Lane Wallace writes (in a non climate change denial, non tobacco denial, non AIDs denial) about motivated reasoning
In other words, if people start with a particular opinion or view on a subject, any counter-evidence can create "cognitive dissonance"--discomfort caused by the presence of two irreconcilable ideas in the mind at once. One way of resolving the dissonance would be to change or alter the originally held opinion. But the researchers found that many people instead choose to change the conflicting evidence--selectively seeking out information or arguments that support their position while arguing around or ignoring any opposing evidence, even if that means using questionable or contorted logic.The two base examples are interesting, did Perry or Cook reach the north Pole and
Everett Reuss left civilization to go live in the wilderness ... and was never heard from again. A whole folk myth movement sprang up around this young man who seemed to have slipped so completely into the wild that he eluded discovery for the rest of his life. An annual art festival in Escalante, Utah, is even named in his honor. But Roberts, who researched the case for 10 years, finally discovered evidence that Ruess had been murdered by two members of the Ute tribe almost as soon as he'd begun his journey. There was a witness to the murder, an unearthed skeleton, and DNA tests that were compatible with other family members.Real Climate is thumb sucking about how to communicate science, with the usual distribution of be nice and bash the moles recommended. It appears to Eli that you need to feed the trolls to the bird while being helpful to onlookers. His adventures in ACS land have reinforced this to him. At a minimum this requires building trust with the lurkers first by being initially helpful and polite, and then by outing the trolls in a way that the lurkers see that they are being disruptive. Among other things, especially in a one on one, it really helps to find a trusted intermediate. You do have to give the trolls a fair amount of rope but you should never give way to their moaning and never let them change the subject.The mystery, it seemed, had been solved. But the hue and cry surrounding Roberts' piece was both angry and loud, catching both Roberts and the Reuss family by surprise.
An interesting example emerges in an endless thread at Deltoid, where another tactic, which has some value, has emerged, corral the troll into a corrida and have the picadors stick pins in the beast. An endless thread featuring a libertarian Dunning-Kruger poster child (you know, the face on the cereal box of the cute kid, with the byline: our village has lost its idiot) has emerged as a source of useful information as others respond to the pinata (mixing Mexican metaphors is not a sin). You can dip into it at any point and find something interesting. Eli thinks they are going for 10K responses.