But why is the subject so controversial given that it is grounded in science? The spread of views about global warming is vast, ranging from there is no exceptional warming right through to there is abrupt climate change that will trigger mass extinction within decades.
Dan Kahan of Yale University was interested in how it is that ideas that are subjected to the scrutiny of the scientific method find such a variance of acceptance when put into the public arena. From this standpoint he and his team conducted research and founded a project called The Cultural Cognition Project (www.culturalcognition.net) to examine how cultural values shape public risk perceptions and the related policy beliefs. To boil it all down, the science doesn’t matter. What matters is whether or not the science fits with your worldview. And, this applies to vaccinations, nanotechnology, nuclear power, GMOs etc.
Throw in the Backfire Effect (goo.gl/HGJpgl) for good measure, and your cleverly constructed fact-based argument is only going to harden the beliefs of those you are trying to persuade.Positions on climate change have come to signify the kind of person one is. In the words of the much quoted saying, ” We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.”