Felicity Barringer in the New York Times:
The absence of scientific evidence doesn’t dissuade those who believe childhood vaccines are linked to autism, or those who believe their headaches, dizziness and other symptoms are caused by cellphones and smart meters. And the presence of large amounts of scientific evidence doesn’t convince those who reject the idea that human activities are disrupting the climate.
What gives? A recovering journalist, David Ropeik, who is an instructor at the Harvard University extension school and the author of a book, “How Risky Is It Really?” offers one explanation.
He uses peer-reviewed science to explain the limits of peer-reviewed science as a persuasive tool.
Humans, he argues, are hard-wired to reject scientific conclusions that run counter to their instinctive belief that someone or something is out to get them.