Gene Expression

Reader Survey Results

There are nearly 500 complete responses to the survey from last week. Here’s a CSV file of the results. Below the fold are the frequencies as well as N’s. I might report some trends in the data, but a lot of it is predictable. People who only read ScienceBlogs GNXP are way more liberal than those who do not.

Reads…. Only GNXP ScienceBlogs Only GNXP Classic Both
No Answer 1.83 2.08 2.87
Far Left 13.76 4.17 2.87
Left 28.44 5.56 11.48
Center Left 16.51 10.42 15.31
Center 8.26 6.94 11.00
Center Right 2.75 10.42 11.00
Right 1.83 13.19 10.05
Far Right 0.92 9.03 5.74
Libertarian 20.18 31.94 19.62
Other 5.50 6.25 10.05

Full results below the fold.

Which weblogs do you read?
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 26 5.25%
GNXP Scienceblogs 109 22.02%
GNXP Classic 147 29.70%
Both 213 43.03%
How long have you been reading this/these weblogs(s)?
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 16 3.23%
Less than 1 month 12 2.42%
1-6 months 62 12.53%
6-12 months 83 16.77%
1-2 years 150 30.30%
3-4 years 107 21.62%
5+ years 65 13.13%
Sex
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 8 1.62%
Male 434 87.68%
Female 53 10.71%
What are your politics?
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 18 3.64%
Far Left 28 5.66%
Left 66 13.33%
Left of Center 68 13.74%
Center 44 8.89%
Right of Center 46 9.29%
Right 46 9.29%
Far Right 26 5.25%
Libertarian 114 23.03%
Other 39 7.88%
Confidence in Existence of God
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 18 3.64%
Does Not Exist 209 42.22%
Skeptical of Existence 116 23.43%
Doubtful of Existence 28 5.66%
Believe Existence Possible 47 9.49%
Believe Existence Probable 24 4.85%
Know God Exists 30 6.06%
No Opinion 23 4.65%
Religious Orientation
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 12 2.42%
Not Religious 332 67.07%
Christian 93 18.79%
Jewish 18 3.64%
Muslim 9 1.82%
Hindu 9 1.82%
Buddhist 4 0.81%
Other Beliefs 18 3.64%
Where Do You Live?
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 8 1.62%
USA & Canada 354 71.52%
Latin America 6 1.21%
Caribbean 0 0
Oceania (Australia, NZ + Pacific) 17 3.43%
Southeast Asia (i.e., ASEAN) 2 0.40%
East Asia 12 2.42%
South Asia 2 0.40%
Middle East + North Africa 3 0.61%
Sub-Saharan Africa 1 0.20%
Western Europe 84 16.97%
Eastern Europe 5 1.01%
Russia + CIS 1 0.20%
Racial Identity
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 12 2.42%
White/European 413 83.43%
Black/African 3 0.61%
East Asian 14 2.83%
South Asian 28 5.66%
Middle Eastern/North African 2 0.40%
Southeast Asian 4 0.81%
Mixed (Mestizo, multiracial, etc.) 19 3.84%
Amerindian 0 0
Highest Educational Level Attained
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 11 2.22%
Less Than Secondary 5 1.01%
Secondary 12 2.42%
Some Post-Secondary 43 8.69%
University 187 37.78%
Graduate 237 47.88%
Socioeconomic Status
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 20 4.04%
Lower Class 20 4.04%
Lower Middle Class 69 13.94%
Middle Class 214 43.23%
Upper Middle Class 158 31.92%
Upper Class 14 2.83%
Age
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 6 1.21%
Younger than 18 4 0.81%
18-25 99 20.00%
26-35 155 31.31%
36-45 90 18.18%
46-65 124 25.05%
65+ 17 3.43%
Highest Level of Math Completed
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 27 5.45%
Pre-Algebra 4 0.81%
Algebra 9 1.82%
Geometry 11 2.22%
Algebra II 26 5.25%
Pre-Calculus 36 7.27%
Calculus 103 20.81%
Differential Equations 49 9.90%
Linear Algebra 46 9.29%
Multivariable Calculus 56 11.31%
Higher than Multivariable Calculus 83 16.77%
Have Math Degree 45 9.09%
Opinions On The Singularity
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 141 28.48%
Will Happen 32 6.46%
Might Happen 169 34.14%
Unlikely 131 26.46%
Impossible 22 4.44%
How Many Children Do You Have?
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 7 1.41%
0 316 63.84%
1 61 12.32%
2 65 13.13%
3 32 6.46%
4 9 1.82%
5 3 0.61%
6 1 0.20%
7 0 0
8 0 0
9 0 0
10 0 0
Lots 1 0.20%
How Did You Find This Weblog?
Answer Count Percentage
No answer 42 8.48%
Google 58 11.72%
Other Search Engine 1 0.20%
Instapundit 9 1.82%
Steve Sailer 83 16.77%
Scienceblogs 82 16.57%
Andrew Sullivan 7 1.41%
Message Board 6 1.21%
Word Of Mouth 19 3.84%
Email 0 0
Blogroll 20 4.04%
Pointer From Another Weblog 141 28.48%
Other 27 5.45%

Comments

  1. #1 Coturnix
    February 28, 2009

    Why am I not surprised?

  2. #2 Joshua Zelinsky
    February 28, 2009

    This data reinforces the impression I get that scienceblogs is generally a left-wing site. We have left-wing bloggers here and libertariant bloggers and bloggers who don’t have strong political opinions, but few right wing bloggers.

    This data also suggests that this isn’t completely a general issue that science people are more left-wing since GNXP Classic is itself devoted to science in a way similar to Gene Expression here.

  3. #3 dean
    February 28, 2009

    But exactly what group is represented here? This is hardly a representative poll of the masses.
    If those who took part were entirely self-selected, I would submit that the population under consideration consists entirely of the people who answered, and generalizing to any other group wouldn’t be justified.

  4. #4 razib
    February 28, 2009

    this N represents about 1/3 of the regular readers of the two weblogs as evident by checking repeated IPs in google analytics. sitememter includes a large % of transients coming and going. i assume that the transients are more normal in their outlook (more sex balanced, more religious, more retarded, etc.).

  5. #5 Clark
    February 28, 2009

    Joshua, I don’t think one need read much at Science Blogs to realize it’s primarily left wing. It would be nice for there to be a few more conservatives of different stripes. I’d think, if nothing else, that even liberal pro-science types see the value in having conservatives respect and love science. By making science appear so liberal there’s a danger that it won’t get the respect it needs in the conservative mindset. That would be disastrous when the inevitable Republican tide comes back. (Even if you think Obama is the second coming of FDR one surely won’t think Republicans will be weak forever!)

  6. #6 razib
    February 28, 2009

    who would you guys suggest re: scienceblogs on the right?

  7. #7 John Emerson
    February 28, 2009

    It would also be nice if conservatives were smarter and had a greater interest in, and respect, for science. By conservativism being so anti-science there’s a danger that it won’t get the respect it needs in the scientific mindset.

  8. #8 Jason Malloy
    February 28, 2009

    “This data reinforces the impression I get that scienceblogs is generally a left-wing site. “

    Where there are scientists, there be liberals:

    “Most scientists are, at a minimum, liberals, although it is by no means obvious why this should be so. Despite the fact that all of the molecular biologists of my acquaintance are shareholders in or advisers to biotechnology firms, the chief political controversy in the scientific community seems to be whether it is wise to vote for Ralph Nader this time.”

  9. #9 divalent
    February 28, 2009

    a couple of random questions:

    1. Why exactly do you have a separate “classic” blog?

    2. Do you think that simplistic one dimensional political scales (however finely graded) can sometimes lead people to adopt positions out of some sense of group identity?

  10. #10 Arcane
    March 1, 2009

    It would also be nice if conservatives were smarter and had a greater interest in, and respect, for science. By conservativism being so anti-science there’s a danger that it won’t get the respect it needs in the scientific mindset.

    And again John Emerson proves himself to be an illiberal dipshit.

  11. #11 Alex Besogonov
    March 1, 2009

    I’m not the only one from Russia/CIS reading this blog! Hurray!

  12. #12 dean
    March 1, 2009

    “this N represents about 1/3 of the regular readers of the two weblogs as evident by checking repeated IPs in google analytics. sitememter includes a large % of transients coming and going. i assume that the transients are more normal in their outlook (more sex balanced, more religious, more retarded, etc.).”

    I misunderstood part of the original purpose – I foolishly thought these folks would be compared to the general population. However I still don’t see it as any type of random sample: I would still hesitate to generalize to any larger group.

  13. #13 bioIgnoramus
    March 1, 2009

    “Why exactly do you have a separate “classic” blog?” Quite; and why not a “cherry” one too?

  14. #14 Don
    March 1, 2009

    The current display of love for climate science on the WaPo editorial pages should be greatly reassuring to those on the right. If that is not enough, check out the thoroughly right wing Discovery Institute’s deeply scientific approach to evolution.

  15. #15 Joshua Zelinsky
    March 1, 2009

    Jason, yes scientists are generally more liberal than the general population but the radical difference between the numbers for scienceblogs compared to for gene expression classics suggests that that isn’t all that is going on here.

  16. #16 peco
    March 1, 2009

    I was surprised at how few people there were (4) under 18. I was expecting at least a few percent, but less than 1% of the readers said they were under 18. The number of East Asians (only 14) was also unexpected for me since there are a lot of them where I live, although I don’t know how many there are in the United States as a percentage of the population. (I am also both East Asian and under 18, so I didn’t expect this to be so uncommon here.)

  17. #17 deadpost
    March 1, 2009

    “2. Do you think that simplistic one dimensional political scales (however finely graded) can sometimes lead people to adopt positions out of some sense of group identity?”

    What about folks who reject the left-right paradigm, eh?
    There are got to be those who don’t even care about what banner they belong to, but take each political issue at a case-by-case basis, without regard to what political beliefs are correlated to them by others in the population.

    You’d expect more educated people to do this, wouldn’t you?

  18. #18 Don
    March 1, 2009

    The current display of love for climate science on the WaPo editorial pages should be greatly reassuring to those on the right. If that is not enough, check out the thoroughly right wing Discovery Institute’s deeply scientific approach to evolution.

    Climate change is a perfectly legitimate debate and there is a lot to be said of climate change skepticism. There is at least as much material out there that is opposed to the liberal viewpoint on climate change as there is for it. This is a subject that needs to be debated and it should disturb you that so many of the advocates are unwilling to do so.

    Now as for the Discovery Institute, they’re just a bunch of quacks and I know of very few conservatives except for some of the hardcore religious ones that take anything they have to say seriously. They’re simply wrong and there is nothing scientific to debate about when it comes to ID.

  19. #19 razib
    March 1, 2009

    1) the ‘classic’ blog was in existence for 4 years before the scienceblog. it is also a group blog to some extent. i didn’t merge with scienceblogs totally mostly because of the group blog element. in fact there was a period, and still are, when most of the contributions on that weblog do not come from me.

    2) yes, political categories trigger tribalism. but i view politics as tribalism to a very large measure in any case.

  20. #20 Arcane
    March 1, 2009

    Somehow my comment at 2:52 PM was attributed to “Don”. My apologies.

  21. #21 Ole
    March 1, 2009

    This should not be surprising given the strange US political atmosphere. There ought not – in a political climate of actual political ideologies and debate – be any reason why one could not be conservative or somewhat right-wing and interested in science. Science does not say much about the proper distribution of resources and power (which is what the traditional ideologies are about). So one could easily be conservative and a scientist … but that would be hard in the US with only 2 “parties” (leaving very little room for political diversity and debate). Whereas there is no reason one could not be a conservative scientist, there are many reasons that make it hard to be a US-Republican scientist. How can a scientist embrace the anti-rationalist, fundamentalist, anti-science values of (large parts of) the Republican party? I mean: you’d be in a major internal conflict if you are a scientist in a party that embraces banning or ostracizing science in schools, renounces biology, history etc. It should not be like that, but in the US it is. If you like reason, education, and research, and you are a conservative, then you would have to struggle with people within the same party who see you as their enemy. Sad and bizarre.

    The US is not the only place that creates such strange dilemmas, though. In Denmark (where I grew up) real conservatives now have a hard time finding a party without embracing racism. There should be no reason conservatives cannot embrace human rights etc but in Denmark right now it is hard to find a conservative party that does that. So if you made this poll on a blog on human rights in Denmark most readers would probably identify with a left-of-center party. Sad and bizarre too.

  22. #22 Arcane
    March 1, 2009

    Ole,
    While it is true that the United States has only two major political parties, you’re forgetting the fact of just how heavily fragmented these parties are… unlike in Europe, each has various strong ideological wings. There are other parties I’d like to support, but they simply have no chance of coming anywhere near Congress or the Presidency, so I allocate my support to whichever party I agree with on the most issues. You don’t need to agree with *everything* a political party says in order to support it. For example: I agree with about 60% of the GOP’s policies, but I only agree with about 20% of the Democrat’s policies, so logically I vote for the one whom I agree with more.

  23. #23 Arcane
    March 1, 2009

    Also, I don’t agree with the contention that the conservative parties in Denmark are racist. Opposing increased levels of immigration, expulsion of illegal immigrants, or increased Islamization is not racist.

  24. #24 Michael
    March 2, 2009

    There’s a lot of conservatives in the sciences. You have to really work at finding them as they don’t shove their politics down everyone’s throat like Leftists do.

  25. #25 Billare
    March 2, 2009

    Of the “Black” population reading Gene Expression, I’d say there’s a high chance that they are specifically Nigerian-American or Caribbean-American in ethnicity. This is a topic I have not seen well addressed in the IQ debates, because as one of them who is recipient to the genetic theories of IQ, it’s apparent to me there are big differences in the composition of the elite of this group within the United States, which are not paid enough attention to because of their very small proportion in comparison to the low-achieving majority. I’m very interested in this, naturally, especially plausible “just-so” stories a la Rushton of how those differences might have evolved.

    I used to imagine the reason that liberals were more obvious amongst academic scientists was the liberal passion for credentialism and creatioin and nurture of institutions that disperse those credentials, but more often I’m finding that many liberal scientists simply don’t apply their critical thinking and sharp minds in fields that aren’t very closely related to the purview of their chosen interests. I’ve met physicists shockingly ignorant of the most basic ideas of economics, some of which one could plausibly reason to from widely acknowledged first principles. I was recently chatting with a well-read professor of human biomechanics, who works closely on topics related to human evolution and human fossils, who informed me matter-of-factly that races don’t exist, couldn’t possibly exist, quoting the same idiotic facts you’d read in Time or Newsweek – “we share 99.5% of our DNA with chimpanzees!”. The same thing happens in my informed discussions of IQ, where ostensibly smart and educated people don’t even have the most cursory knowledge on the positions they take.

    So at least some of the vulgar liberalism I experience in the academe is based on arrogance and ignorance of the intellectual elite.

  26. #26 John Emerson
    March 2, 2009

    I am pretty far left, and I don’t think of scientists as being especially liberal. My guess is that during the Eisenhower era scientists were much more evenly divided between the parties (Kurt Goedel had a lot of admiration for Eisenhower and voted for him twice, IIRC).

    What scientists especially are is non- or anti-Republican. If you look at the Republican Party, a big chunk are very conservative anti-evolution Christians. Another overlapping chunk tends toward nativism and bigotry. Then you have the anti-tax little-government Republicans, the country-club Republicans, and the neocons.

    The one issue on which scientists tend to be strictly liberal would be government spending. Almost every area of science is directly or indirectly dependent on government spending, and scientists know this (they spend their whole lives thinking about NIH and NSF grants). So you can say the scientists’ interests push them toward big-government liberalism, or you can say that little-government conservativism would probably be anti-science.

    I can imagine, and actually have met, moderately socially-conservative, strong-military, country club (free-market, anti tax) Republican scientist. But those other aspects are poison.

  27. #27 John Emerson
    March 2, 2009

    I don’t think there really is a legitimate debate about global warming any more. The lists of global warming skeptic sciences I’ve seen publicized (by the skeptics) have included very few earth scientists, a bunch of miscellaneous other scientists, a lot of economists, and often enough some MDs and engineers. The strong spokesmen for the skeptics are mostly economists, futurologists, and politicos.

    There are a few statisticians who specialize in critiquing the GW data analysis, and they’re borderline persuasive to me since they’re in a relevant field, but that’s mostly because I’m not sharp on statistics. The GW-defending statisticians aren’t impressed with this line of criticism at all, and statistics seems to be the source of a lot of science contrarianism, and not in a good way (e.g. tobacco-cancer skeptics for many decades.)

  28. #28 ogunsiron
    March 2, 2009

    Billare :

    I’m of caribbean origin and my nickname is , as you may have guessed , yoruba :) Contemporary black african immigration into north-america , from what I know , is largely that of educated middle-class kind of people for whom questions of representativity with respect to their population of origin can be raised. With that said it’d be interesting to investigate intelligence in an even finer grained manner when it comes to African populations. I have a feeling that some substructure may have been missed , but it’s just a rough hunch. I’m interested in communicating with other black people (in particular but not exclusively) who think that biology matters when it comes to human nature and that race and IQ are real even if they’re somewhat fuzzy notions .I’ve included my email.

    Some very intelligent people can be incredibly clueless when it comes to these topics . I witnessed something a few years ago on the blog of a black string theorist : The cantakerous Lubos Motl managed to slip in some teasing about race and IQ ( the guy is an ass )in some physics discussion . Anyways, the blogger, who could probably carry his weight in any discussion about string theory or mathematics, could only come up with some incredibly childish cant about how we’re “only one race, the human race”. It was painfully obvious that the guy had never, ever given any serious thought to these issues .

  29. #29 toto
    March 3, 2009

    It was painfully obvious that the guy had never, ever given any serious thought to these issues.

    Or perhaps he used the word “race” in the traditional sense: a partition (in the maths sense) of the human species into a small number of discrete, well-defined groups, with within-group variation much lower than between-group variations. Like, you know, “blacks/whites/yellows” (here in Europe, our grand-parents used to learn that at school).

    In which case he was obviously right.

  30. #30 ogunsiron
    March 4, 2009

    toto :
    Issues of within and between group variations are a tiny bit technical and it’s understandable that most people haven’t thought of them. But smart people discussing “race” should know that what’s discussed aren’t mathematical partitions of a set and that deciding whether an element_x belongs to partition_i or partition_j isn’t always possible or easy. A string theorist who thinks of race in the caricatural manner you alluded to is a physicist who simply hasn’t thought a minute about it. Come on .

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!