There are few things in American politics more irrationally ideological, more fanatically faith-based, than the accusation that Republicans are conducting a “war on science.”

….For the most part, these accusations are a political ploy — actually an attempt to shut down political debate. Any practical concern about the content of government sex-education curricula is labeled “anti-science.” Any ethical question about the destruction of human embryos to harvest their cells is dismissed as “theological” and thus illegitimate.

The disingenuousness here is breathtaking. Yes, liberals and conservatives have different views about sex education and stem cells, but those aren’t even close to being the core issues in the liberal critique of the Republican war on science. The core issues, rather, are global warming denialism; creationism and intelligent design; the Gingrich-era shutdown of OTA; the promotion of phony cost-benefit analysis; and politically motivated lying about things like Plan B, breast cancer links to abortion, and condoms and STDs. Gerson surely knows this, but chooses to ignore all these genuine issues because his goal isn’t to talk about science at all. What he really wants to talk about is a conservative trial balloon of fairly recent vintage: namely that liberal support of abortion rights and genetic screening constitutes a “new eugenics” in which science trumps morality and Dr. Mengele has the last laugh on all of us. Liberals’ blind support of science über alles, he concludes ominously, is leading them into a “war on equality.”

Good luck running that up the flagpole, Michael. Better than flag lapel pins, I suppose. In the meantime, what do you think about global warming, evolution, and condoms?

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