Anti-science views know least, think they know most: study

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Anti-science views know least, think they know most: study

Postby Jonrox » Jan 16th, 2019, 9:39 am

I didn't really know where to put this because it applies to pretty much every subsection of the forums...

People with extreme anti-science views know the least, but think they know the most: study
https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/people-with-extreme-anti-science-views-know-the-least-but-think-they-know-the-most-study

“The less people know,” the authors conclude, “the more opposed they are to the scientific consensus.”

“Science communicators have made concerted efforts to educate the public with an eye to bringing their attitudes in line with the experts,”

But people with an inflated sense of what they actually know — and most in need of education — are also the ones least likely to be open to new information.

“This suggests that a pre-requisite to changing people’s views through education may be getting them to first appreciate the gaps in their knowledge,” the authors write.


The problem is similar to the Dunning-Kruger effect: The less competent a person is at something, the smarter they think they are.

“Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices,” David Dunning and Justin Kruger wrote in their 1999 paper describing the phenomenon, “but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.”

Or, as English actor and comedian John Cleese once said: “If you’re very, very stupid, how can you possibly realize that you’re very, very stupid? You’d have to be relatively intelligent to realize how stupid you are.”

Extreme views often come along with not appreciating the complexity of the subject — “not realizing how much there is to know,” said Philip Fernbach, lead author of the new study and a professor of marketing at the University of Colorado Boulder. “People who don’t know very much think they know a lot, and that is the basis for their extreme views.”

His team’s findings held across education levels, and for people on both sides of the political aisle.

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