Friday, August 28, 2015

Remember the Know Nothing Party? Looks like they are back.

Would you say that you trust, don’t trust, or are unsure about scientists as a source of information about [vaccines/climate change]?

Trust in Scientists by Issue and State

Chris Mooney, in a new article, provides the graphs above noting?
As you can see, while traditional Republicans and Tea Party supporters in these locations trust scientists considerably more on vaccines than they do on climate change, they also trust them on both issues considerably less than Democrats do. 
“The vaccine results were something new, and what was unexpected there was that they followed a very similar pattern to climate change,” says Hamilton. He acknowledges that conducting the survey in two U.S. states is not the same as conducting a nationally representative survey. But he adds that finding a similar result in two quite different parts of the U.S. represents “a fairly broad replication.”
This is quite worrying to me. It is a study done in only two states, but it suggests that only half of Tea Party supporters trust scientists on the findings relating to climate change, and only a small fraction trust scientists on vaccines. Tea Party voters tend to have significant weight in selection of Representatives to Congress from "safe" Republican districts. Thus there is a wing of the members of the lower Chamber of the Congress that don't trust the consensus of scientists on two important issues (and perhaps more issues that were not subjects of this study). Moreover, the Democrats tend to trust scientific consensus more than Republicans, but Republicans are in the majority in both chambers of the Congress.

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