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Why Some People are Still in Denial Over Climate Change & Evolution Why Some People are Still in Denial Over Climate Change & Evolution

Why Some People are Still in Denial Over Climate Change & Evolution

by Tod Perry

Author Jonathan Swift once said: “You cannot reason someone out of something he or she was not reasoned into.” Three hundred years later, man hasn’t changed much. In 2016 in America, where you can access information on any topic from your smartphone, large swaths of the population are still looking science in the face and denying it when faced with two topics: man-made climate change and Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Given the overwhelming scientific evidence for the theory of evolution and for climate change, it’s clear most science deniers haven’t reasoned themselves into their positions. Religious indoctrination usually happens well before a child can reason themselves into the concept of god. And people’s political beliefs usually come as a package of ideas that have as much to do with their social identities as their their thoughts on policy. So why do people cling so strongly to anti-science beliefs in the face of evidence? One major reason is the psychological theory of cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort that happens when someone is confronted by new information that conflicts with their existing beliefs. People will reduce this discomfort by either changing thoughts to incorporate the new information, or by denying it. Alongside cognitive dissonance is its psychological sidekick, the confirmation bias theory. This states that people tend to favor information that confirms their preconceptions of reality, rather than altering them. This practice usually leads people to cherry pick facts that uphold their beliefs, rather than accepting those that challenge them.

Australia blog about climate change science media coverage : Anti-carbon tax protesters in Canberra

Nowhere do these two psychological theories rear their ugly heads more prominently than in the “debate” over man-made climate change. While 95 percent of actively-publishing climate scientists accept that man-made climate change is happening, most Americans’ thoughts on the issue side with their political beliefs. When asked about 2015’s record temperatures, 72% of Democrats attributed it to man-made climate change, whereas only 27% of Republicans agreed. This break down isn’t shocking knowing that Democrats – who tend to embrace environmental causes – would have little dissonance accepting the science.

Confirmation bias makes it easier for people to choose climate-change facts which won’t disrupt their constructed realities. “Another explanation is that people show confirmation bias because they are weighing up the costs of being wrong, rather than investigating in a neutral, scientific way,” Arek Sinanian from United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change says. “And the costs of climate change and our responses are so economically, socially and morally devastating that confirmation bias is a much easier way out.”

anti-evolution-campaign-flickr-k-bot

If accepting the worldwide devastation posed by climate change is tough for some, accepting that man evolved over time from apes is a recipe for existential crisis in others. For people who chose to view the world through a religious lens where man was created by god, the theory of evolution makes their lives feel meaningless. It also renders their creator to be redundant at best, non-existent at worst. But according to The Atlantic, 98% of scientists accept that man evolved over time and most believe the first human, Homo erectus, appeared in Africa about two million years ago. But in the face of all of that awesome, peer-reviewed science, according to a Gallup poll, 42% of Americans believe god created man in its present form 10,000 years ago, because that’s what the Bible says.

There is reason to believe that these anti-science beliefs will carry on into the future due to our third psychological theory: belief perseverance. This theory states that when people are confronted with information that disproves foundational beliefs which they’ve admitted to publicly, they tend to reject the new information and cling even more strongly to their incorrect beliefs. So as time marches on, chances are there will still be small pockets of people denying the undeniable, as the rest of society intellectually evolves into the future.

  • lonegull101

    Don’t deny that there is climate change, but do not buy the all “man-made” aspect with the CO2 and methane business. The more I read about it and the science that is supposed to support it, the less sense it makes. There is no way to escape CO2 or methane emissions be it man-made or otherwise.

    • alfie0077

      Climate has been changing for 4 billion years. Climate has been changing even though humans have only been here 3 million years (Lucy was primitive, but can be called ‘human’.

      Let us solve the ‘problem’ Here is the ONLY solution.
      Science requires release of data for other Scientists to duplicate and validate.
      Science needs no ‘consensus’.
      “Art’ requires no stinking validation. “Art’ just requires a bunch of fools following one
      after the other in a daisy chain of failure and failed follow the herd theories.
      Who
      is promoting ‘global warming’? Why are they promoting ‘global warming’?
      What is causing ‘global warming’? We must get to the root cause!

      Answers:
      The Vatican oppressors and their ilk are promoting the ‘global warming’.
      YES, we must assume that the Vatican oppressors are correct!
      If
      there is ‘global warming’ as is stated by all the ‘undeveloped’
      (CATHOLIC AND MUSLIM_) countries, then what is the reason they are
      stating there is ‘global warming’ when they do not have the scientific
      knowledge to prove these claims?
      ‘poor countries’ must obtain ‘taxes’
      which is to be paid for by YOU!. Then the money can be sent ‘down
      south’, and will be used to buy corn grown in the USA!. The corn will be
      used to make more Catholics, which then will be sent up North to invade
      the USA.
      Now, it is time to get to the root cause, and the ONLY
      means of correcting ‘global warming’. This is to make fewer CATHOLICS!
      Birth control is the ONLY means of doing any meaningful control of
      ‘global warming’!
      Poopie, get out the education, have ALL the
      CATHOLICS do birth control! Hey, Muslims are reproducing their own
      version of brain ded so all the Muslims must practice birth control
      also!
      IF THERE IS MAN MADE ‘GLOBAL WARMING’ ONLY BIRTH CONTROL WILL
      WORK!
      POOPIE, GET TO WORK! FORGET THE TAXES DO BIRTH CONTROL,
      SAVE THE WORLD!
      Vote for ANY CATHOLIC and you vote for an ignorant traitor that will keep the borders open.
      Vote for ANY CATHOLIC and you vote for a person that wants lots and lots of Catholics in the USA.
      Vote for ANY CATHOLIC and you vote for someone who wants to destroy the Constitution of the USA.
      Vote for ANY CATHOLIC and you vote to destroy the USA.
      there is not one successful Catholic nation on earth. Find one if you can.

  • Christopher Citty

    I don’t deny evolution, but I do feel it is manipulative to lump both climate change and evolution into the same group. It is an attempt to say you have to accept both. I also do not ‘deny’ climate change, though. What I do believe, however, is that the jury is still out. Enough statements and evidence exists, in real life, that climate change was pushed, corruptly, through the media. Scientists have come forward, claiming their results were falsified, altered, or removed, if they didn’t support climate change.

    The same rules apply to everyone. That’s why they’re rules. If a charge of tampering is put forward, it needs to be investigated, and explored, fully. The fact that it isn’t, and the people in favor of climate change are in a position of authority over such investigations, at the very least, makes this suspicious.

    Can climate change be ‘real’? Absolutely. But, it must be scientifically proven, not passed forward as fact, just because the right people believe it is fact. If it’s real, convince everyone. Explain it. Make it make sense. If the argument is sound, minds are swayed. That’s how science, and debate, are intended to work. It is usually the lazy and corrupt, who want us to forget that. The ones who don’t want to prove things, but want us to be accepting, without proof, and without question.

    Evolution makes absolute sense, to me. Scientifically. Logically. Mathematically. Metaphysically. It simply makes sense. Climate change would, if it were presented to the average person, even a skeptic, with a diligent and thorough explanation. Instead, we get trick articles, and media pressure. That tells me work needs to be done on the delivery.

  • Pete Lee

    I still remember hearing back in the 70’s how New York was going to be under water by 2000 due to the ice caps being melted. There were people then that tried to get everyone all worked up with forecasts of gloom and doom. They toss around terms like climate denier much the same way that you’ll hear religious people call someone an unbeliever to minimize their opinions.

    • alfie0077

      hooray for you…. Please read the post just before this one.
      You are correct! ALGORE likes to make money from fools.
      The Vatican likes to make money from fools.
      There are lots of fools to go around!
      I really like your picture!~

  • alfie0077

    Let us solve the ‘problem’ Here is the ONLY solution.
    Science requires release of data for other Scientists to duplicate and validate.
    Science needs no ‘consensus’.
    “Art’ requires no stinking validation. “Art’ just requires a bunch of fools following one
    after the other in a daisy chain of failure and failed follow the herd theories.
    Who is promoting ‘global warming’? Why are they promoting ‘global warming’? What is causing ‘global warming’? We must get to the root cause!

    Answers:
    The Vatican oppressors and their ilk are promoting the ‘global warming’.
    YES, we must assume that the Vatican oppressors are correct!
    If there is ‘global warming’ as is stated by all the ‘undeveloped’ (CATHOLIC AND MUSLIM_) countries, then what is the reason they are stating there is ‘global warming’ when they do not have the scientific knowledge to prove these claims?
    ‘poor countries’ must obtain ‘taxes’ which is to be paid for by YOU!. Then the money can be sent ‘down south’, and will be used to buy corn grown in the USA!. The corn will be used to make more Catholics, which then will be sent up North to invade the USA.
    Now, it is time to get to the root cause, and the ONLY means of correcting ‘global warming’. This is to make fewer CATHOLICS! Birth control is the ONLY means of doing any meaningful control of ‘global warming’!
    Poopie, get out the education, have ALL the CATHOLICS do birth control! Hey, Muslims are reproducing their own version of brain ded so all the Muslims must practice birth control also!
    IF THERE IS MAN MADE ‘GLOBAL WARMING’ ONLY BIRTH CONTROL WILL
    WORK!
    POOPIE, GET TO WORK! FORGET THE TAXES DO BIRTH CONTROL,
    SAVE THE WORLD!
    Vote for ANY CATHOLIC and you vote for an ignorant traitor that will keep the borders open.
    Vote for ANY CATHOLIC and you vote for a person that wants lots and lots of Catholics in the USA.
    Vote for ANY CATHOLIC and you vote for someone who wants to destroy the Constitution of the USA.
    Vote for ANY CATHOLIC and you vote to destroy the USA.
    there is not one successful Catholic nation on earth. Find one if you can.

  • Randy William-Little

    Which species of human was Adam, Homo sapiens, Homo Neanderthal, Homo erectus, Homo Habilis, Homo Heidelbergensis et al.?