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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  640 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Climate Skeptics Can be Convinced to Believe in Science (n=700)

Dan Pink covers this in Drive: the problem is not that climate skeptics don't believe in climate change, it's that the Tribe of Climate Skeptics accepts as one of their holy tenets that climate change is heresy. Should you allow thoughts of anthropocentric global warming into your cranium, you become a heretic. Should you voice these thoughts, you will be cast out as a heretic, left to wander the wastes alone with no cultural identity to speak of. This is how "ex-mormon" practically became a religion unto itself: breaking from the Mormon faith is more stressful than breaking from protestantism (for example) because it's such an insular, inward-facing religion that once you leave it, you are bereft of friends, family, culture.

Priming a research subject to recognize her affiliation with other tribes lowers the heresy quotient of their thought processes and allows them to analyze things more rationally. The same is true of vaccine deniers; after California passed mandatory vaccination it caused most of the fence-sitters to come back into the fold. If you weren't a fence-sitter, though, you ended up even deeper into the lunatic fringe. Before, you were on a delayed schedule. After, you were either caught up or doing encounter cruises with Andrew Wakefield.

The basic problem is that right-wing politics has become about cultural identity rather than ideas. I am Republican because I believe in God, because I believe in a strong military, because I believe in individual determination, because I believe in limited government. And when God is used as a club by cynics, when the military is made more expensive but less effective, when the social safety net is shot full of holes and when the profitable parts of government are made huge while the beneficial parts are left to die? Well, you're okay with it because it's Republicans that are doing it so it must be good.

The trick is not to get people to believe in things. The trick is to get tribes to believe in things.