If You Are Anti-Science, You Are Anti-Jobs

Research associate Lisa King isolates DNA at the Sangamo BioSciences lab in California – by Getty Images

I was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last week and came up with the headline phrase, “If You Are Anti-Science, You Are Anti-Jobs.”

I think this is an important message to deliver.  I would have said it’s important message for progressives to deliver, but the fact is it is an important message for everybody not in the extreme anti-science crowd to repeat.  Indeed, “moderate” conservative GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said this weekend that being anti-science is as counterproductive for the nation as it and self-destructive it is for his party:

We raise up our young people we tell them to get a good education and tell them to move forward and solve the great challenges of today, find a cure for cancer, make the world a better place. We then get the results are willing to jettison it and to shun it?   I just think that’s the wrong direction.

Here is the transcript from the Countdown story, “Joe Romm explains how science will help U.S. compete with India and China“:

Keith Olbermann: We are now joined by Joe Romm, editor of Thank you for your time.

Joe Romm: Thank you for having me.

Keith Olbermann: Gov. Perry went on to say at some length that global warming is a myth propagated by scientists who want money for their projects. How do you begin to answer for willful ignorance like that?

Joe Romm: Four pinocchios for this claim. Perry took $11 million in campaign contributions from “Big Oil” over the past 12 years. It’s politicians who take money from teams to make up crap. Scientists need to have reproducible conclusions and results and that’s how they protect their reputation. Most people who know scientists know they didn’t go into it for the money, which is not something you can say about politicians.

Keith Olbermann: Now, once this has turned into a policy point, the republican war against the EPA — how far do they want to roll back environmental protections? Do they think this works as an issue in the election because the they say the EPA is a “job-smothering” device?

Joe Romm: They would like to go far. I think there is no question that, for instance, Bachmann said that she is going to shut the doors and turn out the lights if she is elected. I think they’re banking on people not knowing what the EPA does, which is to say, use science to protect our clean air and clean water for our children and ourselves.

I mean, you know, we are talking about laws that reduce asthma attacks, hospital visits, protect people’s lives, keep arsenic out of the water so, you know, I think it’s just crazy to campaign against clean air and clean water. It is among the most popular issues among the public, and, you know, one of the things… being anti-science is being anti-jobs. Where do people think the jobs — where did the internet come from? It was created by scientists. All of these medical advances, again created by scientists. If you don’t teach science f you don’t encourage science, you are never going to compete against China and India and, of course, the Soviet Union [said jokingly].

I appreciate the Countdown staff making clear that I was joking about a Bachmann gaffe that Olbermann had pointed out in the video intro to this interview.

Keith Olbermann: Is that how you see the actual impact on 21st century science, America having a president who denied climate change, thought the theory of evolution was or needed to be balanced, right after the inauguration, going about dismantling the EPA?

Joe Romm: It would be catastrophic. Aside from the fact that the nation that leads the world in science and technology will create the most jobs, you know, the EPA is a matter of public health. The bare minimum requirements of the government is to make sure the water we drink is safe and the air we breathe is safe.

Keith Olbermann: Do you have any idea how widespread these fantasies about science are in the tea party or just things they say so they can use them as excuses for battering a president they don’t happen to like?

Joe Romm: The tea party has bought this hook, line and sinker, Tim Pawlenty having to say, no, I don’t believe in climate science. The tea party is backed by polluters like the Koch brothers. They funded think tanks. To repeat, Fox News is in on this. There is this denier industrial complex.

Keith Olbermann: Thanks, Joe.

In the weeks to come, I’ll elaborate on why being anti-science means being anti-jobs.


Below are old comments from the earlier Facebook commenting system:

GREAT post, Joe.
And, given how leadership in science was historically part of what made America a great country, I’d go so far as to say if you are anti-science, you’re anti-America–unpatriotic.

6 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 2:09pm

Bruce Barone · Works at Self Employed Photographer

so true

Like · Reply · Monday at 3:28pm

mtmariner101 (signed in using Yahoo)

The dirty little secret is Republicans ARE ANTI-JOBS. They do not give one stinking s#@t about creating jobs for Americans. They want President Obama to fail. They will not support any jobs bill in congress and all you will get from their campaigners is rhetoric devoid of substance. They want unemployment to stay the same or increase. They are not interested in the welfare of the nation. So linking their anti-science positions with killing jobs will not have an impact on Republicans.

3 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 3:16pm

Eric Pyle

Jonathan Wood wrote a book called “Wheels of Misfortune,” which was about the rise and fall of the British automobile industry. Seems the primary cause was the fact that management actively discouraged, in most cases, talented engineers, preferring to keep wages low and to hell with build quality. Look how many British cars there are today. One case.

3 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 9:43pm

Jamie Gannon · Plainview, New York

Please realize the horrible disconnect going on when climate change deniers are also talking about creating jobs and competing in the modern world. Cold, hard, scientific facts don’t have political opinions. Don’t be as easily fooled as polluters want to believe we are!

3 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 9:06pm

agres (signed in using Yahoo)

California says it wants science jobs, but try to find a current science text in a California public library. Want to use a University of California library? Good luck if you are not a student, faculty, or alumni that has made a large donation. Our county library has canceled it’s subscriptions to Science and Nature. In California, one cannot stay current in science by going to a library.

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 5:57pm

Eric Williams · San Francisco State University

just thought I’d provide the link for the youtube clip. enjoy!

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 4:08pm

  • Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Great Interview!

Like · Reply · Monday at 10:22pm

John Poteet · Top Commenter · Chico, California

The problem we face is that your average american sees some technology or scientific finding eliminating THEIR jobs on a day to day basis. Habitat protection for some critter probably means that they have cleaner water and cleaner air but if you’re a framing contractor it might also mean the next nearest job is now sixty miles away.

While the benefits of science are generalized the loss of jobs due to automation, computerization, environmental protection and general productivity increases are handed out on the retail level. Can we even honestly say that everyone with an accredited degree in the sciences has a science-related job or can get one if they want it? No.

The “go back to school and get a science degree” meme is a cruel fraud as many recent graduates are finding out.

Science has many benefits but improving the jobs market isn’t one of them.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 3:48pm

David Stockbridge Smith · Top Commenter · Apex, North Carolina

Science helps to birth new technologies. (In some cases, the pursuit of science itself requires and leads to the creation of new technologies in the discovery process.) new technologies lead to new products, methods… lead to employing new people in new business ventures. John, you speak only of the down side. Existing jobs are always vulnerable to progress. Innovation from science changes jobs, makes some jobs obsolete, but creates whole new industries.

We are trying to make a lot of jobs in the dirty energy buisness obsolete. We would like to increase un-employment in these industries. They are trying to stop renewable technologies from expanding and thus creating millions of new jobs. It’s my understanding from the research that renewable industries will create far more jobs than will be lost to dirty energy.

I think your statement about not improving the jobs market is incorrect. Individual jobs change, some disappear but new opportunities present themselves.

2 · Like · Reply · Monday at 6:51pm

Jon David Harris · Top Commenter · Drexel

In case you haven’t noticed machines, computers and other electronic devices cannot function without human input. Someone has to control, service and operate on that machine. There is your job.

2 · Like · Reply · Monday at 8:34pm

John Poteet · Top Commenter · Chico, California

Yours is a statement of faith not fact. It’s a FACT that automation eliminates the number labor hours required to complete a task. The premise that new technology will create new jobs is hand waving. It’s a fact that solar and wind power produce more jobs/megawatt/hour but it’s a premise that those jobs will somehow transfer to the same people who’ve lost jobs in other sectors.

Until there are actual programs that steer actual people into actual jobs the premise that “science creates jobs” is wishful thinking. Sitting back smugly and telling people that they should pony up $50k to get a new degree and MAYBE they’ll get hired doesn’t make “science” any friends.

Like · Reply · Monday at 11:05pm

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Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Probably – Climate Economics.

The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review

Wikipedia has this and

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 1:25pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

I wonder, how can we coin the Wikipedia page for = If You Are Anti-Science, You Are Anti-Jobs? Climate Change Adaptation Opportunities?

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 1:22pm

  • Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Economics and Climate Change

1 · Like · Reply · Monday at 2:05pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)


Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 1:21pm

Frank Hardisty · Redding, California

Ihis might not have an impact on republicans but I think it will have on the voters I think the GOP is shooting inself in the foot. As far as jobs are concerned we need to reorginize the Americamn worker I heard in a fairy tale that a worker in america could have a job his or hers entire lifetime who would believe that now we are seen as parts refered to as units and # we have been dehuminized the been counters have taken over the US.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · 15 hours ago

Mike Roddy · Top Commenter · Yucca Valley, California

The Republicans are in favor of jobs, as long as they are either in China or someplace like the coal mines of Appalachia, where they can terrorize the workers.

One right wing friend even sent me an email suggesting that the President hire all WalMart execs , since they are so successful. Chinese made goods, and Americans fighting over minimum wage jobs to put them on the shelves, is their dream business model. A lot of people forget that most corporations have no interest in developing knowledge at all, unless it’s the things you learn when you get a Stanford MBA.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 4:09pm

Anumakonda Jagadeesh

Excellent post If Science & Technology cannot create Jobs what else field can?

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP), India.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Yesterday at 1:05am

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

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Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Nova: Carbon Nanotubes

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Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

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Like · Reply · Monday at 10:14pm

Jack Enright

And if you are a scientist who does not agree with the “consensus”, SHUT UP or lose your job. Dissent is not a part of the manifesto.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · 22 hours ago

Christopher Winter · University of Iowa

Are you in that situation, Jack? If so, please tell us about it. I have yet to hear of one scientist who lost his job for expressing views contrary to the consensus on climate change.

Of course, there must be unemployed scientists who express contrarian views. But the reason they’re unemployed is likely to be something other than their unorthodox opinions.

Like · Reply · 20 hours ago

Jack Enright

How about yourself Chris, are you a scientist?

Like · Reply · 17 hours ago

Robert Fanney · Top Commenter · Flagler College

I like this one. Good messaging.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 4:41pm

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