The Republican Party is often thought of as the anti-science party in the United States because many of its members do not accept Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and human-induced climate change. Although both of these areas have overwhelming scientific evidence in their favor, many people stubbornly cling to their beliefs, even going so far as to discredit the scientists who support them.
Given the ideals of the Republican Party, this to some extent makes sense. Evolution goes against the “Bible is fact” beliefs of many conservative Christians. Climate change is also bad news for the free market – which the Republican Party traditionally supports – because businesses often have to pay a lot of money for sustainable systems.
For all of the criticism the Grand Old Party receives, though, there are plenty on the left who are just as bad about other issues. For instance, many liberals are inclined to believe natural treatments are always better, and go so far as to oppose beneficial food additives. Here are more ways liberal Democrats discredit science, and why we shouldn’t refer to Republicans as the only anti-science party.
Before we go any further, know that I’m not interested in pigeonholing anybody or making generalizations. And while I’ve fallen out of love with the GOP, everybody deserves the right to throw some mud of their own from time to time.
Democrats are often more likely to believe in new-age treatments and pseudoscientific claims than those on the right. Liberals are more likely to receive acupuncture, visit a chiropractor, or receive homeopathic remedies. They refer to these treatments as alternative medicine and claim they offer a natural, effective alternative to traditional Western medicine. However, there is often little scientific evidence, if any, that proves these treatments work. At the very least, you’d be giving yourself a placebo, but you could also be making your condition worse by prolonging an illness or ailment.
In general, many lefties seem inclined to think natural is good and chemical is bad. These days, you can visit the pharmacy and see a slew of herbal supplements. These claim to be just as effective as other medicines with buzzwords like “all-natural” and “chemical-free.”
Little do their consumers know that an excess of expensive herbs will probably just be secreted in urine, anyway. Furthermore, thinking “all natural” substances are categorically better for you just doesn’t make any sense; spider venom and poison mushrooms are “all natural” as well, but you don’t want those anywhere near you.
Going along with the anti-chemical liberal ideology is the anti-vaccination movement. Across the country, a frighteningly high number of parents are now refusing to vaccinate their children. Spurred by anti-vaccination leaders like Jenny McCarthy, some parents are actually convinced that the risks of vaccination outweigh the benefits. Some claim vaccines can cause autism, which is a totally unsupported claim. Any medical doctor will tell you your children should absolutely be vaccinated as early as possible to prevent serious and potentially life-threatening diseases.
Parents who choose not to vaccinate aren’t actually new. For decades, some extremely religious families have chosen not to give their children medical attention at all, believing God will keep them healthy if they but remain penitent. As admirable as a strong commitment to faith can be, however, these families proved to be little more than ignorant, anti-science, and anti-progress folks trying and succeeding in isolating themselves from mainstream society. That, and most people tend to think of them as a little crazy. The frightening thing is that the anti-chemical, anti-vaccination movement is actually gaining ground these days. What progress?
The Non-GMO Stance
Many liberals don’t limit their natural-only thinking to medicine. They also try to buy natural food and avoid genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Scientifically speaking, GMOs are no less healthy than non-GMOs.
In fact, they just speed up what Mother Nature already does. GMOs also allow farmers to greatly increase production. For this reason, most liberals should support GMOs if they really want to be environmentally friendly.
Organic Eating and Big Agriculture
Sticking an organic or locally grown label on food doesn’t automatically make it better for you and the environment. These days, though, you can’t walk into a grocery store without seeing these words. Although you may have been told organic and locally grown foods are healthier for you, there’s really not much evidence to support this. In fact, the word “organic” itself is a bit of a misnomer. Very strictly speaking, organic just means “carbon-based,” but the food industry has extended the term to cover foods farmed in the area by small establishments, without pesticides.
Yes: shopping exclusively for organic foods can help reduce your carbon footprint – as long as the foods don’t have to be shipped long distances to get to your store. In addition, there isn’t a single pesticide that does the body good once ingested. Beyond that, though, there’s little, if any, benefit to the products. In fact, small farms have some practices that are worse for the environment than Big Ag. Most use subsistence farming, which is a much less efficient method of production and would require people to move out of cities where the lifestyles are among the greenest.
Furthermore, people may claim grass-fed beef and other small-farm meats are better for the environment, but this is largely a myth and will do very little to reduce your carbon footprint. People who are truly concerned about how their diet affects the environment will probably go vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian. These are the only diets proven to significantly help Mother Nature.
What better way to draw this to a close than with nukes?
Until we find a truly sustainable energy source, nuclear power could really help the world’s energy crisis. Although they are capable of great destruction, nukes are amazingly abundant sources of energy. Nuclear waste could also be disposed much more easily than fossil fuels, and scientific research shows the radioactive threat could be eliminated. However, many liberals are staunchly against nuclear energy to the point to where the research is, by and large, not getting the research funding it deserves.
Image Credit: Flickr
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