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Most Scientists in This Country Are Democrats. That's a Problem.

Society & Culture  (tags: americans, climate change, culture, democrats, education, ethics, freedoms, interesting, media, politics, republicans, rights, science, society, technology )

- 3022 days ago -
It is no secret that the ranks of scientists and engineers in the United States include dismal numbers of Hispanics and African-Americans, but few have remarked about another significantly underrepresented group: Republicans.


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Kit B (276)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 9:37 am
It is no secret that the ranks of scientists and engineers in the United States include dismal numbers of Hispanics and African-Americans, but few have remarked about another significantly underrepresented group: Republicans.

No, this is not the punch line of a joke. A Pew Research Center Poll from July 2009 showed that only around 6 percent of U.S. scientists are Republicans; 55 percent are Democrats, 32 percent are independent, and the rest "don't know" their affiliation.

This immense imbalance has political consequences. When President Obama appears Wednesday on Discovery Channel's Mythbusters (9 p.m. ET), he will be there not just to encourage youngsters to do their science homework but also to reinforce the idea that Democrats are the party of science and rationality. And why not? Most scientists are already on his side. Imagine if George W. Bush had tried such a stunt—every major newspaper in the country would have run an op-ed piece by some Nobel Prize winner asking how the guy who prohibited stem-cell research and denied climate change could have the gall to appear on a program that extols the power of scientific thinking.

Yet, partisan politics aside, why should it matter that there are so few Republican scientists? After all, it's the scientific facts that matter, and facts aren't blue or red.

Well, that's not quite right. Consider the case of climate change, of which beliefs are astonishingly polarized according to party affiliation and ideology. A March 2010 Gallup poll showed that 66 percent of Democrats (and 74 percent of liberals) say the effects of global warming are already occurring, as opposed to 31 percent of Republicans. Does that mean that Democrats are more than twice as likely to accept and understand the scientific truth of the matter? And that Republicans are dominated by scientifically illiterate yahoos and corporate shills willing to sacrifice the planet for short-term economic and political gain?

Or could it be that disagreements over climate change are essentially political—and that science is just carried along for the ride? For 20 years, evidence about global warming has been directly and explicitly linked to a set of policy responses demanding international governance regimes, large-scale social engineering, and the redistribution of wealth. These are the sort of things that most Democrats welcome, and most Republicans hate. No wonder the Republicans are suspicious of the science.

Think about it: The results of climate science, delivered by scientists who are overwhelmingly Democratic, are used over a period of decades to advance a political agenda that happens to align precisely with the ideological preferences of Democrats. Coincidence—or causation? Now this would be a good case for Mythbusters.

During the Bush administration, Democrats discovered that they could score political points by accusing Bush of being anti-science. In the process, they seem to have convinced themselves that they are the keepers of the Enlightenment spirit, and that those who disagree with them on issues like climate change are fundamentally irrational. Meanwhile, many Republicans have come to believe that mainstream science is corrupted by ideology and amounts to no more than politics by another name. Attracted to fringe scientists like the small and vocal group of climate skeptics, Republicans appear to be alienated from a mainstream scientific community that by and large doesn't share their political beliefs. The climate debacle is only the most conspicuous example of these debilitating tendencies, which play out in issues as diverse as nuclear waste disposal, protection of endangered species, and regulation of pharmaceuticals.

How would a more politically diverse scientific community improve this situation? First, it could foster greater confidence among Republican politicians about the legitimacy of mainstream science. Second, it would cultivate more informed, creative, and challenging debates about the policy implications of scientific knowledge. This could help keep difficult problems like climate change from getting prematurely straitjacketed by ideology. A more politically diverse scientific community would, overall, support a healthier relationship between science and politics.

American society has long tended toward pragmatism, with a great deal of respect for the value and legitimacy not just of scientific facts, but of scientists themselves. For example, survey data show that the scientific community enjoys the trust of 90 percent of Americans—more than for any other institution, including the Supreme Court and the military. Yet this exceptional status could well be forfeit in the escalating fervor of national politics, given that most scientists are on one side of the partisan divide. If that public confidence is lost, it would be a huge and perhaps unrecoverable loss for a democratic society.

It doesn't seem plausible that the dearth of Republican scientists has the same causes as the under-representation of women or minorities in science. I doubt that teachers are telling young Republicans that math is too hard for them, as they sometimes do with girls; or that socioeconomic factors are making it difficult for Republican students to succeed in science, as is the case for some ethnic minority groups. The idea of mentorship programs for Republican science students, or scholarship programs to attract Republican students to scientific fields, seems laughable, if delightfully ironic.

Yet there is clearly something going on that is as yet barely acknowledged, let alone understood. As a first step, leaders of the scientific community should be willing to investigate and discuss the issue. They will, of course, be loath to do so because it threatens their most cherished myths of a pure science insulated from dirty partisanship. In lieu of any real effort to understand and grapple with the politics of science, we can expect calls for more "science literacy" as public confidence begins to wane. But the issue here is legitimacy, not literacy. A democratic society needs Republican scientists.

By Daniel Sarewitz for slate

Kit B (276)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 9:52 am
I suppose the point of the political must be made, and yet I cannot see any way in which a republican has been blocked from the study of science. Choices are made, this does not seem to be one for republicans.

Hans Mueller (591)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 9:59 am
Selbstverständlich sind Republikaner Wissenschaftler!

Past Member (0)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 10:16 am
Thanks for sharing.

Kit B (276)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 10:47 am
Not obvious to any one who bothered to read the article. Addressed to silly comment posted in German, which just said, German scientists are obvious. Not that the statement makes any more sense in either language.

Nancy M (147)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 11:02 am
Or maybe the republicans who have entered science have then chosen to no longer be republicans.

Kit B (276)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 11:18 am
Thanks Nancy and yes, it is true that a good education does create open minds.

Hans Mueller (591)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 11:34 am
Open mind .......... now that's funny !!

Nancy M (147)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 12:06 pm
What's so funny about that Hans?

Hans Mueller (591)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 3:23 pm
Well Nancy, I know some people that consider themselves well educated but most assuredly don't have open minds. This is a generality of course. Some people pride themselves on their superior education (therefore superior intelect) such that they refuse to accept anything contrary to their own thinking, You might have run across a few.. I don't know.

Nancy M (147)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 3:25 pm
This thread is about scientists so I don't see how that would apply. After all scientists look at data and make conclusions. The best have seen their favorite hypothesis disappear under piles of data to the contrary.

Hans Mueller (591)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 3:33 pm
"Thanks Nancy and yes, it is true that a good education does create open minds."

Not always.

Nancy M (147)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 4:01 pm
I see nothing wrong with that statement. A good education does open minds.

Kit B (276)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 5:35 pm
Yes, a good education does facilitate open thinking. It can not solve all of life's complexities, but it can make it a little easier when one doesn't feel they are constantly in the dark. I know few truly well educated, intelligent people that fit the above listed description. Though Nancy, you and I may have a far different idea of an open mind then others. Actually this article addresses the lack of a specific element of the political debate within the scientific community and not individual personalities.

pam w (139)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 6:19 pm
Could it possibly be that scientists don't generally make huge fortunes? And Republican parents might be steering their children toward BIG BUCKS?

Past Member (0)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 6:36 pm
Noted, thanks Kit. I think Hans' statement should be translated "Of course, Republicans are scientists!".

Kathy B (106)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 7:02 pm
Interesting article, I work at a University - they're pretty much known for being liberal, but I never really considered it a problem. In my ponderings I came to the same conclusion as Pam, scientists don't usually make the big bucks.

Yvonne White (229)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 7:12 pm
I think it's obvious that RepubliCONs hate Science so much that even the science of Math has been abused by Bu$h Leaguers! The Rece$$ion PROVES that Theory. So Everything is political - always was, always will be. Galileo found out how much Science buys in a Repressive religious state.. I suppose Nazi Germany was TOO Scientific? But should remind us what Might happen if Reich-wing RepubliCONs Suddenly GOT interested in Science! So I'm okay with RepubliCONs being anti-Science.

Hans Mueller (591)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 7:14 pm
Yes, most all Republican mothers encourage their sons to go into medicine or law. And, of course, they encourage their daughters to marry a doctor or lawyer. Recent CNN survey.

Past Member (0)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 7:34 pm
Herr Mueller! "Pie sind nicht quadratisch", sagt der T-Bager.

Linda G (187)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 9:42 pm
I don't know why there are not many Republican scientists unless is has something to do with being socially conservative and not prone to looking outside one's set beliefs.

And Hans, I'm assuming that your comment about Republican mothers is tongue in cheek? Because I'd think that mothers would want their daughters to be a doctor or lawyer rather than marry one.

Bonnie B (103)
Sunday December 12, 2010, 10:15 pm
Thanks for the article, Kit. I must admit the possibilities discussed in it had not really crossed my mind.

Ginger Strivelli (20)
Monday December 13, 2010, 5:07 am
that is because most GOPers are rabid fundi Christians and are against they preach the planet is only 5000 years old, and Noah had 2 of every animal on the planet on his ark...and all of us come from a gene pool of two people, and other impossible stories.
Anyone who is a scientist has to be more open minded to the facts and less prone to except crazy stories just because it's in some book.

Terry B (649)
Monday December 13, 2010, 5:19 am
No surprise here -- there is what the mathematicians call a positive correlation between intelligence and reason, and a negative correlation between intelligence and fanaticism.

patricia lasek (317)
Monday December 13, 2010, 5:20 am
"There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance."
Hippocrates (460 BC - 377 BC), Law

This is the reason most RepublicanTs do not become scientists. All they have are opinions. They have no facts to support those opinions.

Brittany D (28)
Monday December 13, 2010, 5:23 am
This is not surprising. Republicans usually are not opened minded enough to be scientists. And being educated does not always lead to an open mind, I know some people like that.

Bonny G (0)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:08 am
And just tell me what political debate has to do with science? Suggest you look up the definition of liberal, might surprise you! Sadly, political debate isn't, as such, but it has done a great dis-service to this country.

Eva Ries (237)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:19 am
Republikaner sind nur Wissenschaftler, wenn die Wissenschaft unterstützt ihre Ideologien. Andernfalls werden sie einfach Politiker. Oh warte, dass die gleiche Sache, nicht wahr?

Note to non-German speakers: If you don't understand the language, don't pretend that you do and compound your confusion by making assumptions about Hans' statement and accusing him of things he didn't say. Here's what he DID say:

"Of course, Republicans are scientists!"

Happy now?

Bleddy hell!

Kit B (276)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:23 am
From only a personal view point, I would say that the article misses on one point. I have been aware of the growing destructive influence of man-made green house gases for about 40 years. The article speaks to the 20 years that it has been a political debate. That point is true enough it took that long to bring this into the public debate, and why the republicans have been and are so fearful of fact based and yes, scientific information. In that time period however, the republican party has moved away from being the party of business and to being the party of the christian alliance. That is most probably the crux of the problem. Democrats don't really care what religion or non-religion one is affiliated with, they care about the workers, the disenfranchised, those without civil rights. Democrats believe and not with out substantial cause, that lack of regulation on business leads to catastrophe, republicans choose to believe unregulated business will take care of itself. Even in the face of today's economic crisis, they choose to cling to this outdated but tightly held set of beliefs, so the idea of climate change and it's meaning for a control on business is objectionable, not necessarily rational.

James F (5)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:32 am
That scientists are mostly Democrats is not a problem.
The problem is there are too many people who are so venal, or in thrall to religious dogma, or plain stupid that they end up voting Republican.

Kit B (276)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:36 am
Bonny G and Rooibos Bird:

First since Hans/paul/sfpaul/ decided to play games with his post and use German I used the online translator. Should that disturb you take those complaints to the translation web-site.

Next, I have no problems with the strict dictionary definition of a liberal and will be only to happy to post it here.

Political discourse is not destructive it can be enriching, that is when it is actually discourse and both parties bring some thing of substance to the table.

1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.

2. ( often initial capital letter ) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.

3. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.

4. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.

5. favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers

6. of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.

7. free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners.

8. open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.

9. characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor.

10. given freely or abundantly; generous: a liberal donation.

11. not strict or rigorous; free; not literal: a liberal interpretation of a rule.

12. of, pertaining to, or based on the liberal arts.

13. of, pertaining to, or befitting a freeman.

14. a person of liberal principles or views, esp. in politics or religion.

15. ( often initial capital letter ) a member of a liberal party in politics, esp. of the Liberal party.

James F (5)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:37 am
@Rooibos Bird
Perhaps if Hans had had the manners to make his initial comment in the same language the article was written in the confusion wouldn't arise.

Eva Ries (237)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:47 am

To those complaining about a comment in another language:

1) This is an *international* site.

2) Hans isn't the first/only person to comment in a language other than English all over the site.

3) Please note that Hans' FIRST language is German, not English. Again, Non-English speakers or those who use English as a second or even third language post in their native languages frequently on locations all over the site.

Are you suggesting they and "their languages" and comments aren't welcome because they cannot always participate in English or that the thrust of their comment is actually stronger in their own language (there are no precise or exact translations from language to language, by the way).

Kit, I'm not sure which software application you used to translate the sentence in question. Whatever it is, the translation wasn't even close, unfortunately.

Lastly, I highly recommend that folks take a look at people's profile reveals much about people...including the languages they speak, where they came from, and so on. Just as an aside, my own first language isn't English, either, and I frequently DO post in non-English posts. Just ask some of the other South Africans on this site!

Hans Mueller (591)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:47 am
This is an old story about some people introducing their brand of politics into any discussion, no matter what the subject. Oy vey (Oh my).


Nancy M (147)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:51 am
I see no politics introduced here despite what some might like to think.

pam w (139)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:54 am
Considering the title of the thread....of COURSE it's political! Sheesh.....

Considering that the entire piece IS in English, I appreciate English comments from people who actually speak the language. I understand that some foreign members MUST write in their own tongue, but it DOES seem a bit ARCH to respond in German.


Kit B (276)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:56 am
The point is, Rooibos Bird? Since most of his posts are in perfect English this was just an attention device. And his identity is contrived. I used:
and this

For those who actually have a problem with English those sites have often been recommended by others.

Do not put words or meaning into my comments, Rooibos Bird, they are not open to interpretation they are specific on their own merit. I did not complain about another language nor at any point do I now and have not made such bigoted statements about any one's back ground.

Try to stay with the topic at hand.

Eva Ries (237)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:58 am

Oh, perhaps the "sidebar" discussion about "English-only" is an example of the intolerance and one-sidedness as described in the article? Hmm!

pam w (139)
Monday December 13, 2010, 7:01 am
Rooibos.....I know you to be intelligent, insightful and I've enjoyed your comments whenever I've seen them. If I'm at a party and someone I know to be an English speaker comments aside in another language, I usually assume they're being rude. You probably would, too. Our mothers taught us better.

Hans Mueller (591)
Monday December 13, 2010, 7:16 am
" And his identity is contrived" Why do you continually accuse use me of not being who I am? Are you trying to make some kind of point? Yes, do "try to stay on the topic at hand" versus these subtrofuges. Thank you for your comment about my English. I do use the dictionary quite often.

Nancy M (147)
Monday December 13, 2010, 7:36 am
Rooibos Bird, I do know that there are many here who fudge the details in order to protec there identity so I don't believe everything I see on someone's page.

In fact I have heard that some people use fake IDs to hide their identities. Some people have many accounts, I have seen people actually argue with themselves. It is rather amusing.

pam w (139)
Monday December 13, 2010, 8:03 am
(Not to hijack the thread...but, Nancy, I've seen that happen, too! People with multiple personalities come and go and support one another or argue with one another (more often the former than the latter) and attempt to fool people on message boards. You're absolutely right to be cynical....)

Nancy M (147)
Monday December 13, 2010, 8:16 am
So will the real Hans please stand up!

Eva Ries (237)
Monday December 13, 2010, 8:22 am

Nancy, if such is the case, I'm not aware of it.

All I was asking was for folks to realize that the topic if the article - intolerance and exclusion - was played out here on the thread, whether folks like to admit this or not. And, as a German speaker, I'm a bit put off with the veracity of the language against someone - anyone - making a comment in a language other then English.

I hope that makes sense and clarifies at least my position on this!


Hans Mueller (591)
Monday December 13, 2010, 8:29 am
Hello Nancy -

Now may I ask you for your credentials?

Kit B (276)
Monday December 13, 2010, 8:44 am
No, Rooibos that does not clear up your aggressive stance. I attempted to present a translation and my take on what had been said. I did nothing more before your attack. The topic of the article is not justification for your comments as one in no way relates to other on this thread. Had this been a person would has shown a true problem with English many here would have been only to glad to help. I find Care2 full of people who are ready and willing to help another member whether it is with a translation or finding friends, that is not the case here.

Eva Ries (237)
Monday December 13, 2010, 8:51 am

Whoa Kit....*my* aggressive stance?



You're so unwilling to understand that we collectively did here on this thread what was described in the article that you complain *I* am "aggressive" and "attacked" you?

You MISTRANSLATED what was said and THEN became angry over what you THOUGHT had been written in a language other than English - intolerance, anyone?!

That's it, that's all!

Hence, my comment from the beginning about a little bit of flexibility and tolerance but apparently that's too much to ask and anyone who does gets treated to rude, misdirected responses?

Is this for *real*???

I find Care2 full of nice folks as well, your attitude/comment notwithstanding. My initial post wasn't the issue at all, but it's very telling here who is and who is NOT "only glad to help."

Hans Mueller (591)
Monday December 13, 2010, 8:52 am
You are corrupting your own post with these sidetracks. Drop it for God's sake and get back to the subject.

Nancy M (147)
Monday December 13, 2010, 8:58 am
Hans, you can click on my link any time you want. The question is- is it real?

Kit B (276)
Monday December 13, 2010, 9:08 am
*Note to non-German speakers: If you don't understand the language, don't pretend that you do and compound your confusion by making assumptions about Hans' statement and accusing him of things he didn't say. Here's what he DID say:

*Oh, perhaps the "sidebar" discussion about "English-only" is an example of the intolerance and one-sidedness as described in the article? Hmm!

*You MISTRANSLATED what was said and THEN became angry over what you THOUGHT had been written in a language other than English - intolerance, anyone?!

*Are you suggesting they and "their languages" and comments aren't welcome because they cannot always participate in English or that the thrust of their comment is actually stronger in their own language (there are no precise or exact translations from language to language, by the way).

All of the above statements from you Rooibos and sorry I'm not angry but disappointed.

All this person needed do was explain that the translation was not correct, apologies would have been forth coming and many comments have been made since the first.

Again, as I said - I simply used an online translator. If it was incorrect or not the heart of what the person was saying the why did he not state that?

You took this too far and made something out of nothing.

Eva Ries (237)
Monday December 13, 2010, 9:19 am

Yes, they are my comments, Kit. I actually DID offer the correct translation, whereupon you dived right in with further anti-language comments with,

"First since Hans/paul/sfpaul/ decided to play games with his post and use German I used the online translator. Should that disturb you take those complaints to the translation web-site."

What does conspiracy theories about someone's Care2 profile have anything to do with this article, post or thread, anyway??? How is it even relevant? It's not.

You could have simply ignored the non-English post - did THAT occur to you?


But, you didn't, and then made subsequent statements based on a faulty translation.

What's unfortunate, really, is that you made more of this than necessary by doing the VERY thing discussed in the actual article.


Hans Mueller (591)
Monday December 13, 2010, 9:20 am
OK Kit B. you obviously got your feelings hurt. Now can we please get back to your post? It is an interesting conjecture. I seriously question the numbers. Not withstanding that, do some really think that Republicans don't become scientists because of the money? OK maybe they are all independents like my with an engineering background. I can assure you that in Germany all of the scientists aren't liberals.

Vikram Chhabra (394)
Monday December 13, 2010, 11:03 am
Definitely an interesting observation. It is fascinating to see the different personality types that make a society. It is also fascinating that society cannot function without either. We need the liberals and the conservatives to reach an acceptable concensus...:)

Michael M (60)
Monday December 13, 2010, 11:11 am
An interesting, well-researched book written a few years back, is titled: "The Republican War on Science."
The same author recently wrote "Unscientific America." Both accurate journalism, and good reads.
A "slate" article? what depth! what insight.

Terry B (649)
Monday December 13, 2010, 11:25 am
Well, actually anyone who uses an in-line translator ought to keep it to themselves.

There's a story about a German tourist in New York using Google to room service when his room was cold but trying to say, "Es gibt einen Zug im Zimmer. Bitte, schicken Sie mir noch eine Decke." (There's a draft in the room. Please send me another balnket.) Google came back with, "There is a train in the room. Please send me another ceiling."

Or working on a Brazilian bird book, on-line translation turned the "red-billed tropicbird" into the Portuguese equivalent of "red-invoiced hotbird" by taking the wrong definition of "billed" and generalizing "tropic".

It's always dangerous to comment on languages you don't know anything about.

Nanu, zurück zur Sache............

Terry B (649)
Monday December 13, 2010, 11:28 am
er, on-line.....

Kathlene Lentz (30)
Monday December 13, 2010, 12:37 pm
I am not getting the essence of your argument. Nor why you think that President Obama appearing on Mythbusters was a "stunt". It seems to me that you just wanted to rant against the President and Democrats and the lack of scientists of the Republican persuasion gave you an excuse.

Robert B (60)
Monday December 13, 2010, 12:45 pm
A good scientist has to be open minded in order to solve problems and expand knowledge. The problem with republicans is that many of them have minds set in stone. They believe everything they are taught by their parents. For a conservative the idea of a going out side the box is terrifying. I'm not saying that they can't solve problems, but they are bad at solving problems with creativity and an open mind. They do know damn well that there is global warming, they just don't want to do anything about it because they think is bad for business and we all know the corporate puppet masters must be appeased. By the way, conservatives love art, just not art that makes them think outside the box.

Mary M (29)
Monday December 13, 2010, 1:17 pm
Republicans tend not to be scientific because of their extreme religious beliefs. They can't get passed the facts that science has proved many points that were considered only as religious beliefs and certainly couldn't be wrong. Hey men wrote the words in the Bible. The Bible was written so long ago and only those scholars in the temple knew how to write. For many milenium, the stories were told by word of mouth. You know how stories told can and do get changed as it passes from one to another. Now the regular citizens of that time did not know how to read or write, therefore, in order to keep their group following their orders, they wrote more into the scriptures to keep them in line. Back to the present, if the Republicans believe every word of the Bible, then science has no place in their view. Science is practical, while Scriptures are wonderful stories filled with inaccuracies. Given the time when the Bible was written, people did have the mental facilities to move science forward. Bishops and Popes held great power within Europe in the middle ages. Even some kings had appointed themselves Pope in order to control the church with its following and its fortunes. Gallelio was condemned by the church for saying that the world was not flat. They excommunicated him from the church.

Jacob Davis (44)
Monday December 13, 2010, 1:24 pm
...well, d'uh... republicans are anti-science, anti-education, anti-wisdom, anti-reality, anti-truth, anti-spiritual, ...

Susan S (187)
Monday December 13, 2010, 1:30 pm
I noticed that a lot of scientists are 'independent' or 'don't know' about a political affiliation. I hope that this is not an indication that they have totally lost faith in politics altogether. Apathy and indifference can be detrimental as scientific minds have so much to contribute to issues, especiallly those dealing with the environment.

Hans Mueller (591)
Monday December 13, 2010, 3:06 pm
"Republicans tend not to be scientific because of their extreme religious beliefs"

"republicans are anti-science, anti-education, anti-wisdom, anti-reality, anti-truth, anti-spiritual"

Make up your minds. Which is it?

Does anyone ever check before acting like they know what they are talking about. In fact -

Percentage by Religion
Protestants 33 32
White Catholics 30 30
Jewish 17 10
No Religion 20 28


Helle H (21)
Monday December 13, 2010, 3:29 pm
Why would anyone mix science and politics, science should be based on facts and politics are based on what the politicians think.

Hans Mueller (591)
Monday December 13, 2010, 3:47 pm
Good question Helle. A few people are such political fanatics that they mix politics with just about anything that comes along. I raised this very question with someone a while back who responded that politics is a part of everything (paraphrasing). I'm still schratching my head on that response.

Harry Clayton (12)
Monday December 13, 2010, 4:11 pm
That 32% that are independents are mostly libertarians of one sort or another.

. (0)
Monday December 13, 2010, 4:11 pm
To begin with , who are these scientists? Do they work for drug companies, colleges, independent researchers?
If this political question was asked at NASA, I think you would get a different response. Also, if you asked the scientists employed at the Pentagon, you would also get a different response.
For Mary M: I don't think you can call the scientists working at Nasa extremely religious. In fact, by being a scientist, this negates religious beliefs. I question the whole article.

Hans Mueller (591)
Monday December 13, 2010, 4:18 pm
"That 32% that are independents are mostly libertarians of one sort or another"

And where did you come up with that?

Mike S (86)
Monday December 13, 2010, 4:35 pm
Thanks for the article

Harry Clayton (12)
Monday December 13, 2010, 4:48 pm
From working as an engineer in the US and discussing politics with colleagues. These polls typically do not offer anything other than R, D, or I since in many states those are the only options for voter registration. The conservative colleagues were almost always free-market libertarians registered as independents and only very seldom registered as Republicans. These observations are over 30 years and of course are not scientific since my sample size is small and mostly in New England and SF Bay area.

Terry B (649)
Monday December 13, 2010, 4:51 pm
For once I agree with the generally absurd and stupid postings of Allan Y. As a scientist (not working for the government or Big Pharma, or Big Oil), I have to admit that my scientific education has purged the recesses of my brain of any superstition (a.k.a., religion), whether that of gret doofus allah as presented by his genocideal polygamist pedophile of a spokesdope, mohammed, who wants to chop off our heads and limbs; or that creepy christian lord who tortured in the most unspeakable way a perfectly decent reform rabbi that he claimed was his son; or the unpronouncable jewish jhvh who flooded the whole world in a fit of rage, turned women into salt just for looking around, and played dirty tricks on old men.

I have been in Greece to Mt. Ida and Mt. Olympus. Zeus was never home.

Give me quantum mechanics any time.

Geynell Eskite (68)
Monday December 13, 2010, 5:11 pm
During this last election, how many clowns in the Republican Idiot Parade did we hear saying nonsensical or erroneous things about evolution, biology, or the origins of the Cosmos? In the Conservative lexicon, "intellectual" is an insult because it is synonymous with "Liberal". They not only embrace their stupidity, they celebrate it. Scientific fact is anathema to Conservatives because it pokes uncomfortable holes in their fundamentalist religious delusions. Science asks them to consider the environmental impact of their greed. Science requires critical thinking and investigation. Through a Scientific lens, Conservative ideals are exposed as unsupportable by reason or truth. Anyone who believes that cavemen rode around on dinosaurs, evolution is false because monkeys aren't turning into humans, all the evidence for Global Warming does not mean there is actually such a thing as Global warming because it snowed last winter, and giving money to billionaires will make it rain (trickle) pennies all over the rest of us, would not likely chose Science as a career.

Kit B (276)
Monday December 13, 2010, 5:13 pm
It seems a little silly to me to comment and not read the article and some have done that, their comments betray that. I fully realize that many democrats, progressives and liberals have a bias against republicans and for the most part it is well earned. I think that when talking about science we need to look beyond the normal prejudices and understand that even though the science has no religion or political tie, the results are interpreted by those who do, and that is the essence of the article, or what I took from the article. We need more republicans not because it will affect the out come of the science, rather that it does affect how the politicians interpret the science.

Blast Dorrough (43)
Monday December 13, 2010, 5:41 pm
Even if well-educated on science GOPers do not publicly embrace the study of science for political reasons. Corporatecrafters of a Machiavellian mentality have always played the religious card to maintain their voter base of Christian fanatics of Dark Age thought always ripe for political manipulation. This is clearly revealed all through American history in spite of the Religous Establishment Clause prohibiting proselytization from governmental and public forums to keep the peace among our multi-faith society. What other purpose does the hateful political propaganda serve other than to divide the "faithful", Christian fanatics, and the "infidels" , all free-thinkers from all walks of life on their quest for "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. This is all about the moneychangers of Corporatecdraft driven by greed and their lust for politicla power and has nothing to do with free exercise of religion. This is all about the illegal practice of Christiancraft from governmental and public forums in mockery of the Constitution to pander for votes. This is Nazism under the guise of "free exerise" of the Christian faith. Corporatecrafters of the GOP only give perceptions of being "born-again" Christians in order to build a voter base of blind supporters even from other faiths of Dark Age thought.

"For the frirst time since the Nixon era, Americans have reason to doubt the future of democracy. We live in a society where big government conspires with big business and big evangelism; where idologues and religious zealots diminish liberty and promote war; and the president's party encourages zenophobic nationalism based on irrational, exaggerated fears. The Bush-Cheney regime seems to seek a perpetual state of war to aggrandize its power, and they are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to achieve their ends. The question must be asked: Are we headed toward a constitutional crisis?" -- "It Can Happen Here", Joe Conason. From the leaflet with this subtitle: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrylng a cross."

Kit B (276)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:17 pm
"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross" ~ Sinclair Lewis

Not sure about Joe Conason but I'm sure he would or should have given credit where it is due.

Another favorite of mine,
"In a time of deception telling the truth is a revolutionary act." ~ George Orwell

Though I agree with many who feel that republican scientists are perhaps a contradiction in terms, possibly even to some an oxymoron. The fact is that we will not move forward to heed the warnings and projections in many areas of science with out more who are on the same page. I have read those who negate the science of both global climate change, the quick and obvious changes in our oceans and denial of evolution, however that does not mean that all will think this way. We need to be more supportive of those who may be our best ally in the long struggle. A war with religious fanatics can not be won by logic and reasoning.


Hans Mueller (591)
Monday December 13, 2010, 6:37 pm
It's an interesting study, but it's kind of useless without further questions concerning why there's such a difference.It could be many different things. Maybe Republicans are all dumb and can't be scientists. Maybe younger scientists start out evenly split, but become more liberal the longer they're in academia. Maybe conservative scientists are pushed out because of bias. Maybe the disparity is associated with religious beliefs, with more scientists identifying as atheist and atheists more likely to identify as liberal.I don't think you can say the study makes a definitive statement on the scientific ability of Republicans/conservatives in general...

Rebecca Y (26)
Monday December 13, 2010, 8:20 pm
There probably wouldn't be any science if Republicans were in the field...haven't they blocked everything else??/

Edward Craig (20)
Monday December 13, 2010, 10:36 pm
Republicans must deny science (else they get called RINOs). Apparently, Republican orthodoxy no longer allows evolution or climate warning. Nobody with a scientific bent is the least bit interested in denial. It is not reassuring that climate warming is not going to be obvious until it's too late to correct (if it isn't already).
Extinction is evolution in action. Neither you nor I can personally evolve.

Linda G (187)
Monday December 13, 2010, 10:36 pm
Kit hit the nail on the head in summing up that the problem is that there are not more Republican scientists just like the title says. We do need broader consensus if we are ever to work together to get things done and not pollute ourselves and all wildlife off the planet. We can be right or left, liberal, conservative or moderate, but we need to open our minds, let go of our egos and really, really try to find some common ground. Perhaps that is no longer possible, given the great divide in the political spectrum, but one can hope.

Edward M (8)
Tuesday December 14, 2010, 2:00 am
Why should this be a problem?
The only problem that I can see here is the interest in their political affilliations, but none, it would seem, in the quality of their work.

. (0)
Tuesday December 14, 2010, 5:22 am
Part of the problem may simply be that when a particular scientific discipline becomes heavily politicized then it also can become distinctly unfriendly for those who don't share that particular political view. Success in a chosen field often requires cooperation from, and a certain level of approval by, one's peers and superiors. And if someone feels their chance of success in a field will be hampered by their political affiliation (or anything else), then they're less likely to choose that field in the first place.

And that's true of so many things in life.

And when it comes to science, that's a real shame. Because science intrinsically is the field which most should have no political basis.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday December 14, 2010, 5:44 am
If by that you mean that no political bias should come through or even be accepted in the work of the scientific community, then I would agree. However, that is the problem when the political discussion in the country is very polarized. Most things are painted with political brush, whether that was the intention or not.

. (0)
Tuesday December 14, 2010, 5:52 am
I agree, Kit. So many people seem to want to marry a particular school of political thought to everything in life. When I think that each thing should stand or fall on its own merits.

Hans Mueller (591)
Tuesday December 14, 2010, 6:02 am
Send a Green Star to Linda G.
Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"
You cannot currently send a star to Linda because you have done so within the last week.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday December 14, 2010, 6:03 am
Of course I can't send you a star, but as usual you are insightful and brilliant. My thought is that if a scientific discovery, break through, innovation is not considered only on its merit then it serves no purpose. The climate debate is certainly strong evidence of that. How far from the intellectual construction it has become. Now to play the role of political football, while deniers create arguments and falsehoods, and defenders sound (or seem) like shadow boxers. Too bad this information could have been not only a basis for wise future planning, but a part of reconstructing our economic infrastructure.

Hans Mueller (591)
Tuesday December 14, 2010, 6:46 am
Thank you for the kind words Kit.

pam w (139)
Tuesday December 14, 2010, 7:12 am
Lindsey, I'm joining Kit in sending you a verbal always.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday December 14, 2010, 7:28 am
Stars to you as well,Pam. I've been reading some of your comments, not just here but on other sites. As always you speak directly to the issues.

Laura E (0)
Tuesday December 14, 2010, 10:00 am
The article assumes that people choose their political affiliations early and for good. It does not address the possiblity of changing your affiliation. Most artists and musicians are Democrats. Is this because only Democrats go into the arts or because of what is learned once entering that profession? In the arts, you learn quickly that what matters is a person's abilities and commitment. Skin color, religion or sexual orientation are completely beside the point. Also, Republicans are nortorius for dismissing the arts, cutting funding and promoting policies for the rich, while most artists are often scrambling for work. It would be very difficult for an artist to be a modern Republican as he or she would have to constantly disagree with them on social and economic issues. Likewise with science. Republicans are routinely dismissing evidence-based policies, and instead using myths, dogma and propoganda to promote their agenda. This goes against all that science stands for. How could a scientist remain a Republican when they are always ignoring the facts? For more scientists to be Republicans the party itself has to change.

Janis B (7)
Tuesday December 14, 2010, 10:07 am
Well of course the vast majority of scientists are democratic, this indicates intelligence not avarice.
When Republic ans wake up and smell the roses and recognise them as flowers, then you will see Republican scientists. You need an open mind to be one to do the research and prove theories. That is sadly missing in GOP

Hans Mueller (591)
Tuesday December 14, 2010, 11:03 am
Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand.


Blast Dorrough (43)
Tuesday December 14, 2010, 5:41 pm
Kit, you did good. Your article seems to have drawn many from Care2 with voice from the "moral felicity of the intelligent world." That places them in the ranks of Thomas Paine. Elihu Palmer's description of the "moral felicity" of Paine certainly applies to several making comments here. (See My Page at My Philosophy for the Palmer quote. By the way Kit, the quote from Sinclair Lewis was appropriately credited by Joe Conason. But I overlooked crediting S.L in the Conason quote, suggesting that J.C. was the culprit. I apologize for misleading you.)
"Yours is one of the few lives precious to mankind, & for the continuance of which every thinking man is solicitous. Bigots may be an exception. What an effort, my dear Sir, of bigotry in Politics & Religion have we gone through! [making reference to the kingly rule of the John Adams' presidency known as "The Reign of Terror" but limited to one term by the election of Jefferson in 1801] The barbarians reallly flattered hemselves they should be able to bring back the times of Vandalism, when ignorance put everything into the hands of power & [Christian] priestcraft. All advances in science were proscribed as innovations. They pretended [as they do to this very day] to praise and encourage education, but it was to be the education of our ancestors [of Dark Age Thought]. We were to look backwards, not forwards, for improvement; the President himself [Adams in pander of the Christian vote] declaring, in one of his answers to addresses, that we were never to expect to go beyond them [Christiancrafters of "charlatanerie] in real science. This was the real ground of all the attacks on you. Those who live by mystery & charlatanerie, fearing you would render them useless by simplifying the Christian philosophy, -- the most sublime & benevolent, but most perverted system that ever shone on man, -- endeavored to crush your well-earnt & well-deserved fame. But it was the Lilliputians upon Gulliver. Our countrymen have recovered from the alarm into which art & industry had thrown them; science & honesty are replaced on their high ground; and you, my dear Sir,as their great apostle, are on it's pinnacle. It is with hearfelt satisfaction that, in the first moments of my public action, I can hail you with welcome to our land, tender to you the homage of it's respect & esteem, cover you under the protection of those laws which were made for the wise and good like you, and disdain the legitimacy of that libel on legislation [the unconstitutional Alien and Sedition Act of which the ill-named Patriolt Act of today is a statutory clone as is the Arizona Immigration Act], which under the form of a law, was for some time placed among them.---Jefferson Letter of March 21, 1801 to Scientist Joseph Priestly who birthed the first Unitarian Church of the United States at Philadelphia.

Mac R (289)
Thursday December 16, 2010, 1:41 am
Well it just makes sense to me that scientists would overwhelmingly be liberal and progressive. They deal with the nuts and bolts of the physical world in order to understand it and to repair damage done or fix systems that are out of kilter. The simple fact is, if you are in to learning and exploring and trying to fix things then you're most likely a person who cares about the world around you and your fellow man, and if you do, it would be anathema to hold the right view of the world that denies man has caused a lot of problems, like climate change, the right view that each person is in it for themselves and to hell with everyone else, especially if they aren't just like me, and the right view that the earth is ours to rape and pillage as we see fit, given to us by God to destroy as fast as we can before the second coming--- the fundamentalists view, not the view of average Christians.

Curious, compassionate people simply cannot take that kind of worldview. I would have been shocked if they had found a significant percentage of right leaning scientists.

Kit B (276)
Thursday December 16, 2010, 3:41 am
Well said Mac, and Blast, Mike and Laura. It is an interesting article that invites thinking and questions by the reader. I doubt that there is a final conclusive answer to these questions. Rather we talking about individuals who will find their own personal niche in the politic milieu.

Thank you for your thoughts and ideas.

Blast Dorrough (43)
Thursday December 16, 2010, 1:16 pm
"The Demon-Haunted World" by Scientist Carl Sagan gets to the heart of the questions raised here. This great read should be required reading from the high school level of education. Kings of whatever imagined nobility have been "conservative" thinkers and allied with the Church. The imagined nobility were arbitrarily declared God's agents on earth to control the ignorant as serfs. They then protected their goon squad of priestcrafters from their abuses of their flocks. The mindless flock of the ignorant blindly fell in goose-step on all Crusades dreamed up by God's agents. All "liberial" thinking protesters were declared infidels and witches, tortured for months until burned at the stake. Are we there again under a more sophisticated version thereof? Heed the warning of Dr. Sagan:

"The witch mania is shameful. How could we do it? How could we be so ignorant about ourselves and our weaknesses? How could it have happened in the most 'advanced.' the most 'civilized' nations then on Earth? Why was it resolutely supported by conservatives, monarchists, and religious fundamentalists? Why opposed by liberals, Quakers and followers of the Enlightenment? If we're absolutely sure that our beliefs are right, and those of others wrong; that we are motivated by good, and others by evil; that the King of the Universe speaks to us, and not to adherents of very different faiths; that it is wicked to challenge conventional doctrines or to ask searching questions; that our main job is to believe and obey -- then the witch mania will recur in its infinite variations down to the time of the last man. Note Friedrich von Spee's very first point, and the implication that improved public understanding of superstition and skepticism might have helped to short-circuit the whole train of causality. If we fail to understand how it worked in the last round, we will not recognize it as it emerges in the next." -- P. 413.

Kit B (276)
Thursday December 16, 2010, 1:24 pm
Fantastic comment, Blast and a very good literary parallel. You're right all students should read the book.

Nancy M (147)
Thursday December 16, 2010, 1:50 pm
I'll have to check the book out. But think about too- scientists such as Galileo versus the Catholic Church, for example.

Kit B (276)
Thursday December 16, 2010, 2:02 pm
How many more conflicts with religion and science, or politics and science? I can think of some just going over it in my mind. Areas of study, removed from strict study of the bible, should be left free of religious interference or intimidation.

. (0)
Thursday December 16, 2010, 3:00 pm
It is an interesting book, Nancy.

James E (16)
Saturday December 18, 2010, 3:59 am
The study of science requires approaching what we know, what we believe, and the unknown with an open and inquiring mind. Consequently it comes as no surprise that Republicans are very rare in the field of science.
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