Bernie Sanders in 2020? Here is his long history with pseudoscience

At 76 years old many assumed that 2016 would be the last time Bernie Sanders would run for office. The media told a different story today as it was reported that he gathered a team of advisers to discuss running for President again in 2020.

While the merits of his stances on many issues are worthy of debate, one thing is abundantly clear. Bernie Sanders is an anti-science candidate.

While Bernie Sanders is on record acknowledging the importance of vaccines, he has a dangerous record of promoting fake medicine.

Writing for Time, Sam Frizell reports:

After he arrived in Congress in 1991, he backed legislation supporting acupuncture and other naturopathic remedies and held conferences on alternative health.
After moving to Vermont in the late 1960s to work as a carpenter and a young activist, Sanders wrote freelance articles that claimed cancer was a physical expression of mental distress…. Sanders believed that cultural forces were driving Americans to illness and that sexual repression caused cancer.
as the 46-year-old mayor of Burlington in 1988…. he went on to suggest that cancer is caused by mental distress
Sanders has relied on unspecified alternative therapies himself, he told a Vermont reporter in 1996. And his medical views have made it into his agenda in a watered-down form. He’s sponsored several on alternative health themes in Vermont, including one in 1996 and another in 2010.
Sanders co-sponsored a bill in 2001 that would have allowed federal employees to access and be reimbursed for services from a massage therapist or an acupuncturist.
Sanders also sponsored a bill in the Senate in 2013 that would have increased access for veterans to alternative medicine by increasing funding for alternative medicine research and allow veterans’ health care to cover alternative forms of healthcare.

Skeptical Raptor points out:

As recently as November 2015, it was reported that Sanders praised holistic and alternative medicine at meeting of the Veteran’s Administration. Sadly, Sanders claims that “the increasing integration of Chinese medicine and yoga, for example, as bright spots in a largely dysfunctional American health care system.”

Writing for Science 2.0, Jenny Splitter explains that while his stance on acknowledging climate change is great, his ideas on solving the problem leaves a lot to be desired:

Sanders does embrace the consensus of climate change scientists who say that climate change is a real and serious threat that is likely caused by human activities. His climate change plan is incredibly aggressive — more aggressive than Clinton’s — with a plan that aims to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 40%. The problem is that this very ambitious plan completely rejects nuclear energy, which pro-technology environmentalists like EcoModernist Co-Founder Michael Shellenberger say would actually result in a net increase in carbon emissions. Sanders wants the country to shift away from nuclear energy to low-tech sources like solar and wind, but Shellenberger and others argue that strategy is neither feasible nor optimal. Fear of and opposition to nuclear energy is prevalent amongst many environmentalists, but pro-technology ecomodernists see nuclear energyas absolutely indispensable to tackling climate change.

Even medical research has been a major concern. At one point he sponsored a bill criminalizing Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) research, threatening researchers with a fine of 1 million dollars and up to 10 years in jail. Ken Thomas with Associated Press reports:

While serving in the House, Sanders voted to ban therapeutic cloning in 2001, 2003 and 2005 as Congress grappled with the ethics of biotechnology and scientific advances. Patient advocacy groups note that Sanders co-sponsored bans in 2003 and 2005 that included criminal penalties for conducting the research and opposed alternatives that would have allowed the cloning of embryos solely for medical research.
Sanders said following a vote in 2001 that he had “very serious concerns about the long-term goals of an increasingly powerful and profit-motivated biotechnology industry.” In a later vote, he warned of the dangers of “owners of technology” who are “primarily interested in how much money they can make rather than the betterment of society.”

Finally his stance on mandating the labeling of food based on the breeding method of ingredients was covered by Real Clear Science’s Alex Berezow:

On GMOs, Mr. Sanders is yet again opposed to mainstream science policy. His endorsement of GMO food labels is in direct opposition to the policy stance of the American Medical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Such labels are the equivalent of Kosher and Halal labels. Voluntary labels offering information to those with faith based diets, with no information about health, safety, or the environment.

Many see Senator Sanders as the solution for the extreme right which has gained a voice in recent years. But should one group that denounces science be used to replace another? The extreme left is just a different symptom of the same problem.

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