Do you have strong views on climate change, taxes, health care, or gun control? Do you think the evidence and reason support your side of the debate? How do you know you’re right? David and Tamler discuss a recent paper by Dan Kahan and colleagues showing how prone people are to make errors in processing information to favor positions they are predisposed to believe. And even more shocking: the higher your numeracy skills, the more prone you are to fall prey to this bias. So how do we correct for this? Can we know anything at all with any confidence? Could it be that 'Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret' in not in fact a completely accurate depiction of how young girls think about puberty? Plus, we decide whether to join Neil deGrasse Tyson as a citizen of Rationalia. To paraphrase Mr. T, I pity the newscasters!
- Reflections on Rationalia by Neal deGrasse Tyson [facebook.com]
- Vulcan learning pods from Star Trek (2009). [youtube.org]
- Kahan, D. M., Peters, E., Dawson, E. C., & Slovic, P. (2013). Motivated numeracy and enlightened self-government. Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper, (307). [uoregon.edu]
- Ditto, P. H., & Lopez, D. F. (1992). Motivated skepticism: Use of differential decision criteria for preferred and nonpreferred conclusions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63(4), 568. [phi.org]