Scientific debate has a peculiar character: it behaves exactly like regular debate. What’s peculiar is only that some people think it’s different.
You can see this right away because the claims about how science is ‘different’ come from people who intend to use it as a lever.
In regular debate, I explain my views and the other side theirs. I might think he or she may not be convinced, due to ‘deep seated cultural attitudes’, superstition, bias of race, gender and religion. But I don’t dwell in prejudice. It is possible.
In every sphere, the same play of power follows. Prejudice is part of the ground state of the human condition. But it can be suppressed, bypassed, given a different bone to play with, cheated, or even overcome.
The ‘Cultural Cognition Project‘ is run by law professor Dan Kahan. One of its over-riding themes is that people view scientific findings through a cultural lens. They accept or reject findings based on their ‘worldview’, on whether it resonates with their in-group etc.
This is profoundly anti-intellectual. It implies people are mindless victims of emotional undercurrents that operate out of reach of their rational grasp. In Kahan’s approach, the corollary question becomes: ‘since people cannot be reached by reasoning, what forms of salesmanship need to be undertaken to package your findings and fool your audience into buying them?’
Kahan’s game properly belongs in marketing, not science of any sort.