The Liberal War on Science

by Hans Bader on April 15, 2009

in Blog

Christina Hoff Sommers writes about a looming liberal war on science. Based on a campaign promise Obama made to feminist groups in October 2008, Sommers foresees the Obama Administration moving to artificially cap male enrollment in math and science classes to achieve gender proportionality — the way that Title IX currently caps male participation in intercollegiate athletics. The result could be a substantial reduction in the number of scientists graduating from America’s colleges and universities.

Critics have long argued that the Title IX cap is in tension with the Supreme Court’s warnings against proportional representation. In a ruling by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the Supreme Court said that it is “completely unrealistic” to argue that women and minorities should be represented in each field or activity “in lockstep proportion to their representation in the local population.” (See Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. (1989)). In an earlier ruling, Justice O’Connor noted that it is “unrealistic to assume that unlawful discrimination is the sole cause of people failing to gravitate to jobs and employers in accord with the laws of chance.” (See Watson v. Fort Worth Bank & Trust Co. (1988)).

But the Title IX athletics regulation mandates proportional representation. It contains three alternatives for compliance, but two of them are illusory in the long run. The first way (and only permanent way) to comply is to adopt a quota that artificially caps male participation. The second and third ways, which are only short-term fixes, involve continuous expansion of participation by, or satisfaction of all desire to compete by, the “underrepresented” sex. In a world of finite resources, these latter two ways can only work for a short period of time. I used to work at the agency, the Office for Civil Rights, that administers this regulation, and I think that it would be a mistake to apply standards designed for allocating resources among all-male and all-female sports teams to the very different context of math and science classes, which are coed.

But this is not an Administration that is very good with math and numbers. Obama claimed his $800 billion stimulus package was needed to avert “irreversible decline.” But the Congressional Budget Office says it will actually cut the size of the economy in the long run. His budgets don’t add up, either, piling up $9.3 trillion in red ink, and breaking his promises to enact a “net spending cut” and not raise taxes on people making less than $250,000 a year.

Some liberal publications are suspicious of scientific advances. The agronomist Norman Borlaug, who pioneered the Green Revolution, saved perhaps a billion lives in the Third World by developing high-yield, disease-resistant crops through biotechnology. For this, he received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Medal of Honor. For this, he was smeared in the liberal magazine The Nation, which has an irrational phobia of biotechnology and genetic engineering, as being “the biggest killer of all.”

Similarly, the Danish researcher Bjorn Lomborg was demonized and investigated after accurately pointing out that global warming is less of a threat to human health than AIDS and malnutrition.

Bob R Geologist, Tuc April 15, 2009 at 9:13 pm

The liberal mind seems incapable of facing the realities that nature has dealt mankind. Their ignorance of the natural sciences has lead them to believe that man can control natural processes simply by throwing money at them. Their fixation on the idea that carbon dioxide (CO2)is the evil substance controlling the planets temperature has caused them to develop a POLICY to drastically reduce the use of hydrocarbon based fuels. This will produce severe restrictions on western civilization because abundant cheap energy is our very life blood. Global warming POLICY has no scientific basis, even though billions of dollars in research grants has been invested in climate modeling to back their idea. Einstein said 50 years ago that the non-linearity of factors influencing the weather made mathematical solutions impossible for predictions. Yet the blind adherence to bad POLICY persists despite the opinion of a huge majority of scientists the world over that CO2 has very little to no influence on our weather.

James Brown April 16, 2009 at 10:00 am

I recycle. I don't throw trash out the window of my cars. I believe in managing our natural resources efficiently and wisely and scientifically. As a long time employee of the Electric Utility Industry the saddest of all is the incompetence, indifference whatever you choose to label it, of the very people in America this will affect the most >>> Poor/Low Income/Fixed Income.

Those are a vast portion of who put B.O. in office. They will get the government they deserve when I shut their power off because they are over $500 in arrears to their utility.

I suspect the green fools would be happy one day, living in a tree, not really noticing if the air is any 'cleaner' or not…but when they cannot rob a 120/240 AC outlet to recharge their MAC Laptops…oh my…somehow they will blame someone who still has a private sector job then.

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