Spreading Pseudoscience: 5 Reasons Why Some Liberals Are As Bad As Conservatives

Recently we posted an article entitled “5 Revealing Scientific Differences Between the Minds of Liberals and Conservatives”, which highlighted peer-reviewed studies that have described their neural and behavioral disparities. Although the experimental results that were presented are indisputable, the (probably quite accurate) subjective interpretations weren’t exactly ‘polite’ towards conservatives. To be fair, we have chosen to write a list of ways that liberals (which I myself am one of) can be just as bad as those on the right, if not worse in some instances, when it comes to believing a big bag of pseudoscientific bullshit.

1. Homeopathy  homeopathy is water Walk into a Whole Foods grocery store – which can be found in just about any over-privileged, predominantly white neighborhood – and you’re bound to find two things: overenthusiastic liberals and homeopathic remedies for everything from the flu to cancer. Yes, I said the ‘C’ word, and yes, that should scare you. These products do more than just steal people’s money. They often put them in real danger by suggesting that proven medical treatment might not be necessary, even in dire situations. In fact, many experts believe Steve Jobs could’ve better fought or even defeated cancer had he not spent a year testing out herbal remedies before choosing to undergo surgery, a decision he himself later regretted. This is a billion dollar industry that profits exclusively from a widespread lack of science education; in particular a basic knowledge of physiology, health and medicine. Countless studies in peer-reviewed journals have shown these homeopathic quick fixes to work no better than placebos.  Remember folks, being open-minded doesn’t entail giving fair attention to frauds and their scams, even if they are dressed like the harmless hippies we know and love.

2. New Age liberal new age religion It’s a fact that all new agey, crystal worshipping, astrology-believing loonies are always and without a doubt diehard liberals. What is it that these people actually believe anyway? One popular idea is that each of us gives off certain positive or negative “energies” that can influence others nearby, as well as important events. Unsurprisingly, there is not one shred of scientific evidence that suggests any such mysterious energies exist. Another common conviction is that we are all capable of “channeling” information from outside entities (spirits, aliens, the elements, etc.) during deep states of trance. And to really confuse matters, new agers attempt to explain all of these magical occurrences using pseudoscientific jargon they’ve invented, which for some reason always references quantum physics. While the phenomena observed in quantum mechanical experiments definitely have very peculiar aspects, these certainly have nothing to do with supernatural healing or reaching your full potential. It may not be obvious, but these quasi-religious beliefs from some on the left hurt the entire party. Progressives need to be able to stand up and harshly criticize Republicans for their anti-evolution stance, but how can they do so when a portion of them believe in myths and fantasies that are just as ridiculous? Shape up liberal kooks. Don’t let new age mumbo jumbo destroy the whole group’s credibility. You do not have a “vibration”, because that means nothing.

3. Anti-Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) Arsenic organic non GMO For 20 years scientists have genetically modified foods (e.g., corn, soybean) to be more resistant to things like disease and insects, while richer in nutrients and healthier overall. Essentially, their genetic tweaks are creating superhero plants, which regrettably look more like scary mutants in the eyes of the fearful. But this time the fearful predominantly consists of liberals rather than conservatives, who hold the belief that any gene-tinkerings will produce Franken-foods capable of causing illnesses and tumors. With only homeopathic remedies at their disposal, these laughable lefties have good reason to be extra paranoid of such things. The liberal-driven anti-GMO movement is proof that poor decision-making rooted in irrational fear is not behavior restricted to those on the right. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that genetically-altered foods are as safe as any, those ultra-environmentalist types who get boners in greenhouses want to see the GMO industry burn to the ground, quite literally. This is a great misfortune considering all the good that GM crops and their high yields could do for some very important liberal causes, like the global fight against hunger. You would think that those in support of greater spending on education would do a little bit more to educate themselves. gmos greenpeace burns down safety planting 4. Anti-Vaccines no flu shots use essential oils Out of all the anti-science movements being driven predominantly by liberals, none is more dangerous than that which claims vaccinations are harmful or unnecessary. Empirical evidence shows that each year vaccines prevent millions of illnesses and save hundreds of thousands of lives. This is supported by the fact that the recent slew of vaccine-preventable illness outbreaks all occurred specifically in those areas where people refused vaccinations. So why then are prominent left-leaning celebrities choosing to take the kind of stance usually reserved for far-right conspiracy theorists? It’s not just bimbos like ex-softcore porn star Jenny McCarthy either. Joining the crazies are some very seemingly rational people, like comedic liberal talk show host Bill Maher and actor Jim Carrey. Baffling, I know. An even less likely anti-vaxxer is Mayim Bialik from The Big Bang Theory (or “Blossom” to you 80s babies), who not only plays a scientist on TV but also holds a PhD in Neuroscience in real life! These people surely aren’t dumb, so what’s going on here? Essentially what is happening is that well-educated people think that because they hold a higher degree and have done a week’s worth of Google-ing, they know more than the bright minds who’ve dedicated their lives to understanding this very specific area of research. To those people, look, I get it. The truth is that we as scientists don’t know everything. Fear is a reasonable first instinct when one is told that vaccines actually work by giving you a weakened version of the same virus it’s trying to prevent. But when the stakes are so high, you have to go with the side that science is on. Without having some additional knowledge inaccessible to the guys in lab coats, you can bet that the best conclusions come from the most informed. Science is unique in that it has no hidden agenda and is self-correcting. So when you haven’t really done your research but think you know something that the experts don’t, you can assume that your beliefs are motivated by hubris rather than the facts.

5. Alternative Therapies crystal healing Some popular alternative therapies with the latte-sippin’ hippy lib crowd include energy medicine, acupuncture, aromatherapy, and crystal healing. Hopefully I need not explain to the reader exactly why mystical energies, tiny needles, scents, or neat looking crystals all fail to cure the sick. As fucking hilarious as all of it sounds, it is no laughing matter. These rituals present the same grave danger as homeopathy, since individuals undergoing alternative therapies may avoid seeking out real medical help. Don’t get me wrong about mind-body oriented practices. A little yoga and meditation can work wonders for ailments like chronic stress and even high blood pressure. But stretching and breathing techniques used to calm oneself are entirely different than putting a crystal under your pillow and expecting an ear infection to disappear overnight. It’s ironic that liberals scoff at the sheer absurdity of Christian faith healing when some of them hold beliefs in supernatural cures that are even more “out there”.


So there you have it. It seems that ignorance has no party affiliation, and that widespread gullibility is a serious problem in this country that must be addressed. Although the anti-science rhetoric coming from the right is ultimately a more destructive brand, the left’s is similarly counterproductive. For a country so seemingly advanced and progressive, we are still in the dark ages in a lot of respects. It is tempting to think that all our problems could be solved by taking politicians on both sides out of the decision-making chairs and replacing them with scientists. Oh how fair and efficient the world would be if governing were based on reason and measurement. But it must also be guided by humanity and compassion, which requires all of society’s input. So although we needn’t all be scientists, we should each be empiricists. Finally, it is important to note that science is not incompatible with spirituality. In fact, science can serve as a deeply inspirational source of the spiritual. But when beliefs contradict what is observed in reality, they must be discarded like a girlfriend who’s a creationist and supplanted with new, better explanations. When we are all able to come together under science and rationality, only then will we see real bipartisan progress.

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34 thoughts on “Spreading Pseudoscience: 5 Reasons Why Some Liberals Are As Bad As Conservatives

  1. Wow! Excellent piece! I have some comments…

    “Although the anti-science rhetoric coming from the right is ultimately a more destructive brand…”

    -Right, because we expect our fathers and other older folks, who are often right-wingers, to be less loonie?

    “It is tempting to think that all our problems could be solved by taking politicians on both sides out of the decision-making chairs and replacing them with scientists.”

    -No, only left/right-wingers are so tempted. The rest of us think it would be swell if government, no matter which brand, would step out of the way and allow us to govern ourselves.
    -It’s tempting to think that all our problems could be solved by taking politicians on both sides out of decision-making chairs and replacing them with….nobody.

    and finally,
    ” But when beliefs contradict what is observed in reality, they must be discarded.”

    Except socialism. If we just get the right leader, the right people in charge…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So, the conclusion is that alternative therapy, to include nutritional and lifestyle change, is about as effective as prayer. The article disparages some alternative therapy as being equal to a placebo, without acknowledging that the majority of pharmaceuticals are barely more effective than placebo. The mind is a powerful force regarding physiological issues.

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    • Majority of pharmaceuticals are barely more effective than placebo? Let’s just take a few examples based on real evidence, although you prefer anecdote and logical fallacies.

      Insulin. Without it you die. With it, you don’t. No, there’s no natural insulin you can derive from cutting up a pig. Well, you could, but after 10’s of thousands of dollars, you probably can’t get that much.

      Anti-hypertensives. No, you cannot reduce salt intake to reduce blood pressure. Blood pressure is controlled by a combination of heart rate, blood flow, kidney filtration, etc. etc. Simple anti-hypertensives save lives.

      Blood thinners. If you have atrial fibrillation, you will die without blood thinners. A common electrical malfunction of the heart is effectively treated by meds.

      Do you want me to go on? You think that nutrition is going to save your life? It’s going to prevent or cure cancer? Please bring peer-reviewed scientific articles published in real journals, and let’s talk. Hint: I’ve done the heavy lifting, I already have examined the evidence, and it’s damning for your pseudoscience believing self.

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      • Skeptical Raptor:

        “…you prefer anecdote and logical fallacies….”

        This is indeed a humorous response, although it was not made to a comment not of mine. But I’ll butt in nonetheless.

        I’m an 80 year-old skeptic. Skeptical of everything, I might add. Of course I’m skeptical of religion (although I have to admit I was not harmed in the least by much of the religious instruction I received — unwillingly on my part — as a youth). This is a funny time of year for the true skeptic. The ancient traditions of the religious in concordat with agents of state to produce an orchestration worthy of the bewilderment of the most erudite among us. They’ve come up in the past ten or fifteen years with an additional new twist: “Black Friday”, which flies in the face of another primitive but puzzling “Good Friday” at the opposite end of the Gregorian year. I mean, what’s “good” about the murder of a religious icon?

        I, for instance, am skeptical of “science”. Note the quotes, because I have a 5 year-old granddaughter who is a true scientist. She fulfills each and every requirement of the scientific method I ever taught in science class. And after she conducts her experiments, explores her evidence, then makes her pronouncement (“Grandpa! Your breath stinks!”) I can be certain specific actions are indicated.

        I always want to peruse the source of the endowments and the underwriting. I make notes of the loudness of the proclamations when funding time approaches. There’s bound to be a Higgs boson around here somewhere.

        I tend to want to talk to the peer who’s reviewing all the peers. “Peer review” does not impress me. Action impresses me. I suppose you could label “action” anecdotal, thereby fallacious. But if it keeps me and those I love (7 kids — 5 of ’em now over fifty — and 25 grandkids) healthy I’ll support it. We see no doctors (except those amongst us who have become homeopathic physicians and practitioners), take no prescription medications.

        Over half of my grandkids are in homeschool programs — in part to circumvent the mandatory vaccinations (and accompanying illnesses) promulgated by government (“public” ha ha) education formats. We are not highly accepted down at the status-quo (wherever that is).

        OK, Skeptical Raptor — so you’ve examined the evidence. So you’re convinced nutrition and a healthy lifestyle won’t “…save your life…” I have no argument with that. I support your “right” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) to practice whatever health programs make you feel confident.

        Now go away and leave us alone. Don’t lobby and beg your “legislators” to “help” make us conform to your “evidence”.

        Thanks. Sam

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      • You aren’t going to belive anything that the previous poster said without some kind of bibliography, yet you’ve provided no such thing for your own talking points. Way to be consistent.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Look up research on SSRI efficacy for example. Yikes ! “Majority not much better than placebo” is a stretch (and not accurate)… But note that many actually aren’t. Look it up.

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  3. While I whole-heartedly agree with all the scams you have identified, I find that there are also conservative wack jobs that believe in all these things. I have several educated relatives who believe everything new age and crystals who are also conservatives. They add this onto their various religions. Cracks me up. Already got my flu shot by the way and I hope it lasts through March

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  4. While you’re correct about these attitudes being full of shit, mostly, I’d still rather hang out with a hippy (or whatever) than a redneck. Also, this article smells like you got pressured to write it.

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  5. This would have been a fun read if it didn’t have such a blatant agenda.

    It infuriates me to no end that pretty much the only alleged anti-GMO argument ever brought forth when trying to discredit that position is an irrational fear of getting sick from them, usually followed, as here, with the old “but they will feed the world! So you’re against feeding the world?”–while there have been exactly zero significant steps taken in that direction because feeding the starving poor just isn’t as profitable as putting small farms out of business with patent infringement lawsuits to establish a food-production monopoly in one of the most wasteful and overweight countries in the world.

    Very smart, throwing opposition to GMOs in with the pseudo-sciences that are known to give most a hearty laugh. Nice try.

    Except the caricature is a little obvious, and a lot of opposition to uncontrolled GMO production does not, as a matter of fact, stem from personal safety concerns from ingestion. Like a vast number of people, I want GMOs labeled not because genetic manipulation frightens me in and of itself–people have done so for centuries if not millennia before Monsanto–but so that
    1) I can abstain from purchasing anything promoting the increase in neonicotinoid use that has been proven to kill the bees on which much of the world food supply actually depends.
    2) I can avoid certain specific GMO ingredients tied with business practices I don’t approve of.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey, get out your fucking calculator. That’s YOUR problem — both sides are NOT the same when you consider that there are MANY MANY fewer moronic liberals than conservatives. But sure, the lamestream media and the Koch brothers like to plant that idea in everyone’s head, mainly so that you don’t vote, because “both sides are the same”. Which is BULLSHIT.

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    • Yes, there are “MANY MANY fewer moronic liberals than conservatives”. No one will argue with you there. The point is that there is a very small but vocal liberal minority spreading pseudoscience horseshit, which hurts the credibility of the whole group. For why we believe Conservatives’ views are driven by irrational fears planted by manipulative networks like Fox News, please read last week’s post, “5 Revealing Scientific Differences Between The Minds Of Liberals And Conservatives“.

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    • I agree wholeheartedly.

      Side note: It’s the same as having a televised debate between a climate scientist and a climate change denier “for the sake of hearing both sides of the argument”. No, sorry, but pretending that one side bears as much weight as the other is not only ludicrous but dangerous, If you want a debate that is truly representative of the current state of research, then you get 9 climate scientist to argue with one denier.

      And here’s another reason moronic liberals aren’t the same and not as bad as moronic anti-science Republicans: they don’t try to impose those beliefs on everybody by using them as a basis for restrictive legislation.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I would agree, Mr. Bryla, that “…both sides are NOT the same…” I like the way my old and late friend Harry Browne once phrased it:

      Conservatives vs Liberals

      Conservatives say government cannot end poverty by force, but they believe government can use force and threats of violence to make people moral.

      Liberals say government cannot make people moral, but they believe government can use force and threats of violence to end poverty (redistribute wealth).

      Neither group attempts to explain why government is so clumsy and destructive in one area but a paragon of efficiency and benevolence in the other.

      ~Harry Browne
      Liberty A-Z p 35

      At the risk of being lumped with the Kochs, however, I’ll admonish you to please, please abstain from beans — for the sakes of us all:

      http://www.voluntaryist.com/lefevre/beans.html

      Sam

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  7. Granted, these are beliefs shared predominantly by liberals, but unless they correlate directly with the progressive political standpoint, then what’s the point in even bringing up the liberal/conservative divide? It’s basically just creating political stereotypes: you’re either a nasty religious-nut conservative or gullible pseudoscience-believing liberal.

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  8. I consider myself a liberal. None of the above is true for me. The people who believe most of the things cited above are outliers. I wouldn’t call the crystal, anti modern medicine people liberal. They are an entity unto themselves. As a Liberal these are the things I believe:
    All people deserve dignity. That whoever said what you do the least of my brothers you do to me was right on target. All people deserve at the minimum respect for their humanity.

    When our military come home they should be given a free college or vocational education and the best healthcare possible. They should also be paid as much as we pay our Congress.

    As a liberal I believe that all our citizens deserve the best health care possible and in a timely manner-at least as good as our senators and members of congress are entitled to.

    All American children deserve an equal education including music, art and physical education.

    We should spend as much on making sure that the homeless have shelter, the hungry have food and the poor have heat in the winter. I believe that mass transportation would benefit most of society.

    As a liberal I believe that our country’s infrastructure needs attention-its condition is horrific.

    I believe that all women should have access to health care, reproductive care, pre-natal care and yes abortion when necessary.

    I believe that a military that hides rapists and encourages the covering up of incidents of sexual abuse is evil and needs to be changed.

    As a liberal I believe that it is disgraceful and un-american when the wealthy do not pay a taxes or very little. To that end, as a liberal, I think corporations that make their money in this country, use our roads, our police force, and all our resources should not be allowed to use shell corporations in other countries to avoid paying taxes.

    I believe that corporations are not people and do not deserve that right. I believe religion and state should always be separate, just like our founding fathers did.
    As far as GMO’s go, they are one way to feed our populace safely and economically. The problem I have with GMO’s is that the people who create them and sell them to us do not want us to know the we are buying them. I believe outlawing full disclosure of what is in our food is akin to lying and only contributes to suspicion and fear. If there is nothing to be frightened of then there is nothing to hide.
    I believe that scientists should be as revered as athletes and rock stars in our society.

    I believe that climate disruption is due to human activity and denial of it is just stupid. I

    believe that there should be term limits for All of our elected officials and that we should not allow millionaires to hi-jack our democracy. We are not a Russian Oligarchy but we are becoming one.

    I believe that all these laws that disenfranchise the poor, the elderly and women at the voting booths is unconstitutional and a cynical way of corrupting our democratic process.

    I do not believe that crystals heal or ghosts can talk to us.

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  9. As CJ said, conservatives try to use the bullshit they believe in to get schools to teach creationism, misinform teenagers about sex and their bodies, etc. I have never seen a liberal try to make homeopathic remedies mandatory, or force schools to teach crystal healing. So what if some liberals believe in these myths? People can believe any craziness they like.

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  10. Someone hasn’t learned about the strawman logical fallacy yet.

    And I’m pretty sure Bill Maher is a proponent of wellness in place of pharmaceuticals in the sense that the food we eat is so full of chemicals that we are making ourselves sick by eating it. Pretty sure he’s not an anti-vaccer, but I may have missed that.

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  11. 95% of children in the US are properly vaccinated. I think that the 5% is made up of whackaloons of all sorts, liberals, libertarians, religious nutjobs, conservatives (well, whackalooons cover them) and, sadly, people too poor to determine that in the USA, all vaccines are free to all children.

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    • I definitely expect you to think of me as a “whacko” (or whackaloon, I think is how you put it). That sounds like a proper defense for your argument.

      And, to repeat: all I ask is that you go away and leave me and my family alone. If you have faith (and faith is exactly what you need) in vaccinations — vaccination “science”, I suppose is the appropriate term — then get your kids inoculated and be done with it. You’re safe. You need not worry. Not if vaccination “science” is indeed viable as you seem to feel.

      My kids are no threat — not to you. They are healthy and robust. So don’t seek out your senators and grand wizards engaged in that monopoly upon violence to pass “laws” allowing their gendarmes to force vaccinations upon my kids. Sam

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  12. I link original articles in many cases.Are you suggesting that homeopathy and crystal healing actually work? Or that GMOs and vaccines cause autism and cancer? “Pedaling propaganda for the mainstream pharmaceutical and agri-big business”? I’m a neuroscientist who does visual attention research. I have no political agenda whatsoever, and have absolutely nothing to do with those businesses. Actually, the week before this post was made, we posted a humorous article that targeted conservatives. I’m a liberal in pretty much every way, but to be fair, this post was made because pseudoscience and anti-science sentiments exist on both sides.

    Please link science to peer-review journals that contradict what has been said here. I can save you the time though and tell you that crystals don’t heal. However, I am somewhat flattered by your post because it would be kind of interesting to be as devious and calculating as you described. 😉

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    • Your propaganda is more of the intent to discredit liberals than anything else. Although the majority of Hippies are Liberals, one can say the same for Skinheads, KKK, and crazy Evangelicals as being conservative. In, fact the entire faith healing movement, is almost entirely Right wing. In all reality hippies and evangelicals probably make up about 1% or less of Liberals and Conservatives.

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      • I will respond to this although it appears you didn’t read the article. I do appreciate the discussion though. First of all, I’m not discrediting liberals as a whole, seeing as how I’m a liberal who leans very far to the left. This is stated in the first paragraph. I also immediately state that the week before we made a post that spoke very highly of liberals and very low of conservatives. Please read 5 Revealing Scientific Differences Between The Minds Of Liberals Of Conservatives.
        It was only fair that we point out the problems with the other side.

        In the post it is often stated that the examples presented involve a VERY SMALL MINORITY of liberals that are ruining it for the majority, who are very science-oriented. I also say that the conservative brand of pseudoscience/anti-science is a much more destructive sort.

        I believe if you read the article linked above, as well as this one more carefully, you'll see that I agree with you completely.

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  13. The author is making broad generalizations in order to simplify the article. There are obviously clear political differences between both sides but pseudoscience is highly influential on both sides as well. This drives me to address the anti-science on my side of the aisle and correct them before they end up running the conversation. Taking offense is a sign you probably didn’t read the article and just want to nitpick. Luckily there hasn’t been a politician who has openly supported this crap in legislation yet.
    Another one I would add is the alarmist nature of climate change activists who are using unscientifically founded arguments for a good cause. They use fear rather than accurate science. Potholer54 did a great video about this last year.

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