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A Ray of Hope For Americans and Scientific Literacy?

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the no-all-who-wander-are-lost dept.

Education 668

An anonymous reader with a snippet from Politico: "A finding in a study on the relationship between science literacy and political ideology surprised the Yale professor behind it: Tea party members know more science than non-tea partiers. Yale law professor Dan Kahan posted on his blog this week that he analyzed the responses of more than 2,000 American adults recruited for another study and found that, on average, people who leaned liberal were more science literate than those who leaned conservative. However, those who identified as part of the tea party movement were actually better versed in science than those who didn't, Kahan found. The findings met the conventional threshold of statistical significance, the professor said. Kahan wrote that not only did the findings surprise him, they embarrassed him. 'I've got to confess, though, I found this result surprising. As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I'd be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension,' Kahan wrote. 'But then again, I don't know a single person who identifies with the tea party,' he continued.'" More at the Independent Journal Review.

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668 comments

Not Surprising (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171261)

"No thy enemy". How can they form crazy anti-science rhetoric properly if they don't know what they are fighting against?

Re:Not Surprising (4, Informative)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 9 months ago | (#45171289)

You spelled "know" incorrectly. Besides, it is the opposite political philosophy from the Tea Party crowd that have "magical thinking" about how things work. Mostly they just want centralized government to do less.

You like your computer networks decentralized, why not your government? Local is better.

Re:Not Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171297)

Yeah, it should be "know" ... I should "know" my grammar betterer. ;-)

Re:Not Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171327)

Probably the best analogy there is...

Re:Not Surprising (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171363)

You like your computer networks decentralized, why not your government? Local is better.

No, I don't, and no it isn't. Local government is as corrupt and incompetent as can be, and so deeply entrenched that only outside forces with actual eyes on them to keep them clean can fix them up.

Re:Not Surprising (2)

anubi (640541) | about 9 months ago | (#45171575)

That's why we have elections.

If they piss off enough people, throw the bums out!

Don't blame them for taking advantage of a free taxpayer provided lunch.. its the electorate who are asleep at the switch and tolerate it. Its HIGH time we organized ourselves and get a government in place which represents the electorate, not just the special interest groups.

They will try to keep their stuff secret, just as a kiddie porn collector will do. Its up to the voters to DEMAND open government, and be willing to quickly expel via recall any politician who promised lipservice then fails to deliver.

actual "platform" (5, Informative)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 9 months ago | (#45171381)

Here is the actual Tea Party platform [teaparty-platform.com]

Feel free to argue any of those points, but don't just make up stuff. Far too often (if not "always") there is no debate on the issues... just "but what about the children/unborn". Whatever.

Re:actual "platform" (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 9 months ago | (#45171449)

I'll take the first one.

1. Eliminate Excessive Taxes - Excessively high taxes are a burden for those exercising their personal liberty to work hard and prosper as afforded by the Constitution. A fiscally responsible government protects the freedom of its citizens to enjoy the fruits of their own labor without interference from a government that has exceeded its necessary size, scope and reach into the lives of its citizens.

Exactly what are "excessive taxes"?

Because once you start cutting revenue you have to start cutting programs. And once you start cutting programs you run into the problem that SOMEONE thinks that that particular is not "excessive".

Don't link to generalities. Show the specifics. What to cut and by how much.

Feel free to argue any of those points, but don't just make up stuff.

All that that site has are generalities. So say ... cutting the military ... bad! That's making things up. Okay, how about ... cutting medicare ... bad! That's making things up. Okay, how about ... cutting X ... bad! That's making things up.

Re:actual "platform" (5, Informative)

Arker (91948) | about 9 months ago | (#45171519)

"Exactly what are "excessive taxes"?"

Taxes in excess of those required to fulfill constitutional mandates. Easy.

"Because once you start cutting revenue you have to start cutting programs. And once you start cutting programs you run into the problem that SOMEONE thinks that that particular is not "excessive"."

Yes indeed, this is how dirty politics works. Everyone votes for the whole pile of pork in order to keep the one program that actually benefits them personally. The weight of all the unproductive expenditures drags down the economy as a whole and makes the nation poorer, but the 'elite' who are already rich and well connected will still manage to get richer by diverting the lions share of those expenditures even while the rest of us struggle to keep our heads above water.

The only solution is to kill all the pork in one swipe. Most people will give up their own slice, as long as everyone else does the same simultaneously. But no one is going to willingly give up their slice, however pathetic, without getting a refund on the rest of the pork at the same time.

Re:actual "platform" (4, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 9 months ago | (#45171707)

Yes indeed, this is how dirty politics works. Everyone votes for the whole pile of pork in order to keep the one program that actually benefits them personally.

The continuing resolution that reopened the government contained lots of pork, according to this. [dailykos.com] Another article talked about a spending increase of $1.2 billion. It's hard to tell, because the money is hidden in the final bill [thehill.com] as amendments to previous legislation, saying things like "in place of the number X substitute bigger number Y."

This is a continuing resolution that is supposed to be continuing the previous budget until a new one can be worked out. And wasn't supposed to be negotiated at all. Senate Democrats balked at the first CR that contained extraneous legislation, but this one was just fine. Nobody wanted to deny the widow of Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) her $174,000 payout.

Re:actual "platform" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171727)

Yeah I love the black and white world you live in, but reality isnt as clear.

Fulfill constitutional mandates? Easy? Have you been paying attention at all?

People have been arguing about interpretations of "constitutional mandates" since right after the constitution was ratified.

What does promoting general welfare mean? I would say Obamacare certainly promotes general welfare, but Tea Party idiots seem to think it is the harbinger of the apocalypse.

As near as I can figure, Tea Party people are ok with benefits so long as they are the ones receiving them. Once other people receive them, it is unwarranted benefits gotten from excessive taxation.

Re:actual "platform" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171729)

Taxes in excess of those required to fulfill constitutional mandates. Easy.

There's no constitutional mandate to maintain a standing army or navy. That will save you $680B right there, and just about balance the budget in one swoop.

Re:actual "platform" (2)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about 9 months ago | (#45171811)

Article 1, Section 8, Clauses 12 and 13.

Re:actual "platform" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171755)

Taxes in excess of those required to fulfill constitutional mandates. Easy.

Almost all spending isn't Constitutionally mandated. No more Social Security. No more Medicare & Medicaid. No more death benefits for military families. No more pensions for former members of Congress or Presidents. No more Federal Reserve, Treasury or Secret Service. Almost all Federal Employes will be let go. Most government contracts to outside vendors would be terminated.

Sounds like we'll cut 99% of all spending. Fend for yourselves everyone.

Re:actual "platform" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171535)

It's really very simple - ALL taxes are excessive. They are ALL theft. Pretty easy - you'd think even a liberal could wrap their mind around that.

Re:actual "platform" (3, Interesting)

cirby (2599) | about 9 months ago | (#45171601)

First, that "Tea Party Platform" isn't THE Tea Party Platform, it's just one that some guy put together as a suggestion. There is no "official" platform, even though you can probably get most Tea Party members to agree with what's in it.

"Exactly what are 'excessive taxes?'"

Historically, the United States works quite well with a lower tax scheme - somewhere between 15% and 19% of GNP, and seems best around 18%. Every percentage point above 19, and the economy starts hurting. Every percentage point below 15, and we start having to cut essential services. Remember that "taxes" includes Federal and state and city-level taxes.

In short, '"excessive taxes" are the ones that reach the level where the US, as a whole, start saying "hey, that's too much money for what we get out if it." We passed that mark a long time ago.

"Because once you start cutting revenue you have to start cutting programs."

Yeah, but which programs? There are a LOT of programs, and quite a few of them are nowhere near necessary. Cowboy Poetry festivals, bridges to nowhere, shrimp running on treadmills, et cetera. Yeah, each of those are "small," but there are literally thousands of them. That adds up.

You might also note that most real Tea Party folks agree that we spend too much on the military - on the waste, that is. Medicare reform is also good, due to massive Medicare waste. Look up what the Tea Party folks are actually saying - and don't look at HuffPo or Kos for your quotes.

In other words, the Tea Party you have in your head isn't the Tea Party that actually exists.

You might have noticed that we had a "government shutdown" recently, in which only 17% of the actual government shut down. And almost nobody noticed outside of the bureaucrats who had to spend a week or so at home. People complained about the "losses" of the shutdown, but a fair amount of that "loss" was "money we didn't spend." We also just took out another $328 billion in loans to keep spending.

You don't think we could lost 5% or 10% of the US government without noticing? The last couple of weeks show that we can.

Re:actual "platform" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171657)

Cutting the military is a good start. After that we can move on to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

Re:actual "platform" (1, Flamebait)

Kohath (38547) | about 9 months ago | (#45171673)

Because once you start cutting revenue you have to start cutting programs. And once you start cutting programs you run into the problem that SOMEONE thinks that that particular is not "excessive".

Don't link to generalities. Show the specifics. What to cut and by how much.

This is you spouting generalities. "Taxes" is a generality. "Someone" is a generality.

Here's a specific:

How about if we cut the free ObamaPhone program [thehill.com] by 100%? If you want a mobile phone, buy one. If you need a charity-provided mobile phone, go get one from a charity. Don't hire your government to tax your neighbors' paychecks or your neighbors' phone bills so you can free-ride.

"Excessive taxes" include every cent used to pay for the ObamaPhone program. If this program were eliminated, taxes would be tiny bit less "excessive" because there would be less obvious waste and abuse.

(Watch now. Someone will argue that we should keep this program because someone else is getting other freebies: "the big corporate/defense/whoever people get to steal, why shouldn't the little guy get his share of the loot too?". )

Re:actual "platform" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171761)

If you had actually read the article you link to, you might realize how stupid you look calling a decades-old program that started under Ronald Regan "ObamaPhone."

Re:actual "platform" (1)

ugen (93902) | about 9 months ago | (#45171469)

Their representatives in congress seem to do everything contrary to point number 9.

Re:actual "platform" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171495)

I'm pretty sure you can't really point to that as being "actual". Where is the Civil Rights Movement platform enumerated? Or the Anti-War Movement platform laid out in bullet points? How about the official platform of the Arab Spring?

The Tea Party Movement is just that: a movement. It is the appearance of a vaguely similar set of ideas that swelled among a number of people. Although there are plenty of people who leapt on the term and claimed to be the "official voice" or "official candidate", there is no actual official set of specific ideas. There are just a bunch of people who arrived at roughly similar ideas from many different backgrounds, plus the rabble of people looking to profit personally from any movement they can latch on to.

That said, that link is a good summary of several common views within the Tea Party movement.

Re:actual "platform" (2)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 9 months ago | (#45171545)

Here is the actual Tea Party platform [teaparty-platform.com]

Feel free to argue any of those points, but don't just make up stuff. Far too often (if not "always") there is no debate on the issues... just "but what about the children/unborn". Whatever.

I notice the tea party doesn't refer to religion, it's all about cutting government spending, but tea partiers also tend to be the loudest global warming deniers, largely because actually doing something about global warming requires spending and/or legislation/regulation, which is in conflict with their ideology. But heres the thing...what exactly do they mean by "scientific literacy?" That'll make a huge difference. Are we talking about sciency material that we learned in high school, or are we talking about how science is actually performed, what science means, and the scientific method (beyond just memorizing the "steps" of the scientific method from high school). A person might remember that bacteria cells don't have a nucleus, or that a mol in chemistry has something to do with molecules and is not an animal, but that's a helluva lot different from understanding the difference between studies showing evidence with hundreds of publications in peer reviewed journals vs. something some Fox News pundit said that just seems to "make sense" and sounds sciency because they use a couple of big words.

And why does religion matter? Because a lot of people that consider themselves to be devoutly religious tend to both ignore things discovered or proven using science or outrightly believe the opposite of whatever is discovered or proven using science. Rather than considering their faith being to believe in something in the absence of evidence, many of them choose to consider their faith believing in something despite evidence to the contrary.

So...just saying Tea Partiers vs. non-Tea-Partiers doesn't matter for squat. Compare them against other groups. Say, Tea-Partiers vs. college educated people. Or, tea-partiers vs people who don't watch Fox News, or tea-partiers vs. people who don't consider themselves to be strictly religious, or Tea Partiers vs. Europeans...you get the idea.

Re:actual "platform" (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 9 months ago | (#45171669)

Overall, Tea Party member are better educated and wealthier than the average American.

If you shed your prejudice, this shouldn't surprise you at all. Politically active people in general tend to be so either because they're interested in the mechanics of politics, or because they have a significant stake in the system.

That's in noticeable contrast to those who show up at "rallies", but don't vote, don't volunteer for a candidate come election season, and wonder why they're ignored by politics even though they're shouting just as loud.

The Tea Party gets press every week. Remember those "occupy" guys - yeah, neither does the press. There's a reason for that.

Outrage for rent, nothing else (4, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#45171731)

largely because actually doing something about global warming requires spending and/or legislation/regulation, which is in conflict with their ideology.

You've got it backwards. That astroturf "movement" was funded and assisted so that large numbers of people that opposed the regulations that Koch and the other funders disliked could be bussed in to protests to give an appearance of a lot of support. The people that organised the transport, media releases etc were not "Tea Partiers" themselves but professionals paid to create events. Most of the tea party was literally a rented crowd which is why it has no cohesion and nobody within doing much in the way of organising anything. Left alone they do not appear to be able to organise a drunken party in a brewery.
I'm not knocking the individuals who stand for whatever they do, but instead that it's a disorganised mob that cancel each other out and ultimately don't really stand for anything. They are a weird "only in America" footnote whose time passed once the adult supervision driving the busses decided to do something else.

The ironies are many, the largest of which are the strident calls for replacing the United States with the sort of fuedalistic system that the Boston tea party was a protest against. "Getting the government out of people's lives" really means letting the rich and powerful run a country without interference from the people - just like those English Lords could do.

Re:actual "platform" (2)

grep -v '.*' * (780312) | about 9 months ago | (#45171753)

Hmph. I hadn't seen that site before (hadn't looked.) And I don't think it's a single cohesive party but a group of people tending to mostly agree with each other.

I'm sure there's some weasel words in here, but at first glance it seems very reasonable:
  1. 1. Eliminate Excessive Taxes
  2. 2. Eliminate the National Debt
  3. 3. Eliminate Deficit Spending
  4. 4. Protect Free Markets
  5. 5. Abide by the Constitution of the United States
  6. 6. Promote Civic Responsibility
  7. 7. Reduce the Overall Size of Government
  8. 8. Believe in the People
  9. 9. Avoid the Pitfalls of Politics
  10. 10. Maintain Local Independence

There's always a gradient on "Excessive". #4 sounds like it could be easily bent. #9 is wishful thinking.

That, as opposed to: Democrats [democrats.org] or Republicans [gop.com] . It all sure sounds good -- I think I'll pay attention and do s'more research here. Seems like we also somehow need a verifiable (independent?) source that describes how accurate these all are to their specified ideas (and they all need a few specific goals as well.)

You can argue over implementation details and exact meanings, but it seem shard to argue with the ideas behind of most of these. And with ALL of the parties --- dare I say it: "Trust, but verify?"


And as for think of the children [lolmaze.com] ....

Re:Not Surprising (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#45171637)

They also don't know enough history to understand that they are calling for a system where they are run by Dukes and Earls and a Monarch with very loose control over all it it - the sort of thing George Washington saved them from. That's their "small government" - all hail King Koch!

I like Centralized government (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 9 months ago | (#45171773)

local governments just get picked apart one by one by the Corps and the 1%. A centralized gov't can be abused, but local govt is useless. It was the Federal Government that ended slavery and that bogus 'Separate but Equal' nonsense. Most conservatives championing small gov't just want one small enough they can abuse it themselves. Petty tyrants like Ron and Rand Paul that are all in favor of individual freedom as long as it's one of the freedoms they personally want.

Re:Not Surprising (1)

Altrag (195300) | about 9 months ago | (#45171793)

You like your computer networks decentralized, why not your government? Local is better.

Exactly what part of the common network protocol specifications is decentralized? Last I checked all of the globally useful protocols were defined by a very centralized standards organization. The endpoints might be decentralized but if there wasn't some form of governing body to make sure it all works together, then you wouldn't have things like this forum to post stupid comments on -- or at least you'd only have a significantly smaller "local" version.

Yes, too much government can be bad. Not enough government is worse.

Re:Not Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171479)

Here's what the guy really said:

"Next time I collect data, too, I won't be surprised at all if the correlations between science comprehension and political ideology or identification with the Tea Party movement disappear or flip their signs. These effects are trivially small, & if I sample 2000+ people it's pretty likely any discrepancy I see will be "statistically significant"--which has precious little to do with "practically significant."

Medical professionals (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171277)

A lot of private practice Drs and Dentists back the tea party, as they vote single issue - lowering the taxes on their $300k+ incomes. Medical degrees and certifications are of course lumped in the science bucket so probably make up a large part of the total. They tend to dislike welfare programs such as medicaid and medicare too, as they cut into their profit margins.

Re:Medical professionals (3, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | about 9 months ago | (#45171345)

This is only surprising if your idea of who supports the Tea Party segment of the Republican Party comes from MSNBC. Hint: most aren't social conservatives.

Re:Medical professionals (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45171443)

"This is only surprising if your idea of who supports the Tea Party segment of the Republican Party comes from MSNBC. Hint: most aren't social conservatives."

Perhaps even less surprising when you realize that the Tea Party itself did not identify with Republicans. It is true that they leaned somewhat conservative but there was a significant portion of liberals in their ranks, too.

The (modern) group that originally called itself the Tea Party was as fed up with the Republican Party as it was with the Democratic Party. It wasn't until later that the Republicans usurped their banner.

Re:Medical professionals (5, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | about 9 months ago | (#45171671)

You are almost right. The association with republicans leans from the fact that most of the tea party objections to the parties line up with the facade the republicans would put forward to get elected but forget about once in office. This was highlighted enormously with the bank bailouts, the GM bailouts, and the slush fund created under the guise of the stimulus in which the tea party movement more or less was created.

In short, it was easier to hijack the republican party then to create a new party and complain that they don't get any respect like the libertarians and the greens party do. (note, that isn't a jolt on the libertarians or the greens, it is just an explanation of what was happening). This is what Obama is so pissed at, it is what McCain the maverick who lost against Obama was pissed at, and what the talking heads in the MMS echoed but failed to grasp. A group of people outside the system are successfully using the system to demand change and they call themselves the tea party.

Re:Medical professionals (1, Troll)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about 9 months ago | (#45171489)

Hint: most aren't social conservatives.

Funny, I've never met a single one who wasn't (and I've met a lot of them; not quite a million, but still a lot). The first type I've met is just as concerned about enforcing `family values' as taxes, and likely to believe shit like this [christwire.org] . The other type is basically cold fjord but with even less understanding of economics.

This is only surprising if your idea of who supports the Tea Party segment of the Republican Party comes from MSNBC

LOL I don't even watch TV, like, ever. I'm surrounded by these people. Drenched in their stupidity because no one wants to arguing with them when they start shouting about secession (yes, this is Texas, how did you guess). Trust me, I know tea-baggers and they don't give two shits about whatever supposed economic principles the Tea Party originally stood for.

Re:Medical professionals (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 9 months ago | (#45171521)

What is hear on the news (CNN, the Daily Show) or from my family is the Tea Party is mostly about bringing back racism. Which is strange because it's not in their platform and I haven't heard any Tea-Partiers mention it. But it comes back down to what the person who ran this analysis said, many "don't know a single person who identifies with the tea party."

Re:Medical professionals (3, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 9 months ago | (#45171593)

What is hear on the news (CNN, the Daily Show) or from my family is the Tea Party is mostly about bringing back racism.

Well, there you go. CNN has a political bias that is showing, and "The Daily Show" IS A COMEDY PROGRAM. It is Jon Stewart's cash cow. It isn't intended to be news, it is intended to keep his paycheck coming writ large. If you rely on either or both for your news, well, you're not getting the whole, or necessarily true, story. It's like taking a Jay Leno monologue at face value.

Perhaps the fact that CNN International carries "The Daily Show" might point you to the idea that CNN isn't trying to be a news channel anymore, if it ever was. It was Ted Turner's brainchild. The same Ted Turner who married Jane Fonda. The same Jane Fonda who visited the Viet Cong and made pals with them by denouncing the US, while the Viet Nam war was still going on. There can't be any biases in anything they do, can there?

Re:Medical professionals (0)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 9 months ago | (#45171639)

"The Daily Show" IS A COMEDY PROGRAM

You could have fooled me. Sometimes they have funny sketches from real comedians, but Jon Stewart isn't funny. Not even a little bit.

Re:Medical professionals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171701)

That's not a contradiction. Most comedy programs aren't funny.

Re:Medical professionals (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 9 months ago | (#45171715)

but Jon Stewart isn't funny. Not even a little bit.

Are you sure you're in his target demographic? If not, he doesn't have to be. And isn't trying to be.

Re:Medical professionals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171581)

How many Tea Party-aligned elected senators and representatives are not social conservatives? The fact is that most strident Tea Party voices seem to be invariably social conservatives, to put it mildly.

This is dumb. (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 months ago | (#45171283)

I guess the assumption was that if you don't agree with something, you couldn't possibly know about it or understand it? I guess that's why there are so many atheists better versed in one or more bibles and religions than the supposedly devout followers of them?

Additionally, I could probably count as many "durp i done been abducted by aliens" and "angels are real!" morons from almost every political spectrum.

Re:This is dumb. (1)

khasim (1285) | about 9 months ago | (#45171365)

I guess the assumption was that if you don't agree with something, you couldn't possibly know about it or understand it?

That's usually how it works with scientific subjects.

I guess that's why there are so many atheists better versed in one or more bibles and religions than the supposedly devout followers of them?

Completely different subject.

Anyway, back to the subject. A law professor ran some data about political beliefs through a program and got out results that seem to contradict his bias about scientific knowledge.

The first problem is that just because the data was sufficiently random/representative for X does not mean that it is sufficiently random/representative for Y.

Yale law professor Dan Kahan posted on his blog this week that he analyzed the responses of more than 2,000 American adults recruited for another study and found that, on average, people who leaned liberal were more science literate than those who leaned conservative.

So far it conforms to the cultural expectations.

However, those who identified as part of the tea party movement were actually better versed in science than those who didnâ(TM)t,

So when the people who are "conservative" but not "tea party" are included with the people who are "liberal" then that group scores worse than the group that is "tea party".

Lies, damn lies and statistics.

Re:This is dumb. (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45171569)

"So far it conforms to the cultural expectations."

You mean it conforms to the stereotype promoted by liberals. Not the same thing.

"So when the people who are "conservative" but not "tea party" are included with the people who are "liberal" then that group scores worse than the group that is "tea party"."

No. If you look at his actual comments [culturalcognition.net] , you will see that he found no significant difference in Cognitive Reflection Test scores between liberals and conservatives. He DID find a significantly higher score in those who identify with the Tea Party.

So get off your liberal high horse. I have found this smug attitude about IQ on the part of liberals to be [1] not supported by the actual data (see the link above for yet another bit of evidence), [2] unjustified, in my personal experience, and [3] old, tiresome, and offensive.

That's unpossible! (4, Insightful)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 9 months ago | (#45171291)

That can't be!

Everyone knows that the Tea party is a bunch of comic, laughable clowns with no grounding in reality. I mean, why else would they be so thoroughly lampooned using derogatory terms and snarky, dismissive comments.

Even Obama [wordpress.com] himself (praise be his name) mocks them.

It can't be true... can it?

Re:That's unpossible! (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45171425)

Obama ... (praise be his name)

And you complain about stereotypes and bias against the Tea Party?

Re:That's unpossible! (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 9 months ago | (#45171475)

What stereotype would this be, exactly?

Re:That's unpossible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171499)

And you are so stupid you don't recognize satire?

Maybe you should join the tea party.

Re:That's unpossible! (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45171645)

Learn to use the English lexicon correctly - sarcasm is not satire.

Re:That's unpossible! (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45171789)

"Learn to use the English lexicon correctly - sarcasm is not satire."

Perhaps you should study a bit more yourself before criticizing others. While not all satire is sarcasm, some sarcasm is indeed satire. In fact I think this particular instance is a very good example.

Re:That's unpossible! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45171763)

"And you complain about stereotypes and bias against the Tea Party?"

Um... excuse me? GP links to a quote from Obama, and you imply that is equivalent to unjustified stereotypes?

WTF? Is there some subtle logic buried in there somewhere? Because I sure as hell don't see any.

Re:That's unpossible! (-1, Flamebait)

DogDude (805747) | about 9 months ago | (#45171463)

I'd be surprised too, as the Tea Baggers tend to think that climate change is some kind of made up science (Yale Climate Change Study [yale.edu] ).

Re:That's unpossible! (4, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | about 9 months ago | (#45171509)

I'd be surprised too, as the Tea Baggers tend to think that climate change is some kind of made up science (Yale Climate Change Study [yale.edu] ).

However, that result is consistent with the other study [yale.edu] which showed that people who hold a strong position only get more certain of that position as the get more information, regardless of what the information says. So you'd expect more scientifically-informed climate deniers to deny more strongly than less-informed client deniers.

It's also worth pointing out that the Tea Party movement as such has no position on climate change at all.

Re:That's unpossible! (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 9 months ago | (#45171787)

Another problem is that disagreement on what to do about climate change if anything is mostly lumped into the denier category. This translates directly into more scientifically informed climate deniers by default as some people, the more they know about it, the less alarmed they become.

Re: That's unpossible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171517)

Well DogDude, how many tea party people do you know? I'd venture to say zero based on your comment. I know a lot and none of them believe any such thing. Believe it or not, a belief in fiscal responsibility, personal integrity and liberty for all isn't the kind of thing you should be mocking. Be part of the solution, instead of the problem. ie. Open your eyes and think about it.

Scientific (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171295)

I have also conducted a similar study Between a Red fish and an Yellow Fish, I have proven that together they know some orange fish, this I concluded though using another study's results (called are you an orange fish)

I weep for science.

ObBetteridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171305)

No.

Re: ObBetteridge (1)

gargleblast (683147) | about 9 months ago | (#45171433)

A postulate such as this requires a probability-theory generalization of Betteridge's law. To wit: fat chance.

News for Nerds, stuff that matters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171321)

What the hell kind of crap summary is this? I hate to admit it, but I kind of miss the days when Taco ran this place. Remember when Slashdot used to discuss things like the finer points of BeOS or Amiga. This summary makes Fox News look like Pulitzer Prize winning journalism.

From TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171347)

"Thatâ(TM)s what fruitful research is all about. It turns out that even the New York Times reported in 2010 that tea party supporters are wealthier and more college-educated than the general public."

As an outsider, that is surprising to me. I always thought the Tea Party was a bunch of extreme right wing climate-change denying Bible-thumping wackos represented by Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, and that guy who shot the senator in the face. What little we hear in the international media shows your Tea Party as being a lot of mouth-breathing buffoons.

Now I wonder if it is a failing of your education system, as in, the older, more established people who would be attracted to the Tea Party received a better education than today's generation.

Re:From TFA: (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 9 months ago | (#45171511)

Oh, you mean Jared Lee Loughner who was described as ""left wing, quite liberal,"[43] "radical."[44]" amd was registered as an independent?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Lee_Loughner [wikipedia.org]

Your bias is showing.

Re: From TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171539)

What it means is that the propaganda artists are doing a great job internationally. None of what you said is real, it's a caricature (an incorrect one) that is being used to make people dislike those groups who would shake loose the shackle of lies that have infiltrated governments the whole world over.

Re:From TFA: (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 9 months ago | (#45171667)

Well, there's really two different Tea Party movements.

One is your typical American-style libertarians -- essentially anarcho-capitalists, or at least somewhere in that corner.

But one of their key issues is slashing taxes. And wealthy people and corporations love that, so they pump a ton of money into "tea party" astroturf groups (like the Kochs' Americans for Prosperity) that use fear and hatred to boost membership. Which is the side of the group that hits the media hard of course, because that's where all the money is.

Still insane (1)

Skiboy941 (2692201) | about 9 months ago | (#45171389)

The Unabomber knew lots of science too. It didn't make him any less crazy.

Re:Still insane (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45171431)

Actually his strong point was math - his bombs weren't all that impressive.

Re:Still insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171473)

I'm curious why you think promoting individual responsibility and reducing the power of government is comparable to manufacturing homemade bombs in the middle of Montana and using them to kill people.

Not surprising (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171399)

The stereotypical Tea Partier is, for me, somebody who is professional, a high achiever who believes that most, if not all of that is due to their own merit. They might be really good at science and math; but they're short on compassion and unwilling to admit that they benefited in their youth from programs that are socialist. It doesn't surprise me one bit that they'd be more scientifically literate than average. Scientific knowledge isn't everything when it comes to leadership, management, politics, etc.. In fact, I'd me inclined to say it isn't worth much at all in those positions. Face it. The squishy "human factors" matter.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171523)

The stereotypical Tea Partier is, for me, an unemployed truck driver in front of the Capitol Building holding an effigy of Obama and a sign with racist epithets. I'm not trolling here; it's what a lot of people saw during the early days of its "coming out" on the cable news networks 4-5 years ago.

Ask yourself if you actually know anyone who belongs to the Tea Party. If you don't then the description I gave above is probably what's in your mind.

Changing this image is going to be especially difficult given what the Tea Party Republicans have been doing and saying lately. Beyond the rage over the recent debt fight, there's little nuggets of inconsistency which always seem to dog them.

For example, this Tea Party congressman's mind-blowing rationalization on Medicaid:

http://gawker.com/tea-party-republican-defends-being-on-medicaid-while-op-1446552792

Squishy human factors do matter, but to be taken seriously they really need to get their act together and form a coherent platform.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171541)

Original AC here. I think you've hit upon a good description of the Tea Party follower. I think I was describing the Teat Party leadership.

Just having a scientific leadership is enough to lift the group as a whole above average. Ayn Rand readers giving marching orders to truck drivers. Sounds about right.

Re:Not surprising (1, Flamebait)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 9 months ago | (#45171697)

Just having a scientific leadership is enough to lift the group as a whole above average. Ayn Rand readers giving marching orders to truck drivers. Sounds about right.

Exactly. The Tea Party is full of well-financed astroturf organizations fooling the less informed into supporting the best interests of their billionaire backers. No shit quite a few of them are very well educated -- you think Koch's kids (do they have kids?) would be high school dropouts?

I suspect the results may depend heavily on where you find the respondents. Run the survey in a wealthier area and you'll get Tea Party backers, who will of course be quite well educated. Run it in a poorer area and you'll get Tea Party followers, who probably aren't.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171611)

Perhaps the congressman is tired of having to go to the government in order to provide healthcare for his children. Maybe he wanted to step up and do something about it instead of accepting the status quo. I'm pretty sure a lot of people who favor small government are using or have used government programs. This is probably because the US has been slowly evolving into a state run economy over the last 80 years. Many of these programs force citizens to pay into them so it is hard to not want in.

Re:Not surprising (-1, Flamebait)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 9 months ago | (#45171533)

They might be really good at science and math; but they're short on compassion

Short on thinking the government is the source of all compassion. You can't claim that someone is short on compassion because they don't support your enforced-via-taxes government-is-the-only-way compassion model.

and unwilling to admit that they benefited in their youth from programs that are socialist.

Let's see. Everyone is run through those "programs", and only some come out as high achievers and well-paid professionals. If the program were the cause, then everyone would come out the same. Maybe there is something to the concept that some people are different than others and they can excel because of who they are and not the socialist programs they were subjected to?

Were this a true discussion of learning systems, there would be a large number of people expressing their personal datapoint that they didn't need those cookie-cutter systems and we'd be patting them on the back in congratulation that they did well on their own despite the system. When it is your stereotypical TP member, they are being hypocrites for not admitting the cookie-cutter system was how they got where they are.

Scientific knowledge isn't everything when it comes to leadership, management, politics, etc..

Well, if you can't insult "Tea Party" members for their lack of scientific knowledge, find something else and keep slinging.

Face it. The squishy "human factors" matter.

And nothing you've said reduces the "human factors" that Tea Party people have, they just don't fit your personal view as to which human factors are most important. They value personal responsibility as a "squishy human factor" more than you do. They don't think "forced charity" is a reasonable "human factor" (and it isn't really, since the human doesn't get to choose.) Ok.

Re:Not surprising (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45171617)

Everyone is run through those "programs", and only some come out as high achievers and well-paid professionals. If the program were the cause, then everyone would come out the same.

Flawed logic. Take a group, and give them all the benefit of a socialist program, like government financed education. Some will do better than others, which is at least closer to a meritocracy than would otherwise be the case. Eliminate that socialist program, and only the well off will be able to afford a decent education for their children. You now have a system that is based more on your parent's wealth than your merit. Hence people who believe they've done well because of their merit, and believe that's what success should be based on, should be in favor of such a socialist program.

Re:Not surprising (-1, Offtopic)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 9 months ago | (#45171749)

Flawed logic. Take a group, and give them all the benefit of a socialist program,

Flawed logic, assuming that a socialist program is beneficial to all. You're assuming that which needs to be proven.

It's like arguing that beatings are good for children by starting from the position "Take a group, and give them all the benefit of a good beating...".

Re:Not surprising (5, Insightful)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 9 months ago | (#45171809)

Let's see. Everyone is run through those "programs", and only some come out as high achievers and well-paid professionals. If the program were the cause, then everyone would come out the same. Maybe there is something to the concept that some people are different than others and they can excel because of who they are and not the socialist programs they were subjected to?

SERIOUSLY? Even within my small home town of 10,000, the quality of public school that you went to was pretty directly related to how wealthy your parents were. The school that all the doctors' and lawyers' kids went to? Renovated every 10 years, 20 or less kids per class, teachers' aides in every room, a number of gifted programs, and a lab full of modern PCs, along with PCs in every room, laptop carts, smart white boards, etc. But if you lived in one of the apartment complexes behind the mall you were going to the school where the bricks were falling off and the classes were packed and with few additional programs and your tech classes were taught on shared Apple IIes. In the same school district in the same town.

By highschool all of those schools filtered together...and you know what? I went to the elementary school with all the rich kids, and in highschool guess who I saw in all my AP classes, all my advanced math and science and such? The vast majority were the same kids I'd gone to elementary with -- even though there were six elementary schools in the district.

The problem isn't that these "socialist" programs don't work. The problem is that they aren't actually socialist.

Re:Not surprising (2, Insightful)

Richy_T (111409) | about 9 months ago | (#45171537)

Perhaps their idea of compassion just doesn't involve using the threat of force to take money from others for their own ends.

Re:Not surprising (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45171677)

Then money taken by threat of force could legitimately be used for what? If you say nothing, you're an anarchist.

What other variable were examined? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45171407)

What other variables were controlled for or tested?

Re:What other variable were examined? (4, Interesting)

davidannis (939047) | about 9 months ago | (#45171631)

If you read a bit more than the review article you find that scores on the test of scientific literacy they used is highly correlated with years of education. Since the tea party is heavily skewed toward older white males you'd expect them to have more years of education than the general population. Years of education was not controlled for.

Who'da Thunk It: (1)

Hartree (191324) | about 9 months ago | (#45171409)

Breaking News: Researcher assumes those he disagrees with and doesn't like are ignoramuses. Is shocked when he finds out they aren't.

People who think about politics and issues enough to join up with a nonmainstream group are often brighter and better informed than average. (Regardless of the wisdom of the positions they adopt.) The average types tend to stay in the parties they grew up with.

This would probably also hold with members of the IWW, for example.

I'm guessing it's almost all a selection effect.

Why even publish this study? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171413)

I am sick and tired of hearing about the idiots in the Tea Party. Why even publish the results of this study? The Tea Party is dangerous to our way of life. They fear change because they do not want to give up their wealth and power that was built on inequality, hate, derision, and homophobia. The Tea Party in their three years have:

1) Almost assassinated an American congresswoman. (2011)
2) Refused to even allow debate about gun-law reform as children are murdered in movie theatres and preschools. (2012)
3) Held hostage the national debt forcing the most austere sequester in federal government history, leading to spending cuts and furloughs (2013)
4) Shut down the government and almost lead to the worst global economic disaster since the Great Depression (TWO DAYS AGO)
5) Divided America to the worst point since the Civil War.

This kind of rubbish should not even be studied. The sooner we stop giving "attention" to the Tea Party, the sooner we can move on as a nation and heal.

By the way, this study is flawed, in that it is skewed towards college-educated people. If you were to get a proper representation of the Tea-Party demographic (the three-C's: climate-change deniers, creationists, capitalists), you would find that there are more GEDs and high-school drop-outs than college elite. You would also find that multiple studies have proven that the college elite (read: EDUCATED) tend to be liberal. The sample was skewed; much like that "study" years back that tried to say a Hummer was more environmentally safe than a Prius. The Tea Party is no way smarter than the rest of America.

Re:Why even publish this study? (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 9 months ago | (#45171565)

Your #1 is a flat out lie.

The rest I'll be willing to settle that you're simply deluded about. The spittle flecked hatred is palpable.

Re:Why even publish this study? (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | about 9 months ago | (#45171739)

The irony of someone accusing the Tea Party of "Almost assassinat[ing] an American congresswoman" in the same post that decries "[d]ivid[ing] America to the worst point since the Civil War" is painful. The former had NOTHING to do with the Tea Party, and the accusations that it did were a prime example of the vitriol that's come to dominate political debate.

I don't support most of the platform that's associated with the Tea Party, but the accusation that they've somehow been more vitriolic is ridiculous (although they haven't been less). A simple scan of the comments here is the perfect counterpoint.

News Flash: Partisan Caricature Found Incorrect! (5, Insightful)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 9 months ago | (#45171421)

I figured out in college that there were smart and dumb people (and informed and ignorant and good and evil ones) on all sides of pretty much any political question. That left emotions as the key issue, and it has never ceased to amaze and depress me how many people think of politics in the the most primitive, emotional ways: name-calling, tribalization, and tons of logical fallacies, all in the service of flinging feces at the Evil Others Who Don't Vote The Right Way.

The Tea Party is an interesting case in point. Their views, boiled down, amount to 1) the federal government should stick to its Constitutional powers, and 2) not spend more money than it has. Those are hardly extreme notions, but you'd never know it from the vicious attacks on them. This is not to say that every Tea Partier is correct on everything, or that their aren't nuts and unsavory types among them, but any political division that encompasses roughly 25-30% of the population will have some nuts and unsavory types.

So I don't find this result terribly surprising, but the people who think Tea Partiers are all ignorant racist/sexist/fascist/homophobes will certainly be surprised.

Final note: anyone interested in the psychology of political belief should check out the work of Jonathan Haidt [wikipedia.org] , particularly his work on moral foundations theory. No matter what you believe politically, it will help you understand why the people who disagree with you think the way they do.

Pointless story.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171435)

..whether or not there is actually any substance to this story, everything about it is so hopelessly trollioactive that any attempt to have a meaningful discussion on slashdot of all places will be futile. So why post it?

Figures it's from a Yale law professor (1)

Lucky_Pierre (175635) | about 9 months ago | (#45171439)

And people wonder why the US is all fucked up?

Let's get it out of the way... (3, Insightful)

Richy_T (111409) | about 9 months ago | (#45171461)

KAHaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaNNNN!!!!!!!!!

That is all.

Grr filter.

You got republicans and conservatives confused (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171465)

Ron Paul types are idealists, not your "normal" Republicans. We don't think of Ron Paul as a TPer, but that's only because he's so extreme. He's also a bit weird (i.e. mystical) which is why he stayed in that party.

The anti-science people are merely Republicans. There's actually very little conservative about them, and when you ask them about certain aspects of government relationship with people, they'll go left of Stalin and insist upon an extremely authoritarian police state that tells people what to do.

Then there are the non-mystics. They know about science, because science is the only way anyone has ever come up with, for understanding Anything; it turned out that everyone else (the non-scientists) were always lying about everything they said. So of course, they're informed. Not extremely informed, just better than average (remember: average is a pretty low bar). And a lot of them are idealists too. And .. get this .. some of them go with non-planned economies, really thinking that a free market algorithm will tend to find some fairly good optima (and by "fairly good" they mean something superior to everything you've ever seen in real life). So they become Tea Partiers.

That isn't to say all non-mystics become TPers; some believe in Philosopher Kings instead. If only we put unbelievable amounts of power into the hands of the best planners, they'll do Good. And also do better than anything you've ever seen in real life.

And then there's the other 90% of the population, who believe in mysticism. They split between Republican and Democrat however their parents did. And then they (incorrectly) label themselves as conservatives or liberals, or sometimes even become their self-assigned right/left labels through the power of cognitive dissonance. But without the idealism or any intellectual component at all. So they'll project anti-mysticism by knowing about evolution or global warming, but they're really doing it as dogma, not science. They just happen to be correct, as a matter of luck. Had they been told to believe in Body Thetans, they would.

What I think this means (2)

ugen (93902) | about 9 months ago | (#45171487)

I think that means "they know just enough to be dangerous". Perhaps on occasion little knowledge is worse than none at all.
That said, I do not find Tea Party supporters laughable at all. On the contrary - I think they are dead serious, and quite scary.

Tea party members - feel free to mod this "troll".

Interesting Finding (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171497)

I am an American of Chinese descent, and I happen to strongly agree with *some* of Tea Party's core values, mainly, a fiscally responsible, and socially less intrusive government, as well as personal independence and responsibility.

The Tea Partiers I've come in contact with over the years (there are a bunch of them here in Texas) are generally nice people, and mostly WASPs, unsurprisingly. Their not-so-subtle religious fundamentalism as well as racial superiorism are a huge put off, NONETHELESS, most are well educated, and have a genuine respect for education and science, if not passion/devotion.

The anti-tea party rants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171559)

Were juiced up because the left believes the tea party wasn't grassroots and was funded by rich donors. Which of course may be true, but instead of discussing the issues such as lowering deficit spending to control the debt problem in the US, the typical left winger just shouts "tea bagger" and smokes a joint. Apparently thinking about the future only matters when it comes to global warming, and not when it comes to economics.

The Soviets had a similar problem - except the lefties were in control and imprisoned or murdered the "deniers". We haven't gotten that far, but you can see the delusional left thinking along those lines. Fortunately, the SovUnion ate itself alive, proving for all time that the left doesn't have a clue how to actually run a country.

Re:The anti-tea party rants (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45171661)

The Soviets had a similar problem - except the lefties were in control and imprisoned or murdered the "deniers".

I won't mince words. Anyone who conflates what's widely considered a "leftie" in America with Stalinists, is a clown.

Tea Party =/= Religious Right (5, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 9 months ago | (#45171619)

News anchors and columnists still think anyone that isn't in the Democratic Party is a bible thumping, gun clinging, racist hillbilly. And their view is what gets spread to people in big cities who never experienced a tea party member for themselves. No surprise then that the researcher was surprised that tea party members have a large nerd contingent. We weren't surprised because we've seen them here on /. quite a bit.

Re:Tea Party =/= Religious Right (0)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45171703)

News anchors and columnists still think anyone that isn't in the Democratic Party is a bible thumping, gun clinging, racist hillbilly.

Does that apply to Fox news?

The Perfectly Evolved Political Animal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171621)

A Tea Partier's knowledge of science is of minor relevance. It is their knowledge of the political system and their ruthlessness to exploit it for their (and only their) personal goals is what scares the living Jeebus out of the rest of us, trying to cobble together and maintain a stable society.

The Tea Partiers would happily drive the U.S. off a cliff, or sodomize a box of kittens, or shoot a nun in the kneecaps, if it meant they could get their way. They could not care less about the country or the political system that gave them power and a soapbox. They are addicted to the limelight and the power - nothing more, nothing less. 200+ years of political evolution has reached its culmination.

In fairness, the Tea Party is hardly unique in this regard. There are elements of all political parties that would gladly do the same - the Tea Partier's merely got there "furstest with the mostest".

Sorry, but ... (1)

caferace (442) | about 9 months ago | (#45171643)

Have any of you RTFA, and looked at the website this is posted on? Pretty much a blog, a year and a half old with "stories", i.e. bloglinks so vacuous towards everyone. "Independent Journal Review" ? Slashdot just got Onion'ed.

Re:Sorry, but ... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45171713)

Give it a rest. It's Friday night, I'm working late and I'm tired. Any excuse to argue is a pleasant diversion, but now back to work ...

Re:Sorry, but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171719)

Shhhh!

It's simple: (0, Troll)

ApplePy (2703131) | about 9 months ago | (#45171735)

I support a good part of the Tea Party platform because I can do math. Taxes are too high, spending is too high, and if the segment of our populace that depends on taxpayer funds for its living grows much more in contrast to those who provide the funds, the whole system will collapse.

I'm also pretty liberal on social issues, a passionate environmentalist, and a gun owner. I believe in equal rights for all under the Constitution. I'm okay with gay marriage. I'm agnostic. And I've never voted for a Democrat in my life.

Kahan wrote. 'But then again, I don't know a single person who identifies with the tea party,' he continued.'"

That's because Mr. Kahan has never left his Yale Law ivory tower long enough to meet anyone unlike himself.

He is also probably unaware of some important historical facts. Tea Party was not originally a GOP subset. It was a non-affiliated movement called "Taxed Enough Already" consisting mostly of independent voters. I am not pleased that the movement has been co-opted and turned into something different, but someone has to carry the torch of smaller government.

Dreamers (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#45171737)

Our best hope for scientific literacy for Americans is immigration reform.

Get enough people from places where they don't think the world was made in 6 days and it might raise the average some.

Either that or hope the South secedes.

Left brain, right brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45171757)

The usage of "left" and "right" as political terms goes back to the French revolution. [wikipedia.org] I've always wondered if the origin of "left" and "right" for politics had to do with brain hemisphere dominance and a slight preference for wanting to view the center from one side or the other of a chamber (parliment/congress). There are aspects of liberalism that seem right-brain dominant. Liberals are overrepresented in art, music, drama and writing (journalism.) Liberals seem to have a commendable and almost child-like faith in human nature, even when our failings are all-too-obvious..

Conservatives seem to be less trusting but possibly more realistic about human nature. When solving poblems, they do think ahead several moves, almost as a good chess player would. They know that the the knock-on effect of a subsidy is a monetary bias which raises the price of a commodity. Liberals don't seem to ever get that one. But conservatives don't seem to think more than one move ahead when it comes to political strategy. They're terrible at representing themselves, aphasic, left-brained. But it doesn't surprise me to hear that tea partiers are slightly more scientifically literate. It has been my experience that Tea Partiers/Conservatives in general are far more scientifically literate than average. In fact while we hear a lot of media noise (from those right-brained leftists) about creationism, global warming denialists. But it isn't the tea partiers who tend to believe in crystal power, Chinese medicine, magnet therapy, homeopathy, Sasquatch, UFOs, and Obamacare?

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