Close-minded ignoramii

Rumsfeld, for all his flaws, had a way with language. I particularly love his statement about known knowns (the things we know we know) and the unknown unknowns (the things we don't know we don't know). If anything, those are not the words of a close-minded ignoramus.

What brought that to mind was a recent study on climate change and politics that landed up in my email inbox. Based on a survey of self-identified Democrats, Republicans, Independents and Tea Party types, these are the relevant beliefs of Tea Partiers:

  1. Only 34 percent of Tea Party members believe global warming is happening, while 53 percent say it is not happening
  2. The majority of Tea Party members (69%) say that there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening.
  3. Over half (51%) of Tea Party members say they are not at all worried about global warming.
  4. Tea Party members are much more likely to say that they are “very well informed” about global warming than the other groups. Likewise, they are also much more likely to say they “do not need any more information” about global warming to make up their mind.
#2 is an objective fact, not an opinion: something like 95% of all climate scientists insist that global warming is happening. If you believe in scientific evidence then, and are willing (like most scientists) to give credence to the scientific literature in other fields, #1 is also an objective truth. 

But #4 is what is truly insane. It's the group of people with the most wrong views on a topic who believe that they are well-informed and are unwilling to listen to reason.

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