In ruminating about just who is anti-science, Kevin Drum notes that it is American conservatives, not European ones, who seem to be mindlessly bucking the global; warming consensus. His question, reasonable in its context, is how one can arge about "conservative" and "liberal" minds without noting this seeming discrepancy across the water.
But he links to a summary article by Chris Mooney, the author of the book, and I am hopelessly stalled. The lead paragraphs explain - at length! - that Conservapedia, the right-wing counterpart to Wikipedia, is anti-science and doubts Einstein's Theory of Relativity.
Well, I have no reason not to take his word for it, but so what? I have never heard of Conservapedia, I don't believe I have ever linked to it, I don't believe I have ever clicked through on a link that took me to it, and I don't think I have ever heard it cited by anyone, anywhere, for any reason [not quite true - see UPDATE]. Who are these Conservopedia people, who cares, and why does anyone think they represent "the right" on anything?
As to the larger question, I understand that it is great fun for the left to imagine that the right is anti-science; this is of a piece with the semi-annual articles we get where yet a another lefty demostrates yet again that liberals are superior walkers, talkers, ballroom dancers, and just generally better examples of humanity.
Whatever. I am highly confident that most of America, regardless of political persuasion, lacks the expertise to evaluate the claims made in the global warming debate. So let's ponder a different question - do American conservatives tend to trust Al Gore, the New York Times and the United Nations?
I don't suppose puzzling over that is quite as much fun as dumpster diving at Conservapedia, but it might be a better guide to the real answer.
KEEPING THEIR HEADS HIGH: Interesting that Kevin is wondering about those daffy conservatives in the same week that the liberal cocoon on the ObamaCare mandate collapsed. Obviously, one topic is law and the other is science, but still, the notion of an echo chamber of liberal pundits, policymakers and scientists reinforcing their views and la-la-la'ing the opposition might be something for a humble liberal to consider.
This carefully researched article at Wired includes a few laughers from 2007:
An alternative Wikipedia written by conservative Christians has become a major target of mockery on the web.
Conservapedia, a wiki-based encyclopedia that offers the historical record from a conservative perspective, is attracting lots of derisive comments on blogs and a growing number of phony articles written by mischief makers.
Conservapedia "is a gold mine of unintentional hilarity," wrote Mark Frauenfelder on Boing Boing last Monday.
The Wonkette political blog encouraged its readers to contribute to "this fast-growing, Jeebus-and-America-friendly online resource." So did the ScienceBlogs network, which said, "There's much fun to be had."
Even conservative commentators like Andrew Sullivan are bemused.
...After it launched, the site quickly found itself picked apart by bloggers of all stripes. Conservapedia was lampooned by conservative blogger Jon Swift for its brash denial of scientific facts in favor of biblical rhetoric.
Sully and Swift are conservatives? Really? If the "Swift" name was an insufficient clue, maybe the blog header can help:
I am a reasonable conservative who likes to write about politics and culture. Since the media is biased I get all my news from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Jay Leno monologues.
So Conservapedia is Chris Mooney's launching point. I can't say I am resolute in pressing on with his article, but if anyone does, feel free to give us the highlights.