At Ricochet, Rob Long writes:
The left likes to portray conservatives as “anti-science.” They even like to talk about a “Republican War on Science.”
Science, though, seems to be getting it from the left, at least as often.
Near the beginning of The Panic Virus, Seth Mnookin’s definitive, infuriating history of the myth that vaccines cause autism, the author relates a story from a Park Slope dinner party he attended in 2007. Mr. Mnookin was discussing pediatric health with a new parent in his early 40s who explained that he and his wife had decided to delay their child’s vaccines. On what sources had he based this weighty decision? Questions along these lines were met with murk. “I don’t know what to say,” the man replied. “It just feels like a lot for a developing immune system to deal with.”
It was this F-word—feels—that left Mr. Mnookin justifiably gobsmacked, and it serves as the departure point for The Panic Virus, an attempt to explain how thousands of otherwise sophisticated Americans could make a fatuous decision to opt out of what is arguably modernity’s greatest medical achievement. Most children “exempted” from vaccines (a fittingly ridiculous term, as if the kids place out via AP exam) are not low-information progeny. They are being raised in college towns, in wealthy suburbs and in tony urban enclaves like Park Slope, by the sorts of parents who are otherwise given to grave tut-tutting about the anti-science stances of others—the climate-change know-nothings, say, or the ovine devotees of the garish Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky.
Perhaps the tide is slowly turning; as Investor’s Business Daily noted earlier this month, just before all eyes understandably turned to Tucson, junk science has come under increasing scrutiny:
A study debunking vaccines by a scientist in the pay of trial lawyers was found to be “an elaborate fraud.” Meanwhile, the “Great Garbage Patch” turned out to be a sea myth. Science has some explaining to do.Scientific inquiry, once perceived a noble redoubt of objective truth-seeking and enlightenment, is doing a bang-up job of dragging itself down to P.T. Barnum-style snake oil-elixir hype, given the amount of fraud being exposed almost daily.
Of course, mistakes happen in any field of inquiry, but these are politically motivated ruses intended to advance an agenda.
Meanwhile, in the London Telegraph, James Delingpole quips, “‘Why will no one listen to us any more?’ wails [manmade global warming] propagandist.”
Perhaps this headline from the London Independent in 2000 might answer that question.
Update: “Oh, Noes! Climate Change Could Have Helped The Roman Empire Fall!”
Related: “It’s a knife fight:” Dr. Thomas Peterson of the National Climatic Data Center deploys a little eliminationist rhetoric when dealing with the heathens who don’t pray at the church of the Goracle:
Well, so much for President Obama’s pleas to his base for a new civility.
Related: At the Tatler, “Salon yanks RFK JR. article on autism/vaccine links.”
RFK Jr. also wrote in the L.A. Times in September of 2008 that global warming has made snow in the DC region “so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don’t own a sled.”