Blogging Against Theocracy….The RELIGIOUS War Against Science.

% Very confident in science by religious beliefs and political identification: GSS 2000-2010

There is an interesting article in the latest issue of American Sociological Review outlining how conservatism has increasingly militated against science in the United States in the last four decades. While the article is fairly on point, it lacks theoretical and historical acumen necessary for accurately specifying the models predicting American’s confidence in science. What is clear is that in the last few decades, conservatives in the United States have become less supportive of science, but what goes unexplained is why. Mostly this is a function of model misspecification. The only measure of religion the author examines is religious attendance (which does have a globally negative impact of attitudes towards science), however church attendance is only the tip of the religious iceberg. What is grating about the entire article is that is explicitly touts the “Mooney Thesis” coined by the Templetonian journalist who claims that the problem with science in the US is purely political, and not religious. Any social scientist who studies politics, religion, and science should know that the reason why Republicans are at war against science is to court the vote of fundamentalist Christian simpletons who are opposed to science and reason. Of course, some Republicans (ie Cheney, Romney, McCain, etc), are opposed to science because the conclusions of scientists may clash with their own economic interests. But, those are a small minority of Republicans, and other Republicans genuinely are religious rubes (ie. Santorum, Palin, Bachmann, Jindal….).

Above, is a graph presenting the proportion of Republicans and non-Republicans who have “a great deal of confidence in science” by religious beliefs from the General Social Surveys 2000-2010—the period where “conservatism” became more associated with lost confidence in science. As you can see, across all of the categories of religious beliefs, Republicans actually have slightly higher levels of confidence in science than do non-Republicans. Ancillary analyses show that Independents drive down confidence in non-Republicans, and Republicans and Democrats are indistinguishable. In contrast to the lack of political differences, religious factors produce whopping differences in confidence in science. Fundamentalists have low levels of confidence, while people with secular religious beliefs have high levels of confidence.  What drives Republican opposition to science is that more Republicans are fundamentalists who believe that the Bible is the literal word of god (36% versus 32%), and substantially fewer Republicans believe that the Bible is a book of fables (9% compared to 20%).

It is a Religious war on science which has spilled over into our political system. Their aim is to vet science according to their religion, and they plan to do so by eliminating all government funding for science. Their wet dream is to establish a private system for funding, where only science that supports their worldview will be conducted or taught.

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3 Responses to “Blogging Against Theocracy….The RELIGIOUS War Against Science.”

  1. DOMA can’t survive rationality « Family Inequality Says:

    […] only recourse is to tradition and emotion — religion, really — and courts have been having a hard time fitting that into the model of rights and laws that […]

  2. Fundamentally opposed to science? | Family Inequality Says:

    […] response, Darren Sherkat blogged that Gauchat underestimated the importance of religion in explaining conservatives’ […]

  3. Why Conservatives hate science now, and Liberals hated science in the 1980s | Iranianredneck's Weblog Says:

    […] of political and religious values and commitments on support for science, and my main point in my previous post was to emphasize that Republican political identification is not related to support…—largely because Republicans used to be the ones who loved “science” for giving us […]

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