The Daily Show is devoting this week to evolution, and, of course, it's been great. Kurt Vonnegut's appearance last night was a bit strange (a brilliant guy, no doubt, but he's in his 80s and couldn't really keep up with the fast pace of Jon Stewart), but the previous night I enjoyed the discussion with Chris Mooney of The Republican War on Science.
Mooney made an interesting point about the anti-science views within the Republican Party, and how those views are one link between the religious right wing and the pro-business wing. There's no doubt that plenty of businesses have lied about science in an effort to cover up the deleterious effects of their products, but I think the religious folks and the business folks have such different aims that it's a relationship that can't last.
People who oppose science for religious reasons do so because they believe everything in the Bible is true. Science has disproved much of the Bible, so those folks have no choice but to deny the fundamental truths we've learned through scientific inquiry.
People who oppose science for business reasons, however, fully understand the need for scientific inquiry. General Electric executives might lie about science when discussing PCBs in the Hudson River, but they fully understand that having educated scientists is vital to their corporate goals. Ultimately, they'll support the teaching of science in a way the religious right won't.
Finally, one last note: Plenty of Democrats lie about science, too. Whether it's environmentalists overstating damage to the ecosystem or lefty sociologists insisting that genes have nothing to do with IQ, it's easy to find such examples. A book called The Democratic War on Science probably wouldn't have as much raw material to draw from, but it would still make a good read.