Political views influence belief in experts and expertise

NEWSWEEK reports:

As with mammograms, climate change is also a matter of trust and belief (or not) in experts: physicists, or Glenn Beck? In addition, denying environmental reality reflects, in part, a tendency to justify the existing order, argues [Dr. John] Jost [of New York University]. Conservatives, part of whose ideology is to respect and protect the status quo, tend to engage in this “systems justification” more than liberals, tending to view corporations, markets, government, and other institutions as legitimate and benign. Acknowledging climate change means recognizing “shortcomings of the current system” and “admitting that the status quo must change,” Jost and colleagues write in a paper to be published early next year. They find that a desire to justify the status quo (gauged by agreement with such statements as “Most policies serve the greater good” and “Society is set up so people usually get what they deserve”) accounts for much of the variability in people’s likelihood of denying climate change.


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