domingo, 23 de abril de 2017

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While scientists generally try to stay out politics, letting evidence-based research to speak for itself, the strong division in American society has spread to science. How you view stem cell research, climate change, evolution and the role of science in setting public policy is one indicator of political leanings. Another can be the kind of science books you read with a new study finding that liberals and conservatives have very different tastes. 

By analyzing millions of online purchases, researchers from Cornell, Yale and University of Chicago found that there are clear partisan preferences in how we buy books on scientific topics. Liberals opt for so-called "basic" sciences, like physics, astronomy and zoology, while conservatives go for applied and commercial sciences, such as medicine, criminology and geophysics.(Más)

When we look at what science books they read and on what topics, liberals and conservatives are noticeably divided,” said the study’s co-author Professor Michael Macy from Cornell University. 
They tend to not read the same books, and they don’t follow the same topics.

Passionate disagreements about climate change, stem cell research and evolution raise concerns that science has become a new battlefield in the culture wars. We used data derived from millions of online co-purchases as a behavioural indicator for whether shared interest in science bridges political differences or selective attention reinforces existing divisions. Findings reveal partisan preferences both within and across scientific disciplines. Across fields, customers for liberal or ‘blue’ political books prefer basic science (for example, physics, astronomy and zoology), whereas conservative or ‘red’ customers prefer applied and commercial science (for example, criminology, medicine and geophysics). Within disciplines, ‘red’ books tend to be co-purchased with a narrower subset of science books on the periphery of the discipline. We conclude that the political left and right share an interest in science in general, but not science in particular. This underscores the need for research into remedies that can attenuate selective exposure to ‘convenient truth’, renew the capacity for science to inform political debate and temper partisan passions. (Más)

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