Anti-science increases regarding climate change

March 12, 2011 | By | Reply More

Brian Walsh of Time bemoans the increasing anti-science attitudes of Americans and its effect on our conversations regarding climate change.

We like to think of ourselves as rational creatures who select from the choices presented to us for maximum individual utility — indeed, that’s the essential principle behind most modern economics. But when you do assume rationality, the politics of climate change get confusing. Why would so many supposedly rational human beings choose to ignore overwhelming scientific authority? Maybe because we’re not actually so rational after all, as research is increasingly showing. Emotions and values — not always fully conscious — play an enormous role in how we process information and make choices. We are beset by cognitive biases that throw what would be sound decision-making off-balance.

Walsh mentions “loss aversion” as a driving factor (the fear that actively decreasing CO2 will lose jobs), and group identification . The bottom line is that “no additional data — new findings about CO2 feedback loops or better modeling of ice sheet loss — is likely to change their mind.”

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Category: Anti-science, Psychology Cognition, Science

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Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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