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|—Charles Sanders Peirce, pro-science|
“”It's scientifically impossible for the bumblebee to fly; but the bumblebee, being unaware of these scientific facts, flies anyways.
|—Mike Huckabee, anti-science|
If a position or theory is pro-science (aka "science"), as opposed to anti-science, it will follow the scientific method, be potentially refutable, peer-reviewable, reproducible, and open to change if the position comes in conflict with observed fact. An anti-science position will violate one or more of these thresholds, in addition to likely being incoherent. In other words -- is it science?
Anti-science positions are promoted especially when political ideology and/or religious dogma conflict with actual science. While it is highly likely that anti-science positions are the result of ideological positions, it is important to note that holding a particular ideological position does not automatically make an individual guilty of being anti-science, or vice versa.
Common anti-science targets include evolution, global warming,, GMOs, and various forms of medicine, although other sciences that conflict with the anti-science ideology are often targeted as well.
While it is frequently associated with conservative political positions, vaccine denialism, alternative medicine (particularly of the Eastern or herbal-based variety), the entire organic food movement, chemophobia, and opposition to a lot of genetic research is associated with the left.
 Examples of anti-science tactics
“”Get your facts first, and then you can distort them at your leisure.
Anti-science proponents often attack science through:
- Attempts to discredit the scientists themselves. Examples include claims that Galileo was a heretic and that Charles Darwin was a racist.
- Attempts to discredit scientific objectivity by claiming that the motivation to research a subject is biased. Examples include claims that evolution is a religion and that global warming research is motivated by a desire for more government regulation.
- Attempts to discredit scientific results because it's imagined they they have bad consequences. Examples include claims that the theory of relativity will lead to moral relativism and that Darwinism led to Social Darwinism and Hitler.
- Attempts to use flawed arguments, such as argumentum ad populum, to "prove" a position correct or incorrect regardless of its scientific basis or lack therof. Examples include the Oregon Petition and A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.
- Attempts to replace science backed by evidence (a.k.a. "science") with pseudoscience. Examples include creation science and Lysenkoism.
- Attempts to label scientific ideas as conspiracy theories. An example is the idea that global warming is a conspiracy theory.
- Attempts to couch anti-science positions in reassuring code words in order to appear less distortive of science. Examples include "intelligent design" or "alternative medicine".
- Outright denial -- because if you can't disprove something, just deny that it exists. Examples include germ theory denialism, HIV denial, or discounting transitional forms.
- And the all-time favorite, attempts to obfuscate observed facts.
 Examples of anti-science proponents
|—Pastor Peter LaRuffa|
- The Hindu nationalist movement attacks science because it contradicts beliefs such as vedic astrology and medical pseudoscience such as Ayurveda.
- Creationists often attack science because it contradicts a literal interpretation of the Bible on how old the Earth is, whether a global flood or massive-scale series of comet collisions occurred, how modern species were created instantaneously or designed intelligently, and pretty much everything else about creationism, while supporting radiometric dating, the law of conservation of mass and energy, the theory of evolution, the fossil record, the field of dendrochronology, the theory of relativity, and many other fields of science that blow holes in creationism.
- Racists, especially racialists, often attack science because science shows notions of any significant racial differences to be societal constructs rather than products of "human biodiversity" and racialist pseudosciences such as phrenology to be flawed.
- Similarly, sexists, MRAs, and extreme feminists attack science for showing widespread similarity between the genders.
- Economic conservatives often attack the theory of global warming because it would be an argument for government regulation.
- Similarly, lobbyists of industries that would benefit from deregulation often
abuse politics to ignore the advice of scientists. For example, business-associated appointees in the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and other regulatory agencies have made decisions in conflict with the recommendations of agency scientists.
- Promoters of "alternative medicine" often attack vaccines, "Big Pharma", "allopathics", and generally evidence-based medicine, because it would cut into their profits by proving their ineffectiveness as compared to placebos.
 Other uses of the term
This modern usage of the term should not be confused with the anti-science movement in the 1960s and 1970s, which, similar to but less violent than the Luddites, was mostly concerned with the potential dehumanization that uncontrolled scientific and technological advancement could cause. While this skepticism of unchecked change meets the dictionary definition of classic conservatism, it falls far short of the anti-intellectual thrust of modern political conservatism.
 What it is not
The phrase does not mean:
- "Having a scientifically testable and potentially falsifiable hypothesis which is opposed to the paradigm currently dominant in the scientific community," because in this case, Einstein, Darwin, Pasteur, Galileo, and Copernicus would also meet the definition of having been "anti-science".
- "Wrong," in which case every scientist that has held a hypothesis, based on evidence of their time period, that is ultimately proven false would meet the definition of having been "anti-science". It is simply the nature of scientific theories to be overturned or updated once new evidence is found, often with technologies not present previously. On the other hand, even pseudoscientific or non-scientific claims can accidentally go right.
Science is pretty damn great. Anti-science attitudes and policies actively hurt science's ability to do great things. This obstruction can and has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, who otherwise could have been saved.
 See Also
- Politicization of science
- Sound science
- War on Science
- ↑ Peirce, Charles S. 1997. Pragmatism as a Principle of Right Thinking. State University of New York Press. Lectures originally delivered in 1903.
- ↑ Goldenberg, Suzanne. "Huckabee, the bumblebee, rises to the top on a wing and a prayer." Guardian News and Media Limited. 05 December 2007. Web. 17 May 2014.
- ↑ "Anti-science." Dictionary.com Unabridged. n.d. 18 May 2014.
- ↑ The Edge of Evolution
- ↑ Global warming denialism, global warming conspiracy theory
- ↑ Vaccine denialism, alternative medicine
- ↑ Kipling, Rudyard. From Sea to Sea, Chapter 37.
- ↑ For an example, see Evolution is Religion by Ken Ham.
- ↑ Conservapedia:Conservapedian relativity
- ↑ Tim Ball
- ↑ "Watch Creationists Talking About Creationism"
- ↑ "Questioning Darwin". (Creationist)
- ↑ "The Amazing Revolving Door Between Montsanto, the EPA, and the FDA."
- ↑ Smithsonian Magazine: "Alternative Medicine is a $34 Billion Industry, But Only One-Third of The Treatments Have Been Tested"
- ↑ "Anti-Science of the 1960's and 1970's."