Why Republicans don’t trust science

Because God doesn’t like science.  I find this very disturbing (via Gallup):

Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings? By political party ID, May 2012

Okay, I don’t feel all that great about a plurality of Democrats having such a profoundly anti-science view either, but at least the disparity is not so stark.  Now, the “God guided process” position may not exactly be scientific, but it does not directly contradict science and can see science and faith in different realms.  But the idea that humans created were created in their present form 10,000 years ago has about as much empirical support as the aether or the idea that the Moon landing was actually staged in Arizona (actually there’s probably more evidence for that).  Scientifically speaking, there’s absolutely nothing to support this position.  If not for a certain book called the Bible (and some related religious texts) nobody would believe this.   And there’s nothing about actually believing in science, evolution in particular, that’s anti-Christian.  What many don’t realize is that a literal interpretation of the bible is an interpretation.  And an interpretation that science, biblical scholarship, logic, and good old common sense, tells us is overwhelmingly wrong.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

10 Responses to Why Republicans don’t trust science

  1. Chris says:

    When I read this information the other day, I was depressed for a few hours. The intellectually backwards direction we’re taking as a nation is very, very worrying. And we wonder why we are getting our American butts kicked in science/tech/medical jobs in comparison to other countries…

  2. Oh but you are wrong sir. I have a major in science and definitely believe in the Scientific Method, it is the libs who have abandoned that because following it does not prove their global warming alarmist theories. You need to first postulate a theory (already done for global warming) and then design an experiment to prove your theory. No experiments done and no proof. Also you need to have double blind studies done (in real science) again none done but the libs want to cram global warming alarmism down our throats

    • itchy says:

      Yes, unlike climate scientists, you have a major in science.

    • Incognito says:

      Marriagecoach1, your post doesn’t read like you have a major in science at all or that you understand methodological materialism (aka the scientific method). Scientists don’t start by postulating a theory. They start by making observations then generate hypotheses from those observations. They then test the hypotheses.Many times you don’t need a formal experiment to test a hypothesis–if this were true, the entire field of geology would be unscientific. If the hypotheses FAIL to be falsified, they are extended. If many related hypotheses are tested and none of them fail to be falsified, a more general explanation is used to explain the results of all of the related unfalsified hypotheses. This is what is known as a scientific theory. Scientists don’t prove anything (ala Karl Popper’s perspective on what science is—not Kuhn’s model). I teach this stuff in all of my science classes. The first thing I teach is that scientists don’t “prove” anything. The term “scientifically proven” is a phrase used by marketing agents, not scientists. If scientific tests fail to disprove, then we tentatively accept what remains as the truth. In other words, everything we know is a working approximation of the truth until something disproves it. Of course, if it is true, it won’t ever be disproven. That is where evolutionary theory stands. Various parts of it have been tested thousands of times and no evidence has been found that refutes it (like finding a human skeleton in Precambrian rock). If you are a scientist, I’m not sure you are a particularly well-trained one because your posts is full of the same misconceptions about science that I hear from my students every year (i.e. conflating hypotheses with theory, using the term “prove” in science, and thinking that the scientific method requires experiments only. Historical sciences (i.e. geology, cosmology, forensics etc.) often CAN’T use experiments when the hypothesis to be tested is what happened four million years ago or when was this guy murdered? This does not mean that you can’t determine what happened through various lines of evidence (e.g. fossils, decomposition rates etc.). Please do us a favor and don’t continue to present a cartoon caricature of what science is or misrepresent it. We have enough republicans that do that.

  3. Climate scientists are not immune from following the Scientific Method, it is a for all scientists and believe me they don’t. They instead talk about consensus which the Scientific Method was designed to eliminate. NASA has already bebunked CO2 caused global warming with their long term satellite studies through direct observation. But maybe you want to debunk NASA as well.

    Congress has appropriated BILLIONS of dollars for global warming research to prove it, but not a single dollar for double blind studies which eliminate tester bias. Now go ahead and find fault with what I have just written. You libs can NEVER admit that you are wrong because it is about feelings and emotions rather than facts and logic

    • itchy says:

      “Now go ahead and find fault with what I have just written.”


      “Climate scientists are not immune from following the Scientific Method”

      This is incorrectly written, but your intent is correct. Being a climate scientist does not mean you follow the scientific method. You’re likely not to be taken seriously if you don’t, but it’s no guarantee that you’ll do your job any more than being a postal worker means you will deliver mail.

      And this is why we do not look solely at the opinions of individual scientists; we wait for a consensus to develop. Once it does, we do not need to rely solely on the opinions of a small number of scientists (or masquerading non-scientists) who could be biased, either intentionally or unintentionally … wait, correction, *I* do not rely on them. You do.

      “They instead talk about consensus which the Scientific Method was designed to eliminate.”

      Incorrect. It was designed to do no such thing. That would be ridiculous.

      “NASA has already bebunked CO2 caused global warming with their long term satellite studies through direct observation.”

      No, it hasn’t.

      “But maybe you want to debunk NASA as well.”

      No need. NASA does not say what you think it does.

      “Congress has appropriated BILLIONS of dollars for global warming research to prove it,”

      I’m not sure how much Congress has appropriated for research (which is not the same as appropriating money to “prove it”) and I’m not sure how direct that funding has been. My guess is it’s much less than the amount energy companies have devoted to debunking it — and stand to lose if we consume less of their products.

      Certainly if money could so easily be used to bias the scientific consensus, the energy companies already would have turned it their way. And if you want this to be an argument about money’s influence on the prevailing opinion, you don’t want to go there. It’s not even close.

      “but not a single dollar for double blind studies which eliminate tester bias.”

      So a side point: Congress does not directly fund individual studies. They don’t say, “$5,000 for this specific study.” And, of course, they shouldn’t.

      When properly conducted, double-blind studies indeed can provide good evidence and do much to eliminate tester bias. Unfortunately, their applicability varies depending on the research area and the specific hypothesis being tested. In some cases, it’s impossible to conduct a double-blind trial, because you can’t rerun history — there just isn’t such a thing.

      Please give me an example of a double-blind trial you would conduct to test anthropogenic global warming.

      “You libs can NEVER admit that you are wrong because it is about feelings and emotions rather than facts and logic”

      Ironic statement from someone who is so emotionally attached to his world view and how everyone else must fit into it.

      Personally, I would *much* rather there not be global warming. I do not want to see millions of people suffer due to the greed of a few already powerful people who wish to ignore scientific consensus in order to retain their current position.

      But, being neither an expert nor a narcissist, I have to set aside my wishes, be rational and accept the consensus of the scientific experts. If further evidence were to change scientific opinion tomorrow, I’d be happy to admit I was wrong.

    • Incognito says:

      And what would a “double blind” study of global warming look like? Let me guess, start with 20 replicate planet earths. In half of the earths, allow the industrial revolution to occur. In the other half, don’t. Now, just to be fair, let your grandma measure carbon dioxide levels rather than you and tell her that you want to measure carbon dioxide levels because you think it is causing brain damage to politicians—just to throw her off. Is this what you mean? Global warming is a historical science dude. This type of science doesn’t lend itself well to double-blind experiments. Here is another hypothesis that doesn’t lend itself well to double-blind experiments either: Dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago because of a meteorite. I would have just let your post go but the fact that you claim some sort of science expertise was just a bit much for me. By the way, science DOES reach consensus all the time. This is especially the case when a vast number of hypotheses are supported and fail to be falsified. Scientists have reached consensus about evolutionary theory (yes it happens and yes, all living things are related to each other), gravitational theory (yes it happens), germ theory (yes little critters called bacteria can cause disease), and…yes, I’m sorry to say, even global warming. The scientific method wasn’t “designated to eliminate” consensus. It does however offer the opportunity for hypotheses to be disproven if sufficient evidence exists. If it doesn’t, then consensus science (also known as tentative reality) is the default. By the way, I’ve actually conducted research on global warming for the USDA in the early 1990s and it was consensus then. It was the politicians, and laypeople that didn’t believe it. We still have naysayers, but these are mostly “scientists” that are rented by politicians to parade out to obfuscate the consensus. These are probably the same scientists that R.J. Reynolds hired to say smoking doesn’t cause cancer. I don’t know about “you libs”, but I do know that climatologists agree that global warming is real and anthropogenically caused. If politicians or lingerie models don’t think so, I don’t really care.

      • Hey Incognito:
        While I am not a scientist per se, I did work in a scientific field for a number of years and yes it is one of my majors. Let me give you some refutations of some of the claims made by so called climate scientists.

        About 5 years ago they told us in an AP Story that we were going to have “massive saltwater fish kills from fresh water infusion into the ocean environment from melting glaciers caused by global warming”

        To that I say Ha, go to the mouth of the Mississippi River flowing into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of 4 MILLION GALLONS PER SECOND (the third largest flow rate of any river in the world and much more than any glacier melting could provide) and count all the dead fish. Hint there are none. It is part of the hydrologic cycle where the sun heats up the surface temp of the oceans and causes water vapor to rise and simultaneously distills the salt from it. It then coalesces into clouds and the clouds eventually condense and form rain which runs into the rivers etc.

        Al Gore in his schlocumentary claimed that the Greenland Ice Sheet is melting at an alarming rate. The truth is that it has actually increased in height by over 280 feet just since 1944. Al Gore who has ZERO scientific credentials or education claimed that if floating ice-burgs melted that it would cause massive flooding. Well this of course is false due to Arhimede’s Principle. Ice incorporates air as it freezes. This can be proven by a simply experiment at home. Overfill a styrofoam cup with large ice cubes and fill the cup to the rim with water and watch them melt. Gores movie claimed erroneously that the water would over flow the glass.
        You can prove for yourself that this is just another lie.

        We have had world wide record low temps being set around the globe for the last 10 years contradicting the global warming theory. The very flawed computer model foisted on us by the IPCC posits that CO2 will rise into the atmosphere and stay there for 100 years. This is scientifically impossible since CO2 is a 152% heavier than air. The scientists breathlessly tell us that we have had an 80 ppm (parts per million) increase in the amount of CO2 since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. REally 80 ppm only. Do you know what the fractional equivalent for that is? 8/100,000ths of 1%. A trace amount by any calculation. And this is causing global warming? I tried to graph it. The smallest tightest graph that I could do and still have the marks legible was 12 marks per inch. To graph 100,000 it would take a graph 694 feet long and the increase would represent 3/4 of 1 inch on that graph.

        There is a principle in science called Occam’s Razor which basically says that when all things are equal, the simplest explanation is usually the right one. The slight average 1 degree rise in the global temp could be as a result of anthropogenic causes and have nothing to do with CO2. For example we have over 5,000 jets flying around our country at any given time with exhaust temps of over 1,800 degrees. A great scientific experiment can be demonstrated at the Mall of America, the second largest mall in the world. This mall is located in Minnesota where the temps routinely get down to 20 below zero in the winter. In spite of these extreme cold temps the temp in the mall stays at a comfy 68 degrees with NO FURNACES AT ALL.
        How is this possible, with the heat of all the lights in the mall and the aggregate body temps of all the visitors. That is an 88 degree increase in temp from outside ambient temps. So isn’t it possible that the 1 degree rise is as a result of all the people and alll the processes in the wolrld, it is much easier to believe than the CO2 crap

  4. I guess that we will have to agree to disagree

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