Chris Mooney searches for one.
The primary weakness for me is that Mooney is convinced that conservatives are more biased. I don’t think they are. Mooney makes the implicit distinction that somehow liberals are “more tolerant” overall than merely on specific issues:
Moreover, while I dig this whole improving democratic-dialogue-about-science thing, I also think that if there is one group in society that is less open to such dialogue then that’s something we need to know. Political scientist Karen Stenner ends her disturbing book The Authoritarian Dynamic with the sentence, “some people will never live comfortably in a liberal democracy.” Stenner wasn’t talking about people inherently predisposed to deny facts, she was talking about people inherently predisposed to be intolerant of those not like them. But the two may well be connected; and both such predispositions are, in my view, potentially threatening to the kind of science-based democracy that I, for one, want to live in.
Mooney has made a rather strong case that conservatives have a serious anti-science bias, but his main point of research is climate science. In my experience, the bias is rather balanced. While conservatives tend to oppose “pro nature” science, that is, science arguing that nature is precious or powerful (i.e. climate change, evolution) liberals tend to oppose “against nature” science, that is, they either dislike tinkering (i.e. genetically modified foods or geo-engineering) or they accept blindly nature’s “goodness” (homeopathic medicines, silly diets).
He genuinely underestimates liberal bias against science. I would be far more interested in Mooney’s work if he was searching for the various anti-science biases among people.
Bioethics is controversial.
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