Over the last few decades, the world has seen drastic climate changes, with cold seasons being warmer and hot seasons seeing very high temperatures. Many physicists have attempted to run with the phenomenon, but the universe as a whole has yet to come up with a definitive alternative. According to Hoffman, this is due to four main factors: people prefer to receive and process statements from physical scientists through inspired inference in order to justify the scientist’s findings through their own worldview. People prefer to associate them with climate change based on their expertise, experiences, and former ideological inclinations. They will research and make conclusions in a manner that will most probably find supportive evidence of their pre-existing beliefs regarding highly multifaceted and politically debated issues. This is what social scientists refer to as using cognitive filters which people apply in an attempt to reject or support certain scientific conclusion.
Secondly, Hoffman claims that in consistency with the values held by the group or community which an individual identifies with, they will hold worldviews based on those values. That is the opinion held by a certain group which an individual identifies with, such a person will choose a position which strengthens the association that that person has with such a social setting. People will value various scientific conclusions in line with what their respected leaders, colleagues or friends hold. As such, cognitive filters of individuals will automatically reflect their cultural identity which will make controversial matters such as global warming develop to part of their cultural identity (Hoffman, 21).
Next, in cases where people’s beliefs or disbeliefs about an issue, becomes linked to their cultural identity, they tend to be more staunch in opposing any conclusion that defies their cultural beliefs. If certain individuals who had prior beliefs in climate change have access to further understanding of the issue, they show more concern than those who did not previous believe in climate change (Hoffman, 22). Consequently, increased knowledge about the climate change will only reinforce individual’s prior stand concerning the issue. Hence, Hoffman argued that scientific reasoning can be overpowered by cultural identity in rejecting or supporting the stance about an issue such as global warming.
Lastly, there is a source of inertia for change emanating from the technological, political as well as the economic realities. Due to massive physical infrastructure built around the fossil fuels and the standard of living they create, the issue of climate change threatens strong economic and political interests (Hoffman, 22). Therefore, politicians and tycoons embark on confusing and polarizing the climate change debate so as to guard their interest leading to the creation of inertia for change by political economy class. Hence, to neutralize cultural viewpoints about global warming, the infrastructure of the economy and massive institutions must also be changed as well as neutralizing the resistance from its beneficiaries.
I concur with Hoffman that the debate about the global warming is not about greenhouse gas and controlling carbon dioxide emissions; it all involves divergent cultural tenets and worldviews in which science is observed. These cultural tenets evolve a trend of shared typical assumptions which points out to the right way that people should feel, think and recognize things in regards to issues as well as the circumstances that people encounter (Hoffman, 24). The issue will continue to be tossed around until when the planet cannot it anymore and the worst will happen.
Hoffman, Andrew. How culture shapes the climate change debate. Stanford University Press, 2015, p.11-24.