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  1. #1
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Default The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science

    The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science

    Basically, an article about research showing people deny scientific evidence, analyzing why, giving some brief ideas on how one might get through that denial. Of particular interest is the part about how the more educated a person becomes, the more likely they are to deny scientific evidence against a firmly held belief (perhaps because of an increased ability to subvert the information, or a sense of self-assurance).

    For fun, see if you can apply the implications of the article to the article itself (really, I know people will anyway, especially anyone that's a creationist, climate change denier, or believes in a link between vaccines and autism). Also read the comments and laugh at their futile resistance.

    For me, this sort of thing is like the Dunning-Kruger effect in the way it makes me feel self-conscious and insecure.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  2. #2
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Which is why I am agnostic? I believe enough about science, but for what science cannot prove as of yet, that is where that "something else" comes from.

    Science reworks itself over time. Once a theory thought of the truth during one day and age, can slightly/completely change in another.

    Sort of like how people once believed the world is flat (some people probably still do) and that, now people, say that the earth is round (still not completely accurate.)

    For something like climate change denial... what is so wrong with looking for alternative energy for something else like breathing cleaner air and being less dependable on oil alone? If people are going to be in climate change denial, I am sure many are NOT in oil price denial, nor are they in denial when it comes to breathing the smoke coming out of their cars. That is where you get them.

    I do have issues with many religions though.

  3. #3
    Senor Membrane
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    Yeah, I've observed this denial / affirmation in myself. It seems like there is very little that can be done about it. One way to test this is to take a book that has the stupidest idea you've ever heard presented with scientific language. Read it so that you concentrate on your reactions. Whenever you hear yourself going "Sigh, ohmygod this is retarded", stop and see where it is coming from. This is how you can see some of the ideas you take for granted. Of course, this doesn't actually prove them right or wrong, but at least you can focus on them and maybe notice some of them being something else than what you thought.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ThinkingAboutIt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science

    Basically, an article about research showing people deny scientific evidence, analyzing why, giving some brief ideas on how one might get through that denial. Of particular interest is the part about how the more educated a person becomes, the more likely they are to deny scientific evidence against a firmly held belief (perhaps because of an increased ability to subvert the information, or a sense of self-assurance).

    For fun, see if you can apply the implications of the article to the article itself (really, I know people will anyway, especially anyone that's a creationist, climate change denier, or believes in a link between vaccines and autism). Also read the comments and laugh at their futile resistance.

    For me, this sort of thing is like the Dunning-Kruger effect in the way it makes me feel self-conscious and insecure.
    There are a lot of things wrong with this.

    1. It implies that any person with religious values will reject science as a rule. That is not true.
    2. It uses the utmost fringes of religion and society as a test source. By doing so they imply that those people that 'reject' any scientific theory in any way are ignorant and incapable of believing the supposed truth stated in the article which is also not true. And, laughably, it even goes further to say that anyone that disputes this point is one of those people. Nice.
    3. It implies that global warming is a fact when it is not. There are just as many scientific studies to prove that global warming doesn't exist at all.

    That said, the overall point of the article is good - people tend to defend what they believe. I don't think it can be said though that people will completely ignore evidence to hold onto belief. Beliefs about anything tend to be built on a foundation that includes a multitude of information that provide facets. So, presenting one thing or even a couple things against the entire foundation will not change someone's mind regardless of what their 'beliefs' are - meaning religious or not.
    Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

  5. #5
    Senior Member guesswho's Avatar
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    Very interesting

    I've noticed the phenomenon, but I guess science has this way of putting the somewhat obvious into a logical structure based on studies and a lot of observation.

  6. #6
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    For me, this sort of thing is like the Dunning-Kruger effect in the way it makes me feel self-conscious and insecure.
    What ever happened to 'the more you know, the less you realise you know overall'?
    To me the childlike state of never having complete confidence in ones abilities and knowledge is more natural, with the implicit understanding that there is always more to know. (A philosophy I've had since an early age)

  7. #7
    triple nerd score poppy's Avatar
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    Pretty neat article, although it does seem kind of obvious. I think in my Psych 202 class they called it confirmation bias?
    "There's no need to be embarrassed about it, Mr. Spock. It happens to the birds and the bees!"

  8. #8
    Senior Member guesswho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkingAboutIt View Post
    There are just as many scientific studies to prove that global warming doesn't exist at all.
    Do you honestly believe global warming doesn't exist at all?????

    Doesn't the CO2 emission raise heat? I mean, it's a fact, so you can't say no to that.

    And hasn't the CO2 level grown?

    Yes obviously.

    So, the planet is warmer, than it would have been without our industry, cars or whatever.

    You can't say this doesn't exist at all.

  9. #9
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    I think some social advocates have attempted to undermine scientific research by saying that it's not humane, particularly on the ultra-feminist front. The whole issue revolves around people tip-toeing around science because they fear confirmation bias. Ideologues seem to be the mothership enemy here.

    Speaking of Psych, some of my course material seemed to state that "There a few truths"... followed by some other course basics. I was tempted to argue that point with the teacher, honestly, because it seemed to establish a sort of limit - a reason not to conduct the scientific method.

    Thank you MP. I particularly enjoyed the bit about motivated reasoning.

  10. #10
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkingAboutIt View Post
    There are a lot of things wrong with this.

    1. It implies that any person with religious values will reject science as a rule. That is not true.
    I did not detect that. How is this so?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkingAboutIt View Post
    2. It uses the utmost fringes of religion and society as a test source. By doing so they imply that those people that 'reject' any scientific theory in any way are ignorant and incapable of believing the supposed truth stated in the article which is also not true. And, laughably, it even goes further to say that anyone that disputes this point is one of those people. Nice.
    Honestly, I suspect you are making those connections more than the article is.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkingAboutIt View Post
    3. It implies that global warming is a fact when it is not. There are just as many scientific studies to prove that global warming doesn't exist at all.
    I suppose I could conduct a myriad of so-called studies right now, and I could engineer them to show anything I want. The question is whether or not there are just as many credible stating global warming does not exist as there ones stating it does. I doubt that, considering the vast majority of climatologists believe in global warming.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkingAboutIt View Post
    That said, the overall point of the article is good - people tend to defend what they believe. I don't think it can be said though that people will completely ignore evidence to hold onto belief. Beliefs about anything tend to be built on a foundation that includes a multitude of information that provide facets. So, presenting one thing or even a couple things against the entire foundation will not change someone's mind regardless of what their 'beliefs' are - meaning religious or not.
    The article is specifically about how we ignore good evidence, so it focuses on that, but it does mention that people don't completely ignore evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    What ever happened to 'the more you know, the less you realise you know overall'?
    To me the childlike state of never having complete confidence in ones abilities and knowledge is more natural, with the implicit understanding that there is always more to know. (A philosophy I've had since an early age)
    I agree with this approach myself, and I also apply it to matters of morality. I know from experience however that it can be a maddening and painful way to live. I'm not at all surprised by anyone's decision not to follow.

    Quote Originally Posted by poppy View Post
    Pretty neat article, although it does seem kind of obvious. I think in my Psych 202 class they called it confirmation bias?
    Much of what's discussed in the article is confirmation bias.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Tater View Post
    I think some social advocates have attempted to undermine scientific research by saying that it's not humane, particularly on the ultra-feminist front. The whole issue revolves around people tip-toeing around science because they fear confirmation bias. Ideologues seem to be the mothership enemy here.

    Speaking of Psych, some of my course material seemed to state that "There a few truths"... followed by some other course basics. I was tempted to argue that point with the teacher, honestly, because it seemed to establish a sort of limit - a reason not to conduct the scientific method.

    Thank you MP. I particularly enjoyed the bit about motivated reasoning.
    Why does the ideology make the ideologue, and why is the ideologue so problematic? I think getting closer to the root of the problem, I'd say ego is the enemy of insight. It is the way people merge themselves with their beliefs that makes it so hard for them to admit error.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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