Science does more harm than good?

I just had to share this (US data, from the GSS):

Razib doesn’t comment, he just gives you the data. I won’t comment much on the above graph now either, but that’s only because I’m dumbstruck right now – I have just no idea what to even say to all those people who do not strongly disagree.


June 23, 2012 - Posted by | Data, Science


  1. While I share your… pity?… for those who do not strongly disagree, I (since I live in the US) am actually surprised that the number of those who agree or strongly agree are so small. You have to remember that the US is a very religious country and that many social issues here that touch on religious dogma (alcohol and drugs, abortion, death penalty, contraception (Catholic), social safety net, etc.) are framed by the religious establishment as science vs religion. It makes sense for them to do so – divide et impera – and it works too: critical thinking skills are as rare here as anywhere. For your average evangelical Christian (say, 20% of population), a typical mental shortcut upon being asked about science is something like “science does not always agree with my pastor/me, therefore does not always agree with G-d, therefore it’s bad”. The noxious next step – “I gotta make these others believe/act as I do” – is largely missing. The great achievement of the US, IMHO, is that through religious tolerance the US allows such people to believe such claptrap and still be productive members of society, instead of getting radicalized. It’s the magic of free markets and liberty at work – hell, I buy weekly great sausages and pickles from the Amish, who seem to believe electricity is evil and ride around northeastern Pennsylvania in horse buggies.

    I guess my synthesized point is: nothing wrong with having nothing to say to such people. We can be very different, misinformed, stupid, irrational, and get along just peachy, as long as we are civil and let each other be as foolish as we choose to.

    Comment by Plamus | June 27, 2012 | Reply

    • Plamus

      Thanks for the comment, I’m glad you’re still reading along (it has been a while since your last comment).

      Comment by US | June 27, 2012 | Reply

  2. Sorry about the (Link) – feel free to change that to Amish.

    Comment by Plamus | June 27, 2012 | Reply

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