So then, the question is, why do people deny this? And why, might I add, do Republicans in particular deny this so strongly?And if your answer to that question is, “oh, because they’re stupid”—well, you’re wrong. That’s what liberals want to think, but it doesn’t seem be correct. In fact, it seems to be precisely the opposite—smarter (or more educated) Republicans turn out to be worse science deniers on this topic.This is a phenomenon that I like to call the “smart idiot” effect, and I just wrote about it for AlterNet and Salon.com.Let me tell you how I stumbled upon this effect—which is really what set the book in motion. I think the key moment came in the year 2008 when I came upon Pew data showing:• That if you’re a Republican, then the higher your level of education, the less likely you are to accept scientific reality—which is, that global warming is human caused.• If you’re a Democrat or Independent, precisely the opposite is the case.This is actually a consistent finding now across the social science literature on the resistance to climate change. So, for that matter, is the finding that the denial is the worst among conservative white males—so it has a gender aspect to it—and among the Tea Party.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
As a self-proclaimed expert in wingnutology, I always find this stuff interesting.
Why do American Conservatives deny the consensus on Global Warming? Conservatives in all other civilized places do not, as a group, claim that Global Warming is a Hoax. Only American Conservatives make this claim. Strange and unsettling, I know. Perhaps underfunded failing public schools are to blame? Who knows.
But if it were the public schools' fault, wouldn't there be more cross the board confusion? I think so, so the schools are not to blame. If we had FEMA run supplemental education camps, perhaps they could help. A camp ain't worth a damn, if ain't run by FEMA after all.
Perhaps there is another answer other than education, or lack thereof. Here is a vicious-mean spirited case of wingnutology seeking to answer this question.
Why are wingnuts so confused over science in general and global warming in particular?
The Teahadists - those bastards. It figures. Looks like they're to blame for just about everything.
At this point I am thinking that his is an interesting and promising theory, but I have to add that it is just a theory, like evolution and gravity. And since I have not read the social science written by some smirking egghead (aren't they all) with a PhD., I cannot confirm or deny the correlation between education and denial.
I've always assumed that folks who were not born stupid but choose science denial have made a deliberate lifestyle choice - a bad lifestyle choice. It is a choice that should not be rewarded or embraced. Perhaps intense Shame could be utilized to move the winger to a more productive lifestyle choice. Again who knows if this would work? The Over-educated Social Scientists, I bet. I bet these eggheads know.
And this is yet another reason why Obama let everyone down with the Stimulus Bill. Think of what good could have been done by throwing a $100 Million or maybe $1 Billion toward research in this area. You could employ a boat load of Grad Students, recycle cash quickly back into the economy, produce kick ass research and educational materials for school kids and help stamp out this horrible epidemic of global warming denial amongst a certain portion of the economy.
Or perhaps we could open some imaginary FEMA Camps. Either way.