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But, over all, the trends were clear. The more people believed in free-market ideology, the less they believed in climate science; the more they accepted science in general, the more they accepted the conclusions of climate science; and the more likely they were to be conspiracy theorists, the less likely they were to believe in climate science.
These results fit in with a longer literature on what has come to be known as “motivated reasoning.” Other things being equal, people tend to believe what they want to believe, and to disbelieve new information that might challenge them. The classic study for this came in the nineteen-sixties, shortly after the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and lung cancer, which suggested that smoking appeared to cause lung cancer. A careful survey revealed that (surprise!) smokers were less persuaded than nonsmokers were.