Author Topic: The science behind not believing science  (Read 249 times)

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Offline Boots

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* Religion: institutionalized superstition, period.

"Many of my ultra-conservative Republican friends...have trouble accepting the idea God is not a Republican. " ~OldChurchGuy

"We humans may never figure out the truth, but I prefer trying to find it over pretending we know it."  ~ParkingPlaces

Offline Boots

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Re: The science behind not believing science
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2013, 09:30:47 PM »
I realized it's bad manners to simply put a link up without any indication of what the content is.  Sorry!

Quote
The theory of motivated reasoning builds on a key insight of modern neuroscience (PDF): Reasoning is actually suffused with emotion (or what researchers often call "affect"). Not only are the two inseparable, but our positive or negative feelings about people, things, and ideas arise much more rapidly than our conscious thoughts, in a matter of milliseconds—fast enough to detect with an EEG device, but long before we're aware of it. That shouldn't be surprising: Evolution required us to react very quickly to stimuli in our environment. It's a "basic human survival skill," explains political scientist Arthur Lupia of the University of Michigan. We push threatening information away; we pull friendly information close. We apply fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators, but to data itself.

We're not driven only by emotions, of course—we also reason, deliberate. But reasoning comes later, works slower—and even then, it doesn't take place in an emotional vacuum. Rather, our quick-fire emotions can set us on a course of thinking that's highly biased, especially on topics we care a great deal about.

On the "backlash effect:"

Quote
Ironically, in part because researchers employ so much nuance and strive to disclose all remaining sources of uncertainty, scientific evidence is highly susceptible to selective reading and misinterpretation. Giving ideologues or partisans scientific data that's relevant to their beliefs is like unleashing them in the motivated-reasoning equivalent of a candy store.

Sure enough, a large number of psychological studies have shown that people respond to scientific or technical evidence in ways that justify their preexisting beliefs. In a classic 1979 experiment (PDF), pro- and anti-death penalty advocates were exposed to descriptions of two fake scientific studies: one supporting and one undermining the notion that capital punishment deters violent crime and, in particular, murder. They were also shown detailed methodological critiques of the fake studies—and in a scientific sense, neither study was stronger than the other. Yet in each case, advocates more heavily criticized the study whose conclusions disagreed with their own, while describing the study that was more ideologically congenial as more "convincing."
* Religion: institutionalized superstition, period.

"Many of my ultra-conservative Republican friends...have trouble accepting the idea God is not a Republican. " ~OldChurchGuy

"We humans may never figure out the truth, but I prefer trying to find it over pretending we know it."  ~ParkingPlaces

Offline wright

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Re: The science behind not believing science
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2013, 10:48:32 PM »
Thanks, Boots. Very interesting.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
--Marcus Aurelius

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: The science behind not believing science
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2013, 12:07:39 AM »
Not surprising.  When I get upset due to something here, I usually go away for a couple of days.  Same general idea as what you're talking about, just a slightly different approach, since I know I'm doing it (it isn't an unconscious reflex, it's consciously stepping back to give my emotions time to cool).  It's much better than I used to act, where I'd keep pushing even though I was getting angrier and angrier.

Offline Boots

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Re: The science behind not believing science
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2013, 01:56:59 PM »
You know what one of the problems I have with this article is?  The fact that it immediately calls out climate change, evolution, and vaccine fear as obviously false.  That's going to shut down the people who most need to read it.

I just saw a facebook posting claiming that a leaked UN report says "we're actually experiencing global *cooling*"

http://weaselzippers.us/2013/09/09/leaked-u-n-report-confirms-global-warming-is-nonexistent-planet-actually-cooling/

Then I did a quick google search on "UN report global warming" and came up with a CNN report that says the exact opposite: that the leaked UN report says "we're now 95% sure global warming is because of people"

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/20/world/un-climate/index.html

the poster's reply was "You were able to find a media report in support of global warming junk science?"  He totally missed my point: that two agencies (if you can call "weasel zippers" an agency) reported polar 1 opposite stories about what a leaked report said.  Obviously someone is lying, no?

1 Pun completely intended
* Religion: institutionalized superstition, period.

"Many of my ultra-conservative Republican friends...have trouble accepting the idea God is not a Republican. " ~OldChurchGuy

"We humans may never figure out the truth, but I prefer trying to find it over pretending we know it."  ~ParkingPlaces