New Research: Increasingly, the GOP is Becoming the "Anti-Science" Party
Conservatives have a long history of science-denial as historian Matthew Dallek recently explained in a piece for the Washington Post. It has its roots in the debate regarding the teaching of evolution in the early 20th century and intensified in the fight over environmental regulations after WWII.
Dallek, Post: "Hostility to science became a pillar of GOP administrations. As president, George H.W. Bush mocked Al Gore as “Ozone Man,” while his son, George W. Bush, acknowledged greenhouse gas emissions as a legitimate threat while downplaying the growing scientific evidence that fossil fuels were a cause of global warming. The blithe selling of gas-guzzling SUVs for more than three decades — culminating in Trump’s efforts to roll back fuel-economy standards and block states from imposing their own — reflects the elevation of individual rights to material consumption, heedless of any consequences, above any larger good such as saving the planet."
Religion has also played a substantial role in science denial.
New York Magazine: "The George W. Bush era was punctuated by clashes between scientists and social conservatives, who resisted approval of an HPV vaccine to protect against sexually transmitted diseases, any sex education other than abstinence counseling, and federally funded research on stem cells.
The Covid pandemic and the science underlying mask-wearing regulations and social distancing have exacerbated the trend. A new study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that fewer Republicans now view science as a positive influence on the nation.
Pew: "Positive views of the effects of science on society have edged lower since the pandemic, driven by declining views among Republicans."
In just the last year the share of Republicans and Republican leaning independents who say the effect of science on society has been positive is down 13% from 70% to 57%. Democrats overwhelmingly [78%] believe that science plays a positive role in America and that hasn't waned during the pandemic.
The trend is worrisome because once the Covid crisis eases the nation still has a myriad of environment threats to address such as climate change, environmental toxins, the biodiversity crisis, and plastic pollution. You can't have rational discussions about solving any of these problems without trust in science. And the problem is compounded by corporate, political, and faith leaders leaders that view science as a threat to their core interests.
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By: Don Lam & Curated Content