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Earth Science

Strong Climate Change Opinions Are Self-Reinforcing 655

Posted by Soulskill
from the opinions-are-like-delusions dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A study recently published in Nature (abstract) looked at how personal beliefs altered a person's perception of climate change. Surveying a sample of people in 2008 and then the same people again in 2011, the study looked for 'motivated reasoning,' where 'high belief certainty influenced perceptions of personal experience,' and 'experiential learning,' where 'perceived personal experience of global warming led to increased belief certainty.' According to the article, 'When you categorize individuals by engagement — essentially how confident and knowledgeable they feel about the facts of the issue — differences are revealed. For the highly-engaged groups (on both sides), opinions about whether climate is warming appeared to drive reports of personal experience. That is, motivated reasoning was prevalent. On the other hand, experience really did change opinions for the less-engaged group, and motivated reasoning took a back seat.None of that is truly surprising, but it leads to a couple interesting points. First, the concrete here-and-now communication strategy is probably a good one for those whose opinions aren't firmly set — fully 75 percent of Americans, according to the polling. But second, that tack is unlikely to get anywhere with the 8 percent or so of highly-engaged Americans who reject the idea of a warming planet, and are highly motivated to disregard anything that says otherwise.'"
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Strong Climate Change Opinions Are Self-Reinforcing

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  • Obvious (Score:4, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @08:11PM (#42229607)

    Prof. Obvious of the Romero Institute noted today that people who already strongly believe something will continue to do so regardless of new evidence. In related news, the government edges closer to falling off the fiscal cliff, the totally solvable budget problem that we created to force our two political parties to play nice together. Both sides have recently stated they aren't open to negotiation, will not offer any concessions, and aren't talking to each other, however our correspondent on the scene reported recently that they have started writing numbers down on a sheet of paper. The sheet of paper was not immediately available for comment at the time of this post.

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Saturday December 08, 2012 @08:37PM (#42229775) Homepage Journal

    To show how these things work, I've been thinking about setting up a denial campaign for an obviously factual event: "Hurricane" Sandy.

    It wasn't really a hurricane. National weather service decided not to issue a warning. The roller coaster would not have landed in one piece as it is photographed. We could build a pretty solid case that it wasn't real. It would really piss off the people who were there :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2012 @10:42PM (#42230483)

    Other scientists do make such claims. They get laughed away, as they should. So did the idiot* who created the myth of global warming, until a couple of decades later when a certain powerful politician latched onto it, turned it into a political issue, and built a billion-dollar company around it.

    * I call him an idiot because he thinks Venus is hot because of its atmosphere, while anyone with half a brain should know that Venus is hot because it's closer to the Sun, and that its atmosphere is a result of its temperature, not the other way around.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @11:34PM (#42230763)

    Link to the "actual data", please?

    Sorry, but we don't have the technology for HTML links to alternative realities.

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