A sterling piece from The Atlantic Online:
Take home points of this article:
- Republicans and Democrats have an equal likelihood of believing irrational things, they just choose different areas about which to be irrational, and the media deems the GOP’s irrationality to be eviler than the Democrats’ versions, which are portrayed generally as quirky or amusing, rather than dangerous.
- Generally speaking, most within the GOP believe 90% of the narratives being pushed by the left regarding all key scientific questions – EVEN the ones about which the GOP has significant partisan disagreements. For example, on global warming, the party’s position is not that global warming does not exist or even that we’re not doing anything to contribute to global warming, but that efforts to ameliorate human contributions to global warming will not succeed (because we can’t control other, far more carboniferous economies or because there are also contributing natural factors), the expected warming is overestimated by unreliable models, and the economic cost of left-wing climate policy is way too high.
- The GOP does a better job funding scientific research than do Democrats. Dems approach science funding under the mistaken belief that paying companies to deploy scientific ideas is more important than paying think tanks and research facilities to come up with new ideas. Republicans would fund the research centers at higher levels and cut funding to boondoggle grants to companies.
- There are big-picture science issues about which Democrats are far more irrational than anything uttered by rank and file Republicans. Such as nuclear energy.
- The cost of allowing the media to continue to portray one side as evil and the other side as righteous in the pursuit of science is nothing less than the death of public financing for scientific research. Becausse as our debt load grows, the sequester is going to be repeated ad infinitum, and the loser will always be small coalitions like public science. We need to grow the base of enthusiastic supporters of public science research, not shrink it by labeling half the country as our enemies.
Could not agree more with this article.