In the old days—in the dawn of the Cold War—the Left was all for science. The Red Army was as keen to spirit German rocket scientists east as the Americans were to ship them to New Mexico. Atomic scientists wanting to share blueprints were accorded every facility. Sputnik scared the living daylights out of the Western world, and quite rightly. At the more theoretical end of ideological warfare, Marxism claimed to be a “scientific” analysis of economic reality. Neither the Stalinist Left nor its fellow travelers saw any conflict between their values and science itself: any failure of Soviet Science was not for want of trying but from the difficulties of pursuing science without free communication of results. In the last few decades, however, the left in the West has moved in an entirely different direction. A large part of it has come to have a stand against science in principle.

It began with the abuse directed by...