Motivated rejection of stupidityRichard Treadgold | September 2, 2012
New paper (in press, Psychological Science):
NASA faked the moon landing|Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax:
An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science
by Stephan Lewandowsky
University of Western Australia
Remember that name. Lewandosky will soon become a byword for rejection of science.
The entire abstract
Although nearly all domain experts agree that human CO2 emissions are altering the world’s climate, segments of the public remain unconvinced by the scientific evidence. Internet blogs have become a vocal platform for climate denial, and bloggers have taken a prominent and influential role in questioning climate science. We report a survey (N > 1100) of climate blog users to identify the variables underlying acceptance and rejection of climate science. Paralleling previous work, we find that endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science (r ≅ .80 between latent constructs). Endorsement of the free market also predicted the rejection of other established scientific findings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer. We additionally show that endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the CIA killed Martin-Luther King or that NASA faked the moon landing [sic]) predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientific findings, above and beyond endorsement of laissez-faire free markets. This provides empirical confirmation of previous suggestions that conspiracist ideation contributes to the rejection of science. Acceptance of science, by contrast, was strongly associated with the perception of a consensus among scientists.
Must I go through this tripe line by line? Question the cause of global warming and that’s tantamount to the rejection of science. Beware, children.
This is a black day for science, for Psychology, for the University of Western Australia and for all those keen to save the world from man-made global warming.
If none of this author’s colleagues move to discipline him and his co-authors for this stupid paper the deed will turn blacker. Psychologists, in particular, should protest the misuse of their fairly useful discipline.