Avoiding Global Warming Stories
Robert Krulwich quoting Ursula Goodenough (bold Krulwich’s) on why global warming skeptics react the way they do:
[NOW-ness]: There was a 10-minute lecture by Dr. Gilbert of Harvard that explains this pretty well. He states that humans have evolved to react quickly to events that are Intentional, Immoral, Imminent, and Instantaneous. Global warming has none of these properties, whereas Terrorism has all of them. Hence we fear Terrorism but not Global Warming.
[I HATE THAT GUY]: There’s no one motivator, I don’t think. For some it’s politics — “If the liberals/hippies/Democrats are saying it’s true, I must assert that it’s false!” — and for others, in America at least, I suspect it’s related to our deep (and deeply annoying) cultural bias against the very idea of expertise.
Krulwich’s articles are always interesting, but this one cites some stuff that I find particularly fascinating. Despite Krulwich’s own (in my opinion) troublingly equivocating stance on global warming, his observations (and Goodenough’s) about why people react the way they do to things like global warming are pretty even-handed and thought-provoking.