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Between scientific 'truths' and 'debates': How perceived scientific consensus predicts beliefs about anthropogenic climate change in four EU countries

Abstract : Information about the level of scientific consensus about anthropogenic climate change have often been used to promote climate change beliefs. The importance of perceived climate consensus (PSC) for climate change beliefs, and the fact that it can be distorted to match pre-existing CC beliefs call for a better clarification of the epistemological assumptions behind these two variables. A model of science as 'the search for truth' assumes that a single truth exists, and that PSC is proof of that. A model of science as 'debate' on the other hand considers that different truths are valid within different research paradigms. These two models are considered here as social representations conditioning the influence PSC has on anthropogenic CC beliefs. These questions were analysed through the survey 'European Perceptions of CC' funded by Joint Program Initiative-Climate and conducted in June 2016 with representative samples in France, Germany, Norway, and the UK (N = 4,048). Results show that PSC is higher among CC believers (viz. trend sceptics). Moreover, PSC predicts anthropogenic CC belief over and above demographic variables. As expected, this relationship is stronger among people adhering to a model of science as 'the search for truth' than among people adhering to a model of science as 'debate'. These results help disentangling epistemological assumptions that are implicit and therefore often confounded with scientific arguments in the CC debate.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02528097
Contributor : Raquel Bertoldo <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - 12:05:32 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 12:38:02 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-02528097, version 1

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Raquel Bertoldo, Claire Mays. Between scientific 'truths' and 'debates': How perceived scientific consensus predicts beliefs about anthropogenic climate change in four EU countries. 14th International Conference on Social Representations, Aug 2018, Buenos Aires, Argentina. ⟨hal-02528097⟩

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