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Trust in science at an all time low

  1. Mar 31, 2012 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 31, 2012 #2
    For conservatives only (not liberals, moderates, independents, etc.), your source mentions.
  4. Mar 31, 2012 #3
    This seems a little silly to me. Is it really science they are upset with? I would say no. I'm more inclined to believe that the politicization of science is what conservatives don't like (global warming and what not). My explanation would be that science is a bystander caught in the political cross-fire. When science is used to influence government policy and create new laws it may be seen as some group of individual deciding what is best for the whole. I'm repulsed by the idea of elitism just as I suspect many are, but it's nonsensical for me to say I dislike science because someone happened to inform their decisions with it.

    I am not convinced this really explains what happened because conservatives and liberals agree totally on the method of ruling. I look forward to reading others thoughts. This is all my opinion and I apologize for any incoherence.

  5. Mar 31, 2012 #4


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    I've always figured that it is the rise of religious ferver among conservatives, IMO.
  6. Mar 31, 2012 #5
    I think fox news and rush limbaugh have a lot to do with plus other right wing pundits that deny global warming. since we have a right wing media that's eager to publicize false accounts of fraudulent science to prove the bogus assertion that global warming is false that will decrease conservatives trust in science.

    Evo, to prove that it's a result of religious fervor you would at least have to prove that church attendance has been on the increase since 1974 and I don't think there is such a phenomenon.
  7. Apr 1, 2012 #6
    When science is misrepresented in the media, these types of effects are evident. Although I am nearly sure that religion may play a role in this, however its not the sole cause or instigator of this lack of trust within the sciences from the public.
  8. Apr 1, 2012 #7


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    Evo, you've got to stop doing your Agent Smith thing! It's out of control! You're going to crash the matrix! ;)
  9. Apr 1, 2012 #8


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    Just look how people treat statistics. :frown:
  10. Apr 1, 2012 #9


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  11. Apr 1, 2012 #10
    Science doesn't depend on the trust of people.
  12. Apr 1, 2012 #11

    jim hardy

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    For me it's Al Gore getting nobel prize.. He never passed a physics course in his life.
  13. Apr 1, 2012 #12


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    It doesn't have to mean more people attending church. It's the same people deciding that they should have more influence on laws and how the country is run based on their beliefs, IMO. If they believe science goes against their beliefs, then get their beliefs taught. IMO.
  14. Apr 1, 2012 #13


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    IMO, that article is more a reflection of the change of what constitutes a "conservative".

    My dad is an old-school conservative: son of a Republican state senator, red-neck raised, served in the military, traditional values (Mormon raised, in fact). He was blessed with a truly analytical mind, and became an engineer. Ah but he's an atheist...so by today's standard, he has no place in the Republican party.

    He isn't blind to this, and hasn't voted Republican since Bush I, btw.
  15. Apr 1, 2012 #14


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    I have an old (he's old, not our relationship) friend that is very conservative. I eventually found out he was a democrat, though I always assumed he was a republican. Apparently, he used to be GOP, but he feels the party has lost its identity (or at least the one he was familiar with) in the last couple decades.
  16. Apr 1, 2012 #15
    Well conservatism in America has been going through changes constantly through history. There has never really been any strict definition of a conservative. There are social conservaitves, fiscal conservatives, neoconservatives, etc...some of these groups will accuse the others of not being "true" conservatives as well.

    He hasn't voted Republican because they don't accept atheists? Also, if so, have atheists ever really been accepted by the GOP? IMO both parties have their strict partisan views that at the high levels one must toe in order to be elected. You could probably not say you are skeptical of global warming as a Democrat and expect to be elected/remain in office for example.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  17. Apr 2, 2012 #16
    Better be prepared for a lot worse.

    So what should be the relationship between science and politics? Obviously science should support decision making by reality analyses using the scientific method. And it's not that science should justify desired policy.

    Please have a look at this thread, which should clarify the following.

    There is only one scientific truth, which is not always in line with desired policy. If you happen to disagree with that, it's easy to do the right thing, attempting a Popperian falsification. However if you happen to support the desired (feel good?) policy, you're likely tempted defending the scientific basis for it, as described in that thread, trying to make it unfalsifiable (like this post) and thus remove it from the sciencific realm. It becomes dogma.

    No matter how desireable the policy, if the natural reality turns out to be different in the end, the defending science will hit the dirt, especially when the error is leading to economical impoverishment without any benefits. And of course the political side that just happened falsifing it (regardless of being good or bad), is the first to drop all confidence in that science.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  18. Apr 2, 2012 #17


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    True, but technology (which depends on science) depends for its acceptance on the trust of the people.

    You can make an argument that science without technology is an intellectual activity worth doing for its own sake, but unless it's applied to something it is no more than that.
  19. Apr 2, 2012 #18


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    Well, the validity of science may not rest on people's trust... But funding does.
  20. Apr 2, 2012 #19
    leading to scenarios of: how much funding do you need to prove this?
  21. Apr 2, 2012 #20
    Regardless of their political or religious beliefs, the general public views science through the filter of the sensationalist, largely ignorant media. Parallel universes, the God particle, the theory of everything, dark energy, dark matter, wormholes, artificial intelligence; these terms are tossed around like they were facts of life. None of them have been directly observed; some of them will NEVER be observed. The very names of some of them (God particle, Theory of Everything) are understandably inflammatory to a religious person. They translate to: "We know more than you do. In fact, we know everything!". That isn't science, that is arrogance. The true motive for these sexy names is to maintain interest and keep the funding going. Nothing wrong with that. There are two groups who have faith in things that they do not understand. Not all scientists are in the first group and not all the religious in the second, but to the extremists of both camps:

    When you believe in things that you don't understand
    Then you suffer
    Superstition ain't the way

    Stevie Wonder
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