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Are Republicans or Democrats More Anti-Science?

Reason TV talks with California progressives about what happens when science meets politics.

It's popular to portray the GOP as the anti-science party and Democrats as the sane, "party of science" alternative. And only 6 percent of scientists identified as Republicans, according to a 2009 Pew Research poll, which seems to be the most recent one on the topic. But the truth is that when science and politics meet, the result often isn't pretty, regardless of partisan affiliation.

Reason TV asked locals in Venice, California about their thoughts on various scientific policy questions and compared their answers to public opinion poll data. We found that many people favored mandatory labeling of food that contains DNA, the stuff of life contained in just about every morsel of fruit, vegetable, grain, or meat humans consume. Yet a recent survey out of the University of Florida found that 80 percent of respondents favor mandatory DNA labeling, only slightly below the 85 percent that favor labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). While Republicans are divided evenly on the GMO question, Democrats rate them unsafe by a 26-point margin, despite almost 2,000 studies spanning a decade saying otherwise.

Republicans are more skeptical of the theory of evolution, though by a surprisingly slim margin with 39 percent of them rejecting it as compared to 30 percent of Democrats. When it comes to other scientific matters, the waters are even muddier. For instance, Democrats and Republicans believe in the false link between vaccines and autism at roughly equal levels.

And it's largely liberal Democratic politicians pushing anti-vaping laws, despite public health agencies estimating e-cigarettes to be around 95% safer than conventional tobacco cigarettes and early evidence they help smokers quit. And vaping products don't contain any tobacco or its resultant tar, yet the FDA still wants to treat them as tobacco products.

The big science policy issue of the day, though, seems to be global warming. Sixty-four percent of Democrats believe in man-made global warming, while only 22 percent of Republicans do. But when it comes to realistic solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Democrats still aren't always science-minded.

Only 45 percent of Democrats support expanding the use of nuclear energy, as compared to 62 percent of Republicans, despite the fact that except for Chernobyl, not a single person, including nuclear workers, has ever died due to a commercial nuclear reactor accident.

Burning natural gas extracted through fracking is cleaner than oil or gasoline, and far more economically viable than non-nuclear renewable sources. And it emits half as much carbon dioxide, less than one-third the nitrogen oxides, and 1 percent as much sulfur oxides as coal combustion.

The ongoing switch from coal to natural gas to generate electricity is a primary driver of the reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by half a billion tons over the last decade, according to the EPA, which also has found no systemic evidence that fracking contaminates water tables. The U.S. Geological Survey found that fracking can cause "extremely small earthquakes, but they are almost always too small to be a safety concern," though larger earthquakes can result when operations dispose of wastewater by injecting it deep into the ground.

So maybe it's not that Republicans are dumber than Democrats when it comes to science, or the other way around, but that both sides have blind spots when data-based evidence contradicts their political preferences.

Watch the full video above, or scroll down for downloadable version. Subscribe to Reason TV for daily content like this.

Produced by Zach Weissmueller and Justin Monticello. Additional graphics by Josh Swain. Music by Adam Selzer and Chris Zabriskie. Approximately 8 minutes.

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  • Dennis, Constitutional Peasant||

    THIS IS A TRICK QUESTION ONLY NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON KNOWS THE ANSWER

  • Free Market Socialist $park¥||

    We're doomed.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    I doubt that he knows the real answer is 42.

  • timbo||

    Its not so much anti-science but rather sheer stupidity.
    As these things can all still be labeled theory, only a moron would advocate utter destruction of the economy over things like global cooling or suing companies out of existence for have personal opinions. Or advocate for civil unrest and lack of rational discourse over something as trivial and unimportant as gay cakes or made up genders for bathroom lawsuits.

    We are far beyond science in this country. We have so far reverted back to the stone ages that science is moot.
    The enlightenment is over as we are witnessing stupidity and barbarity on a daily increasing scale. We may even be in the midst of a crusade by psycho religious fanatics.

    I think it is safe to say that science is irrelevant to brain washed troops on either side of the isle. They have been trained to dismiss rational argument and valid discussion of the merits of science.

  • robc||

    At my undergrad engineering university, Rs outnumbered Ds.

    Does that help answer the question?

  • ||

    I know a few engineers (my Pa being one), and they're pretty much conservative/libertarian.

    Seems like it's the pure research types that are more liberal - physicists, etc.

  • Atanarjuat||

    I've noticed that anecdotally as well, although their educations and research are often government funded so it may be simple survival instinct.

  • NoVaNick||

    ^This^

    I was once a Ph.D. student in cell biology. Most scientists believe that democrats are better at funding research, although it turns out that both parties are about equal despite the R party's talk about small government. They don't want to be against funding a cure for cancer. This is a noble goal, but a lot of that money gets wasted on overhead (universities keep about half the grant for admin. costs).

  • robc||

    I have also noticed. However, it is often a academia/private sector split.

    For example, to pick a social science, private sector economists tend to be much more conservative (fiscally) than academic economists.

  • ||

    However, it is often a academia/private sector split.

    Bingo. Which is why AAAS surveys are bullshit- they almost completely exclude private-sector scientists (like me).

  • Zeb||

    I don't know. Most of the engineers I work with seem to be pretty left-leaning or apolitical (or have the good taste not to bring up politics at work). Most are pretty young, though, so maybe it's shifted.

  • invisible finger||

    Civil engineers don't count.

  • Zeb||

    Well, I don't work with any of them.

  • rxc||

    I think that it is more the "social scientists" who exist in large numbers (and are largely unemployable) who are in favor of "social justice science". They know nothing of real science, and take the position that if there is a consensus opinion, then the "science is settled". They do not understand that if something is "settled" by consensus, it is not science, and that nothing in real science is EVER "settled".

    Oh, and BTW, engineers are not scientists. I am one, and I use real scientific methods and data to evaluate the safety of nuclear power plants, but IANAS.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Mike Pence is anti-science.

  • commoditous||

    Who?

  • ||

    Another anecdote: progressives pitched a FIT, and absolute hissy, when data showed global poverty is in a sharp decline. They were really, really upset by that. Sick fucks.

  • Microaggressor||

    You also never hear them celebrating the lack of extreme warming over the last few decades. It's always obfuscating, misdirecting, and hand waving. Almost like their salary depends on it.

  • Marty .||

    at 2:20 in the video: "and they have a lot of heavy religious beliefs that stem from, like, the Bible and "thou shalt not be killed" or whatever"

    wtf

  • ||

    See also, fuck poor blind kids if they happen to be casualties in the fight against GMOs.

  • Tundra||

    I love tossing those fact bombs at family gatherings. The proggies get so agitated when they find out that the number of people dying from dysentery and other unpleasantness has plummeted.

    Doom is their default.

  • ||

    Guinea worm down from 45000 to 22 in ten years, but all they can do is bitch about spraying dispersants on poor people's water.

  • commoditous||

    Zika and similar maladies are the progressive equivalent to blaming hurricanes and earthquakes on the gays. It's our punishment for being unkind to Mother Gaia.

  • This Machine||

    *searches Wikipedia for "guinea worm"*

    Whoa.

    WHOA. That is gnarly. Good riddance.

    *shudders*

  • invisible finger||

    This is why anti-vaxers tend to be progs.

  • NoVaNick||

    Have you ever visited Alex Jones' website? A lot of Christian conservatives are anti-vax too, and many progs are rabidly pro-vaccine to boost their pro-science cred. The survey showed that its about a 50/50 split and I think its pretty accurate.

  • Animal||

    Our oldest daughter is a nurse practitioner. At every family gathering, at least one of her sisters will mention the anti-vaxxers, just to set her off on a 30-minute outburst of rage at the stupidity of not vaccinating your kids.

    We all agree with her, but it's fun to watch.

  • commoditous||

    They were really, really upset by that. Sick fucks.

    Why do you suppose colleges compete for high sexual assault rates?

    Progressives really are twisted.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I find that science, when it is correct, confirms what I feel to be true.

  • WTF||

    Why yes, of course, that's how we know when the science is finally settled.

  • american socialist||

    I'd say liberals. They don't like the idea of getting their foods from big agribusinesses and tend towards an apathy towards fast food. Plus, they don't understand how minimum wage laws in those places are going to bring about the rise of burger- wielding robot Skynet sleeper cells. It's a trifecta of ignorance.

  • See Double You||

    Well, AS believes that if you try the same thing over and over again, the outcome will be different this time.

  • ||

    If liberals don't like the idea of getting their foods from big agribusinesses why do they keep voting for so many subsidies for them?

  • commoditous||

    Just think how much bigger and more considlated agribusiness would be without the federal money spigot.

    /derpderpityderp

  • Eternal Blue Sky||

    The past eleven thousand years of humans genetically altering their food??

    TOTALLY FINE!!

    The past thirty years of humans genetically altering their food??

    OMG SO DANGEROUS!!

    "Big agribusiness" is an interesting focus for me. My fiance had the same opinion: Monsanto is evil because they can abuse copyrights with GMOs and crush small farmers which happen to be downwind. Therefore ban GMOs.

    It sounds no different than conservative complaints on illegal immigration. Immigrants are bad because they could potentially take advantage of the welfare system without paying taxes. Therefore ban immigrants.

    For both situations, ya just don't want to go through the effort of actually FIXING the situation. Monsanto is bad not because of GMOs but because they can easily abuse copyright law WITH their GMOs. Fix the copyright laws, don't ban GMOs.

    Immigrants are only bad if they can take advantage of the welfare system without paying taxes, so the solution is to if the welfare system, not ban immigrants.

    Both you and conservatives see that when Innocuous Thing is combined with Bad Thing you get Really Bad Thing. And both of you opt to get rid of the Innocuous Thing to prevent the Really Bad Thing rather than just fixing the bad copyright laws/defraudable welfare system.

  • This Machine||

    Both you and conservatives see that when Innocuous Thing is combined with Bad Thing you get Really Bad Thing. And both of you opt to get rid of the Innocuous Thing to prevent the Really Bad Thing rather than just fixing the bad copyright laws/defraudable welfare system

    Well, yeah, sure, but how else could you take advantage of the situation to consolidate power in the hands of a few well-connected people?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Which is evident with all the Reason pieces on reforming the welfare state easily outnumbering the number on open borders. Oh wait...

  • OldMexican sine qua non||

    Re: American Stultified,

    I'd say liberals. They don't like the idea of getting their foods from big agribusinesses


    And so they eat grass, I guess?

    Plus, they don't understand how minimum wage laws in those places are going to bring about the rise of burger- wielding robot Skynet sleeper cells. It's a trifecta of ignorance.


    It's actually burger-serving robots. While the kids who can't get jobs continue to sell crack on the streets.

    if there's something that is quite shit-in-your-pants terrifying, is the "love" the Marxians pretend to give unto others. The millions of dead can attest to that.

  • Akira||

    "They don't like the idea of getting their foods from big agribusinesses"

    Really? That's funny, because "liberals" seem to be huge supporters of stringent regulations that make local, small-scale food production really fucking difficult.

    If you want tons of regulations for someone to produce some food on their property and sell it, don't be surprised if only giant corporations (with their professional compliance lawyers) can enter that business. You can't make something difficult and expensive, but then whine that only big corporations are doing it.

  • ||

    Both sides believe they can find more efficiency in allocating resources through a command-and-control economy than in letting a free market do so. They fight over how to meddle, but both agree that meddling is better than not. In stark absence of any evidence.

  • ||

    Why grab power if you can't use it to meddle?

    The main reason why the big L Libertarian party never goes anywhere. How do you get enough people to campaign for you if you can't promise them loot or the power to crush their enemies when you win?

  • WTF||

    What is best in life?
    To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!

  • ||

    What if we promise to leave them alone and not use the system to crush them or enrich their competitors?

  • WTF||

    Where is the satisfaction in not sticking it to your ideological opponents? It's like you haven't even been paying attention to politics or something.

  • ||

    Sadly, the number of people who would like that is vanishingly small compared to the number of people who want to crush their enemies and enrich themselves.

    Everyone thinks they will be on the right side of history. They may have an electoral setback or two, but eventually they will be vindicated and sweep their enemies before them.

  • WTF||

    The greatest joy for a man is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all they possess, to see those they love in tears, to ride their horses, and to hold their wives and daughters in his arms.
    - Genghis Khan
  • Zeb||

    They've been meddling for years and the world hasn't come to an end. What other evidence do you need? Obviously without all the meddling, the world would have come to an end by now.

  • Idle Hands||

    The big science policy issue of the day, though, seems to be global warming. Sixty-four percent of Democrats believe in man-made global warming, while only 22 percent of Republicans do.

    I can nearly guarantee that this is because of what policy prescriptions will follow if you even admit there could be a problem. It's not based on denying science so much as the political repercussions of admitting there could be something going on.

  • Idle Hands||

    Republicans are more skeptical of the theory of evolution, though by a surprisingly slim margin with 39 percent of them rejecting it as compared to 30 percent of Democrats. When it comes to other scientific matters, the waters are even muddier. For instance, Democrats and Republicans believe in the false link between vaccines and autism at roughly equal levels.

    This is frankly retarded.

  • WTF||

    A huge number of both Republicans and Democrats are scientifically illiterate.
    (Looks for shocked face)

  • Zeb||

    I find that most people don't actually know what science is or what it does. And have no interest in learning either.

  • Zeb||

    Those figures are all pretty amazing.

  • DesigNate||

    To be fair, most people don't fully understand the theory of evolution.

    That's why we have terms like Social Darwinism and posters in classrooms (granted this was like 30 years ago) with a chimp on one end and a modern human on the other.

  • Akira||

    I think it's funny that "progressives" use the term "social Darwinism" like a nasty smear. They're basically admitting that they believe in the socioeconomic equivalent of young Earth creationism.

  • Akira||

    I think it's funny that "progressives" use the term "social Darwinism" like a nasty smear. They're basically admitting that they believe in the socioeconomic equivalent of young Earth creationism.

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

    Yeah, Democrats only believe in evolution under certain circumstances.

  • commoditous||

    +1,000,000 common-sense gun restrictions

  • ||

    +1 Known fact: Life begins just this side of any/all vaginas.

  • Citizen X||

    -1 petit mort

  • Zeb||

    And 64% leaves a lot of skeptical Democrats.

  • Entelechy||

    How many of these Climateers are likely to vote for Trump?

    http://vvattsupwiththat.blogsp.....-blog.html

  • ||

    Republicans are more skeptical of the theory of evolution, though by a surprisingly slim margin with 39 percent of them rejecting it as compared to 30 percent of Republicans

    So, where do Democrats stand on this?

    Also, the surprisingly large number of Democrats who reject evolution can probably be attributed to black people. Many of them reject evolution out of hand out or religious reasons. Also, that they were previously thought to be marginally human and frequently compared to nonhuman apes has not helped with their acceptance of this.

  • Citizen X||

    HOW YOU THINK STEVE SMITH FEEL? STEVE SMITH BARELY EVEN HOMINID.

  • WTF||

    STEVE SMITH RAPE HIS WAY TO BEING EVOLVED.

  • Dennis, Constitutional Peasant||

    Republicans are more skeptical of the theory of evolution, though by a surprisingly slim margin with 39 percent of them rejecting it as compared to 30 percent of Republicans

    IF U THINK REPUBLICANS ER DUMB, YOU SHOULD SEE THE REPUBLICANS, OMG THEY LIKE REAL DUMB

  • ||

    Sad!

  • ||

    Now fixed. You're welcome H&R staff.

  • See Double You||

    Are Republicans or Democrats More Anti-Science?

    That's like asking whether one prefers the giant douche or the turd sandwich.

  • brokencycle||

    This article is posted like once a month.

  • This Machine||

    Hey, it's a Friday afternoon. You wanna waste good drinking time coming up with something original?

  • commoditous||

    This article is posted like once a month.

    How would you know? Wait... you actually read them?

  • Citizen X||

    Are Republicans or Democrats More Anti-Science?

    Well, who Fucking Loves Science the most?

  • AlexInCT||

    Scientologists?

  • Idle Hands||

  • You Sound Like a Prog (MJG)||

    *standing ovation*

  • WTF||

    Maybe if you add some tongue and a couple of prolapsed colons.

  • commoditous||

    +2 pink socks

  • Enough About Palin||

    I don't believe they put up the billboard to plant peace. Rather, it's a big, smug "FUCK YOU!"

  • Zeb||

    Who's the other guy supposed to be? Pat Buchanan?

  • commoditous||

    Pretty sure it's meant to be Cruz, but you're right, the illustrator gives Bok a run for his money.

  • Dennis, Constitutional Peasant||

    The question is stupid anyway; no one is "Anti-science" as science is just a theory with no inherent content. What people object to politically are scientific ideas which run counter to their political/cultural assumptions.

    the question of whether or not these objections matter is whether their views affect actual public-policy.

    'Evolution' isn't about science so much as a poll of people's religiosity. It otherwise has no policy implications. people who question the authority of the theory of evolution have no similar doubts about say, "electromagnetism", and aren't convinced that their calculator runs on Jesus's love. their view isn't inherently pro or con "science".

    GMO, on the other hand, is a matter of feeding the entire planet. and food-luddites are willing to let millions starve for the sake of their bourgeois fantasy of 'natural-ness'

    Are these respective attitudes supposed to be seen as "equal" because of their narrow scope? or is one far more disproportionately dangerous in how it affects the lives of other?

  • Zeb||

    As I mention above, I don't think it's so much that anyone is pro- or anti-science, but rather that most people really don't understand what science is and don't care to. They see it as just another belief system rather than as a method to find consistent patterns in the world.

  • This Machine||

    'Evolution' isn't about science so much as a poll of people's religiosity. It otherwise has no policy implications.

    Well, where's the fun in that?

  • Dennis, Constitutional Peasant||

    Yes, it unfortunately dilutes the ability for morons to stand up and go "HURR DURR ME A TRUCK DRIVER THAT BELIEVE IN THE DARWINS WHICH MEANS ME SMARTER THAN THE PHD IN DIVINITY WHAT LECTURES IN MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY GAAGGHGH"

    The same people who prance around patting themselves on the back about their passion for "Evolution" are often the same people who will turn and lecture you that biological differences are meaningless and that gender is entirely a social-construct. Their interest in each subject has nothing to do with "Science" and everything to do with its political utility to whop people over head with.

  • Glide||

    despite the fact that except for Chernobyl, not a single person, including nuclear workers, has ever died

    Okay, I agree with this sentiment and I still laughed at how comically terrible this wording is for persuading anyone to agree.

  • ||

    Sixty-four percent of Democrats believe in man-made global warming, while only 22 percent of Republicans do.

    Here's the problem- of the 78% of Republicans who don't profess belief in AGW, what proportion are certain that there's no AGW and what proportion think that we have no clue so can't buy into the pro-AGW certainty while not denying its possibility? The former group is as faith-based as the AGW believers, the latter group is actually rational. Are there more rational Republicans? Who can tell from this story?

  • ATXChappy||

    "...but that both sides have blind spots when data-based evidence contradicts their political preferences."

    ^this^

    It's that bubble that Bill Maher likes to talk about but somehow doesn't see himself in. Unfortunately, instead of trying to convince people with facts and evidence. They use the current political tactic of dividing, then discrediting their detractors. it's gotten to the point where the true partisans have convinced their side that if information doesn't comes from a source affiliated with their preferred political party, they will just never believe it. Two good examples of this are the current situation with BLM and the HRC email fiasco. Team red just will not believe anything about the police that looks bad for the LEO's unless they have irrefutable video. And, team blue won't believe anything HRC did was bad because they don't have an email where someone admits guilt. I run into this all the time with my partisan friends. You point out some piece of evidence, and the response is usually "where did you read that, faux news?" Or, or "Oh, you read that on Salon, It's the lying liberal media deceiving you".

  • OldMexican sine qua non||

    Re: ATXChappy,

    It's that bubble that Bill Maher likes to talk about but somehow doesn't see himself in. Unfortunately, instead of trying to convince people with facts and evidence.


    Of course, but the lesson here is that whereas the ignorance peddled from the so-called "Right" does not involve throwing virgins to the angry Volcano God, the left is hitting everybody on the head with their favorite anti-scientific claptrap, all in the name of finally implementing Socialism, under the guise that only Socialism will save mankind (or the Earth, whatever). This despite the extremely terrible and horrifying environmental record of past socialist governments.

    You also have as evidence the downright authoritarian stance the left takes when it comes to defending their cherished "settled-science" beliefs; their actions are now clear examples of lysenkoism.

  • Mongo||

    Those hippie chycks in the vid are wouldable.

  • Dennis, Constitutional Peasant||

    here's the correct answer to any question of the intersection of science and politics:

    "One doesn't trump the other"

    As this Reuters editorial helpfully put it =

    Science is vital — but rarely sufficient for making policy decisions. There are two key reasons. First, though scientific information is essential for understanding matters of fact, it can't be the sole basis for making policy decisions about what should be. Second, when predicting health risks, scientists can never have complete information, so bureaucrats must make assumptions and judgments when they interpret scientific information to set rules.

    [The] pretense that science alone can determine [X] virtually guarantees the scientization of policy. It effectively forces those involved in regulatory decisions to hide rather than reveal scientific uncertainty, and to dismiss and denigrate dissenting views. Key policy choices, disguised as science, rest with technical staff, while policymakers charged with making hard decisions avoid responsibility by claiming their hands were tied by the science.

    This has evolved into an adversarial process characterized by harsh rhetoric in which each party claims that science supports its preferred policy outcome and questions opponents' credibility and motives rather than a constructive discussion regarding very real tradeoffs.

    "Tradeoffs" being by definition, political decisions.

  • Dennis, Constitutional Peasant||

    The link. the author was looking mainly at "ozone standards" and the Clean Air Act as her case example

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Meanwhile, over at the Blind Pig desk, a NYT writer (not, obviously, on the op-ed staff) has a pretty good article about GMOs. He points out how confusing it is for the "science community" that their lefty allies on global warming have completely jumped the tracks on agricultural science.

    At stake is how to grow healthful food most efficiently, at a time when a warming world and a growing population make that goal all the more urgent.

    Scientists, who have come to rely on liberals in political battles over stem-cell research, climate change and the teaching of evolution, have been dismayed to find themselves at odds with their traditional allies on this issue. Some compare the hostility to G.M.O.s to the rejection of climate-change science, except with liberal opponents instead of conservative ones.

    "These are my people, they're lefties, I'm with them on almost everything," said Michael Shintaku, a plant pathologist at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, who testified several times against the bill. "It hurts."

  • WTF||

    At stake is how to grow healthful food most efficiently, at a time when a warming world and a growing population make that goal all the more urgent.

    Well, a warmer world is generally better for growing food, so there is that.

  • ||

    "...a warming world..."

    Thermometers disagree.

  • SimonD||

    ...and more CO2 is better for growing food as well. In fact, greenhouse owners often artificially increase the CO2 concentrations in their buildings for just that purpose.

  • JaimeRoberto||

    I wouldn't assume that lefties want to feed a growing population.

  • rxc||

    The progressives do NOT want to produce ANYTHING more efficiently. They want things to be produced at the highest possible cost, in order to limit consumption.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Margaret Wille, 66, had the island's best interests at heart when she proposed the ban, Mr. Ilagan knew.

    She majored in cultural anthropology at Bennington College in Vermont and practiced public advocacy law in Maine before moving a decade ago to the island, where her brothers once owned a health food store.

    She means well. It's just that those dumb pigfuckers out there in the jungle don't know what's good for them.

  • Ron||

    Are you sure no one has ever died from a nuclear accident beyond chernoble. ever heard of Fukashima, those people there might not be dead toady but their lives will definatly be shorter and their pain will be greater. and I think I can find several other case but who has that time

  • WTF||

    A major earthquake combined with a tsunami counts as a nuclear accident? Really?

  • WTF||

    By the way, your spelling, grammar, and rigorous citation of fact and example have convinced me of your scientific acumen.

  • Eternal Blue Sky||

    Two incidents in a hundred years.

    One a result of communism mismanaging everything as usual.

    The other a result of the fifth most powerful earthquake in recorded history.

    Comparatively, that's pretty safe.

  • rxc||

    Do you have the names of any particular people who will suffer this pain, other than those who have been terroized by the media and politicians screaming about "fiendishly toxic radiation"? It will be interesting to follow the people you name to see how your prediction turns out. THAT would be truly scientific.

  • ||

    "Are Republicans or Democrats More Anti-Science?"

    Yes. And I have been bitching about it for ten years while watching it get worse and worse.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    not a single person, including nuclear workers, has ever died

    Tell that to the guys in Arco, Idaho.

  • ||

    I'm not sure that Arco qualifies as a commercial nuclear reactor accident.

  • ||

    Arco appears to have been an experimental rather than a commercial nuclear facility.

    There have been any number of deaths resulting from nuclear research going back to Mme Curie and before.

    Nuclear stuff tends to be dangerous. The question is; can it be done with proper safeguards (and the answer generally seems to be, YES)?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    We're only talking commercial reactors, specifically western designs. Lots of thungs are dangerous if misused. Pools for instance.

  • ||

    That's my point.

  • rxc||

    What about all the people who are injured (and killed) by bicycles? They should be banned, as well. Unless you are a SJW, and happen to notice that the major demographic for bicycle deaths is adult white males. So nothing is done about this killer technology, because it is effectively wiping out the oppressors.

  • ||

    Isn't it more that Republicans tend to be anti-science and Democrats tend to be anti-engineering?

  • ||

    Democrats tend to be anti-engineering?

    Does social engineering count as engineering or not?

  • OldMexican sine qua non||

    Re: JohnEMack,

    Isn't it more that Republicans tend to be anti-science and Democrats tend to be anti-engineering?


    "We're raping Gaia!" sounds remotely scientific to you?

    And it is just not your usual cadre of Hippies and dope-heads repeating that mantra ad nauseam. You also have people who should know better yet lie to us - that would be actual fucking scientists. What ties them together is their belief in the infallibility of Marxianism.

  • ||

    No, there are plenty of engineers and contractors who want increased spending on "infrastructure", whether "new" shit or "replacement" shit.

    The whole "our infrastructure is crumbling" schtick comes from a lobbying effort by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)and the

  • ||

    [continued]:

    American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

    Private, as well as public lobbying groups want to get their snouts into the federal slop tough.

    And it's a bipartisan effort.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    oon after, health physicists arrived with protective clothing, respirators and better radiation detectors. Finally, two men managed to reach the top of the stairs. They saw that the floor was covered in water from the reactor and littered with bits of broken equipment. One of the night workers, Jack Byrnes, was dead, and McKinley was lying on the ground moaning. The third operator, Richard Legg, was nowhere to be seen.

    The rescuers reconvened outside to formulate a rescue plan. They knew McKinley likely wouldn't survive, but they had to attempt a rescue anyway. Four men ran in with a stretcher, carted McKinley to a truck and then transferred him to an ambulance. McKinley died a couple of minutes later. Not knowing exactly what to do with the highly radioactive body, the rescue team asked the ambulance driver to park the vehicle in the desert, away from the highway. There, they swaddled the body in lead blankets so that McKinley could be driven to a more secure location.

    Later that night, rescuers found Legg. He had been pinned to the ceiling by a piece of metal, which had flown off the reactor during the explosion. It took several days, a highly trained team and a crane to remove Legg's body from the silo.

    Fuckin Hell.

  • This Machine||

    A memo written by an employee at the Atomic Energy Commission hints at another possibility: murder-suicide prompted by a love triangle. Although it is true that Byrnes' marriage was falling apart, no one has ever uncovered evidence of a romantic link between Byrnes' wife and either of the other two men.

    This is what I'd heard happened (from my brother, a reactor operator). Dude lost his mind and started pulling rods from the core while it was active. The rod ejected with such force it pinned him to ceiling.

    "He started as an engineer, ended up a chandelier," is what my brother said.

  • This Machine||

    Point being, I don't think the Arco incident is included in death total caused by nuclear accidents, because it was itself not an accident but a deliberate act of sabotage - or so the evidence suggests.

  • DarrenM||

    This seems to be another fear the public has. That someone will sabotage a nuclear power station and it will blow up, or at least melt down such that the entire area will be radioactive for a long time.

  • Enough About Palin||

    Reminds me of an incident a friend who worked for the NSA in Antarctica related. It was permissible to cross-country ski, but only on marked trails. Two guys ignored this and took a shortcut. Both went down a crevasse. Went down a good forty feet or so. One guy was killed instantly because he fell head-first and his head slammed and wedged into an ever-narrowing space. The other guy went feet-first so it was his body that became wedged in at the bottom. he lived for about six hours, dying before they were able to finish pulling him out.

  • ||

  • Jackand Ace||

    This really is an old story that proves and accomplishes nothing. Dems accuse Repubs and vice versa. And libertarians accuse both.

    What would be more cogent is taking your own to task. Ever read the comments here from libertarians on climate change? Republicans are advanced compared to your compatriots on climate science.

    But I do get a kick out of your "realistic solutions." Nuclear isn't roundly rejected from the left. But some do for a whole host of reasons, including excessive cost and cost overruns, all while renewable costs keep falling. So for some, the more realistic solution is solar.

    So let's try "realistic solutions" for you. Increased investment from government into renewable energy research is considered doable, and much needed. In fact scientists are asking for it.

    How about that one? Yeah, I didn't think so. I guess libertarians don't like "realistic solutions." Realistic is always in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

  • OldMexican sine qua non||

    Re: Jackass Ass,

    This really is an old story that proves and accomplishes nothing. Dems accuse Repubs and vice versa. And libertarians accuse both.


    Our accusations are much more sound.

    Ever read the comments here from libertarians on climate change?


    You mean "Volcano God Angry, Must Serve It Virgins" that the left peddles? Yeah, I've read comments about that.

    Nuclear isn't roundly rejected from the left.


    We've got our "Head-In-Sand" award winner here!

  • Jackand Ace||

    Better yet, a carbon tax. How is that one for you?

  • OldMexican sine qua non||

    Re: Jackass Ass,

    Better yet, a carbon tax. How is that one for you?


    Don't tell me - taxes are the cost we pay for civilization. Or they're meant to discourage consumption of sinful things. Or payment for services rendered by government.

    Once Marxians make up their mind on their bullshit, perhaps I can consider it. In the meantime, all taxes are clearly part of rent-seeking schemes from politicians. Al Gore would approve.

  • DesigNate||

    No matter how many times you watermelons try to make it so, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant and you can't possibly quantify how much of it a person uses in any meaningful way.

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|7.15.16 @ 1:55PM|#
    "Better yet, a carbon tax. How is that one for you?"

    Stuff your tax up your butt.

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    So let's try "realistic solutions" for you. Increased investment from government into renewable energy research is considered doable, and much needed. In fact scientists are asking for it.

    What? Scientists are asking for huge financial grants from the government for work their already doing and with no adverse consequences if they squander it Solyndra-style?

    That. Changes. Everything. EVERYTHING

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Greed energy is so affordable we can't build it without susbidies. Funny how that works. And the left is rabidly anti-nukular.

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|7.15.16 @ 1:36PM|#
    "So let's try "realistic solutions" for you. Increased investment from government into renewable energy research is considered doable, and much needed. In fact scientists are asking for it."

    Oh, look! Shitbag says more government is a 'realistic solution' supported by people who benefit from it!
    It's amazing what a low-watt intelligence spouts, isn't it?
    No, it isn't.

  • Greg F||

    So let's try "realistic solutions" for you. Increased investment from government into renewable energy research is considered doable, and much needed. In fact scientists are asking for it.

    The fact that you actually believe 'renewable energy' is a "realistic" solution proves you have no clue how electricity is produced and distributed.

  • Eternal Blue Sky||

    I don't think anyone's pro-science. Everyone just likes looking pro-science and will pay scientists to agree with them. Mankind in this age thinks scientists are magical truth-machines, and want at all cost for the modern-day wizard class to agree with them.

  • OldMexican sine qua non||

    Re: Eternal Blue Sky,

    I don't think anyone's pro-science.


    I'm pro-science. I'm not pro-bullshit, and I am certainly not pro-precautionary principle which seems to be the M.O. of the Marxian left to hobble economic progress so as not to make their own terrifying failures that much obvious.

    There's a big difference between Christian fundies no believing in evolution and quite another having a bunch of Marxians (whose heads orbit around planet Marx) pushing for policies that would destroy the lives of countless hundreds of millions, all because the Volcano God is angry(*).

    (*) Climatey-Changey

  • Derp-o-Matic 5000||

    It's anti-science all the way down.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "He started as an engineer, ended up a chandelier," is what my brother said.

    Excellent.

    *Other than the compulsion to point out the factual error, this bizarre tragedy in no way affects my feelings toward nuclear power generation. The SL1 (small scale distributed power stations) concept is something I think deserves renewed study.

  • Citizen X||

    I, for one, can't wait to power my home with my very own Mr. Fusion.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I don't think the Arco incident is included in death total caused by nuclear accidents, because it was itself not an accident but a deliberate act of sabotage - or so the evidence suggests.

    Harrumph!

  • ||

    It also was not "a commercial nuclear reactor accident".

    Jesus tapdancing fucking Christ. How many fucking times do I have to point this out??????????????????

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: Are Republicans or Democrats More Anti-Science?
    Reason TV talks with California progressives about what happens when science meets politics.

    Both parties are not anti-science.
    We must believe what they tell is science and what is not.
    After all, that's why they are in power.
    To tell us what is real and beneficial, what is good for us because all of us little people are intrinsically stupid and couldn't possibly exist with an army of government bureaucrats, politicians and their cronies micromanaging our meaningless lives.
    It is a shame indeed we are not forced to give more of our hard earned tax dollars to our masters so they could share even more of their wisdom with us.

  • Eric||

    I'm tired of both sides using the term "science" incorrectly. Science is simply a method used to test a hypothesis.

    A better question is "Which side bases their decisions upon evidence found while using the scientific method, and which side does not?"

  • lap83||

    Probably neither.

  • lap83||

    So is one either with science or against science?

  • Don Escaped Texas||

    I'm a mechanical engineer with 30 years in. In the US my generation is Republican: pro-business.
    I'm not; I'm a rationalist; I was born with a Constitutional constitution that resists central decision-making.

    Science, though, doesn't serve anyone; spin does, of course.

    Most people (including engineers and scientists) are too poor at math to understand anything more than practical averages and safety factors. They know that a sphere dropped from rest will pretty much fall 4.9meters in the next second....not much more.

    But climate study isn't one formula carefully applied within Newtonian limits; it's a big pile of factors, many counterbalancing, that somewhat model what is going on, but no one will bet me that they can predict the temperature at the Peoria airport at 2pm next July 4. For now, global models are like economic forecasts: more time is needed to explain why they were wrong than was invested in making the original prediction. So why would we turn our society and economy on its head when really good theory-of-everything is yet to evolve and justify the changes?

    I suspect that
    * man is affecting climate
    * we are getting better at minimizing impact per capita
    * population growth is outstripping the per capita impact
    * this all would be fixed if we killed six or so billion folk
    * our general ecology will survive the next century while we learn more and improve our options
    but there just isn't the data to prove or plan much with yet.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "Sixty-four percent of Democrats believe in man-made global warming,"

    Given the amount of inaccuracy, fudging, and outright fraud that has gone on on the side the claims to have "proven" man made global warming, combined with the ostentatiously anti-science assertion "the science is settled", that means Sixty-four percent pf Democrats are gullible dupes.

  • Zeb||

    Again, "believe in" can mean a lot of different things. If all of those people believe every single claim ever made about global warming/climate change, then I'd probably agree with you. If, as seem more likely, many of them simply believe that it is more likely than not that people have some effect on climate that causes temperatures to be a bit higher than they otherwise would be, then not so much.

    If someone were to ask me "do you believe in man made global warming?", I'd probably say "yes". However, I don't think anything is settled or that most predictions are worth a shit.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I believe that a) the people pushing the notion of man made global warming are fundamentally dishonest and have totally subverted the scientific process b) the policies they claim will "save" us are so fundamentally anti-freedom that they should be opposed, even if we end up living on boats and c) if every proponent of "global warming" died tomorrow, themaverage IQ of the species would jump at least a tenth of a point.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Lighten up, Francis.

  • ||

    I will when you do.

  • BenGaska||

    I think it's interesting, I wonder how many people just said "I don't know." I feel like for most of those, except probably the vaping one, I would just have to say "I don't know."

  • bpuharic||

    Opposing evolution is ooposition to the METHODS of science and stands apart from other issues. Creationists want to replace scince with christian theology. And thete are good readons to oppose nuclear power, as noted consevative economist Veronique de Rugy pointed out in "National Review"... Hardly a liberal publication.

    Consevatives are anti science because they think free market economics is more scientific than quantum physics

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    You obviously know jack shit about quantum physics or economics......

  • ScottyBoman||

    [PART 1] I am the political director of the Libertarian Party of Michigan, but my paid job is being a professor of Astronomy, Physics, and Math at three colleges. So both the scientist and Libertarian in me were very disappointed in this article, but mostly the scientist.

    As a Libertarian I am just weary of the constant false dichotomy between Democrats and Republicans being pushed by the mainstream media, I read Reason to get away from that, not to get more of it.

    The author is classifying the conclusions of some scientists as unscientific while classifying those of others as scientific. So the rubric for finding out whether or not Party D or Party R is scientific, depends on whether or not they agree with the author. (To be continued)

  • ScottyBoman||

    [Part 2] Science is a method of learning truth, not a dogmatic list of beliefs. While some of these conclusions, like the existence of evolution, are only controversial among those motivated by religion, other ideas are far from a true consensus. And even where there is a consensus, the information available may not justify such a smug attitude toward the conclusion. This auther seems quite smug about the truth

    Sure labeling food that contains DNA is silly since any fungus, vegetable, or meat will contain it, but GMO labels? It seems like this has more to do with how one views the free market and the nature of fraud then whether or not GMOs are harmful. Ingredients don't have to be harmful to be listed. This is simply a matter of accurately representing the product being sold. If I sell something as a vegetable, and it contains an animal gene, the consumer should be informed of this. Or perhaps one might oppose the label and insist that anything goes in the marketplace, and that the consumer should have the product tested if he or she really wants to know what he or she is buying. But neither of these views is unscientific. And did you really look at 2000 studies (nice round number) saying GMOs have no harmful consequences? (To be continued)

  • ScottyBoman||

    [Part 3] Evolutionary biologists identify over-specialization as the number one cause of extinction. If our food supply depends on a relatively small gene pool of cloned organisms, the lack of genetic diversity alone could be devastating. If a disease comes along that can overcome the GMO crops, then these could be a famine that would last for months (or less if an alternative is not found). There is also the damage to soil done by using pesticides that kill anything that is not GMO. This further imposes an over-specialization on the food supply. The 2000 studies you read say different?

    I gather these authors subscribe to the man-made global warming hypothesis (MMGWH). While I would not be surprised to learn that the climate has been getting warmer since the last ice age (and I expect that to continue until we get closer to the next one), there really is no definitive evidence that the expected warming trend is being measurably accelerated by humans. To properly do so requires a comparison of the current inter-glacial period to the current one. This is because real science requires a "control" you need to compare two equivalent situations where the only significant difference is the variable in question. (to be continued)

  • ScottyBoman||

    [Part 4] In this case the variable is human industry. Simply finding an increase in temperature since the last major ice age (glaciation) shows nothing. Even comparing pre and post industrial trends doesn't do it, because the temperature increase observed (say in the past 100 years) may have occurred anyway.

    Whenever I read scientific literature on this matter, either the authors have failed to do the proper comparison to prior interglacial periods, or they talk around the results (probably to keep their government funding). The collision between government and science hurts, but in a different way then you address here. If one looks at the so-called consensus on the MMGWH one finds a close correlation to government funding. Look outside the Inter-GOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change and the results may not be so uniform. The fact is that scientist who challenge the MMGWH may face disciplinary action or other harassment, which is fundamentally anti-scientific.

    There are even entertainment-scientists like Bill Nye the Science Guy who smugly proclaims that industry makes CO2 (actually CO that combines with O2 to form CO2), and CO2 causes the green house so duh! Humans cause the warming. Nye's efforts to over-simplify the topic to the point of omitting critical facts is out-right pseudo-science. What did he omit? A few things, but I will just bring up plants. (to be continued)

  • ScottyBoman||

    [Part 5]All of those fossil fuels that are at the center of this controversy are the result of plants that prospered during the CARBONiferous period. A previous Ice Age had killed off lots of plant life, volcanoes kept adding CO2 to the atmosphere. This CO2 created a more extreme greenhouse effect than anything observed by humans on Earth. The result was the melting of ice (of course), but ift didn't keep getting hotter. Why? Plants grow much better in a CO2 rich environment; they use it for photosynthesis while adding oxygen to the atmosphere. We have had ice ages since then. So Bill Nye should know darn well that any increase in atmospheric CO2 will stimulate plant growth which will in turn reduce atmospheric CO2.

    I don't pretend to disprove MMGWH here. I am open to the possibility it is correct. It is just that the manner in which this topic is handled has become pseudo-scientific. As a scientist, I am not wedded to a conclusion, I look at facts critically and reach a conclusion based on them.

    Try doing likewise.

    One thought to bring to the next such article, there is no such thing as settled science. True science is never settled; it is a process. [END]

  • GamerFromJump||

    Thank Arceus they kept Soave away from this one; he'd be having a conniption fit.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Well, you can see from the answers to me above libertarians aren't any better at grasping science, and are even worse at accepting "realistic solutions."

    But you tried.

  • Trollificus||

    Well, it seems neither Ds nor Rs are especially fond of "science" except insofar as it supports their political positions. And this seems about equally applicable to the purported "sides".

    As a tie-breaker, we might consider suppression of sociobiological research into gender and sex differences. Findings of innate, non-socially-constructed differences between the sexes would be hugely unwelcome to the crowd that claims any difference in results between males and females in any endeavor is prima facie proof of discrimination. Never mind that for a "group" to exist as a definable thing, it must needs have unique characteristics which would result in outcomes different from other groups, NOT the result of discrimination, but rather the result of the very aspects of the group that make it a unique group.

    I seem to recall accounts of such research being defunded, or requests for funding being denied, based on the fear that such research might, for instance, explain the dearth of female lumberjacks, aside from the sexist practices of Big Wood.

    As I'm currently involved in a long-term analysis of procrastinative behaviors generated by innate work-avoidance, I don't have any links. sry

  • SQRLSY One||

    In the sexist practice of my Big Wood, I do find female lumberjacks to be VERY jackable! So donna be callin' MEEE sexist.

    PS, how cum the number of pepples in De Gub-Mint prisons is WAAAY highly disproportionately MALE, and when we gonna be fixin' it "by the numbers"?!?!?

  • Rockabilly||

    Top gubmit scientists and experts say marijuana is very bad!

    John Walters, then the Director of ONDCP, Charles G. Curie, then the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and experts and scientists from leading mental health organizations joined together in May 2005 to warn parents about the mental health dangers marijuana poses to teens. According to several recent studies, marijuana use has been linked with depression and suicidal thoughts, in addition to schizophrenia. These studies report that weekly marijuana use among teens 47 doubles the risk of developing depression and triples the incidence of suicidal thoughts.

    http://tinyurl.com/jkh6aet

  • velleity||

    On the issue of warming and fission, we live in a reality with large amounts of background radiation. Replacement of
    coal fired plants with pebble bed or thorium reactors would result in a massive net reduction in the release of aspirable radioactive material. The current estimate is that coal burning plants loft 65,000+ tons of radioactive material per year in the US alone. If there was a conversion, a Fukishima event might occur every month in the US and we still have a net reduction in the release of radioactive material.

    Beyond that, how solar power can power this society without the creation of massive voltaic stacks throughout the country. This is impossible without the creation of a fission backbone to support that much industrial work, or retaining coal plants to power it.

  • CleverAcronym||

    Um, yes?

  • Rockabilly||

    Nation's Largest Teachers Union Endorses Teaching "Climate Justice"

    In May, the Portland, Oregon school board passed the country's first comprehensive "climate justice" resolution. The school board voted unanimously to "abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities," and called for all schools to teach a "climate justice" curriculum. The Portland resolution said that students in city schools "should develop confidence and passion when it comes to making a positive difference in society, and come to see themselves as activists and leaders for social and environmental justice—especially through seeing the diversity of people around the world who are fighting the root causes of climate change..."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....35072.html

  • Entelechy||

    The editors of such conservative must reads as The Weekly Standard and National Review have long repulsed any suggestion that they might benefit from dlegating science editing to, well, scientists, and instead embraced the Metaphysically Correct offerings of The Discovery Institute, and evanglical Dominionists, and PR passthroughs from oil patch pseudocons like the Heartland Institute

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