In another experiment conducted with the Washington-based Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Kahan found that when volunteers heard about the risks of nanotechnology from different experts, they gravitated toward the views of experts who seemed to share their personal values — individualists followed the lead of experts who appeared to be individualists, while people who believed in hierarchy were most likely to be influenced by experts who espoused similar views. Once volunteers decided which experts were most like them, it did not make a difference whether the experts said nanotechnology was risky or safe — either way, the volunteers agreed with them. … When people clash on hot-button issues, their disagreements may have more to do with clashing values than facts. One person may conclude nanotechnology is dangerous while another person concludes it is safe, but neither realizes their conclusions are being driven by underlying values that have nothing to do with nanotechnology.
That is from the Post. Of course regarding policy conclusions, all else equal it does make sense to listen more to people who share your values. But it seems a shame if your views about facts contain nothing more.
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