[VIDEO] Reason TV: Are Republicans or Democrats More Anti-Science?Posted: July 16, 2016
Reason TV talks with California progressives about what happens when science meets politics.
Zach Weissmueller, Justin Monticello & Joshua Swain report: It’s popular to portray the GOP as the anti-science party and Democrats as the sane, “party of science” alternative. And only 6 percent of scientists identified as Republicans, according to a 2009 Pew Research poll, which seems to be the most recent one on the topic. But the truth is that when science and politics meet, the result often isn’t pretty, regardless of partisan affiliation.
Reason TV asked locals in Venice, California about their thoughts on various scientific policy questions and compared their answers to public opinion poll data. We found that many people favored mandatory labeling of food that contains DNA, the stuff of life contained in just about every morsel of fruit, vegetable, grain, or meat humans consume. Yet a recent survey out of the University of Florida found that 80 percent of respondents favor mandatory DNA labeling, only slightly below the 85 percent that favor labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). While Republicans are divided evenly on the GMO question, Democrats rate them unsafe by a 26-point margin, despite almost 2,000 studies spanning a decade saying otherwise.
Republicans are more skeptical of the theory of evolution, though by a surprisingly slim margin with 39 percent of them rejecting it as compared to 30 percent of Republicans. When it comes to other scientific matters, the waters are even muddier. For instance, Democrats and Republicans believe in the false link between vaccines and autism at roughly equal levels.
And it’s largely liberal Democratic politicians pushing anti-vaping laws, despite public health agencies estimating e-cigarettes to be around 95% safer than conventional tobacco cigarettes and early evidence they help smokers quit. And vaping products don’t contain any tobacco or its resultant tar, yet the FDA still wants to treat them as tobacco products.
The big science policy issue of the day, though, seems to be global warming. Sixty-four percent of Democrats believe in man-made global warming, while only 22 percent of Republicans do. But when it comes to realistic solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Democrats still aren’t always science-minded.
Only 45 percent of Democrats support expanding the use of nuclear energy, as compared to 62 percent of Republicans, despite the fact that except for Chernobyl, not a single person, including nuclear workers, has ever died due to a commercial nuclear reactor accident…(read more)