Wednesday, April 25, 2018

White Republicans marginally more scientifically literate than white Democrats

The implicit condescension in the "I f*cking love science!" society wide virtue signal is grating. When it comes to biological differences between human populations and between men and women, they're as anti-science as it gets.

It is in this vein I've periodically tapped the GSS to show that Republicans are more scientifically literate than Democrats, the only major exception being on the question of evolution (but not, as noted earlier, the implications of evolutionary pressures on human populations over the last 10,000 years).

The intention is not to imply that it is actually Rs who f*cking love science!, it's to empirically counter the elevated sense of scientific enlightenment particularly obnoxious (white) leftists pretend to enjoy. And to do it with a fun biological shiv twist, by pointing out the obvious reason Republicans are more scientifically literate than Democrats is because most blacks and a plurality of Hispanics are Democrats, while Republicans are the de facto white party.

That inevitably leads to the question of whether, among (non-Hispanic) whites, Republicans or Democrats are more scientifically literate. The approximate answer I've offered in the past is that they're about the same, but until now I hadn't formally presented it.

The following table shows the percentages, by partisan affiliation, who correctly answered each of the 14 science module questions the survey has included in every iteration since 2006. Bolded red figures indicate greater knowledge among Republicans; bolded blue figures indicate greater knowledge among Democrats:

Scientific literacy among non-Hispanic whites by partisan affiliationRep%Dem%
Astrology is not scientific74.469.5
Father, not mother, determines a child's sex77.275.2
Continental drift has and continues to occur86.993.1
The earth revolves around the sun81.582.0
Electrons are smaller than atoms71.375.4
Humans evolved from other animals38.967.0
Understands the need for control groups in testing83.084.7
The earth's core is very hot95.995.0
Lasers are not made by condensing sound waves74.869.5
Demonstrates a basic understanding of probability94.093.2
Demonstrates a modestly more advanced understanding of probability81.582.8
Not all radioactivity is man-made89.587.6
It takes the earth one year to rotate around the sun78.377.8
Antibiotics do not kill viruses67.766.2

As expected, little to see here. Republicans do better on eight items, Democrats better on six. Among whites, there isn't much difference in intelligence by partisan affiliation--the bigger difference is between those who have a partisan affiliation and those who don't, with the former tending to be markedly more intelligent than the latter.

Jig Bohnson (heh) suggests controlling for SES. The following four tables show the same as above but separated by self-identified social class:

Scientific literacy among lower-class n-H whites by partisan affiliationRep%Dem%
Astrology is not scientific59.852.9
Father, not mother, determines a child's sex71.373.0
Continental drift has and continues to occur87.892.5
The earth revolves around the sun71.674.4
Electrons are smaller than atoms57.077.9
Humans evolved from other animals38.158.9
Understands the need for control groups in testing83.382.7
The earth's core is very hot95.096.6
Lasers are not made by condensing sound waves59.250.0
Demonstrates a basic understanding of probability91.092.3
Demonstrates a modestly more advanced understanding of probability68.882.7
Not all radioactivity is man-made77.772.3
It takes the earth one year to rotate around the sun80.077.0
Antibiotics do not kill viruses32.140.4

Scientific literacy among working-class n-H whites by partisan affiliationRep%Dem%
Astrology is not scientific65.564.8
Father, not mother, determines a child's sex77.370.1
Continental drift has and continues to occur85.193.2
The earth revolves around the sun81.677.9
Electrons are smaller than atoms69.772.0
Humans evolved from other animals31.157.5
Understands the need for control groups in testing81.682.3
The earth's core is very hot96.294.1
Lasers are not made by condensing sound waves71.867.3
Demonstrates a basic understanding of probability94.392.3
Demonstrates a modestly more advanced understanding of probability82.482.1
Not all radioactivity is man-made88.085.0
It takes the earth one year to rotate around the sun74.674.2
Antibiotics do not kill viruses61.656.1

Scientific literacy among middle-class n-H whites by partisan affiliationRep%Dem%
Astrology is not scientific80.374.2
Father, not mother, determines a child's sex77.679.7
Continental drift has and continues to occur87.292.8
The earth revolves around the sun82.285.1
Electrons are smaller than atoms72.977.7
Humans evolved from other animals42.373.2
Understands the need for control groups in testing84.086.4
The earth's core is very hot95.895.1
Lasers are not made by condensing sound waves76.971.8
Demonstrates a basic understanding of probability93.993.6
Demonstrates a modestly more advanced understanding of probability82.083.2
Not all radioactivity is man-made90.890.5
It takes the earth one year to rotate around the sun80.680.2
Antibiotics do not kill viruses72.675.2

Scientific literacy among upper-class n-H whites by partisan affiliationRep%Dem%
Astrology is not scientific80.579.7
Father, not mother, determines a child's sex76.474.0
Continental drift has and continues to occur96.894.1
The earth revolves around the sun81.087.9
Electrons are smaller than atoms74.173.4
Humans evolved from other animals59.391.4
Understands the need for control groups in testing78.990.4
The earth's core is very hot96.2100.0
Lasers are not made by condensing sound waves81.079.3
Demonstrates a basic understanding of probability96.897.0
Demonstrates a modestly more advanced understanding of probability83.584.9
Not all radioactivity is man-made92.896.0
It takes the earth one year to rotate around the sun79.178.1
Antibiotics do not kill viruses83.686.9

Again, not much here. Democrats look marginally better when attempts to adjust for class are made, but with the exception of the question of evolution, all the differences remain modest and are largely attributable to sampling noise.



IHTG said...

I'd try to control for sex. Women are more liberal, and I suspect less curious about these sorts of facts.

Jim Bowery said...

I guess the GSS can't include:

"Racial groups differ in average IQ."

because they'd have to eliminate "True" or "False" and have only one checkbox:

"What are you, a RACIST?"

After all, social scientists f*****g love science!

Anonymous said...

Global warming and GMOs. Water fluoridation.

Also interesting to ask about animal sentience.

Jig Bohnson said...

Excellent work! This is real data-driven social analysis.

AE I am going to make a bold suggestion: how about a "mirror" site where you archive some of your best highly quantitative analyses such as this one? The difference would be that the mirror site would contain no blue language, in-jest (or not in-jest) ethnic slurs, or triple parentheses, just the data, graphs, and (more restrained) relevant commentary. That would make a place where we could refer "normies" as you would call them in order to say, for example in this case, "hey, that claim you are making about Democrats loving science and Republicans being uneducated troglodytes is not supported by the actual data." Or in other cases things like "Fully one-in-five Jamaicans is residing in the US - is that sustainable for Jamaica?"

Educated normies or whatever you want to call them should see analyses such as this but won't if those analyses are imprisoned within these particular walls, alas.

Kipling said...

Am I the only person alarmed that almost 1 in 5 Americans don't think the Earth revolves around the sun?

Dan said...

AE wrote,

"The implicit condescension in the "I f*cking love science!" society wide virtue signal is grating. When it comes to biological differences between human populations and between men and women, they're as anti-science as it gets."

Right. This is an extreme understatement because this particular anti-science foolishness is at the core of what it means to be human.

That is, those two aspects, human population differences and truth of sex/gender/reproduction are central to making sense of the world you live and taking reasonable action far more than knowing about electrons or the temperature of the Earth's core.

If one thinks gender is not biological or human population differences are a social construct, you fail intellectually at the most fundamental level. You are more benighted than a European peasant living during the dark ages. All of the knowledge of minor scientific trivia cannot make up for this failure.

Kapper said...

@ Kipling - No you're not the only one. I found that shocking too.

At least the Earth's core question got 95%. I guess that means the number of possible flat-earthers are less than 5%.

Sid said...


I would put people who don't believe in biological sex at a level far below Young Earth Creationists and Flat Earthers.

To know that the Earth came into being billions of years ago and that it possesses a spherical shape requires a certain level of abstract thinking. Honestly, most people just accept these scientific conclusions on trust that the scientists know what they're talking about. What's more is that it took centuries for scientists to reach their current conclusions on the origin and age of the Earth, and their conclusions will almost certainly be somewhat revised in time. Shoulders of giants.

So while I don't respect Young Earth Creationists and Flat Earthers, I'll readily concede that their disagreements with me are on abstract issues which the human mind really isn't all that naturally adept at comprehending.

In contrast, you have to be severely deluded to think that a man can become a woman if he feels that way and mutilates himself. The idea that men and women have no inherent differences beyond how they're socialized is something you see proven wrong on a day to day level. It's absolutely nonsensical and its believers have to engage in every kind of Orwellian doublethink, self-deception, and chicanery to even pretend it's valid.

Audacious Epigone said...


Yes, on all questions except for the one about determining the sex of children and the one about antibiotics, men do better. It's almost as if women care about nurturing and health more than men and less about everything else in science.


To ask the question is such a straightforward, factual way would be intolerable because the results would be too scary. So instead the survey has to ask things like "do blacks fail because of an inborn disability?" Only the most deplorable of the deplorable answer in the affirmative to a question like that!


I have thought about that. You're not the first to suggest as much, which is probably a good indication that I should do so. There are twitter accounts that archive a lot of the graphics, but at the least I could take the meat from the links in the sidebar (actually at the bottom of the page) and strip them of everything but the technical notes.

That's not as fun for me, but if I'm running the numbers anyway, it's not a bad idea.


Keep in mind that there are about 30 million white people in the US with IQs under 85. If you're reading a site like this one, it's unlikely that you have much interaction with that large swath of humanity.


Very well put, thanks.


And a further 5 million white people in the US have IQs under 70!


Yeah, you guys are hitting on what Bruce Charlton identified as "clever sillies". They are engaged in a sort of anti-science virtue-signaling that requires actively rejecting what is obviously right in front of one's nose.

Sid said...


I went to Israel at the very end of 2010. (I'm not Jewish fwiw, but wanted to see the country for historical reasons.)

One thing that stood out to me was that the Palestinian Muslims were primitive, whereas the devout Orthodox Jews were deliberately stupid.

The Muslims there have all sorts of detestable values and loathesome practices, but it's fairly close to what they've done over the generations.

In contrast, many, maybe most, of the Jews living in Israel came from cultures which saw past the old superstitions and rules you find in the portion of the Bible, but they willingly dove into it to embrace their ethno-religious identity.

Compare how European countries waged war during the Thirty Years War with how they waged it during the World Wars. The Thirty Years War was just the continuation and culmination of years of medieval war practices. The World Wars saw a conscious and knowing embrace of barbarism.

Similarly, I think Young and maybe Flat Earthers are people who don't have much g. People who believe the sexes have no inherent differences sometimes have g but use it for purposeful stupidity.

Jonathan Centauri said...

Polls reveal most Christians believe Earth is Flat and Diseases caused by Evil Spirits, says page one.

This poll was taken in Africa, page E 23 in tiny print.

thekrustykurmudgeon said...

IHTG - Connect the dots. Whatever you hate the most about the left - chances are its chicks who are spearheading it. White male lefties don't seem to bother me that much. The Chapo Traphouse guys are actually pretty funny.

Feryl said...

"Yeah, you guys are hitting on what Bruce Charlton identified as "clever sillies". They are engaged in a sort of anti-science virtue-signaling that requires actively rejecting what is obviously right in front of one's nose. "

It's two camps; those who BS in order to save their neck, and only do it at a minimum, and those who BS a lot in order to aggressively maintain status and get higher status. When the values or trends of the day are already dubious to begin with, the status seekers will amplify them into an arms-race that quickly takes on ridiculous dimensions. In the 80's, some bozos started acting like everything was Satanic. Most mainstream conservatives bitched about metal bands, but a few really desperate whackos claimed that some Leftists, corporate CEOs, criminals, and school administrators were part of a Satanic cabal to enslave us. Most normies roll their eyes and hope that eventually everyone wises up and knocks it off. Another example would be late 60's hippies claiming that acid/LSD holds the key to enlightenment, when in reality most lower IQ or mentally unstable hippies who did epic levels of drugs were frying their brains beyond recovery. The casual adopters and abstainers ended up being fine, but the overzealous "cool kids" paid a big price, which everyone recognized by the early 80's.

The moral of the story is that moderation, or outright abstention, is preferable to going too far, whether it's PC, drugs, or conspiracist thinking about "evil" forces.

Feryl said...

The I love science meme seems to be a a really cheap way to show off nerd cred (at a time when "students" are facing an increasingly dumbed down curricula as we demand that more and more students go to school regardless of their ability). In the case of (cultural) mainstream science, it's typically the kind of stuff that male ice people are good at but the mainstream is itching to associate with NAMS and girls. It used to be that SCIENCE was a fairly blase and utilitarian thing, but as PC has picked up steam we see a rampant campaign to "push" science as cool and "vibrant" so as to (in theory) make it more appealing to those who aren't pale and male.

Sadly, the jobs for which many people are suited are now off-shored, done on our soil by immigrants, or have been (or are predicted to be) automated. And in the case of women, they are now insanely encouraged to do studies and jobs in defiance of their natural programming.

The status conscious elites behind these campaigns are avoiding a reckoning with reality, and the longer we await that reckoning the more ruinous the consequences of defying man's insoluble limitations. No well-functioning society so badly mishandles the needs of the vulnerable.

Elites don't really want to be stewards of everyone's needs, but rather, they think that the correct sort of culture makes the allure of gleaming status jewels so self-evidently obvious that anyone with the right guidance can become a scientists, lawyer, big-shot movie director, and so forth. Most middle to lower class people just want a roof over their heads, and when they struggle with big words or math they intuitively know that they don't get, and probably never will get the "fast track" to higher income and more prestigious fields.

Gen X-ers and Millennials favor a much more materialistic and rigorous approach to their thinking (how could they not after dealing with sentimental Boomers for so long?), and I think that bodes well for a future of at least surreptitiously gained and held knowledge of IQ levels which will influence public policy (perhaps we finally, FINALLY embrace the German scholastic system of sending the less gifted to trade schools). Stuff like No Child Left Behind (a musty left-over from the 60's), which was shepherded Quixotically by Silents and Boomers, has got to go. It should be noted that prior to oh, let's say, 1940, schooling beyond the most basic level was reserved for the gifted in America. The "well-rounded" approach to education favored in the English speaking world is rooted in a more class bound society in which the elite class become more distinguished via education. In them more egalitarian world of Germany/Scandinavia/The Netherlands, education was more open to more classes/abilities but to be quite blunt, they knew better than to put the dummies in with the smart kids after the age of about 14.

The current American model of giving a "full" education (ala traditional Anglo culture) to "everyone" (ala the Teutonic countries) is the worst of both worlds.

Feryl said...

Perhaps the ongoing futility of the Anglo education model is further proof of being the victim of prosperity. Something that may have been good, it at least in certain phases, is then gnarled out of shape and becomes both a cause and a symptom of decay.

It was fine and dandy when the Anglo world understood that life wasn't fair, so let's be content with 1/5 or 1/4 of the pop. being refined elites while the others are chimney sweeps or whatever. The non-English speaking Teutons on the other hand didn't place as much emphasis on refinement, or manners, or fancy language. Instead, education and values were more about immediately identifying someone's practical skills and then telling them to apply themselves in that area. It was a more blunt and egalitarian system, whereas in the English speaking countries being an elite with a sharp tongue, who delighted in informed debate over culture, history, philosophy, etc. was cultivated for a minority of the pop. while everyone else was left to their own devices.

Nowadays Anglo elites want everyone to be an elite. Which by definition is impossible. But hey, why hurt someone's self-esteem by telling them what they're really capable of?

216 said...


One wonders how higher ed will be perceived when the Boomers pass from this world. The upper-middle class Boomer remembers college as a time of hedonism, which also happened to enhance their economic prospects. Rising student debt makes a mockery of this for the Millenials, and hopefully a sizeable number of Zeds will reject college or only get 2 year community college degrees. Society can't afford to subsidize a 4 year long party for every HS student with a C average or greater.

Millions are stuck with student loan debt they can't pay back, and automation is going to cull large numbers of jobs after 2025. We can't all pull a Williamson and learn to code.

American society would never accept the strict examination regimes that exist for admission to Continental European universities which are all state-run. Private institutions like the Ivies are creatures of an individualist Protestantism that couldn't "fit in" back in the Old World. Most Americans would be also shocked to see that Theology is taught in state run institutions in Europe, though somehow it is perfectly OK for a US state university to have Jewish Studies.

Feryl said...

Fewer people went to college back in the 70's.

Higher Ed has really become a toxic thing.

1) More people than ever are pressured to go
2) It's more expensive than ever before (and most of the money goes to the loan industrial complex, sports, and Boomer admins)
3) People are learning less than they ever have before at college (institutions have been actively corrupted for 30+ years, and due to the democratization of college attendance by default many of the courses are not as rigorous as they once were).

Now granted, Strauss and Howe used to talk about how those born from about 1961-1964 had abysmal aptitude scores as youngsters, and there is the Flynn effect. So it's not as though people are much dumber now than they used to be. It's more that the insistence on having everyone go to college means that more of the chuckleheads of newer generations are now going to college, compared to Boomers and pre-Boomers.

A lot of the "struggles" of newer generations can be put down to these kids stupidly amassing debts while not gaining skills that are commensurate with the job market. Back in the 1950's, pre-Boomers could attain a middle class or near middle class life with little to no advanced education, and some of them did so via working with their hands. The corrupt modern Left is so deranged about race that they've totally buried how much more economically progressive the West used to be.

"reject college or only get 2 year community college degrees"

This'll only happen when status seeking diminishes. So many Boomer and Gen X parents pressured their kids to go to college "because it's the key to good jobs and a good life". Reality: the parents were anxious to make sure that their kids didn't turn out to be "losers". There's also the confusion as to the value of a degree; smart and motivated people make a degree valuable. The degree itself doesn't confer value. Matter of fact, if there are 5 million idiots wielding a certain degree it becomes less valuable by default, as anyone who understands scarcity would know. Furthermore, I could hold the best, most sought after credentials, but if I'm a lazy and disrespectful cocksucker than who cares? Ultimately, the most smart and motivated people do well, no matter what. Credential seeking is a sign of status anxiety, which has really hurt us for over 30 years at this point. People back in the 50's and 60's would've thought the idea of pushing sub-triple digit IQ people into college was foolish. Low-moderate skilled work should be taught at trade schools and/or on the job under the auspices of the employer. Why the hell do these people need to be attending universities? As you point out, they've become daycare centers for hapless Millennials and Gen Z-ers who are flailing about for any credential that will make their Boomer and X-er parents feel better.

We've certainly come a long way from as recently as the 80's, when parents hoped that their Gen X kids would merely avoid ending up homeless, a drug addict, in jail, or dead. Though even then the pressure was starting to creep in that you should aim high, and aspire to work with your mind and not your hands.

Feryl said...

"creatures of an individualist Protestantism"

It's not Protestantism per se, it's more Anglo culture. The Anglo model of education is not tailored for mass use. It worked fine when 80% of the population worked on farms and in factories, of whom education beyond the most basic literacy was not necessary. It's a fool errand to try and make elites out of the masses.

As the Anglo-sphere has turned it's back on lower skilled work, and imported tons of immigrants, "the only way out" is to encourage all natives to try and shoot high because......It's off to poverty, opioids, SSI, etc. if you don't develop high skillls. But since a large swath of people can't do that, well, what are they supposed to do? Anglo elites don't want to reckon with this. Then again, when the Anglo countries are so in hock to FIRE, we sure do make a lot of money off those in debit, those with poor credit, those who can't pay the bills.

The generations who benefited tremendously from the economic booms of the 50's, 60's, and 80's couldn't care less about the financial and psychological pummeling that younger generations are getting. The economic and communal fundamentals of America have gotten progressively more fucked up, and we're writing bigger and bigger checks as our account dwindles, but why should elites care as long as those who were born in the 30's, 40's, and 50's can (mostly) afford their bills, build stupidly big houses, and afford cabins and vacation homes?

Trump and those in his orbit will (unfairly) be ridden hard for not changing this culture. Thing is, elites for 40 years have been looking the other way as we undermined the foundation of a sound economy. Why would Trump be any different? I guess Trump may have understood some of the problems WRT trade, but he gets into office during a time of superficial growth and figures, geez, I might as well own it instead of wallowing in "malaise" about our national problems.

The vast majority of people over 60 are going to be in a for rude awakening in the coming years. The assholes who gave us this current mess are going to sound like fools and cranks if they don't change their tune to try and make amends for the damage they did. For all the older people who get it, you've got plenty of selfish twats who may be superficially concerned but would never part with their sports car or 2nd home. Reforming the fundamentals means taking away the toys that many elites covet. Sorry. That's the way it goes. A few mega elites will luck out, but most of the pop. will have to learn to make do while accepting that it's vain and unnecessary to lust after the trappings of elitism.. We did it before in the 30's-60's, and we can do it again.

Jonathan Centauri said...

I give credit where credit is due. Citizen Trump is more of the same. Cheap talk and banker wars. He and Little Jebbie are not far different. His cabinet is now full of Bush League retreads trying to gin up wars at YOUR expense.
He gave lip service against abortion and then gave HALF A BILLION to Planned Parenthood. The Lincoln Party. Lies and Stupid. I want NO PART of THIS!

Jonathan Centauri said...

AE, this "antiquity" of man and the Earth is interesting. However, our history only goes back about two thousand years. Myths and legends only go back five or maybe seven. How can man have existed for 100,000 years and our history is so much smaller? It doesn't seem rational.
Is this science? Or is this hubris? Man loves to imagine its the smartest and most advanced creature. I doubt you are. Those UFOs have aliens that are probably smarter than you.
I see no evidence for the man from ape theory. DNA has ALREADY ruled out ALL THE KNOWN APES as ancestors to man. Go ahead and look for a "missing link". Missing link to what?

CJ said...

Kipling: The fact that 19% of upper-class white Americans don’t know that the earth revolves around the sun shakes me up too, but it doesn’t shock me. There was a video circulating a few years ago showing Harvard undergradutes baffled by questions like “What causes tides?” and “How long does it take for the earth to go around the sun?”

Jonathan Centauri said...

Book learning is hardly important for most. What have any of you used advanced math for lately? Having about 10-15% of your society have technical and engineering skills is ESSENTIAL to maintaining the Life you all enjoy right now. Forget progress or space. MAINTAIN.
You need a population of at least 8-10% in the Sweet Spot of 115 to 130 IQ to have a High Civilization at all.
That being said. Most people are just drones. Living a cubicle life in a pigeonhole, trying to eat and have someone to love. This crazy idea of sending EVERYONE to college, is because "college" is now a Marxist Re-education camp of "right-thinking" apparatchniks. Not the Higher Education of the Past...

Jig Bohnson said...

@ Jonathan Centauri:

"I see no evidence for the man from ape theory. DNA has ALREADY ruled out ALL THE KNOWN APES as ancestors to man."

You know that evolutionary theory does not imply that any of the current ape species should be ancestral to humans, and in fact directly implies that they should not be, right? Right?

Audacious Epigone said...


It was a more blunt and egalitarian system, whereas in the English speaking countries being an elite with a sharp tongue, who delighted in informed debate over culture, history, philosophy, etc. was cultivated for a minority of the pop. while everyone else was left to their own devices.

Is there a certain group who is uniquely situated to exploit exactly that sort of situation? Anyone have any ideas?!