Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Right Wing's Attack On Science Continues

Having staked out strong positions against the medical community (stem cell research), biologists (evolutionary science) and environmental scientists (global warming), the right wing has broadened its battle by taking on the very idea of scientific research.
Today's New York Times reports that the right-wing Heritage Foundation has released a report that "rebuts" two recent studies by Columbia and Yale scientists that showed that young people who take virginity pledges are more likely to engage in oral and anal sex, and developed sexually transmitted diseases at about the same rates as teens who did not take pledges.
The Heritage Foundation found -- big surprise -- that virginity pledges do not correlate to risky sexual behaviors and result in lower STD rates. Only problem -- their "scientific" research flies in the face of accepted research techniques.
Their statistical analysis showed a "glaring error" in the significance level, according to an independent reviewer, and relied on self-reporting of STDs, rather than actual testing, meaning that levels were likely to have been significantly underreported.
Bottom line is that here we have another example of the right wing attempting to misuse and distort the language of science when actual science does not support its ideological ends.
Odds are that there are a significant percentage of people in the scientific community who have voted Republicans into office over the years. The evidence is mounting that such people are contributing to the trivialization, if not the destruction, of their professions and their intellectual disciplines.