The Maverick

Cosmic Variance posts on John McCain's statement that there is strong evidence that thimerosal is responsible for the increased rate of Autism in America. While I don't know yet whether McCain is anti-science in the way of Bush II, I think this is certainly related to his "maverick" streak. It is likely that McCain will take many more of these kind of bold positions in the coming months.

However, I think this will probably be a positive for many people, possibly even among independent voters. I think many people are skeptical of science, or like to buy into the under-science (such as science that tells us we are secretly being poisoned with Diet Coke or something like that). They don't see this as McCain being an anti-science idiot, but a brave free-thinker.

I also think this may be also be at the root of McCain's problem with conservatives, his recklessly self-righteous. This is a case where some caution is a good thing. He may have given a legitimacy boost to a movement that rightfully should be fading in the face of good science. All this from the experienced, elder statesman.

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