Family values activist Austin Ruse’s new book, Fake Science: Exposing the Left’s Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data (Regnery, 2017), offers a look at a world growing increasingly hostile to evidence-based reasoning. We have not discovered better reasoning methods; rather, many people seem to have decided that reasoning is not relevant to our life together, and perhaps not relevant to the life of the mind generally.
For instance, as Ruse chronicles, gay activists have claimed that evidence from genetics justifies their demand for a ban on therapy to change unwanted homosexual attractions.6 But leaving aside the tenuousness of their scientific claims, one must ask, Why is the client—in only this one type of case—not entitled to seek therapy for his own purposes? Would the same activists also ban therapy to increase such attractions? What about the bisexual man who would genuinely prefer to just be gay? Or straight? The conveniently loose relationship activists have with science means that they won’t often be confronted with evidence that requires them to adopt a coherent position.
Transgender lobbyists, taking the opposite tack, claim that a person can belong to the other “gender” irrespective of obvious, genetically driven sexual characteristics, due to a concept of gender that could exist only in that individual’s mind. The lobby’s stance seems all the odder when we consider that most neuroscientists hold that the mind does not even exist apart from the biological, sex-specific brain. But the majority view in neuroscience is seldom raised as an objection to transgender claims. More.
What holds it all together is that people who have a great deal of social power need no longer be coherent or make sense.
See also: You’ve heard about fake news. How about fake science?
Can science survive long in a post-modern world? It’s not clear.