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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Scientists are functionally stupid

Pew documents some of the differences between scientists and the public:

87% of scientists—but just 32% of Americans in general—say that humans and other living things have evolved over time and that evolution is the result of natural processes such as natural selection. A large gap also exists on the issue of climate change; 84% of scientists—but just 49% of the public—say that the earth is getting warmer because of human activity....

When something is run by gov’t it is usually inefficient and wasteful:
Public Agree: 57%
Scientists Agree: 40%

Ideological self-rating:
Public: 38% moderate, 37% conservative, 20% liberal,
Scientists: 52% liberal, 35% moderate, 9% conservative

It's a real pity that Pew didn't subject scientists to the same "science knowledge" test they gave the public; I bet the "shockingly" low results would surprise everyone. Scientists not only know very little outside their professional fields, but they tend to be given to falsely assuming that their very specific expertise and education is somehow magically applicable to the broad spectrum of human knowledge as well. Remember, as a group they were convinced that totalitarianism was the desirable future... many of them still are. Nor should you forget that the mainstream economists' consensus was that the second stimulus package, Obama's $787 billion plan, would work too.

No doubt people will interpret these results as proving that scientists are smarter and more educated, and therefore the public should follow their lead. This is absurd, as the results actually show that unlike the public, most scientists are incapable of producing sufficient value to society to financially support themselves; they're welfare queens living off the reputation of their forebears and eager to keep the taxpayer money flowing. What makes them stupid isn't their misplaced faith in evolution or AGW/CC, although both will eventually prove embarrassing, but rather their enthusiastic embrace of the very government support that is rendering them largely useless.

Science is far less important to society than business and the ideological freedom that most scientists oppose. Recall that the Soviet Union was devoted to science and spent a higher percentage of its resources on scientists than any nation in the West. The observable historical reality is that science depends on society, society doesn't depend on science. And yet, as the survey shows, many scientists harbor contempt for the very society that makes their existence possible.

I suspect the main reason scientists tend to be liberal is not because scientific reasoning inclines one towards liberal politics, (five minutes of conversation with any liberal scientist is enough to disprove that notion), but because liberals are inclined to stay in school as long as possible and eventually pursue occupations where they don't have to earn their living on merit, but receive a guaranteed income handed to them by someone else.

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