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False equivalency alert: the liberal war on science

Scientific American has an article called The Liberals' War on Science. After pointing out that some liberals believe in Creationism (a very legitimate concern: 41% of Democrats apparently believe this) and don't accept global warming as fact (19%), the author says:

On energy issues, for example, the authors contend that 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. The underlying current is "everything natural is good" and "everything unnatural is bad."

(For what it's worth, min and i use a power provider that uses wind, hydro, and a little solar.)

Maybe worrying about avian fatalities and river ecosystems is extreme, but i think the disposal of nuclear waste is a legitimate concern, and certainly one hopes the author agrees that global warming is. I also think that more liberals would accept nuclear power if an adequate answer to "what happens to the radioactive waste" is provided.

The (short) article then goes on to mention liberal opposition to GMOs. I've also seen similar articles reference people who don't give their children vaccines due to fear that it causes autism. I think both of these are more about distrust of corporations (Monsanto has heavily resisted the idea of the FDA testing their food products, and the pharmaceutical industry weirdly snuck the provision into the Homeland Security Bill that prevented parents from suing them over autism links) but more importantly, the author is comparing fringe views on the left with very mainstream views on the right. There are members of Congress, and even more in the state houses, who don't believe in evolution, believe in Creationism, and deny global warming (and that's not getting into "legitimate rape" biology). I don't think you can find any such equivalent among elected Democrats (just look at the FDA's lack of interest in testing GMOs during the Clinton and Obama administrations; whatever opposition to GMOs there has been, it's a far cry from blocking all efforts to deal with global warming).

I think Scientific American has a legitimate interest in combating all anti-science beliefs. And as liberals we shouldn't just pat ourselves on the back and mock the other tribe; clearly we ought to be doing something about that 41% number! But i think running quotes like "if it is true that conservatives have declared a war on science, then progressives have declared Armageddon" is really counter-productive.

By fnord12 | January 23, 2013, 9:46 AM | Liberal Outrage & Science

Reference from SuperMegaMonkey

About a year ago i panned Scientific American for trying to say that liberals were just as anti-science (or moreso) than conservatives by citing anti-vaccination and anti-GMO sentiment. Kevin Drum links to an American Prospect report showing a study th...    Read More: Don't blame liberals for anti-vaccination sentiment