Research: The GOP's Anti-Science Bias is Driven by Religious Conservatives in the Party



There is quite a bit of research demonstrating an anti-science bias within the Republican Party and we have reported on it in the past.

Illuminate: "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."

However, new research conducted by Austin C Kozlowski of the University of Chicago, reported in the Journal Social Forces last week, found that moral [religious] and economic conservatives within the GOP differ substantially on the role science should have in the nation. He also found that as conservative Christians gained greater influence in the GOP over the last 20 years, confidence in science waned throughout the Party.

How Conservatives Lost Confidence in Science: The Role of Ideological Alignment in Political Polarization: "Using data from the General Social Survey from 1984 to 2016, ... I find that moral conservatives exhibited low confidence in scientists before any substantial division existed between self-identified political conservatives and liberals on this issue. However, as moral conservatism increasingly consolidated under the label of political conservatism, a negative association between political conservatism and confidence in the scientific community emerged. Economic conservatives, by contrast, previously held disproportionately high confidence in scientists, but this positive relationship wanes in the beginning of the twenty-first century."

The result of this shift is apparent in other research as well. Religious conservatives [white evangelicals mostly] found a home in the Republican Party during the Reagan administration and have been rebranding the GOP as America's religious party with an anti-science bias to accommodate their strict biblical interpretations; out with Darwin and the Big Bang and in with "Intelligent Design," gay conversion therapy, and the "War on Christmas." This is fueling the political realignment in America with suburban college educated voters migrating to the Democratic Party and rural white evangelicals without a college education joining the GOP. Former President Donald Trump's extreme and sometimes bizarre views on science, especially regarding climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, exacerbated the effect.


#research #politics #religion

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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