One of my favorite things about blogging is it’s potential to actually change the way I personally think about things. I don’t mean just through the comments section, though that is immensely helpful, but more so through the process of researching, writing, posting and following up. A few posts on one topic, and suddenly I find myself passionate on topics that had previously been mere blips on my radar. God bless the internet.
I will attempt to remain non-partisan. I have political opinions. Lots of them. But really, I’m not here to try to go after one party or another. They both fall victim to bad data, and lots of people do it outside of politics too. Lots of smart people have political blogs, and I like reading them…I just don’t feel I’d be a good person to run one. My point is not to change people’s minds about issues, but to at least trip the warning light that they may be supporting themselves with crap.
Even so, if someone had casually made the comment that Republicans were anti-science, I probably would have let it go. After all, I spent most of my pre-adulthood years in a Baptist school that had plenty of Republican voting ignorants to color my view.
And now I don’t feel those comments are quite as innocuous as I once did.
My feelings on this were backed up by this article from Forbes magazine (where this posts title came from), which I really really recommend if you have the time.
I’m not going back on my non-partisan premise, but as Mr Entine so eloquently posits, one party laying claim to “science” does nobody any good. Science never fares well when put in the hands of politicians (does anything really?) and giving one party the moral upper hand in a subject as broad as “science” can cause damaging oversights.
To be honest, I don’t know which party is more “pro-science”. The data required to prove that one way or the other would require compiling a complete list of scientific topics, ranking them in order of possible impact to both people and the world at large, ranking the conclusiveness of the data, and conducting public opinion polls broken down by party and controlled for race, class and gender. That’s an enormous amount of work, and nobody has done it.
Thus, until further research is done, I will stick with the following conclusions:
- Politicians will exploit everything they can if they think it will get them more votes
- Ditto for journalists (sub “readers” for “votes”)
- Saying you’re “pro-science” is not the only requirement for being “pro-science”
- Increasing the general level of knowledge around research methods, data gathering and statistical analysis is probably a good thing