"Smart Republicans Reject Science"

The Economist's View brought up theinteresting point today that a lot of what drives Republican politics revolves more around emotion rather than science and education. Furthermore, education seems to actually perpetuate this anomaly.

Given the facts of global warming and human involvment, Chris Mooney cites a 2008 Pew report showing the "partisan divide over the reality of global warming." Of interest is this chart showing not only the belief differences between Republicans, Independents, and Democrats, but also between the less and more educated.

Party and Education graph showing who believes global warming is happening because of human activity

Mooney talks about the effect these numbers had on him:

For Republicans, having a college degree didn't appear to make one any more open to what scientists have to say. On the contrary, better-educated Republicans were more skeptical of modern climate science than their less educated brethren. ...This was my first encounter with what I now like to call the "smart idiots" effect: The fact that politically sophisticated or knowledgeable people are often more biased, and less persuadable, than the ignorant. It's a reality that generates endless frustration for many scientists--and indeed, for many well-educated, reasonable people...

And Digby goes on to draw the parallel with emotion which I think is brilliant:

...Ultimately, this is about tribalism, feeling part of a group, being validated by it and thinking and behaving in ways that preserve your place in it. We all do it to some extent...

Things finally are making sense.

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