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Hey, there, fellow leftists! Hope you're all having a great day eating organic arugula, liberating lab animals from a university research facility, and withholding your children from getting vaccinated! Because it turns out that, despite the fairly well-documented dislike of science facts by many on the right, it's really libruls who hate science, as the Moonie Times discovered when it spoke to Dr. Alex Berezow, a microbiologist and science blogger who just happens to have co-authored a book on that very subject, Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left. It's apparently a kind of reply to Chris Mooney's 2006 The Republican War on Science; we will happily admit to not having read either one. So is this another case of Both Sides Do It, then? Let us "examine" the "evidence" and "form" a "conclusion"!


To start off, it would appear that Berezow is an actual scientist who is convinced that evolution is real and accepts the reality of climate change. That's a nice start! We can even agree with him on his analysis of why the latter is so politically charged:

I believe the issue is contentious because of the policy implications, not because of the science itself.

Unfortunately, when conservatives hear "global warming," many of them really hear "cap-and-trade" or some other policy they don't like. The key to defusing the situation is to make sure the science is separated from the policy. Just because the planet is getting warmer doesn't mean we must implement cap-and-trade. Instead, we could try other methods of reducing our carbon emissions, such as encouraging more nuclear power and natural gas development, both of which are a huge improvement over burning coal.

We will even limit our nitpicking to pointing out that "cap-and-trade" was a "market based solution" which originated in the Reagan administration, because we'd love to be bipartisan about all this. Do lots of libruls oppose nuclear energy? Yeah, probably a fair charge, though our impression is that there's far more diversity on that issue than in the 1970s.

As for natural gas, Berezow's blog/news aggregation site, RealClear Science, takes a consistently pro-fracking stance, even re-titling some articles it aggregates. For instance, an AP story titled "Experts: Some fracking critics use bad science" is transformed on RealClearScience to the unambiguous "Anti-Fracking Activists Literally Ignore Science." But, sure, we're willing to accept that many liberals have a built-in skepticism to the safety pronouncements of giant corporations. We wonder why that might be, when industry has such a sterling record of environmentally responsible behavior.

The rest of the interview has a similar aura of broad-brush accusations. Liberals claim to be for renewable energy, but a subset of liberals oppose hydroelectric dams because of their impact on rivers, and another subset opposes wind farms "because the turbines are ugly and they kill birds." Liberals delude themselves that organic food is healthier or more sustainable than agribusiness, even though "organic farms are inefficient, and we simply cannot feed the world with organic food" (Berezow does at least acknowledge that factory farms overuse antibiotics, increasing the risks of resistant bacteria evolving).

To make matters worse, science itself is infected by liberalism, which may have an "indirect" influence on science education:

There are very few conservative scientists. One survey showed that only 6% of US scientists are Republicans, while 55% are Democrats. In the social sciences, the ratio can be as lopsided as 30 Democrats for every 1 Republican. Obviously, a discipline that is so ideologically skewed in one direction is going to produce research that reflects that internal bias...

Also, teachers' unions -- which are allied with the Democratic Party -- refuse to accept any reasonable reforms in education (such as merit-based pay and charter schools).

That last sentence is a doozy; what merit pay and charter schools actually have to do with science education, we cannot venture to guess -- perhaps Berezow simply wants to undermine the statistical studies which suggest that charter schools are no better than public schools?

Berezow saves his real ire for people who surely do deserve it: the anti-vaccine movement, which really does represent a threat to public health. We were surprised to learn, however, that all of liberalism is responsible for and maybe even dominated by the tiny subset of science-denying loons who refuse to vaccinate their children:

because the progressive Left adheres to two basic myths: The first is that "natural is better" (which explains the fascination with organic food and alternative medicine) and "unnatural is bad" (which explains the fear of "chemicals"). Combine those myths with their hatred of pharmaceutical companies, and you have all the ingredients for an unreasonable opposition to vaccines. A public health official once noted that the anti-vaccine movement seems strongest in places that have Whole Foods.

Oh, those stoopid hippies! They are endangering everyone's health! Never mind that some of the strongest pro-science debunkers of anti-vaccine foolishness are unabashed liberals (see PZ Myers, for instance). And while we're happy to condemn anti-vaxxers as just plain unscientific and wrong, they have nothing like the influence on the left as a whole that the right's science-deniers have. A Democratic candidate supporting childhood vaccinations may upset a few misinformed fanatics. A Republican candidate saying that creationism has absolutely no place in a science classroom will be primaried before the mic goes cold.

Do people's politics affect their perceptions of scientific issues? There's plenty of evidence that it does, and we'll readily agree that the left has its share of loons. In terms of their influence, however, we'll hold off on worrying about the "anti-science left" for a while. Get back to us when it looks like there's a serious threat that public school health classes will be required to teach that crystals can realign the body's chi.

[Washington Times Blogs]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Republicans are devouring each other's carcasses, and we are here for it! Especially when one of those Republicans is King Kris of the Kansas Votefucker Klan ... errr, Clan! It's been a week since Kansans cast their votes in the gubernatorial primary, and the GOP looks to be rolling up its sleeves for a slugfest.

As we type, Kobach leads by 298 votes out of more than 314,000 cast -- a whopping 0.00095 percent, if you round up! The Kansas GOP begged Donald Trump to stay out of the race and leave the field clear for sitting governor Jeff Colyer, who took over when Sam Brownback wandered off to bring Jesus to the Hottentots on behalf of the US government. Safe bet that Colyer would be gearing up for the general election now if President Twitterthumbs hadn't flapped his yap. So thanks for that, Donny!

No, really, THANKS!

Remember the hanging chad debacle in Florida? Now picture it in a landlocked state with more cows than people. It's like fantasy island for Devin Nunes, ALLEGEDLY.

Oh, but we are to kid!

After first insisting he wasn't going to recuse from the counting, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (one and the same!) wrote Colyer a fabulously bitchy letter agreeing to hand off the tabulation to his deputy, Eric Rucker. Colyer had made the shocking suggestion that Kobach delegate responsibility to the Kansas attorney general, rather than his own political appointee, and Kobach was stretched out on the settee with a fit of the vapors at the gross impropriety of it all!

I will not breach the public trust and arbitrarily assign my responsibilities to another office that is not granted such authority by the laws of Kansas.

After several anguished paragraphs, Kobach closed by remonstrating that Colyer was betraying his office by destroying the faith of Kansans in the sacred integrity of their electoral process.

As governor of Kansas, your unrestrained rhetoric has the potential to undermine the public's confidence in the election process. May I suggest that you trust the people of Kansas have made the right decision at the polls and that our election officials will properly determine the result as they do in every election.

Said the guy whose entire adult life has been dedicated to whipping up panic about millions of imaginary illegal alien voters.

So now these two princes can kick the crap out of each other WITH VOTES, specifically, provisional ballots cast by unaffiliated voters under the supervision of poorly trained poll workers. Kansas holds closed primaries, meaning only registered Republicans can vote to select the GOP candidate, BUT an unaffiliated voter can cast a vote by checking a box identifying as a Democrat or a Republican at the polling place. This was news to some poll workers, who mistakenly directed over one thousand unaffiliated voters to use provisional ballots without checking the box indicating party preference. Whoops!

So, will those provisional ballots be counted based on voter intent? Or tossed based on strict interpretation of the statute? And does Kansas law mandate tossing mail-in ballots that arrive without a postmark on Wednesday, since there's no forensic proof that they were mailed before midnight on Tuesday? And how disgusted will the Kansas electorate be when one of these assholes emerges from the melée holding the other one's scalp? And how many millions of dollars are going to be spent on litigating the Republican primary while this nice lady Laura Kelly, the Democratic minority whip of the Kansas Senate, is out campaigning for November?

Even before this debacle, Kobach looked significantly weaker against Kelly than Colyer, with self-funded Libertarian Jeff Orman threatening to throw a wrench in the works. The Wichita Eagle reports on a Remington Research Poll conducted in July:

In a Kelly-Orman-Kobach race, the poll puts Kelly and Kobach effectively in a dead heat — 36 percent for Kelly and 35 percent for Kobach, with Kelly's lead within the margin of error. Orman has 12 percent.

Colyer leads in a three-way race with Kelly and Orman, according to the poll. In that scenario, Colyer receives 38 percent of the vote, while Kelly gets 28 percent and Orman receives 10 percent.

Which is ONE POLL, in a deeply red state, but ... Kobach is a crap candidate who's likely to emerge from this fight with two black eyes and a pissed off base. If there's anyone who can blow this election, it's Kris Kobach.

Keep fighting, Kris! You can do it! (And now we need a shower.)

And YOU need an OPEN THREAD!

Follow your FDF on Twitter!

Money us, PLEASE! Throw a tip in the jar, or click here to keep your Wonkette snarking forever.

[Kobach letter / Wichita Eagle / Mother Jones / Kansas City Star]

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While most people spent this weekend telling Nazi punks to fuck off, a couple 11-year-olds were in Las Vegas hacking into voting machines. Why? BECAUSE IT'S FUN!

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