Both my wife and I have degrees in science and put a lot of confidence in the scientific method in which conclusions are based on replicable experiments. All responsible scientists would scoff at conclusions drawn from anything less.
In the April 1 issue of “The L.A. Times,” a short article caught my eye entitled, “Conservatives have lost faith in science, new study shows.” A recent study conducted by the American Sociological Review revealed trust in science among conservatives and frequent churchgoers had plummeted since 1974. Before that time, conservatives had the highest level of trust in scientists. Another striking statistic is confidence in science had declined most among the most educated conservatives.
A Gallop poll conducted also in 2012 found just 30 percent of conservatives believe in global warming. Past surveys among conservatives have shown less than half believe in evolution.
I think because so many political conservatives in the U.S. are evangelical Christians, it is fair to assume their beliefs greatly influence this attitude toward science. My question is “Why and how can such a large segment of our population simply disregard scientific research?”
I can only speculate why intelligent and often well-informed people are eager to treat science so cavalierly and hold it in such low regard, especially considering what science has meant to the betterment of the human condition.
If I had to guess, it is this evangelical group’s willingness to take a “leap of faith,” the very requirement their religious faith requires of them. Don’t think, just believe! Do it, even if it defies reason! Don’t ask questions, just do it! Put your faith in wishful thinking in lieu of facts!
The Bible is a lot of things, but good science, it’s not. For these believers, to abdicate their ability to reason in exchange for biblical inerrancy is, at least to me, a bargain, not with an omniscient God, but with an ignorant devil.
If these people could harmlessly think their unenlightened thoughts in a vacuum, no harm done. Unfortunately, these people vote, run for office, and set national and international policy governing our lives, our future, the natural world, and our very survival. In this case, I think it’s fair to say blind faith can kill.