What's the religious composition of evolution/vaccine/climate change deniers?

Is there much overlap between deniers of evolution, vaccines and climate change? How about with Trump voters?

What is the demographic, especially religious, makeup of each group? I am particularly curious about whether or not white evangelicals/Protestant fundamentalists are overrepresented.

This is GD. What’s the debate?
If it’s a matter of opinion, I don’t think there is any doubt that there will be a correlation between these things, though reliable stats may not have been collected for some of them. The one exception might be anti-vaccine vs religiosity, where the correlation might be weak (but I’d still expect it to be in that direction).

You’re right, I’m not used to posting in GD.

First, is there a strong correlation?

If so, what might the causal link(s) be?

Evolution deniers: almost entirely fundies. What other significant reason is there to disbelieve, other than an insistence that Genesis is literally true?

Climate change deniers: more fundagelical than not, simply because they are s such a large chunk of the GOP, where climate change denial has become all but a litmus test for orthodoxy.

No idea about anti-vaxxers. My impression is that they’re on both political extremes, but if there’s a religious connection, I don’t see it.

Behold the majesty of crank magnetism.

To use someone else’s metaphor: it’s like there’s a big bag of Pringlesque conspiracy theories. You can’t just have one, you’ve got to reach in and glom onto a big handful.

As for antivaxers, religious convictions seem to play a limited part in their views. You do see stuff about not allowing Toxic Disease Matter In Our Bodies’ Sacred Temple, but much of that particular frenzy does not explicitly involve religion.

Right, the anti-vaxxer side seems to contain a more democratic assemblage of woo-believers, from hardcore religious to new ager to “I know it’s deadly risk but all should be free to take it” ultralibertarian. While creationists are virtually straight religious fundamentalist (of whatever their religious tradition, in the USA mostly Christian of couse), and Climate-Change-Deniers are more driven by politico-economic ideology (though with a sympathetic ear among the religious who believe that there is no need to worry about the welfare of this Earth because God is about to intervene any day now). What they all have in common is the point of view that if observed, studied facts contradict their beliefs, the facts must be maliciously faked.

Yup. If there’s a correlation among the three groups, I think it’s weak.

Evolution deniers: pretty much all motivated by religion

Climate deniers: mostly motivated by political beliefs. The right doesn’t like science, especially when it wants to interfere with industry.

Anti-vaxers: a diverse group, probably more left-wing than right, with no religious bias that I’ve noticed.

Why So Many Americans Don’t ‘Believe’ In Evolution, Climate Change And Vaccines

Historically, one reason for rejecting evolution has been a distaste for Social Darwinism, and a (mistaken) belief that to accept one necessarily entails accepting the other.

A bigger factor is that with evolution, there is no original sin and no god. Some people believe in intelligent design to find a way to add god to evolution, but when you examine evolution in depth that doesn’t make much sense either (85% of life’s history has been single celled organisms, complex multicellular organisms capable of language, emotions and culture are extremely recent on evolutionary timelines).

Plus jesus died to wipe out original sin due to creationism and the garden of eden. No creationism means no original sin which means accepting jesus is meaningless.

You should tell the Catholic Church, because they are fine with all 3 ;). (most mainline Protestant denominations are as well… not sure about the Eastern Orthodox on this one, but they may be too)

Anyways, I echo the notion that anti-vaxxers tend to be spread out. Most of them that I know (anecdotal, I know) are libertarian types.

My experience with anti-Vaxxers on Twitter shows they are split between followers of “alternative” (read fake) medicine and those who think their kid or a kid they know got hurt by vaccines. There is also a lot of hate for big pharma mixed in. There was not a lot of discussion about religion at all, and they seemed probably less religious than the American norm, though that is just an impression.

My experience is that there is a lot of overlap with deniers of evolution and climate change.

As others pointed out, being against vaccines is more of a NIMBY thing that crosses political lines, but my impression has been that when a lot of ignorance and conspiracies are adopted as “reality” by the conservatives, then an issue like vaccines is also next in the adoption column. (I also considered in the past that this was a wedge issue that the conservatives calculated would sent some well to do people from the left -and anti-vaxer loopy- into the Republican side, but you know what they say about not blaming malice first when stupidity will do)

In the past election there where actually 3 or more candidates from the Republicans that were against vaccines or recommended alternative schedules with no basis or evidence to support it. While on the democratic side all candidates supported vaccines. IMHO the process to add anti vaccination as a test for being a religious conservative has started and continues.

Although Jill Stein was less than 100% positive on vaccines, making mention of the FDA being controlled by drug companies may be a reason to be skeptical of some vaccinations.

There was an abortion in, IIRC, Sweden (it was one of the Scandinavian countries) is 1965 (again, IIRC-- it was sometime mid-60s), and tissue from this fetus was cultured, and has been used world over for experimentation. Not tissue directly from the fetus, but tissue cultured from it. Most of the vaccines developed since between 1965 and the end of the 20th century were developed by a man named Maurice Hilleman, and he used to get cultures from Sweden for his experiments.

So, basically, most childhood vaccinations owe their inception to this aborted fetus. This gets some religious feathers ruffled (the ones who do enough research to know about it).

One Roman Catholic mother had refused to vaccinate her children on the grounds that it somehow supported abortion. She wrote a letter to her bishop, and got a reply back from someone pretty high in the church telling her she was dead wrong. It wasn’t the answer she wanted, but it basically said that yes, abortion is wrong, but this fetus was already aborted, and that was over with, and there was nothing that could be done about it. On the other hand, vaccines saved lives. They saved the lives of children, especially, and they saved the lives and health of unborn children-- a case of rubella could easily cause a miscarriage or stillbirth. So good Catholics had a duty to vaccinate.

I don’t know how widely the letter was distributed (the text of it was in a book about vaccines that I read, though), nor how how widespread the knowledge of the role of that one aborted fetus was in vaccine development anyway.

I do know that I have heard some fundamentalist Christians get their information wrong, and try to claim that every single vaccine-- every syringe-- has tissue from a newly aborted fetus in it, and abortion is therefore necessary to continue to make vaccines, so they oppose vaccines as part of their opposition to abortion. Trying to explain to them that they are wrong is mostly met with them sticking their fingers in their ears and going “LA LA LA LA LA!”

So, yeah, there is some right-wing religious objection to vaccines. It’s based on sheer ignorance of a very high order, and a different ignorance than the ones that lead the left-wing woo people to reject vaccines, but it’s there.

The manufacturing process of a few routine childhood vaccines (i.e. those for chickenpox and rubella) involves culturing viruses in WI-38 cells, obtained long ago from an elective abortion (obtained for reasons having nothing to do with vaccines).

I know of no major religion that cites this as a reason not to vaccinate; as noted, the Catholic Church has strongly urged parents to get their kids vaccinated (a “higher-up” who went on record on this subject was Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict).


Lots of anti-vaxxers here in ultra-liberal coastal CA. They also believe in homeopathy, aromatherapy, antioxidants, cranio-sacral therapy, and totem animals. These are not the same people who disbelieve climate change or evolution, at all.

What they all share is a suspicion of the marriage of science, particularly but not exclusively medicine, and capitalism. There is such a wealth of examples of the corruption and flat out lying which can so easily ensue, that it is not that surprising that so many are not uncritically trusting, across the political spectrum.

The odd thing is that people who pride themselves on being wary of corporate skulduggery and can cite examples of scientific malfeasance linked to conflicts of interest, are so very uncritically trusting of “alternative” practitioners and the philosophies/products they sell, which are affected by the same sort of corruption.

The big difference is: Science works, bitch.*

This critical thinking deficiency certainly is not exclusive to left-wingers, but occurs across the political spectrum.

As I see it, the problem with those who fancy they’re aware of myriad conspiracies and who pride themselves on not being fooled like the Sheeple, cannot exist with a complete lack of faith in everything. There’s an intense need to trust someone.

Who better than the prophet who compellingly warns you of all those nefarious schemes, while reassuring you that he only has your best interests at heart, and oh, send lots of $$$ for these wonderful supplements from my online store?

*a general observation not directed at any poster.

ISiddiqui and Ulfreida:

Of course one has to skeptical when very powerful elements are in favor of an issue, but then again what it is happening is that we are now, after decades if not hundreds of years now, confronted by mountains of evidence showing that in this case we should trust vaccines.

The very sick thing is that the modern denialism about vaccines did come from a bastard that did use corrupt capitalism moves to start the current antivaxxer movement.

So IMHO in this issue we have to realize that sure, there is corruption in capitalistic medicine, but in this case the ones against vaccines that use that idea to discredit vaccination are ironically doing it with the very same corruption that they imagine is taking place when the reality is that the attempt at corrupting medicine by the likes of Andrew Wakefield is the reason why there are people that are “skeptic”.

Ironically, the same people who typically reject evolution are, in general, the same ones who support Social Darwinism.

My niece is an anti-vaxxer who is also into essential oils and probiotics (not that there’s anything too woo about them AFAIK), cannot bear feminists, Dems, or liberals; registered as Republican but leans towards Libertarian.
She also does not believe that the Earth is very old.
Not surprisingly, she is homeschooling.