Bias and Science Denial


I just read an interesting article on the phenomenon of ‘science deniers’ – interesting in the sense that, not written from an American perspective, the usual equation of science deniers and the political right was contradicted. While deniers of things such as climate change and evolution are obviously associated with the political right, other science deniers, such as those that deny the validity of scientific assurances as to the safety of GMO crops, for instance, tend to be associated with the political left.

Without getting into the examination of the truth-claims of what is scientifically correct, but simply looking at the claims from the scientific perspective, in terms of amount and consistency of evidence the GMO safety claims have a greater likelihood of scientific validity. Yet pro-science left liberals, who are horrified at the idea of questioning evolution or global warming are perfectly comfortable questioning the validity of GMO safety claims.

The obvious rejoinder is that GMO claims are liable to be biased by political and economic interests, which although a perfectly valid perspective for critique, would be the rejoinder those on the right would make concerning global warming and even evolutionary theory. The interesting question for me is how those who are 100% convinced of the intrinsic lack of bias in other areas are so quick to admit the possibility of bias when the results don’t agree with what they prefer to think.

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