Saturday, March 31, 2012

Conservatives Distrust Science Elites

A study that appeared recently in the American Sociological Review found that liberal and moderate attitudes toward science have not changed since national pollsters began posing the question in 1974. For years liberals, moderates and conservatives were not so far apart in their attitudes toward Science. But that has changed. Today conservatives are less likely to express trust in Science.

Gordon Gauchat (UNC Chapel Hill), who directed the study, reports that the change comes as conservatives have rebelled against the so-called "elite."

The peer-reviewed research paper explains: "These results are quite profound because they imply that conservative discontent with science was not attributable to the uneducated but to rising distrust among educated conservatives."

As a conservative, I can relate to this distrust.  As an anthropologist, I am well aware of how the "elites" in my field misrepresent data in order to gain grants and to hold on to academic positions. As an independent researcher, I am poor, but able to break new ground and live with my conscience.

Related reading:  Between Biblical Literalism and Biblical Illiteracy; Getting the Facts on Human Origins; Q and A on Creation and Evolution

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