Eyes Closed, Minds Shut Tight

According to a recent article in the American Sociological Review, rejection of science is on the rise:

Just over 34 percent of conservatives had confidence in science as an institution in 2010, representing a long-term decline from 48 percent in 1974, according to a paper being published today in American Sociological Review.

That represents a dramatic shift for conservatives, who in 1974 were more likely than liberals or moderates (all categories based on self-identification) to express confidence in science. While the confidence levels of other groups in science have been relatively stable, the conservative drop now means that group is the least likely to have confidence in science.

Disturbingly, the loss of confidence in science is primarily among educated conservatives.

At heart, the scientific enterprise is about observing carefully, creating theories, then checking the theories rigorously against the evidence. When a significant number of people lose faith in that process, we’re in trouble. When they form their own political faction, we’re really in trouble.