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May 21, 2012

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The article by Kahan et. al. admits that
As respondents’ science-literacy scores increased, concern with climate change decreased (r=−0.05, P=0.05). There was also a negative correlation between numeracy and climate change risk (r=−0.09, P<0.01). The differences were small, but nevertheless inconsistent with SCT, which predicts effects with the opposite signs.

This result is consistent with another paper we discussed here some time ago. There too, the results showed that greater scientific expertise led to (or correlated with) greater climate skepticism.

The authors find this result mysterious and try to explain it in terms of cultural world view. However, they can't bring themselves to acknowledge the possibility of the simplest explanation. Maybe greater expertise leads to greater skepticism simply because the models are indeed uncertain. That is, maybe, the skeptics are right to be skeptical.

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