This kind of news drives the liberals crazy. I find it delightful…
Liberals are perplexed. They have discovered that facts rarely change peoples’ minds. They’ve discovered that just “explaining science to people,” particularly the “science” of manmade “global warming” doesn’t make people believe in manmade global warming.
But worse than that, their plan to “educate” Conservatives on the dangers of manmade global warming has the reverse effect: it changes their belief that climate change poses great risk to human health.
And now they’re trying to figure out how to persuade people to convert to their side if the “facts” don’t do it.
WORLDVIEWS INTERPRET FACTS
The problem is this: there is no such thing as a “bare fact.” There are no brute facts in the universe. All facts are connected to every other fact. Facts are interpreted in terms of a person’s worldview.
This means that facts can tell different stories to different people. And as a series of studies over the last few years has revealed, it gets really bad for liberals the more people actually learn about science. This Slate article gets to the heart of the problem:
If the deficit model were correct, Kahan reasoned, then people with increased scientific literacy, regardless of worldview, should agree with scientists that climate change poses a serious risk to humanity.
That’s not what he found. Instead, Kahan found that increased scientific literacy actually had a small negative effect: The conservative-leaning respondents who knew the most about science thought climate change posed the least risk. Scientific literacy, it seemed, increased polarization.
In a later study, Kahan added a twist: He asked respondents what climate scientists believed. Respondents who knew more about science generally, regardless of political leaning, were better able to identify the scientific consensus—in other words, the polarization disappeared. Yet, when the same people were asked for their own opinions about climate change, the polarization returned. It showed that even when people understand the scientific consensus, they may not accept it.
The takeaway is clear: Increasing science literacy alone won’t change minds. In fact, well-meaning attempts by scientists to inform the public might even backfire. Presenting facts that conflict with an individual’s worldview, it turns out, can cause people to dig in further. Psychologists, aptly, dubbed this the “backfire effect.”
They think teaching Conservatives about science makes them recoil against the “truth” of climate change and the scientific “consensus.” But maybe, instead, as they become more informed of the science, they actually apply their reasoning skills and decide that the science doesn’t support the liberal hysteria…