Whenever there is a Republican candidate who doesn't believe in evolution, is skeptical of global warming, or opposes things like embryonic stem cell research, political opponents label him/her as "anti-science." There's a prime example at the Bad Astronomy blog, where Phil Plait recently hyperventilated about Rick Perry.
To say I am not a fan of Rick Perry, Republican Presidential candidate, is to seriously underestimate my antipathy toward him. He is anti-science in almost every sense of the word, and his stance on nearly every issue on which I’ve heard him speak is the exact opposite of where I stand.That's a good way to make people disregard anything you might have to say since you admit extreme bias. But back to the anti-science claim. Let's take the common case of disbelief in evolution.
Unfortunately a lack of belief in evolution is a mainstream position in the U.S. According to a Gallup poll in 2009, a majority of Americans reject evolution. Does this mean that more than half the country is "anti-science"? Of course not. Being ignorant of important areas of science makes you ignorant, not anti-science. Then there is the religious angle. The reason so many Christians (and Muslims) have a problem with evolution is because of religious belief. Most Christians readily accept science that doesn't directly conflict -- as they see it -- with their religion. (Obviously there are Christians that have accommodated their beliefs and accept evolution -- I'm not talking about them.) I believe that most scientists would agree that evolution is a complex scientific topic, and is not intuitive. Poor science education, general ignorance, and religious belief opposing evolution are also abetted by an entire industry of professional creationists. For those better educated religious people who reject evolution but might feel uncomfortable about it, there are a whole bunch of pseudo-scientists out there feeding them on the notion that evolution is bad science imposed by a rigid academic orthodoxy. In short, it is easy to reject evolution. And it is entirely possible to be "pro-science" overall, while rejecting those parts of science which conflict with your beliefs.
Ignorance regarding certain aspects of science makes you ignorant, not anti-science. Calling someone who rejects evolution or global warming anti-science, is about as stupid an overstatement as labeling abortion supporters as pro-death, or opponents as anti-women. No doubt the oil industry, which relies heavily on science and technology,would be amazed to learn that Rick Perry is anti-science. I'm pretty sure that someone as smart as Phil Plait knows the difference between being opposed to science, and being ignorant in major areas. Unfortunately extreme dislike of political opponents often results in intellectual dishonesty, or an inability to separate analysis from emotional responses such as name-calling.