Jonathan Zimmerman: When Candidates Won't Face Facts

Roundup: Historians' Take

Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of history and education at New York University, is the author of "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory."


Is the GOP becoming the "anti-science party"?

That's what Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman warned last week, and there's plenty of evidence to suggest that he's right. Example A is Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who recently suggested that man-made climate change was a vehicle for scientists to aggrandize themselves rather than an accurate way of describing the world.

Listen closely, however, and you'll hear echoes of the "postmodern" attack on science that was popular in certain precincts of the academic left two decades ago. In grad school, I was told science was simply one way of looking at the world. But its practitioners cloaked it in the universalistic dogma of "objectivity" -- note the inevitable air quotes -- and successfully imposed their dogma on the rest of us.

That's pretty much what Perry maintains today. "I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects," he said earlier this month, during a discussion of climate change. He also claimed that other scientists were "questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change."...

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