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Do Conservatives Really Hate Science?


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Initial post: Jun 26, 2012 10:59:54 AM PDT
The Weasel says:
Or do they feel that the science of the day supports liberal causes and that they need to diminish the impact of science to effect the policies they favor?

I understand that politics are now more polarized than at any time since the Civil War, but I simply don't understand the direct attacks on science.

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 11:07:39 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2012 11:08:29 AM PDT
Bill M. says:
As far as I see it, politicians of all types -- right, left, center, whatever -- are first and foremost in the business of getting votes. If they can accomplish this by appealing to large groups who mostly only vote on one emotionally-tied issue (e.g., the religious right, or environmentalist alarmists), then they'll do it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that politicians almost always have their backgrounds and degrees in law, not science. It's possible to have a 4.0 GPA as a law major in an Ivy League school and still not really know the periodic table from a patio table.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 11:10:45 AM PDT
The Weasel says:
Bill M. says:
As far as I see it, politicians of all types -- right, left, center, whatever -- are first and foremost in the business of getting votes. If they can accomplish this by appealing to large groups who mostly only vote on one emotionally-tied issue (e.g., the religious right, or environmentalist alarmists), then they'll do it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that politicians almost always have their backgrounds and degrees in law, not science. It's possible to have a 4.0 GPA as a law major in an Ivy League school and still not really know the periodic table from a patio table.
***
From a voters perspective then. Why are conservative leaning voters so willing to believe that the scientific community itself is corrupt and/or capabale of massive collusion?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 11:12:36 AM PDT
When you have a lot to lose, either in terms of power, or money, and science threatens it, you will try to undermine that science. Perfectly understandable, and if the science isn't legitimate, it deserves to be undermined. It's a tough world out there, and scientists need to be prepared for attacks when what they're reporting threatens people.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 11:14:59 AM PDT
Rev. Otter says:
<<Or do they feel that the science of the day supports liberal causes and that they need to diminish the impact of science to effect the policies they favor?>>

as a rare pro-science conservative, i think it's that one. sadly ...

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 12:03:07 PM PDT
I think most scientists are viewed as, or claim to be, liberals. Therefore the extreme conservatives think they (and their science) cannot be trusted. Pretty sad state of affairs IMO. I am conservative about some things and liberal about others. Oh and I am an evil Darwinist too. Just want to make sure everyone here knows that.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 12:15:22 PM PDT
Rev. Otter says:
<<I think most scientists are viewed as, or claim to be, liberals.>>

which is farking STUPID, because science is about as conservative* as you can get.

*in a "dictionary definition" sense, not a "modern politics" sense

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 1:05:45 PM PDT
I meant in a modern politics sense.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 2:56:11 PM PDT
Bill M. says:
What I find really strange is that a generation or two ago, science if anything seemed to be more stereotypically "conservative" thing: we need to beat the commies in the space race, we need a bright generation of engineers for better military weaponry in the future, we have to deal with the hippies who are trying to shut down research in nuclear power, etc. I'm not sure how the flip happened, or if it can even necessarily be traced back to one thing.

>>as a rare pro-science conservative, i think
>>it's that one. sadly [Rev. Otter]

I too consider myself politically conservative as well as pro-science, not to mention an atheist too (yes folks, conservative atheists do exist!). I just wish certain conservative politicians would stop kissing the behinds of the religious right, who seem to be the most overall anti-science group to me.

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 2:59:15 PM PDT
K. Battor says:
I think what hurts science are people like Al Gore. They preach about the dangers of Man made global warming then ride around in their private jets. I think scientists would be better served by dumping those hypacrites.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 3:02:56 PM PDT
Rev. Otter says:
i think most science-minded people realize Al Gore isn't a scientist.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 3:04:41 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 27, 2012 2:02:51 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 3:08:27 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 27, 2012 2:02:57 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 3:11:53 PM PDT
Rev. Otter says:
huh?

<<What we have going here [...] >>>

"here" where?

<<is a bunch of folks on the left [...] >

who?

<<vigorously patting themselves on the back [...] >>

what?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 3:17:09 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 27, 2012 2:03:04 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 3:27:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2012 3:40:14 PM PDT
Rev. Otter says:
<<In this thread, starting with the OP.>>

that was my first interpretation. but then i couldn't square that interpretation with the end of that same post:

<<They clutch this little caricature warmly to their bosoms, then bring it out and go BOOGA BOOGA! to their clientele.>>

so ... lefty Internet posters (with clientele) created this thread for the purpose of using fear tactics on those clients for ... um, what, exactly? and, how? also, why?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 3:39:25 PM PDT
Rev. Otter says:
<<Or, Golly Gumdrops, maybe there's no lefties here in this henhouse!>>

i think you saw this thread, decided what it was about without actually reading it, and then jumped in and started throwing out talking points.

all available evidence seems to support this hypothesis. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 3:40:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2012 3:47:07 PM PDT
I'm a fiscally conservative liberal. Or am I a liberal libertarian? I can never get it straight ... but at least I try to reward reasoned political arguments over manipulative rhetoric. Most political adds are designed to drive right by the cortex, and stimulate the amygdala.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 3:44:54 PM PDT
The Weasel says:
Seriously

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2012 3:50:07 AM PDT
I'm sure you can find an answer to your question somewhere on the internet. You know, that thing that Al Gore invented. lol. Just kidding.

Posted on Jun 27, 2012 4:18:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 27, 2012 4:19:32 AM PDT
I fall under the category of The Secular Right. Conservative in many ways, as far as certain aspects of the economy are concerned, but very much against organized religion, deities, superstitions and very much for science, exploration, and logic.

Edit - So to answer your question, no. This Conservative absolutely loves science, technology, and mathematics.

Posted on Jun 27, 2012 5:55:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 27, 2012 9:46:56 AM PDT
Brian Curtis says:
There are multiple factors at work in science-denial on the right. (Note that there's also science-denial on the left, but it tends to be viewed as an actual negative rather than a basic qualification for office.)

The Republican leadership is dominated by corporate/business interests. These interests benefit from muddying, distorting, and covering up any scientific findings that might threaten their profit margins... and that means they need a strategy to discredit science when needed.

Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health
Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

Many of the Republican base are extremely religious, in a country that's already far more religious than most. And science has been under attack by fundamentalist religion ever since it started pointing out where church doctrine was incorrect.

God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion
History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science
The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science--and Reality

Then there's populism. America has a long-standing tradition of anti-intellectualism in the name of "the free-thinking individualist standing up to the elites and authorities," i.e., if respected and trained professionals disagree, it MUST be right.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life
The Age of American Unreason

And in a similar vein, many crackpots and fringe opinion-holders simply reject reality as a matter of course. And thanks to global communications, they can now connect with each other and spread their nonsense and even organize rather than being dismissed as random cranks.

Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America
Denying Science: Conspiracy Theories, Media Distortions, and the War Against Reality

Shorter answer: Do conservatives hate science? No. But big business and evangelical religion do, and they dominate the Republican Party.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2012 8:51:20 AM PDT
Bubba says:
The pro-science, atheist, conservative option sailed off the edge of the earth while Reagan was in his first term.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2012 9:49:54 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 27, 2012 9:56:09 AM PDT
Brian Curtis says:
That's unclear, actually. Science doesn't leap to unsupported conclusions; it builds on the foundation of predecessors' work, and it focuses on gathering all the facts while screening out anything that doesn't meet its strict standards--which could be labeled conservative. But it also has no respect for hierarchies, admits doubt and uncertainty, and demands absolute freedom of inquiry, even if it overturns established knowledge and institutions--which could be labeled liberal.

Perhaps science is better labeled anti-authoritarian, a different axis than the typical liberal/conservative. After all, there are authoritarians on both right (fascism, corporatism) and left (communism).

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2012 2:02:26 PM PDT
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Discussion in:  Science forum
Participants:  45
Total posts:  618
Initial post:  Jun 26, 2012
Latest post:  Aug 14, 2012

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