Why is skepticism about climate change so persistent?
The answer might seem to be obvious: ignorance! People just don't understand the science. Their education has not equipped them to discern good evidence from bad, or reason properly to valid conclusions. The media is not giving them the facts. They need more, better information and improved reasoning skills.
However intuitively plausible this answer might be, it suffers from one important flaw: It is wrong. Better educated people are not less likely to be skeptics. Greater scientific literacy and reasoning ability do not incline people toward climate realism. Where skepticism exists, additional information and arguments only serve to reinforce it.
This has been evident for some time, but a fascinating new study in Nature backs it up with numbers. Yale researcher Dan Kahan and his colleagues tested the question directly: Is it true that greater numeracy and scientific literacy reduce polarization about climate science?