Put ’em up.

My previous post covered a new study from Yale researcher Dan Kahan and colleagues showing that greater scientific literacy does not correlate with greater acceptance of the risks of climate change. In fact, polarization on climate change is greater among the scientifically literate.

What divides those who acknowledge climate risks from those who don’t (“skeptics”) is not education, intelligence, or numeracy, but values. Kahan uses the terms “egalitarian communitarian” and “hierarchical individualist,” but I think it’s easier to follow Chris Mooney and just call these personality types liberal and conservative. Possessing the personality traits and values of a liberal inclines one toward accepting the threat of climate change; possessing the personality traits and values of a conservative inclines one toward skepticism. This comports with other studies that find skepticism clustered among conservative white men.