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In addition, law professor Dan Kahan and his colleagues at the Yale Cultural Cognition Project have shown that the strong urge to avoid scientific and technological risk is far more characteristic of people who have egalitarian and communitarian values, that is to say, left-leaning folks.
Everybody has values that they are anxious to protect and everybody, including liberals (and libertarians!), struggles with confirmation bias. The operation of the scientific process is the only effective way humanity has devised for overcoming bias and figuring out reality. In most cases the scientific method can reduce, but not eliminate, uncertainties, and correct mistakes as we go along. Unfortunately, as the autism/vaccine scare shows, unscientific approaches such as the precautionary principle actually feed into the confirmation biases associated with left-wing ideology.
So who is more anti-science, Democrats or Republicans? On the specific issues discussed above, I conclude that the Republicans are more anti-science. However, Berezow is right that scientific “ignorance has reached epidemic proportions inside the Beltway.”
Ronald Bailey is reason's science correspondent.