the elite perception that conservatives are beetle-browed, anti-science nutters wedded to faith-based, unverifiable beliefs eschewed by the more sophisticated, scientific-thinking left. … the history of who believes in science and who opposes scientific thinking and methods is far more muddled.  There’s plenty of evidence that the clown shoes belong on the other (political) foot,”

Clarice Feldman takes a look at Science, Lies, and Videotape to see where the rhetoric meets reality. “Much of the folderol of calling witchcraft science takes place behind the scenes — as in the EPA endangerment finding — but sometimes the fraud takes place before our very eyes.”

The claim is, of course, that ‘both sides do it’ but Feldman says the evidence is otherwise.

“The debate at Curry’s site is lengthy and thorough. At best, it seems, one might argue that both sides of the political spectrum have exhibited the desire to use science for sociopolitical ends, but it seems to me undeniable that the claim that the left is scientific and the right is not must fall.”

While many case studies are provided as examples, there is an underlying philosophy or ideology that provides a model to explain the situation as well.

“Generally, the “dangers” the left invents or exaggerates involve modern technology, existing energy sources, and large-scale production. They represent a strange amalgam of Rousseau and Luddite notions and hark back to an ideal, never-existing “state of nature.””

You may want to get into the creationism in schools as a means to assert ‘both sides do it’ but that is on the fringes of the distribution and does not have the impact on society that pushing billions of government money on alternative energy or faux climate research does. The war against big energy is another part of this as that harms the less well off as well as the economy as a whole.

Yes, there is a difference. Understanding that difference is a first step to forming opinions backed by intellectual integrity.

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