Why Do Republicans Hate Science?

Conservatives display an open hostility to scientific evidence that is sometimes undeniable
President Donald Trump, accompanied by from left, Vice President Mike Pence, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, at EPA headquarters in Washington, prior to signing an Energy Independence Executive Order. — March 28, 2017 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

President Donald Trump, accompanied by from left, Vice President Mike Pence, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, at EPA headquarters in Washington, prior to signing an Energy Independence Executive Order. — March 28, 2017 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

For any parent, teacher or attendee that is involved in a ‘Science Fair,’ you immediately realize that this is not just an exercise as a lesson, but a complete commitment to understanding ‘scientific principles.’ It includes a complete process from start to finish: hypothesis, repeated controlled experimentation, and results (right or wrong). There aren’t any prejudices or influences involved, just pure science. This in itself, is the basis for progress and the reason that we have the discoveries that move humanity forward. That last statement is also the reason why Republicans hate science, as they cannot seem to grasp any ideologies that aren’t wrapped around their personal agendas.

Conservatives have a long and complex history of disliking science because scientific results may counter their own religious beliefs or sometimes science goes against their commitment to corporate and personal profits. If there is one topic that exemplifies these statements, it is ‘climate change,’ and Republicans are now finding themselves completely alone in the world as they desperately grasp onto the denial that it exists. An article in Rolling Stone stated it best, For the modern-day Republican Party, protecting fossil fuels wasn’t a pet issue; it was a religion. The Church of Carbon.

But this is just one topic among many in the scientific realm and conservatives seem to not only reject them, but go out of their way to spread misinformation so that their supporters bleat incorrect statements that are disguised as ‘data without a source.’ It is spread far and wide on their fellow conservative websites and social media and then they believe it as fact.

One of the key aspects of science that conservatives can’t seem to accept includes any information that may slight their personal religion. From the Theory of Evolution to the age of the Earth, they seem to have a misguided view based on unproven ‘mysteries’ while rejecting the data at hand for science. They look at science as a method to undermine their core beliefs and to them, it is a deliberate attempt to create a ‘Godless society.’

The Good Thing About Science Is: It’s True, Whether You Believe it Or Not

Republicans are almost the only ones left on the planet that refuse to not only accept climate change, but an array of other scientific discoveries. Their world is indeed crumbling as nation after nation joins together to attempt to reverse the damage that humans have done to our world and move forward with renewable/sustainable energy.

Another quote from the same Rolling Stone article sums it up as the Republicans gathered together:

“At this summer’s Republican National Convention, the party faithful approved their official platform for the next four years. It reads like a denier’s Christmas wish list, with nearly every point receiving the full-throated support of the party nominee, Donald Trump: Build the Keystone XL pipeline, cancel the Clean Power Plan, neuter the EPA and ban it from regulating carbon dioxide, outlaw a carbon tax, stop all fracking regulations. The broader the consensus outside Washington that climate change is real and man-made, the more elaborate Republicans get in refuting its existence. To hear Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tell it, climate change is a global conspiracy cooked up by liberals who want to institute “massive government control of the economy, the energy sector and every aspect of our lives.”

In a strange twist in their rhetoric, Republicans are trying to reverse the truth of their own desires to support the very fossil fuels and companies that they are embedded with, coordinating a version that dictates that anything outside of those pocket-lining areas are an attempt to control the economy. Of course, their base supporters, who watch Fox and read Breitbart, believe every bit of it, while ignoring the billions of dollars that are involved in the fossil fuel industry and their lobbyists that love the Republicans.

It appears that the Republican perception is a paranoid idea that science is some kind of ‘liberal conspiracy’ that threatens to destroy their rather bizarre set of standards. Instead of looking at science as a method to test and prove, they deny any results that they don’t like, as children putting their hands over their ears and yelling ‘la-la-la-la.’

But beyond just financial subjects, science delves into their religion. It rejects anything that cannot be proven and in religion, it is all mystery and stories, without solid data to back it up. This creates a dichotomy for conservatives, because their entire lives are based on their religious beliefs. It has been an historic problem for Republicans and they are in fear of becoming extinct.

Science Is Cool

Let’s face facts and tell it like it is: those that are involved in science as well as the liberals that support them, are cool. If you question that, ask yourself ‘when was the last time you saw a cool conservative?’ Exactly, they aren’t. Individuals like Bill Nye, the Science Guy and Neil deGrasse Tyson have become scientific celebrities that have enticed kids and adults into the realm of loving science. Of course, Carl Sagan should really be given credit for being the first to attract the attention on a social realm. His television show ‘Cosmos’ launched the interest of entire generations, and Nye and Tyson are carrying that legacy forward.

Each of these believers of science have not allowed any personal beliefs or agendas to color or taint the art of scientific study. They embrace the discoveries with open arms and eyes, adjusting when wrong, which in turn creates new platforms of research. This has been occurring throughout history and is the basis for many of the standards and progress that we share in today. The problem with conservatives is: they want to ‘cherry-pick’ what fits within their personal dogma and that benefits their financial approaches; rejecting all else.

Conservative values have long fought against much of the research that has been brought forward. From their refusal to accept the fact that ‘acid rain’ exists to the baseline battle against those involved in protecting the planet, there has always been a hard core attitude that in some way, science was trying to manipulate them, remove their religious doctrines and destroy the very financial income that they found so comfortable.

If you look back to the first Earth Day, you will hear the voices of those that supported unfettered polluting with the statement ‘nothing we do can hurt the earth.’ Of course, as people and ecosystems began dying, they stopped and became silent. This was not a support of the condition, just regrouping to see how they could fight it. The consistent dumping of toxins and waste, combined with accelerated fossil fuel use threatened the planet as well as people, and it didn’t seem to matter to the Republicans that it could harm their own children or grandchildren. Thus we find the center of their beliefs; which is just ‘uncool.’

Republicans attract donors that hide their funding via anti-science lobbyists through entities that are third-party such as Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund. These are called ‘Dark Money ATM’ and it’s used as a method to combat science. They fight so hard to ‘hide’ scientific results and, as any psychologist knows, it’s because they fear it.

Science Requires an Open Mind

But there is another aspect of science that is an element that Republicans reject and this involves the ability to have an open mind for research. One only needs to look back to the history of some of the fascist dictators such as Hitler and Mussolini to recognize that academia was not only held suspect but they were deliberately removed due to their ability to think beyond the doctrine restrictions. The only exception to this rule was in the guidelines that involved scientific development for war.

In an article by The Guardian, they made use of a poll that had interesting results:

“Conservative trust in science has steadily declined:

The YouGov poll also asked respondents “Generally speaking, how much trust do you have that what scientists say is accurate and reliable?”. There was little difference between various ethnicities, ages, geographical regions, or genders. However, Democrats were far more likely to trust scientists than Republicans, with Independents falling in the middle, but closer to Republicans. These results are consistent with a 2012 paper by Gordon Gauchat, which found: public trust in science has not declined since the 1970s except among conservatives and those who frequently attend church.”

Public trust in science broken down by ideology. Illustration: Gauchat (2012), American Sociological Review.

Public trust in science broken down by ideology. Illustration: Gauchat (2012), American Sociological Review.

It should be noted that there are also factions on the far liberal side that distrust science. The extreme Tea Party Left have adopted their own rather strange beliefs. However, in their case it is based on the ideology that the ‘scientific results’ have been skewed by corporations looking for profit and in turn disguising or eliminating the data that could cause harm to human beings and/or the planet.

Square or Flat Earth

As per a National Geographic article:

That the Earth is round has been known since antiquity — Columbus knew he wouldn’t sail off the edge of the world — but alternative geographies persisted even after circumnavigations had become common. This 1893 map by Orlando Ferguson, a South Dakota businessman, is a loopy variation on 19th-century flat-Earth beliefs. Flat-Earthers held that the planet was centered on the North Pole and bounded by a wall of ice, with the sun, moon, and planets a few hundred miles above the surface. Science often demands that we discount our direct sensory experiences — such as seeing the sun cross the sky as if circling the Earth — in favor of theories that challenge our beliefs about our place in the universe.”

In a time when we have images of our earth taken from space, the above idea is even laughable for children. But during its time, this belief system was a part of the mainstream and was validated with their religious doctrines. It is no different now, only the topics have been updated to reflect the visual proof. Republicans/conservatives will continue to fight against everything that encroaches on their agenda.

The World Is Moving Past Republican Dogma

As the heads of governments meet to decide the various methods to overturn climate change, we see the world agreeing on the conditions that are mutually beneficial. Scientific studies and results are analyzed and accepted and choices are being made to take actions. Republicans are one of the few groups that deny this topic and many areas of science and in taking this path, they are trying to create a backwards direction. They will continue to use every filter that they can, but in the end, they will simply fail. We cannot stop this engine of progress and knowledge, no matter how hard that they try.

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