Democrats: The Party Of Science? Hardly.

By Vincent La Iacona

We constantly hear the Democrats claim themselves as the party of science. It’s one of those statements we have let go under the radar for too long.

As a scientist and a Republican, that claim offends me greatly. The so-called party of science only looks at science that agrees with their talking points, and most of all they use it as an excuse to regulate and tax more.

Let’s look at some examples of this principle in action.

The most obvious place to look first is climate change. Democrats constantly say they have the vast majority of scientists who agree in human-induced climate change. In fact, they say 97% of climate experts agree with this. Keep in mind this comes from mostly one review, written by Cook et al. and published by a journal called Environmental Research Letters. The paper is called “Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming.” I highly recommend giving it a read. Cook’s own data is far less convincing than the 97% figure would show. In fact, many of the scientists who were surveyed later disagreed with some of the assessments made in the Cook et al. research. Those scientists gave the most scientific answer:

their papers didn’t necessarily go for or against the idea of anthropomorphic (human-induced) climate change.

It was research to confirm if they Earth was warming or cooling at all. The truth is the science isn’t settled at all. There is still plenty of research ongoing as there likely always be will be in some form. This doesn’t mean human-induced climate change isn’t real. But we should be highly skeptical of anyone that wants to use the term “settled science” to affect public policy by taxing and regulating more.

If climate change truly were a critical issue, wouldn’t promoting innovation by lowering barriers to entry in the market be the best way to attack it?

This is the very crux of science. Settled science is a silly term. Nothing in science is truly settled. The second a research paper comes out that disproves the concept, that settled science becomes a lot less settled. The classic example of this is Newtonian physics. For a couple hundred of years this was the gold standard of physics developed by Isaac Newton in the 17th Century. While not entirely disproven, many of the concepts needed to go further to accurately predict certain equations in physics. Thus, the theory of relativity was formed by Albert Einstein in the 20th Century.

When someone tells you science is settled, your response should be, “until it’s not.”

Another issue on the science front: abortion. The most scientific view here is life begins at conception, when the two gametes form a unique individual distinct from the parents. Now the question becomes “when that is a valued human life,” and that question is obviously, a lot more arbitrary, and scientists don’t have a clear answer on that. Some experts say it’s when the human heart is beating. Some say it’s when the nervous system is formed. These are all definitions that are based on subjective evaluations. The objective evaluation says that life begins when a distinct human life is formed. It is actually for this reason I happen to be pro-life and the reason why I find this to be a difficult subject.

So if we aren’t sure what defines a subjective human life, then we must revert to the objective criteria. Otherwise, we are potentially committing a genocide of hundreds of thousands per year. Once again, promotion of better strategies for preventing pregnancy would be the answer here, wouldn’t it? Conservatives and some libertarians have the right idea here. A society that promotes responsibility of the individual would also be better at promoting the value of human life.

One last issue I see commonly bandied about is the idea that Republicans are anti-evolution, as if that’s a Republican issue. There are some who are anti-evolution and even some Democrats who are. This is a religious belief predicated on the literal interpretation of the Bible in a philosophy called creationism. That are a few Protestant sects that believe in this idea. Most Republicans and Democrats believe in the ideas of evolution as currently reasoned, and I most certainly do. So why is it that the media ascribes the Republican label to those who want to teach creationism?

Shouldn’t this really be attributed to a religious belief of creationism?

I get that there are probably more Republicans than Democrats who believe in creationism, but the vast majority of both sides believe in the idea of evolution. And let’s not forget science is never truly settled so while I cannot subscribe to creationism ever in my mind (though I respect their belief to do so), the theory of evolution still may undergo dramatic shifts over time. Science itself evolves over time with new ideas and research.

And let us not forget it is only settled science until it’s not.