Scientific fact isn’t up for debate

Conservatives often attract our criticism for scientific ignorance, but liberals can be ignorant, too.

by Jasper Johnson

Earlier this month, the Canadian government pressed charges against David and Collett Stephan for failing to treat their infant son’s meningitis and empyema with medicine. Instead, the couple favored homemade remedies of herbs and vegetables, which ultimately led to the child’s death. 
This is a sobering reminder of the risks of rejecting science in favor of pseudoscientific bunk. While conservatives often receive criticism for anti-scientific views such as new Earth creationism and climate change denial, it seems to me that there is a growing number of liberals who likewise reject scientific evidence along party lines. 
The ideas these folks espouse include anti-vaxxing, fears about GMOs, anti-nuclear energy and detoxing. To be sure, many conservatives hold these views as well. It’s just strange to see progressivism — which in my mind inherently involves an embrace of science — co-opted by so many individuals who hold scientifically illogical stances. 
The liberal rejection of science seems rooted in rejecting what’s perceived to be tampering with nature. In contrast, the conservative rejection of science seems more religiously rooted. 
It also seems like many on the left have mobilized to denounce the absurdity of things like the right’s denial of climate change. Interestingly, however, I don’t notice many conservatives deride the left’s unfounded scientific views. 
It’s important that we don’t allow science to become a partisan issue. Regardless of political affiliation, people need to call out scientific ignorance wherever they see it. 
Jasper Johnson welcomes comments at [email protected].