March 30, 2012

CONFIDENCE IN SCIENCE BY CONSERVATIVES HAS DECLINED SINCE 1974: “That represents a dramatic shift for conservatives, who in 1974 were more likely than liberals or moderates (all categories based on self-identification) to express confidence in science. While the confidence levels of other groups in science have been relatively stable, the conservative drop now means that group is the least likely to have confidence in science.”

The reason is the use of science as an argument-from-authority for bigger government. If scientists want more trust, perhaps they should try not to be tools.

UPDATE: Reader Mary Ritenour writes:

I tracked back to the original paper (http://www.asanet.org/images/journals/docs/pdf/asr/Apr12ASRFeature.pdf) to see what the exact survey question was.

“The GSS asked respondents the following question: “I am going to name some institutions in this country. As far as the people running these institutions are concerned, would you say you have a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, or hardly any confidence at all in them [the Scientific Community]?”(page 172)

The confidence in “people running these institutions” was being measured, not “Science” itself. Huge difference. HUGE!

Maybe we should be skeptical of science reporting, too.