Fervent belief in the test among progressives has potentially undermined attempts to decrease discrimination. For example, under Eric Holder, an outspoken progressive attorney general, the US Department of Justice responded to incidents of racist police shootings by developing an implicit bias-based program to address discriminatory behavior “where actual racism is not present.” And implicit bias training has allowed companies to suggest (and even believe) they’re tackling diversity issues, while failing to implement practices such as equal pay and parental leave, or careful recruitment practices, that would make a substantive difference.

Some other antiscientific views are surprisingly politically bipartisan. Skepticism about the value of vaccines and the belief that genetically modified foods are harmful—both views strongly rejected by scientists—are equally common across the political spectrum.

It’s all too convenient to ignore or reject scientific findings that question deeply-felt political beliefs. But attempting to advance political ideals is no excuse for this bullheaded tendency, and those doing so can hurt the progressive values they seek to promote.

It’s easy to forget that the tools used to promote ideals shift. In the 1970s, the political left thought it was progressive to treat mental health in the US by combating social issues such as poverty and racial discrimination. The right-wing backlash to that approach made it seem too liberal, politically partisan, and inexpedient. So the left shifted, and began to frame mental health as a biological problem, rejecting the environmental focus as potentially stigmatizing.

Ultimately, US progressives—both today and in the 1970s—share the goal of improving mental health treatments. Acknowledging the evidence—even if it means adjusting a few key beliefs, such as the role of chemical imbalances in causing depression—can and should be used to inform and advance these sorts of progressive ideals. To truly be pro-science, those on the left can’t ignore the facts that don’t serve their political ends. Embracing science means acknowledging the evidence even when it goes against accepted dogma.

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