Climate Change Skeptics Score High Marks in Scientific Literacy Test

Tuesday, 29 May 2012 12:24 PM

By Newsmax Wires

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Climate-change skeptics, derided by many members of the scientific community, outperformed climate-change believers in a recent test of scientific literacy published in the journal Nature Climate Change, reports Fox News.

The test, which measured general scientific knowledge, not climatological awareness, asked respondents for answers to questions such as “Electrons are smaller than atoms — true or false?” and “How long does it take the Earth to go around the Sun? One day, one month, or one year?”

Those respondents who identified as skeptics answered an average of 57 percent of questions correctly, barely outpacing the score of climate-change believers, who averaged 56 percent, according to Fox.

Some researchers were more intrigued by another result of the study, which found that individuals’ cultural and social predisposition — either individualist or cooperative — exerted a greater impact on their climate-change beliefs than did their actual level of scientific knowledge. Respondents with a more individualist ethos reported far greater levels of skepticism than their more cooperation-oriented counterparts.

Aaron Huertas, a spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists, explained the results as a natural byproduct of the political furor that accompanies any debate over energy or climate policy: “Over the last few years, the policy issues surrounding climate change have become increasingly politicized, and that’s bleeding over into people’s perceptions of climate science.”

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