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THE DAILY SHOW Tackles the Tricky Case of Liberal Science Denial

Science denial doesn’t always pick a party. While the opposition to climate change and evolution seems to be a conservative phenomenon, the opposition to GM food, nuclear power, and vaccines tend to find a home in liberal America. It’s all the same scientific method, it’s all data, so what is driving the divide?

This week on The Daily Show, Samantha Bee decided to find out why liberals can get the science so wrong when it comes to vaccines:

Though the Daily Show piece was a bit light-hearted, the denial of vaccine safety is leading to more outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases around the country. Here’s a map of the unfortunate cases just this year:

Vaccine Map

Like evolution and climate change, vaccine safety has a mountain of evidence behind it. Vaccines do not cause autism, is much safer than not vaccinating, and safe to give to babies even right after they are born. The science is in, but the party that is typically pro-science isn’t. Sadly, unlike Dr. Paul Offit suggested, having more outbreaks probably won’t convince cautious parents to vaccinate their children.

But as John Oliver brilliantly showed with his piece on climate change, maybe satire and self-reflection like this really is a way forward.

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9 comments

  • If the people so vehemently against vaccination got the diseases, it would be the price they pay, but unfortunately, it’s their kids that will suffer for it. Oh well.

      • Also adults.  I had no idea a 25-year-old would need a pertussis (whooping cough) booster.  My daughter contracted it from exposure to group of unvaccinated victims of their parents’ anti-vaxxer hysteria coughing all over the place.  Thanks to them she is now asthmatic.  Vaccines cause immunity.  The absence of vaccines cause asthma.  Irony points: my daughter is autistic.

  • Political ideology inevitably leads people to deny reality in favor of how they want the world to be. It doesn’t matter how right you might be on other issues, if you decide to ignore empirical facts in favor of the narrow focus of your political beliefs you’re only kidding yourself. Groupthink and fanaticism are always dangerous, regardless of what your pre-packaged belief system happens to be.

  • Vaccine denialism crosses party lines, though liberals dominate here. Other anti-science liberal tropes are universal opposition to GMOs and nuclear power. It’s worth noting that all of these represent the positions of small fringe segments of the left.
    Unlike climate denialism, opposition to the teaching of evolution by natural selection, and opposition to providing birth control, which define the right and are generally part of the Republican party platform.

  • It’s so funny, but the last three people who argued with me against vaccinations were all very conservative (like REALLY right-wing nut-jobby) ;)