Study Finds That Many Republicans May Reject Climate Change Because of Their Distrust of Science Gen
A new study led by Professor James Druckman of Northwestern University found that Republicans may reject evidence of climate change because of their distrust of science, not simply because it contradicts their current beliefs.
Tim Sandle, Digital Journal: "The research looks at what is often presented as the key reason for the divide, which has been said to be due to directional “motivated reasoning.” This means individuals skeptical about climate change will invariably reject ostensibly credible scientific information since it contradicts their established beliefs."....
”Instead there are other factors in play, linked to communication, that explain why some people do not believe in human-driven climate change. For instance, Republicans who do not agree with climate change may do so because they are less trustworthy of science in general."
Sandle's findings suggest that more climate change research may not be enough to persuade Republicans and that other approaches, such as religious based appeals, may be more successful. However, researchers at the University of Connecticut may have found another answer, convincing "influencers" within the Republican Party. In a recent study they found that climate change-deniers responded well to appeals from those they expected to share their beliefs....Republicans.
PHYS.org: "In the study, misinformation was corrected by factual information from different sources stating the presence of broad scientific consensus that climate change is happening and attributable to human activity."
"All participants, regardless of partisanship, received factual corrections after reading a statement denying climate change. The corrections were randomly attributed to Republicans, Democrats, or non-partisan climate scientists."
"Overall, participants found the most effective corrections came from Republicans rather than non-partisan scientists or Democrats. This transcended partisan leanings, researchers found."
"This may be because Republicans who make such statements are engaging in more potentially costly behavior that lend them additional persuasive value," the authors say."
In other words, since the participants realized that Republican officials who accept global warming run the risk of alienating their voting base, they are more believable. So, if the scientific community can persuade respected Republican officials to speak out about the threats posed by climate change, much of their base might follow along. Not an easy task, certainly, but perhaps the best tonic to the nation's current stand-off on the issue.