Check it out here. In my view, the piece is kinda all over the place. It argues that left and right are both bad when it comes to the treatment of science, but really the only case study adduced on the leftwing side of things is the attack on E.O. Wilson and sociobiology from way back when. I too agree that the left is not immune from criticism when it comes to its treatment of science; I merely ask that we keep a sense of perspective when weighing the sins from the different sides on this subject.
I appreciate that the author of the National Journal piece, Paul Starobin, cited my work. However this is rather annoying:
Climate change is a centerpiece example in science writer Mooney’s recent best-seller, “The Republican War on Science.” The book is misleading in its implication that the assault on science comes from only one quarter, when in fact it comes from a motley crew, including the Left. Nevertheless, the GOP has certainly tried to develop a position on global warming, and that position itself seems somewhat unscientific.
Nothing like attacking a strawman. The “misleading…implication” that Starobin mentions, if it exists at all, is dispelled immediately once you actually open the book and read the first chapter.
Starobin swings for the fences in his conclusion as follows:
A fascinating, if somewhat frightening, societal experiment is under way. The question is whether democracy naturally advances science, or whether modern progress in science actually has less to do with heralded forms of government than with the fruit born of a special moment in historical time, the modern European Enlightenment, from which America, courtesy of the Founders, greatly benefited.
Gosh, I don’t think things are so bad off that we have to start wondering whether science might fare better under tyranny. Obviously democracy fosters the climate of intellectual openness that in turn allows science to thrive; but at the same time, democracy also gives people the inalienable right to act like idiots and ignore science. As usual, it’s the worst possible arrangement, except for all the other ones.