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Alison Snyder Apr 24, 2017
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Why a march may not change minds

Alison Snyder / Axios

A call for greater scientific literacy in the public and policy making echoed through Saturday's March for Science in Washington and satellite events around the world. Knowledge, reasoning goes, should lead us to a common solution. But people's attitudes toward some scientific issues are determined more by who they identify with rather than what they know, Yale law professor Dan Kahan said at a recent event at the university.

Our thought bubble: A march won't likely change peoples' positions on scientific issues that have become entangled with identity and politics (and it runs the risk of further polarizing people). The public divide over climate change and evolution isn't going to be solved by education, Kahan said. "Scientists shouldn't labor under the burden of thinking it is all their fault or they are going to save us." When communicating science, he suggested, "find some basis for using what science knows that is completely independent from denying your group identity."