Book Review: The Republican War on Science

Once the party of small government and fiscal conservativism, America’s Republican party has in the past few decades been hijacked by an unlikely coalition of religious extremists and big-business interests. This coalition has risen to power by cynically exploiting people’s fears, courting the support of minority special interest groups, and attacking its opponents’ patriotism as a cloak to hide its own noxious ideals, and now threatens the very constitutional ideals upon which this country has built. This much should be obvious to every informed observer, but Chris Mooney‘s The Republican War on Science chronicles in meticulous detail one effect of the Republican agenda: the damage done to science, damage that now threatens the scientific standing of a country that invented some of the modern world’s most revolutionary innovations, from atomic power to the Internet.

Both groups making up the Republican party tend to oppose science, but for different reasons. The religious conservatives oppose areas of science that infringe on their faith-based conclusions, such as evolution, sex education, and stem-cell research. Business interests oppose science that might lead to regulation of their industries, such as global warming, endangered-species protection, pollution controls, and research into the health impacts of foods and drugs.

Mooney’s book explores politically motivated abuse of science in the above-mentioned fields and others, showing how anti-science elements of the GOP have done their damage. Their tactics include stacking scientific advisory committees with ideologues, passing new laws to bury proposed scientific studies in red tape, commissioning contrarian “science” to create a false impression of controversy, and outright suppressing scientific research whose conclusions they disagree with. He also notes how the religious right, and George W. Bush in particular, magnifies scientific uncertainty as an excuse for inaction where it suits their purposes (such as environmental protection), yet ignores it altogether where it does not suit their purposes (such as missile defense).

Finally, Mooney provides a historical account of how the Republican party, once a friend of science, became the party of anti-science. This transformation began in the 1960s, where conservative politicians such as Barry Goldwater first began to rail against the “scientific elite”, and escalated in the 1990s with infamous episodes such as the Gingrich Congress’ dismantling of the world-renowned Office of Technology Assessment, leading up to the full-blown Republican war on science today. Mooney quotes Republicans such as Russell Train, administrator of the EPA under two Republican presidents, who are dismayed by the direction their party has taken.

The Republican War on Science thoroughly documents how partisan attacks have touched many fields of science; but if I have any complaint, it is that it does not go for the jugular often enough. Mooney’s discussion of the Data Quality Act was a case in point: he does not, in my opinion, explain clearly enough why it is bad to someone unfamiliar with how science works. He could have summed up the law’s purpose, which is to give well-funded industry groups as many chances as possible to stifle regulation by burying scientific research in legal red tape, in stronger terms. Similar points could be raised about other chapters. Nevertheless, as a source of information and inspiration, this book is worth reading. As one of the reviews on the cover says, it won’t make you feel good, but it will make you wiser.

(Crossposted at Ebon Musings.)

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About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • oku

    This supports that meme: The new lies about women’s health.

    Dr. Shaber tries hard to separate fact from fiction because, she says, “rumor and hearsay can start to seem real.” In the past, she’d sometimes refer patients to government websites and printed fact sheets, or rely on those outlets to help create her own materials. Not anymore. “As a physician, I can no longer trust government sources,” says Dr. Shaber.

  • BlackWizardMagus

    Upsetting indeed. However, I don’t see the democratic party as being anything except small interests fighting for the other side. Science being held-down is bad, but I don’t particularly like the liberal fear-mongering by misrepresenting science or blowing it out of proportion, or their method of financially supporting scientific bodies that support their view. I don’t want to get into a huge argument over it, this week is pretty booked for me, but time and again things are brought up, like the famous “crack babies” that weren’t all that bad, to try and push social programs for liberals.

    In essence, liberals abuse science for their purposes, then the conservatives just try and hold down ALL science to counter it. Both disturbing, but could be easily avoided if government just relinquished ALL support/control of ANY scientific bodies, instead letting the researchers themselves come to the truth.

  • Ebonmuse

    I don’t particularly like the liberal… method of financially supporting scientific bodies that support their view.

    ….Both disturbing, but could be easily avoided if government just relinquished ALL support/control of ANY scientific bodies, instead letting the researchers themselves come to the truth.

    I see a contradiction here, don’t you? If the government stops funding scientific bodies, then who else is going to fund them but special interest groups interested in scientific support for their views? (Incidentally, which liberals supporting scientific bodies did you have in mind? I can think of numerous examples from the other side – DuPont supporting research downplaying the dangers of CFCs, the tobacco companies funding research claiming that smoking cigarettes isn’t dangerous, the Discovery Institute funding pro-creationism “research”… but liberals? I’m drawing a blank here.)

    Withdrawing government support from science would not end the abuse of science; if anything, it would make it far worse. Almost every private group funding science is doing so because it wants to obtain a particular result. Doing what you suggest would lead to the complete partisanization of science where every group has its own “scientific” viewpoint, and that would mean the end of science’s authority or trustworthiness as an arbiter of truth. At least the scientists funded by public grants are not put under pressure to obtain results supporting the predecided viewpoint, not until the Bush administration in any case.

  • BlackWizardMagus

    A blank? Just about ever food scare is liberal science, or the IPCC and every other global warming scare. Even if global warming is ultimately true, it’s naive to think that nothing but proof of it would ever come out of an unbiased and fair organization.

    I’m afraid you are ignoring history; are you telling me that Galileo was funded by the government? Copernicus? No, independent science is just that; independent. What happens with government groups is nothing but smoke and mirrors; now, we have supposedly “neutral” groups that aren’t neutral biasing results. It means that whoever is in control of the science bodies is now the dictator of science. I don’t like that. THe democrats had power for decades and managed to direct the flow of science in that manner, for both good and bad. I mean, think about it just logically; who would get money for global warming, those looking for proof of it or for proof otherwise? Both are legitimate science plans, right? I mean, every idea should be weighed in many different methods. Yet, for the most part, it’s only supporters who ever get money. Why? Because scares make good politics.

    By ending government interference, we would be back to the days when no science group had a monopoly on authority, where it was the DATA that mattered, not which body released it. Sure, there’s bias; but 1000 small science bodies all competing will come to the truth faster than monoliths of ideologically slanted politicians with 75% of the funding will. I mean, you aknowledge Bush’s bent, right? What happens if the republicans continue to maintain control for another 10 years (hopefully not, but what if?)? Would you THEN really want to trust science organizations controlled and funded by Republicans “warring on science”? No! Well, same works in reverse. I’ve been flipping around, for example. It’s republican, and yet, it references and discusses scientific reports from all over, showing environmentalist and liberal bias, like the meaningless scare over CFCs, or PVC, or pesticides, or DDT, etc.

    All in all, good science is always going to be a long, slow battle between competing sides. THat’s it. Attempting to speed it up does nothing except inversly affect the usefulness of the data. Of course, don’t let me seem to extreme; government bodies do often have science that’s just fine. I don’t hate them entirely. I just don’t like a virtual monopoly by a body that has no more authority than anyone else. And it just hurts results; the IPCC for example, has often be defended from any sort of challenge by other groups. People attempting to contest some of their results can get chided from several other organizations and government groups; is this HELPING science or hurting science? I should think that making every group compete would be better than trusting the government.

  • TheShrike_

    An interesting topic, to be sure. I shall have to find a copy of this book (goes to library’s website). Drat, I’ll have to wait a few weeks. I think science is the greatest benefactor and possibly the greatest potential source of devastation humanity has ever known, and that it is the most powerful tool, for good or ill, that humanity has ever known. I do not think that science should be limited by political agendas, though there are some moral and ethical reasons I think science should be limited by. Science, both pure and applied, are the tools by which humanity comes to a better understanding and ability to control their universe, and arbitrary (albeit not reasoned) religious or political laws should not intefere with it. Competition in science is good, as it leads to progression and the conflict of ideas forces people to reexamine their theories.

    By the way, BlackWizardMagus, are you the same person as the person of the same username of the Gamefaqs politics board?

  • BlackWizardMagus

    I would indeed be the same. I always use the same username, just on the unlikely chance of bumping into people I know.

    I don’t know at all if you were agreeing with me, but either way, you ended up explaining my point pretty well; competition is what drives science, not arbitrarily appointed authority figures.

  • MissCherryPi

    time and again things are brought up, like the famous “crack babies” that weren’t all that bad, to try and push social programs for liberals.

    So, only babies born to crack addicted mothers with liberal politics would get support from government programs?

    Even if global warming is ultimately true, it’s naive to think that nothing but proof of it would ever come out of an unbiased and fair organization.

    Find me a peer reviewed article positing that global warming isn’t manmade or going to cause harm. Not one that says “global warming might not be as bad as IPCC says” or one that says “it won’t make hurricanes worse” because those authors still admit that it’s happening, it’s man-made, and it will be bad.

  • BlackWizardMagus

    Umm, no, and I don’t see how that’s a conclusion of what I said.

    Hmm…I don’t know where to look for such articles, regretably. I know the library nearby has jstor, but I don’t have time to run down there now. I know if you start digging, you can find these things, but I don’t have hours to dig. I’d check out the site I mentioned earlier; I’ve spent some time just reading various articles there and he uses peer reviewed articles as references frequently. If you want to take this as a defeat on my part, feel free; I just don’t have the time. I’ve found things before, and there is enough, I feel, to simply make the conclusion that global warming hasn’t been anywhere near proven yet, not that it’s impossible or entirely false.

    Like I said, take that as you will.

  • BlackWizardMagus

    But uh, BTW, NO ARTICLE has ever said global warming was just man made. Let’s make sure we’re clear on the fact that man is simply adding to a factor, a cause that wasn’t there before. Just something to look at, you might want to check this page from NASA out; essentially, it says that the degree of error in temp measurements is greater than the entire global warming effect currently postulated. Just one reason I think jumping to the conclusion of global warming is presumptuous; we first need a way to tell accurately and consistently the global temperature, and that we cannot do.

  • oku

    it says that the degree of error in temp measurements is greater than the entire global warming effect currently postulated.

    Even if that is true, you can still deduce a global warming effect. The measurements are not taken at one place, they are made all over the globe. Errors in the measurements cancel out, when enough independent measurements are taken. This is basic statistics. Also even if we cannot exactly measure the mean global temperature, we can still measure a change over time. And exactly that has been found.

    If you are looking for information, I suggest RealClimate and the wikipedia to start with.

  • BlackWizardMagus

    However, that only applies with consistent measurements. We don’t have that. We have ice cores and tree rings and UHI effects and balloons and satellites and all of those give unequal numbers. Which is, again, my only point; we need more time and more study. The further back we go, the less exact we are in measurement, and even since about 1880, when we started measurements, we’ve changed where and when we take said measurements. To really deduce anything reliable, we need a set way of taking measurements that we start now and continue on with for 50 years, THEN let’s discuss things. Until then, the error margin obtained when trying to fit different numbers from all over the place is just too large. It’s like a presidential pole that is 51/49 with a 3% error margin; okay, we GUESS the first guy is slightly more likely to be ahead, assuming no methodology errors, but we can’t bank on it at all.

    BTW, I liked how that site brought up a point that I mentioned earlier, about how groups try and shield the IPCC from inquiry (RealClimate that is). The first article mentions the deal with the Senate that dared ask for the methodology to be released on calculating Munn’s hockey stick; how dare a Congressman try to facillitate open science debate!

  • oku

    Okay, all these give different numbers, but _no_ measurment is absolutely correct. Never. The point is that all the results are more or less consistent, and show that the temperature is indeed increasing. And if you do not trust the measurements, look at other data. A few more links for you:

    Satellite measurements

    Borehole analysis

    Glacial melt observations

    Sea ice melt

    To really deduce anything reliable, we need a set way of taking measurements that we start now and continue on with for 50 years,

    That is just irresponsible, considering that we already have the data, and that it will be too late in 50 years.

    And this article (BBC) may give you something to think about.

  • BlackWizardMagus

    I’ve seen those; is a pretty fair site, it shows all that data. But that doesn’t change the fact that the deviation is still huge. You can’t have a reliable trend when the margin of error is greater. You just can’t, it’s a statistical impossiblity. If we take the negative margin of error in one measurement, all of global warming is reversed; until we have EXACTLY consistent data, it’s not worth bothering with. It’s irresponsible to do otherwise. You don’t have the data; you can’t reliably trace a path from ice cores to tree rings to land measurements to measuring buckets of water dragged in from the sea to weather balloons to satellites. Satellites, for example, show only a slight change, if I recall correctly; far smaller than land measurements. Well, if we assume then that the land measurements greatly exagerate the effect, as we see in the comparison, than global warming is like 1/6 of a degree. Who cares about that? There is no “proper” temperature ot climate. There isn’t one that’s SUPPOSED to be right. And luckily, the greenhouse effect is logarithmic (sp?); the longer it goes on, the weaker the effect, meaning the temp increase can’t be more than a few degrees, ever, and that might end up being a better climate that we have now (limited and inherently flawed models aren’t going to sway that argument).

    So, I agree we can’t have perfect data, and I never said that. All I am saying is that we need to establish some measurement techniques now, and then hold those for years. And then we need a hell of alot more data about things like the effect of solar radiation. Then come talk to me. I’m not willing to sacrfice trillions of dollars over a 1 or 2 degree change, I’m just not.

    And the article was nice, but is merely smoke.

  • Ebonmuse

    A blank? Just about ever food scare is liberal science, or the IPCC and every other global warming scare.

    I was referring specifically to the idea that liberal groups fund science to obtain results favorable to themselves. Unlike the many cases where industry groups have done exactly this, I know of no comparable examples from the other side of the aisle.

    I’m afraid you are ignoring history; are you telling me that Galileo was funded by the government? Copernicus? No, independent science is just that; independent.

    Yes, but science funded by special-interest groups – whether corporate or ideological – with a stake in the outcome is not independent. To take an example from Mooney’s book, when a 2002 EPA study suggested that the herbicide atrazine causes bizarre developmental abnormalities in frogs and other species, the company Syngenta, which manufactures atrazine, funded research that – amazingly – failed to reproduce those effects. Would you really trust those results to be objective, considering they were bought and paid for by a company that had a profit motive in finding a negative result? That is a massive conflict of interest.

    It means that whoever is in control of the science bodies is now the dictator of science.

    That is how it is becoming, thanks to the Bush administration, but that is not how it always was. Prior to this administration, scientists were not complaining that scientific advisory committees were being deliberately stacked with ideologues, or that results contradicting administration policy were being squelched. Now they are saying so. (For one, Mooney cites a 2004 petition signed by 48 Nobel laureates, 62 National Medal of Science recipients, and 135 members of the National Academy of Sciences that demanded the Bush administration stop tampering with science. Nothing remotely comparable has happened under any previous president.) There were many good former presidents, both Democrat and Republican, who let science guide their policy rather than fixing the science to reflect their policy. The current administration has taken a radical detour from that course.

    I’ve been flipping around, for example. It’s republican, and yet, it references and discusses scientific reports from all over, showing environmentalist and liberal bias, like the meaningless scare over CFCs, or PVC, or pesticides, or DDT, etc.

    Pardon me, but what do you mean by the “meaningless” scare over CFCs? An ozone hole the size of a continent does not sound meaningless to me. (Thankfully, that is an older picture, and ozone depletion has begun to decline since the worldwide adoption of the Montreal Protocol – but the damage will not be fully reversed for several more decades, due to the long residence times of CFCs in the atmosphere.)

    Your mention of Milloy is quite relevant, since he is mentioned numerous times in Mooney’s book. I strongly recommend you take his claims with a grain of salt. Far from being an unbiased skeptic, Milloy is actually a paid spokesman for many of the industries whose products he defends. For example, according to an article in the January 2006 New Republic, two nonprofits run by Milloy received $90,000 from ExxonMobil between 2000 and 2003. (Small wonder he thinks global warming is unproven, wouldn’t you say?) He has also taken money from Phillip Morris, following which he attacked findings linking smoking to lung cancer. When asked about these affiliations, Fox News, Milloy’s current employer, said that they were not aware of these connections and that he should have disclosed them in his columns, which he did not.

    Milloy’s usual strategy is to label as “junk science” any finding that might suggest the need to regulate one of those industries’ products, regardless of whether he can identify any specific problem with the research; and like J.P. Holding and other loudmouthed Christian apologists, his conclusions are always delivered full of rhetorical bombast and sneering derision to distract from their usual lack of substance. I do recommend you find a more trustworthy source.

    The first article mentions the deal with the Senate that dared ask for the methodology to be released on calculating Munn’s hockey stick; how dare a Congressman try to facillitate open science debate!

    Again, I’m afraid, you have been substantially misinformed as to what is going on here. Do you realize exactly what Joe Barton asked for? He did not simply ask for Mann’s data (which, I should note, Mann released to him without qualm or complaint). He asked for an enormous amount of data, much of it completely irrelevant to any imaginable investigation – basically, he asked for a complete accounting of the scientists’ entire life’s work – and gave them approximately two weeks to provide it. Any unbiased look would conclude that this was done not out of a sincere desire to know the truth, but as a blatant attempt at intimidation. You can read more about this debacle at RealClimate and an article by Mooney for the American Prospect, Mann Hunt.

  • BlackWizardMagus

    Umm, since most major science organizations are liberal, they do alot of scares. And then, it’s usually liberals who exagerate the claims to scare folks.

    I don’t mind conflicting interests funding science, because it’s ALREADY HAPPENING. Harvard, a bastion of liberal politics, does alot of research; why should I trust them? I do trust scientists, I do; eventually. It all eventually works out, if we let them battle it out. Just like competition works out other problems in the market. But, granting a government monopoly over the most esteemed groups and funding, you are doing exactly the thing that, ironically, most liberals hate when it occurs in the business world.

    No, I have to disagree flat out over your assertion that Bush is the only biased president. The reason no one ever complained before is because the bodies were stacked with the SAME PEOPLE that controlled government. Now that we have a powerful republican influence, these democrats are complaining. Many groups have been complaining about global warming scares, CFC junk science, the global ice age the warming advocates were all over, etc, since they came out. It’s just that since liberal politics had a control of the science groups, they won.

    We have no ozone hole; we noted over 100 years ago that the Antarctic has massive changes in ozone. I believe it’s once or twice a year, the ozone disappears in a large chemical shake up, that eventually settles again. ANd not one study has ever been able to link CFC’s DIRECTLY to any negative effects.

    Okay, so let’s trust scientists who, by supporting every scare that comes out, get millions of dollars in reasearch funding? Oh, there’s no conflict of interest there! It’s just as bad. And actually, Milloy rarely is that sarcastic. Check out his site; he gives you links directly from the IPCC, NASA, etc. He doesn’t just go off on rhetoric and ignore the data.

    And since Mann has refused, repeatedly, to release his data for over ten years, I hardly support that he gave “no complaint”. But, okay, so alot of data was asked for; so what? Why does that matter? Just give it and move on. Oh no; a huge stir had to be made, with all sorts of accusations of meddling in the UN affairs. Well, damn, how dare he want the info released to someone besides the IPCC!

    It’s funny RealClimate keeps coming up, seeing as how they have accused Junkscience of distortion without basis. Again, we come back to the blame game. The only difference here is thus; I don’t believe either side, liberals fully believe one side and fully disbelieve the other. I see that as naive. Sorry, but I do. I try to read both sides, I try to read the Yahoo news when it comes out with something on global warming, then check out Fox as they bring out the OTHER data from whatever report is being discussed and show the counter-evidence the other media “conveniently” forgets. I try to balance both. I can’t read everything, I’m not an expert, but I see two, valid sides that I try to balance in my own view. I feel that’s a rational, free-thinking way to go about things. I do NOT think believing one side and throwing ad hominem attacks about funding at the other is anything but being as dogmatic as a Christian fundamentalist. As long as the government reports are incomplete, biased, or omit important, contrary info, yes, I want businesses to come out and fund their own reports. To trust ANYONE or ANY SIDE blindly is not, I thought, what was advocated here.

    Anyway, I feel like everytime this subject comes up, it becomes some hugs debacle. I’d rather not continue, because I know the next counter-response of mine will require substantial research to start getting down into the gritty aspects. I’d rather not, because my only point is that for every valid claim, I see a valid counter. They are there, and attempting to discredit one side with accusations of association while ignoring that the other side has the same fallacy gets us nowhere. I advise that anyone interested in this bookmark Realclimate and Junkscience, and read both of them. Ignore the accusations and the rhetoric and see what you find in the numbers. THat’s what I’m trying to do, and no amount of cajoling or link-tossing is going to change that.

  • Quath

    As a scientist, I feel I should comment on some of this.

    We need government to support science in a non-political way. This is because good science is now more expensive. A person sitting at home with a chemistry set or a bunch of books is not going to produce as much or as good as a person with thousands of parallel computers doing simulations. If you look at many scientific papers, you will see so many authors because of all the interactions it takes to get new and interesting discoveries. If there were no government labs, government funded colleges would have to cut back research.

    I think one role of science should be to answer questions for the government. For example, a politician asks “Is it safer to force parents to put seat belts on their babies in an airplane?” Science goes off and models this without influence from politics or industry and comes back with an answer. (In this case, it is safer to leave off the seat belts because the extra cost of a seat for the baby causes some people to drive instead of fly. Driving in a car is more dangerous for a baby than flying.)

    As a scientist, I do not see people trying to support liberal ideas just because they are liberal. Most scientists rather go againstthe flow if they can justify it because it is funner to defend a hard position. However, discussions always have to resolve around studies and observations.

    What I see personally is that most of the scientists I know tend to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

  • BlackWizardMagus

    Wait, you need the government, the industry that IS politics, to support science to keep it apolitical? Then again, I suppose that’s about as sensical as government schools supposedly teaching and not indoctrinating.

    I don’t agree with your example; the government shouldn’t regulate that. But anyway, my argument isn’t always that scientists are liars, that’s not it at all; but when the global warming thing started, and Gore was getting money to any scientist SUPPORTING it, so we have one big, government funded, ideologically bent science base, it’s going to naturally skew data. There is no reason, none, why we should accept one group of scientists over another; while a limited view of credentials should be held, the most important aspect of science is to avoid authority figures dictating what is and is not true, don’t you agree? Government bodies, with massive funding and support, will naturally become the behemoths, and the fact that these bodies are staffed by whatever party is in charge is a threat (it’s just naive to think Bush is doing it but no other politician ever has). Add to that the fact that most universities are liberal, and it’s worse.

    Point is, since there is no way to create a reliably apolitical body, the best choice is to pull the wool off our eyes and see the bias and work with it. We need to take both sides and find the truth. Business and grass roots organizations and colleges will still fund science if we did this; it wouldn’t be as much, but that’s a good thing–we could stop researching crap like X-Ray lasers to shoot down missles.

  • Quath

    I remember when the greenhouse effect became a hot button political issue. What bothered me is that people would say “The science is uncertain, so lets pretend it will not happen.” That was just irresponsible. It would be like someone driving a car down a windy road. A hand written sign says “Danger! Cliff up ahead. Slow down.” Some people say that the sign may be a joke. Some say it may be real. Either way, until we know, we need to be more cautious because you if you go off the cliff, you can’t fix it by backing up the car. Likewise, a lot of global warming senarios have cliffs that are not easily fixed if you go off one.

    So what I wanted to see is a responsible debate with science being used for evidence. However, what I saw were conservatives saying that Global Warming was not happening so lets do nothing and liberals saying that it was definitely happening, so lets get to 0 emissions. Extremes are bad, but in this case, I rather error on the side of safety than on the side of danger.

    And don’t knock X-ray lasers. Ok. Maybe they are not a good tool for shooting down missles, but sometimes research into stuff like that leads to other interesting ideas.

  • Jeff T

    I find it easy to believe that both political parties are controlled by big business and influenced by religious groups. Republicans and Democrats are just two sides of the same coin. Both are mouthpieces to justify the greed of Corporate America and the social darwinism so dominant in America today. We are already past the point of no return on global disaster. I cannot comment on Global Warming (although to ignore the tons of CO2 being dumped into the air every year and knowing what we know about Venus… hmmm) but I can comment on dynamite fishing in the oceans, as I have seen it… if we are having to use dynamite to gather up the remnants of vast fisheries, then we are in trouble but I guess it is ok as long as the rich get richer and the poor are kept mesmerized by the glamour of TV. I try to remain stoic about it all. Seeing reality for what it is just convinces me all the more that atheism is the truth. Whether or not we deserve to be the dominant species on this planet remains to be seen. I think this current Administration is certainly at the extreme end of openly being bought out and controlled by money. What kind of idiotic response is lifting the EPA regulations on gas refineries in order to lower gas prices? It sounds like telling an alcoholic that there is no need to stop drinking, just piss all over your pants as you guzzle down more booze.

  • Philip Thomas

    Hmm. “most major science organisations are liberal”: I’m confused: what does ‘liberal’ mean in this context? The Scientific Method is a product of the Enlightenment, as is liberalism, so maybe you mean that the practise of science is in itself liberal. Or do you mean that the conclusions drawn by most major science organisations tend to agree with liberal views? There are a number of explanations for this. The first is that liberals tend to keep open minds and accept the findings of science where they involve rethinking assumptions more easily than conservatives do. The second is that the liberals have a more accurate worldview to start with, and as science disovers more about reality it comes across things liberals suspected anyway. The third is that science and liberalism are based on flexible judgments and readiness to adapt to new findings, so scientists are more likely to be liberals.