The Scientific Activist (Archives)


Jan 22, 2006

Science and Politics Interview

Check out Bloggasm’s interview with Bora Zivkovic, who has a great blog called Science and Politics that, as the name implies, will probably be of interest to readers of my blog as well. The interview features good advice for blogging in science and politics and a nice summary of the conservative movement against science.

He breaks down the players in the “war against science” into three categories: religious conservatives who fear science for obvious reasons, business leaders who try to prevent or discredit scientific information that would lead to regulation of their activities, and Republican politicians who pander to the first two groups to gain votes:
So, conservatives for whom either God, or Money, or Power are more important than the future of the world we are leaving to our grandchildren, will fight against science. Those who are not slaves to these three gods are quite fine with science and even try to fight for it. They are just, for the moment, marginalized and hushed within their party, but that is bound to change. Laws of nature do not care about our political preferences and the facts will, in the end, force even the most indoctrinated to deal with reality.

I like where he is going with this, but I don’t know if knowledge naturally trumps ignorance on its own, even though it should. More likely, it will take outspoken scientific advocates to protect scientific education and progress, which is something that Bora probably believes as well since he is so active in this area. Although it often seems in retrospect that social change or new ideas happened because they were correct, behind any of these you will find activists who worked tirelessly for this progress. The same will probably be true for turning back the anti-science tide currently coming from the political right.


  • Thank you for the shout-out.

    Of course we need to fight. I just feel that, in the long run, the side with truth on its side will have to prevail.

    By Blogger coturnix, at Sun Jan 22, 10:43:00 PM  

  • Yeah, I think you're right that the truth will prevail. That has definitely been the trend in society, so I'm pretty optimistic about it.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Sun Jan 22, 10:48:00 PM  

  • The truth will prevail? What's the prevalent view of evolution in the USA?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jan 23, 11:04:00 AM  

  • I think if you look at things in the long run, though, people in general have become more scientifically enlightened. It has been a bumpy ride, and the progress has not been linear, but the general trend has been positive. However, I don't think we can assume the science will speak for itself, especially when so many are actively working against it. That's why you need outspoken people to stand up for the truth.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Mon Jan 23, 05:34:00 PM  

  • Long term, as in centuries, not months or even decades. Look at the history - many have tried to stop progress, and many institutions were designed to prevent the dissemination of facts uncomfortable to the ruling elites. But nature ignores it. You cannot legislate gravity away - apples will keep falling...and evolving, and in the end, the obvious becomes obvious. Yes, centuries, but centuries of active struggle for realistic, rational look at the world.

    By Blogger coturnix, at Tue Jan 24, 12:46:00 AM  

  • For sure. Knowledge is an incredibly powerful force that probably can't be held back forever. The other way to look at it, though, is in terms of minimizing the damage that is occuring now, and that definitely requires activism.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Tue Jan 24, 01:26:00 AM  

  • Do you honestly believe that there hasn't been a left-wing "war against science" by the likes of environmentalists who oppose GM crops, reject outright all forms of nuclear energy, trade agreements, and support "living wages", all opposed to well-established academic consensus? This doesn't even go into the real loony stuff, like left-wing academics using literary theory to dispel the entire notion of science itself.

    I can appreciate your zeal as well as the fact that you know more about physical sciences than I ever will, but I wonder if you wouldn't benefit from viewing things from the other sides from time to time.

    By Blogger Jackson, at Wed Feb 08, 08:32:00 PM  

  • You have a point, but I think I take on both sides here, particularly in terms of the animal rights movement.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Thu Feb 09, 07:06:00 PM  

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