Social Question

ro_in_motion's avatar

A recent report (among others) suggests there may be a reason why so many Conservatives are anti-science or science deniers. What would this mean if true?

Asked by ro_in_motion (2238 points ) April 16th, 2012

This is a very contentious issue that has been developing over the last few years. New research seems to suggest that the science deniers in the Republican party may not have the kind of brain that is amenable to scientific reasoning. IOW, this is a physiological phenomena and not just a case of, say, bad education. Just like the physiological implications of the ‘God gene’, do some people lack a ‘science gene’?

I am not supporting the argument. I am also not suggesting that more research shouldn’t be done. However, if true, the implications are huge and, frankly, scary. I am struggling hard to see a positive outcome of this research.

Assuming it’s true, how do you think we as a people should handle this? Should people without the ‘science gene’ (or whatever) be able to vote on science questions? Do we need to stop acting like every point of view is equally important? How would society adjust and adapt?

Again, I am not saying the results are conclusive. Rather, speculate on what would happen if they were.

Feel free to be as uncomfortable about this as I am! ;)

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

98 Answers

MollyMcGuire's avatar

“Do we need to stop acting like every point of view is equally important?” Sure, I mean the Nazis did that and Stalin did that. Have you ever heard of junk science? I think you are reading it.

tom_g's avatar

Just a few initial thoughts on your question…First, I don’t believe the research is claiming that Republicans are dumb (correct me if I’m wrong). I think what we’re seeing is just a few initial studies that are approaching the question of political ideology or tendencies in people from a neuroscience perspective. At this point, this is really “nothing to see here – move along” for most of us. We don’t need to draw any conclusions at all. So what if people who have a higher sense of fear tend to be conservative or Republicans. We have years of data collection before we can even say that we are developing an understanding of this stuff. Sit back and monitor or get involved as a scientist. There are no other courses of action here.

@ro_in_motion: “Should people without the ‘science gene’ (or whatever) be able to vote on science questions?”

What exactly are “science questions”?

@ro_in_motion: “Do we need to stop acting like every point of view is equally important?”

Yes. But this has nothing to do with this area of research, which is in its infancy. In my humble opinion (get your “oh, the irony” cards ready), we need to decouple our sense of fairness and equality from the domain of ideas. While fairness and equality are extremely welcome in politics and life, we shouldn’t feel that ideas themselves should be subject to these principles. We should be intolerant of bad ideas that are unsupported by evidence.

lillycoyote's avatar

Honestly, I just don’t know.

When I see things like this

Where a Replican lawmaker actually states that money is more important to men than it is to women and that women are to blame for systemic wage discrimination… I just don’t know whether they are just ignorant, stupid misogynists or whether their brains are simply incapable of the truth. Your guess is as good as mine.

I also don’t know why their heads don’t simply explode either. How can women focusing on their careers and their own desires, over childbearing, childrearing and homemaking be to blame for the breakdown of the American family while at the same time, simultaneously, women, focusing too much and prioritizing on childbearing, childrearing and homemaking over their careers be to blame for the wage discrimination they face?

Bill1939's avatar

Provide a link to this study and I will give serious consideration to your question. Till then, your question looks to me like someone whacking a wasp’s nest to see what will happen.

dabbler's avatar

Besides being flame-bait, albeit on a fun topic, your either/or dichotomy leaves out other possibilities that are far closer to the truth.
And it’s an insult to the real mentally disabled, dumb and incapable, who are not entirely responsible for their thinking.

Follow the money. The overwhelming source of global-warming-denier science-denier support comes from those who stand to benefit most from the status quo, Big Energy. The Koch brothers provide major funding for “research” that pretends to undermine real global-warming science. The “scientists” who lap up that research money are doing it clearly for the meal ticket.

Why anyone who sees this ‘science’ supports it stems mostly from wanting the conclusion to be true, no matter you get there. ‘There’s no reason to quit our planet-killing energy businesses, just give me the “science” to support that’. It’s just expedient, end-of-story.

Money is a very strong glue that keeps those heads from exploding with cognitive dissonance.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
ro_in_motion's avatar

@MollyMcGuire This is the heart of the matter. Do you want a science denier to control what science is taught in the school? As the part about Conservapedia shows, they even have trouble with Einstein. My feelings are that, no, the shouldn’t. The is no science to be found in creationism – and which creationism do you follow? I thought the back story to Pastafarianism was absolutely on target in pointing out this fallacy.

jerv's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I have put up with far worse here from various flavors of political and social Conservatives that I find your post disingenuous at best.

I am familiar with that study, though from more politically neutral sources, but in conjunction with things like the recent Tennessee law that practically endorses teaching of Creationism over Evolution in public schools (I see another Scopes Monkey Trial coming) and this, “The National Center for Science Education has said of the primary alternative to evolution — creationism — that “students who accept this material as scientifically valid are unlikely to succeed in science courses at the college level.” plus the strong link between Conservatives and religion… well, one does have to wonder.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@tom_g No, I am not suggesting the research says that at all – it’s the exact opposite as far as I can tell.

As to the dumb issue: I have always thought that O’Reilly, Limbaugh, Beck et al. knew the climate change was real as was evolution. It’s tempting for a lot of people to assume that anyone who buys into this point of veiw is, well, kinda dumb.

Of course, this is emergent and needs a lot of more work. It’s the implication, if true, that it will have on society.

However, we see a lot of this on a daily basis: Obama isn’t American; he’s a Muslim; Obamacare is bad; vaccines cause autism; creation myths are true; global warming isn’t happening. Frankly, this is enough to put me in a depressive state when I think about trying to reach this segment of the population. Fox News makes a fortune out of making these people even more fearful.

I know it’s a slippery slope but …

‘Science’ questions involve: Evolution is science. Vaccines don’t cause autism and not vaccinating your child puts the whole population at risk. Global warming is real and we
need to start acting accordingly. If needed, we could have a course that covers the width and depth of magical thinking as long as we point out the absolute lack of data to any of the claims.

‘Equal points of view’: I don’t want some hasbeen actress telling me that vaccines cause autism. I’ll go further: I want to hear only experts in their field telling me their opinions. I don’t watch Oprah to discover whether I need a new heart valve. I certainly won’t go to a faith healer to get a cure. I don’t want innocent children to die because their parents believe there’s ‘bad juju’ in getting a blood transfusion. It’s time to isolate and eliminate ‘magical thinking’ from public discourse.

I don’t think we disagree at all – and thank you for making those great points/questions.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@lillycoyote I couldn’t agree more. When the committee on female reproductive health was shown to be all male, I was flabbergasted (read: angry as hell). In states where they screw around with stuff that’s of no concern to them, I would insist on a similar law that makes masturbation a crime. Seriously. This attack on us has to be stopped.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@dabbler This is definitely not flame bait on my part. I can see why you might think so but I am very upset with this research and need to share my concerns. In particular your comment, ‘And it’s an insult to the real mentally disabled, dumb and incapable, who are not entirely responsible for their thinking.’ is really an issue here, should the research prove true.

Here’s why: If the people being studied prove to be incapable of siding with science which, let’s assume as the only testable set of explanations for reality, what is the difference with including them inside your quote? This is exactly what scares me. To the core.

I totally agree with your comments about ‘follow the money’. It worked in Watergate and certainly applies here. Along with Koch, let’s add Big tobacco, Big industry, and the rest. Add to the mix Rush, Glenn, Bill and Ruptert.

Americans allow their elected representatives to be bribed. It’s a disgrace.

tom_g's avatar

@ro_in_motion – Yep, we’re in agreement here. There is a problem.

But as @dabbler pointed out, “Money is a very strong glue that keeps those heads from exploding with cognitive dissonance”.

What I assume you are concerned about is that there are people who are not motivated my money but still hold unreasonable positions. There are people who aren’t making $500k/yr who vote Republican. I think it’s a reasonable area of study, so I look forward to finding out more about how the brain works. But keep in mind that there are other people who are interested in this topic. These are the people who market products, ideas, and candidates to us through television, radio and other mass media. So, when a “weakness” is found, it is often exploited (fear, for example) in a way to get reasonable people to support unreasonable things that go against their own interests and the interests of their neighbors.

My question about “science questions” has to do with scope. I can’t see what possible decision or vote facing an elected official or voting population that is not somehow related to science. If science is the best method we have of understanding reality, I have a difficult time imagining something that falls outside this scope.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I am not making blanket statements. If anything, I have gone out of my way to divorce myself from the headline. The headline was picked because it directly reflects the statements in the article. (Again, my bad for not providing the link in the first place.)

As I’ve said above, the implications of this study,if exhaustively proven true are, well, horrendous. This, combined with the neurophysiology of religion (more or less represented by the ‘God gene’ meme), puts the world in a very distressing state. In fact, the ‘God gene’ and the ‘Science ‘gene’’ might be related.

It’s a scary world if true.

sydsydrox's avatar

I think they are both. XD

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
ro_in_motion's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Apparently what I write and what you read are two different things. Go in peace. :)

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

No, I just know how to read, period. I also know how how to tell when questions are posed simply for the purpose of starting shit. I took the bait and gave you what you wanted. My bad. Enjoy yourself.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Some Republicans are dumb, surely. As are people of other political persuasions.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
Bill1939's avatar

After reading the article published in, I reviewed the table of contents and index provided by Amazon of the book “The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality” by Chris Mooney. Neither suggested a scientific study to support the author’s conjecture that conservatives “may not have the kind of brain that is amenable to scientific reasoning.” I therefore reject the usefulness of the question “Are Republicans dumb or are their brains incapable of the truth?”

thorninmud's avatar

@ro_in_motion I suspect that you didn’t consciously, at least intend for your question title to come off as it sounds, and that this is the cause of the anger here. Your wording suggests that you’re offering a choice between two alternatives: “Are Republicans A) dumb, or B) incapable of grasping the truth?” That would be a pretty inflammatory question.

Could it be that you are instead asking something more along the lines of “This study suggests that Republicans are cognitively incapable of grasping the truth. Is that so?” Still bound to raise some hackles, but at least it allows for a range of reasonable responses.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@thorninmud Thank you for the response. Had I known people would read the headline without reading the ‘deck’, I wouldn’t have posed the question in the way I did. What I was trying to do is to point out what the issue seems to be and just how much it distressed me. I tried several times in the deck to state the research is just now being done; there have been some confirming studies but it needs to be take a lot further before I would put credence into it. I said this a number of ways in the deck.

If anyone took the view that I was being anything other than provocative, I can only state again, that I did not mean to be.

I was hoping to see how other people reacted to the questions I posed in the deck. Most people did a good job. One person took it antagonistically despite my assurances that I wasn’t trying to be antagonistic.

The article in questions addresses the front half of the headline in the paragraph on page one that includes: ‘I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a fellow liberal say, “I can’t believe the Republicans are so stupid they can believe X!”’. I am willing to bet that we’ve all heard a liberal say something like that … and more than once.

The author goes on to point out, at length, that these people are not stupid or, at least, the leaders of Conservapedia among others.

Next, he lists areas where the Conservative belief represents magical thinking and is certifiably wrong. At one point he says, “At least since the time of Ronald Reagan, but arcing back further, the modern American conservative movement has taken control of the Republican Party and aligned it with a key set of interest groups who have had bones to pick with various aspects of scientific reality—most notably, corporate anti-regulatory interests and religious conservatives. ”

Here is where he addresses the other option in the headline: “AS I BEGAN TO INVESTIGATE THE UNDERLYING CAUSES for the conservative denial of reality that we see all around us, I found it impossible to ignore a mounting body of evidence—from political science, social psychology, evolutionary psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and genetics—that points to a key conclusion. Political conservatives seem to be very different from political liberals at the level of psychology and personality. And inevitably, this influences the way the two groups argue and process information.”

OK, the article does bring up two options and gives evidence against the further but for the latter.

Again, I can not apologise enough for not including the link in the deck.

When you look at, say, denying evolution, vaccines and relativity, there really are just two possibilities: These people are either too ignorant to know how science works or they are biologically ill-equipped to respond to scientific reason. If there are more reasobns, I’d love to see them. I want to learn.

I hope this clears up what my intentions were and how I read the article with supporting quotes. If this is a place for rational discourse (I am still new here and am still judging), then we can respond rationally and politely to each other to suss out what intentions were and what viewpoints are being used.

There really is a problem with people that don’t believe in evolution, global warming, relativity, or vaccines. If one eliminates ‘magical thinking’, you are left with one conclusion: they are wrong.

Yes, I used the last sentence to be honest. It might sound provocative to some, but, for the life of me, I can’t see the error in the statement.

Seriously: Enlighten me! :)

jerv's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Many of the people I know who used to self-identify as Republicans are now calling themselves Conservatives, Libertarians, or are otherwise seeking to distance themselves from what the party has become.

Back on topic, the study I saw was a bit different; the most conclusive thing it showed was that Republicans seem more fear-oriented, but further study is required before considering even that Truth.

Sunny2's avatar

What I have found, among the Republicans I know, is that they grab on to an idea, decide it’s true and won’t let go. They are decisive even if they are wrong (from my point of view.) Democrats seem much less likely to set a firm decision or, are open to look at an issue in a number of different ways. There could be a brain or personality factor that affects this. It would be interesting to find out. Perhaps it’s a difference in the ability to accept “unproven” evidence.
Economic theory, being just that, a theory, is accepted or not, depending on one’s willingness to take a leap of faith. That could be a difference in thought process, too.

wilma's avatar

@ro_in_motion I read your question as flame-bait.
That may not be the way that you intended it, and yes I did read the details. It still sounded like what @thorninmud suggested “that you’re offering a choice between two alternatives: “Are Republicans A) dumb, or B) incapable of grasping the truth?” That would be a pretty inflammatory question.”
For that reason I chose not to enter the discussion. It didn’t seem to matter what I might think. You seem to already have your mind made up that Republicans are either dumb or dumber.
Of couse some Republicans are not very smart, but that goes for every political party and every other large group.

wundayatta's avatar

Basically, what this article says is that we are in a kind of class war or vision war. Conservatives grab onto a point of view, and once they decide it is right, they defend it to the death, regardless of what the data say. It is true because it benefits them. It doesn’t matter what happens to anyone else. They will not change.

Liberals want to be nice and find room for everyone and let us all get along together, but that can’t happen because Republicans won’t let it happen. They will take and take and take as long as we’re willing to give.

This is a serious battle, and unfortunately, they have the guns because they believe in guns. We have the majority, but they will kill a lot of us before we can beat them down. They will kill us—blacks, women, immigrants, because they have made it legal to kill and get away with it, just like they killed Trayvon.

We can’t cede the scorched earth view to them any more. We can’t afford to be nice any more. It’s time for us to take the take no prisoners point of view. These people are attacking the very reality of our world. They are saying the relativity doesn’t exist. They are saying that God exists and God runs the world and we have to do what God says (based on their say so) or they can execute us.

They don’t say it like that, but that’s what they mean. They use lots of code. It is code that allows them to steal from us and keep all the wealth for themselves, while they blame us for doing what they are doing. Very very clever.

I have thought, for a while now, that the time for conversation is over. Conversation gets you nowhere with a conservative. They simply can not see data. They can only see what they want to see. They don’t have open minds. They are afraid to have open minds. They are afraid of change. They are afraid of reality. And their fears will kill us all if we don’t fight back.

Some of their apologists here (libertarians and whatnot) will probably say this is a kind of hysteria. If so, it is justified hysteria. It isn’t the libertarians who are being killed or thrown out of work.

Anyway, it is time to stop apologizing and to stop making nice. It is time to attack conservatives in all their wrongness. We have been doing that, but I think we need to redouble our efforts. We need to see the world clearly, as it is, not as ideology suggests we see it. Liberals can see the world clearly. We can not let conservatives make us see lies any more.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Yes, they are all dumb and have rocks for brains~

Really what answers do you expect to this question?

Rock2's avatar

I have been an engineer for the last 40 years. I am a conservative Republican. Trust me I understand science and political science.

You have a lot to learn.

GoldieAV16's avatar

Instead of being offended by the question, or the person posing it, we could talk about the recent studies that do seem to suggest fundamental differences in how liberals and conservatives process information.

There is another study that was performed to contrast how liberals and conservatives receive new information that refutes a previously held position. They used vaccinations/autism and nuclear energy as positions that liberals had strong views on, and global warming and birtherism for the conservative views. The study found that the liberals were far more willing to entertain new information, and demonstrated a shift in their positions, whereas the conservatives just dug in, rejecting new information. (If anyone is familiar with this study and has a link, I wouldn’t mind looking at it again, to be sure I’m representing it accurately.)

I can see where there would be advantages to both. There is a time and place where you have to dig in and commit – the frontline of a war might be one. Day trading and hedge fund managers might be another. CEO’s might find this ability to be a real attribute. Just decide and move on.

My hubby is a conservative, and there are some things that actually work better for us, because he’s far faster to just cut off the flow of information and make a decision, whereas I’m more likely to want to research ad nauseum and days turn into weeks on what should be a simple household project (bamboo floors, anyone?). He’s also far better at executing business strategies and decisions. He doesn’t care if a plan is flawed, at least something is getting done. I am the chief procrastinator, and while I can execute the day to day minutiae with ease, the big projects, especially where risk is involved? Not so much.

I think that as long as we remain entrenched in this belief (cultivated by the media and promoted heavily in elections – and it’s always an election, now) that conservatives and liberals cannot work together, we seem to be reinforcing the notion that one side is “wrong” and “flawed.” Maybe we should start focusing on the attributes of how the other half thinks, and stop demonizing. If it works in a marriage, maybe it could work in Washington? Or am I just being a crazy liberal? ;-p

Moegitto's avatar

What did I walk into?

@ro_in_motion Next time when you post a question avoid using confrontational words. Your whole title is insulting to a whole group of people. I seriously clicked because I wanted to see how this would turn out, especially with the amount of Republicans on this site…

ro_in_motion's avatar

@Moegitto Frankly, I think I am done with Fluther at this point. But, thanks. :)

SpatzieLover's avatar

Instead of being offended by the question, or the person posing it, we could talk about the recent studies that do seem to suggest fundamental differences in how liberals and conservatives process information.

Of course we could @GoldieAV16. That’s an entirely different question. This is not that question.

thorninmud's avatar

There’s a guy at Yale, Dan Kahan, who has done lots of interesting research on what he calls “cultural cognition”, i.e. the influence of culture on how we process information. Among other things, he looked at how “hierarchical/individualist” (i.e. conservative) thinkers and “egalitarian/communitarian” (i.e. liberal) thinkers form different views of what the scientific consensus is on certain matters. Here’s an extract from his results:

”[There is] a strong correlation between individuals’ cultural values and their perceptions of scientific consensus on risks known to divide persons of opposing worldviews. Subjects holding hierarchical and individualistic outlooks, on the one hand, and ones holding egalitarian and communitarian outlooks, on the other, significantly disagreed about the state of expert opinion on climate change, nuclear waste disposal, and handgun regulation. It is possible, of course, that one or the other of these groups is better at discerning scientific consensus than the other. But because the impressions of both groups converged and diverged from positions endorsed in NAS “expert consensus” reports in a pattern reflective of their respective predispositions, it seems more likely that both hierarchical individualists and egalitarian communitarians are fitting their perceptions of scientific consensus to their values.

“When asked to evaluate whether an individual of elite academic credentials, including membership in the NAS, was a “knowledgeable and trustworthy expert,” subjects’ answers proved conditional on the fit between the position the putative expert was depicted as adopting (on climate change, on nuclear waste disposal, or on handgun regulation) and the position associated with the subjects’ cultural outlooks.”

In other words, people of either camp are likely to think that the scientific community aligns more with their viewpoint than is actually the case, and whom one accepts to consider as an expert in the first place is heavily influenced by prior viewpoint. He goes on to say that even when we think were setting aside our biases, we don’t.

(free download here)

missingbite's avatar

I find it great that the article is in Mother Jones, which is supposedly an independent news organization, but is named after Mary Harris Jones. Who is FAR from independent. LOL!!!

Rock2's avatar

No matter how much information you have concerning any issue in order to make a decision you have to make a leap of faith even in science. It is just that science based decisions have more hard evidence backing them up.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@Rock2 Help me out here as I don’t understand. When I through a rock up in the air, I know that it will move. There’s absolutely no leap of faith that I can see here. When I use Newton’s laws to determine the trajectory, I don’t see a leap of faith – especially, and I am not saying you say this, in comparison to an invisible deity who might turn it into, say, an elephant mid-trajectory.

Help me see how they are comparable?

jerv's avatar

@Rock2 I have to agree that repeatable experimentation trumps isolated anecdotes, and that history trumps rhetoric. In both of those, Republicans generally fall short, ignoring the evidence of their own eyes and of precedent in favor of scripture and dogma.

Ron_C's avatar

I read the report and basically it says that progressives use logic to make decisions and conservatives use feelings. I don’t think that a study was needed to see that. All you need to know is that conservatives hold up signs saying “Keep government out of my Medicare” and progressives have signs demanding more freedom and democracy.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think we should stop anyone from voting.

I also don’t buy conservatives can’t understand science. It’s more like a brainwashing, but brainwashing would be more of an extreme word than I want to use, it is the environment they are reared in, especially the very religious who grow up in homogenous religious communitites. The schtick right now of many Christian sects and what the Republican party plays into is an antiscience message. If this is what you hear all the time, and you rekate it to morality and God, the person kind of becomes conditioned. Yet, the same person will go to the doctor for medical help, which is based on science. They kind of compartmentalize which science is ok, and which isn’t. I think they define science differently than how liberals use the word, so studies and questionaires don’t necessarily ask the right questions.

I guess maybe less intelligent people have a harder time understanding science, because there is logic involved, but as a whole there is not much difference in IQ on average between the parties from what I understand and have experienced knowing conservatives and liberals.

I also wanted to comment on what someone said above about the all male committee deciding about birth control and women issues. As much as I would prefer there are women on the committee, it is beyond me that men would be clueless. We women take birth control so the guys can have sex too. Good God it is for both genders we take the pill. It was my first boyfriend who asked me to go on the pill. I just don’t get it, that men can be that dumb? How can that be?

ro_in_motion's avatar

@JLeslie As for misogynistic lawmakers, their wives can afford the pill and can find doctors that will do abortions – including late term – regardless of the laws.

As far as men being dicks (pun intended), I think they get that way in part from Abrahamic religions that treat women worse than livestock. If you look at many faiths, women are kept out of power because ‘God wanted it that way’. The bible specifically tells women to be subservient to their spouse, the lord of the house. In at least two faiths, women are allowed/encouraged/forced to wear head coverings (or more) so men won’t think sexy thoughts. Slut shaming.

We need to stop accepting this sort of misogynistic bullshit. I am amazed to the point of almost being speechless when I see ‘Aunt Tammies’ (just made that up ;) ) voting to enforce and increase their victimisation. The only reason why I can find is that they buy into ‘magical thinking’.

I really hope more politicians – regardless of sex – start adding amendments to these stupid, horrid, discriminatory bills that men who masturbate are killing life and should face prison time. Like that, all men would become feminists.

I love that most men I know are already.

JLeslie's avatar

@ro_in_motion The women who are just as ruled by religion in a fundamental way think the same way as those men. I think it has more to do with how these people think than gender. However, you do have a better shot with women, even if they are fundamental religious type people. From what you write it seems to have more to do with money, and those with money are not concerned with say having to ask your boss if he will approve birth control access, so they don’t give a damn about the law, because it does not apply to them.

Pandora's avatar

Wow are we going to wonder if there is a gene responsible for all the different ignorant things people think?
Who gets to decide what way of thinking is correct. Are there ignorant thinkers on both side? Yes. But lets be real. It isn’t that these guys are so religious that they don’t see or understand science. Its as my mom puts it. They will believe and fight against things they feel offer them no value.
In other words. They blow in any direction the wind is blowing. Now, there may be a gene for that. LOL Oh, yeah! Its called the survival gene.

jerv's avatar

@Pandora If you read closer, you will note that Conservatives are the ones that fight against the wind whenever it changes direction; it’s Liberals who go where the wind blows them.

And yes, genetics has some effect on how open-minded a person is, but so does upbringing, and I don’t feel like a “nature versus nurture“digression. Suffice it to say that certain mental traits influence ones political leanings.

Pandora's avatar

@jerv, Don’t fool yourself. They all do it. If you listen long enough to any polititian, you will see how easily they all bend over. Just toss some cash at their feet. Some are just better at disguising what they really think and holding their tongue until they have to choose sides. But most of them tow the party line. That is their bread and butter.

Rock2's avatar

I don’t agree with the premise that liberals are logical thinkers and conservatives are not. No study that says that can stand up to examination. You seem to be showing an intense desire to see the world that way. Why?

Ron_C's avatar

@Rock2 actually the study does say that people that trend conservative base their decisions on feelings, not logic or reason. People that tend towards progressive are swayed by reason and logic and will often vote against feelings if the arguments are strong enough.

It was a pretty long article but there were indications that the more ignorant (not stupid), the more conservative. Like my dad would say, “ignorance can be cured, stupid is permanent.

jerv's avatar

@Rock2 Proper logic generally involves observing facts before coming to a conclusion. Many Conservatives (and, to be fair, a few hardcore Liberals) start with the conclusion, then use their intelligence to find a way to creatively interpret the facts to support it. However, there are also more than a few that don’t even bother with facts at all, possibly even making some up. That last one does happen on both sides, but the majority of the cases (and practically all of the outrageously egregious ones) come from the Right.

That actually saddens me as I actually believe in the core principles that Conservatives used to stand for, but I have seen too much evidence supporting this report and too little (aside from angry protest) to refute it, so I am going with the conclusion that fits the evidence; that there is at least some truth to it.

What gets me is that they actually needed a study for this. Next thing you know, they will do a study to prove that the sky is dark at night.

Rock2's avatar

“ignorance can be cured, stupid is permanent.”

Listen to your father.

Here’s another:
Love those who seek the truth but beware of those who say they have found it.

jerv's avatar

@Rock2 I think you are confusing me with @Ron_C.

Rock2's avatar

Yes, you are right. Sorry.

GracieT's avatar

This is off topic, but @jerv, I used to think the same way as you about the stupidity of some studies. But then I was listening to a scientist interview, (on NPR!) that informed me that you often will hear about studies that are silly or obvious. BUT what we don’t always hear about is the reason WHY the study is done. Often the reason makes logical sense, and we who are hearing about just one part do not know the whole reason why. That has stuck with me, and caused me to find out more about why before I pass judgement.

jerv's avatar

@GracieT I am used to the need for documentable proof and the requirement for empirical evidence as opposed to anecdotal, but that doesn’t stop it from occasionally blowing my mind. Then again, it’s studies and proof that separate science from religion.

Rock2's avatar

I heard a wise man once say that wise people shouldn’t use the word proof.

GoldieAV16's avatar

@Rock2 Didn’t you just use it? (bada-bing!)

Rock2's avatar

I must really get under your skin. Why don’t you tell us again how you rationalize staying married to a conservative Republican.

GoldieAV16's avatar

Projection, much?

GoldieAV16's avatar

Also, not sure what a spouse’s politics have to do with this question, but I would never describe my husband as a “conservative Republican,” so you must have me confused with someone else. ::shrug::

Have a nice day.

Paradox25's avatar

Personally I think the ebook that you can download from this site (for free) explains this much better, and it goes much deeper than comprehension ability. There is one catch though, this is a mindset likely to be synonymous with authoritarians more so than ‘conservatives’. I say this because there are left wing authoritarians as well as right wing authoritarians.

RocketGuy's avatar

It occurs to me that this might be due to a difference in the need for certainty of answers.

Some people need guarantees: if you do X you are guaranteed to get into Heaven, if you do Y you are guaranteed to get 72 virgins…

No scientist in their right mind can guarantee 100% that something will happen or not happen if we do this or that.

I think liberals can roll with a preponderance of evidence. Conservatives need evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@RocketGuy I am not sure I agree with you when you say: “I think liberals can roll with a preponderance of evidence. Conservatives need evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.”

From a scientific standpoint, not only has global warming and evolution been proved ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’, it has been proved.

I will guarantee that if you throw a rock into the air that Newton’s Laws of Motions will suffice to tell me when and where the rock will hit the ground. If, however, you are Superman in a RocketGuy disguise, I will also use Einstein’s equations to refine that answer.

Your first observation is about religion. Religion exists without any science. Regardless of the heaven, there’s no proof that it exists. Since there’s no science involved, it doesn’t address the question. It’s an apple and oranges sort of thing.

Ron_C's avatar

@Rock2 I don’t mind being confused with @jerv , he’s pretty smart.

RocketGuy's avatar

No climatologist can guarantee that temperature of DC will be x degrees higher than normal if we continue burning gas but only y degrees if we save 20% gas. That’s what they need to hear.

That’s why they believe Newton’s laws of motion. It is quantitatively provable.

Rock2's avatar

It’s about time somebody with some sense answered here.

Rock2's avatar

By the way, I am a conservative and very logical.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@RocketGuy No, scientists won’t say that. However, they will (and do) say that global warming will happen and give you their best estimate of what happens for every degree the global temperature rises.

Their model is constantly updated as they learn more.They don’t provide DC temperature forecasts for 50 years from now for good reasons. Here’s one good enough to preclude going further into other reasons: they are looking at global warming.

Rock2's avatar

They are looking “for” global warming.

tom_g's avatar

@Rock2: “They are looking “for” global warming.”

Again, we’ve gone over how science works, and you have refused to do any work to understand the whole enterprise.

Do you have any idea what kind of incentive is there for climate scientists to find problems with the current data? Money, fame, rock-star status is available for anyone who can actually come up with something unique. Unfortunately, the data is just ending up confirming what we already know, further strengthening our current understanding.

In a previous thread, you hadn’t even bothered to investigate the concept of scientific consensus. You chose to laugh it off as silly, like book-learnin’ and logic. I beg you – rather than come in here throwing these nonsensical claims that scientists are “looking ‘for’ global warming” – just do some basic research about what science is and how it works.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@Rock2 I can’t say this enough: If someone disproves global warming, they will get the Nobel Prize. The reason why you don’t see that, despite the fortune that the Koch Brothers, among others, is that the basic science underlying global warming is solid.

It’s much like how tobacco tried for years to claim tobacco wasn’t a cause of cancer. They put several fortunes into trying to prove the contrary. They failed.

Rock2's avatar

You can’t prove a negative. In fact, it is wise to stay away from the word prove.

I’m curious. Are all the people who don’t believe in global warming stupid or evil or both?

GoldieAV16's avatar

That is a logical fallacy. In fact, “you can’t prove a negative,” is a negative, so if you could prove it true, it wouldn’t be true.

Ron_C's avatar

Look, the earth average temperature is getting warmer. The controversy in the cause. Most of science thinks that human activity contributes the the rise. They also acknowledge that the earth goes through warm and cold cycles. The problem is that the ultraconservative anti-science types say that human activity has nothing to do with the increase.

I say that the ultimate cause doesn’t matter and ask why we just don’t try to do the least possible harm. I am pretty sure that most people will acknowledge that untreated coal smoke causes great damage to the local air and landscape. Emissions from cars and truck harm people’s lungs and the residual chemicals form acid rain and a number of environmental contaminators. I am pretty sure that most people from both sides can agree on that.

I suggest that we stop the name calling and work with pro-business, religious, environmentalists, and our neighbors to clean up our own little corner of the world if, for no other reason, it will make where we live much more pleasant. It is also good for business, it is good stewardship for the religious, and may be fun for those of us who haven’t met all of our neighbors.

A clean environment is good business and good for our children and grandchildren regardless of what the sun or earth cycles dictate.

Rock2's avatar

What will you pay for a clean environment and how clean is clean?

Ron_C's avatar

@Rock2 with environmental problems you either pay now or pay later. I would rather pay now when it’s cheaper. We are paying $4.00 a gallon for gas and approaching the point where electric vehicles and natural gas generators are a practical alternative.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@Rock2 Check wikipedia – there is doubt about not being able to prove a negative. Beyond that, all a denier has to prove is that the data is either false or the conclusions are wrong. That’s how science works.

I totally agree with @Ron_C – even if the cause isn’t humans, we need to deal with the reality of it happening.

Ron_C's avatar

Thanks ro

jerv's avatar

@GoldieAV16 “That is a logical fallacy. In fact, “you can’t prove a negative,” is a negative, so if you could prove it true, it wouldn’t be true.”

Prove it!

Rock2's avatar

Remember, global warming is a “theory” based on observation. It can’t be proven (there goes that word again) because the future hasn’t happened yet.

The climate is not compled to follow it.

Corrolation is not causation.

Ron_C's avatar

@Rock2 wether you believe in global warning or not is irrelevant. The point is the environment is like medicine, do no harm. Do you think that it o.k. to burn coal unfilterd, dump industrial chemicals into your water supply? Even dog know not to shit where they eat. Nobody has the right to ruin the environment to make a profit while killing their neighbors. I remember what it was like BEFORE we developed environmental regulations and recycling and I don’t want to go back to it!

jerv's avatar

@Rock2 You are correct that correlation is not causation, but would you explain the surface temperature of Venus, another planet with a lot of the greenhouse gases.

Put another way, if 97 out of 100 people that throw themselves off a bridge die, would you cite those 3 cases to refute that jumping off of bridges causes death?

See, when you have a bunch of observations with nothing to counter them (at least nothing repeatable by qualified peers) then it is generally safe to assume a causal link.

Of course, there are no such thing as 100% irrefutable facts either, so your claim that it is perfectly acceptable to dump and burn and all like we did decades ago is also unprovable.

Rock2's avatar

@Ron_C @jerv
Are you really afraid that we are all going to die from global warming?

ro_in_motion's avatar

To the science deniers:

First, thank you for adding data proving the original question.

Secondly, can you please use science when trying to deny a scientific issue? If you are, I am totally missing it. At some point, it begins to look like trolling to me and I am sure you don’t wish to be accused of that.

Let me start you off with some links.
Link This last summer there were deaths from global warming. It is predicted to be devastating by 2020.

Link Again, already people are dying.

Link The climate will rise a catastrophic 6 degrees by 2099.

Link The warming is happening at a time the solar output is decreasing.

I will no longer try to explain to science deniers. This will form the basis of my response in all future discussions about science:

@Whoever In this thread, you come across as a science denier. That is irrational. It is also pathetic and disqualifies you from commenting meaningfully in a science debate.

bkcunningham's avatar

@ro_in_motion, you posted NASA in your links. I’m curious what you think about letter sent from 49 former NASA employees to Charlie Bolden asking the agency and Goddard Institute for Space Studies to stay out of the politicized and unsubstantiated field of human-caused global warming? Your thoughts?

ro_in_motion's avatar


1. “Unsubstantied”????
2. From a quick read of their titles: They are not climate scientists. Given the number of people that NASA employs, it doesn’t surprise me that climate deniers are on the staff. Sad, but not surprising.

tom_g's avatar

@ro_in_motion: “They are not climate scientists.”

bingo. I’m not aware of any biochemists who gather to sign letters that oppose science’s current understanding of astrophysics.

Rock2's avatar

Lets take your link that last summer there were deaths from global warming.

Prove to me that their deaths were due to global warming scientifically.

Haven’t people been dying due to excessive heat ever since records have been kept? How can you prove that a specific death was due to global warming?

ro_in_motion's avatar

As promised:

@Rock2 In this thread, you come across as a science denier. That is irrational. It is also pathetic and disqualifies you from commenting meaningfully in a science debate.

Ron_C's avatar

@Rock2 “Are you really afraid that we are all going to die from global warming?” Of course not and if that is what you understand from my statement you have misread.

I said that we should do no harm and look at environmental on a parochial basis. Clean up your own little corner of the world and do no harm.

Rock2's avatar

“In this thread, you come across as a science denier”
Isn’t that just name calling? How did you arrive at that scientifically?
Please explain.

“That is irrational.”
What is irrational?

“It is also pathetic…”

“and disqualifies you from commenting meaningfully in a science debate.”
How did you arrive at that conclusion?

jerv's avatar

@Rock2 It won’t happen in my lifetime, but I would like to think that future generations will still have a planet. To do otherwise indicates a lack of empathy usually associated with severe mental illness.

Rock2's avatar

Someday our sun will go giant red and vaporize every molecule on earth into it’s subatomic particles. Every living thing will be dead, both the stupid and the smart, environmentally conscious and not and no numbers of Volts or Priuses will stop that.

jerv's avatar

@Rock2 So you don’t care at all about the people who will live in the five billion years between your death and then, eh? I guess murder is also totally permissible in your mind since everybody dies some time, am I right?

Rock2's avatar

Oh it won’t be 5B years. Some other disaster will befall the human race long before that. If Obama gets reelected for instance.

jerv's avatar

@Rock2 I voted against Palin (and thus for Obama) simply so that the planet wasn’t a flanking wreck within my lifetime. Lesser of two evils and all that.

GracieT's avatar

@Rock2, by some other disaster I’m guessing you mean a “President McCain?” Listen, I’m not exactly thrilled with some of what has befallen our country in the last few years. BUT by electing him we would have had a bigger mess, and with all the stress of the presidency we would probably wind up with President Palin!

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther