Anyway, the question was Who is pro-science, the Left or the Right?, and some data was presented to attempt to quantify this question. I replied (these comments were not censored):
These statistics are too coarse to be meaningful. The left is not unified, nor is the right. There are certain strains of anti-science and anti-technology on the left, broadly construed, but these charts wonÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt tell you anything interesting about it.Further on down the discussion, I mentioned:
There is a strong undercurrent of anti-technological thinking in parts of the environmental movement, but it is not really left-wing in the strict sense. It owes more to romanticism than the Enlightenment values that drive the left, and while we tend to think of environmentalism as left-wing here and now, it could just as easily be linked to the extreme right (as it was in Nazi Germany). A preference for organic food and natural fibers does not necessarily correlate with a desire for the state to control the means of production, and in fact is more likely to be opposed to it.
As biotechnology applications becomes more widespread, I expect to see alliances between anti-science forces from the left and right sides of the spectrum. Call it the peasants-with-torches party.
I am surprised that nobody has referenced the very different science policies of Republican and Democratic administrations. Republicans have been radically anti-science: theyÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂve cut budgets, shut down important agencies (OTA), forced government scientists to adhere to politically-driven agendas, banned certain areas of research, promoted creationism and evidence-free faith-based programs. By contrast, the incoming administration has been naming prominent scientists to key posts, such as Steven Chu. I was at a New YearÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs party with a bunch of experimental physicists and they were in ecstasy at the possibility of getting a science-friendly administration.I still haven't gotten a reply to this, which leads me to think I'm wasting my time on that site, and must chalk up another failure in my quest for interesting arguments on the internet. They'd rather bitch about postmodernism in the academy, a trend which has approximately zero real-world consequences.
The two parties do not perfectly capture the essence of ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂleftÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ and ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂrightÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ, but itÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs close enough. And itÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs obvious which party is more in tune with science and scientists.
I later pointed out that, contrary to one commenter who said "what could be more conservative than a grounding in cold hard reality?", science departments, like almost all academic departments, skew overwhelmingly Democratic. Or, as Steven Colbert has said, "reality has a well-known liberal bias".
I'm disappointed, but not that surprised, that Secular Right is apparently going to be another right-wing circle-jerk and is not actually interested in evidence-based arguments about the real world. There are a number of obvious rejoinders to that last point (perhaps industrial scientists show less political bias; perhaps science departments are self-selecting for particular politics), but instead of making them my comment got sent to the trash heap. Oh well. I suppose I do have better things to do than pick political arguments anyway.