Book Review: “The Science Left Behind”

It is a common held belief due to critical and even venomous books, newspaper articles, along with radio and television talk shows that conservatives or people who lean to the Right politically are anti-science. The Left has literally made this a talking point, for example, in order to silence criticism of the science of climate change when people (like myself) state they are not convinced that Earth’s climate is changing due to human activity.

Two liberal authors, Alex Berezow and Hank Campbell, have written a book entitled The Science Left Behind. The book points out that,in fact, it is the Left where much of the anti-science political positions are being disseminated. The authors obviously knew the risks of putting out such a concept, but it is a blatantly obvious fact that needed to be told. Berezow and Campbell’s book are chock full of examples of environmentalist and anti-vaccine groups churning out anti-scientific positions grounded in Leftist thought which the authors state is the result of the Left embracing progressivism.

There are obvious anti-scientific examples on the Right of conservatives, like Georgia Congressman Paul Broun, giving campaign speeches talking up creationism and then thrashing evolution. But as Berezow and Campbell point out, no one has died holding an irrational belief like this. In fact, more people will die as a result of anti-vaccine groups convincing large swaths of people to not vaccinate themselves and their kids. That also includes populations dying resulting from so-called animal rights activists seeking to prevent using animals in labs so scientists can find treatments and vaccines for diseases like cancer, AIDS and Hepatitis B.

Berezow and Campbell point out (correctly in my view) that to reject the evidence about vaccines, chemical agents (like pesticides), bio technologically engineered foods (aka GMOs), and even other forms of biological investigation is a rejection of science itself and no different than disbelieving evolution. Anti-vaccine and GMO opposition groups have been successful in winning over people on the Right too. Libertarians, for example, have joined in crusades such as opposition to vaccines and GMOs mainly due to the influence of Leftist opposition groups.

Political discourse in this nation has been badly damaged by the pattern of intimidating one’s adversaries as anti-science or deniers due to disagreement on issues like global warming. The expectation is to win the verbal confrontation by throwing insults at opponents, and it routinely works. The purpose of their book is that the authors hope to bring balance back to the debates on issues of scientific importance. The consequence of not doing so is for people to get bogged down in political and cultural conflicts without a basis in scientific fact. In essence, science becomes a tool of politics rather than of true discovery and investigation. Alex Berezow and Hank Campbell make an excellent case by sounding the alarm to avoid this in this engaging, well-written and fascinating book.