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United States Politics Science

Conservatives' Trust In Science Has Fallen Dramatically Since Mid-1970s 1128

Posted by timothy
from the scientism-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While trust in science remained stable among people who self-identified as moderates and liberals in the United States between 1974 and 2010, trust in science fell among self-identified conservatives by more than 25 percent during the same period, according to a study by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. 'Over the last several decades, there's been an effort among those who define themselves as conservatives to clearly identify what it means to be a conservative,' said the study's lead author. 'For whatever reason, this appears to involve opposing science and universities and what is perceived as the "liberal culture." So, self-identified conservatives seem to lump these groups together and rally around the notion that what makes "us" conservatives is that we don't agree with "them."'"
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Conservatives' Trust In Science Has Fallen Dramatically Since Mid-1970s

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  • Obvious (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:15AM (#39508927) Journal

    Reality has a well known liberal bias. Of course conservatives are going to distrust science. This is going to be the case anywhere and everywhere conservativism is popular.

  • I don't think so. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:21AM (#39509023)

    First off - scienceblog - light grey on white is NOT a good colour scheme for text.

    Reality has a well known liberal bias.

    Have you been to Reality lately? It's dog eat dog. Literally.

    I don't think Reality has a "liberal bias". More like "liberals" are more willing to use science as a means of "validating" their positions.

    While "conservatives" are more willing to use religion to "validate" their positions.

  • Huh? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by XanC (644172) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:23AM (#39509053)

    Is "science" a thing to be "trusted in"? What does that even mean? Sounds an awful lot like the headline should read "liberals' use of science as a religion has increased dramatically since mid-1970s".

  • Re:Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:24AM (#39509091)

    Reality doesn't care about your ideology at all, actually.

    That being said, we all know how religious forces took over the Republican Party since the 1970s, and you have a lot of these religious folks who call themselves conservatives. Is this news? The key phrase here is "self-identified conservatives."

  • Sneering = lose (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Scareduck (177470) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:24AM (#39509093) Homepage Journal

    It's this sneering trope -- "reality has a well known liberal bias", a quote of Stephen Colbert, whose work I generally admire -- that gets hauled out every single time this subject comes up. And its point, so far as I can tell, is actually to stifle debate on legitimate politicization that the left has done, particularly with anthropogenic global warming, especially within the scope of the IGCC. When "scientists" start playing politically-minded games with data, engage in semantic and legalistic games to prevent its dissemination, and then complain that they are being treated unfairly or for political reasons -- well, they only have themselves to blame.

  • Re:Obvious (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:25AM (#39509111)

    Yes, there is.

    Social conservatives only want to support people who think like they do, and fiscal conservatives only want to fund people who think like they do.

    There's a similarity, too. Can you guess what it is?

  • Re:Communion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:28AM (#39509151)

    Good luck with the whole science pledge thing. I don't know how many times lately on Facebook I see someone thanking the Lord (I assume he has a Facebook page) for miracle that saved cousin Fred-Bob. Of course on further questioning, Fred-Bob had a heart attack and someone used a cell phone to call the ambulance, which arrived quickly because the highly trained paramedics had a laptop GPS and maps on it. They used a portable defibrillator and drugs to keep him alive until they got the the hospital where a high trained surgeon used a heart catheter to fix the problem. Of course, praying to Jesus was what really did the trick, No need to thank the scientists who invented all that stuff or the doctor who used science to do the healing.

  • Trust?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrquagmire (2326560) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:28AM (#39509153)
    There is no "trust" in science - there is nothing to "believe." Science is just the application of logic and reason to help explain the world around us. So what this article is really saying is that "Conservatives view of the world has dramatically departed reality since 1970." Which sounds pretty plausible to me.

    "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” -Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:28AM (#39509171)

    Or in other words, around the same time that people started using science to justify their political cause. Science used to be about progress, but now it's about power. It's not that conservatives don't trust science, it's that we don't trust the scientists: their motives, their interpretations, or their solutions.

    No matter the problem, the solution is always to transfer money or power.

  • by Chemisor (97276) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:30AM (#39509215)

    As a self-identified conservative I would like to clarify that the increased lack of trust is in the scientists, not science itself. To trust a man means to expect him to always try to do the right thing, and since the 70s or so higher education has been almost exclusively the domain of liberalism, a philosophy whose definition of "right" is diametrically opposed to the conservative one. Is it any surprize that there can be no trust between us?

    More specifically, the lack of trust in the scientists directly results in the lack of trust in any data or conclusions produced by these scientists. We all know that a biased experimenter often produces the results he is looking for; that is why we usually insist on double blind experiments in areas where bias is a factor. A liberal scientist will thus have a significantly higher burden of proof, which, in my experience with politically charged subjects such as AGW, has not yet been met.

    Without trust in the scientists the only way to really believe their results is to reproduce their experiments and see for ourselves. Unfortunately, most of us are not qualified to do so, hence today's political standoff.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:30AM (#39509217)

    âoeThere is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.â
    Isaac Asimov

    "It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so."
    Will Rogers

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."
    Upton Sinclair

    "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."
    Stephen Colbert

    I have a little something I call the parable of the investment opportunity. Dick has the option of investing in this exciting new product that promises to double his money in twelve months. Jane is skeptical. The two can jawbone back and forth all day long.

    Jane explains that it looks like a bad idea, resembles many other bad ideas, the person presenting the opportunity has a history of failed schemes, and the whole thing looks too risky.

    Dick feels she's being too negative. She's not embracing opportunity. He has a prospectus printed in full color on expensive paper and the pitchman has such a nice haircut, really looks like someone you could do business with.

    It's impossible to know how the investment will turn out until it's made, even if anyone watching the two of them argue will more than likely have a strong opinion before long.

    Dick makes the investment. Twelve months later, he's lost all his money. Not only that but he's lost it in exactly the way Jane predicted, for the reasons she listed.

    Now for most people, this would be some pretty compelling evidence. Not so for Dick! Perhaps it wasn't a bad idea, he just didn't apply it with enough vigor. Perhaps there was an external factor that sabotaged what was otherwise a sound idea. Does he reevaluate? Does he reexamine? No, he'll double-down. And Jane is still an ignorant slut.

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:31AM (#39509243)

    I'd identify myself as conservative, and at least in my case my trust in science has not decreased. That said, my trust in the scientific community has certainly decreased in the last decade or two. Of course, I could say the same about humanity as a whole. I wasn't even born by the 1970s, so most of my decreasing trust could probably be attributed to simply growing up and realizing that the world is filled with people on all sides who have agendas.

  • Seems reasonable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by million_monkeys (2480792) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:32AM (#39509249)

    'conservative' means different things to different people, but checking the dictionary gives this definition: "disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change."

    I think most people agree science is a driving force for change, whether through application of new knowledge or development of new technology. So, at least based on the definition above, science directly opposes conservative goals. It's not surprising for people to distrust something that actively threatens their ideology.

  • Trust on Science? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:34AM (#39509285) Homepage
    Obligatory xkcd - http://xkcd.com/154/ [xkcd.com]
  • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:36AM (#39509307)

    There is some truth to be found here. When the model changed from scientific research pursuing things that could be monetized in the medium term or could create new industries in the long term to research pursuing things that can have federal funding approved in the medium term, different things started being researched.

    For one thing, the demand for practicality in order to obtain funds became less. How much money has been poured into ethanol, when it will never produce energy independence or any substantive move in that direction? Ethanol is not viable as an energy source but it's powerful as a political force, so it obtains mountains of funding and subsidy dollars.

    It's not that government funding of research is bad, it's that there needs to be balance. Conservatives are less likely to want the government to fund anything - this would defund some things that are good, and some that are wasteful.

    It's not a clear right/wrong. Right/wrong applies to individual situations, not to ideologies as a whole, despite what this posts's ancestors seem to believe.

  • Religion is why (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sir_Eptishous (873977) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:37AM (#39509349) Homepage
    We all know the "reason" for this... Religion. Lets just call it like it is. The Judaeo-Christian worldview is by-and-large anti-science. I don't think it set out to be that way though, but more as a reflection of 1st millennium B.C. thinking. Nothing unusual in the stories from the Old Testament, when taken in the context of their times. However, Mankind(and Man) has learned and experienced quite a lot since 1000 B.C. The interesting thing, in a terrifying way(Al Qaida, Iran, Evangelical Christians, etc;) is that even with the benefits of science staring them in the face, people still take these Iron Age myths as The Truth.

    Your typical liberal has more of a "critical thinking" worldview, maybe not much more, but enough to tip the balance away from "Doctrines and Covenants" that require a suspension of dis-belief, require blind faith.

    So the question is, why are conservatives NOW so anti-science, when even a generation or two ago it wasn't like that? Well, we all know the answer to that as well, which is a combination of Right-Wing Media, the ease of dis-information via The Internet, and a Republican party that has poly morphed into something very different from the Republican party of even the 1980's.

    Another key ingredient is that conservatives in general have a "good old days" mentality. They seek to attempt to go back to how things used to be, when things "appeared" simpler, when there was "order" in the world, etc;. We all know that is utter bullshit, and there is no "going home" as it were. Liberals are more apt to embrace change and understand we had to adapt to the changing world, not get the world to adapt to us.
  • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:40AM (#39509397)

    Simpler than that.

    "Conservatives" have begun to distrust science since 1970, which is the point at which Nixon began the GOP's running with the "Southern Strategy" and the GOP began to asymptotically approach definition as a collection of religious wack-jobs and robber barons. Religious wack-jobs distrust science because they believe their cult's book trumps science, and robber barons don't really distrust science, but they dislike when its conclusions lead to government policies stopping them from making a quick buck by destroying the environment and the lives of the general population.

  • Re:Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:41AM (#39509437) Journal

    Of course it doesn't. That's why it's funny. The truth that makes it funny is the reverse. Liberals have a bias towards reality, whereas conservatives base their opinions on ego and fairy tales.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tnk1 (899206) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:43AM (#39509457)

    To be fair, it tends to be more like "University professors and researchers tend to be more liberal since 1974, likely due to social and cultural changes on campuses that started in the 60's. This has led to others conflating scientific progress with liberalism. That has caused conservatives to view the pronouncements of people in those fields with more skepticism than they would have in the past when practitioners of the scientific method tended to take a more neutral, or even conservative view."

    In short, all this says is that a bunch of academics are liberals now, and the conservatives are unhappy with science being turned against them as a tool. The result has been that science itself ends up becoming an issue when it shouldn't. Of course, having read some opinions here and hearing some otherwise intelligent people talk, its clear that blame is definitely a two-way street here.

  • Re:Trust?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wiggles (30088) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:43AM (#39509477)

    >There is no "trust" in science - there is nothing to "believe."

    Close, but you're missing the point. Science is not the natural laws of the universe, science is the study of those laws, and it's scientists (in the mind of conservatives, think of them as 'people who claim to know more than the rest of us') that conservatives don't trust. In order for someone to believe you're telling the truth, they have to trust you. If they don't trust scientists to tell them the truth, then science itself becomes untrusted. In the Conservative vs. Liberal wars, we have two camps that each consist of leaders and followers. Followers follow the leaders, not because they always agree with them, but because they **trust** them. Is that trust misplaced? Possibly, on both sides.

    Want to know why self-proclaimed Conservatives oppose things like the health care law? It's not because they won't benefit (obviously they will benefit in far greater numbers than more wealthy liberals), it's because it's been successfully branded 'Obamacare', and they simply do not trust Barack Obama to do anything that won't hurt them. His image, to them, is that of a subversive radical Muslim (who wasn't even born here) who is trying to take over the country, and must be stopped at all costs. It has nothing to do with the fact that they can't get insurance, can't get healthcare, whatever. The issues don't matter, it's the image that counts.

  • by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:43AM (#39509483)
    Did you read the article?

    "...is the changing role of science in the United States. “In the past, the scientific community was viewed as concerned primarily with macro structural matters such as winning the space race,” Gauchat said. “Today, conservatives perceive the scientific community as more focused on regulatory matters such as stopping industry from producing too much carbon dioxide. Conservatives often oppose government regulation, and they increasingly perceive science as on the side of regulation, especially as scientific evidence is used more frequently in the work of government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and in public debates over issues such as climate change.”

    The problem is conservatives see Science is more focused on regulations and since conservatives oppose regulations - hello Koch brothers - they oppose science.

    It's that simple. When two are aligned towards the same goal, there is no opposition. When it's perceived that science is aligned against them, there is opposition.
  • by tekrat (242117) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:43AM (#39509489) Homepage Journal

    "Conservatives" sure do seem to trust science when they get cancer, or need an operation. Then all of a sudden, there aren't enough medical advances to suit them. They'll shell out tons of cash to extend their lives just a wee bit more.

    Dick Cheney just had a heart transplant, and the donor was probably some guy he shot in the face. Tell me Dick Cheney doesn't "trust science" when it comes to keeping him alive.

  • by iserlohn (49556) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:44AM (#39509495) Homepage

    You (and the GP) missed the point by a mile. This isn't about funding, it's about accepting (and having trust in) the output of scientific research and the conlusions drawn up by them.

    Science is not a reliogion. It is the difference between trusting and believing - as in some people believe what is written in a 1600 year old book, but doesn't trust their contemporaries distilling the truth of our physical realm. Really, a sad state.

  • Re:Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbeaupre (752124) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:45AM (#39509517)

    You have just demonstrated the most dangerous attitude possible. It's what gets people and America (and other countries) into more problems than anything else. It's the "I'm one of the good guys, so what I believe in must be true."

    Reality has, repeat after me, zero bias.

    Liberal and conservative are arbitrary viewpoints on a multitude of subjects that change constantly. Reality doesn't give a damn what you, I, or anyone else thinks. The belief that one's viewpoint is inextricably linked to reality is magical thinking.

    It's fine to think you are a good person. But it becomes dangerous when you start believing that your beliefs are correct because you think you are good. The corollary is that those who disagree with you are bad (or ignorant, or stupid). To be disregarded. That leads to some extremely stupid decisions.

    Classic examples:
    "But think of the children!"
    "The science of communism will solve all economic problems!"
    "Saddam has nukes!"

    These were sentiments expressed by a lot of people who ingnore(d) contradictions because they believed they were on the side of right, so the beliefs must be true.

    If liberals continue to say "Reality (or truth) has a liberal bias," they are going to end up believing it and doing some really stupid things some day. Time to stop holding that gun to our heads.

  • by uigrad_2000 (398500) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:46AM (#39509535) Homepage Journal

    The first response on TFA is

    If you “believe” in science, you’re doing it wrong.

    The whole article is about a study or poll (it's hard to tell which one) that indicates conservatives don't "believe" in "science". Yet there is nothing in the article that illustrates what types of questions were asked to come to this conclusion, nor is there any indication what the margin of error was or how different responses were based on political leanings.

    It seems clear that this article was a title first, and then they crafted the article around the title. No research or poll was done.

  • Re:Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:47AM (#39509555) Homepage Journal

    Which is why the fiscal conservatives should join the democratic party, and make an effort to get more fiscally conservative social liberals winning elections. It's the only path to sanity.

  • by Firethorn (177587) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:47AM (#39509559) Homepage Journal

    Social liberals only want to support people who think like they do, and fiscal liberals only want to fund people who think like they do.

    Still reads as true, doesn't it? I see the republican party as swinging more extremist at the moment, but let's face it: both sides want their policies passed.

    And on the OP, I see a lot of anti-science and distrust on the liberal side as well. Homeopathy isn't restricted by political bias, but I have a distinct impression that those who resist vaccines and insist on buying organic tend to be more on the liberal side. All the 'food X' is good/bad for you based on the science of the week, etc...

    Still, you have evolution, global warming, and support for junk(in my opinion) social science on the conservative side. I can accept the evolution as a number of loud religious nuts who have to have a literal reading of their holy book be true. Global warming, I'd have more respect if their disputes were more along the nature of the economic damage from controlling CO2 being higher than just accepting the sea level rise. A vaccine to prevent a cancer causing STD will encourage promiscuity? Really?

  • Re:Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:48AM (#39509583) Homepage Journal

    It stopped being funny when everyone realized it was true. Because the other side decided to depart from reality.

  • Fact vs. Opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:49AM (#39509605)

    I dislike tobacco. I don't like the smoke, I don't like the spitting, I don't like the spent butts littering the roadway.

    All of that is personal opinion, no different from disliking the appearance of people chewing gum or getting it stuck on my shoe.

    Neither is enough to permit me to get my dander up and start banning this and that. I could ask someone not to smoke upwind of me and that's just a question of common courtesy.

    That's all anyone could say about tobacco for a number of years. Doctors suspected health effects but it took time to properly substantiate those suspicions.

    Of course, the people making money from tobacco had a great interest in keeping the controversy alive. It's not good for business to admit that your product, when used as directed, will kill people. The only way a smoker won't die of smoking-related causes is if he dies of something else first.

    As someone who tobacco to begin with, now science is on my side. How far can I push with regards to tobacco? If we consider that a person has a right to do what they want to their own body, up to and including suicide, then who are we to argue as to how they do it?

    At the same time, we know that advertising works. Billions of dollars don't get spent on marketing if it doesn't influence decision-making in the human animal. So are these people really making a choice for themselves?

    I'm not a supporter of the way the temperance movement operated back in the day. I like having my wine and beer. Temperance crusaders can point to the dangers of alcohol consumption. I could argue that you can drink in moderation with no ill effects whereas there's no safe level of tobacco consumption but that could sound like rationalization.

    I think as far as my own opinion goes, the tobacco companies deliberately prevented their customers from making an informed choice. They did their best to cloud the discussion with bad science, bad data, and deliberate lies and bullshit. They prevented a rational discussion from ever occurring because it would be bad for business.

    Look at the current scientific "controversies" and you will see the same thing happening, parties interested in the status quo doing their best to create uncertainty where there is actually a great deal of scientific certainty.

  • by mdsolar (1045926) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:50AM (#39509641) Homepage Journal
    Scientists check and recheck and recheck their results. They are very conservative and guard against over interpreting their data. And then, the results get reviewed by other conservative scientists. The problem is not the scientists. The problem is the political conservatives not liking the results. It is a matter of wishful thinking on their part.
  • by Relayman (1068986) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:56AM (#39509723)
    I'm a liberal and I distrust science because it has become so political. Look at string theory, for example. If you are a scientist and don't believe that string theory is valid, you'll have a hard time getting a job, getting grants, getting anything. Science has always had a political flavor but it seems worse now than in the Middle Ages. Science has never been pure science and maybe will never be. But does it have to be so political?

    Of course, global warming is the poster child of political science. The science of global warming is so bad it shouldn't be called science. The people doing the "research" start with their conclusion and then do only the research that supports that conclusion. The glaciers are melting in Norway: Global warming caused by humans. But then they're revealing ancient farms which means it was a lot warmer there in the past when there were a lot fewer humans. Oh, let's just brush that away and ignore it. Global warming is caused by humans!
  • by uigrad_2000 (398500) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:59AM (#39509817) Homepage Journal

    Pollster: Do you believe that the government should fund a $500 million grant to a group study whether noise pollution from road work crews affects bird mating behaviors?
    Conservative: Um, I don't really think that's a pressing issue. And $500 million seems like an auful lot of money.
    Pollster: So, you're against the spending of that money that way?
    Conservatve: That's right.
    Pollster tallies one more conservative who doesn't believe in science

  • Re:Obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by realityimpaired (1668397) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:00AM (#39509837)

    It's also the downfall of a 2-party system. In the rest of the world, with multi-party democracies, the fiscal conservative social liberals (like me) can join or found their own party and have a reasonable chance of getting in. (and in fact, have gotten in in several countries in Europe)

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:02AM (#39509889) Journal
    The biggest thing about that particular movement: They're willing to pay a premium for organic produce.
  • by sarysa (1089739) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:08AM (#39510001)
    Conservatives do have an anti-regulation stance (and my libertarian biases also lead that way) but if you ignore the idiot wing of the right, (believe me, there's one just as bad on the left) a lot of conservatives are concerned that the scientific method is properly being followed. The problems with mixing politics and science is that modern scientific studies have become so complicated that verification of them is like understanding half of what's being argued at the Supreme Court today. Most people can't do it.

    Recent stories of faked data [slashdot.org] in other fields don't help.
  • by ArcherB (796902) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:09AM (#39510013) Journal

    Perhaps you missed certain liberal ideas, like freedom of speech, voting for the common man and not just the wealthy, women's suffrage, women having the right to divorce, abolition of slavery, end of sodomy laws criminalizing homosexuality.

    And you seem to have missed certain conservative (libertarian) ideas like right to keep and bear arms, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection from illegal search and seizure, and the all important 10th Amendment which is supposed to guarantee the rights and freedoms of the individual states and people.

    It's funny when groups like the ACLU claim to stand for the Bill of Rights and then conveniently ignore then ones they don't like.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:10AM (#39510031)

    >>>scientific evidence is used more frequently in the work of government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency

    It's difficult to not become skeptical when the EPA's research claims MTBE "oxidizes" gasoline. That's a load of BS; that was just a way for oil corporationsto sell a deadly chemical (like they did with leaded gasoline). Or the FDA's claims that genetically-modified plants and hormone-injected cows are "safe". These government agencies are perverting science.

    .

  • by Jawnn (445279) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:13AM (#39510091)
    Lincoln, of course. So now that we've dispensed with the obvious, let's get down to the uncomfortable truth - in Lincoln's day Republicans did not consider "liberal" to be a dirty word. Now they do, and Lincoln turns in his grave.
  • Re:Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Empiric (675968) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:16AM (#39510119)
    To filter it a down a bit more, you have a lot of these "religious folks" who consider themselves followers of the actual religion. Once again... "self-identified".

    Though I'd disagree with him on a broad range of issues, Bill Maher is dead-on when making his criticisms of quasi-religious political movements that directly contradict the founder's directly-stated principles. How we get to the current "conservative" pro-rich, pro-war, anti-compassion stances from anything Jesus said, is beyond me.
  • by coinreturn (617535) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:17AM (#39510139)

    What was that Republican President's name again? Hmm...it's on the tip of my tongue.

    That's because it wasn't always the case that Liberal -> Democrat. Yes, Lincoln was a Republican. He was also liberal. Deal with it.

  • Re:Trust?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:18AM (#39510167) Homepage

    The point is, that we don't have to trust in science, if we make use of the technologies that have come out of that science.

    I mean, we can certainly test that if you throw a rock into the air, it comes back down.

    But any time you make use of a technology, you're testing the science behind the technology and demanding that it work well enough so the technology will function. If you boot a computer, order for the microchip to function it needs electricity to behave in a certain way around semiconductors, which means the quantum physics has to be reasonably close to accurate. Same story with taking medication - you're testing, by taking the medication, whether the science is good enough that the medication will do what scientists think it will do (and sometimes finding the scientists were wrong). And every time you start up your car you're testing that the chemistry that makes an internal combustion engine work does in fact work the way we think it is.

  • Re:Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:19AM (#39510183)

    If liberals continue to say "Reality (or truth) has a liberal bias," they are going to end up believing it and doing some really stupid things some day.

    You do know where it is coming from, right? Yes, it is important to remember that this was a dig at a Republican president who clearly substituted feelings for rational analysis. But at the same time, it brilliantly encapsulates how a lot of people feel any time a conservative talks politics or science (is there anything left? Maybe grocery lists): that they make up their own reality, and that they call anyone a dirty liberal if they dare to point out the complete lack of facts in their position.

    The quickest way to let that phrase die is by having conservatives stop embodying it.

  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:20AM (#39510213)
    He was a Republican in his time. The parties have warped so much in the intervening centuries that I truly believe Lincoln would be considered a fringe-Liberal today and unelectable (the dude was ugly).
  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:22AM (#39510249)
    There *is* trust in science, i.e. that the scientific method is valid. We say that if a experiment is repeatable enough times, that we have a valid test of truth. We assume that nature isn't completely capricious and random. i.e. If Zeus were throwing the lightning bolts around, he might avoid the buildings with lightnings rods just because he wants to, but still occasionally blast one or two just because he was feeling ornery.

    We have trust in Occam's razor. "other things being equal, a simpler explanation is better than a more complex one." Most of the time that works for us, but as H. L. Mencken is quoted: "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

    Recently there was a astrophysist that suggested that billions of years ago some scientific constants like the charge on the electron were subtlely different. If these constants drifted in a consistent fashion, we might be able to develop a theory that properly describes the universe. This is one explaination why there's no detected life far away, it just wasn't possible until now.

    If, on the other hand, right after the Big Bang, the various universal constants bounced around, then there's not much hope we could ever properly describe what happened or predict what will happen.

    For now, we trust the scientific method because it works better than praying to Zeus. If something comes along that works even better than science, we should switch to it. (But I'm sure some people will stick with science for awhile)
  • by Oligonicella (659917) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:22AM (#39510269)
    If you believe trust has anything to do with science, you are sadly ignorant. Science is *all about* not trusting someone's conclusions. Kind of the entire point of the AGW fiasco - they didn't have either data or algorithms or even the rationale behind their data choices presented so as to allow others to *duplicate* their work.

    Note that word - duplicate.

    And no, I don't "doesn't trust their contemporaries distilling the truth" - period. If I can't fact check your work, I have no reason to believe you.
  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:23AM (#39510279) Journal

    Explain then how the conservative rejection of evolution has anything to do with regulations. Or their rejection of sex education. See, it's not that conservatives are against regulations. They're against regulations that don't promote their fairy tales.

    It's the antiscience that comes first, otherwise they'd have to ask themselves whether there was a scientific basis to reject regulation. The idea that regulation in itself is bad is itself a fairy tale. The same people who argue for tough on crime legislation for individuals argue against any sort of restraint on the part of the most powerful, and therefore most dangerous institutions. These people have no grip on reality whatsoever.

  • Re:Obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:27AM (#39510339)

    Really? I'm pretty sure you don't understand what each of the words mean.

    1) Fiscally conservative: don't spend what you don't have. Spend money on things with an ROI. Do not spend money on shiny baubles.
    2) Socially liberal: don't judge people for how they like to live, as long as that life doesn't directly impact me. That means homosexuals can do whatever heterosexuals do, that what you do in the privacy of your own home is your own business, and that the only time the government gets involved in the personal life of people is when they start coercing others to do things they don't want to do.

    Notice how there is no overlap between 1 and 2.

    On the other hand, what is an oxymoron is being fiscally and socially conservative. Being socially conservative requires you to spend government money on enforcing your personal beliefs on others, regardless of whether there's an ROI on it or not.

    It is therefore not surprising that pretty much all social conservative ideas and politicians have directly lead to an unbalanced budget.

  • by forkfail (228161) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:28AM (#39510349)

    To put it more directly, conservatives see science as both theoretically and empirically telling them that unbridled capitalism, and all that it brings (the pollution, the stripping of resources and all the other impacts on both environment and climate) are not sustainable. That eventually, it has to end.

    This they cannot tolerate. And since they can't refute the data or the facts, they attack science as a whole and cast disparities on its practitioners and methods. They make huge shows of the few scientists who attempt to fake data and results, and the peer review system as a whole (all the while ignoring the fact that it is almost always that same peer review system that finds the bad eggs).

    Conservatives in power probably know full well that climate change is real and that we're running out of resources. But to keep their supporters fat and happy, they have to keep the flow of consumer junk and cheap energy flowing.

  • Re:Obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:29AM (#39510367) Journal
    And yet, it was reagans budget that got passed. IOW, yes, PART of reagain's congress was dem, but they gave him everything that he wanted.
    As to Clinton, he had dem congress for 2 years and dropped the deficit then as well.
    And W had the same neo-con controlled congress that Clinton had and it ran up monster deficits.

    IOW, it is normally irrelevant about what congress you have (I will say that this current CONgress defies what I just said; the current CONgress does not care about America or our issues. They are only concerned about gaining total control. again).
    It is about the president deciding how to handle thing.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:29AM (#39510379) Homepage

    He didn't "free the slaves". Southern Slave owners started acting like spoiled children and had a temper tantrum about not getting their way all the time. It was the south that pressed the issue and brought matters to a head.

    It's the idiot fire eaters that are ultimately responsible for the demise of slavery.

    It was something very much along the lines of "suicide by cop".

    The north would have settled for the old status quo if the situation had allowed for it.

  • by forkfail (228161) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:29AM (#39510385)

    The other side of that argument is that science is telling folks that no, you can't use more than we've got forever, and yes, what you do is impacting other people. And some folks want any excuse to say, "So what. I only live once, screw the next generation, I want it all. Now!"

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:31AM (#39510413)

    I always love hearing that scientists are somehow not trustworthy because they have agendas and are getting paid for their opinions. The alternatives are, as you said, politicians, think tanks and joe's on the street who are either only paid to say what someone else thinks, or who don't get paid for their opinion because they don't research their opinion.

    In other words, it's the chunk of coal calling a slightly used pot black.

  • Re:How convenient (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FunkSoulBrother (140893) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:31AM (#39510415)

    About that time (mid seventies) "science" or people purporting to be science started telling us that everything caused cancer. Then they said, "oops never mind". Then they said "wait...yes it does". Look at the saccharine scare, the whole thing about silicon breasts implants (where lawyers hijacked science), etc. etc. etc.

    I'm pretty sure you're getting "science" confused with "the media". Scientists were legitimately studying things like saccharine and breast implants, often coming up with inconclusive results and findings that are different levels of grey, and don't really fit on a pretty headline. Then the media would take some study that says "CANCER CANCER CANCER!".

    Or, in picture-form: http://xkcd.com/882/ [xkcd.com]

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:34AM (#39510465)

    OTOH, many conservatives and real republicans fully support science, logic, etc. and what can be learned from it. Sadly, they are now a minority of the republican party. Many of them are driven out with the neo-cons screaming that those ppl are RINOs and are actually liberals. Sad that America has sunk this low.

    This. Technically, I should vote republican every time. I believe in a balanced budget, frugal spending priorities, and a limited government. However, what I get from republican candidates is God, wars on xxx, politically motivated spending projects and the attitude that if you're not with us, you're a terrorist.

    No thanks.

  • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp@noSPAm.Gmail.com> on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:47AM (#39510673) Homepage Journal

    You (and the GP) missed the point by a mile. This isn't about funding, it's about accepting (and having trust in) the output of scientific research and the conlusions drawn up by them.

    More specifically, conservatives distrust scientists because of the technocrat angle. A lot of the attitude is rebellion against the idea of rule by the "cult of the expert". And while this rebellion has really gotten steam in the past few decades, it's been building longer than that. Everyone is aware of Eisenhower's famous warning against the military industrial complex, but people have forgotten that later, in the same speech, he also warned about about the dangers of technocratic rule by the scientific-technological elite [youtube.com]. And rule by the administrative state has indeed grown tremendously as Congress dumps their responsibilities onto an ever growing legion of alphabet agencies that rule our lives, agencies that we have no say over, with officers we don't elect. Conservatives think science is increasingly politicized because scientists have indeed become more politicized.

  • Re:Sneering = lose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:52AM (#39510753) Journal

    This is exactly the kind of idiocy I was talking about. Of the items listed, only 1 and 5 have any sort of factual content, and what factual content is there is entirely irrelevant to the point. Let's look at the quality of thought that goes into these typical conservative positions.

    1) This is the same as saying "Lightning can cause fires naturally, so I can never be convinced of arson"

    2) "A biphasic curve exists, therefore we are always on the right hand side of the curve"

    3) Somehow single payer health care wouldn't reduce tort costs and eliminate money wasted on insurance company profits?

    4) "LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" [slashdot.org]

    5) If you're not properly educated about it, it's not really a choice. If you want to reduce abortions, you have to provide and encourage, cheap (preferably free), stigma free contraceptives to everyone. Being both anti-abortion and anti-sex ed is exactly the kind of stupidity that characterizes the conservative.

  • Re:Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:58AM (#39510875) Homepage Journal

    That's just factually incorrect. No liberal I have ever met wants that. We want the smallest effective government possible.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:59AM (#39510901) Journal

    What does your story have to do with anything? Really, that seems like a complete non sequitur.

    Are you trying to equate the pervy behavior of one teacher 20 years ago with the central tenet of the conservative movement (unquestioned deregulation). And then you're wondering why I call conservatives stupid?

    I could concieve of making statements about conservatives without inherent slander, but then they would not honest statements.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:01PM (#39510955) Journal

    Science merely reports. Scientists can make suggestions. What do you want scientists to do, just say "Sludge kills people", but not offer any solutions like "Get rid of sludge."

    What strikes me about this is that commercial interests, who basically use Conservatives as their bitches, want to keep producing sludge and spend as few resources as possible mitigating sludge effects, so you get commercial-backed "think tanks" like the Heartland Institute, which talk a conservative talk, advocating for sludge, casting dispersions on any scientist who dares condemn sludge production or state that health problems arise from sludge.

    You don't want scientists, you want ideologues who will suppress or ignore any data that in any way impinges on your world view. No bad news for me, thank you very much, I want to do what I've always done and if you tell me the universe is going to stomp on me eventually, well fuck you, I'm an American, and in America the laws of physics mean only what we want them to mean.

  • by turbidostato (878842) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:14PM (#39511179)

    "If you believe trust has anything to do with science, you are sadly ignorant."

    Think about it twice.

    Are you an expert -and I mean a postdoc-level expert, about, well, everything?

    I know I'm not and I know that due to this I have to trust the scientific community to do their job.

    One thing is the scientific method which, yes, has nothing to do with trust, and a different thing is science which, really, is all about trust. It is me (and you) trusting that the scientific method is a valid process, both in theory and in practice because the way it works and its included checks and ballances, to gain knowledge about the physical world.

  • by gtbritishskull (1435843) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:28PM (#39511455)

    I cannot speak for other liberals, but I do not believe that there is finite wealth to be had. But, I do believe that wealth disparities decrease the amount of wealth that can be created. The way I see it, wealth is like growing food. You can get much better performance out of a small garden for a family (on a food produced per acre measure) than you can out of a large farm. But, it would take more man-hours per unit of produce. The difference is, though, that most people have enough extra free time at home so that the man-hours are essentially free (especially since gardening can be a stress-reducer and so actually be a value-add activity regardless of whether it produces vegetables). Or, at the very least a man-hour on a farm costs society more than a man-hour in a home garden. And, I feel that wealth is similar. Millionaires and Billionaires do produce more wealth with their wealth, but I believe that if that $250,000 in wealth each for 40 people will produce more wealth for society than $10,000,000 from one person. The reason is that those 40 people are more likely to use that wealth effectively by starting their own businesses, or investing in businesses in their community (both are investments in small businesses) while the one person with $10,000,000 will probably invest with a manager in the stock market. Now, don't get me wrong, that person will probably invest $250,000 of the $10,000,000 in local ventures as well (or maybe $500,000), but not as much will be invested personally as if 40 people did it.

    I am not an advocate of communism, either. I think that there needs to be a monetary incentive to work hard to get the maximum productivity out of society. And, I think that someone who earns their money is much more likely to use and invest it wisely. But, income disparity is getting worse. Our current society is redistributing wealth from the lower and middle classes to the upper class. I think that we need to adjust our economic and government systems to stop the redistribution of wealth to the wealthy, because that is decreasing our potential for creating wealth. The easiest solution I see is to raise taxes on the upper class while reducing taxes on the lower and middle classes, so that the people that benefit the most from our current system pay more towards maintaining that system. (but I only care about reducing the the rate at which income inequality is growing. As far as I care it can be income-neutral to the government, or even income-negative) But, if there is a better solution to my stated problem (that doesn't involve "redistributing wealth" as you would probably name my solution) then I am all ears.

  • by sycodon (149926) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:31PM (#39511493)

    "Science merely reports"

    That was long ago. Now, Science advocates. Science berates and impugns. Because "Science" is no longer Science, it is a tool of people looking to control others.

  • by thejaq (2495514) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:35PM (#39511567)

    believe me, there's one just as bad on the left

    False equivalency, there absolutely is no comparison. The evidence is in the direction of the county, which has been shifting right ever since LBJ. The idiot of the right wing is a plurality or maybe even a majority of the party. A group that routinely denies the scientific method in favor of super natural explanations and are extremely well represented in government. I'd like to see any evidence that the radical (science denying ) left has similar influence in their party or representation in government. I'd be looking for anti-wifi, anti-vaccine, or anti-GMO to dominate the debate (on the scale of AGW, evolution) and have 50-200 member congressional delegation of self-avowed socialists calling for an end to capitalism. Instead I see a few fringe moderate-socialists, a large majority of capitalist/fiscally conservative social liberals, and republican-democrats. Here's BHO, "the radical leftist:" http://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2012 [politicalcompass.org] . Of course, I'm open to evidence that political compass is communist propaganda and in fact there is true "leftist" representation in government and the dramatic 40 yr shift toward the right wing is a hallucination.

    a lot of conservatives are concerned that the scientific method is properly being followed.

    I doubt there are "a lot" (whatever that means) of any non-technical group that could even articulate acceptable scientific procedure. I am open to evidence supporting your claim before I write it off as a self-selection bias among a small, technically minded libertarian minority.

  • by sycodon (149926) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:36PM (#39511581)

    Hmm...I seem to remember it was the Democrats that filibustered the Civil Rights legislation. Republicans stepped up and provided the votes to pass it, even though they were in the minority.

    And the Democrat party of today seems to be at the forefront of restricting our liberties through over reaching federal legislation seeking to control everything from what we eat to where we live.

    Democrats of today are about control as a means to achieve what they believe to be a greater good.

  • by WhiplashII (542766) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:57PM (#39511877) Homepage Journal

    See, this is the basic problem with liberals. They do not understand the basic foundations of any other viewpoint. It has been demonstrated in many studies - conservatives can pass a "Turing test" and pretend to be a believable liberal; Liberals cannot pass the same test pretending to be conservatives. (In my opinion, because once you understand the conservative argument it is difficult not to agree with it.)

    In this case, you can have infinite wealth in a closed system similar to the details of Shannon limit. As SNR goes to infinity, bandwidth goes to infinity.

    * A lump of gold in the ground is useless, and has zero (or at least very little) wealth value.
    * A lump of golf in your hand is a little more useful, and has at least some wealth value
    * A gold locket has more wealth value
    * A gold based computer chip had much higher wealth value
    * A gold base nanotechnology transmorgifier will have even higher wealth value

    Wealth is not stuff. It is the intelligent arrangement and usage of stuff. Infinite wealth is possible from even tiny amounts of raw materials - it is just harder.

  • by dcbrianw (1154925) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:10PM (#39512061)
    As a conservative and a catholic who has spent 14 years working as a software engineer and has some limited public policy background, I think I have a perspective worth sharing on this topic.

    The headline doesn't surprise me at all, but I think some of the conclusions about why stem from speculation on stereotypes rather than a comprehensive understanding of conservatism. As a practicing catholic, I accept the teachings of the church in the Bible; however, I also accept the theory of evolution based on my studies of bioinformatics related subjects. My interpretation of the Bible does not stand in conflict. For instance, the Bible says God created Earth in seven days. Since so much of the Bible's teaching comes in the form of metaphors, I interpret seven days a metaphor for people of ancient times with no access to education so they could easily relate concepts they understood to the formation of a planet. Many of my fellow catholics and conservatives express their beliefs in similar fashion.

    In coming to where the distrust of science arises, I consider several data points. First, Left leaning thinkers dominate most of academia. Polls show this overwhelmingly, and I'm pretty sure most reading this don't disagree. Second, causes of environmental extremism frequently only present a partial view of science to justify an agenda. Consider the claims that man made CO2 emissions are causing the planet to warm. Much of the research upon which scientists have based these claims is not public. They have taken steps to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests, even to the extent that a frustrated whistleblower dumped a series of emails that blew up into the scandal now known as Climategate. For instance, proper simulation analysis undergoes a process called Independent Validation and Verification (IV&V). This involves third parties reproducing results against known outcomes, and anyone wishing to challenge the assertions may openly participate. However; this is not what's happened. Rather than openly engaging skeptics, even those with scientific backgrounds, the proponents tarnish, ridicule, and exclude such people from the process. Given the substantial financial gains some stand to make with the implementation of CO2 emissions policy, conservatives not welcoming such changes will naturally express a high degree of skepticism. Efforts such as capping CO2 emissions, elimination of DDT, etc. span back as early as the 1970s. Third, it's natural for conservatives to distrust anyone with the power of public policy making. There are exceptions, but not many.

    On the other side, I think some of my fellow conservatives sometimes fail to look at the whole picture of an issue. For instance, the US energy sector stands to gain a great deal of efficiency with the implementation of SmartGrid technology. However, it has an Orwellian aspect to it in that a central office can manipulate the amount of power applied at the point of consumption. Conservatives, myself included, don't want somebody in a central office controlling what happens within their homes, and this sentiment sometimes overshadows the other benefits of SmartGrid technology, such as synchrophasers. So rather than simply opposing the single invasive aspect of SmartMeters, they oppose the entirely of all SmartGrid technology.

    Lastly, I think that scientists naturally tend to drift towards Left leaning ideology because of their problem solver mentality. When an engineer builds something, a car or rocket or software application, he/she aims to develop it in such a manner that it functions in the most optimal way possible, time and money permitting of course. The building blocks are mechanical parts, 0's and 1's, or other types of inanimate objects. They don't have consciousness, feeling, dreams, desires, or rights. When science enters the realm of public policy, however, those building blocks are individual persons. I think it's too easy for scientific based public policy makers to forget that and consequently dehumanize the problems they are trying to solve. That's what I consider the essence of conservative based skepticism of science in today's world.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:20PM (#39512225) Journal

    I don't think anyone argues that IQ differentials exist between different races. The point in question is to what extent does IQ measure anything resembling generalized intelligence. The science that exists suggests that intelligence is not a scalar quantity at all. So claiming that a value like IQ is directly related to generalized intelligence is not a scientific claim at all.

    Yet another example of how conservatives misunderstand science. Can anyone come up with a single typically conservative position that has a sound basis in science?

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:22PM (#39512285) Journal

    I don't even know what you mean by the "public face of science". Most scientists don't particularly have a public face. If you're talking about populizers and science journalists, by and large I have little time for them. But I don't think you're talking about them at all. I think you're just looking for some easily identifiable group that says things like "We're using too many fossil fuels and it's going to screw us over" and using them as a whipping boy for your frustration. You prefer science to be your ideological dog, or at least to stay in sufficiently rarified circles as to not intrude upon you too much. Sort of a Sunday morning newspaper version of science "Look at that dear, they've found a new kind of neutron star", but science has always been more than that, and in the past when it collided with comfort zones, well, you had events like the Scopes Monkey Trial.

  • by mdarksbane (587589) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:23PM (#39512299)

    Wish I had mod points.

    For all that there is a strong valuing of "skepticism" in much of liberal thought, there is an inherent lack of it when it comes to experts. Many believe that if we just hand over control of any given issue to the experts, being smart and knowledgeable people on that issue, they will make the closest we as society can possibly get to the "right" choices.

    Conservatives strongly object to this centralized control, on a gut level (don't tell me what to do), on a utilitarian level (no expert is smarter than the market, because no expert has that level of information), and on a level of basic distrust that the expert will actually have our best interests altruistically in mind.

  • by scamper_22 (1073470) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:26PM (#39512343)

    It is definitely a problem with mixing science and politics.

    No one is against science that tells you how to build an airplane so it stays in the air.

    The problem is then several fold.

    1. Flaky science is given the credibility of 'real science'. This is especially true in areas such as economics or the social sciences. This is especially true at the university level...

    2. A religion of science has developed. At the core of science is the scientific method. A very good process to get to the 'reality'. But science can never tell you what to do about anything. Nuclear science can be used to provide clean power or slaughter a million people.

    At the core of this problem is a problem with the scientific community. For example, science might tell you that too much C02 is resulting in global warming. But that is where it should stop. Science doesn't infer that you should therefore have a carbon tax or even even if you should do anything at all.

    The problem with scientism as a religion is mixing science and policy and assuming that disagreeing with policy means you're disagreeing with the science.

    This of course has led to a reaction on those who disagree with policies to then distance themselves from the scientific community.

    3. Similar to 2, but it is the use of science with implied goals. For example, a scientist might come to the conclusion that wearing bicycle helmets saves lives. That might be very good science. They then become an advocate for a policy of mandatory bicycle helmets. Disagreeing with them on that policy means you are against science or ignorant.

    But much like 2, this is not science. Science is goalless and valueless. What the scientific community generally refuses to acknowledge is that they have values and ideologies. They don't want to lower themselves to that level of discussion... but it is ignorance not to.

    In this simple case of the bicycle helmet. This scientist values the health of an individual over the freedom of the individual. You can disagree or agree with that all you want, but you must acknowledge your value judgment. That is all it is. It is no most based in science and no more valid than anyone else's belief.

    And most often, it is not as simple as that. When you really get down to values, they often conflict and feed on each other.

    Do you value more healthcare and paying more taxes and working harder to support it? Or would you rather have less healthcare and more leisure time? These are real ideological questions.

    The problem is that scientist in charge of healthcare only sees healthcare and thinks if you disagree with his policy you are disagreeing with science.

    Of course if we had a scientist in charge of leisure, he'd be pushing his field to have us work less.

    Should the scientist of leisure ever encounter the scientist in healthcare and the scientist in economics... they'd be disagreeing on ideological lines just like regular Joe Six Pack.

    It is unfortunate, but people who think science in government is empowering science are mistaken. It will corrupt science as politicians pick and choose their experts to write a report on what they want. Scientists will advocate policies in the name of science and those disagreeing with those policies will then be against those scientists.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:32PM (#39512409) Journal

    I will stop insulting conservatives when they stop making insulting arguments.

    You're right though, it is a sign of brainwashing. Conservatives are so brainwashed they can't tell how stupid their arguments actually are. The only hope I have is that if I repeat the truth often enough, it will sink in.

    I'm still waiting for someone in this thread, just one person, to make just one argument for a typically conservative position that is not pants on head retarded. Your move conservatives.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <{jmorris} {at} {beau.org}> on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:37PM (#39512465)

    Oh please. You do a disservice to your team with BS like that.

    Conservatives support genocide? Evidence please. Meanwhile the Progressive family tree has every one of the top ten mass murdering sons of a bitches of the 20th Century's blood on it's hands. Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, and so on. All various flavors of progressive, socialist, communist, fascist (read up on what fascism really is, it is not "people liberals don't like") and other crackpot trying to reimagine civilization around the same smelly core of bankrupt notions.

    Censorship? Really? Who calls for removing anyone who disagrees with the fashionable politically correct idea of the day from the public square? Ever been by Media Matters for America's website? Who calls for boycots on an almost daily basis purely because they don't like what somebody says?

    Book Burning? Evidence please! Meanwhile.... look at your progressive utopias of the 20th Century. Book banners all. They would burn the book and kill the owner.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:51PM (#39512723)

    There has been a proliferation of bad science, and with it a loss of faith. I feel conservatives have no problem with hard science like materials research, but there is a lot of "press release science" that amounts to a collection of statistics, some nonsense discussion that confuses correlation with causation, maybe a slick graph with projections on top, and most of that stuff is just crap. Social science and climate science (liberal favorites) are the biggest offenders.

  • Re:How convenient (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iceaxe (18903) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @04:10PM (#39514677) Journal

    For the most part, and ideally, scientists study things and publish their results without seeking to promote a predetermined position. There is reason to be concerned with maintaining or maybe re-establishing the independence of scientific research from outside forces that would use funding, political pressure, or rabble rousing to influence what sort of research projects actually happen.

    However, putting that aside, the vast majority of the "ideological bias" in science is, in my opinion, not found in the scientists, nor in their work, but is found in those who use the results as a place to look for "evidence" to support their "case", as would a lawyer assembling a legal case in an adversarial court proceeding. However, in most such legal proceedings, there are rules tthat at least attempt to establish some equitable balance in the presentation of the various positions, whereas in the "court of public opinion" the idea seems to be to cherry pick some sensational factoids, magnify them out of proportion and out of context, then shout down any opposing views so that you "win".

    The pursuit of truth has nothing whatsoever to do with that process. Instead, it is approached as a game, where winning is more important than being correct, or prudent, or useful. Alas, that human nature may yet prove us unsuited for survival.

    (I've tried very hard not to present one of the "two sides" as more guilty than the other, since I am of the opinion that there are far more than just two sides, and that almost all engage in the same stupidity.)

  • by HeckRuler (1369601) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @06:21PM (#39516331)

    since I do not see any other species that have evolved beyond simple genetic mutations

    Whales have hip bones because their ancestors used to walk on land.
    Horses and donkeys used to be the same species but are at the tail end of specification. (That's splitting into two different species)
    Panda's are developing a thumb so they can strip leaves off of bamboo.
    Snakes lost their limbs so they could fit through small spaces. Specifically, burrows of small tasty mammals.
    E-Coli has been allowed to naturally evolve in a lab so it can survive on citric acid.
    Dinosaurs developed wings and flight for extra mobility when everything went to shit. They turned into birds.

    Portions of these changes are due to mutations, but a lot of it is simply genetic recombination. Yay sex.
    But all of them are a sum of many such events building up into larger events.

    Also, dcbriansw, evolution is both a theory and a fact. [wikipedia.org] In an extremely similar way that gravity is both a theory and a fact.

    I, on the other other hand, gleefully claim that if you don't believe in evolution, in some form, then you're pretty damn stupid. Of course I also think willful ignorance is equivalent to stupidity.

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