Wayne Stollings wrote:
The newly energized debate about vaccines is a reminder that, when it comes to certain controversies, significant segments of the public refuse to believe the scientific consensus. Why so many people disregard clear and confirmed findings on issues ranging from the spread of measles to the dangers of climate change is a vexing question with alarming implications for the public welfare.
Newly published research provides at least a partial answer. It finds scientific findings that challenge the assumptions of a group you strongly identify with motivate people to derogate the research in online comments.
When informal membership in a group—say, the anti-vaccine movement, or those opposed to genetically modified foods—informs your sense of self, and/or provides a feeling of pride and belonging, a perceived attack on its basic beliefs is grounds for a counterattack. Today, that often means writing nasty, dismissive comments online.
What is this "newly published research"? Give it to us.
When informal membership in a group —
All group membership is informal, until someone calls it formal. Sometimes that's okay though, especially if no belief is involved. If groups are formed around practical concerns then they are constructive and helpful but if they are formed under ideological concerns, they tend to create division which results in conflict and often violence.
say, the anti-vaccine movement, or those opposed to genetically modified foods—informs your sense of self, and/or provides a feeling of pride and belonging,
Pfffff. Wayne ...... We already call ourselves by a nationality and often, by a religion. Don't these two major social forces already inform 'sense of self' and 'provide a feeling of pride and belonging'? 4th of July fireworks! BBQ's, flags waving. Didn't you just have that? Did the many celebrations give you any sense of belonging? Didn't they make you feel like you were connected to a great nation, one you should celebrate? Pride and belonging? The same psychology that is rightfully applied to the anti-vaxers and gmo'ers, is also rightfully applied to the nationalists and the religious. So, the question is ... why do we associate ourselves with groups at all?
Seems to me that what needs to be questioned here is the desire to belong. What is that about? (aside from the functional aspect?).
a perceived attack on its basic beliefs is grounds for a counterattack. Today, that often means writing nasty, dismissive comments online.
Online ... Yes, it seems we do a lot of communication on line these days.