More on the Psychology of Liberals and Conservatives

By Chris Mooney | March 2, 2011 10:57 am

My post last week on “Liberals, Conservatives, and Science” triggered a response from a researcher, Everett Young of Washington University in St. Louis, who studies and teaches about the psychology of political opinion formation. (See his syllabus here.) In the initial post, I had asserted that the burden of proof falls on those who would claim that left-right splits are caused by anything more than standard political jostling, interests coming into conflict, coalitions forming, etc. In contrast, Young argues that the burden actually falls on those of us who don’t know the psychology literature or understand how well, in his words, the “psychology-ideology link” is now supported.

Huh. Well this is going to be interesting, at any rate, so let’s go through what he has to say. Young starts out like this:

I think if you look at the political science literature over the last few decades, the burden of proof has shifted dramatically onto those who would deny a psychology-ideology link. Even without Jost, the evidence has grown into somewhat of a mountain. And Alford, et al.’s findings on genetics are only controversial insofar as people don’t like them. The evidence for a genetics-ideology link is also overpowering, even if we haven’t mapped out exactly how it happens.

Young is talking about the work of John Jost at NYU and John Alford at Rice. I’ve read some of it, but being a mere journalist, it’s hard for me to say how well their results–suggesting a correlation between psychology and ideology and genes and ideology, respectively–are “established” or “accepted.” It certainly does seem that research in this area–explaining the root causes of our ideological differences–is growing.

Young’s next assertion is critical for our debate about liberals, conservatives, and science–because it helps to neutralize my “it’s just politics” explanation:

Moreover, the suggestion that the Republican party’s being less anti-science in the early 1970s than it is today is evidence that science is, under the right cultural circumstances, equally compatible with a conservative psychology says little, too, because the Republican and Democratic parties were very different then than they are today, and surely aren’t synonymous with right-left ideology. Even today they are STILL not synonymous with conservatism and liberalism, but they were much farther away then from being so.

The reason why more scientists are liberal can hardly be divorced from the question of why academics generally are liberal. If the psychological profile that produces curiosity and the desire to learn both makes one liberal and makes one more likely an academic, then its making one a scientist is barely in need of explanation.

I guess the explanation here would be, tracking how the parties have changed in their alignment with science over the years does not refute the claim that there are underlying differences between liberals and conservatives. The Republican Party of Eisenhower, in this view, really just wasn’t very conservative.

I certainly do agree that American politics was way more centrist in that era than it is now, and ideological divides were less sharp.

As for liberals and academia: Young’s explanation seems fairly close one of the explanations that had already come up in comments on a prior post–many discussants cited a “traditionalism vs. openness/progress axis, in which liberals/scientists were depicted as being in search of the different and new (new findings, new experiences) where as conservatives were painted as resistant to change and attracted to routines, stability, and long existing structures.” It would appear that Young accepts this psychological sorting exercise.

He then continues:

Chris is right that some model must be proposed to explain HOW a cognitively flexible (rigid) psychology produces liberal (conservative) opinion formation. However, Jost and others (including me) have done exactly that. I agree more with some researchers’ ideas than others’, however, I don’t think it can be said any longer that the default assumption, against which we are Quixotically tilting, is that there are no psychological differences between libs and cons. The psychological differences are well documented, and the hypothesis that they are the RESULT of ideology rather than the other way around is by far the less parsimonious, more strained one.

The need to map out HOW, in greater and greater detail, psychological variables produce systematic left-right differences opinion formation is the task set before political psychology. However, the need to establish that, at least to some extent, it happens, has been surmounted in my opinion.

Here, again, is where being a journalist is tough: You’re reporting on the views of experts, not being one yourself. So when I hear “well documented,” I pause. I agree there’s lots of research on this subject–and, as Young admits, lots more to be done. But how well accepted is it within the relevant expert community?

My sense is that a lot of researchers hold this stuff at arm’s length–perhaps out of bias or closed-mindedness or political correctness, or perhaps for more legitimate reasons. So I guess my question for Young would be: If it’s as well established as you say, why isn’t it treated that way?

Comments (26)

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  1. the looney left vs. the ridiculous right « hbd* chick | March 2, 2011
  1. Somite

    Liberalism and conservatism, at least the current US flavors, are not equally valid point of views if you care about the truth and reality. Conservatism is ideological and disregards facts. In a way, conservatism can be seen as the “ability” to arrive at a conclusion in spite of the facts. This is incompatible with academic proficiency and can explain in part why academics are mostly liberal.

    Liberalism and conservatism are not equally valid but are two sides of the same coin. Just like a person can be healthy or sick, or right or wrong. I do think the psychological question is interesting but it is immaterial if what you are interested is in the facts and truth.

  2. Bobito

    @1 “Conservatism is ideological and disregards facts.”

    Somite, this statement goes directly against your argument since (I’m assuming you are liberal) you are resorting to generalization and bias rather than facts.

    Religion “is ideological and disregards facts”, not conservatism. If you can’t separate the two, you certainly are not interested is in the facts and truth.

    On topic: The psychology argument seems reasonable to me, but I doubt it is the whole story. Perhaps it’s just that psychology makes you prone to one ideology or the other, then once an ideology is ‘chosen’ your psychology helps embolden you because you will tend to agree with others having a similar psychology. So psychology will only take you so far, ideology is the next step.

  3. Terry

    But, since every political party in the united states believes that the power of the government extends from consent of the governed, and that life, liberty, and property are the foundational rights from which all other rights extend, we are ALL technically liberals, huh? In fact, which party doesn’t believe as strongly in the right to property, the most fundamental right of liberalism?

  4. There’s well documented trend in the last few years for an interaction effect between party support and level of education when it comes to belief in climate change. For some reason, the more educated a strong Republican supporter is, the *less* likely she is to believe climate change is a threat, whereas it works the other way for strong Democrat supporters:
    http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/?p=2297
    The paper speculates it’s due to new forms of narrowcast media that dish up pre-digested snippets of science that cohere with the existing ideology.
    But I think it also points to something significant about what people expect from science – they expect it to confirm their worldview rather than challenge it. In the last decade or so, many areas of science represent a strong challenge to key elements of the dominant Republican ideology (e.g. unlimited economic growth, deregulation, small government). In such circumstances, it seems even well educated people are more likely to reject the science than they are to reject their ideology.

  5. Nullius in Verba

    I think it’s more likely that a lot of strongly left-wing researchers have taken to writing papers diagnosing conservatives as mentally defective in various ways (expressed in more circumlocutory phraseology, of course) and getting them published. The mounting number of such papers then becomes ‘the weight of evidence’, irrespective of the quality of each individual paper. It’s an interesting hobby, I suppose.

    I took a look at three of Jost’s papers from your link. The main problems I saw were ad hoc rationalisation and lots of confirming the consequent. But their thesis can be put more directly than that. Being liberal, they hold certain firm beliefs about the world, and they are puzzled to explain the fact that an awful lot of people don’t share those beliefs, even when according to their own beliefs they ought to – they call this a “paradox”. They propose various ad hoc cod-psychology explanations for this ‘irrationality’, and then search for correlations to confirm them. They never consider the simplest hypothesis – simply that all these people might know enough basic economics to understand why their left-wing belief system is totally wrong.

    You’ll understand that I’m saying that from a more right-wing perspective, so I would say that, wouldn’t I? But at least you might agree that the researchers lack the introspection to even consider the possibility.

    The best example of the ones I’ve looked at is this paper. The first problem is with inexact terminology – they make no distinction between outcome-equality and opportunity-equality, which is essential for understanding the respective positions and motivations of left and right. They use “liberal” as a synonym for left-wing, which is the popular usage, but not the technical academic one. They take it for granted that the economic system in the US is “free market”, which while it is freer than most, is not a position any actual free-market advocate would take. They assume inequality is because of the free market, rather than producer-protectionism dominating labour-protectionism, or any other reason. And they assign the value judgements of “fair” and “unfair” to particular situations from their own political perspective, rather than a neutral position.

    They say:
    “Social scientists have often puzzled over the popular perception that the American economic system is intrinsically fair, despite widespread awareness of inequality (…) Such findings are difficult to square with prevailing theories of individual and collective self-interest”

    Of course, from the right-wing perspective it’s very easy to understand – the free market is based on opportunity-equality and meritocracy being both fairer and more socially beneficial than outcome-equality, which is the only form of equality the researchers consider. From the right-wing perspective, free-market inequality is beneficial to the poorest – if you double the wages of the poor while multiplying by ten the wages of the rich, you increase outcome-inequality, but the poor are better off as a result. In fact, since doubling the wages of the poor has a proportionately bigger impact on their lives, arguably much better off. So from a self-interest point of view, this is preferable. The idea that the poor are worse off in an unequal society only follows if you believe that the rich gain wealth solely by taking it from the poor, rather than creating it themselves.

    This is a standard left-wing belief – and I’m not going to try and argue against it here, see Bastiat if you want the reasons – but for an academic study of left-wing versus right-wing thinking, you need to set your own opinions aside and consider things from a neutral point of view.

    These points are obvious to any free-market right-winger, but since there are no doubt few-to-none of those in the academic psychology community, none of the reviewers or other researchers would be expected to pick up on it.

  6. Arne

    Are you kidding? People are afraid they’ll be Watsoned or Summerized.

  7. Chris Mooney

    @1 not gonna cut it. clearly, liberalism also can sometimes be ideological and disregard facts. which side does it more? well that’s a big question, about which my views are already known but it’s fascinating to debate.

    @5 precisely. we have a lot of evidence that this is exactly how it works on the climate issue. see my interview with dan kahan for more detail.

    http://www.pointofinquiry.org/dan_kahan_the_american_culture_war_of_fact/

  8. Everett Young

    Well, probably the most important finding of motivated reasoning research is simply that sophistication increases motivated reasoning effects. That is, politically sophisticated Republicans–and Democrats–should reason in more motivated fashion about everything, including climate change. Politically sophistication among Republicans is certainly going to correlate highly with education, so seeing educated Republicans denying climate change more than uneducated ones (many of whom don’t know they’re “supposed” to disbelieve it) is not surprising.

    What would be more interesting to me would be learning whether, controlling for overall education levels, having formal training IN CLIMATE SCIENCE causes Republicans to reverse course–that is, among very educated Republicans (who generally disbelieve AGW), does having training in actual climate science reverse the trend and cause them to believe at least in a strong likelihood of AGW after all? (Note not even liberal scientists consider AGW “proven” beyond ALL doubt.)

    I think I’d bet the farm it does. Motivated reasoning does appear to reach a tipping point–when the facts keep coming in an onslaught, eventually people say uncle. (There’s a fairly recent finding on this.)

    To answer Chris’s question as to why the ideology-psychology link isn’t treated as being well-established if in fact it is well-established, I would actually use similar reasoning: it’s mainly treated as not-well-established to the extent that one has not closely inspected the evidence. Among most ideology researchers, I think a psychology-ideology link is quite accepted, although there are certainly disagreements about its precise nature (for example, the link between personality traits and distinctly economic ideology is a newer finding and has less acceptance than the traits-moral ideology link–though supporting evidence is mounting quickly).

    There are lots of scientific findings–especially ones which are counterintuitive or don’t resonate powerfully with everyday experience–which are well-established to people who’ve studied them but seem positively nutso to ordinary people–even really smart ones.

    Think, for example, of the parade of splashy findings over the last few years that use fMRI technology to show that this or that psychological function can be largely localized to some brain area. Over and over, people are shocked, even disbelieving, to find that obesity, addiction, empathy, even criminality, are not so much the results of the deliberate choices of a conscious self, but are instead the effects of something happening “in the brain”–as though ANY psychological event could be generated anywhere else. But on an everyday basis people experience empathy, addictions, etc. as though these things have their origins within a sort of nonmaterial “self” or as the products of “character” or as “conscious decisions”–as though even character, decisions, or perceptions of a self could themselves have an origin anywhere outside the brain either.

    Seeing a psychological event, which feels strongly to us as though we’ve authored it, as the action of some kind of thinking machine, runs counter to everyday experience.

    Of course the notion that thinking happens “in the brain” is well-established to neuroscientists–to the point that the Parade-Magazine-level debate–”Do we really do X in our brains?!”–is not worth 2 seconds of their time.

    But even something which seemingly ought to be this obvious is not well-accepted by the general public, for whom thinking seems to be something that “they” “do” without a need for some kind of substrate, hence the shock and awe every time it’s discovered that yet another mental act “happens in the brain” before “we,” our”selves” have even had a chance to’ve authored it.

  9. Everett Young

    @6: Perhaps Jost and his colleagues do allow their puzzlement over conservative thinking to infect how they CHARACTERIZE their findings–i.e., liberals appear “normal” and conservatives appear afflicted.

    However, I don’t see how you’ve begun to address the claim that liberals and conservatives are psychologically DIFFERENT. That claim hasn’t taken on any damage, even if every last point you’ve made is granted.

    Let’s say conservative policy prescriptions are exactly right and liberals’ are exactly wrong. Let’s say conservatives are clear-minded thinkers and liberalism is some kind of aberration.

    OK, but liberals and conservatives STILL systematically differ on a wide range of psychological, behavioral, physiological, and brain-imaging measures. I’m happy to allow that, normatively, perhaps liberals differ in being the “worse” people on every last measure. Liberals’ greater empathy is weakness in the face of others’ pain when strength is called for; liberals’ slower eye-blinks in the presence of threat shows they don’t know a real threat when they see one; liberals’ greater “cognitive flexibility” is just airy-fairy hypercontextualism and the inability to see that a rose is a rose; liberals’ more situational and less trait-driven attributions for behavioral outcomes drive excuse-making and an unwillingness to see that bad behaviors are just the obvious and logical outcomes of bad character–and on and on.

    Show me that liberals and conservatives don’t, in actuality, differ on these measures–show me that several dozen, possibly even several hundred, studies were all statistical accidents. That would give me pause.

  10. Luke Lea

    I question whether conservatives are really more “anti-science” than liberals on average. The usual references are to Creationism and the teaching of evolution in the schools. Yet liberals are guilty of essentially the same bias when they deny the probability of human biodiversity under natural selection — or when they argue for a universe governed solely by chance and the mechanical laws of nature, in which the human species has no special claim, and then go on to defend the infinite worth of the individual and the equality of rights. Global warming is certainly an area of disagreement, but since climate science is a young science, and the economic costs and benefits of trying influence climate are poorly understood, it’s hard to see how those who advocate immediate action are being more “scientific” than those who advocate caution. Both sides are equally in favor of untrammeled research into chemistry and solid state physics, two “pure” sciences.

  11. Jon

    Everett Young: The psychological differences are well documented, and the hypothesis that they are the RESULT of ideology rather than the other way around is by far the less parsimonious, more strained one.

    Sure, people are predisposed by biology, but peoples’ passions and levels of commitment are excited by old fashioned rhetoric, no? And I bet there are key times in peoples’ lives where they are more susceptible, where what they became later was formed by key experiences. No doubt probably some are more susceptible than others.

    And conservatism as a category of ideology isn’t a simple one. I think you run into a danger if you assume it’s either all there or it’s not–it’s got some crosstabs, as David Brooks argued in this column:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/05/opinion/05brooks.html

  12. Anthony McCarthy

    Yet liberals are guilty of essentially the same bias when they deny the probability of human biodiversity under natural selection — LL

    What do you mean by that? I assume I know what you mean but I want it confirmed before I comment on it.

    — or when they argue for a universe governed solely by chance and the mechanical laws of nature in which the human species has no special claim, and then go on to defend the infinite worth of the individual and the equality of rights. LL

    Being very, very liberal and never having argued that, having found it among quite a number of conservatives, especially of the libertarian kind, your assumption that it’s a qualification to be a liberal is wrong. I believe and have said that belief is likely to be disadvantageous to the political values of liberalism.

    — but since climate science is a young science, and the economic costs and benefits of trying influence climate are poorly understood LL

    Oh, does that mean that physics, immunology, the discoveries of Pasteur shouldn’t have been taken seriously for the first forty years? The science has made predictions which are clearly accurate, far more than the opponents of the science. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. The consequences can’t be reversed when the climate in the sixtieth year when you are unable to deny reality.

  13. Nullius in Verba

    #10,

    “However, I don’t see how you’ve begun to address the claim that liberals and conservatives are psychologically DIFFERENT. That claim hasn’t taken on any damage, even if every last point you’ve made is granted.”

    I agree. It’s a reasonable hypothesis, and the fact that I haven’t been shown any evidence for or against doesn’t mean it isn’t true. All I was arguing with was the idea that the weight of evidence cited here has shifted the burden of proof – I’m taking no position on whether the hypothesis is correct or not. It’s not a subject I’ve researched in any depth.

    I agree that it ought to be researched. But you need to get some knowledgeable right-wingers on board to give the research balance, and avoid confounding subject psychology with your own preconceptions. How did you test empathy? What sort of threat? Which categories do you test for cognitive rigidity?

    There are a lot of ways that cultural context can subtly bias psychological tests. Take the way that for many years blacks scored lower on IQ tests – but change the questions to be neutral to cultural background and experiences, and the gap in scores shrinks. It’s not that the question-setters deliberately set out to skew the results, but they can’t help how they think any more than their subjects. It’s the same nature-versus-nurture debate that always goes on when you start asking questions about human intelligence. How much is learned, how much is innate, how much is determined by the problem and can be done no other way. And how are all these inter-related. As with classic nature/nurture, the answer is very likely to be ‘both, inextricably interacting’.

    It’s an extremely difficult problem anyway, which is compounded in this sort of situation by the pervasive cognitive biases that every experimenter has, based on their own culture and politics. And in this case there’s a strong motive to come to particular congenial results, too. That’s why you need strict scientific controls against unconscious experimental bias. That Jost paper I read didn’t even try.

  14. Chris Mooney

    what a great thread. i’ll have more soon. let’s all remember there are 2 separate issues:

    1) are there psychological differences between liberals and conservatives?

    and if so

    2) do those psychological differences affect how they respond to scientific information, on contested issues or across the board?

    it may be that the answer to 1 is yes but the answer to 2 is no. i think that everett young is going for 1 and 2 both being yes. anyway, let’s make sure to remember that they have to be distinguished and taken in sequence…

  15. Everett Young

    Chris: nice clarification. Let me say that I do think the answer to both 1 and 2 is yes, but that while there is overwhelming evidence for (1) , there’s less direct evidence for (2), unless you count the fact that the scientific profession seems to attract mostly liberals. Among ordinary liberals or conservatives, I still think good theory can be constructed to support (2) as a hypothesis, but direct tests of it are lacking, so I’m not going to stand on the mountaintop and shout that (2) is supported by overwhelming evidence. It’s possible that conservatives “like science” just as much as liberals do, so long as its findings don’t offend their ideology. I bet they don’t, though!

    And arguments that the social science profession initially attracts both liberals and conservatives, but that conservatives are driven out because it’s hostile to the findings of conservative researchers, will not be taken seriously by me. Every liberal researcher I know, including several frequent reviewers and journal editors, would welcome well done research with results that made conservatives “look good.”

  16. JMW

    If a man isn’t a socialist when he is twenty, he has no heart. If he is still a socialist when he is forty, he has no brain. – a misquotation often attributed to Winston Churchill.

    Age of course if a fever chill
    That every physicist must fear
    He’s better dead then left alive
    Once he’s passed his thirtieth year.

    I believe this was a little doggerell written by one of the Manhattan Project physicists (assuming I’ve quoted it correctly – I read it in the book “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age” years ago).

    In short, age also plays a role in whether someone is conservative or liberal, and the long-held belief that scientists, especially physicists do their best work when young plays into this.

    Then of course, FDR once said, “A conservative is a man with two good legs who refuses to walk forward.”

  17. Jon

    Jmw assumes that a party that is at war with the new deal (social security, collective bargaining) is conservative. Is institutionalized denial of expertise (climate change) conservative? What is the modern conservative movement trying to conserve?

  18. Somite

    Chris! I can’t believe you are arguing for equally valid point of views between liberalism and conservatism. You literally wrote the book on “The republican war on science”. Ask yourself as a writers. Could you write “The democratic war on science”? The best you can come come up with are sporadic tacit endorsement of anti-vaccination without any real legislation behind it.

    The question of the psychology of conservatism Vs liberalism is as important as the question of why so many people are deluded by religion in the face of facts. Look at the responses on this thread. Invariably conservative responders: 1) inject a rationalization in the face of facts 2) use plainly false but convenient information 3) and this is the worst; trust their own opinion in areas outside over their expertise over the actual experts and then claim bias.

    My interest would be knowing what psychological traits allows this kind of irrational behavior to exist and even be admired in society.

    It may be that after all it is based on ego. Academicians need to be humble and accept facts and interpretations that may contradict what they believe in order to advance the field. Conservatives seem unable to do so.

  19. Jon

    My point is that if you are for preserving collective bargaining that has been in place for over 70 years, or preserving a fiscally successful retirement system, or for siding with mainstream scientific institutions, in many ways, this *is* conservative, and overthrowing these things is not.

  20. Chris Mooney

    @ 19 I could not write a book called the “Democrat War on Science.” There are cases, but not enough cases to argue something systematic is going on. (But a lot of conservatives disagree, and some have already written the equivalent!)

    to Everett: You certainly are starting to convince me on hypothesis 1. Nullius can problematize but the fact is that nobody contributing to this thread knows the literature as you do.

    What’s interesting about point 2 is that while I agree we don’t have evidence that *psychological differences* drive the science denial, we do have *evidence* that the science denial is more systematic on one side. Evidence in, for instance, my book The Republican War on Science.

    So the question then becomes, what is the cause of this difference?

    You would seem to suggest that psychology has to be part of it. I can take this seriously as a hypothesis–which needs evidentiary support–although I also think that coalitions and political allegiances drive it.

    For instance, why is Big Pharma a leading donor to a party whose religious conservative base wants to prevent the use of Merck’s human papilloma virus vaccine? I don’t know how psychological differences between liberals and conservatives explain this strange bedfellows situation. (Although maybe the theory of “cognitive dissonance”….)

  21. Chris Mooney

    @16 “It’s possible that conservatives “like science” just as much as liberals do, so long as its findings don’t offend their ideology. I bet they don’t, though!”

    Does anyone know if there is any polling data on this?

    The latest NSF Science and Engineering Indicators (Chapter 7) reports a long list of findings about how Americans say they trust scientific leaders, that science makes our lives better, etc

    http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind10/c7/c7h.htm

    But there is no breakdown by ideology or party.

  22. John Kotcher

    @22

    Chris,

    The 2009 AAAS/Pew survey had some data on this.

    http://people-press.org/report/?pageid=1546

    Republicans (88%) and Dems (83%) largely agree that science has been beneficial for society. It’s interesting to note, too, that one third of Dems feel that science conflicts with their religious beliefs.

    John

  23. Everett Young

    I went and downloaded that dataset and played with it for a few minutes. There is no evidence I can find that liberals generally “like” science or are more attracted to it than conservatives. I created a combined measure of “liking science” from three dichotomous items–like whether you read science magazines, etc. It was not related to party OR self-identified ideology or a combined measure of party and ideology.

    The “liking science” scale was not a very reliable measure.

    The only mildly interesting relationship I found was that liberals are slightly, but significantly, more likely than conservatives to say science has had a positive effect on our society, controlling for a few other variables. This is not the case for Democrats or Republicans. Just “liberals.”

    So I’d say that my earlier suggestion that liberals “like” science more than conservatives do receives zero support in this survey, but you can’t conclude much from a null, and the measures are not designed to test my hypothesis. But, overall, it seems that ordinary conservatives casually evaluate science about the same as liberals do.

  24. Jack Stillwell

    One thing not mentioned so far is the difference between ‘techne’ and ‘academe’, or between ‘how’ and ‘why.’ Both of these lare bodies of techniques and methodologies seek knowledge about ‘what’ but then use the information differently. See Glacken, ‘Traces on the Rhodian Shore’ for extensive discussion of of the differences.)

    The disciplines associated why ‘how’ include engineering, the industrial arts and sciences, the agricultural arts and sciences, etc. Both approaches have origins in behavior humans have engaged in for a very long time (perhaps right to the origins of our species). From the first quarter of the 19th century they have collectively been called ‘science’ despite the vast differences between them.

    I suspect that highly educated Conservatives interested in ‘science’ are by and large more interested in the ‘how’ approaches and that the reverse is true of ‘Liberals.’

    There is a growing literature on this subject in ‘science studies’ — anthropology and sociology of science, as well as in te history of technology and the history of science.

  25. Chris Mooney

    @23 & @24 this certainly aligns with my sense that nobody, on either side of the aisle, claims to be “anti-science.” However, I too have the instinctive sense that, given all the battles between the scientific establishment and the GOP that have played out in the last decade, you would expect to see some side-taking. I don’t know if we have the right data to detect that, or not.

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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

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