Chris Mooney - The Republican Brain
Posted: 09 April 2012 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  170
Joined  2009-06-02

Guest Host: John Shook

In this special episode of Point of Inquiry, we interview our host himself—about his new book, The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality.

From climate change to evolution, the rejection of mainstream science among Republicans is growing, as is the denial of expert consensus on the economy, American history, foreign policy and much more. Why won’t Republicans accept things that most experts agree on? Why are they constantly fighting against the facts?

Science writer and host of Point of Inquiry Chris Mooney explores brain scans, polls, and psychology experiments to explain why conservatives today believe more wrong things; appear more likely than Democrats to oppose new ideas and less likely to change their beliefs in the face of new facts; and sometimes respond to compelling evidence by doubling down on their current beliefs.

Posted: 19 April 2012 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Jr. Member
Total Posts:  6
Joined  2011-08-30

Wow that was a frustrating listen. It felt completely self-congratulatory and cherry picked to make Republicans look as bad as possible while excusing Democrats. I was shocked when Chris cited Dan Kahan’s research about how smart people on both sides of the aisle dig their heels in and only cited the parts about Republicans. That somehow both misses the point and proves it at the same time.

I don’t know if the book is more balanced than the interview, but if it is this interview certainly did not convey that.

Posted: 27 April 2012 10:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Total Posts:  1
Joined  2012-04-27

I just finished the book and I am listening to the interview again. I’ve been wondering if maybe we shouldn’t have a two prong strategy to reclaim the political conversation. You talk about one way towards the end of the podcast but I would like to propose something different we could also try. Knowing how the conservative brain responds to threats and challenges, couldn’t we directly attack and threaten, much like the way they do on Fox News, in order to draw them out into even more extreme statements and defenses of their positions? I don’t mean in the way that Media Matters does, listing distortions and misrepresentations, but direct, unequivocal attacks. When your opponents look ridiculous, you look reasonable. A lot of voters would go for reasonable.

Go on Fox News and say something more like this:
“Look, I don’t get my news from the rotting corpse that is Fox News. It’s not even a real news channel.  I don’t need to be told by my daddy what to believe. When I have my own thoughts about an issue I don’t have to run to daddy and ask if it’s ok to believe them. I’m not worried about being drummed out my little group of bullies and bull shitters for thinking differently. That’s what real freedom looks like. You should try it, you might like it. You might not understand or believe in science but when your house is under water you’ll be gasping for breath just like the rest of us.”

What are your thoughts on this? We would maintain our open and egalitarian positions and add this to our tactics. Thanks for the new book. I’m spreading the word. Andy