What is wrong with the science of communicating the science of science communication (i.e. Cultural Cognition of Risk theory) is a failure to apply the theory to its own endeavor.
I’ve spent the last few months taking a couple of college classes and so, in the interest of meeting all of my responsibilities, had to set aside my intellectual pursuits around Cultural Cognition Theory of Risk (CCR). Since I have a couple of weeks before classes start up again, I thought to catch myself up a bit by delving into Dan Kahan’s excellent blog. His writing always makes me think, and I love to think, but once I think, then I must ultimately extravert that thinking, hence the compulsive if erratic blogging.
TEDTalks as a platform for “Ideas worth spreading” has become incredibly successful in recent years, now with over 800 thousand subscribers on YouTube and 1.5 million monthly visitors to ted.com. As their motto suggests, TED has sought out and given wide exposure to people with revolutionary ideas. It is their hallmark, and many people, myself included, have found inspiration in the ingenious, beautiful and thought provoking ideas presented on the TED stage. So it may come as a surprise that TED has recently removed from distribution two popular talks given by brilliant speakers with revolutionary ideas. Ironically, these two talks, one entitled The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake, and the other The War on Consciousness by Graham Hancock, were given at a TEDx event with the theme Visions for Transition: Challenging Existing Paradigms and Redefining Values.
Shared human origins stories are vital in the formation and maintenance of cultural cohorts. They provide a basis for members of these cultural cohorts to be in meaningful relationship to one another, whatever cohort a particular origin story evokes. The challenge in many courses in high schools and colleges that rely on evolution as the one true and acceptable human origin story is that the participants in those classes may have other human origin stories that are vital to their lives in ways that evolution theory may never be.
It occurs to me that those of the statistical liberal moral/cultural viewpoint have one broad conception of what it means to “care” morally, while those of the statistical conservative moral/cultural viewpoint have a differing broad conception of what it means to “care” morally. I see a few different ways to slice and dice it, but I will start by discussing it from the perspective of Moral Foundation Theory (hereafter MFT). MFT, as put forward by this motley crew, has a moral foundation known as “care/harm.” Per their website, they describe it so:
This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
I received an e-mail from someone trying to help me place my experiences as a traditionally-dressed Quaker visiting liberal groups into a more orthodox understanding of Haidt et al’s Moral Foundation Theory (hereafter, MFT).
“I think the core liberal sacred commitment is to victims, especially women as victims, and African Americans as victims. That’s not sanctity, it’s care plus liberty/oppression, but I agree with you that when liberals perceive any hint of racism or sexism, they then treat the offender as untouchable … I wonder if your dress is interpreted as traditional and therefore anti-feminist and therefore it’s as though you were wearing a swastika armband, or a burka?”
I have been troubled, deeply troubled, by the effort in the social sciences to explain the differences between statistical conservatives and statistical liberals as innate, genetic, essential and irremediable differences where, frankly, conservatives are all manner of unpleasant things. It feels partisan. Where conservatives are every bad thing in personality and in government and where every bad thing in personality and in government are conservative. (From here on out, I will use capitalized Conservatives and Liberals to mean statistical conservatives and statistical liberals: imaginary, though currently considered measurable, people.)
Us and Them: Understanding Your Tribal Mind (p.9)
Chris Mooney replies here to a post at the Daily Caller. Mooney highlights a great many interesting things, and his post is worth reading in its entirety, but I am going to ramble on and on in response to what he writes here:
Munro then goes on to another Pew survey, which found that liberals were more likely than conservatives or moderates to block, un-friend, or hide someone on social media for reasons relating to politics. Desmogblog (http://s.tt/1aKNR)