The source of the public conflict over climate change is not too little rationality but in a sense too much. Ordinary members of the public are too good at extracting from information the significance it has in their everyday lives. What an ordinary person does—as consumer, voter, or participant in public discussions—is too inconsequential to affect either the climate or climate-change policymaking. Accordingly, if her actions in one of those capacities reflects a misunderstanding of the basic facts on global warming, neither she nor anyone she cares about will face any greater risk. But because positions on climate change have become such a readily identifiable indicator of ones’ cultural commitments, adopting a stance toward climate change that deviates from the one that prevails among her closest associates could have devastating consequences, psychic and material. Thus, it is perfectly rational—perfectly in line with using information appropriately to achieve an important personal end—for that individual to attend to information on in a manner that more reliably connects her beliefs about climate change to the ones that predominate among her peers than to the best available scientific evidence.
His empirical claim is that disbelief in global warming, or in evolution, is not evidence of scientific ignorance. If you separate groups on roughly a left/right basis, belief in warming increases with increasing scientific intelligence (measured in other ways) in the group predisposed to believe in it (left), decreases with increasing scientific intelligence in the group predisposed not to believe in it (right). Similarly with evolution if you divide the groups into more or less religious. His explanation ...:
If that person happens to enjoy greater proficiency in the skills and dispositions necessary to make sense of such evidence, then she can simply use those capacities to do an even better job at forming identity-protective beliefs.
The article is too long and starts with an irrelevant analogy to observer effects in quantum mechanics, but it has lots of interesting stuff in it. Among other things, if you test people to see how much they understand about the theory of evolution, those who believe in it do no better than those who don't. Similarly for global warming.