Global climate change: Distinguishing facts from beliefs

Nina Miriam Proestler, Fordham University

Abstract

This study was designed to examine whether the perception of the distinction between facts and beliefs varied across different political ideologies in the domain of climate change. Furthermore, epistemological beliefs in scientific knowledge were evaluated in relation to agreement and categorization of climate change statements. Responses from 271 participants were collected using a Survey Monkey link embedded in Mechanical Turk. The results indicated that participants' political ideology was related to their agreement with statements supporting and denying climate change and whether they categorized them as a fact or belief. No clear consensus was found within and across political ideologies for the categorization of climate change statements as facts or beliefs. Participants overestimated the agreement of those with similar political viewpoints and underestimated the agreement of those with different political affiliations when agreeing with a statement. The results also indicated that different political ideologies showed inconsistent beliefs about scientific knowledge. Liberals were more likely to think that scientific knowledge can attain an ultimate truth, more likely to trust scientific resources and to accept science as a source of knowledge than were conservatives. Some beliefs about scientific knowledge correlated with the agreement and categorization of climate change statements but the relationship was dependent on political ideologies.^

Subject Area

Climate Change|Psychology, Cognitive

Recommended Citation

Proestler, Nina Miriam, "Global climate change: Distinguishing facts from beliefs" (2014). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3620240.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3620240

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