GOP Voters Call Science a ‘Ridiculous Leap of Faith’

WASHINGTON – A new poll of Republican voters which found that GOP belief in evolution has plummeted since 2009 also confirmed this week that most American conservatives believe science is a “ridiculous leap of faith” and should be “treated appropriately, as a myth.” The study, released Monday by the Pew Research Center, found that a majority of self-identified Republicans see science as “primitive and outdated superstition.”

Michael Crane, 39, of Minneapolis was one of the more than 100,000 Republicans surveyed in the poll. Crane explained that his refusal to embrace evolution stems from an “inability to accept the authorities’ word at face value.” “We’re supposed to believe in evolution just because some scientist wrote about it in a textbook?” Crane said. “I’m sorry, but that’s just not good enough for me. I need to see it with my own eyes.”

Karen Brown, a mother of two in Jacksonville, agreed with Crane’s skepticism. “Sure, there was a time when scientific explanations of the world were the best thing we had,” Brown explained, “and they certainly give a lot of people comfort, but that doesn’t mean they’re true. I, personally, can’t make that leap of faith.”

Researchers say the poll indicates that a person’s political affiliation largely determines their views, since Democrats and independents believe in evolution at about the same—and much higher—rate, and because this disparity remains even after factoring in “differences in the racial and ethnic composition of Democrats and Republicans or differences in their levels of religious commitment.”

“Republican voters simply find it hard to believe in something without first-hand experience,” Gary Truman, one of the paper’s authors, explained. “They’re an incredulous bunch, always questioning the accepted wisdom. Most of them say, ‘You can tell me the Earth revolves around the sun, but it sure doesn’t seem that way, so why I should I believe you, Mr. science-man?’”

The poll found that many Republicans—only 40 percent of whom currently believe that humans evolved—would be more likely to accept evolution as fact if “presented with clear, obvious support for the theory.”

Michael Crane said that for him, such proof could only come from one source. “Until my pastor says evolution is real, I will keep questioning the validity of so-called science,” Crane said. “It would be intellectually lazy to do otherwise.”