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This administration is constantly doing favors for its big-business and religious-right constituents. That prejudice drives distortions of science on issues ranging from global warming to sex education. Poor science education? A surge in fundamentalist religions? The role of fundamentalist religiosity — and particularly, politically conservative Christianity — is, I think, more significant.

This sets in motion a wide array of abuses. You say the current right is an unholy alliance of religious conservatives and industry, which together push science distortion. But on climate change, those two constituencies may be parting ways, as more religious organizations take global warming seriously. Not so fast. There are plenty of Christian right organizations, like Focus on the Family , that are in denial about climate change.


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It really depends on where the group stands politically — and how much it is a part of the Republican political machine. Has the Bush administration been especially adept at exploiting conventional journalistic weaknesses, or are reporters lazier or more credulous these days in covering scientific disputes?

This is an argument I have made twice now in Columbia Journalism Review. Suppose further that you have a lot of money, as well as an interested and politically influential constituency on board with your agenda. In this situation, it seems to me that as long as you are clever enough, you should be able to set your political machine in motion and then sit back and watch the national media do the rest of your work for you.

Looking Back at Canada's Political Fight Over Science

The press will help you create precisely the controversy that lies at the heart of your political and public relations strategy — and not only that. It will do a far better job than the best PR firm, and its services will be entirely free of charge.

I think we have actually seen this happen repeatedly. A good example is the issue of evolution.


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So the right has, in effect, funded its own science, through a series of think tanks and policy institutes. Should the left pump more money into doing the same?

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I think the left should, in general, continue to put its stock in government-funded, university-based science published in leading journals. This work should be further vetted through major scientific assessment reports, and delivered to policy makers in the form of consensus conclusions. On matters of science, the left needs to stand up for rigor and quality analysis. But as far as science goes, we already have very good sources of information much of the time. The problem is that that information is being distorted, denied, attacked, or ignored.

Mueller report has Democrats and Republicans feuding—just how bad could it get?

Because people on the left believe diversity just means race and gender, not thought. And even schools that want some diverse thought reach a sort of political tipping point. That's how we get "scientific" studies that "prove" conservatives are stupid. One such study asked people if they agree with the statement "Earth has plenty of natural resources if we just learn how to develop them. Finally, millions of people die of malaria today partly because many countries believed leftist junk science and needlessly banned DDT.

Many were influenced by Rachel Carson's scientifically challenged book "Silent Spring. It was one of the many reasons why the government fell. She knew organizing, and she knew the importance of things like getting people to sign up to mailing lists that you can then use to get them to come to the next thing and the next thing. One the things Katie and some of the other people involved were willing to do was use strong appeals to emotion.

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An interview with Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science | Grist

There was certain theatrically, I guess, to the Death of Evidence March. You had scientists both inside and outside the government actively protesting, which is a thing that really does not come naturally to them. Turner: It creates a blindspot in the longterm data. Canada has this short-form census, and then they do this long-form census that is really, really detailed with hundreds of questions. They had to shield it with a national household survey that you could choose to do or not, which meant it was junk from a statistical point of view because it was not longer an unbiased sample.

That created this hiccup in the data. The entrenchment happened for good reason when the government was so actively hostile to good environmental stewardship and had naked boosterism for oil and gas resource traction. The public willingness to put trust in government to make good, balanced decisions has been seriously eroded. Will they then be more open to the idea of doing the same kind of work in Canada under a government that is really active on climate?

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