This Is Your Brain On Right Wing Rhetoric
Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War On Science, is working on a new book about why Republicans always seem to be fighting scientific findings. His recent blog post talks about one particular finding.
This was my first encounter with what I now like to call the “smart idiots” effect: The fact that politically sophisticated or knowledgeable people are often more biased, and less persuadable, than the ignorant. It’s a reality that generates endless frustration for many scientists—and indeed, for many well-educated, reasonable people.
And most of all, for many liberals.
And it turns out that this “smart idiots” effect is more pronounced exists in conservatives (more educated conservatives are more biased against facts than less educated conservatives) than in liberals (less educated liberals are more biased against facts than more educated liberals). The finding is important because it takes away the “they are stupid” argument from liberals when discussing conservative opponents on scientific issues. I’m not sure what it leaves in terms of strategies, however, to convince people who deny evolution and human-induced climate change. Maybe it will be in the new book.Click here for reuse options!
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