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Why don't Americans believe in global warming? (barf alert!)
The Economist ^ | Feb 8th 2011 | E.G. AUSTIN

Posted on 02/15/2011 12:21:22 PM PST by neverdem

FIRST of all, I apologise for the slightly inflammatory headline of this post. The fact is that a majority of Americans (58%) do think climate change is a serious problem, according to the January 2011 Rasmussen Energy Update, and fully one-third, 33%, "see it as a Very Serious problem." Still, the United States is less exercised about climate change than a lot of countries, and it's one of the few places where you can turn on the television and catch a debate between mainstream figures about whether climate change is even real. Over the weekend, for example, Charles Krauthammer suggested that a belief in global warming has the same epistemological status as a religious belief.

I've been wanting to take a step back and think about why America is a laggard in the fight against climate change. I would posit a handful of explanations:

Psychological: The consequences of climate change are too awful to contemplate. Therefore, we're denying the issue, as we used to deny monsters in the room by hiding under the blanket. If you don't look at it, it can't look at you.

Economic: The costs of a large-scale effort to fight global warming are too steep to bear. Therefore, we're trying to ignore the issue, or pretending it doesn't exist, or we believe that the economy (including development) is more important.

Political: The fact that Democrats are always hammering on about climate change and Republicans aren't suggests that this is a political issue, not a scientific one. This creates a feedback loop: if climate change were real, why is it so polarising? Because it's so polarising, it must be slightly suspicious.

Epistemological: Why should we believe in climate change? Where's the evidence? All we know is what scientists say, and scientists are sometimes wrong. And don't even get me started on Al Gore.

Metaphysical: God isn't going to let millions of people die in an epic drought.

I suspect the metaphysical denial is quite rare—but given the comparative religiosity of American culture and the stereotypes thereof, it gets a lot of air time. It is also the least valid of the reasons for denial (partly because in the given system, God obviously does let people die). The other explanations are more common. In the Rasmussen poll, for example, a plurality of respondents said that "there is a conflict between environmental protection and economic growth."

I would add here that America's recalcitrance relative to the rest of the rich world reflects two things about the United States. The first is that America consumes a lot of the world's resources. That means America would incur heavier costs than a small European state from a large-scale effort to fight climate change; disproportionate to its size, but proportionate to its (disproportionate) energy use. The second is that America is big enough that its agreement is probably necessary and perhaps even sufficient for a serious climate fight. In a sense, some international environmental rhetoric could be free riding on American inaction. Neither of these are excuses, just explanatory factors.

The political and epistemological reasons are pronounced in America and are interrelated. Again, in keeping with the perception that a lot of Americans are religious whackos, there is a perception that this is a country that doesn't believe in science. But the R&D spending would suggest otherwise. It may be that Americans are unusually willing to break rank with scientific authority—as seen in the occasional flare-ups of vaccine scepticism—but it's not a thoroughgoing animus. (Have dinner with a pregnant woman sometime, and see what I mean.) Similarly, there's not some kind of secret American campaign against the environment. In the 1960s the United States played a leading role in starting the modern environmental movement. It was America, in fact, that saved a lot of whales.

Today, however, there seems to be a particular hostility to climate scientists among a large minority of Americans. The polarisation around the issue, which tends to fall on partisan lines, creates a feedback loop: "If this is a Very Serious problem, why are people still arguing about it?" a Republican would ask. A Democrat, fielding that question, would feel simultaneously condescending and embattled. And they dig their holes a little deeper. 

So this is yet another of those cases where America needs to build some ladders to help everyone climb out. How to go about this? A somewhat constructivist approach to building public concern would be to build up the issue-linkage between climate change and the search for renewable-energy sources. This would help mitigate the economic and psychological concerns (the latter because it's easier to accept a problem exists if you have a way of addressing it.) And renewable energy doesn't have the political or epistemological baggage of climate change. As my colleague said yesterday, "The idea that sustainable-resource use and renewable energy is some kind of socialist hippy hobby is incredibly naive and frivolous, and extremely damaging to the American economy." I agree, and this is an area where M.S. could make common cause with conservatives. Even people who don't believe in climate change, even here in Darkest Texas, believe in renewable-energy companies. Nearly two-thirds, again according to Rasmussen, say that renewables are a better investment for America than fossil fuels.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: agw; climatechange; globalwanking; globalwarming; greenjobs; junkscience; liberalbias; truebelievers
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I don't know about a screen, but smoke popped!

Green Smoke Screen - Supporters of "green energy" like to say it will create more jobs. They're wrong.

The Unseen Consequences of "Green Jobs" - Will investing in clean energy harm the economy?

1 posted on 02/15/2011 12:21:25 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

The Author is a Global Warming Hoax Denier.

The Science is in, and it’s fraudulent.


2 posted on 02/15/2011 12:24:51 PM PST by Uncle Miltie ("And did you exchange a walk on part in a War, for a lead role in a cage?")
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To: neverdem
Why don't adults believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy or Leprechauns? Uhhh, because they don't exist?
3 posted on 02/15/2011 12:26:21 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. ~Lincoln)
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To: neverdem

>there is a perception that this is a country that doesn’t believe in science. <

Oh boy..the same ole libtard argument. Somebody tell this clown we’re not into the idiocy that because it’s freezing, don’t seriously tell me that it is because of glow-bull warming.


4 posted on 02/15/2011 12:26:45 PM PST by max americana
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To: neverdem

The American public doesn’t believe in Global Warming because we’re more intelligent, more informed than the media bobble heads.


5 posted on 02/15/2011 12:28:08 PM PST by ReverendJames (Only A Painter Or A Liberal Can Change Black To White)
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To: neverdem

The letter writers to the Economist are certainly a self satisfied lot. Unfortunately, they are unconvincing.


6 posted on 02/15/2011 12:28:10 PM PST by Hans
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To: neverdem
For those Mother Earth liberals, there is only one course of action if they really believe their own hype.

Just Do It! ...for Mother Earth!

You too can have you name engraved on the Algore Green Army Memorial!

7 posted on 02/15/2011 12:28:18 PM PST by TexasCajun
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To: neverdem

Maybe because we can read

http://www.greatdreams.com/poleshift.htm


8 posted on 02/15/2011 12:28:18 PM PST by RnMomof7
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To: neverdem

The AGW folks are now blaming the Iceland volcanos on global warming. According to their “facts” the melting of ice sheets is causing a large increase in volcanic activity as the plates are deformed by the lessening weight. It will soon get much worse and we are all going to die in another Permian extinction event. OK I made the last sentence up but you get what I mean.


9 posted on 02/15/2011 12:29:07 PM PST by JimSEA
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To: neverdem
it's one of the few places where you can turn on the television and catch a debate between mainstream figures about whether climate change is even real.

Funny, I've NEVER seen one.

Here's something to chew on.....if Al Gore REALLY believed that GW was real and the Earth was in danger, wouldn't you debate EVERY chance you had? EVERY opportunity? After all, the very existence of the Earth is at stake!

And, he believes this garbage so deeply that, rather than debate, he chooses to just inform us all....the debates over.

GW is what we used to call weather before money hungry, deceitful people like Al Gore came around.

10 posted on 02/15/2011 12:29:25 PM PST by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: neverdem
Precisely because it is a faith-based "belief."

According to global-warmists/climate-changers, there is no set of circumstances that can disprove global-warming/climate-change. It doesn't matter how hot, cold or indifferent actual meteorological/climatological events are.

That ain't science.

11 posted on 02/15/2011 12:29:57 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum ("If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." -- Barry Soetoro, June 11, 2008)
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To: neverdem

Because it’s a lie, that’s why Americans don’t “believe in” global warming.


12 posted on 02/15/2011 12:30:35 PM PST by meyer (We will not sit down and shut up.)
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To: neverdem
Why don't Americans believe in global warming?
Could it be because Americans grow up and become skeptical of pronouncements about the world around them as they come to realize that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy don't exist despite being told they do?
13 posted on 02/15/2011 12:30:35 PM PST by philman_36 (Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy. Benjamin Franklin)
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To: neverdem

I don’t believe because:
1) I understand the physics - and the purveyers do not.
2) I can recognize altered data - and the MSM does not.
3) I trusteth not liberals - they have a long and distinguished record of lying and corruption.


14 posted on 02/15/2011 12:31:50 PM PST by Da Coyote
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
HEY! Quit reading my mind! {;^)
15 posted on 02/15/2011 12:32:16 PM PST by philman_36 (Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy. Benjamin Franklin)
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To: neverdem
Unlike many Europeans, Americans realize how little we can do to control the environment and don't think of themselves as omnipotent Gods (unless they're from Hollywood).

We realize the weather conditions on Earth have fluctuated throughout its existence. (There really is no global climate - climate describing regional conditions). We also know that whatever happens to humanity, the Earth will survive. For those worried about the future of the planet, it looks pretty good.

16 posted on 02/15/2011 12:32:47 PM PST by Sgt_Schultze (A half-truth is a complete lie)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

17 posted on 02/15/2011 12:33:05 PM PST by WOBBLY BOB ( "I don't want the majority if we don't stand for something"- Jim Demint)
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To: neverdem

Poor poor liberal elitism


18 posted on 02/15/2011 12:34:16 PM PST by therightliveswithus
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To: max americana

The left is currently using “science” [falsely so called] in order to implement their underlying goals of control and ultimately global communism.

This idiot needs to understand that we will NOT be bullied by being said to be “against science”.

This crap argument has been used for all of human history to try to push control agendas, and this time is no different.

Read 1 Tim 6:20, KJV.


19 posted on 02/15/2011 12:36:25 PM PST by MrB (Tagline suspended for important announcement on my home page. Click my handle.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

So it is because us Americans are already a religious lot!

Since we already have chosen our religious beliefs we are disinclined to join their AGW cult.


20 posted on 02/15/2011 12:39:33 PM PST by free me (Sarah Palin 2012? You Betcha!)
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To: Puppage

If Al Gore really believe AGW was real,
he would change his own lifestyle.


21 posted on 02/15/2011 12:40:22 PM PST by MrB (Tagline suspended for important announcement on my home page. Click my handle.)
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To: Sgt_Schultze
Unlike many Europeans, Americans realize how little we can do to control the environment and don't think of themselves as omnipotent Gods (unless they're from Hollywood).

I don't even know if the Euros believe in it. I'm pretty sure the Brits know it's a hoax. China and India don't give a damn about it. Doubt the Ruskies do either. I doubt most of South America has heard of it, and Africans are too busy killing each other to care about this fantasy.

So, aside from us, exactly WHO really does care or believe in this myth?

22 posted on 02/15/2011 12:42:52 PM PST by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my Dear Friend Henry Lee II)
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To: neverdem

Reason 1: The science is not there.

Reason 2: Even if the science were there, the proposed solutions are already acknowledged to be insufficient. (Relative to the supposed severity of the situation.)

Reason 3: Because all the evidence suggests that “global cooling”, “global warmint”, “climate change” is just a big scam to control the world by faceless beaureaucrats and other parasite socialists.

Reason 4: Because the consensus seems to be that nobody can afford to pay for it but the good ole US of A.


23 posted on 02/15/2011 12:43:58 PM PST by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
We've come full circle on this crap. I was a high school freshman back during the first earth day. They told ua a new ice age was coming due to the "greenshouse effect". That is, all the carbon and dust particles generated by human activity would block the sun's rays from fully warming up the earth and so we would cool into a new ice age. For awhile, it seemed like the might even be right (albeit overhyped) because winters did seem to be getting harsher.

But life went on and the earth begin to warm up. By the early 1990's it had warmed up to the extent that global warming became fashionable. Now, it is no longer fashionable to speak of global warming, but climate change. In general, things were better when the summers were longer and the winters were shorter. We need to start whining about the new ice age again.

24 posted on 02/15/2011 12:44:11 PM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: neverdem

We shivered our Tx butts off this winter. Wished we had that global warming—we demand our rights to be warm in the global warmed winters, ehehehe.


25 posted on 02/15/2011 12:45:35 PM PST by tflabo
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To: neverdem

I assume that the writer is British.
If so, a statement like this:

“Again, in keeping with the perception that a lot of Americans are religious whackos..” is interesting.

So, I would counter that the English are lost due to the fact that so many are morally bankrupt, devoid of basic Western religious ethics and just plain engaged in silliness.


26 posted on 02/15/2011 12:46:26 PM PST by alarm rider (The left will always tell you who they fear the most. What are they telling you now?)
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To: neverdem

One may choose their ideologies but not the realities.


27 posted on 02/15/2011 12:48:17 PM PST by tflabo
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To: neverdem

Uh, how about because it is a big Hoax?


28 posted on 02/15/2011 12:48:58 PM PST by Gopher Broke (Repeal Obamacare !!)
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To: neverdem

I have yet to boil water on my stove and have the vapors start a snowstorm coming out of my range hood.


29 posted on 02/15/2011 12:51:52 PM PST by NRA1995 ("In [Mexican] border, we are asking, who are you?" President Calderon of Mexico)
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To: tflabo

Usually, when one is debating worldviews vs reality,
each worldview can actually look at the same evidence and draw different conclusions based on the presuppositions inherent in their worldview.

We’ve seen this happen with AGW as well, even though there really isn’t any way that man’s CO2 contribution CAN be causing climate change.
They look at the evidence - cold weather, hot weather, wet weather, dry weather, extreme weather, mild weather - and see “climate change”. We look at it and say “weather”.


30 posted on 02/15/2011 12:52:03 PM PST by MrB (Tagline suspended for important announcement on my home page. Click my handle.)
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To: neverdem

Maybe if the author went to Church more often, he’d find a better religion.


31 posted on 02/15/2011 12:55:53 PM PST by Paladin2 (Free Parking is what made America Great!)
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To: neverdem

This Edition of Globull Warming is Brought To You By:

The Flat Earth Society, and

The Sun Revolves Around the Earth True Believers


32 posted on 02/15/2011 12:58:14 PM PST by Obadiah (Always look out for #1... and don't step in number two.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Why did you include Leprechauns on that list? What are you saying?


33 posted on 02/15/2011 1:00:54 PM PST by swain_forkbeard (Rationality may not be sufficient, but it is necessary.)
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To: neverdem

They don’t ‘believe in’ global warming for the same reason we don’t believe in the Easter Bunny. Neither exist.

Matters of science don’t require ‘belief’. They require proof, and better yet, some sort of experimentation that can be repeated and verified by peers.


34 posted on 02/15/2011 1:05:10 PM PST by RinaseaofDs (Does beheading qualify as 'breaking my back', in the Jeffersonian sense of the expression?)
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To: neverdem

Because we are scientifically literate?


35 posted on 02/15/2011 1:07:59 PM PST by MortMan (What disease did cured ham used to have?)
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To: neverdem

Global “warming” before glo-bull warming became “man made”.

NYC heat waves. (Was 2011 really that bad?)

1879.
1882
1883 many children dead.
1895
1896 1500 adults dead
1900
1936
1937
1972.

Was Oklahoma hotest ever last year?

August 1936, 115 degrees and no air conditioning!
April 12 1972, 102 degrees

http://www.weather.com/outlook/health/fitness/wxclimatology/daily/USOK0537?climoMonth=8


36 posted on 02/15/2011 1:09:00 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (I visited GEN TOMMY FRANKS Military Museum in HOBART, OKLAHOMA! Well worth it!)
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To: neverdem
I'm in favor of "renewable energy" to the extent that it competes fairly on price with all other energy sources.

That means no corporate welfare for wind/solar/geothermal, and no corporate welfare for oil/coal/nuclear either.

37 posted on 02/15/2011 1:15:08 PM PST by Notary Sojac (Who's Damaged America More? (a) Al Qaeda (b) Wall Street Investment Bankers)
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To: neverdem

I like to think that a lot of us aren’t mindless sheep silently obeying what our government overlords tell us.
We are so doggone hard to rule!


38 posted on 02/15/2011 1:33:48 PM PST by vpintheak (Democrats: Robbing humans of their dignity 1 law at a time)
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To: swain_forkbeard

Withdrawn...


39 posted on 02/15/2011 1:36:53 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. ~Lincoln)
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To: neverdem
Metaphysical: God isn't going to let millions of people die in an epic drought.

Like those in Australia.

40 posted on 02/15/2011 1:58:29 PM PST by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: neverdem

Even IF global warming was real, the lying, hysterical, agenda-oriented left has destroyed any chance of intelligent people believing it.


41 posted on 02/15/2011 2:06:09 PM PST by Spok
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To: MortMan

That’s the latest meme out of the left.

If you don’t believe what they believe, you’re “scientifically illiterate”.


42 posted on 02/15/2011 2:08:44 PM PST by MrB (Tagline suspended for important announcement on my home page. Click my handle.)
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To: MrB

And yet they cannot outline the evidence which would disprove their hypothesis. The lack of said evidence is evidence of proof of hypothesis, but their (deliberately) poor computer models don’t rise to the level of evidence - even in a gradeschool mock trial.

I know exactly where they can put that hockeys stick - blade first! ;-P


43 posted on 02/15/2011 2:12:40 PM PST by MortMan (What disease did cured ham used to have?)
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To: MortMan

Most leftists that claim that “science” verifies their worldview wouldn’t understand that bit about the requirement for falsification conditions in order to have a valid scientific theory.

I refer all to 1 Tim 6:20, KJV.


44 posted on 02/15/2011 2:16:36 PM PST by MrB (Tagline suspended for important announcement on my home page. Click my handle.)
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To: neverdem
Why does a matter of hard science require belief? Could it be because it isn't a matter of hard science at all, but of faith? And surely if it were a matter of hard science, the better U.S. record of actual action in CO2 reduction than, say, Europe, would be a matter of citation rather than its worse record in terms of belief?

It won't do. Every time an evangelical Green enters this territory he ends up looking like a fiery-eyed cult follower. "We want full control of industrial development and massive transfers of wealth to the undeveloped countries" is not a scientific objective, it's a political one, and it is generating the skepticism it deserves.

45 posted on 02/15/2011 2:19:22 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: neverdem

“There is a perception that this country doesn’t believe in science...”

Translation: “Since the secular left believes in ‘scyence’, and the now-resurgent right is rife with religionists, we are going to embark on a road to doom as we disregard global warming and do nothing about it.”

IMHO


46 posted on 02/15/2011 2:38:33 PM PST by ripley
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To: neverdem

Computer models aren’t science, if he can’t get that basic fact right, he can’t comprehend anything else.

If he can’t acknowledge the nuclear bomb effect of climategate, then he can’t comprehend too much either.


47 posted on 02/15/2011 2:47:52 PM PST by Brett66 (Where government advances, and it advances relentlessly , freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: neverdem

Why don’t we believe it? Because those who promote it are proven liars!


48 posted on 02/15/2011 3:46:29 PM PST by JimRed (Excising a cancer before it kills us waters the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW AND FOREVER!)
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To: neverdem
Why don't Americans believe in global warming? (barf alert!)

Some Liberals actually did a study of this some time ago

Personal efficacy, the information environment, and attitudes toward global warming and climate change in the United States.

And what they found is that the more people know about global warming the less likely they are to believe.

So no need to examine further,

more ignorance = more likely to believe
more knowledge = more likely to see it's a scam

49 posted on 02/15/2011 4:23:13 PM PST by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: qam1

You have excellent taste! The way to my heart is a PubMed citation.


50 posted on 02/15/2011 4:44:41 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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