Yet, partisan politics aside, why should it matter that there are so few Republican scientists? After all, it's the scientific facts that matter, and facts aren't blue or red…..Republicans appear to be alienated from a mainstream scientific community that by and large doesn't share their political beliefs. The climate debacle is only the most conspicuous example of these debilitating tendencies, which play out in issues as diverse as nuclear waste disposal, protection of endangered species, and regulation of pharmaceuticals. …A democratic society needs Republican scientists.Why is this the case? The Economist responds
I can think of three testable hypotheses they might look into. The first is that scientists are hostile towards Republicans, which scares young Republicans away from careers in science. The second is that Republicans are hostile towards science, and don't want to go into careers in science. The third is that young people who go into the sciences tend to end up becoming Democrats, due to factors inherent in the practice of science or to peer-group identification with other scientists.Well, you could always ask….
I've been a scientist for more than half my life. When you think of the stereotype of the academic loony left and excessive political correctness of universities, that's generally not found in the sciences. Scientists are often quite conservative by comparison. I've know many who are devout readers of the Wall Street Journal. These folks almost certainly identified as Republican in the past: the old-style Republicans, fiscally very conservative and socially more or less libertarian.
But that's before the Republicans started denying science. The Culture Wars I think dismayed a lot of scientists. I suspect a large fraction of those who identify as Independent feel driven out of the current Republican party, which is a friend of the fringe, and actively antagonistic to facts and educational accomplishment. Moreover, part of the ethos of science is to be persuaded by facts. The Republican ethos now is the equivalent of putting its fingers in its ears and singing "La La La I can't hear you!" when presented with facts for example about climate change. The scientists didn't leave the REpublican party. The Republican party changed.
Insofar as the Republicans won't believe scientists, because scientists aren't Republican, yes, there's a problem. But the deeper problem is that the Republicans have politicized science and assume that scientists cannot be trusted if they are not REpublican. I don't know how you reconnect the Republicans with the values of knowledge, evidence and education. Looking at the crap coming out of DC, I despair that you can.