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“Anti-Science” Is Increasingly Turned Against Its Creators

David Klinghoffer

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The “anti-science” label is like Frankenstein’s monster. Designed by politically correct propagandists to serve their own purposes, namely blackening the reputation of skeptics on evolution and climate change, it has since turned against its inventors. The monster now pursues those creators almost, but not quite, to the exclusion of its originally intended targets.

The aggressive Darwin-lobbying National Center for Science Education, for instance, has beat the drum for years, labeling doubters as “antiscience,” minus the hyphen (which always looks wrong to me from a copyediting perspective, as if it should be pronounced “an-TIS-ience”).

But check out recent headlines and articles that use the term. Judging by Google News, you’ll see the once-pliable beast has gotten quite out of control.

Here’s a suggestion. Let everyone swear off the habit of avoiding debate by slapping invidious names and labels on people who disagree with you. That would be more honest. It would also be more in line with mainstream public opinion.

That came out in the new survey data, already noted, that gauged attitudes on academic freedom in science, and related matters. One question asked:

  • Rate your level of agreement or disagreement with the following statement: People can disagree about what science says on a particular topic without being “anti- science.”

If that sounds like common sense, it is, at least outside precincts where propaganda is the prime currency. A vast majority of respondents — 87 percent — agreed that you can differ with other people on science without being “anti-science.” The agreement crossed all measured demographic divides of age, sex, political and religious belief.

Atheists were the most likely to disagree — that is, evidently to wish to retain the label “anti-science” as a cudgel against dissenters. But even there it was a minority view, with only 27 percent. A solid majority of 73 percent of atheists reject the “anti-science” label.

Click here to download the full survey results, including detailed information about methodology.

Will the NCSE and others accept this piece of free advice? Don’t worry — I’m not holding my breath.

Photo credit: Universal Studios (Dr. Macro) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
I’m on Twitter. Follow me @d_klinghoffer.

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.

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