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The Sciences

National Review on Science

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyJanuary 18, 2006 1:09 AM

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This post is basically a pile-on. We're already floggingNational Review over its promotion of Tom Bethell. So why not rub it in? In The Republican War on Science, I outline conservative attacks on science in a variety of areas. Not surprisingly, it turns out that many of the leading strategies are reflected in articles published by National Review Online. Three quick examples:

Global Warming: Most of the pundits that NR publishes on this topic seem attached to one of a small number of well-known contrarian think tanks. Examples: Iain Murray and Christopher Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute. These think tanks have a long history, documented by myself and others, of seeking to undermine the science demonstrating that human-caused global warming is a matter of concern.

Evolution: NR regularly publishes pieces friendly to "intelligent design" (here, here) although they occasionally publish a critical counterpoint from the likes of John Derbyshire. But on a scientific issue as stark as this one, journalistic credibility cannot be ensured simply by providing "balance." If NR isn't anti-evolution, the best that can be said is that it equivocates on the matter.

Stem Cells: NR has been a leading promoter of the adult stem cell "alternative," with articles on the subject by Wesley Smith and Michael Fumento. See here and here. I've critiqued this stuff at length recently, and will spare you another rundown. On the one hand, it's no surprise that National Review would prominently features such arguments. It is, after all, perhaps the leading conservative publication in this country, and the misuses and abuses of science that I've documented are central to the right's political strategy these days.

Nevertheless, substantively, I would say that National Review has some 'splaining to do on matters of science. They can start by letting us know what they think of Tom Bethell's outrageous contention that AIDS in Africa is merely a "political epidemic."

P.S.: In order to provide some "balance" of my own, let me say that I appreciated National Review's thoughtful, if critical, review of my own book by Adam Keiper.

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