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Nature paper from 2012: Education is not the answer in the war on dissent

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A friend drew our attention to this: From a 2012 letter to Nature:

Among egalitarian communitarians, science literacy and numeracy (as reflected in the composite scale Science literacy/numeracy) showed a small positive correlation with concern about climate change risks(r = 0.08, P = 0.03). In contrast, among hierarchical individualists, Science literacy/numeracy is negatively correlated with concern(r = −0.12, P = 0.03). Hence, polarization actually becomes larger,not smaller, as science literacy and numeracy increase (Fig.
2and Supplementary Table S4 and Fig. S3). As the contribution that culture makes to disagreement grows as science literacy and numeracy increase, it is not plausible to view cultural cognition as a heuristic substitute for the knowledge or capacities that SCT [Science Comprehension Thesis] views the public as lacking. – Dan M. Kahan, Ellen Peters, Maggie Wittlin, Paul Slavic, Lisa Larrimore Ouellette, Donald Braman, Gregory MandelMore.

We keep hearing this kind of thing. Stripped of bafflegab and self-serving definitions, the authors of such work are hinting that the naturalist establishment can only win by denying education to those who might dissent.

It makes sense. In a corrupt and polarized environment, the more anyone knows, the more they have reason to dissent.

Calling off the war on dissent and cleaning up their own act is not, of course, up for discussion. Too much work and too much honesty needed.

See also: Quotes to ponder: Steve Fuller and the cult of the expert

and

Quotes to ponder: Education does not determine acceptance of science consensus

One Reply to “Nature paper from 2012: Education is not the answer in the war on dissent

  1. 1
    Bob O'H says:

    Stripped of bafflegab and self-serving definitions, the authors of such work are hinting that the naturalist establishment can only win by denying education to those who might dissent.

    Really?

    Calling off the war on dissent and cleaning up their own act is not, of course, up for discussion. Too much work and too much honesty needed.

    Except that this is precisely what the authors are recommending:

    As citizens understandably tend to conform their beliefs about societal risk to beliefs that predominate among their peers, communicators should endeavor to create a deliberative climate in which accepting the best available science does not threaten any group’s values.

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