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Monday Pondering: It Takes More than Facts to Convince People

April 7, 2014Patrick NunnallyRiver MeaningComments Off on Monday Pondering: It Takes More than Facts to Convince People

I read an article in the online version of Conservation magazine that spoke to things that a lot of people have been puzzling over.  John Carey’s piece on cat predation of birds is an example of the kind of tangled web that many conservation/environmental issues become.  Both sides (and they are “sides” with little if any room for the non-aligned) stake out “moral high ground” and battle it out with people they consider wrongheaded, stupid, or evil.

Cat predation may or may not be something you track closely, but the echo should be familiar from issues pertaining to fracking, invasive carp, drought, or what have you.  There’s almost always a fight about these matters.

Here’s Carey’s close:

Whether the issue is global warming, evolution, or cat predation, researchers tend to believe they’d win the debate if only they could better educate the masses. “There is this mythology about education,” says theologian Vantassel. “We keep thinking that if we can just pile the evidence up higher, we can convince people. But it doesn’t work.” Instead, the hard lesson from these great societal debates is that they are contested on a battleground of conflicting emotions, moral values, and ideologies. Facts alone rarely break up the fight.

Lots to think about there, and rather than belabor the point on a Monday morning, I’ll just leave it at that, encouraging you to mull it over.  Comments are always welcome.



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