I’ve been writing a lot about people having difficulty when the facts don’t fit their world-view. Now there’s a study! “What Dilemma? Moral Evaluation Shapes Factual Belief“:
Abstract: Moral dilemmas—like the ‘‘trolley problem’’ or real-world examples like capital punishment—result from a conflict betweenconsequentialist and deontological intuitions (i.e., whether ends justify means). The authors contend that people often resolvesuch moral conflict by aligning factual beliefs about consequences of acts with evaluations of the act’s inherent morality (i.e., morality independent of its consequences). In both artificial (Study 1) and real-world (Study 2) dilemmas, the more an act was deemedinherently immoral, the more it was seen as unlikely to produce beneficial consequences and likely to involve harmful costs.Coherence between moral evaluations and factual beliefs increased with greater moral conviction, self-proclaimed topicalknowledge, and political conservatism (Study 2). Reading essays about the inherent morality or immorality of capital punishment(Study 3) changed beliefs about its costs and benefits, even though no information about consequences was supplied. Implicationsfor moral reasoning and political conflict are discussed.
It’s ungated. Go read!
(h/t Bruce Bartlett)