The War on Science Merry Go Round

By Keith Kloor | January 23, 2013 12:47 am

It’s really not fashionable to call out liberals for their own problematic relationship with science on certain issues. (Trust me on that one.) It’s much safer to just blast away at conservatives, who do provide bountiful material on evolution and sex, among other well-known topics, as Michael Shermer reminds us at Scientific American.

But kudos to him for some straight talk here:

Whereas conservatives obsess over the purity and sanctity of sex, the left’s sacred values seem fixated on the environment, leading to an almost religious fervor over the purity and sanctity of air, water and especially food. 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.

Those conversations never go well for me, either. I’ve also had lousy luck talking with liberal parents in my Brooklyn neighborhood about the safety of vaccines.

Along those lines, I’ve had a few interesting conversations at the playground with a parent who believes in psychics and past lives. (I held my tongue on that one.)

Such is the world we live in, where doctors write best-sellers about heaven’s definitive existence.

At this point, I’m finding the whole “war on science” meme a bit tiresome. (Let these guys beat the drums.) It’s become like the war on drugs or the war on terrorism. It’s exhausting always being at war. [The meaning is different with drugs and war, obviously.] I’m ready to move on to something more constructive, if that’s possible.  Any ideas?



CATEGORIZED UNDER: science, science communication, select

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Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


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