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 This explains every conversation I've ever had with a denialist...

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Heretic

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PostSubject: This explains every conversation I've ever had with a denialist...   5/5/2010, 9:04 am

Quote :
Evidence based smear campaigns

Elections are a time for smearing, and the Mail’s desperate story about Nick Clegg and the Nazis is my favourite so far. Generally the truth comes out, in time. But how much damage can smears do?

A new experiment published this month in the journal “Political Behaviour” sets out to examine the impact of corrections, and what they found was far more disturbing than they expected: far from changing peoples’ minds, if you are deeply entrenched in your views, a correction will only reinforce them.

. . .

Maybe the cognitive effort of mounting a defense against the incongruous new facts entrenches you even further. Maybe you feel marginalised and motivated to dig in your heels. Who knows. But these experiments were then repeated, in various permutations, on the issue of tax cuts (or rather, the idea that tax cuts had increased national productivity so much that tax revenue increased overall) and stem cell research. All the studies found exactly the same thing: if the original dodgy fact fits with your prejudices, a correction only reinforces these even more. If your goal is to move opinion, then this depressing finding suggests that smears work, and what’s more, corrections don’t challenge them much: because for people who already agree with you, it only make them agree even more.

While the experiment dealt with political campaigns, I see no reason why that wouldn't extend to discussions on science, especially such politically charged ones. We've certainly witnessed this exact behavior from AGW "skeptics", creationists, and 9/11 twoofers.
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Scorpion

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PostSubject: Re: This explains every conversation I've ever had with a denialist...   5/5/2010, 5:39 pm

Thanks for the link!

Here is the link to the full text of the study...

http://www.springerlink.com/content/064786861r21m257/fulltext.html
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