If a a man is a creationist, is he more likely a Democrat, or a Republican?
If a man supports teaching creation (or ‘intelligent design’) alongside evolution in school, is he more likely a Democrat, or a Republican?
If a man believes global warming is a fantasy, is he more likely a Democrat, or a Republican?
If a man believes that global warming is real, but is not due in large part to human influence, is he more likely a Democrat, or a Republican?
If a man believes that birth control is a sin or otherwise wrong, is he more likely a Democrat, or a Republican?
If a man believes that homosexuality is a choice and is not due to genetic or biological factors, is he more likely a Democrat, or a Republican?
If a man believes that the best way to achieve energy independence is drilling lots more oil wells, is he more likely a Democrat, or a Republican?
Most of us know that the answer to each of the above questions is that the man is much more likely to be “Republican”. This is not to say that there are not Democrats who believe each of those – I’m sure there are. Conversely, there are Republicans (and other conservatives) who take the opposite view in each (Clavos, for one, has stated that the fight against global warming has been a conservative talking point).
But in each case the likelihood remains significantly stronger that the man in question is a Republican. This begs the question: who is more likely to ignore scientific fact (or at least strong scientific indications)? The above examples (with the possible exception of birth control) would point to the Republicans. Yes, this will outrage our conservative readers — but for those conservatives who would consign me to the lower depths of left-wing punditry, I challenge you to prove me wrong. It is apparent that, given scientific evidence that flies in the face of political dogma, Republicans are much more likely to ignore or even suppress that evidence to protect their own agenda.
For instance, the strongly-conservative Chamber of Commerce is now claiming that global warming will be beneficial to humanity! Not only that, but the Chamber of Commerce is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to put climate change evidence up for a public hearing — and says it will take the EPA to court if it refuses! The EPA is refusing because, it says, such a hearing is a ‘waste of time’. Why? Because climatologists who are active in research showed the strongest consensus on the causes of global warming, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role. Now compare that to the fact that only 47 percent of petroleum geologists believe that human involvement plays a role in global warming. Who do the climatologists work for? Usually universities and governments. Who do the petroleum geologists work for? Petroleum companies…all of which (AFAIK) support the Republican party over the Democratic party.
But not all the energy companies agree with the Chamber of Commerce’ extreme position. Exelon, PNM Resources, and Pacific Gas & Electric have now quit the Chamber of Commerce, joining major corporations like Apple and Nike who chose to quit the Chamber for its intransigence in the face of hard scientific fact.
A more egregious act of global-warming denial has just come to light. In 2007 the Bush administration refused to release an EPA report that specifically cites global warming's effects on air quality, agriculture, forestry, water resources and coastal areas as endangering public welfare. What’s more, the Bush administration specifically stated that this report was not to be distributed to Democratic lawmakers! Again, political dogma was more important to the Republicans than scientific research and fact…even when the scientific research pointed to a gathering danger to the welfare of the American people as a whole.
A few days ago Science Daily published research by UCLA showing that the last time carbon dioxide levels were this high was 15 million years ago. Is this a big deal? After all, it was this bad fifteen million years ago and we’re just fine today, right? Except that at that time, global temperatures were 5 to 10 degrees warmer than now (which leads to much more violent weather), the Arctic and Greenland ice caps were completely gone, the Antarctic ice cap was nearly gone…and the sea level was approximately 75 to 120 feet higher than today! Given their actions over the past two decades, would anyone like to take bets on how many Republicans would take this research seriously?
It’s frustrating seeing so many refuse scientific facts just to protect their own political power and belief. It’s downright distressing that they would continue to ignore these facts even when they point to worldwide catastrophe — for that’s what will happen when everyone in lower elevations are forced to move uphill. Say goodbye to Florida, Louisiana, much of the East Coast, much of India and Southeast Asia (particularly Bangladesh). To the Republicans, this isn’t half as bad as the prospect of Big Business losing some of their market share or stock price.
To be fair, the Democrats are not perfect — their opposition to increased use of nuclear power plants has resulted in greater reliance on coal, which is probably the single dirtiest source of power. But in the end, which party is more likely to base their policy decisions on scientific fact? The above examples make clear that the Republicans are much less likely to do so than Democrats.