Climate sceptics have won, Martin Wolf lamented in the Financial Times, despite near-universal scientific consensus against them. The sheer longevity of this “debate” indicates deniers attract disproportionate attention – partly due to one of their main lines of attack: scientific bias.
Brent Strickland of Yale University and Hugo Mercier of the National Centre for Scientific Research in France asked non-scientists toevaluate scientific studies. Participants decided whether they believed the results of experiments, given what experimenters expected to find, their financial motivation and whether the methods were sound. The results showed that mentioning financial bias reduced people’s belief in findings, even if the methods were flawless.