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“It feels like a personal assault”: How the GOP drives away scientists

Republican questioning of issues like climate change and evolution is driving away scientists, who say they "just don't get those people." Barry Bickmore, a professor of geology at Brigham Young University and onetime Republican convention delegate for the state of Utah, told The Salt Lake Tribune that "his party is increasingly ruled by zealots and a demand for 'ideological purity' that turns off scientists."

None of this is exactly news, but it is a major change from the past. The Tribune dedicates a lot of thought to what could be driving the rift, which is especially visible in red states like Utah. The discomfort, it points out, is mutual:

One theory goes that conservatives tend toward a single-minded, "authoritarian" world view, so they are less comfortable with the uncertainty that’s built into the practice of science.

Another hypothesis holds that the stauncher someone is about free-market economics, the more likely they are to see conspiracies in science, such as NASA faked the moon landing, there’s no proof cigarette smoking causes cancer and climate change is a hoax.

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