Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Liberal War on Science

Much has (quite properly) been said about the Bush administration's aversion to science. However, I'd be interested if there is anyone on the right saying something like this:

[U]nlike a lot of my political fellow travelers I don't think this kind of inquiry into the relationship between global temperature and carbon dioxide emissions to be inherently wrongheaded or absurd, but I think people need to be much more careful about this stuff. To have an entire research program that seems dedicated to upholding enviro folk wisdom is odd and an awful lot of the specific empirical research turns out to be incredibly hollow.

I admit that the second sentence is pretty easy to imagine, but we would find it pretty chilling if a respected rightist pundit warned scientists they needed to be "careful." And who wouldn't ridicule someone who admitted that most of their co-thinkers believe inquiry into an empirical relationship to be "inherently wrongheaded or absurd."

But when it comes to differences in sexual strategies between men and women (something EVERYBODY has in fact noticed in their own lives, and the absence of which would be completely inexplicable given all we know of evolutionary biology), someone as clever as Matthew Yglesias can, without embarrassment, provide dark warnings to scientists to be "careful", make sophistical arguments that the fact that everyone in every culture knows something to be the case makes it unlikely to be true, impugn the integrity of hundreds of researchers he doesn't know, and generally make a fool of himself.

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