A new study by Gordon Gauchat takes a look at public trust in science and finds that it's unchanged over the past few decades for most groups. The one exception is conservatives, whose trust in science has plummeted:
But here's the remarkable thing from the study not seen in the graph above: the more educated a conservative is, the less he trusts science. Specifically:
…conservatives with high school degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and graduate degrees all experienced greater distrust in science over time and these declines are statistically significant. In addition, a comparison of predicted probabilities indicates that conservatives with college degrees decline more quickly than those with only a high school degree. These results are quite profound, because they imply that conservative discontent with science was not attributable to the uneducated but to rising distrust among educated conservatives.
Why is that? Is it because of the politicization of, well, everything, and the adherence to certain constituencies and special interests that create a bubble that excludes scientific reality? Perhaps. And perhaps it is because of the authoritarian nature of the "New Right". Chris Moony, author of The Republican War on Science, has some thoughts.