Secular Scientists Continue to Push Leftist Agendas
Evidence is abundant that secular science organizations and their media outlets are committed to leftist positions on a variety of issues, even on subjects outside of science.
Income Equality: A special section in the May 23rd issue of Science Magazine concerns “Income Equality.” What does that have to do with science? It’s a huge issue in politics, being a buzzphrase of the current administration, but science? While scientists might be useful for gathering statistics about income, or generating infographics about where income disparities are sharpest, science per se is supposed to be neutral on political subjects. The cover caption is, “Special Issue: Haves and Have Nots, the Science of Inequality” – as if there is such a science.
There was an article attempting to explain inequality as an outcome of thermodynamics. Another explained it as a product of Darwinian evolution, portraying the hunter-gatherer culture of hominids out to be a kind of “egalitarian Eden” before agriculture and civilization evolved. One discussed the social psychology of inequality. The flavor of all the articles was decidedly leftist: government needs to redistribute wealth to reduce the plague of income inequality. One spoke favorably of the Occupy movements, repeating its mythoid about “the 99%” who suffer at the hands of the richest 1%. Shockingly, one article portrayed Chairman Mao as a kind of egalitarian hero of China, whose reforms were undermined by later rulers’ bow to market forces. (In fairness, that same author the following week pointed out that China’s crackdown in Tiananmen Square in June 1989 had a “bitter legacy,” a long-lasting negative effect on Chinese science.)
Not a single conservative economist was given print space. None of the authors advocated free market economics or gave a good word about conservatism, where liberty is valued over equality (conservatives believe there should be equality of opportunity, but government should not attempt to guarantee equality of outcome, which only puts everyone at the same misery level). In fact, one article specifically contradicted conservative theory supporting economic liberty. Should the American Association for the Advancement of Science be advancing leftist politics?
What is science’s place? The Conversation, a reliable source of scientism and leftist politics, entered a plea by Tom McLeish of Durham University that “restoring science’s place in society will help us resolve the big debates.” Which debates did he have in mind? He began with a quote by Jawaharlal Nehru, “It is science alone that can solve the problems of hunger and poverty.” While that may be true when science discovers ways to increase farm productivity, McLeish has other matters on his mind: climate change, GMO foods, and geo-engineering among them. McLeish surprises his readers with diversions into art and literature, including the Biblical books of Genesis and Job, to reason that much ancient literature portrays a broken relationship between man and nature. He even ends by stating that “science, far from irreconcilable with religion, is a profoundly religious activity itself.” One will look in vain, though, for a Protestant work ethic or admonitions for righteousness for individuals and society. Rather, he pictures science as his savior. We need to “restore faith in science” in order “to ensure the future well-being of our planet and our species.”
Pro-abortion adocacy: Medical Xpress, a site for medical science news, reposted an Associated Press story by Emily Wagster Pettus, “Abortion restrictions take root in US South.” Pettus. The headline is a tipoff of what follows: a portrayal of abortion restrictions as a tragedy for woman’s reproductive rights. The talking points of the pro-abortion movement swamp any attempts at objectivity. The pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights gets the microphone; leftists always get the last word after anti-abortion groups express their opinions. Nothing is said about the right to life of the unborn. Nothing is said about the ghastly practices of abortion clinics, like the one of convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell.
Collectivism: Both Science Magazine and Nature wrote with self-serving alarm about the “Euroskeptic” trend by some European political parties wanting out of the European Union. The journals are concerned that this trend might reduce funding for science. Science spoke of “extremist parties with an anti-immigration, anti-E.U. stance.” A more balanced political article about American funding for the NSF was written by Jeffrey Mervis in Science Magazine May 30, but this jab at Republicans as the anti-science party got through:
“What’s most troubling in the bill is the questioning of scientists and of science,” says Michael Lubell, head of the Washington, D.C., office of the American Physical Society. “There seems to be a growing desire by some politicians to score points at the expense of the scientific community. You see it often with respect to climate change and evolution. Their attitude is that scientists come up with theories that keep changing, and that they can’t be trusted.”
Victimization: A hallmark of leftist politics is categorizing people into groups of the oppressed (e.g., race, class, gender) who need government help. Deserving of particular scorn among leftists are patriarchal males. A University of Kansas press release, echoed uncritically on science news site PhysOrg, promotes an essay that “explores male authority in religious, social movements.” Bizarrely, the article uses the actions of terrorist group Boko Haram’s capture of girls for slaves as evidence indicting all men:
“If you look at what’s going on from Nigeria to Afghanistan, the way male religious authority grab at power is by controlling women, I’m interested in the question of what is the thinking behind this kind patriarchal thought,” said Randal Maurice Jelks, professor of American studies and African and African American studies. “The way men think, even the most liberal of men, think like men. They interpret texts in certain ways to hold power as men, the challenge is to get all men to think in broader ways about matters of religion, politics and families.“
Well, if all men are just power-mad oppressors, maybe Jelks should look at the source: evolution. In a book review published in Nature, “Darwin and the women,” Sarah S. Richardson explodes a myth that Darwin’s ideas about evolution were championed only by sexist men. Kimberly A. Hamlin’s new book From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women’s Rights in Gilded Age America shows that many prominent feminists endorsed Darwinism, even though “Darwin himself opposed birth control and asserted the natural inferiority of human females” (Darwin, in The Descent of Man, considered adult women to be intermediate between children and men). This would seem to spell double trouble for Jelks. On the one hand, many feminists disagree with his assessment, and consider (rightly or wrongly) Darwinism to be their source of liberation. On the other hand, why fight an evolutionary process that made men what they are?
Embryonic stem cells: Both Science Magazine and Nature were happy about a vote by the European Union to block a large contingent of citizens who wanted to restrict funding for embryonic stem cell research. Science quoted someone who called the decision “very wise.” Nature wrote, “The European Commission has, as predicted, turned down a request from more than 1.7 million citizens for new legislation to ban the funding of research using human embryonic stem cells, including those that do not involve destruction of new embryos. Scientists are relieved.” All scientists?
Climate change: There are so many secular sites arguing that humans are responsible for global warming, listing them would overwhelm the space for this article. One interesting example posted on Live Science tried to undercut a favorite conservative argument, that scientists in the 1970s were scaring people about global cooling. The author of an oft-cited Newsweek article in 1975, Peter Gwynne, was given ample space to argue that “My 1975 ‘Cooling World’ Story Doesn’t Make Today’s Climate Scientists Wrong.” Gwynne could be right; maybe climate science wasn’t as good back then. Still, why doesn’t Live Science give equal time to any of today’s PhD scientists who dispute anthropogenic global warming? (See PetitionProject, and another report on Forbes.com about a survey showing that a majority of climate scientists dispute the “consensus” view of the IPCC.) Instead, one Newsweek reporter, who wrote something false 39 years ago, got to say whatever he wanted about the subject in the name of “live science.”
Moral subjectivity: New Scientist book reviewer Kate Douglas, in “How moral fundamentalism becomes a scientific sin,” gave mostly good marks to a reductionist book by Mark Johnson, Morality for Humans: Ethical understanding from the perspective of cognitive science. Traditional values are the scientific sin, apparently. Douglas is cautious in her praise, but calls Johnson’s arguments for the evolution of morality “eminently sensible” –
Of course, this runs counter to traditional ideas about morality. They see it as uniquely human and resting on absolute principles, which are there to be discovered. Most religions locate the source of these moral principles in god. Western philosophers – most notably Immanuel Kant – have replaced the deity with “universal reason”, so that human rationality becomes the source of unconditional moral laws. Such “moral fundamentalism” is wrong, Johnson argues.
But whom is he trying to convince? Not the likes of me, who already knows this to be true.
Johnson’s problem, to Douglas, is not the truth of his arguments for evolution, but for not making clear who his audience is. Both are relativists: “Morality is based upon values that arise from our shared needs, desires, interests and practices – values that change continuously,” she says. “…So, human morality is contingent, experimental, a work in progress. That sounds about right.” Yea, verily, “For humans, morality is not about Right or Good, simply about Better.” But that’s not enough. The fundamentalists must be castigated: “Moral absolutism is immoral,” she quotes Johnson saying, “in that it shuts down precisely the kind of empirically informed ethical inquiry we most need for our lives.”
Apparently the contradiction was lost on her. She just called moral absolutism immoral, and advised us to “keep pushing the moral boundaries because there are no absolutes.” So is moral absolutism absolutely immoral? If morality is a work in progress (as she “knows to be true”), with values that change continuously, maybe moral absolutism will not always be immoral. Then what? Meanwhile, don’t wait for New Scientist to positively review a book by a conservative scientist affirming traditional values.
Debunking religion: Without controversy, most atheists are Darwinists, and lean politically to the left. It should not be surprising that evolutionary biologists like Robert Young, a professor of wildlife conservation at the University of Salford in Manchester, is preoccupied with the evolution of religion. Asking “Could biology explain the evolution of religion?” in The Conversation, Young uses faulty analogies to compare mental activities by intelligent humans to the mindless, unguided process of Darwinian evolution:
The development of new religions looks like the way new species are formed and thrive. In case of protestants, the “evolutionary spark” would be Martin Luther with his calls for reform. Similarly the deliberate differences, such as religious rituals, were created to keep the two faiths separated in the same manner that speciation of songbirds often provides related species with similar, but distinct songs so they will not interbreed.
This reduces Luther to a kind of evolutionary tweeter. So much for his logical arguments; it was just a case of the origin of species by natural selection. Unfortunately, Luther is no longer present to write a counterpunch article, like “Could original sin explain the tendency to believe in evolution?” He doesn’t need to, actually. In the end of his essay, Robert Young cuts out his own feet from under him:
This explains to some extent why religion evolved in our species. But modern societies are very different from the kin groups where religion evolved. Robert Hinde suggests that the interesting question in modern times is “Why Gods persist?” His answer is surprisingly simple: Intrinsically religious people (who have faith for its own sake) have better physical and mental health than the rest of the population. Whereas extrinsically religious people (who have faith because they want to gain something) have no better health than atheists. Put simply, there is an evolutionary advantage in being intrinsically religious.
Taking this thought to its logical conclusion, Young and his evolutionist friends should rejoice if atheists go extinct, and Bible-believing creationists take over the world. Obviously, it would prove they are the fittest. Darwinism confirmed!
The purpose of showcasing these stories in the secular science media is not to argue for conservatism over liberalism, but to point out, once again, that our modern scientific institutions are very biased toward only one side of the political spectrum. Yet scientists pride themselves on “objectivity”! If they were, where are the balancing arguments from the other side? They are prominent by their absence. Leftists rationalize their positions with science, and secular scientists (at least the ones who get published) betray their subjectivity with their consistently leftist positions. The talking points of the left permeate these articles. The only time a conservative gets quoted is to position the quote for smackdown. This is heinous. For one thing, science thrives on debate. For another, science should stick to science! What business is it of Nature, Science, and these other scientific websites to attempt to speak with scientific authority about income equality, feminism, or morality?
The imbalance could be quickly solved. Science journals and websites should actively seek out conservative voices to respond (1/02/13). Secondly, they should ask hard-hitting questions of the leftist spokespeople, like journalists do at political press conferences, embarrassing them when their logic and evidence is substandard (that would cut out most evolutionary speculation). Third, and most important, they should get their pointy heads out of matters that are not science’s business.
What happened that led to this unholy alliance of leftism with science? (10/14/10) In short, Darwin. When the Bearded Buddha launched his storytelling empire (12/22/03 commentary), he kicked out the hard-working entrepreneurs of science and let in the bums (the Starving Storytellers), promising handouts and letting them loaf, dining on “tantalizing speculations.” Soon they were speculating about everything: the evolution of religion, the evolution of politics, the evolution of beards, whatever. As listeners were distracted by their mesmerizing tale-telling, they took over the courts, the schools, the humanities, theology, and philosophy. Now they feel entitled to speculate about everything except their own speculation. Aided by the lapdog media, these intolerant bigots refuse to listen to anyone but their friends, as they go palsy-walsy with every leftist movement in the world. Many reporters are blind to their own biases (12/05/10).
Ah, but their critics have one advantage. They can point out the self-refuting fallacies in their foolish stories (like some of those above). They can, that is, if they can only grab the microphone for a moment, and if Darwine-intoxicated students have any rational faculties left.