Weekly Round Up: the facts don’t lie – but our brains do

In the round up this week: our brains twist the truth based on our preexisting opinions, the army says baby, don’t drill!, and Americans don’t feel threatened by climate change.If you’re a science communicator or educator at an informal science center (such as a zoo, aquarium, or museum) trying to encourage conservation action – this is the round up for you! Every week we break down the most interesting recent news and best resources to help you frame the issues as effectively as possible.

The facts don’t lie – but our brains do

Understanding “motivated reasoning” is important to seeing the critical role of strategic communication in saving the world (and specifically keeping our ocean and planet healthy, from our perspective). Basically – our preexisting beliefs greatly influence how we interpret the world – including facts one might think were indisputable.

The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science
If you’re not familiar with the concept of motivated reasoning, or have heard of it but don’t quite get it, this is the article for you. Chris Mooney gives a clear, simple explanation of the phenomenon with lots of interesting real-world examples and tidbits. If you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head and wondering “HOW could there still be people who think climate change isn’t a threat?!” this article should clear it right up.

Storytelling science illuminates climate views
A new study has a topical and illuminating example of motivated reasoning: a study of about 2,000 people of different environmental/political attitudes showed that people were more easily confused by emotionally charged terms — words for heroes, villains and adjectives such as “scientific expertise,” “environmentalist” and “terrifying” — when the article was framed from a perspective that clashed with their own.

Other thoughts and resources

Other facts you may find useful or interesting (hopefully both!).

Military Report: America Has ‘Misguided’ Fixation With Domestic Drilling
A new report from military leaders calls for resources to be directed towards slowing and mitigating climate change – not securing access to the fossil fuels which have helped drive it.

Most Americans believe climate change is real, but fewer see it as a threat
Distressing new numbers from Pew Research Center: though 69% of Americans agree there is solid evidence of a warming Earth, only 40% see it as a major threat to the US. The global median is 54%.