Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:
Thanks to the President’s appearance on Mythbusters, Slate’s Daniel Sarewitz looked into a year and a half old survey from the Pew Research Center on the public’s perceptions of science and scientists and social perceptions of the science community.
The survey spends a few pages dissecting the general politics of scientists and finds (SHOCKING… wait for it) that a meager 6% of those surveyed identify as Republicans. The majority identify as Democrats (55%) and the rest independents (32%). For Sarewitz, this is a problem. I would also postulate that if this story gains more traction, some conservative commentators will have more fuel for conspiracy theories that science is biased against “main street America.”
Plenty of commenters and others have pointed out the obvious – it’s pretty difficult to reconcile conservative ideologies, which have been openly hostile to science for more than a decade – with science. For example:
- The right wing’s penchant for picking fights over whether or not evolution exists. According to the Pew survey, 97% of scientists believe humans evolved over time, whereas 39% of the public surveyed who identified as republicans believe life always existed in its present form.
- Republicans have spent years attempting to discredit global warming. 94% of scientists believe the Earth is warming and 70% believe that’s a serious problem.
- While some notable republicans have been in favor of stem cell research, 93% of scientists are in favor of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
- Finally, as Kevin Drum from Mother Jones points out – republicans generally gravitate towards the business world. It’s not often we see a room of scientists sucking down cocktails at an expensive lunch or regularly crashing in 5 star hotels to sleep off a hectic business dinner. In fact, just 4% of scientists in the survey said that a “financially rewarding career” was very important in their choice to pursue a scientific field.