Are those on the Right overly skeptical of science?

CBS did a report on the need to secure the border. (Yes, that CBS.) There was concern over the number of illegals crossing it, as well as coverage of the threat of terrorists entering that way. Really.

It’s often said that those on the Right are skeptical of science, but a new study clarifies that, and also shows that no matter your politics, your worldview often decides whether you believe the latest study or not. (Which means that most on the Left will not believe this study, I suppose.)

Some US cities are going to be experimenting with Universal Basic Income. However, a recently concluded experiment in Canada should give us food for thought.

Mentioned links:

CBS Exposes Danger of Illegal Border Crossings… From Canada

Study finds conservatives ‘right to be skeptical of scientists’

Canadian experiment quickly shows failures of universal basic income

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Show transcript

A couple weeks ago, journalists on “CBS This Morning” actually did a story on the need to secure the border. Yes, that CBS. Gayle King let loose this statistic to the viewers, “CBS News has learned that the number of people illegally crossing the…border is up 142 percent.”

Reporter Don Dahler traveled to the scene to demonstrate the lack of security at various points. Alongside a simple gate, he asked a border patrol agent, “Does this represent the physical security infrastructure along the…border?… A gate with a lock?”

The report was an uncharacteristically honest look at the real needs to keep out illegals and terrorists. I mean, if you didn’t know better, you’d be surprised that they covered this kind of story at all regarding our southern border.

But of course, if you know me and this show, you might have already guessed that I’ve modified, cleverly or otherwise, the words that were spoken. In fact, yes, this report was about our northern border with Canada.

Isn’t that just like me, to get your hopes up, and then dash them to the ground? I’m sorry, but the media make this way too easy to do.

You’ve heard it before. There was even an entire march in DC that was supposedly to combat it. The March for Science, that occurred just 3 months after inauguration day, seemed to suggest that Trump, and by extension Republicans and conservatives, were “against” science.

And yet it is the Left that considers Caitlyn Jenner a woman, elevating feelings and emotions over science. It is the Left that insists that a child in the womb, which science notes has its own blood type and DNA, is actually the women’s body, who is then free to dispose of it whenever she wants. It was President George W. Bush who stopped any new embryonic stem cell lines from being created, confident that science would find a to get stem cells in a manner that would be more ethical. Science proved him right relatively quickly, though the Left never really gave him credit for that call. Yeah, I don’t think there were any signs at the March for Science about those observations.

This is to show that the Left will appeal to science when it serves their political aims. I think the Right does that too, but a recent study suggests that while the Right seems to be more skeptical of the scientific establishment, it has a good reason for thinking that.

A study led by Nathan Confas called “Does Activism in the Social Sciences Explain Conservatives’ Distrust of Scientists?” points out that, at least in this field, liberal politics is the overriding concern. First of all, dismissing scientific results because they may challenge your worldview is equally engaged in on both sides of the aisle, according to Confas. But considering conservatives’ trust in scientists has decreased every decade since 1974,  Confas wanted to investigate the ‘why’ of that. From the link in the show notes, here’s what he saw.

The distrust is not driven by all scientists, but rather by what Confas and his team refer to as “impact scientists.” These are researchers, typically working in the social sciences and environmental science, who often conduct research with the stated goal of raising awareness of left-liberal issues, or acceptance of left-liberal policy solutions.

“Conservatives are right to be skeptical,” he added. “Take any politicized issue that is connected to some disagreement about scientific fact. I do not believe there is a single case in the last couple decades where a major scientific organization took a position that went against the platform of the Democratic Party.”

It’s not that conservatives are anti-science. It’s that scientists are biased against conservatives. Note that I’m not saying that truth is against conservatives, as the Left likes to say, because I believe my earlier examples of scientific observations lean conservative, and are in fact truths. When, for example, 86% of surveyed sociologists identify as liberal, there should be greater care taken that ideology does not creep into the findings. But clearly, that’s happening. The science says so.

Last month I talked about the idea of Universal Basic Income. I was willing to listen to the case for it, if in fact it was not just another name for a welfare program. I highlighted two cities in the US that were going to try it next year, but perhaps those cities should look to Canada to get an idea of how those plans might turn out.

The province of Ontario had a pilot program for UBI involving 4,000 people in three communities. Eligible individuals could receive $17,000 Canadian; about $13,000 U.S. dollars, minus half of any earned income. Disabled people could get as much as $23,000, and a couple could receive $24,000.

But recently they scrapped the program. Why? Well, it’s because of the usual reason a big government program fails; it cost too much and it wasn’t doing what it was intended to do. In Canada, that means they get rid of it. In the US, however, that typically means we double- or triple-down on it, at the very least. We don’t learn from our mistakes; we subsidize them.

Anyway, this seems to prove the adage that, in theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice, theory and practice aren’t. Go practice that little aphorism and befuddle your friends.

And don’t forget, I’m still taking verses for my poem about free speech. “First they came for Alex Jones, but I did not speak up because I was not a nutty conspiracy theorist.” Who else is getting silenced, and who is doing the silencing? How about this for a little inspiration; “Then they came for conservatives on Twitter, but I did not tweet up because I wasn’t on Twitter.” See, it’s easy, and clearly I have no quality requirement.

Filed under: CanadaEconomics & TaxesImmigrationScienceUniversal Basic Income