a blog by josef johann

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Venturing into RedState

I'm about to find out how well RedState likes opposing opinions. I recently authored a post there that is now "submitted for review". I don't remember the review process from the last time I was a member of RedState, but I do remember the hostile climate toward non-conservatives who would stop by, and a very aggressive policy of banning people who weren't conservative. We'll see.

It's below. It's actually quite bland, which is by design.

Hey guys. First post here, and I'll get something out of the way quickly: I probably don't agree with most of the political opinions on this site. That said, I think mingling of opposing views is healthy and helps make people on the other political side more human, and helps restore good faith. For all its celebration as a new way to engage with Democracy, the blogosphere is, in my experience, a very self-segregated place. So this is my little foray to the other side.

Anyway, I don't want to bury the lede on the Pew poll:

  • 22% of Republicans polled say U.S. scientific achievements are best in the world, vs. 16% of Democrats

  • 52% of Republicans polled say religion and science are in conflict vs. 62% of Democrats

  • 45% of R's say science conflicts with their religious beliefs vs. 45% overall

  • 77% of scientists say it is true that government scientists could not report findings that conflicted with Bush Administration positions

  • 71% of scientists say that the above happened more often under the Bush Administration

  • 56% of scientists view scientists as a group to be politically liberal, 2% view them as conservative, 42% as neither

  • 6% of scientists are affiliated with the Republican Party, vs. 55% Democrat and 2% other

  • Including leaners, it's 12% Republican and 81% Democrat

  • 9% of scientists call themselves "ideologically" conservative

  • 64% of the public view scientists are neither politically conservative or politically liberal

  • 84% of scientists view global warming as due to human activity, vs 21% for Republicans

So, in a variety of cases, on a variety of issues, there is a gulf between the opinions of Republicans and the opinions of the scientific community. The most staggering to me was the most talked about one, where 6% of scientists self-identify as Republican (12% with leaners). Most of the public (64%) don't think this would be the case. Were you a part of that 64%? For me, I honestly expected there to not be as many Republican scientists, but I didn't expect it to be this low.

So, is this a surprise to you? Do you take this as evidence that there is indeed a gulf between Republicans and mainstream science? (If not, I'd like to know what evidence you would need in order to believe that).

I think the obvious counter what I'm saying is to cite any similar polling that's been done on the any of the branches of the armed forces- my guess is you would find overwhelming support for the Republican party in each of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Is that supposed to prove that Democrats are "out of step" with the military? I would say no- there is rather a cultural identification with the military, with war heroes and with war in general that is entrenched in the military, and young apolotical recruits tend to get indoctrinated into that culture and keep the tradition alive.

Then, by parity of reasoning, can't some cultural reasons explain lack of Republican scientists? I don't think so. Issues of peace and war are more intrinsically ideological, and I don't think there is anything inherently "liberal" about being scientific, I hope not! I also don't see the logical connection between appreciating the importance of and using the scientific method, and thinking the Bush Administration was trying to suppress politically controversial science. At some point it's not right to call it bias any longer, and I think this is one of those cases. Thoughts?

: From their "posting rules":

The purpose of this site is promote conservative and Republican ideals. This is our home, and we ask you kindly not to track mud into it. Revocation of posting privileges (banning) will take place after a warning of behavior which violates the intent and spirit of these rules.

'Intent and spirit' - that discussions should converge toward agreement with conservative mainstream thought?

Edit II: That didn't take long. I'm now seeing the dreaded "601 Database redigestation error", which apparently is Redstate speak for "you've been banned." I thought some commenters might give me hell, or that I would at least get a few diaries off before they decided I wasn't welcome.

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