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Does Science Intelligence Make People More Reasonable?

By Shlomo Maital

 The latest Scientific American (October 2017) has a short piece and accompanying diagram, reporting research on the key question:

Do people who have higher ‘science intelligence’ (i.e. knowledge and education in the realm of science) understand better the risks inherent in:   Global warming (climate change); private gun possession (the more guns, the more violent gun deaths), and fracking (causes environmental harm)?   

   The answer?   It depends. It depends on the political views of the ‘science-educated person’.   If you are liberal democrat, then – the answer is yes, science education makes you far more sensitive to the inherent risks, except for guns, where the perceived risk is seen as high regardless of science or no science.

   But if you are a conservative Republican? The more science you know, the less concerned you are about the risks.   Your political views color, in fact dominate,  your scientific awareness.

   I think this finding explains a great deal.   Research on guns will not help bring gun legislation. Research on global warming (or even, wildfires and hurricans) will not bring restrictions on emissions. Research on the risks of fracking will not bring any slowdown in fracking.   And the enormous fracture in dysfunctional American politics between Dems and Republications will not be repaired by evidence, facts and research.

      Why? Because, “I have a Ph.D. in geophysics, and by the way, don’t confuse me with      facts, my mind is made up.”

                                                     “The Only Thing That Stops a Bad Guy With A Gun…”

By Shlomo  Maital


   Here is a “complete the sentence” IQ test.

   “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is…”.


   According to Wayne LaPierre, head of the powerful American National Rifle Association, the answer is:  “…a good guy with a gun.”  

    Since everyone is either a bad guy, or a good guy, in America, and since the bad guys mostly HAVE guns,  the solution, according to the NRA, is to give every good guy at least one gun,  preferably a semi-automatic with 100-bullet clips, so that you can mow down hundreds of bad guys at one time.

   But – is there any evidence supporting LaPierre?   Well, now.  Here is the evidence.  *    1.  “every time a gun in the home was used in self-defense or a legal shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.”  Oops.   2.  “..a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault, an accidental death or injury, than it is for self-defense.”  Oops.  3. In 2010, 31,671 people were killed by guns in America, 73,505 were treated in emergency rooms for nonfatal gunshot wounds, and 337,960 nonfatal violent crimes were committed with guns.  Of the 31,671 dead, three of five were suicides, and the vast majority of the rest were homicides by people who knew each other.   No other Western democracy can come close to matching those 31,671 deaths by gunshots.

   So, how then SHOULD we complete the sentence above?  “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is…preventing the bad guy from getting a gun in the first place, or taking it away from him or her when he or she gets one.” 

   Don’t confuse the NRA with evidence and facts.  All those facts come from Commie socialist left-wing traitorous scumbag liberals anyway. 

* Source:   Gun Science,  Scientific American, May 2013, p. 69.

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital