Challenging Unscientific Thinking

The online science magazine, New Scientist, posted an article they titled, Challenge unscientific thinking, whatever its source. It begins with this:

IF SCIENCE could vote, who would it vote for? Ask scientists, and a clear answer comes back: science leans to the left.

A 2009 survey conducted by Pew Research in the US found that 52 per cent of scientists identified themselves as liberal, and slightly more believed the scientific community as a whole leaned that way. The corresponding figures for conservatism? Just 9 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.

Leaning to the left as in liberal, welcoming change, seeking new truths. Well, that’s no surprise to me because those on the right, particularly the far-right, want none of that. They’d like to see a time-warp machine to take them back to the ‘good old days,’ however that is defined. Science, on the other hand, is always laser focused on the future. Me too, although I do enjoy a wade through history from time to time.

The New Scientist article goes on:

 In “Lefty nonsense: When progressives wage war on reason“, Alex Berezow and Hank Campbell put forward their view that unscientific causes and concerns are just as rife among progressives as conservatives. Berezow and Campbell further claim that progressives who endorse unscientific ideas get a “free pass” from the scientific community.

Hmm.  Well, this progressive does not. But then, I have quite an extensive science background so perhaps I don’t fit that image. Or is that exactly the point?  Is the ‘problem’ raised by the two authors that many people in general have very little scientific knowledge and/or interest? I suspect so. Science gets a bad rap because, in my opinion, it has traditionally been so poorly taught in school here in the States. Lord knows my ‘science’ teachers were quite the dull and punitive lot. My college teachers were little better.

It is no wonder that the majority of students in advance-degree university studies are foreign born. Americans have not danced well with the subject of science and, in my opinion, this is a grave and costly mistake- perhaps even a national security threat. Yet, Congress and those ‘in the know’ will ignore the problem and focus on other issues in which they feel more comfortable.

I’m hoping that some of my grandchildren will pursue the science field for their life’s work. Think globally, work locally.

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3 thoughts on “Challenging Unscientific Thinking

  1. For some weird reason, the right in the US has a dislike for the “elite” which seems to be anyone who has any form of education. This dislikes tends also toward those elitists who disagree with them and usually have some form of “edukashun”. That means that lawyers, scientists, doctors, and so on who might “infringe” on their “rights” are not to be trusted.

    The worst part of this is that the founders were pretty much in favour of education with at least Jefferson and Franklin both founding Universities. I’m sure they would be appalled at the trend toward anti-intellectualism which is epidemic in the US. Especially Franklin, had been slighted as being intellectually inferior by the British, which led to his revolutionary zeal (!

  2. And a quote from the recent past:

    At a Tea Party rally in Troy, Michigan, GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum said this: “President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob!”

    To rapturous applause, Santorum went on: “There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor trying to indoctrinate him.” And then, the kicker: “I understand why he (Obama) wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image.”

    Hey, don’t look so sad! He may not have won in 2012, but I hear he’s already working on 2016. Now if he could only get Sarah to join his ticket.

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