Yale Study Shows That Scientific Literacy Correlates With Scepticism!

Discussion in 'Environment' started by westwall, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. westwall
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    westwall USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Imagine that! People conversant in science with the ability to engage in mathematical reasoning were more inclined to be sceptics about AGW.

    I love how the warmists try to spin this to mean it's bad to be knowledgeable....They try real hard to make it bad for the sceptics but the point is very clear, well educated scientifically literate people are less likely to be duped by climate alarmism.

    Go figure!


    “A Little Knowledge”: Why The Biggest Problem With Climate “Skeptics” May Be Their Confidence

    Last week, an intriguing study emerged from Dan Kahan and his colleagues at Yale and elsewhere--finding that knowing more about science, and being better at mathematical reasoning, was related to more climate science skepticism and denial--rather than less.

    Kahan’s team simply structured a survey in a way that no one—to my knowledge, at least—has done before. In a sample of over 1,500 people, they gathered at least four different types of information: how much scientific literacy they possessed (e.g., how well they answered questions about things like the time it takes for the Earth to circle the sun and the relative sizes of electrons and atoms), how “numerate” they were (e.g., their ability to engage in mathematical reasoning), what their cultural values were (how much they favored individualism and hierarch in the ordering of society, as opposed to being egalitarian and communitarian), and what their views were on how serious a risk global warming is.

    The surprise—for some out there, anyway—lay in how the ingredients of this stew mix together. For citizens as a whole, more literacy and numeracy were correlated with somewhat more, rather than somewhat less, dismissal of the risk of global warming. When you drilled down into the cultural groups, meanwhile, it turned out that among the hierarchical-individualists (aka, conservatives), the relationship between greater math and science knowledge and dismissal of climate risks was even stronger. (The opposite relationship occurred among egalitarian communitarians—aka liberals).

    This is bad, bad news for anyone who thinks that better math and science education will help us solve our problems on climate change. But it’s also something else. To me, it provides a kind of uber-explanation for climate skeptic and denier behavior in the public arena, and especially on the blogs.

    In my experience, climate skeptics are nothing if not confident in their ability to challenge the science of climate change--and even to competently recalculate (and scientifically and mathematically refute) various published results. It’s funny how this high-level intellectual firepower is always used in service of debunking—rather than affirming or improving—mainstream science. But the fact is, if you go to blogs like WattsUpWithThat or Climate Audit, you certainly don’t find scientific and mathematical illiterates doubting climate change. Rather, you find scientific and mathematical sophisticates itching to blow holes in each new study.

    The Kahan paper explains this oddity—and it’s not the only study to do so. Here are some others which also detect what we might call a “sophisticates effect”—a relationship between more knowledge on the one hand, and climate science skepticism on the other, among conservatives:


    Chris Mooney |
     
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  2. daveman
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    daveman Diamond Member

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    Nuh-UH!!! KKKonservative$ is not samrt!! WE is!!

    /rdean, Old Rocks, etc.
     
  3. skookerasbil
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    skookerasbil Gold Member

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  4. skookerasbil
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    skookerasbil Gold Member

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  5. skookerasbil
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    skookerasbil Gold Member

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  6. skookerasbil
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    skookerasbil Gold Member

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  7. skookerasbil
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    skookerasbil Gold Member

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    Listen........the take by the k00ks on climate change really does defy logic........in fact, makes me wonder if virtually all of these people dont have plates in their heads or something.

    What we're saying is simply.........there is no "science" to the "science" at this point in time. And interestingly..........a large majority of people in this country agree...........so..........WTF??!!

    It leads one to draw just one conclusion: These people have an agenda that has NOTHING to do with science. The science is used to facilitate their agenda's. Its a plain as the nose on your face.


    Very good find West............geez..........the skeptics are just schooling the k00ks these days. I give the k00ks credit for even having the balls to show up in here every day...........but then again, what the fcukk does that tell you???


    YIKES!!!
     
  8. Greenbeard
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    Not exactly. This is a study of cognition showing that, among the general public, the naive hypothesis that folks who show more scientific and mathematical literacy will hold views more in line with the consensus view of the scientific community is not correct. In reality, more scientifically and mathematically literate members of the general public are even more polarized along cultural lines than the more scientifically illiterate members of the public. That's what they claim to show, anyway.

    So if you want to take the hierarchical individualist cultural group to be conservatives and egalitarian communitarians to be liberals (as the person you're quoting in the OP does), you might expect that as conservatives become more scientifically literate they will underestimate the risks of climate change less (i.e. form opinions the conform more closely to those of the scientific community); that's what the authors are calling the "public irrationality thesis." If the difference in perceptions were simply a matter of scientific literacy, as scientific literacy grows you would expect liberal and conservative opinions to converge near where expert scientific opinion has (i.e. conservative perceptions of climate change risks would grow with greater scientific literacy). That's pictured on the left in this figure from the paper:

    [​IMG]

    In their actual results, shown on the right, more scientifically literate liberals perceived slightly higher risks from climate change than more scientifically illiterate liberals, but more scientifically literate conservatives perceived lower risks from climate change than more scientifically illiterate conservatives. That is, risk perceptions were more polarized between the two cultural groups for the more scientifically literate folks than they were for the more scientifically illiterate folks.

    The money quote from the paper:

    Some of the suggested reasons for this are fascinating (but then again, I think everything related to cognition is fascinating):

    That is, the more familiar with science and mathematical reasoning a member of the public becomes, the more skilled he gets at justifying beliefs that validate his cultural group. That's fascinating!

    I think you posted this research in the wrong forum but thanks for highlighting it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  9. westwall
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    westwall USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Actually this is the money shot.....

    "Development of these forecasting and management tools is the task of the science of science communication. Establishing the institutions and procedures necessary for promoting their reliable use in policymaking is a public good of singular importance to the wellbeing of modern, culturally pluralistic democracies (Nisbet & Mooney 2007)."

    in other words people of an individualistic nature won't agree with what you say unless you can develop a means to convince them. Collectivists allready believe anything you tell them so you don't need to propagandize them.

    However, if you give me some money I will develop a message that may be able to subvert the values of the individualists. If you give me a LOT of money I will develop a new system of information dissemination that will subvert the individualists.

    His collectivist bias is exposed in this passage...

    "The conflict between expressive individual rationality and collective welfare rationality presents a classic collective action problem (Olson 1965; Lessig 1995). Every individual benefits (in a welfare sense) when democratic policymaking reflects the best available science relating to risk and risk abate-ment. But what any particular individual happens to believe about such matters doesn’t make it any more—or less—likely that democratically responsive policymakers will adopt such policies; for that rea-son, it is much more sensible for him or her to form beliefs solely on the basis of whether those beliefs are culturally congenial. Yet when all individuals respond, rationally, to this set of incentives, they predicta-bly compromise their collective interest in living in a society whose democratically responsive policy-makers avail themselves of the best available scientific information to promote their citizens’ welfare."


    So to reiterate, his theory (a new one) is that the individual values are the ones that matter. Our theory is the science itself is lacking. He uses the cultural cognition theory
    which is the least supported in peer reviewed literature (a quick literature review only turns up 5 papers) to support his own theory and he shows no methodology nor does it appear he did a regression analyses. This would never get by peer review in my field but who knows in his.

    But he at least acknowledges one thing, calling smart people names because they don't agree with you doesn't work, has never worked, and will never work. He nailed that and his admonition to stop it should be listened to. But I doubt it will.
     
  10. Greenbeard
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    I suspected from the thread title that you hadn't actually read the paper before posting it. I'm glad you've gotten around to it now.

    The message in the paper's concluding remarks is clear: "Citizens are most likely to be driven off the path of convergence on the best available science, this research shows, when issues of environmental and technological risk become freighted with cultural meanings that motivate diverse groups to form opposing positions."

    This, the imbuement of scientific issues with cultural significance, is what leads to politicization of issues--when ideological affinity becomes the determinative factor in drawing conclusions (as it clearly has with this particular issue). If what I've just quoted you saying is actually what you take away from the paper, you've missed the point entirely, since the hierarchical individualistic worldview ("one that simultaneously ties authority to conspicuous social rankings and eschews collective interference with the decisions made by individuals possessed of such authority") is a cultural affiliation.

    No. His point is that a collective action problem arises because it's individually rational to conform to the beliefs of one's social or cultural group/community (i.e. achieve "congruence between those [the individual's] beliefs and individuals’ cultural commitments"), despite the possibility that the aggregate of these individually rational inclinations may not be welfare-improving at all ("while it is...costless for any individual to form a perception of risk that is wrong but culturally congenial, it is not costless for society— indeed, it is very harmful to its collective welfare—for individuals in aggregate to form beliefs this way").

    This isn't implied and it doesn't require reading between the lines--these points are made explicitly in the paper. I don't know how you're coming away with the impression the paper says the opposite of what it does.

    You created the thread touting this, didn't you?
     

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