GSS participants were asked about their confidence in the scientific community. Forty-three percent answered "a great deal," fifty percent said "only some," and 7 percent said "hardly any."
To identify predictors of confidence, I lumped the second and third answers into one low-confidence category, and conducted binary logistic regression analysis. Here is my list of predictors:
Logistic regression coefficients (sample size = 1,435)
Church attendance -.05*
* statistically significant at the 95% confidence level, two tail test
**statistically signficant at the 99% confidence level, two-tail test
Keep in mind that these are net effects--the impact of each predictor after the influence of the other predictors has been removed.
Females, blacks, conservatives and religious people tend to have less faith in science than their counterparts. By contrast, people who are smart and educated have more confidence. Age, Hispanicity, and income do not matter. The strongest predictors are race and education. There is a large difference between blacks and whites. Adjusting for the other factors (e.g., IQ and education) blacks are still more skeptical of science. This might be due to their greater religious fundamentalism and fear of scientific abuse. Or the explanation might be as simple as greater suspicion of (white) institutions in general.
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