Should science always come before politics? According to Alex Berezow, co-author of the recently released “Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left,” the answer is a resounding “yes.” At an AEI event on Wednesday, Berezow argued that while in recent years it has become fashionable to characterize people with conservative political views as “anti-science,” the political left has more than its fair share of anti-scientific sentiments.
Berezow identified five major anti-science myths held by modern progressives, including the beliefs that “natural things are good” and “unnatural things are bad.” From protests in Portland, Oregon, to misguided presidential policies, he explained that these anti-scientific myths have come to characterize many of the left’s most powerful movements, including resistance to hydraulic fracturing, genetic modification and nuclear power.
With so much misinformation on both sides of the political aisle, Berezow emphasized the importance of sticking to the experts: we must try to focus on good science and good science policy by gleaning information from peer-reviewed scientific journals as opposed to political rhetoric. Berezow concluded that “data is data. It does not have a political agenda.”
In recent years, it has become fashionable to characterize people with conservative political views as “anti-science.” On issues ranging from human evolution to stem cells to climate change, this anti-science bias is blamed for a great deal of political conflict and gridlock. But what is rarely discussed is the tendency for people with liberal political leanings to also pick and choose what science they believe suits their world view.
In “Science Left Behind,” Alex Berezow and Hank Campbell survey the landscape of issues in which individuals on the “anti-scientific left” play fast and loose with their own understanding of science, from exaggerating the benefits of organic foods to opposing the use of animals for biomedical research. Berezow and Campbell argue that if the political right has its scientific blind spots, so too does the political left.
Please join us for a luncheon discussion of this important new book.
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Kenneth P. Green, AEI
Alex B. Berezow, Real Clear Science
Question and Answer Session
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Alex B. Berezow is the editor of RealClearScience. His work has appeared on CNN, in USA Today, Forbes and other publications. Originally from Southern Illinois, he currently lives in Seattle. Hank Campbell, the co-author of Berezow’s book “Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left,” is the founder and editor of Science 2.0, the world’s largest independent science communication community.
Kenneth P. Green is a resident scholar at AEI and has studied energy and energy-related environmental policy for nearly 20 years. An environmental scientist and policy analyst by training, Green’s recent studies include the efficacy of green jobs programs, drivers of oil and gas prices, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the embedded energy costs in consumer goods and resilient policies to address the risks of climate change. He just published his second supplemental textbook “Abundant Energy,” a concise guide to energy and energy policy intended for a college audience. In addition, Green has testified before regulatory and legislative bodies at the local, state and federal levels, including many times before the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. He was also a designated expert reviewer for two reports by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.