Friday, August 5, 2016

Creationism, climate change skepticism, and voting for Trump

There are a lot of parallels between the mental processes that enable a belief in Biblical creationism, adherence to the inaccurate arguments of climate change skepticism, and voting for Donald Trump in this year's Presidential election, as explained in this Washington Post article:

Why facts don't matter to Trump's supporters

Two paragraphs provide insight.  I underlined the good parts:

"Trump is a vivid and, to his critics, a frightening present-day illustration of this perception problem. But it has been studied carefully by researchers for more than 30 years. Basically, the studies show that attempts to refute false information often backfire and lead people to hold on to their misperceptions even more strongly."

(Boy, I can vouch for that. I argued with immune-to-all-phenological-data Tony Heller aka Steve S. Goddard for years on Twitter before he blocked me.)

Here's the second quote:

"When critics challenge false assertions — say, Trump’s claim that thousands of Muslims cheered in New Jersey when the twin towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001 — their refutations can threaten people, rather than convince them. Graves noted that if people feel attacked, they resist the facts all the more. He cited a study by Nyhan and Reifler that examined why people misperceived three demonstrable facts: that violence in Iraq declined after President George W. Bush’s troop surge; that jobs have increased during President Obama’s tenure; and that global temperatures are rising."

So what should be done? Rather than argue, sympathize. Tell them you're sorry that they have to think that way. I've done that a few times, too.


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