Literacy and Legitimacy

December 10, 2010 - 3:28 pm
Irradiated by LabRat
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Daniel Sarewitz over at Slate has identified a problem, and the problem is that there are very few Republican-identified scientists. Let’s join him in analysis and see if what he thinks is the problem, is the problem.

It is no secret that the ranks of scientists and engineers in the United States include dismal numbers of Hispanics and African-Americans, but few have remarked about another significantly underrepresented group: Republicans.

I can’t say as I regard a direct representation comparison between race and political philosophy as the world’s most promising start, but let’s grant him the point about minority in and of itself.

No, this is not the punch line of a joke. A Pew Research Center Poll from July 2009 showed that only around 6 percent of U.S. scientists are Republicans; 55 percent are Democrats, 32 percent are independent, and the rest “don’t know” their affiliation.

Or as I would put it, 39% either refuse categorically to associate with either party or refuse to involve themselves in politics period, but that’s not the point of the article; the point of the article is that Blue Team has a bunch and Red Team only has a handful. The linked poll, by the way, is interesting reading all on its own, and the questions themselves are very telling in a way this article largely misses.

This immense imbalance has political consequences. When President Obama appears Wednesday on Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters (9 p.m. ET), he will be there not just to encourage youngsters to do their science homework but also to reinforce the idea that Democrats are the party of science and rationality. And why not? Most scientists are already on his side. Imagine if George W. Bush had tried such a stunt—every major newspaper in the country would have run an op-ed piece by some Nobel Prize winner asking how the guy who prohibited stem-cell research and denied climate change could have the gall to appear on a program that extols the power of scientific thinking.

Okay, look, I find the Democrats’ self-lauding claim that they are the party of “science” pretty annoying too, but I seriously cannot get upset that a Democratic president is going to appear on Mythbusters. As little as I think of Obama, any president is a role model to children, and Mythbusters is an excellent show that really does promote critical thinking and the idea that science and engineering are dynamic and exciting and fun. I would have been just as thrilled if Bush had done it, and even if he had and the partisan press had tied itself in knots the people watching- the children among them- would still have gotten the message that the president also thinks that science is awesome.

As members of that partisan press tend to easily forget, only they and a pretty small minority of the public give a shit to the degree that they get themselves in a lather over things like this. Hell, the Pew study he linked in and of itself shows the very large gap between the public at large and scientists in the degree to which they even connect science and politics at all.

Yet, partisan politics aside, why should it matter that there are so few Republican scientists? After all, it’s the scientific facts that matter, and facts aren’t blue or red.

No. They aren’t. Politics is about policy, and science is about fact, which is itself value-neutral. Everyone involved would do well to remember this at all times, particularly the author of this article. Science is conducted by scientists, who are humans with political thoughts and preferred policy ideas based on those, which does have an impact on how science and politics interact.

Well, that’s not quite right. Consider the case of climate change, of which beliefs are astonishingly polarized according to party affiliation and ideology. A March 2010 Gallup poll showed that 66 percent of Democrats (and 74 percent of liberals) say the effects of global warming are already occurring, as opposed to 31 percent of Republicans. Does that mean that Democrats are more than twice as likely to accept and understand the scientific truth of the matter?

Frankly? It very possibly does, and this goes right back to the way questions are worded and the difference between science, policy, and belief. If you traded the question of “climate change” for a carefully worded question about whether natural selection produces changes in life over time and you got a similarly polarized result along political lines it absolutely WOULD represent a case in which scientific reality was accepted much more by one party than the other.

Or could it be that disagreements over climate change are essentially political—and that science is just carried along for the ride?

Not really. The discussion of the facts and methodologies of climate science among climate scientists barely resembles the public debate. Disagreements about what climate change will ultimately and absolutely result in are scientific, disagreements about what policies we should implement to cope with it are political, and disagreements about whether the climate changes at all are pretty much a “people who have got their facts right versus people who have not”.

This is why I keep harping on how questions are worded and how important this is. If I had been polled, I would have responded to the question in the Pew survey- a choice between “the Earth is getting warmer due to human activity” and “No solid evidence Earth is getting warmer” with the former. Excess CO2 really does have a warming effect, there really is a lot more CO2 in the atmosphere than there would be without human activity, and we are certainly warmer than we would be without it. This is as mundane a set of statements scientifically as “blankets produce insulating effect on humans”. The actual point of relevant climate science is how much extra warming CO2 alone can provide (every scientist agrees it has a point of diminishing returns), what other factors will retard or speed further warming, and whether this will be, in the larger picture of climate over time, a small effect largely absorbed by more important driving variables or a critically large one that does the driving.

For 20 years, evidence about global warming has been directly and explicitly linked to a set of policy responses demanding international governance regimes, large-scale social engineering, and the redistribution of wealth. These are the sort of things that most Democrats welcome, and most Republicans hate. No wonder the Republicans are suspicious of the science.

And in a beautiful demonstration of my own point, the author thinks that questioning the science is a completely rational and natural result of questioning the policy agenda leftists have pushed as a reaction to the science.

Think about it: The results of climate science, delivered by scientists who are overwhelmingly Democratic, are used over a period of decades to advance a political agenda that happens to align precisely with the ideological preferences of Democrats. Coincidence—or causation?

Actually, policy wonks advance their political agenda over a period of decades and use the results of climate science to do it, often dramatically reworked and sometimes actively and deliberately misrepresented. Reading the scientific review section of any given year of IPCC reporting versus the policy recommendations is an excellent representation of this process, as the two documents’ only resemblance to each other at points is that they both assert there is a climate that is subject to change.

Here’s a couple more things to think about. Republicans accept denying the central theory of biology and actively pushing its elimination in public education as a valid political position in their platform, while Democrats, while frequently misunderstanding it, accept it as scientific reality. Democrats use the results of climate science to justify a leftist agenda, whereas Republicans are willing to deny the results of climate science rather than discuss them and how they would fit in their own policy agenda. Very few scientists are willing to identify as Republicans. Coincidence- or causation?

The only thing more galling than seeing your discipline warped and used for political ends is being told your discipline is lies and to come back when you have something they want to hear.

During the Bush administration, Democrats discovered that they could score political points by accusing Bush of being anti-science. In the process, they seem to have convinced themselves that they are the keepers of the Enlightenment spirit, and that those who disagree with them on issues like climate change are fundamentally irrational.

From what I’ve seen to my chagrin, those that disagree with them on climate change are often willing to aid this bit of branding by being fundamentally irrational. One of the reasons scientists and those that think themselves scientifically literate are so reflexively willing to dismiss climate skeptics- which covers everything from people skeptical of the catastrophic anthropogenic scenario to the “climate never changes without a meteor” people- is that they do contain an awful lot of blatant cranks, including many who are anti-science cranks in general.

Meanwhile, many Republicans have come to believe that mainstream science is corrupted by ideology and amounts to no more than politics by another name. Attracted to fringe scientists like the small and vocal group of climate skeptics, Republicans appear to be alienated from a mainstream scientific community that by and large doesn’t share their political beliefs. The climate debacle is only the most conspicuous example of these debilitating tendencies, which play out in issues as diverse as nuclear waste disposal, protection of endangered species, and regulation of pharmaceuticals.

Read as: “Republicans ceded their ground with science and scientists as eagerly as Democrats claimed it”.

How would a more politically diverse scientific community improve this situation?

The cart doesn’t go in front of the horse, Sparky. The question you should be asking as “how would a Republican party more willing to dump the intellectually indefensible improve this situation?”.

First, it could foster greater confidence among Republican politicians about the legitimacy of mainstream science.

It’s not the purpose of science to make Republicans politically comfortable. I would in fact suggest that it is precisely this attitude that produced the current situation.

Second, it would cultivate more informed, creative, and challenging debates about the policy implications of scientific knowledge. This could help keep difficult problems like climate change from getting prematurely straitjacketed by ideology. A more politically diverse scientific community would, overall, support a healthier relationship between science and politics.

No argument with this part, but I’d also turn it around to “Republicans welcoming science without passing the bare results through an ideology filter first would create a much healthier conservatism”.

I agree with most of the rest of the article even if I think the author has his premises and priorities rather backwards, so the last bit I’ll fisk is from the very last bit of the article:

In lieu of any real effort to understand and grapple with the politics of science, we can expect calls for more “science literacy” as public confidence begins to wane. But the issue here is legitimacy, not literacy. A democratic society needs Republican scientists.

No, the issue is both, and includes the legitimacy of intellectual conservatism. A democratic society doesn’t need Republican scientists any more than it needs Whig scientists. You’ll note that the supposed overwhelming majority enjoyed by the Democrats among scientists is 55%- a bare five percent over “just half”, and I personally consider that a testament to the overall diversity of the scientific community given the self-inflicted handicaps to conservatism among academic scientists that I’ve been harping on. What they’re unwilling to identify as is Republican, and not being a Republican isn’t remotely the same thing as being a partisan liberal.

You want the discussion of science and policy to include your team more? Your team needs to stop actively running the fuck away from it first. You want a publicly credible, strong alternative to leftist-driven scientific policy? Be a legitimate alternative.

No Responses to “Literacy and Legitimacy”

  1. flataffect Says:

    Very good post. It shouldn’t be surprising, considering that they have to go through college in liberal hotbeds like Berkeley to get into science. They come out with all kinds of non-scientific ideologies and believing claims from other branches of science than their own that don’t really add up.

    The Global Warming Scare is a good example.

  2. scott Says:

    Wow. Comments are off to a good start….

  3. Wade Says:

    Unfortunately, the Republicans won’t get rid of the “know-nothing” reputation until they publicly and consistently denounce and repudiate the creation science morons and the other anti-rationality biblethumpers. That won’t happen anytime soon.

    On the other side, conservatives won’t trust scientists until they repudiate the grant-seekers and camera-chasers who have supported every science panic (“global cooling”, “population bomb”,”acid rain”, “ozone hole”, etc.) that the press has reported on. I don’t think that will happen soon either.

  4. karrde Says:

    Weirdly, the State-level Republicans where I live aren’t shot through with Creationists.

    That is, there is no State-level push that I am aware of to change the science curriculum.

    This makes me wonder if the proclivities of some regional Republicans get mistaken for the proclivities of the nationwide party in the Narrative that is sold by the media.

    However, it is hard to ignore the fact that Creationist-type talk connects directly with a large segment of the most active part of the Republican party. This is more a result of the cultural push-and-pull that surrounds the science of biological origins than a deliberate effort by the leadership of the Republican Party.

    On the flip side, I can’t tell if the political-nuttery-that-claims-to-be-eco-friendly in the Democrat Party leadership is driven by the Party Base, or by the realization that a good crisis makes great cover for a power-grab. (And the realization that ‘scientists say’ carries a tremendous amount of cultural weight…)

    I have this deep suspicion that the world will never be without the “grant-chasers” that Wade refers to, and that it will also never be without the kind of crackpot who give religion a bad name in their quest to stick to Scripture.

    Thus, I doubt that this particular problem will go away anytime soon.

  5. David Says:

    Dreaming, here, but some sort of basic scientific-literacy test for office would be lovely. You’re a thief? A fraudster? A lawyer? Sure, fine, whatever, at least we won’t be surprised.

    You’re a flat-earther? A creationist? An advocate of intelligent design? Begone!

    Maybe it’s just the increased capability of the modern press, but you get a feeling of far more mind-numbing religious fanaticism, and corresponding intentional ignorance of the real (in the sense of the physical) world in US politics now than ten or fifteen years ago.

  6. LabRat Says:

    Karrde: It varies a lot by state, but at the national level the party is unwilling to repudiate or even refuse to embrace them. The Alaskan Republican party, for example, includes the teaching of intelligent design in schools as one of the planks of its platforms; when I was researching Sarah Palin back in 2008 she was murky on whether she believed it (I think it’s since emerged that she does), but refused to push that plank as part of her governing. Bobby Jindal would be a good example of a party golden boy that has actively been involved in pushing ID.

    Republicans may not trust “science” because some scientists behave badly, but it will eternally and forever be a mistake on the party’s part. They can either learn to tell the difference between science and policy or they can remain in the intellectual cold.

    I imagine the result of greater political diversity among scientists would be more bad behavior for conservative policy ideas rather than less bad behavior overall; they are, after all, humans.

  7. David Says:

    LabRat: Suspect Republican-oriented bad behaviour in the scientific community would be far more harmful to science than any current Democrat-oriented activities. No idea what difference it’d make for public-policy and the general welfare of the Republic.

    Whatever else Democratic policy encourages (science-related public policy panics, let’s say), they seem, as a group, less likely to actively oppose research on spurious moral grounds (stem cells, etc) or to actively promote teaching the same degree of damaging, pseudo-scientific garbage.

  8. Roberta X Says:

    “…there really is a lot more CO2 in the atmosphere than there would be without human activity…”
    A) Cite, please?
    B) Define “a lot.”
    C) Is the difference made by CO2 swamped by the observable delta in solar output?
    Also, what’re we doing to produce CO2, specifically, the other creatures are not doing? Or is the claim based on reduction in greenery (which reduces CO2), or what? (And aren’t the oceans huge producers of “greenhouse gases,” hundreds of times more than human activity?)

    Seriously, the BS level I encounter any time I try to get a handle on any part of this (with, it is to be admitted, no more than the weakest kind of general physics/electronics background and damn-all for math) leaves me deeply skeptical that there is any signal in the noise and the”science” consist of blind men each fondling their fave parts of the elephant while making unwarranted inferences about the remainder of the beast.

  9. Roberta X Says:

    (I was meaning to say that plants reduce CO2, therefore if human activity results in the reduction of the total living plant mass, or replaces high-rate-per-area converters with low-rate ones, then we are not so much producing more of the stuff, only unpacking less of it into carbon and oxygen). SWIFT MODE (Or are we burning too much wood and coal? There’s a fast easy fix for that — scrubbers on all the coal fired smokestacks, followed by neutron-bombing the Third World to get rid of those wood-burners in Asia, the Amazon, etc. Look, it’s for the good of the entire planet, isn’t it?) Er, /SWIFT MODE

  10. Old NFO Says:

    Good post, and valid points… As we discussed on VC last night, I think there are other ‘factors’ that play in… Thanks again for the research and time you put in on these :-)

  11. Steve Bodio Says:

    More thoughtful discussion here than most places…

    Anti- evo thinking among most conservatives is one reason I resist too much self- identification with the label, despite most affinities.

  12. bluntobject Says:

    Digging into the Pew study, it turns out that they overwhelmingly sampled “biological and medical” scientists (and left out mathematicians and computing scientists entirely). I wonder how much party affiliation varies between disciplines.

  13. Matt G Says:

    Great post. Great points.

    Good science results in valid data, whether it conforms with one’s agendas or not. If you reject science because it disagrees with your agenda, then you can’t be taken seriously when you declare “facts” to be so.

  14. TJP Says:

    Roberta: We can calculate the amount of carbon dioxide released based on the consumption and also the level of certain types of manufacturing. “A lot” is somewhere between 9 and 29 gigatons per year, depending on who you ask and how they figure carbon sinks into their numbers. A certain ratio of carbon isotopes is used to identify anthropogenic CO2 from samples.

    Anyway, great piece LR. It’s comforting to know that around 40% of scientists are too busy working to worry about politics.

  15. Roberta X Says:

    TJP: That’s a pretty huge range and some pretty bogotastic sources. “…the consumtion and also the level of certain types of manufacturing…”??? Oh, that’s not gonna be susceptible to experimenter bias, oh ho ho ho! I at least expected to hear of some sort of widespread atmospheric sampling with, you know, traceable locations and chains of custody.

    I stand by my present level of stubbornness: if you can’t come up with real numbers supported by real work in the real world using statistically significant sample sizes, you’re talking up your sleeve. What else have you got up there? A nice planned economy to save all us ignernt rubes?

  16. LabRat Says:

    I’ve been busy all weekend long entertaining houseguests, and won’t be able to provide a substantial rundown with complete cites until I’ve had some catchup sleep- though I most certainly will once it’s had.

    What else have you got up there? A nice planned economy to save all us ignernt rubes?

    But while I’m trudging off, may I most civilly and curiously ask why you are being so combative in my comments section? Am I under complete delusion in thinking neither of us have done anything to merit this particular jab? I’ve done a rundown more completely in the past which has at least some of the data you want if not all of it. At the very least it should hopefully clarify my actual position, which has not a fucking thing to do with planned economies or global disaster to justify them.

  17. Eric Hammer Says:

    I think the big problem with science is politics in general. I am not particularly concerned with how scientists vote any more than I care how my garbage man votes; people are notoriously moronic outside of their chosen fields in general, and as Bryan Caplan has pretty well shown, in politics in particular.
    However, I think that government grants and the like tend to very heavily influence the directions and results of science. I think the sheer number of studies along the lines of “Eastern Grey Squirrel Mating Behaviors, and the Effects on Global Climate Change” really demonstrates this. While I think many of the harder science areas don’t suffer from this as much, there is a great deal of academic work that transparently adds climate change rhetoric or the like to apply for grants.
    As LabRat said, the main problem is that scientists are people, and respond to incentives just like everyone else. If the government effectively says “We will pay for studies in climate science, particularly if they suggest that we should enact government growing policies” universities and scientists are going to respond. I think in regards to climate change, their response has been to ignore the question of whether or not climate feedbacks are very positive, and run straight towards the crisis idea, which of course lends itself well to policy.

    One might argue that politicians are pushing the crisis issue and not scientists, but at the same time you don’t see scientists coming out and saying “Hey, we didn’t say the world is going to end, just that temperatures might rise 1-2 degrees C over a hundred years or so.” It might well be that such voices are more quiet and reasoned, and so don’t make for a good news sound bite, but the whole thing is not terribly comforting.

  18. Silverevilchao Says:

    On the subject of the whole climate change thing… I personally think that the loudest voices in the pro-”humans are destroying the world” debate drip with two things: hubris, and an unwillingness for change.

    Hubris because it’s always made out that we ABSOLUTELY know how the weather works and how we affect it, despite the fact that the local weather system can’t even accurately predict tomorrow’s weather and despite the fact that the climate has changed in the past without human intervention, which implies that instead of running the entire weather system as the media would make you believe, we’re just a little cog in a set of bigger cogs outside of our control that might or might not affect a few things.

    Unwillingness for change in that I really get the impression that instead of PREPARING for the inevitable changes that will befall our planes, we’re crowing about attempting to stop any change from happening to begin with. “Oh noes, the polar bears will go extinct!” So fucking what? We’ve had several mass extinctions in the past, this is nothing new! Oh, rising sea levels? DEAL WITH IT. Instead of whining about how your island is going to sink beneath the waves because those eeeeeeevil Americans drive everywhere, try to freaking do something about it. Develop a new technology or something instead of crying for international treaties or such that are pretty freaking useless!

  19. Silverevilchao Says:

    *”that will befall our planet“. Damn, I suck. Stupid Typo Fairy.

  20. LabRat Says:

    A) Cite, please?

    I was relying on basic logic, i.e. that our industrial base depends upon hydrocarbon combustion, the end result of which is carbon dioxide, and while hydrocarbon combustion is a normal part of the carbon cycle (it’s the basis of metabolism), non-human animals do not burn large amounts of hydrocarbon that are otherwise locked up in the earth, i.e. fossil fuels. Less significantly we also tend to eliminate the largest consumers of carbon dioxide, mature complex forest, because complex forest is not human habitat; we live and derive our food base from cities and open plains, respectively. This is, incidentally, why biofuels would be such an ecological disaster- large amounts of forest are cleared to make room to grow them, and while corn and switchgrass do eat C02, they don’t eat nearly as much as what was there before they were. (Sadly, this is if you regard the reduced CO2 consumption as the sole disaster. The fact that that is treated as so all-flamingly much more important than the loss of habitat and diversity is one of my burning peeves with modern environmentalism.)

    I did not regard either of these statements as controversial. If you want more numbers you can find them (and more importantly their sources) here. I acknowledge the data- and the chain of logic for “human activity produces significantly more CO2 than strictly nonhuman processes”- I do not share all further assumptions.

    B) Define “a lot.”

    “Gigatons more than would be present without human activity and gigatons more than is consumed by existing plantlife”. Not “more than is produced by existing natural processes”.

    As to both of these questions, neither can be answered precisely because there is no way to measure exactly how much CO2 was produced without human activity and exactly how much CO2 is produced by human activity alone. Proxies must be used because we are… technologically advanced humans.

    Yes, I realize the complete absence of a way to really know what “normal” is is a massive problem in climate modeling. That would be one of a great many reasons I don’t buy the anthropogenic catastrophic scenario as a justification for destroying the global economy and establishing worldwide statism. To put it extremely mildly.

    C) Is the difference made by CO2 swamped by the observable delta in solar output?

    I can’t answer this question because nobody knows. It’s an area of current active research. Of course, this has nothing to do with the question of “is there significantly more CO2 than there would be without human activity”, and the related “does it have a known and uncontroversial warming effect”, which was my actual set of assertions-as-fact.

    Blankets make people warmer than they would be otherwise too. This is not a controversial assertion. Saying that blankets inevitably result in spontaneous human combustion if not removed would be. Neither I nor climate science in general thinks CO2 alone could raise the earth’s temperature by more than about a degree and a half.

    Also, what’re we doing to produce CO2, specifically, the other creatures are not doing? Or is the claim based on reduction in greenery (which reduces CO2), or what?

    Covered above.

    (And aren’t the oceans huge producers of “greenhouse gases,” hundreds of times more than human activity?)

    Yes. This is, again, uncontroversial even among the most passionate anthropogenic-catastrophic supporters. Plankton also eats a huge amount of CO2.

  21. Roberta X Says:

    …Sorry to have come off overly combative. I just get sick and tired of being handed a set of assumptions on a plate and being told “shaddup and eat it,” which is how I took TJP’s response and, to a lesser degree, the original statement. (I must clarify that I was snarking at TJP about a planned economy, not you. Show me a single planned economy that didn’t make things worse and I might listen to the eco-fixit plans).

    (I missed something between High School and now, ‘cos I thought we got CO — et icky cetera — when we burned hydrocarbons. Not stable? Gobbles up another O on the sly? Clearly this is an area of personal ignorance I must remedy.)

    IMO, argument still uses a nasty Rousseau- or Jeezo-base, that humans are somehow not a part of “nature.” (Also, “gigatons more” is misleading when we’re talking about a contribution a bit over 3.5% of the total). Can’t we just increase the forested area of the planet by 7% and call it okay for now?

    We also throw around “disaster” way too freely. Nuking the Third World = disaster. Planet slowly gets two degrees warmer = same old same old. It’s been warmer. It’s been colder. It tends to select for successful strategies — the same way Nature always has. And sometimes we die back a bit. We’re not that special and this ball of mud is not our garden; the solar prime mover is beyond our control.

    I’m not skeptical of climate change. I’m skeptical of climate disaster. Faced with change, humans invent stuff. That’s our trick and it’s a good trick. It works. The we’re-all-gonna-die crowd wants us to stop dead in our tracks and even back up. Well, it worked for the cockroach.

  22. Roberta X Says:

    On third thought, I take it all back. It’s not worth the argument or the headache; there is darn-all any of us can do about it response to both fear and facts in re climate other than vote for the least stupid pols and even that won’t help much. Oh, and don’t live on a low beach. But that was never a good idea anyway.

  23. LabRat Says:

    Well, for what it’s worth on the clarification I don’t see any area where we actually have an disagreement and was going to elaborate on some stuff, but if you’d druther drop the whole thing here I’m cool with that.

    I was minorly stung, no more.

  24. TJP Says:

    Roberta:

    My objective was to give a brief summary of what is measured. Since I tend to be verbose, I was trying to be a good net citizen and keep it the appropriate length for a comments section. I swear I wasn’t trying to vague you to death. I had the exact link Lab Rat had posted, so perhaps I should have included it.

    I would never endorse a planned economy because the thing about planned economies is that they never go as planned; that and the fact that everyone except the political ruling class suffers while it goes to pot.

    I make no claims regarding sudden catastrophic climate change. “Global warming” is here–this is it. I certainly don’t see any falling brimstone.

  25. Parallel Says:

    I wonder what Pew would find if they surveyed working engineers for their political affiliation.

    A working definition of the difference between engineers and scientists is that engineers’ product is something that works in the real world, whereas scientists’ product is knowlege (typically articulated verbally in writing).

    Scientists win when they articulate a grand, sweeping explanation of observed data. Could they be seduced by the statist impulse currently resident in the Democrat party, which also claims the ability to control the world in a grand unified way? Any Marxist will tell you the theory isn’t wrong, it was just implemented improperly–and given the levers of power they can prove it.

    Engineers win when they achieve their goals with a minimum of effort and materials. Perhaps they would be more comfortable with the individualist, anti-statist strain of political theory currently being forced on the Republican party by the grassroots Tea Party activists?

  26. Josiah Says:

    I agree with Parallel. I tend to think it’s about money. Scientists who make their money off the government are going side with statists. I think most Republicans are statist, but they don’t have the reputation for rewarding any chance for social engineering that the Democrats have.

    I prefer scientists who want to invent something amazing or some other activity that will make them lots of money. I think scientists who make their money off the government ostracise those who don’t go along with whatever theory will keep the spice flowing.