Anyone who follows the media drumbeat will discover that conservatives are science-deniers.
In particular, conservatives are charged with denying the reality of climate change. They are accused of not believing in global warming and of rejecting the settled science about the future of the planet.
As I have occasionally mentioned, serious scientists do not believe that there is such a thing as “settled science.” Besides, predictions about the future, even those concocted by a computer, are not and cannot be scientific fact.
For my part I have long suspected (and blogged about the fact) that liberals, especially leftist radicals live their own kinds of science denial. At the least, they reject Darwinian theories about the difference between the sexes. They have no use for the notion that men and women are biologically distinct and that the observable differences are not mere social constructs.
It’s always good to have a new study proving that one is right, so we are happy to read Chris Mooney’s Washington Post article on Mark Horowitz’ research into science denial among liberal sociologists.
One accepts that academic sociologists are a good sampling of liberal and leftist academic opinion. Being academics they cannot be excused of being unaware of the facts.
The Post qualifies the scope of the research. It is not definitive, but it provides a good picture into leftist thinking:
The study is far from the authoritative word on the subject of left wing science denial. Rather, it is a provocative, narrow look at the question. In particular, the study examined a group of left wing people -- academic sociologists -- and evaluated their views on a fairly esoteric scientific topic. The specific issue was whether the evolutionary history of human beings has an important influence on our present day behavior. In other words, whether or not we are "blank slates," wholly shaped by the culture around us.
Being radical thinkers, these sociologists are unwilling to deviate from the feminist party line, even when science refutes it:
… the study also found that these scholars were less willing to consider evolutionary explanations for other aspects of human behavior, especially those relating to male-female differences. Less than 50 percent considered it plausible that that "feelings of sexual jealousy have a significant evolutionary biological component," for instance, and just 36.4 percent considered it plausible that men "have a greater tendency towards promiscuity than women due to an evolved reproductive strategy.” While it is hard to be absolutely definitive on either of these issues (we weren't there to observe evolution happen), evolutionary psychologists have certainly argued in published studies that people exhibit jealousy in sexual relationships in order to ensure reproductive fidelity and preserve the resources that come from a partner, and that men are more promiscuous because they are not constrained in how often they can attempt to reproduce.
Horowitz remarks that left-leaning academics have a tendency to be “dogmatic.” Clearly, they are so caught up in their ideas, in their vision for changing human nature that they find themselves on a collision-course with reality.
Mooney explains the root cause of their denial:
There's no doubt that many left leaning academics have historically been quite skeptical about evolutionary psychology, presumably out of the fear that ascribing certain traits to biology suggests that they cannot be changed -- and thus, can perpetuate inequality.
Jonathan Haidt adds:
When the facts conflict with...sacred values, almost everyone finds a way to stick with their values and reject the evidence. On the left, including the academic left, the most sacred issues involve race and gender. So that's where you find the most direct and I'd say flagrant denial of evidence. I think the results of this study do clearly show that political concerns influence the willingness of sociologists to consider a major class of causal factors in human behavior.
They might think of themselves as modern atheists, but dogmatic liberal academics are more like pagan idolaters, worshipping the god of Equality and fearing any word or thought that would give him offense.