Saturday, March 28, 2009

Faith in science and social conservatism: In the comments of the first post on evolution and barbarism, Jason Malloy reported his analysis of GSS data which showed that faith in science is correlated with favoring abortion, independent of the influence of a liberal political orientation.

That made me wonder if social liberalism in general is common among those who really trust in science. I found six GSS questions concerning social issues:


Logistic Regression Coefficients, IV = Faith in science

Dependent variable
Prayer in schools -.872**
Suicide if disease is incurable .387**
Favors gun permit law .179
Marijuana should be legalized .416*
Homosexual sex is wrong -1.687**
Courts are not tough enough -.260

** p < .01, two-tailed test
* p < .05, two-tailed test

Except for crime and gun control, faith in science is associated with socially liberal positions. For guns and crime, the direction of the relationship is liberal, but the relationships are not statistically significant.

It looks like there is a strong tension between faith in science on the one hand and traditional morality on the other. Guns and crime are perhaps seen as practical matters, but the rest of these are morally tinged. Perhaps secularists are drawn to science while being turned off by religion.

Of course, we could focus on the religious side of the coin. Ever since Scopes, evangelicals have felt assaulted by science. When told by elites that you must make a choice, science or superstition, religious folks will throw the former overboard. It looks like Dawkins is doing the same thing to Muslims that Mencken did to evangelicals.

1 comment:

Jim Bowery said...

I've pointed out the problem with political questionnaires.

Addressing the present question: There are no real social sciences since there are no real social experiments. Experiments require that propositions be tested, as propositions, with maximally separable control groups. There is this fiction that such is impossible due to the ethics of using humans as experimental subjects, but this is the primary lie upon which authoritarians rely so they can impose their own experiments on others.

The real solution is individual secession coupled with assortative accession into territories supporting mutually consenting experiments testing hypotheses in human ecology and natural ecology.

Fear of the truth coming to light in the social sciences is what really underlies fear of separatism by liberals.