In a recent interview with GQ magazine, Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, elicited a storm of controversy when asked the age of the Earth. “I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries,” he said.
The left reflexively ripped the senator for failing to offer a definitive response and further used the occasion to write off conservatives as “anti-science.” This condemnation not only ignores a parallel statement about the Earth’s age propounded by President Obama, but it doesn’t fit facts — revealing that the left is often more dependably anti-science than the right.
Leading the assault, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman blustered that Mr. Rubio’s “inability to acknowledge scientific evidence speaks of the anti-rational mindset that has taken over the GOP.” The left-wing Daily Kos stridently swiped the right for being “anti-science and pro-ignorance.”
Never mind that when then-Sen. Barack Obama was questioned on the same topic years ago, he answered, “Whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible, that I don’t presume to know.”
If Mr. Rubio’s assertions are deemed “anti-science” and “pro-ignorance,” Mr. Obama’s strikingly similar remarks certainly deserve the same indictment. Yet, unsurprisingly, the president’s statements escaped comparable treatment.
Furthermore, as Alex Berezow and Hank Campbell delineate in “Science Left Behind,” those on the left — not the right — are more frequently stalwartly anti-science, regardless of how repetitive and boisterous charges are to the contrary.
For instance, as the authors note, liberal activists Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Jenny McCarthy and countless other left-wing journalists, celebrities and pundits maintain that vaccinations lead to autism and other disabilities, even though such notions have been debunked unequivocally by the scientific community. Bill Maher even goes so far as to claim vaccination safety “is not settled science like global warming.”
In case there’s doubt that these beliefs emanate from the left, Mr. Berezow and Mr. Campbell are quick to point out that “the root of the anti-vaccine movement remains in the fundamentally progressive myth that unnatural things are bad for you.”
Instances of this closed-minded, left-wing pattern are replete throughout their book, on issues ranging from clean energy to organic food to biomedical research — the latter of which is threatened by many animal rights activists, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
As another example, consider the feminist message that insists men and women, despite physical differences, are basically the same and that, as advocated by Helen Gurley Brown’s classic “Sex and the Single Girl,” women desire the hookup culture and can partake in it just as consequence-free as men. Reams of scientific evidence indicate otherwise, as biology dictates that sex registers differently in the female brain, leading to more emotional attachment.
Finally, it’s difficult to find a less scientific approach than the left’s tendency to shut down debate by claiming positions as fact that often are legitimately in dispute. Nowhere was this more evident than after Rep. Paul Ryan’s convention speech when “fact-checkers” decided what was true even though many of the issues merely involved differences in principle or opinion.
Irrespective of these illustrations, conservatives continue to be vilified by liberals as the party out of touch with reality. The irony is the undeniable fact that the least scientific positions often are promulgated by the very left that claims to own science.
David Weinberger, 25, is a blogger near Los Angeles.