JOHN STOSSEL: War on Science?
We’ve been told conservatives don’t believe in science and that there’s a “Republican war on science.”
But John Tierney, who’s written about science for The New York Times for 25 years and now writes for the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, told me in my latest online video, “The real war on science is the one from the left.”
Really? Conservatives are more likely to be creationists — denying evolution.
“Right,” says Tierney. “But creationism doesn’t affect the way science is done.”
What about President George W. Bush banning government funding of stem cell research?
“He didn’t stop stem cell research,” Tierney reminds me. “The government wouldn’t fund it. It turned out that it really didn’t matter much.” Private funding continued and, so far, has not discovered much.
“People talk about this Republican war on science, but if you look around, my question is, where are the casualties? What scientists lost their jobs?” asks Tierney. “I can’t find examples where the right wing stopped the progress of science, whereas you can look on the left and you see so many areas that are taboo to research.”
Some research on genetically modified foods became taboo because of protests from the left. That may have prevented a second Green Revolution to feed Africa.
Scientists can’t even talk about whether genes affect intelligence without being threatened by the left. Political scientists who continued to investigate the topic are screamed at on college campuses, the way Charles Murray, author of “The Bell Curve,” has been.
Tierney adds, “The federal government stopped funding IQ research decades ago.”
Likewise, researching gender differences is dangerous to your career.
“You can’t talk about sexual differences between men and women, (although) it’s OK if they favor women,” laughs Tierney. “You can say men are more likely to commit crimes, but you can’t suggest that there might be some sexual difference that might predispose men to be more interested in a topic.”
Google fired engineer James Damore merely for suggesting that sex differences might explain why more men choose to work in tech.
“Damore just pointed out very basic scientific research about differences between the sexes,” argues Tierney. “The experts in this, as soon as he published that memo, said, yes, he basically got the science right.”
It’s not as if women aren’t doing well in life, says Tierney.
In universities, “women dominate virtually every extracurricular activity, but all the focus has been: ‘Why aren’t there more women physicists and mathematicians, and of course in the sports area, too?'” says Tierney. “There’s this idea that they’re being discriminated against, (but) there have been enormous studies of who gets grants, who gets tenure, who gets interviews for jobs, and women get preference.”
However, one group does get discriminated against in colleges: conservatives.
“In the social sciences, Democrats outnumber Republicans by at least eight to one. In fields like sociology it’s 44 to one. Students are more likely to be taught in sociology by a Marxist than by a Republican,” says Tierney. “It’s gotten worse and worse.”
Why does this happen at colleges that claim they “treasure diversity”? Because people on the left believe diversity just means race and gender, not thought. And even schools that want some diverse thought reach a sort of political tipping point.
“Once an academic department gets a majority of people who are on the left, they start hiring people like themselves, and soon the whole department is that way,” says Tierney. “They start to think that their opinions and that their interests are not only the norm, but the truth.”
That’s how we get “scientific” studies that “prove” conservatives are stupid.
One such study asked people if they agree with the statement “Earth has plenty of natural resources if we just learn how to develop them.” The researcher called a “yes” answer an “irrational denial of science.” But anyone who’s studied economics knows the statement has repeatedly been proven true.
Finally, millions of people die of malaria today partly because many countries believed leftist junk science and needlessly banned DDT. Many were influenced by Rachel Carson’s scientifically challenged book “Silent Spring.”
There is a war on science. But most of it doesn’t come from the right.
John Stossel is author of “No They Can’t! Why Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed.”