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Settled Science
The Party of Pseudoscience?

Democrats are significantly more likely than independents and Republicans to believe that astrology is scientifically based, according to research by the National Science Foundation. Jim Lindgren at the Volokh Conspiracy broke down the seven political groups with the highest belief in the pseudoscience, finding that the top three groups were all Democrats of various stripes. Democrats were followed on this list by moderates and independents. No Republicans appeared on the list. Here’s a teaser:

1. Conservative Democrats

In the 2012 General Social Survey, 56.9 percent of conservative Democrats believe that astrology is very or sort of scientific, while only 43.1 percent believe that it is not scientific at all. This support for astrology is the highest among 15 overlapping political groups.

2. Moderate Democrats

The political group that is second most likely to believe in astrology is moderate Democrats. A majority of them — 52.0 percent — think that astrology is at least sort of scientific.

3. Democrats (overall)

Although liberal Democrats are insignificantly less likely than average to believe in astrology (43.5 percent), the difference is not enough to offset the beliefs of moderate and conservative Democrats. Thus, Democrats overall are in the third position, with nearly half (49.1 percent) believing in astrology.

We actually think there is plenty of stupidity to go around in both parties, but the smugness with which so many Democrats attack the GOP as the party of science deniers makes this a story worth noting.

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  • Anthony

    What’s the difference between astrology and religion again? Ummm….

    • Richard Moorton

      I see your bombing the abortion clinic and raise you Bill Ayers. The clinic bombers have been repudiated by Pro-lifers. Bill Ayers is Obama’s chum and a democratic icon. “Guilty as hell and free as a bird.”

      The positions of Christians on gays vary wildly. Hard to generalize.

      As for the 9/11 murders, you are tarring all religions with one brush. Sloppy work.

      Face it, most intelligent people think that astrology is voo doo. If the democratic laity really do have a tendency to take it seriously, we can’t call the Republicans the stupid party any more. Or at least in fairness we have to add the Democrats to the list.


  • Andrew Allison

    Speaking of pseudoscience, the results for AGW would be enlightening.

    • Jim__L

      The technical term for the tendency of a Kalman filter (a type of stochastic computer model) to completely deweight observed data and claim that its internal predictions are the only truth, is “smugness”.

  • Anthony

    “We actually think there is plenty of stupidity to go around….” And Feed aside, it does not generally devolve to partisan coloration.

  • Kavanna

    Christians are unlikely to believe in astrology, not for physics or astronomy reasons, but because they have a strong subjective belief in free will. There’s nothing wrong with this belief, and it’s actually perfectly sound scientifically. (Mental determinism is not a scientific belief, no matter what Freud or Spinoza said.)

    When people talk about “religion,” they often stick to clichés. There’s no “religion,” just religions. Christianity as an historical religion was strongly influenced by certain strains of Greek philosophy, especially Plato, but als the Stoics and (much later) Aristotle as well. Most modern Christians are strongly Western in their mental outlook. If we moved to Russia or the Middle East, we’d run smack into a stronger correlation of religiosity and worldly fatalism. In those places, free will has less currency and some form of fatalism seems compatible with religious belief.

    Astrology was once part of a real religion, the classic Babylonian astral cult. The system survived the fall of Babylon and entered Western history through the Greeks, as a fragment divorced from its original context.

    • Jim__L

      A couple of twists and turns worth noting…

      – The Muslim interest in ancient Greek manuscripts and a mechanistic worldview, which led to some interesting times re:secularization of Islamic countries a thousand or so years ago, focused on medical “science”. Science is in quotes here because ancient Greek medicine was more akin to alchemy and, yes, astrology, than anything we’d recognize today.

      – Copernicus came up with his heliocentric view of the solar system to improve the accuracy of his horoscopes. No kiddin’.

      Good luck convincing smug seculars that any religion is anything other than their deep-seated, abysmally ignorant stereotypes say it is..

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Anyone skeptical about “Global Warming” knows that the Hoax’s Democrat supporters refuse to recognize the massive mounting evidence that there is no “Global Warming”. Their hypothesis of CO2 induced “Global Warming” and the computer models that predicted increases in temperatures, have already proved false, and real scientists would have already gone back to the blackboard.

    • Jagneel

      Yeh you read that on internet and therefore it must be true. And by ‘real scientists’ you mean one that confirm your bias.

  • Jagneel

    Yeh, but they are not going around saying astrology should be taught in science classes or astronomy is just a theory or equal time for astrology and astronomy etc. Yes, GOP doesn’t have monopoly on stupidity but to say that both parties are antiscience is a false equivalence.

  • Alexander Scipio

    Dr John Searle: “The Right is too stupid to discuss, but the Left is evil.” Exactly.

  • nunyabidnessfoo

    And who is most likely to believe that humans aren’t the result of billions of years of natural selection?

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