Friday, March 24, 2017

The Religion of Global Warming

From The Atlantic, an article on cognitive dissonance that explains how people can hold a belief in the face of facts and logic that clearly points to a different conclusion. The article starts with cults, but touches on religion, politics, political parties, selective bias and even mentions global warming.
“A man with a conviction is a hard man to change,” Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schacter wrote in When Prophecy Fails, their 1957 book about this study. “Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point … Suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before...”
I was reminded of the history of stomach ulcer research and the difficulty that discoverers of H. Pylori had in convincing the medical establishment that ulcers were caused by a bacteria, not stress, stomach acid, or spicy food. The widely held belief that no bacteria could survive in the stomach and that there was no bacterial factor involved in this disease persisted for years in spite of the unambiguous results of the studies.

Believing (about anything) that "the science is settled" is a spectacularly good way to put on the blinders.


pigpen51 said...

I also remember the issue about ulcers and bacteria. I think at the time most people missed it. I follow you completely, and it is pretty much SOP for the entrenched people who depend upon the public trough for their living.

Tom Murin said...

As the great Richard Feynman said "I'd rather have questions that cannot be answered - than answers that cannot be questioned."