At Mother Jones, Chris Mooney reports that there has been a sharp increase in the percentage of Americans who view astrology as scientific:

According to data from the National Science Foundation's just-released 2014 Science and Engineering Indicators study, Americans are moving in [Katy] Perry's direction. In particular, the NSF reports that the percentage of Americans who think astrology is "not at all scientific" declined from 62 percent in 2010 to just 55 percent in 2012 (the last year for which data are available). As a result, NSF reports that Americans are apparently less skeptical of astrology than they have been at any time since 1983.

This is indeed a worrying trend. It’s also an example of how the standard liberal stereotype of conservatives as “anti-science” isn’t really accurate. Using data from the General Social Survey, I looked at how a person’s political ideology (POLVIEWS) correlated with whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement that “astrology has some scientific truth” (SCITEST3). Liberals were more likely than conservatives to think that astrology definitely had some merit, with the difference being particularly pronounced among those considering themselves “extremely liberal” and “extremely conservative” (self-described moderates, who I’ve excluded here, also had more pro-astrology views).


I point this out not simply as a means of making fun of left-wing scientific ignorance. There’s been a lot written in the past few years about the supposedly anti-scientific nature of conservatism and particularly of American conservatives. Chris Mooney, in fact, wrote an entire book on the subject (which I review here). But as the astrology example shows, anti-scientific views aren’t confined to any particular part of the political spectrum, and in some cases being liberal makes you more likely to accept an anti-scientific outlook.