Educated sceptics

Mr Penguin alerted me to this interested article in Wired. As you would expect, in the US, Republicans are more likely to be sceptical about global warming than Democrats.  Environmentalism has always been found more on the left than the right, and Republicans have more to lose from action that makes energy more expensive.

But college-educated Republicans are far more likely to be sceptics than their less educated political allies, while a college education makes a Democrat less sceptical. What is about the combination of education and right wing politics?

It’s quite strange, because in all other areas of life I can think of, conspiracy theories are more likely to be found at the loony left end of the spectrum. But in this one, the more educated a right winger is, the more likely they are to believe that the scientific establishment is holding something from them.

  2 comments for “Educated sceptics

  1. Andrew
    May 16, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    It’s generally unusual for the more educated *anything* to buy into more conspiracy theories. That’s the interesting bit.

    The fact that you find more conspiracy theorists on the left end of the spectrum may say more about your personal interests than anything else. For anyone who follows the creation/evolution debate, the phrase “right wing religious nut” is almost a tautology. And their conspiracy theories usually involve a whole new level of crazy compared to mere Marxist troublemakers.

    I speculate that the further from the consensus you are, the more likely you will invent conspiracy theories to explain why. Or (given that you are of course correct) the more likely that this actually is because of a Great Conspiracy. And the left is a lot further from the free enterprise model of western society than it is from the consensus in other areas.

  2. May 17, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    That is an interesting statistic. I can only attribute it to the right-wing colleges in this country.

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