How Conservatives Lost Faith in Science

New research shows that people who self-identify as conservative distrust science as an institution. Is it because our culture has changed or because their brains are wired that way?

What's the Latest Development?


A new analysis of polling data taken over 36 years reveals that Americans who self-identify as conservative distrust science more now than anytime since 1974. Sociologists explain the results by saying our political and scientific culture has changed dramatically in the last few decades. Conservatives, for whatever reason, have come to define themselves against the grain of 'intellectual elitism'. At the same time, our national scientific agenda has moved from beating the Soviets to the moon to concerns over global warming and evolution, implying business and education regulations at odds with conservative ideology. 

What's the Big Idea?

To what degree do we choose our political viewpoints and to what degree are they determined by our biology? The 2005 book "The Republican War on Science" claimed that conservatives demonstrate brain patterns linked with traits like 'fixity of belief' and 'a desire to have certainty'. The author was careful to point out, however, that traits given to us by nature are merely predispositions and that our surrounding environment determines the final expression of our genes. Because the conservative shift in opinion vis-a-vis science has occurred so rapidly, it suggests nurture is more to blame than nature. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
Sponsored
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists claim the Bible is written in code that predicts future events

The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.

Michael Drosnin
Surprising Science
  • Mathematicians claim to see a predictive pattern in the ancient Torah texts.
  • The code is revealed by a method found with special computer software.
  • Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
Keep reading Show less

Juice is terrible for children. Why do we keep giving it to them?

A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.

Pixabay user Stocksnap
popular

Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you. 

Keep reading Show less

Orangutans exhibit awareness of the past

Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club

(Eugene Sim/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
  • It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
  • This ability may come from a common ancestor
Keep reading Show less