There's an online debate about the current, widespread American denial of science. From intelligent design to the belief that global warming is an eco-fascist or eco-socialist (depending on where the boogeyman hides) conspiracy. From fear of vaccines to disdain for anti-pollution regulations, American policy debate on matters of science and politics are rife with theories about who's conspiring with whom.
The first of the three online essays about science-doubters begins with a non-religious critic attacking evolution. In fact, one of the harshest attacks thrown at science today is that it has itself become an orthodoxy allowing no heresy.
Here's a recent reader comment on a ZD blog, shows genuine doubt of scientific consensus: "Let me sum up: 30 years ago, Paul Ehrlich was whipping the world into a frenzy about the oncoming 'global ice age'. Now, we're seeing mass hysteria over "global warming." I have yet to read convincing evidence."
On a blog I wrote about China leading the world in CO2 emissions: "Let's see, a chemical vital to plant survival should be killing us, our ocean should be about a mile higher than it is right now, winters should be like spring, and people who can't predict tomorrow's weather are predicting what our climate will be in a dozen years. Sounds completely credible, eh?
"When their 'predictions' actually start coming true, I'll believe them. But frankly, they have a very poor track record of making reliable predictions. If they've failed to prove their trustworthiness so far, why should I trust them about the future?"
I'd say science in America has a PR problem, not enough certainty, too many scares trumpeted by the media for too long. Henny Penny. "How do we really know the sky is falling THIS time?" ask the doubters. I'm generally pessimistic about human wisdom so I can easily assume we've befoulled the planet. People who are more hopeful may wonder why they should believe this crisis is more real than Avain Flu or Over-population was forty years ago. Clearly many of the science "doubters" are watching and thinking seriously about the issues, and the "answers" are not convincing.