Sunday, March 02, 2008

The More You Know, the Less You Fear

From John Tierney's NY Times blog:
After asking a national sample of more than 1,000 Americans how much they knew about global warming and how they felt about it, the researchers report that respondents who are better-informed about global warming “both feel less personally responsible for global warming, and also show less concern for global warming.” Another unexpected result: “Respondents who showed a great deal of confidence that scientists understand global warming and climate change showed significantly less concern for the risks of global warming than did those who have lower trust in scientists.”

The researchers offer several possible explanations for this apparent paradox. Paul Kellstedt, the lead author and a professor of political science at Texas A&M, told me that previous researchers found that a campaign to increase public understanding of genetically modified foods didn’t lessen public fears, and that more widespread “scientific understanding” of research on embryos actually diminished support for that research. “What those two studies show, and what ours does, too,” he said, “is that more information given to the mass public does not automatically translate into more support for what are (in the public’s mind) controversial areas of scientific research. In fact, more information, in all three cases, seems to have the opposite effect, creating opposition to the research area in question.”

It’s also possible that the better-informed people were being more realistic when they said didn’t feel personally responsible for global warming.
Ya think? As Instapundit observes:
[The left says] the current cold spell is just weather, not climate. Sure, but will they remember that distinction in July? . . . .

1 comment:


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