Jul 22, 2011

Climate Change and Confirmation Bias

A new study suggests that your values, not science, determine your views about climate change.(Link)

The more scientifically literate you are, the more certain you are that climate change is either a catastrophe or a hoax, according to a new study [PDF] from the Yale Cultural Cognition Project.

Many science writers and policy wonks nurse the fond hope that fierce disagreement about issues like climate change is simply the result of a scientifically illiterate American public. If this “public irrationality thesis” were correct, the authors of the Yale study write, “then skepticism about climate change could be traced to poor public comprehension about science” and the solution would be more science education. In fact, their findings suggest more education is unlikely to help build consensus; it may even intensify the debate.

Led by Yale University law professor Dan Kahan, the Cultural Cognition Project has been researching how cultural and ideological commitments shape science policy discourse in the United States. To probe the public’s views on climate change, the Yale researchers conducted a survey of 1,500 Americans in which they asked questions designed to uncover their cultural values, their level of scientific literacy, and what they thought about the risks of climate change.

I'm glad they didn't ask me... I would have screwed up all their numbers. I'm a conservationist who composts and recycles everything. Everything. But I also am fairly convinced that ClimateFaith(tm) is the greatest swindle since organized religion.


Anonymous said...

Regardless, the scientific community with the most expertise in this area universally accepts the data as showing climate change occurs. It really doesn't matter what the general public's education level is with regards to perception, as it has nothing to do with the reality of the situation.

Studies exactly like this showed the same skewed results for evolution for decades as well. It only matters what the experts think, and they are not on your side or the publics.

Capn said...

But is it the SUN or MAN? And who is profitting from saying it's Man?