Yeah, about that whole “Conservatives hate science” thing

It seems that a Yale professor did a study about political outlooks and science comprehension, you know, the kind of study snotty, self-assured Liberals love to quote. Well, it turns out that Tea Party people, who are CONSERVATIVES for the most part, have a better knowledge of science. H’T Fritz

And more shockingly, admits it.

Because the “asymmetry thesis” just won’t leave me alone, I decided it would be sort of interesting to see what the relationship was between a “science comprehension” scale I’ve been developing and political outlooks…

It turns out that there is about as strong a correlation between scores on the science comprehension scale and identifying with the Tea Party as there is between scores on the science comprehension scale and Conservrepub. 

Except that it has the opposite sign: that is, identifying with the Tea Party correlates positively (r = 0.05, p = 0.05) with scores on the science comprehension measure:

The professor shows signs of an open mind, which is good, of course he is not climbing out of his Liberal closet just yet

I’ve got to confess, though, I found this result surprising. As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I’d be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension.

But then again, I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party. All my impressions come from watching cable tv — & I don’t watch Fox News very often — and reading the “paper” (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico). 

I’m a little embarrassed, but mainly I’m just glad that I no longer hold this particular mistaken view.

 But not really embarrassed enough to reconsider his other biases…

Of course, I still subscribe to my various political and moral assessments–all very negative– of what I understand the “Tea Party movement” to stand for. I just no longer assume that the people who happen to hold those values are less likely than people who share my political outlooks to have acquired the sorts of knowledge and dispositions that a decent science comprehension scale measures.

Baby steps professor, baby steps

 

 

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