The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science

How our brains fool us on climate, creationism, and the vaccine-autism link

Through her, the aliens had given the precise date of an Earth-rending cataclysm: December 21, 1954. Some of Martin's followers quit their jobs and sold their property, expecting to be rescued by a flying saucer when the continent split asunder and a new Full Story »

Posted by Tanya J. Maurer - via David Corn, Mother Jones, Donica Mensing (t), Johan Jessen (t), Jaimey Perham (t), David K. Miller (t), Tshiung Han See (t), Wil Kristin (t), Kaizar Campwala (t), Ron Steffens (t), Joey Baker (t)
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Posted by: Posted by Tanya J. Maurer - Apr 18, 2011 - 12:22 AM PDT
Content Type: Article
Edit Lock: This story can be edited
Edited by: Ellie Kesselman - Apr 22, 2011 - 1:15 PM PDT
Fabrice Florin
4.0
by Fabrice Florin - May. 7, 2011

Insightful overview of recent studies on how our beliefs and emotions impact our judgment and ability to reason. Multiple sources are cited to present an informative roundup of scientific observations about this complex phenomenon. Must-read.

I also enjoyed reading a thoughtful commentary on this article from the Easily Distracted blog (see link). It's a well-reasoned counterweight to Chris Mooney's article -- which I also found quite insightful. It appears we still have a lot to learn about what makes us tick -- and yet these issues have a profound impact on how we govern ourselves. I hope someday we can find a cure for blind faith, which seems to affect us all ...

See Full Review » (12 answers)
Sirajul Islam
4.2
by Sirajul Islam - May. 8, 2011

The world is so full of credible as well as junk science (and information) today that educates and as well does nothing but try to reinforce political agendas. Casual people not having the opportunity to truly educated in science (and in other disciplines) who are, in general, overconfident that they know. This excellent work explained the reason scientifically. Just opening up a debate centring this article (as I’ve seen, and read some of nearly thousand comments) confirms the proposition, again.

See Full Review » (19 answers)
Dwight Rousu
4.6
by Dwight Rousu - May. 19, 2011

My scientific training and background makes me positively biased in favor of this psychological study.

Remember the "seekers" as May 21st approaches.

We’re not driven only by emotions, of course—we also reason, deliberate. But reasoning comes later, works slower—and even then, it doesn’t take place in an ... More »

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Randy Morrow
4.2
by Randy Morrow - May. 16, 2011

A hierarchal individualist finds it difficult to believe that the things he prizes (commerce, industry, a man’s freedom to possess a gun to defend his family) (PDF) ... More »

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Don Bertschman
4.9
by Don Bertschman - Apr. 24, 2011
See Full Review » (18 answers)
Ellie Kesselman
4.0
by Ellie Kesselman - Apr. 22, 2011

I thought this was an excellent article. It is not about right or left political viewpoints but about human behavior and refusal to accept facts due to patterns of cognitive bias that are held by many.

See Full Review » (15 answers)
Tanya J. Maurer
4.0
by Tanya J. Maurer - Apr. 21, 2011
See Full Review » (10 answers)
Alex Konow
3.7
by Alex Konow - May. 16, 2011

Despite advances in and continued education of science and technology, many people still believe certain ideas like "global warming is a myth" and "the world will end in 2012." Interestingly enough, we humans have connections between the reasoning and emotional parts of our brains. It is this that is responsible for that fiercely opinionated guy in your philosophy class and the homeless man screaming that the earth is going through a natural cycle. It allows cult members to think ... More »

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Roland F. Hirsch
1.2
by Roland F. Hirsch - May. 8, 2011

This opinion piece has minimal journalistic merit. It is largely devoted to promoting the author's ideology and his well-known disregard for science when it disagrees with his ideology. The author regards Republicans and conservatives as almost always bad, using nearly every paragraph, except at the very end, to make his point. A good example is his treatment of Climategate, which shows that he has not even read the emails, let alone the computer files that expose the anti-scientific behavior of the people involved in the major fraud.

An example of the author's ideological bias is this quote: "In a 2008 Pew survey, for instance, only 19 percent of college-educated Republicans agreed that the planet is warming due to human actions, versus 31 percent of non-college educated Republicans. In other words, a higher education correlated with an increased likelihood of denying the science on the issue. Meanwhile, among Democrats and independents, more education correlated with greater acceptance of the science.", where ... More »

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The Thomas
5.0
by The Thomas - Apr. 28, 2011

Important stuff, which effects the world in a real and important way, presented in an convincing and engaging manner.

See Full Review » (4 answers)
Stephanus Van Brandest
4.4
by Stephanus Van Brandest - May. 16, 2011

The story again remind the society that despite all the progress in technology and civilization, most humans, if not all, are still part of the animal kingdom. There is this part in our brain that is responsible for our follies, which results in skewed truth that becomes false beliefs. The article itself is built with strong foundations of research and understanding. Descriptive illustration.

See Full Review » (11 answers)

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  • The Non-Science That Explains What’s Wrong with Science Explaining Non-Belief in Science

    (Blog Post) It is not irrational or unreasonable to regard scientific claims which recommend or insist upon particular public policy initiatives with sharply pronounced skepticism across ...
    Posted by Fabrice Florin
  • May 21: Judgement Day? A Portrait Of True Believers In The 'End of the World'

    Circled dates dot a calendar on John Ramsey's refrigerator door. They show the busy life of a 25-year-old: dinner parties, birthdays, holidays. But only until May 21. Every ...
    Posted by Dwight Rousu