Global warming and violent video games are both issues on which there is overwhelming consensus within the science community, but where millions of laypeople with no credentials or science background and a handful of rogue scientists roll the dice on everyone’s safety by denying the consensus of the larger medical/science community.
In the case of global warming deniers, NASA confirms that 97% of scientists agree that global warming is a fact, and that global warming is a man made problem. Yes, there are scientists who “disagree,” and they represent 3% of the scientific community. They produce their own studies and publish them all over the place. They shout loudly in the media and spread their propaganda enthusiastically on television and in newapapers and magazines.
These rogue scientists manage to convince millions of people that 97% of scientists are wrong and that 3% of scientists are right. Thus, the “debate” over global warming exists, but it’s not a debate in the larger science community. The answer has been found; the consensus has been reached; the debate is over among the vast majority of scientists.
NASA, in speaking about a study that was conducted to find out if, indeed, there is a consensus among climate change scientists about the issue, states, “The study, by John Cook, of the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute in Australia…confirms that climate scientists have not only accepted the existence of global warming, but also its human causation, as a matter of fact for the last two decades.”
Despite this consensus, the issue is considered to be a “debate” by many people. In fact, you can take it to the bank that commenters will even deny that NASA has confirmed this consensus. Denial seems to be a stronger force than reason these days.
This is also the case with video game violence deniers. A consenus has been reached within the medical community. The debate has officially been declared “over” by The American Psychological Association, which states “the debate is over” when it comes to whether or not violent video games are linked to violence. The consensus within the medical community has been established that violent video games are causal in increased aggression, and the American Psychological Association says that “many criticisms are simply recycled myths from earlier media violence debates, myths that have been repeatedly debunked on theoretical and empirical grounds.”
Specifically, The American Psychological Associaton states that one of the most repeated myths is: “Violent video game research has yielded very mixed results.”
They go on the say that the actual facts are:
Some studies have yielded nonsignificant video game effects, just as some smoking studies failed to find a significant link to lung cancer. But when one combines all relevant empirical studies using meta-analytic techniques, five separate effects emerge with considerable consistency. Violent video games are significantly associated with: increased aggressive behavior, thoughts, and affect; increased physiological arousal; and decreased prosocial (helping) behavior. Average effect sizes for experimental studies (which help establish causality) and correlational studies (which allow examination of serious violent behavior) appear comparable (Anderson & Bushman, 2001).
A complete list of myths and facts about violent video games is available in the source section below.
Now, psychologists have moved on to the question of why people deny violent video game effects, and they say that the reason is partially because of the media. The media has been proven to, over time, increase the number of reports stating that violent video games are not linked to violence, even though according to five major medical and psychlogical associations, that is not true. In his paper titled The effects of violent video games. Do they affect our behavior? Psychologist Brad Bushman says there are also other reasons why people deny the effects of violent video games. One of those is:
… people may think: “I play violent video games and I’ve never killed anyone.” This fallacious reasoning is a good example of how the “availability heuristic” coupled with the “base rate problem” (Kahneman & Tversky, 1973) distort reasoning…It is not surprising that people who play violent video games have not killed anyone because very few people kill anyone…However, murder is the most salient violent event to most people; so when they don’t have “available” in memory cases of people playing violent games and then murdering, they ignore the base rate of murder and conclude that violent games have no effect on aggression.
The other reasons why people deny violent video game effects, Bushman says, is because this distorted reasoning is paired with the fact that people do not understand psychological processes very well. Between the media reports, distorted reasoning and misunderstanding of psychological processes, there is a perfect storm of ignorance and denial.
Now, people even deny that there is consensus among scientists about global warming and/or video game violence when the evidence is abundantly clear and easily found on the official websites of NASA and the American Psychological Association and four other major medical associations too. It becomes maddening when faced with such obstinate denial and refusal to examine the evidence and apply critical thinking skills to issues that have long been settled among the experts who actually have the credentials to decide what the right answer is.
Global warming deniers and video game violence deniers roll the dice with science. Meanwhile, oceans continue to rise. Ice caps are melting away daily; polar bears are starving to death and mass shootings go on and on. Denial is dangerous, and those that continue to roll the dice in this way gamble with our future.
By: Rebecca Savastio