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Fallible science

May 2012

Fallible science

Confidence in science has declined steadily among Americans who consider themselves conservatives, while confidence levels have been at steadier levels for other ideological groups.
    The study, published in the April issue of the American sociological review, provides fresh ammunition for those who complain that conservative views on issues such as climate change are at odds with the scientific consensus.
    Gordon Gauchat, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina, said, ‘When people want to define themselves as conservatives relative to moderates and liberals, you often hear them raising questions about the validity of global warming and evolution, and talking about how intellectual elites and scientists don’t necessarily have the whole truth’.
    People who identified themselves as conservatives voiced more confidence in science than moderates or liberals in 1974, but by 2010, that level had fallen by more than 25 per cent.


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