Subjective reality: When politics meet science


Evidence of climate change would appear to be significantly robust. The scientific community has reached a consensus that climate change is real. Yet this consensus does not extend to the American public. In many cases skepticism falls along partisan lines.

Some of this disagreement is based on the role of human activity in climate change and what is/can be done. But much of the conflict is due to partisan differences. Bias clouds objectivity.

Partisan bias has been demonstrated to affect individuals’ view of the economyif the government is a threat, and the ability to do math. In effect, reality becomes an opinion. But it’s not necessarily an opinion which can be controlled.

People are not a blank slate. There are real and significant differences in human brains based on partisanship. Republicans simply process things differently than Democrats. This is partially due to genesAnd also heuristics. Our brains create cognitive shortcuts by which we process information. In most cases established associations are simply built upon, meaning new information is processed through existing beliefs.

This is not to say it’s deterministic. Or that our brains are “hard-wired”. This would misconstrue things. But political attitudes and political behavior in many ways are a result of biology, not conscious choice.


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