Though I’ve always thought this was fairly obvious, a recent story from Christopher Joyce at NPR has addressed how a person’s stance on global warming and climate change (or any issue really) tends to rely far more on one’s “World View” rather than on science or facts. This is based on research done by the The Cultural Cognition Project – a group of scholars who study how cultural values shape public perceptions and policy beliefs.
Regardless of the information provided, a person is more likely to credit whatever information best supports their mindset, and simply reject that which doesn’t.
It doesn’t matter whether you show them negative or positive information, they reject the information that is contrary to what they would like to believe, and they glom onto the positive information, says Don Braman, a faculty member at George Washington University and part of the Cultural Cognition Project.
It seems the pre established perspective an individual has when confronting facts and information has a far greater effect on how the person will react than the information itself. Having had many fruitless “conversations” with anthropogenic global warming (AGW) deniers I don’t find this very shocking at all. And that’s not to say that AGW deniers are the only ones who do it – everyone does it to at least some extent. The question people should always ask themselves is “Am I at least attempting to be objective in my understanding and comprehension of this information?”
Basically the reason that people react in a close-minded way to information is that the implications of it threaten their values, says Dan Kahan, a law professor at Yale University and a member of The Cultural Cognition Project.
This is why it is not shocking to me at all that anti-evolutionists are not also frequently AGW deniers, but that they are now trying to further their anti-science crusades by linking the two, and allowing anti-evolution messaging to piggy back off of anti-global warming messaging.
There is a lesson here for all of us however, while this further illuminates the true reasons behind AGW denialism, those who are fighting the propaganda and misinformation must relentlessly ensure that our information is factual, correct, and not tarnished by our own personal feelings or motives. This is probably impossible to do completely, but mindfulness alone should help a great deal.
By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.