Tim Harford: Facts Without Curiosity are Dead

Most of Tim Harford's post "The Problem with Facts" is quite discouraging for those of us not eager to live in a posttruth era. But there is one ray of hope: curiosity. Tim writes:

What Kahan and his colleagues found, to their surprise, was that while politically motivated reasoning trumps scientific knowledge, “politically motivated reasoning . . . appears to be negated by science curiosity”. Scientifically literate people, remember, were more likely to be polarised in their answers to politically charged scientific questions. But scientifically curious people were not. Curiosity brought people together in a way that mere facts did not. The researchers muse that curious people have an extra reason to seek out the facts: “To experience the pleasure of contemplating surprising insights into how the world works.”

Thus, those who love the truth need to figure out how to spark curiosity in as many people as possible.