Only 6% of scientists in a random sample of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) identify themselves as Republicans, according to a Pew 2009 Study. Assuming AAAS is not tremendously unrepresentative of scientists as a whole, what explains under-representation of Republicans in science?
While Republicans are under-represented among people with advanced degrees more generally, I here limit myself to offering some possible hypotheses for explaining under-representation of Republicans in science, refraining from any attempt to analyze their validity.
Science education or practice causes liberalism:
- Brainwashing: Science is taught by liberals, who brainwash their students into believing their preferred ideology.
- Diversity: Upper echelon of science today is racially and culturally? diverse. Interacting with a diverse set of people causes people to become liberal.
- Cynical: Science is funded by the government, and people in the field, like elsewhere, love the hand that feeds them.
- People practicing science come to see the value of policy guided by science. On some major issues – like climate change and evolution, Republican Party has taken ‘anti-science’ stances.
- Science causes people to question religious dogma, become atheists or even anti-theists, etc. causing them to choose a party less aligned with religion.
- Intelligence: Intelligence causes liberalism (Kanazawa). Intelligence is one of the things that affect the choice of the discipline and the number of years a person chooses to study. Intelligence is the confounding variable that predicts both.
Liberals select into science, and Republicans select out of it.
- Conservatives “have a need for cognitive closure” which is not amenable to open questions and scientific inquiry (Jost).
- Concept of “conservatism” is one of maintaining the status quo.
- Social dominance orientation: Republicans prefer going into status quo enhancing occupations like economics, business, police; Democrats less so (Sidanius).
- Religious people don’t go into science, which they see as anti-religion.