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Letters

Conservatives losing faith in science?

April 02, 2012|By Sara Lessley
  • An iceberg is seen in Disko Bay, Greenland, above the Arctic Circle on Aug 19, 2005. A study in the American Sociological Review concludes that trust in science among conservatives and frequent churchgoers has declined precipitously since 1974.
An iceberg is seen in Disko Bay, Greenland, above the Arctic Circle on Aug… (John McConnico / Associated…)

“Conservatives lose faith in science,” trumpeted the headline on a story in last week’s Times.  

“A study … in the American Sociological Review concludes that trust in science among conservatives and frequent churchgoers has declined precipitously since 1974, when a national survey first asked people how much confidence they had in the scientific community. At that time, conservatives had the highest level of trust in scientists.”

Though the article ran inside the paper on a weekday, it certainly didn’t go unseen by Times letter writers.

Jana Shaker of Riverside observed:

“Your headline hits at the essence of the problem:  Science is a way of knowing, not believing.  You believe (i.e., have faith) -- or not -- in God, afterlife, miracles, angels, etc.  You know that your heart pumps blood and oxygen throughout your body.

Scientific knowledge is gained through investigation, reconfirmed or corrected through tests of repeatability. 

I know people who will accept the test results of an MRI scan and will have ‘faith’ in the science supporting the development of MRI scanners, because such technologies can save their lives.  Yet these same people do not believe the science behind evolution and global warming, though the science supporting MRIs is at least as sophisticated as that supporting evolution and global warming.  Talk about agendas.”

                          ***

Countered Connie Veldkamp of San Clemente:

“Your headline is slightly off. We conservatives have not lost faith in science, defined as ‘the systemized knowledge of nature and the physical world, derived from observation, study and experimentation.’

What we have lost faith in is the scientific community, which is exactly what the poll asked.  Some scientists who were found to have skewed their studies or even faked results in order to promulgate their agendas have not helped our skepticism. 

The EPA often develops regulations based on spurious theories and attempts to convince us that mankind is bent on destroying our planet.   Interesting -- you noted that it was the most educated conservatives who were the doubters.”

                      ***

Carlos Khantzis of Woodland Hills took up the challenge:

“If conservatives have chosen to take the road questioning the validity of the science supporting evolution and global warming -- which are the foundations of genetics, biochemistry, developmental biology, comparative anatomy, immunology, geology, paleontology, genetics, antibiotic resistance, human origins, or based on climatology, paleoclimatology, oceanography and meteorology --  then a reasonable person can only conclude that all scientific evidence is therefore questionable.

Permit me then to introduce the legal premise that one should not be able to pick and choose the science he believes in, and if science can be 100% wrong, then the use of scientific evidence of any kind should not be admissible in a court of law.”

                              ***

 Donald Foley of Hollywood expressed some puzzlement:

 “Your article on educated conservatives -- an oxymoron in my book -- losing faith in science was a real eye-opener.  These are the people who for the most part have no problem with virgin births, rising from the dead, walking on water -- but find global warming a liberal plot?

The fact that they mostly watch Fox News is no surprise either.”

                        ***

Keep reading, urged Sam Bouman in Upland:

“Conservatives believe global warming is exaggerated in the news. It is.

You can thank Al Gore and the political polarization of global warming causes and the alternative ‘green’ energy movement, which the left has pushed forth on everyone else completely.

The philosophy in practice has made Gore and the rest very rich and powerful and is deeply imbedded in government bureaucracies, with the main goal of killing oil, natural gas and coal, which in turn is debilitating to the economy.

 There may be proof the Earth is warming, which has occurred cyclically since before man possibly could have had an effect. Man-made global warming looks to be deeply fraudulent.”

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