Photo 26 Jan 142 notes If You Distrust Vaccines, You’re More Likely to Think NASA Faked the Moon Landings

The new study, by University of Bristol psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky and his colleagues in the journal PLOS ONE, finds links between conspiratorial thinking and all three of these science-skeptic stances. Notably, the relationship was by far the strongest on the vaccine issue. For geeks: the correlation was .52, an impressive relationship for social science. Another way of translating the finding? “People who tend toward conspiratorial thinking are three times more likely to reject vaccinations,” says Lewandowsky. (By contrast, for climate change denial and GMO resistance, the correlation with conspiratorial beliefs was real but much smaller, .09 and .13, respectively.)
The finding may cast a great deal of light on the strange persistence of anti-vaccine views, which have centered on the claim that childhood vaccines are behind an alleged “epidemic” of autism. This assertion has been rejected by scientists. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute of Medicine have both weighed in strongly on the matter; and one chief proponent of the vaccine concerns, Andrew Wakefield, has even seen his original 1998 paper raising concerns about the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine retracted by the journal that published it, The Lancet.
Yet vaccine fears have persisted in the face of all scientific refutation (not to mention medical and public health experts saying that the failure to vaccinate is downright dangerous). And if these beliefs are often conspiratorial, that might help explain why. Almost by definition, conspiracy theories are irrefutable; rejections by scientific authorities just become part of the conspiracy. Indeed, several prior analyses of anti-vaccine views, undertaken by analyzing their expression on the web or on YouTube in particular, have found them to be highly conspiratorial in nature.
Lewandowsky’s team conducted the research through an online survey of 1,001 Americans, which asked them a variety of questions about conspiracy theories, and also separate batteries of questions on vaccines, climate change, and genetically modified foods. On vaccines, for instance, survey respondents were asked how much they agree with statements like “The risk of vaccinations to maim and kill children outweighs their health benefits” and “I believe vaccines are a safe and reliable way to help avert the spread of preventable diseases.”
As if the new study won’t provoke enough ire by linking anti-vaccine views to conspiracy theories, Lewandowsky also finds links—albeit much weaker ones—between conspiracy theories and both anti-GMO beliefs and climate change denial. On GMOs, the board of directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science has stated that “crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe.” Accordingly, Lewandowsky’s survey respondents were asked to react to items like “I believe that because there are so many unknowns, that it is dangerous to manipulate the natural genetic material of plants” and “Genetic modification of food is a safe and reliable technology.”
On climate change, the scientific consensus is strong and enduring—it was just reaffirmed by the leading scientific authority on the matter, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. To think that the world’s scientists are collectively conning us about this is indeed a conspiracy theory, and Lewandowsky has previously published research drawing this connection. Ironically, that in turn led some climate skeptics to see a conspiracy behind Lewandowsky’s studies, charging that the research had been faked or was a “scam,” that its conclusions were “pre-ordained,” and (most elaborately) that the University of Western Australia (where Lewandowsky used to work), the Australian Research Council, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and “possibly even the government” were ultimately pulling the strings….
When it comes to GM foods, Lewandowsky found no association between left-right political orientation and distrust of these foods’ safety in his American sample. When it comes to vaccines, meanwhile, the study found that two separate political factors seemed to be involved in vaccine resistance, leading to a complex stew. “There’s some evidence that progressives are rejecting vaccinations, but equally there is an association between libertarianism and the rejection of vaccinations,” Lewandowsky explains. Lefties presumably do it because they’re anti-corporate, and Big Pharma is involved in the vaccine business; libertarians presumably do it because they’re anti-government, and the anti-vaccine movement has long levied dubious charges that the government (the CDC in particular) has been hiding the truth on this matter.
Politically speaking, the result is kind of a wash. “Overall, there’s very weak evidence for a liberal war on science,” concludes Lewandowsky. By contrast, the rejection of climate science was associated in the study, as it has been constantly in past research, with political conservatism and free-market beliefs. Conservatives today also have less trust in science in general than liberals do. And then, there’s that whole evolution thing.

(via Mother Jones)

If You Distrust Vaccines, You’re More Likely to Think NASA Faked the Moon Landings

The new study, by University of Bristol psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky and his colleagues in the journal PLOS ONE, finds links between conspiratorial thinking and all three of these science-skeptic stances. Notably, the relationship was by far the strongest on the vaccine issue. For geeks: the correlation was .52, an impressive relationship for social science. Another way of translating the finding? “People who tend toward conspiratorial thinking are three times more likely to reject vaccinations,” says Lewandowsky. (By contrast, for climate change denial and GMO resistance, the correlation with conspiratorial beliefs was real but much smaller, .09 and .13, respectively.)

The finding may cast a great deal of light on the strange persistence of anti-vaccine views, which have centered on the claim that childhood vaccines are behind an alleged “epidemic” of autism. This assertion has been rejected by scientists. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute of Medicine have both weighed in strongly on the matter; and one chief proponent of the vaccine concerns, Andrew Wakefield, has even seen his original 1998 paper raising concerns about the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine retracted by the journal that published it, The Lancet.

Yet vaccine fears have persisted in the face of all scientific refutation (not to mention medical and public health experts saying that the failure to vaccinate is downright dangerous). And if these beliefs are often conspiratorial, that might help explain why. Almost by definition, conspiracy theories are irrefutable; rejections by scientific authorities just become part of the conspiracy. Indeed, several prior analyses of anti-vaccine views, undertaken by analyzing their expression on the web or on YouTube in particular, have found them to be highly conspiratorial in nature.

Lewandowsky’s team conducted the research through an online survey of 1,001 Americans, which asked them a variety of questions about conspiracy theories, and also separate batteries of questions on vaccines, climate change, and genetically modified foods. On vaccines, for instance, survey respondents were asked how much they agree with statements like “The risk of vaccinations to maim and kill children outweighs their health benefits” and “I believe vaccines are a safe and reliable way to help avert the spread of preventable diseases.”

As if the new study won’t provoke enough ire by linking anti-vaccine views to conspiracy theories, Lewandowsky also finds links—albeit much weaker ones—between conspiracy theories and both anti-GMO beliefs and climate change denial. On GMOs, the board of directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science has stated that “crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe.” Accordingly, Lewandowsky’s survey respondents were asked to react to items like “I believe that because there are so many unknowns, that it is dangerous to manipulate the natural genetic material of plants” and “Genetic modification of food is a safe and reliable technology.”

On climate change, the scientific consensus is strong and enduring—it was just reaffirmed by the leading scientific authority on the matter, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. To think that the world’s scientists are collectively conning us about this is indeed a conspiracy theory, and Lewandowsky has previously published research drawing this connection. Ironically, that in turn led some climate skeptics to see a conspiracy behind Lewandowsky’s studies, charging that the research had been faked or was a “scam,” that its conclusions were “pre-ordained,” and (most elaborately) that the University of Western Australia (where Lewandowsky used to work), the Australian Research Council, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and “possibly even the government” were ultimately pulling the strings….

When it comes to GM foods, Lewandowsky found no association between left-right political orientation and distrust of these foods’ safety in his American sample. When it comes to vaccines, meanwhile, the study found that two separate political factors seemed to be involved in vaccine resistance, leading to a complex stew. “There’s some evidence that progressives are rejecting vaccinations, but equally there is an association between libertarianism and the rejection of vaccinations,” Lewandowsky explains. Lefties presumably do it because they’re anti-corporate, and Big Pharma is involved in the vaccine business; libertarians presumably do it because they’re anti-government, and the anti-vaccine movement has long levied dubious charges that the government (the CDC in particular) has been hiding the truth on this matter.

Politically speaking, the result is kind of a wash. “Overall, there’s very weak evidence for a liberal war on science,” concludes Lewandowsky. By contrast, the rejection of climate science was associated in the study, as it has been constantly in past research, with political conservatism and free-market beliefs. Conservatives today also have less trust in science in general than liberals do. And then, there’s that whole evolution thing.

(via Mother Jones)

#conspiracy theories #pseudoscience #vaccines #GMOs #climate change #science #politics

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    So basically: if you believe in that stupid shit, you can believe other stupid shit as well. Got it.
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