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Reblogged:Government Promotion Fuels War on Science

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Depending on your mood, John Stossel's latest column might make you laugh or it might make you cry: He provides three farcical examples of leftist activism posing as science.

Within his discussion of the second example, he correctly suggests that government funding of science causes this problem:
Image by Magdalena Kula Manchee, via Unsplash, license.
[Science writer Andrew] Follett blames this perversion of science on government. Its science agencies, like much of America, have been taken over by leftists hungry to promote themselves and their agenda.

In science, the way to promote yourself is to get papers published. That often gets you more funding. Government agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF) provide most of that funding.

"Nobody wants to publish something that goes against the paymaster," says Follett. "You don't get published unless the NSF likes your results."
Stossel duly notes that the right promotes plenty of anti-scientific nonsense of its own, but that it is not government-funded.

That may be true, but I think government backing does help right-wing science quackery indirectly.

Consider how much today's horrendous politicians keep paving the way for each other by causing people to vote for the other party. Can anyone imagine a non-entity like Joe Biden having been elected President without Donald Trump angering so many voters? Or Trump being a popular choice to replace Biden without the latter's tone-deaf doubling-down on policies that are already causing economic misery?

Neither of these men is any good, but they have each other as foils.

When results of climate science (for example) get distorted and exaggerated at multiple levels -- as outlined expertly in Alex Epstein's Fossil Future -- it can cause people to question not just the obvious political agenda (which they are right to do), but also the science (which they may or may not be right to do). And rightly or wrongly, many people will begin to dismiss "the science" altogether -- be it actual science or the left's excuse du jour for shackling them.

It is not hard to imagine acceptance of conspiracy theories and other outright quackery on the heels of such an erosion of confidence in actual science. Just look at today's army of freshly-minted anti-vaxxers -- in a country so many should know is basically devoid of many horrible diseases thanks to widespread vaccination.

-- CAV

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