I’d like to beat this Republicans in science thing into the ground. First off, I’ll admit there is some real hostility to science from the fundies. But I don’t think that conservative opposition to stem cell research is rooted in hostility to science, it’s rooted in the (admittedly non-scientific belief) that Jeebus loves 5-celled blastocysts as much or more than he loves post-birth human beings. It’s the same with their dislike of the phrase “big bang”. I don’t think they’re very against science except when it comes into conflict with the Bible or the invisible hand of the free market or some other principle that trumps science. They’re not great about funding science when they’re in power, it’s true, but again, that’s more because they don’t like to fund anything except corporate welfare and the military; it’s not specifically an anti-science thing.
If you read one of the more would-be intellectual conservatives, say Bobo or Jim Manzi, it’s clear they think abstract Burkean principles (I’m never sure what they mean by this, but I think they do have some clear idea in their head) are more fundamentally true than findings arising from the scientific method. There’s plenty of science that doesn’t conflict with these principles, whatever they are, and all that science is fine.
But even at its most intellectually honest (and it rarely is anything approaching intellectually honest), conservatism puts principles ahead of empirical findings. The mission of would-be intellectual conservatives is to search out or create empirical findings that are in line with their own abstract principles.
A bunch of people said that engineers are more likely to be Republicans than research scientists. My guess, though, is that if the engineers are involved with research and experimentation, they are unlikely to be Republicans.
I don’t mean this to sound too judgmental or condescending. And I know that some liberals also put abstract principles before all else. But with these constant establishment media wanks about “liberals drive a car like this beep beep, conservatives drive a car like this BEEP BEEP BEEP”, I just wish there was some attempt to be honest about what the differences are.