Poll finds “regular folks” frequently disagree with scientists

posted at 8:01 pm on February 3, 2015 by Jazz Shaw

There’s one serious problem I’ve had, particularly over the last decade, when it comes to the subject of science. Just to set a baseline here, I’d like to say up front that I love science. I was always something of a geek. I loved it in school, found it interesting in entertainment and spend probably far too much time watching things on the Science Channel and various documentaries. This doesn’t make me an expert in all matters (or any, really) but just a fan, assuming that word can apply here. My only personal areas of educational experience in scientific fields came in electronics and energy (nuclear and fossil fuels) but I wasn’t a “scientist” in either field. I find almost all of it fascinating.

Back to the “problem” I referred to above. There has been a tendency among some with a vested political interest in any number of policy areas to elevate all scientists and theories of the day to the level of a religion. This should be worrisome because one of the foundations of any solid scientific education should be to encourage a continued and healthy skepticism over any theory. Scientific theories which are not continually challenged and tested veer into the realm of faith rather than a comprehensive process of critical examination of the facts. Faith is wonderful, but the laboratory is generally not the appropriate forum for proselytizing.

With all that in mind, you might take some hope from a rather high handed examination of recent polling from National Geographic. To their collective horror, it is discovered that “regular folks” around the country (their phrase, not mine) frequently refuse to accept everything they are told by their lab coat wearing betters.

What do the International Space Station and bioengineered fuels have in common? They’re about the only technological advances that both scientists and the American public actually like.

On most other scientific matters, a widespread “opinion gap” splits the experts from everyday folks, pollsters at the Pew Research Center reported Thursday. The rift persists in long-running issues such as the causes of climate change and the safety of nuclear power. And it crops up in the news today in battles over outbreaks of measles tied to children who haven’t been vaccinated.

Scientists say this opinion gap points to shortcomings in their own skills at reaching out to the public and to deficits in science education. On the last point, at least, the public agrees, with majorities on both sides rating U.S. education as average at best.

This graphic lays out some of the areas under dispute.

SciencePoll

There are areas of hard science where we can do comprehensive testing and move ideas from the realm of pure theory to fairly well established facts. (Though such facts should always remain open to challenge.) Water freezes at a given temperature and pressure absent the addition of other soluble compounds. You can repeat that test over and over again and get the same results. But there are many other areas under study where complex systems can produce mixed results and serious challenges in drawing conclusions. When scientists with a political bent get involved in the conversation, their own beliefs can leave the realm of the laboratory and enter the halls of their own new church. This sort of science can and should rightly be challenged, even by those without a string of degrees on their resume, and the best proof should be required before everyone toes the line. (I could go into an entire rant on Dark Matter here, but I’ll spare you.)

The tone taken in the analysis of this poll is instructive of how our Scientific Betters view the hoi polloi.

The survey results don’t differ a great deal from past polls, but this only reinforces anxiety over the future of science, Miller adds. Support for research has gone from a bedrock American principle to one suffering fissures from political fistfights over human evolution, embryonic stem cells, climate change, and other issues.

“A lot of scientific issues have become politicized,” Miller says. “I think this report is kind of tiptoeing around that reality, where the [U.S.] Republican party has sought political support from voters with religious views who are often hostile to science.”

Gee… that’s not too biased, is it? And the response of the authors to these poll numbers highlight the real problem here. And it’s not with the public.


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Comments

I blame Hide the Decline and having to learn the scientific method in high school!

Once regular folks realize the money-driven politics some so-called scientists engaged in, and that they didn’t bother to adhere to the much-touted scientific method, it was kind of easy to compare and contrast.

INC on February 3, 2015 at 8:07 PM

Science. . or science fiction?

They tell us that
We lost our tails
Evolving up
From little snails
I say it’s all
Just wind in sails

Emperor Norton on February 3, 2015 at 8:09 PM

Yeah, because scientists politically motivated activists like say things like this: “A growing body of evidence suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern we can expect to see with increasing frequency, as global warming continues.” -John Holdren, Obama’s Science Czar, 2014

Or this:

“A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States… [we] must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth.” -John Holdren (1973), Obama’s Science Czar

Does the quote above sound like an “impartial scientist.” Um, NOPE. It’s a dyed in the wool leftist. And today we can see that nearly every defender of the leftist climate change fantasy is … a leftist. Yeah, with some exceptions, lol.

anotherJoe on February 3, 2015 at 8:09 PM

Some of the questions were more scientific questions. Others sounded more like policy questions (which, yes, could be informed by science). Seems a little ironic. Conflating science and policy within a survey about how people don’t really understand science.

chris0christies0donut on February 3, 2015 at 8:10 PM

I was a science major in college and have an engineering MS as well. I left pure science in part because I saw how narrow it becomes as you more through a PhD and into research. You become an expert in an incredibly focused bit of science, which struck me as a boring life.

My high school physics teacher told the story of a guy he knew who became the world’s authority on some obscure physics topic, and did his dissertation on it. There literally was no one else in the world with the expertise to judge his PhD defense.

Just because someone has a degree in one limited area of science does not mean they are any more qualified than anyone else in the other 99.999% of science.

The day of the comprehensive polymath is over.

HakerA on February 3, 2015 at 8:12 PM

In other words, water is wet. Just like a woman who has sex and the sperm fertilizes the egg doesn’t have a human in her uterus, she has a blob of tissue until she goes home from the hospital and presto magico the infant gets to have a birth certificate. Nowhere on the certificate though does it have the DNA sequencing that would indicate that it is human offspring, but somehow we all know that. But don’t let a little thing like SCIENCE indicate that tissue resulting from the reproductive activities of a male and female human is in fact a human in its own right.

txmomof6 on February 3, 2015 at 8:12 PM

My qotd comment:

On climate change (while Boston’s super bowl parade is delayed as it breaks its all-time weekly snowfall record with an amazing 40.2 inches http://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemcneal/super-bowl-snow-day).

Wattsupwiththat published this post minutes ago: Shock study results: Calling climate skeptics ‘deniers’ just pisses them off

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/02/02/shock-study-results-calling-climate-skeptics-deniers-just-pisses-them-off/

A comment at the wuwt article, by MAGB:

The reason that there is less support for climate extremism in the US, Canada and Australia (compared to continental Europe) is that these countries have large mining, oil and gas industries, operated by tens of thousands of engineers, physicists and geologists, whose jobs depend on the application of rigorous science. There are also plenty of other experts in science, medicine, and economics who can give rigorous critiques of reports such as that by Stern. These countries, as does the UK, also have a culture of defiance of autocratic governments, and authority is generally questioned. These are not nations of the meek and subservient. When these experts look at the CO2 hypothesis, they simply see weak science, and high opportunity costs in unnecessary emission reductions. So they speak out against the policies pushed by climate change extremists and all the vested interests.

anotherJoe on February 3, 2015 at 8:13 PM

What about irregular, or constipated folks? Don’t they matter, too?

listens2glenn on February 3, 2015 at 8:14 PM

The poll is garbage. There’s no way that 87% of scientists believe that humans have induced global warming.

Also, what type of scientists were being polled? Why should anyone care what a biologist thinks about global warming?

blink on February 3, 2015 at 8:12 PM

The poll’s not exactly garbage. Realizing the differences between self-identified (?) scientists and the general public could be useful. Maybe.

chris0christies0donut on February 3, 2015 at 8:14 PM

#pollcot

ShainS on February 3, 2015 at 8:15 PM

Also…

I think people have grown sick and tired of listening to scientific studies that say one thing, only to have it utterly debunked or reversed a little while later:

Autism is caused by vaccines! — actually that study has been so thoroughly debunked that the man who wrote it has had his license to practice medicine revoked and the a British medical society has said he committed fraud.

Eat lots of carbs! — actually, that might be largely the cause of the obesity epidemic.

Hockey stick! — Well, maybe that was just a bad use of statistics. The same statistical analysis done on random data would have produced the same results.

Ice-free Himalayas! — literally a transcription error.

8 glasses of water! — actually, no study has ever said that.

Salt! stay away from salt! — Well, it seems some people have no problem purging salt, and only the “salt sensitive” need to worry about it.

Penguins have disappeared! — no, look, they just moved over there.

Pluto is a planet! — nevermind.

Much of this is caused by the media who love a good, shocking story and put in their pieces none of the hemming and hawing that the scientists use when presenting their findings. People have had it with the constant hype and retractions.

Yes, that is how science works: nothing is every really proved and can be disproved or refined at any time, but that’s not how it is presented to the general populace. I don’t blame people for throwing up their hands and tuning it out, or for the belief that scientific findings are only temporary and are likely to be reversed tomorrow.

HakerA on February 3, 2015 at 8:15 PM

Why include the offshore drilling and fracking questions? That’s not science.

John the Libertarian on February 3, 2015 at 8:16 PM

Some of the questions were more scientific questions. Others sounded more like policy questions (which, yes, could be informed by science). Seems a little ironic. Conflating science and policy within a survey about how people don’t really understand science.

chris0christies0donut on February 3, 2015 at 8:10 PM

.
(Jedi ‘mind trick’ hand wave…) . . . . . it’s purely coincidental … you don’t need to know anything more than that.

listens2glenn on February 3, 2015 at 8:17 PM

The Quotes of the Day will be something Rand Paul said about vaccines, and something somebody else said about vaccines.

Emperor Norton on February 3, 2015 at 8:22 PM

As far as my qotd comment replayed above (8:13), today “triple” replied to me, discounting my points, and implying that the left is not just making the obvious climate change crisis. I took a (sarcastic) snippet of his comment, and used in my comment:

liberals are lying because they hate american progress

triple on February 3, 2015 at 5:36 AM

Now that’s not at all what the wuwt commenter I quoted said. Further, I think you’ve oversimplified it. Some are lying. Most are just going along with the flow of it, but would not be averse to lying in order to achieve “greater goals.”

Proof in some quotes:
“A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States.” -John Holdren (1973), Obama’s Science Czar
“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” -Marice Strong, ex UNEP Director
“It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.” -Paul Watson, Co-Founder of Greenpeace
“Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.” -Sir John Houghton, first chairman of IPCC
“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing.” -leftist senator Tim Wirth, 1993
“We have to offer up scary scenarios… each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective and being honest.” -Stephen Schneider, lead ipcc author, 1989
“Entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of eco-refugees, threatening political chaos.” -Noel Brown, ex UNEP Director, 1989
“Winter with strong frosts and lots of snow.. will [in just a few years] cease to exist at our latitudes.” -Mojib Latif, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, 2000
“[Inaction will cause]… by the turn of the century [2000], an ecological catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust.” -Mustafa Tolba, 1982, former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program
“I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of .. how dangerous it is.” -Al Gore
“Only sensational exaggeration makes the kind of story that will get politicians’ — and readers’ — attention.” -Monika Kopacz, Atmospheric Scientist
“The only way to get our society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.” -Daniel Botkin, ex Chair of Environmental Studies, UCSB
Hence, the never ending Fear Mongering Chicken Littles, the broken record prognostications of doom that are starting to sound a lot like constant crying wolf. The cat is coming out of the bag, or rather the bag containing the cat is disintegrating. The non-appearance of the predicted Armageddon and the inexorable non-upward temperature trend is now undeniable.

anotherJoe on February 3, 2015 at 8:22 PM

Science. . or science fiction?

They tell us that
We lost our tails
Evolving up
From little snails
I say it’s all
Just wind in sails

Emperor Norton on February 3, 2015 at 8:09 PM

Are we not men?!?

whatcat on February 3, 2015 at 8:25 PM

“A lot of scientific issues have become politicized,” Miller says. “I think this report is kind of tiptoeing around that reality, where the [U.S.] Republican party has sought political support from voters with religious views who are often hostile to science.”

That’s racist.

Star Bird on February 3, 2015 at 8:27 PM

Star Bird on February 3, 2015 at 8:08 PM

There are limits to the usefulness of Patton’s line. If reasoning to statements like “Is the sky blue?” or “Do hats exist?” I would suspect everyone thinks the same way on those questions and that doesn’t mean someone’s not thinking, it just means something is obvious.

alchemist19 on February 3, 2015 at 8:30 PM

So the people like the international space station and ethanol? There is nothing positive about ethanol and they have no idea what they are doing on the space station with our cold war enemy the Russians. I can’t imagine the Russians are up to any good up there.

Maybe the left feels vulnerable about those two things right now and is communicating to Republicans not to touch.

Buddahpundit on February 3, 2015 at 8:30 PM

Beware the government-academia complex. Government funded research tends to produce government funded results.

Just ask Lysenko.

petefrt on February 3, 2015 at 8:30 PM

Humans have evolved over time

Who disagrees with this?
Of course some people groups have developed fair skin & soft hair, while others have darker skin & coarser hair.

What many of us disagree with is the microbe-to-microbiologist evolution fantasy that most (but not all) scientists push today.

The fairy tale that life arose spontaneously from non-living matter.

That this orderly universe appeared when nothing exploded for no reason.

itsnotaboutme on February 3, 2015 at 8:33 PM

The fairy tale that life arose spontaneously from non-living matter.

That this orderly universe appeared when nothing exploded for no reason.

itsnotaboutme on February 3, 2015 at 8:33 PM

All you do is add billions of years, and presto! Magic is science!

John the Libertarian on February 3, 2015 at 8:37 PM

“Is the sky blue?”

alchemist19 on February 3, 2015 at 8:30 PM

“Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning”

Star Bird on February 3, 2015 at 8:38 PM

Hasn’t it been throughout the ages that the left has tried to tell us their ideology/religion is backed up by science? I dunno about throughout the ages, but I know since Stalin.

petefrt on February 3, 2015 at 8:40 PM

Steven Goddard reports: Great Lakes Ice Cover Far (VERY far) Above Normal

https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/great-lakes-ice-cover-far-above-normal-again/

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog has a new post out: The Snow Beat the Snow Deniers.

An excerpt:

Last year, the New York Times predicted the end of snow. This week, its employees had trouble getting to work because of a travel ban caused by the blizzard…

Indeed somewhere Dr. David Viner [who said in 2000 that in a few years “snow will be a thing of the past”] was probably cursing the snow for still being there while small children laughed at him. “Snow is starting to disappear from our lives,” The Independent had asserted then. Instead the UK is headed for a displaced polar vortex bringing with it some of the coldest temperatures on record.

But haven’t you heard from John Holdren, Obama’s Science Czar? Holdren says that as far as the US goes (and the UK?) it is going to get colder, much colder, as global warming progresses.

Right. As the globe boils (future soap opera name, lol), the US will turn into an icicle. As the outside world gets hotter and hotter the US will get colder and colder. And the ice levels on its lakes will grow by leaps and bounds. Snow cover.. will rise dramatically. That is utterly stupid. Absolutely… nuts. Call the men in white coats to come pick up the leftist nutcase Dr. John Holdren.

Bonus Link, the music video parody: Hide the Decline!!

anotherJoe on February 3, 2015 at 8:43 PM

Consensus has no place in the Scientific Method.

Star Bird on February 3, 2015 at 8:44 PM

Hasn’t it been throughout the ages that the left has tried to tell us their ideology/religion is backed up by science? I dunno about throughout the ages, but I know since Stalin.

petefrt on February 3, 2015 at 8:40 PM

Yes.

Leftists have always needed a pseudoscience to piggyback their lunatic policy making on. Everything from eugenics to o-zone holes to deforestation to cancer causing power lines to brain tumor causing cell phones to global warming.

The next big fad in leftist pseudoscience is ocean species depletion.

Star Bird on February 3, 2015 at 8:47 PM

Poll finds “regular folks” frequently disagree with scientists

How DARE they??!?!?!!!

Orbital mind control lasers will put an end to that!

Axeman on February 3, 2015 at 8:49 PM

I don’t questions the results of observational science that uses the scientific method. I question the theoretical interpretations and implications that are based on untestable and unproveable assumptions. Scientists are human just like everyone else. They also have to battle greed, desire for status, and ego. There are good reasons to doubt “science” because of the way that Leftists have politicized it.

mydh12 on February 3, 2015 at 8:56 PM

Poll finds “regular folks” frequently disagree with scientists

If science works properly then scientists frequently disagree with scientists.

Star Bird on February 3, 2015 at 9:00 PM

I’m wondering who was the first person to be called a climate scientist? What university had the first department of climatology? I expect you can date the birth of the global warming hoax from that point.

I’ve been saying for years that I am don’t believe anything I hear from someone who calls themselves an “educator” as such persons usually turn out to be political hacks. The same is true of “climate scientists”

Thusly I’m far more inclined to respect a random biologist or chemist’s opinion about global warming than these self selected experts.

For decades the scientists that the media went to, to oppose nuclear power were always physicians, and nobody can outdo the APA when it comes to providing scientific consensus for the advance of marxism.

No matter what kind scientific degree one has, for a leftist the cause comes before the truth.

halfbaked on February 3, 2015 at 9:05 PM

The next big fad in leftist pseudoscience is ocean species depletion.

Star Bird on February 3, 2015 at 8:47 PM

Yes, no doubt it’s coming.

Lobster traps banned. FLOTUS hardest hit.

petefrt on February 3, 2015 at 9:09 PM

The visceral, emotional reaction of climate change types to opposition or even doubt is the antithesis of science.
——- ———- ——–
comment from FR:

oh, for cryin out loud…

we just got 14 inches in 24 hours…

the largest snowfall in 24 hours since 1880..

and we went to to work the next day…

why?????

because here in michigan, we drive gas guzzlin, pollution spewin, ozone depleatin SUV’s… complete with 4 wheel drive..

screw the juvenile socialists in new yahk…

anotherJoe on February 3, 2015 at 9:10 PM

I’m wondering who was the first person to be called a climate scientist? What university had the first department of climatology? I expect you can date the birth of the global warming hoax from that point.

halfbaked on February 3, 2015 at 9:05 PM

Well we know it’s been going on since at least the 1970s.

Star Bird on February 3, 2015 at 9:15 PM

Scientific theories which are not continually challenged and tested veer into the realm of faith rather than a comprehensive process of critical examination of the facts.

You didn’t learn that on the science channel.

earlgrey on February 3, 2015 at 9:20 PM

I’m wondering who was the first person to be called a climate scientist? What university had the first department of climatology? I expect you can date the birth of the global warming hoax from that point.

Thusly I’m far more inclined to respect a random biologist or chemist’s opinion about global warming than these self selected experts.

halfbaked on February 3, 2015 at 9:05 PM

Halfbaked, your ideas are NOT halfbaked. Indeed, your “self selected” observation is key.

In the past we had meteorologists, physicists, atmospheric scientists etc working on climate issues. But circa 1990, with the approval of George Bush Sr., a HUGE amount of funding was devoted to creating these new climatology departments. The thing is that the heads of these new departments, who selected the lieutenants, were warmists already, and undoubtedly nearly 100% were leftists. And so to get in to the new climatology departments, you had to be a leftist warmist already. Same as far as getting in to the doctoral programs. Further, since then, as Climategate illustrated, they all have done the darnest to keep opposing views out of the peer reviewed journals as well as trying to use their leverage to keep these views out of the insidiously compliant MSM.

So, the supposed experts are nothing more than an echo of the political activist scientists that started their departments. Post 1990 climate scientists cannot be considered credible on the subject of… climate science.

anotherJoe on February 3, 2015 at 9:29 PM

And the response of the authors to these poll numbers highlight the real problem here. And it’s not with the public.

As a dedicated member of team Morlock I’d like to welcome all you Eloi to enjoy the food and shelter we provide and remember, light exercise will keep you healthy, happy, and…tender.

Tlaloc on February 3, 2015 at 9:54 PM

Was someone just assigned H.G. Wells in a science fiction lit class?

Star Bird on February 3, 2015 at 10:04 PM

You become an expert in an incredibly focused bit of science, which struck me as a boring life.

HakerA on February 3, 2015 at 8:12 PM

Specialization is for insects.

BDavis on February 3, 2015 at 10:18 PM

Humans have evolved over time

Who disagrees with this?
Of course some people groups have developed fair skin & soft hair, while others have darker skin & coarser hair.

What many of us disagree with is the microbe-to-microbiologist evolution fantasy that most (but not all) scientists push today.

The fairy tale that life arose spontaneously from non-living matter.

That this orderly universe appeared when nothing exploded for no reason.

itsnotaboutme on February 3, 2015 at 8:33 PM

All you do is add billions of years, and presto! Magic is science!

John the Libertarian on February 3, 2015 at 8:37 PM

Indeed.
It’s like saying,
“I’ll drop a deck of cards from a tower, & when they land, they’ll all be in order.”
And when it doesn’t work, just say,
“Oops! I need to drop it from a higher elevation. Anybody got an airplane?”

itsnotaboutme on February 4, 2015 at 1:23 AM

The bloom on the rose of science disappeared when its conclusions began being auctioned for sale to the highest bidder. Whether the sugar daddy be Big Pharma, seeking validation for some new (and undoubtedly expensive) drug, or governments and politicians seeking findings of dramatic, imminent and apocalyptic effects of AGW, the result is the same. Those with the biggest renewable grants and the fattest checkbooks ALWAYS get the results they have bought and paid for. In reality there is no such thing as “settled science,” only what the facts seem to demonstrate to date. Tomorrow, today’s hypotheses will go flying out the window because it is the nature of real science to relentlessly pursue the truth. Today’s scientists relentlessly pursue money, and truth be hanged. So who can blame the skeptics?

MadVlad on February 4, 2015 at 1:44 AM

“Science” conclusions I’ve heard over time:

Eggs cause increased serum cholesterol.
No, they don’t.

Over-cooked hamburger causes cancer.
No, they don’t.

The earth is going to have another ice age.
No, it’s going to burn up due to global warming.
No, it’s just climate change, but it’s definitely man-made.

Neanderthals counldn’t talk.
Yes, they could.

Fatty foods are bad for you and cause you to gain weight.
No, they’re good for you, and help you lose weight.

I could go on and on and on. I don’t trust government studies, science conclusions, or most other biased writings because I’ve seen too many retractions. I don’t even read the articles anymore, because I know that in 10 years, I have a 95% probability of seeing the opposite view published with “new data.”

Yep. Science is now about continued or increased funding and not about academics or forwarding knowledge. Give me a corporate researcher (They’re scientists, too) who’s willing to invest his own money to develop and promote a medicine, procedure, or design, and I’ll believe him long before I believe academia or the fed’s publicly-funded “research.”

By the way, corporate scientists are given “budgets” within which they must decide which course to pursue, so “his own money” may not necessarily mean “coming out of his personal funds.”

Wino on February 4, 2015 at 2:08 AM

Someone called me out on my invention about colors. Yeah they looked at a color table and found infrared is pretty big compared to others, so they claimed that tunneling in silicon with infra-red is impossible at the sizes I claimed.

The problem is that the scientist is using techniques which does actually allow that, it is a well defined science area of quantum physics, and it does actually work.

However I also disagree with evolution as a sole event and with AGW to name a few disagreements with other scientists.

OregonPolitician on February 4, 2015 at 2:24 AM

As long as science is being used and manipulated by politicians, it will be used to manipulate people, and “regular people” will have cause for skepticism.

The problem, of course, is not in science itself, but in the attempt to manipulate it. That is, leftists attempt to take the authority and credibility that science has and use it to persuade people to do what they want.

In the Kinsey Reports, the authority of science was used to reshape people’s opinions about sexual morality. Incidentally, that was the source of the false claim that 10% of the population was homosexual.

“Climate change” is another example of an attempt to manipulate people to give governments more power due to weak or fraudulent science.

The claim that homosexuals are born that way was also due to repeated attempts to find some science to back up that claim. Which worked like gangbusters, even though it’s been pretty well established now that the claim was never really true. Strangely, the new evidence doesn’t get much play in the media, unlike the stories that used to come out on the front page every time a study was published that seemed to show that homosexuality was inborn.

Every activist group with an agenda knows that if they can publish an important-sounding scientific paper that backs them up, they can get a lot more people to agree with their agenda.

But all these attempts to hook science up to the cart of social change end up reminding us that not all scientific claims can be believed. They’re effectively ruining the credibility and authority of science itself.

On the subject of evolution, we’ve had Neanderthal fossils since the 19th century, yet only recently has it become grudgingly accepted that Neanderthals were intelligent, used tools, buried their dead, used body paint, had a spoken language — and interbred with modern man. All because the then-current theory of evolution believed that we evolved from Neanderthals, and therefore assumed they were somewhere between ape and man. That’s why the image of the shambling, hair, ape-man Neanderthal has persisted so long.

Contrary to the hand-wringing, skepticism about scientific claims is very much in keeping with the development of science. If Republicans are skeptical, then they are more the friends of science than those who regard it as some sort of religious faith.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 4, 2015 at 3:05 AM

They tell us that
We lost our tails
Evolving up
From little snails
I say it’s all
Just wind in sails
My head’s as smart
As a box of nails

Emperor Norton on February 3, 2015 at 8:09 PM

unabridged version

Younggod on February 4, 2015 at 5:22 AM

Ugh… Liberals and science sucks. I just did a minor effort, where I tried in a new FB group (for me, not them) to demonstrate the complexity of brains for a means to support creationism. Since I am a father of some forms of 3d memory I used some of my math and methods… and the post was sourced, where I could not pin down exacts I made such comments and opened up for anyone to debate my chosen numbers….

Mod deleted the post in under 5 minutes.

So much for debate and science.

OregonPolitician on February 4, 2015 at 7:53 AM

Regarding the 87% of scientists in the graphic of the story believe that global warming is man caused, it’s another reason people don’t believe scientists. Because the number is false.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/01/30/87-is-the-new-97/

sadatoni on February 4, 2015 at 8:13 AM

Yeah the AGW numbers are more faked than Obama’s budgets are.

OregonPolitician on February 4, 2015 at 8:43 AM

“A lot of scientific issues have become politicized,”

Kind of like the National Geographic, which I ditched in 2008 after a 20 year run.

MNHawk on February 4, 2015 at 9:00 AM

I stopped reading Popular Science for the same reason.

OregonPolitician on February 4, 2015 at 9:03 AM

As a child of the 60’s, I vividly remember being taught…er…indoctrinated…that the ice age was upon us and we were all going to freeze to death by _____ (fill in a year). Now as an aging adult I find we’re all going to die in _____ (fill in a number) years because it’s going to get a lot warmer and our carbon footprint and all that. It’s all a bunch of hooey to anyone who has even half a brain and a modicum of common sense. I’ve never understood the juxtaposition of supposedly billions of years of evolution vs. we’re all gonna die by ice or fire in _____ (fill in a number) years. Oh, and btw, pillars of critical scientific analysis is observation and the ability to reproduce (or not) a scientific hypothesis. So how do you do that if it happened, say, a billion years ago? Tommyrot. Utter political for gain or fanatical as a blind zealot hogwash.

Revelation21v3n4 on February 4, 2015 at 10:32 AM

Scientists are often wrong. So are the masses. People actually seeking the truth are few and far between.

jya lai on February 4, 2015 at 10:44 AM

Science is a search for TRUTH. The search for CONCENSUS is a POLITICAL exercise!!!

This entire article is foolish, because it is concerned only with CONCENSUS among “credentialed” and “uncredentialed” populations. Neither of these populations owns and/or controls TRUTH.

Thus this article is about POLITICS, and has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH SCIENCE!!

landlines on February 4, 2015 at 5:37 PM

Christopher Columbus was an adult who disagreed with scientists of his day.

…and we know how THAT turned out!

landlines on February 4, 2015 at 5:45 PM