According to CNN, many Republicans don't trust "science". Which tells me that there isn't so much a problem with "victim politics", as espoused by Fox News and many conservative online sources as there is with "science".
Victim politics will play a role, but when you look at what's refuted, and what isn't, the impression I get isn't one of fear. It's that people don't understand the world they live in. In years gone by upheavals happened over a period of time; the 1960's, for instance, were a decade of massive change. The roots were laid in the 1950's with the Beat Generation and rock and roll and the existential threat of the Soviet Union. Move on to the 1960's and you had the pill, flower power, folk music, people challenging authority like never before (yeah, well - it's the perception that matters), a surge in new styles (Long hair! Short skirts!), civil rights and a youth movement that seriously challenged "authority". Now? Change comes at a clip.
We've had the internet as a mass medium, Facebook, Twitter, email, blogs, online news, changes in what young people do, massive economic shocks, vastly more complex science, gay marriage, when you're still dealing with the fact that your friend Jim is gay, global warming, oil sands, water that you can set on fire, cars you can't even figure out where the engine is, privacy issues, no grandkids because your daughter (or son) doesn't want to marry (why not?), (a black guy in the White House), moral questions you didn't know existed, a world that can't be explained or summed up. Ask the average intellectual about the economic meltdown of 2008 and you'll get a blank stare, followed by some nonsense that sounds plausible. When the experts aren't exactly sure, the layperson can't be. We know house prices had something to do with it all, but all that Wall St jargon? All those complex financial instruments that if someone told you they understood, the only you know is that they're lying. All that complicated science, string theories, smaller than atomic particles and so on. We're going through a period of massive change.
I think it's why "cartoons", such as those military, pre-historical and mythological epics, are popular. They explain a simpler world, in an entertainment-oriented society they help you get your footing, grab some perspective. It's why anti-evolutionary thinking can gain a foothold, why global warming doubts can be seriously considered. Try and explain global warming in a way that makes sense. I dare you. :-) You can't. No one can. The name is misleading, so how can you explain something that has such a high level of complexity and doubt to others? And then you have the well-funded campaigns against such things; slickly produced, they appeal not on an intellectual level, but at a visceral, almost primeval level. "See, the world isn't going to change, you're alright, your kids are going to be fine. Trust us, they are." Compare that to the average dissertation.
The problem isn't science, or people. It's that the world is changing in ways people are finding difficult to deal with. Between the social and technological changes, and the powerful forces against change - there will always be powerful interests arguing for the status quo - all produce doubt. It's easier to go with what you know, especially if you don't have to admit your doubts about all this change. Add in the feedback loop of the internet and you have a recipe for what modern conservatism is.