The war on science has two fronts | Bleader

The war on science has two fronts

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The updated paperback version of Chris Mooney's tough and well-documented book, The Republican War on Science, is out now. (So far his book tour comes no closer to Chicago than Madison on September 26.)

There's no doubt that conservative know-nothingism regarding stem cells, climate change, and evolution is the main menace right now, if only because it rules all three branches of the federal government. Mooney dissects the falsehoods and deception well, and his emphasis is in the right place.

But this battle has more than one front. Last month Inside Higher Ed carried a story on a UCLA primate researcher who gave up his research and asked animal-rights groups, “please don’t bother my family anymore.”

David Epstein reports that in June there'd been an unsuccessful attack on a colleague: "The Animal Liberation Front took credit for trying to put a Molotov cocktail on the doorstep of Lynn Fairbanks, another UCLA researcher who does experimentation on animals. The explosive was accidentally placed on the doorstep of Fairbanks’s elderly neighbor’s house, and did not detonate. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating the incident. Fairbanks said in an e-mail that the 'protests against me are based on complete fabrications that, unfortunately, are believed by many of their followers.'" Respectful Insolence has a good collection of links and thoughts on animal-rights philosophy and tactics.

This is not the only left-wing-related attack on science. Archaeology is under constant threat from indigenous religion, for instance; we'll leave medical quackery for another day.

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