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The March for Science and the “Anti-Science” Slur

March for Science

Wesley Smith wraps up our joint coverage with The Stream leading up to tomorrow’s March for Science. Regarding the “anti-science” slur, which you’ll hear from many mouths and see on many signs at the March, Wesley observes that what gives away the game is the selectivity with which it is deployed against opponents.

Clearly, the term is ideological, having little to do with concern for the integrity of science:

That the usual purpose of the “anti-science” slur — to silence debate. Partisans wield it during intense moral and public policy disagreements that involve science in some way. But with few exceptions — such as the GMO debate –the “anti-science” charge is used against only one side of the debate.

Thus, when the National Institutes of Health announced that it would not fund new research using chimps, no one yelled that the NIH was being anti-science. Why not? After all, that decision was based on ethical grounds. And it could even make it harder for scientists to cure human diseases. The hepatitis vaccine, for instance, was based on research on chimpanzees.

Why wasn’t the chimp policy denounced as anti-science? Whether one is deemed “anti-science” or “pro-science” seem to have little to do with science itself. It depends on whose moral ox is being gored.

Activists don’t just use the anti-science label to favor one side in ethics debates. They also use it to stifle heterodox scientific research. My colleagues at Discovery Institute, for instance, are often accused of being anti-science for promoting intelligent design. ([Hank] Campbell made this charge in the article attacking me.) They suffer the label even though they use the standard methods of natural science. They simply explore and defend the idea that nature is better explained by intelligent design than blind forces. In this way, they argue that science not be confused with materialism. For that, they are denounced as “anti-science.”

If anyone is “anti-science,” however, it’s surely those who try to silence dissent and to enforce orthodoxies. That applies to the organizers of the March for Science in spades. They want to promote a narrow brand of politics and ideology, not science itself.

Read the rest here. “Science”? You mean “science” in the sense of left-wing ideology masquerading as science? Oh yes, that. The “March for Science” may be the most egregiously misnamed event we’ve heard of lately.

Photo credit: David Shankbone (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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.



anti-scienceDiscovery InstituteHank CampbellMarch for ScienceNational Institutes of HealthWesley J. Smith