by Wes Moore

A researcher out of the University of North Carolina says conservatives have lost faith in science over the last forty years. [1] The study, authored by Gordon Gaulet, tracked trust in science by political affiliation based on the General Social Survey, originally performed in 1974 and then every other year from 1994 through 2010.

Per a report on Yahoo! News, in general, Americans are not very trusting of science. “Trust in science is not especially high—fewer than half of Americans surveyed over the time frame reported a ‘great deal’ of trust in the scientific community.” Here’s the breakout:

47% of liberals reported a ‘great deal’ of trust of science on average through the study period [2]
42% of moderates
43% of conservatives

The most significant point of the survey is the loss of trust over time by conservatives. From 1974 to 2010, conservatives expressing a ‘great deal’ of trust in science fell from 48% (the highest of anyone) to only 35%.

Reasons for the Slide

Here’s where the study gets really interesting. According to Gaulet, the reason conservatives have changed their views of science is because most scientific research now falls under agencies perceived to have a strong political motivation, like the EPA, instead of more politically neutral groups like NASA or the U. S. military.

Stephanie Pappas, the author of the Yahoo! News report writes, “Research used to be done under the auspices of NASA and the Department of Defense, Gaulet said. Both of these agencies seemed far-removed from daily life. However, over the decades, science has become more intertwined with everyday policy. The Environmental Protection Agency is a ‘poster child’ for science informing real-world regulation that some conservatives oppose.”

With an odd nod to the intelligence of conservatives, Gaulet concluded that the drop in trust was not due to ignorance of scientific issues on their part. “The decline in trust,” Pappas writes, “was most obvious among conservatives with a bachelor’s degree or higher.”

Still Missing the Point

Gaulet’s worldview simply will not allow him see the true reasons behind this drop in trust in “science.” Claiming most Americans have lost trust because the research responsibility has moved from NASA to the EPA (which may not even be true) is like saying American’s fear of radical Islam has fallen because the control of radical Islam had moved from Bin Laden to Ahmadinejad. [3]

Wherever secular science rules, the worldview of evolution, atheism, and pantheism follows right along with it.

What are the Real Reasons?

First, it is important to point out that it is not science that conservatives and biblical creationists do not trust (although many times the findings of science have been wrong), but the evolutionary interpretation of that science. In most cases, the facts (those discovered through the scientific process) are the same on both sides; the interpretation of those facts is where the real differences manifest themselves.

Having said that, in my mind, there are at least two reasons faith in secular science (I’ll use this term to refer to the evolutionary interpretation of science) has fallen in the last forty years.

First, secular science is constantly changing its views. They frequently claim infallibility but regularly alter their conclusions based on the “latest” discoveries or “new” information. In the 80’s, it was global cooling, now it’s global warming. They were certain a giant meteorite killed the dinosaurs, now they think it might be something else. [4]

As further evidence of this, scientific literature is loaded with “fuzzy words,” as Mike Riddle of the Creation Training Initiative calls them, like “we think,” “should have,” “must have,” and “we believe.” These fuzzy words reveal the uncertainty within the ranks of secular science about even the most basic assumptions of evolution, and provide a convenient way out when their “rock solid” theories need to be revised.

Secondly, the success of the creation movement in America has greatly impacted the average American’s trust in secular science. People, conservatives especially, are much better educated now than they were decades ago because of the rise and power of the biblical creation movement in America. Ministries like Creation Ministries International, Answers in Genesis, ICR, and websites like Creation Revolution have given the populace in general many solid reasons to doubt what the secular world tells us.

Creationists don’t just go around and yell louder than the other guy (which is, by the way, what Gaulet recommends for secular scientists to do in response to these discouraging numbers). Creationists make great arguments, share little known scientific facts, and reveal the accuracy and power of the Creator’s Word.

In short, the Creationists are taking it to them in a big way, and the numbers show it. But don’t expect them to acknowledge it.

Not Over Yet

We all know there’s a long way to go. We’re way behind the curve in so many areas. But surveys like this, though the very scientists who conduct them refuse to interpret them properly, show us how God is favoring our work.

So, don’t be discouraged. You’re on the right track. Just keep doing what you’re doing!

 


[1] “Conservatives Losing Trust in Science, Study Finds,” Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience.com; accessed March 30, 2012; available at http://news.yahoo.com/conservatives-losing-trust-science-study-finds-114401347.html. All quotations in this article are taken from this source.

[2] This is the average over the study period (1974 to 2010), not the findings of the latest year, 2010.

[3] I’m not saying it has necessarily. I’m simply using this comparison to illustrate a point.

[4] You can read an article related to this growing debate at http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/dino_trans.shtml.


Wes Moore is a conservative Christian author and speaker, and the founder of Evidence America, an apologetics and evangelism training ministry. Wes is the author of Forcefully Advancing: The Last Hope for America and American Christianity, a book designed to equip the average Christian to engage the lost; The Maker, a futuristic apologetics novel; and The Spiritual Top 50, a non-fiction apologetics book designed to help Christians answer the questions their lost friends are asking.  You can learn more about him at www.wesmoorenow.com.


The Spiritual Top 50
by Wes Moore

Is God a she? Why does God let us suffer? Was the Jesus story borrowed from other cultures? The questions about spiritual things abound in our skeptical age. Can we really trust the Bible as the true word of God? How can we answer those who have been raised to doubt the faith we hold dear?

The Spiritual Top 50 provides short, easy to understand answers to fifty of the most common questions asked in the culture about God, Jesus, the Bible, truth, science, and the church. Not only will these questions help the believer be sure Christianity is true, but they are written so they can easily be shared with a non-Christian.

Not only does The Spiritual Top 50 give answers to common faith questions, it also provides contemporary evangelism strategies based on Wes Moore’s popular book, Forcefully Advancing. These strategies will teach you how to befriend the lost, understand their issues and objections over time, give them answers to their questions, and present the gospel to them.

And if that’s not enough, The Spiritual Top 50 will give you Wes’ “7 Laws of Apologetics” and “7 Laws of Evangelism,” two lists of foundational principles to guide you as you engage the lost and overcome their barriers to faith.

Why wait? Make The Spiritual Top 50 part of your outreach toolbox today!