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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Republican Professors?

Has everyone read Paul Krugman's latest column in the NY Times?

Krugman begins by referencing some recent social science research:
It's a fact, documented by two recent studies, that registered Republicans and self-proclaimed conservatives make up only a small minority of professors at elite universities. But what should we conclude from that?
I know of Republican professors, of course, including a number of present or former colleagues at Louisville.

I don't know that I've met any at Harvard yet...but I don't meet that many professors.

In any case, what does Krugman say about this?

He thinks few academics are Republican...because Republicans are anti-science. He could have added anti-intellectual as well:
Scientific American may think that evolution is supported by mountains of evidence, but President Bush declares that "the jury is still out." Senator James Inhofe dismisses the vast body of research supporting the scientific consensus on climate change as a "gigantic hoax." And conservative pundits like George Will write approvingly about Michael Crichton's anti-environmentalist fantasies.
Last May, the American Prospect had a troubling article about the scientific views of former Tulsa mayor Inhofe. The author, Chris Mooney, called Inhofe "a kind of scientific Attila the Hun" who challenges overwhelming scientific consensus in behalf of corporate interests:
Last summer he even delivered a 12,000-word Senate floor speech titled "The Science of Climate Change," outlining conclusions he said he'd reached after several years of studying the issue.

The trouble is, Inhofe's views are way out of whack with the scientific mainstream. He argues that natural variability, rather than human influence, is the "overwhelming factor influencing climate." This contradicts both the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), which have emphasized the central role of human activities in explaining recent global warming....

Since 1999, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Inhofe has received almost $300,000 in campaign donations from oil and gas interests and nearly $180,000 from electric utilities. In the 2002 election cycle, he received more oil and gas contributions than any senator except Texas' John Cornyn.
I suspect this is why dozens of Nobel winners (including many from the hard sciences) favored Kerry over Bush.

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