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Cultural Cognition

An Explanation for the Blatant Irrationality of the 'Shutdowners'

David Ropeik | Posted 12.03.2013 | Politics
David Ropeik

The most puzzling thing about the madness of the arch conservatives who have taken America hostage is, how can they be so deep inside their own extremist ideological worldview that they can't see that what they are doing is self-destructive?

Will "Pandora's Promise" Start A New Environmental Movement FOR Nuclear Power?

David Ropeik | Posted 08.11.2013 | Green
David Ropeik

The last line in Pandora's Promise, Robert Stone's new documentary about the environmental advantages of nuclear power, comes from Michael Shellenberg...

On the Cognitive and Historic Roots of Our Destructive Modern Polarization

David Ropeik | Posted 04.13.2013 | Politics
David Ropeik

Maybe understanding the historic events and behavioral roots that have produced these venomously angry polarized times can help us let go of at least a little of our own deep instinct to align with the tribe in the name of safety and protection.

The Supreme Court Ruling on Guns; There Is Something for Both Sides in the Culture War Over Gun Control

David Ropeik | Posted 03.18.2013 | Politics
David Ropeik

Gun control advocates criticize the ruling, yet selectively fail to acknowledge or try to take political advantage of the ways it gives them the legal ammunition to accomplish much of what they want.

The Gun Control Fight: It's Not About Guns as Weapons But Guns as Symbols

David Ropeik | Posted 02.17.2013 | Crime
David Ropeik

Gun rights are just another symbolic weapon in the deep and passionate conflict now tearing America apart, a fight over different views about the sort of society we want to live in.

Why the Election Won't Be an Etch-A-Sketch Moment for America

David Ropeik | Posted 01.08.2013 | Politics
David Ropeik

No single election can resolve the underlying drivers of partisanship. More and more, compelled by the deep imperative for our safety and survival, we are circling the wagons of our own unique groups and treating those with whom we disagree as the enemy.

Climate Science and Science Literacy: The Strange Divergence

Bill Chameides | Posted 12.10.2012 | Green
Bill Chameides

Further "education" on climate science alone is unlikely to make inroads with people who have already decided that climate change is not real or not human-induced.

Barry Commoner, Social Revolutionary Dressed in Environmentalist's Clothing

David Ropeik | Posted 12.03.2012 | Green
David Ropeik

Commoner's passing reminds me that now I'm old, and the simplistic right and wrong/good and bad of my earlier environmentalist innocence has yielded to the crazy plaid complications of many issues.

Fear of Climate Change May Finally Be Trumping Ideological Denial

David Ropeik | Posted 09.10.2012 | Green
David Ropeik

The brain relies on several instincts to help us survive, and sometimes they conflict. One fear can literally contradict another. That's the case with climate change. The bad news is that at this point, the wrong ones are winning. The good news is, things may be changing.

So You Think You Can Think? Think Again!

David Ropeik | Posted 08.01.2012 | Science
David Ropeik

A paper in this week's Nature Climate Change reinforces a really important insight about the limits of our ability to reason and think rationally. Dan Kahan and colleagues demonstrate how greater science literacy leads those who deny climate change to deny it more.

The Heartland Billboard Embarrassment and the Dangers of Ideological Ignorance

David Ropeik | Posted 07.08.2012 | Green
David Ropeik

It is far less an appeal to reason, and far more a campaign to preach to the choir, to circle the ideological wagons of the members of the tribe, and rally the troops around Heartland's deeply conservative and libertarian ideals.

The Real Roots of the Debt Ceiling Debate

David Ropeik | Posted 09.07.2011 | Politics
David Ropeik

What is being portrayed as a political fight over taxes and spending, is a battle about much more, with far deeper roots.

Where You Stand on the Culture War Issues, and Why!

David Ropeik | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
David Ropeik

We label ourselves Republicans or Democrats, Conservatives or Liberals, and we argue our selective view of the evidence, but the truth is -- our minds are not informed by the evidence.

Solving Climate Change Is a Psychological Challenge -- Some Solutions

David Ropeik | Posted 05.25.2011 | Green
David Ropeik

The human risk perception system evolved to deal with simple dangers, like wolves and bad guys with clubs and the dark, not complex long-term threats involved in the unsustainable way we live on the planet.