In The American, Lee Harris writes Science and the Republican Brain, 4/30/12.
This is certainly tempting, but there is a serious problem with classifying all crackpots as anti-science. More than once in the history of science, the crackpot of one generation has been hailed as a visionary by the next. Indeed, during the seminal period marked by a major paradigm shift, it is often impossible to distinguish the pseudo-scientific crackpot from the genuine scientific revolutionary.
Conservatives wouldn’t be conservatives if they liked change; liberals wouldn’t be liberal unless they did. This neatly explains why conservatives hate to change their minds, while liberals simply love to. Indeed, some liberals have changed their minds on so many issues so often that they finally got sick and tired of it all and have turned into conservatives from simple exhaustion.
It would be unfair to say that only liberals (or Democrats) are taken in by the extravagant claims of Mr. Scientific Truth, but the moment you hear someone attacked for being anti-science, you can be certain that the person making this charge is a true believer in the teachings of that rank charlatan, Mr. Scientific Truth. Belief in the infallibility of the latest scientific consensus may be useful in the process of learning about science when we are children, but the history of science teaches us that the scientific consensus of today is no more immune to future scientific revolutions than the scientific consensus of the past. To label as anti-science anyone who is skeptical of the current scientific consensus may be a clever political stunt, but it betrays a hopelessly naïve idea of the nature of science. The real enemy of science is not the skeptic, but the true believer.
When fundamentalists refute evolution with creationism they merit the scorn of being anti-science. Religion has value in proposing how to live and behave, but science is much better at determining how things work, and the nature of matter and energy.
Being anti-science, however, should not apply to skepticism towards scientific consensus, as long as the skepticism has a rational and scientific basis. Republicans and others are too often deemed intellectually lacking for credible refutation of climate change. But the language of those who defend the consensus is so polluted politically that they sound more like religious zealots, true believers, than open minded scientists.
It is a mistake to equate creationists and climate skeptics. Politics mixes as poorly with science as it does with religion.