Not scary enough: more Americans believe in haunted houses than human caused global warming

Oh this is funny. There’s not even any Gore involved.

https://i0.wp.com/z.about.com/d/paranormal/1/0/T/A/haunted_house_lg.jpg?resize=500%2C341

"Haunted house" in Amsterdam - from About.com

We’ve seen that man-made global warming has taken some hits in the opinion polls lately, and that its 10 minutes of fame may be over, but sharp eyed blogger Dave R. at Care2 spotted this zinger. I’ve posted the graphs and tables from the polls with highlights below.

Dave R writes:

In the United States, more people believe that houses can be haunted by the dead than believe that the living can cause climate change. Is this simply a scary Halloween tale or our frightening future?

The latest Pew poll on global warming shows a large drop in the percentage of Americans who say there is solid evidence that global temperatures are rising, from 71% down to only 57% in the last 18 months. And global warming due to human activity? The overall numbers have declined from 47% to 36%. To put this in perspective, a Gallup poll found that 37% of Americans believe that houses can be haunted.

Here’s the Pew poll graphics:

Pew_poll_AGW_table

Pew Poll Data Table - note highlight

And the Gallup Poll says:

Gallup_poll_haunted_houses

Of course the margins of error for each poll is probably greater than the 1% difference noted, but it is still darn funny.

Perhaps next, to prop up the numbers, the two issues will get fused.

On the Care2 website, DaveR has a poll of his own that asks:

“Does global warming frighten you more than ghosts?”

So far, the Yes votes far outnumber the Noes.

 

78 thoughts on “Not scary enough: more Americans believe in haunted houses than human caused global warming

  1. I think there may be a haunted office at 2880 Broadway, New York, NY. Seventh floor. Scary place. Worse than we thought…

  2. May be the AGW movement will combine the 2012 scare after all Kyoto first commitment period ends on December 31, 2012 just 10 days after the scare on the Mayan calendar. However, it is not a guarantee the polls in favor of AGW as there seems to be a large number of adherents comon to but issues.

  3. I see the spectre of scaremongering rising in these ghastly poll numbers!
    Terrible, I know. Whatcanya do? (shrug) 😉
    Andrew

  4. Similar numbers believe “aliens walk among us.”
    It’s almost impossible to find something that won’t poll 33%.

  5. OT, Anthony, may I e-mail you a picture I received the other day which is a clear and scary indication that AGW propaganda is working it’s way, incidiously, through out the some of the world’s education systems?

  6. Just confirms the scientific illiteracy in America.
    Blogs might be hoped to improve on this, but it seems that there are more blogs spreading pseudo-science etc than discussing science. Even this very blog has a vocal pseudo-scientific crop of cultists.

  7. I’ve always been told that ghosts are surrounded by a “cold spot” that you can literally feel.
    Perhaps we should use this paranormal knowledge to save the planet.

  8. Leif, we have more range than the rest of the world. In all directions. For good or ill. You are only taking in one side of the coin.

  9. Soon the halls of Congress will be haunted by the dead spirits of polterGISS’s and gholeble warming.

  10. Leif Svalgaard (20:57:27) :
    Just confirms the scientific illiteracy in America.
    Blogs might be hoped to improve on this, but it seems that there are more blogs spreading pseudo-science etc than discussing science. Even this very blog has a vocal pseudo-scientific crop of cultists.

    Leif – I couldn’t agree more – they post here all the time – we call them AGW trolls.

  11. evanmjones (21:11:32) :
    Leif, we have more range than the rest of the world. In all directions. For good or ill. You are only taking in one side of the coin.
    The coin of science only has one side.

  12. Haunted houses, AGW, and, if it’s silliness you want, don’t forget vampires. If you take the time to run the numbers and you start with 1 vampire today, in 34 days all of mankind would have been bitten and died. Another myth bites the dust…

  13. This article is interesting;
    http://www.rense.com/general70/smart.htm
    and they provide a listing of American belief survey results from the January-February 2006 issue of The Skeptical Inquirer along with 2001 Gallup Poll figures (in parenthesis):
    Belief in psychic/spiritual healing: 56 (54)
    Belief in ESP: 28 (50)
    Haunted houses: 40 (42)
    Demonic possession: 40 (41)
    Ghosts/spirits of the dead: 39 (38)
    Telepathy: 24 (36)
    Extraterrestrials visited Earth in the past: 17 (33)
    Clairvoyance and prophecy: 24 (32)
    Communication with the dead: 16 (28)
    Astrology: 17 (28)
    Witches: 26 (26)
    Reincarnation: 14 (25)
    Channeling: 10 (15)
    If belief trends continue apace Global Warming should be somewhere in the neighborhood of Witches and Communication with the dead by this time next year…

  14. Graeme Rodaughan (21:19:32) :
    Leif – I couldn’t agree more – they post here all the time – we call them AGW trolls.
    The AGW trolls are mild mannered compared to the other willfully ignorants.

  15. Leon Brozyna (21:33:50) :
    Haunted houses, AGW, and, if it’s silliness you want, don’t forget vampires. If you take the time to run the numbers and you start with 1 vampire today, in 34 days all of mankind would have been bitten and died. Another myth bites the dust…

    Leon – arn’t the numbers of vampires kept down by (1) Werewolves, (2) Vampire hunters (3) Careful Self-Control???

  16. Leif Svalgaard (21:55:13) :
    Graeme Rodaughan (21:19:32) :
    Leif – I couldn’t agree more – they post here all the time – we call them AGW trolls.
    The AGW trolls are mild mannered compared to the other willfully ignorants.

    Leif – granted, there are many who are well behaved, and those that arn’t eventually get themselves banned.
    Do you have an example of ‘willfully ignorant” comment? I would like to see what you mean.
    Thanks.

  17. Perhaps “wishful thinking” rather than willfully ignorant Leif meant? An example of this would be the temp averages go up for September and then we get posts on how people it will be cold in October because for the first time in 25 years someone’s back yard in State A had X Y or Z happen cold wise. Then if that does not happen it will be November. Finally when it happens in December we get a chorus of “told you so” that scotches the AGW argument 😀
    Both sides do this of course, it is just human nature.
    Regards
    Andy

  18. Well, there exist polls that indicate that the Americans – as a group – are not the most scientifically educated group in the world.
    However, this poll (or pair of polls) is not one of them. 😉

  19. Leif Svalgaard (21:23:11) :
    “evanmjones (21:11:32) :
    Leif, we have more range than the rest of the world. In all directions. For good or ill. You are only taking in one side of the coin.”
    The coin of science only has one side.

    A Moebius strip coin?

  20. “Not scary enough: more Americans believe in haunted houses than human caused global warming”
    If the poll is looking for beliefs, it will find beliefs, thus raising AGW to a metaphysical plane, its rightful place.

  21. Thank you for this wonderful resource and keeping us posted on these latest happenings and conversations on the matter.
    I ask you to please check out my family, who have been working on energy efficient upgrades in their home NONSTOP over the past 3 months. I am very proud of them. You can vote for the Casanova family in a Texas Utilities contest for the Texas family who has put the most effort to save energy here : http://psc.gotxu.com/vote. It takes seconds and we’d really appreciate it. They have already made it to top 3 in Texas! Thank you so much.
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  22. Great photo! But you really do need a recording of Bach’s famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor to go with it. 😛

  23. My answers to these questions:
    “Does global warming frighten you more than ghosts?”
    Global warming does not frighten me at all. You will have to poll the ghosts to see if it frightens them.
    “Is there solid evidence the earth is warming?”
    Over what time period?

  24. Andy W: ‘and then we get posts on how people it will be cold in October because for the first time in 25 years someone’s back yard in State A had X Y or Z happen cold wise. ‘
    25 years ago? Hmmmm, what was happening 25 years ago…. Oh! Scientists and politicians were talking about the coming Ice Age.
    Odd. Seems like a Cycle….

  25. Almost forgot, Andy: you meant to say someone’s back yard in states A,B,C,D,E,F,G,,I,J,K,L,M,N,O………….. Not to mention Nations A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O…..

  26. Leif Svalgaard (20:57:27) :
    Just confirms the scientific illiteracy in America.
    Here in Blighty, the New Age sections of the bookstores are always at least twice the size of the Popular Science sections, and the highest paid newspaper journalist is an Astrologer.

  27. Lord Stern has been frantically running around London giving interviews to the media in an attempt to shore up the global warming propaganda machine. You can hear his desperate interview in the BBC’s “Today” program
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8327000/8327225.stm
    Scroll down the page to 0732 and click on the “Play” button.
    You can send a message to the Today program directly on this page
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/contact_today/default.stm
    or send an email to them: today@bbc.co.uk
    or send them an actual complaint: todaycomplaints@bbc.co.uk
    To complain to the BBC itself
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/feedback/contact/
    or email the BBC: feedback@bbc.co.uk
    How about this from his Lordship?
    “Save the planet, go veggie, says climate chief Lord Stern”
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223247/Global-warming-Climate-chief-Lord-Stern-urges-Britons-vegetarian-save-planet.html
    This is not the first time he has made this idiotic suggestion, and it’s repeated in most of the British press today.
    “Climate chief Lord Stern: give up meat to save the planet”
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6891362.ece
    What with government ministers, and the PM himself, insisting that global warming exists and that we have until Copenhagen to “save the planet”, it looks more like desperation to revive their dying religion in the face of irrefutable scientific facts than any real conviction that they believe their own doctrine.

  28. “Does global warming frighten you more than ghosts?”
    Trick question. The former is a real, natural phenomenon, but certainly nothing to fear, while ghosts are a supernatural phenomenon, and whether or not one “believes” in them, or simply prefers to be skeptical yet open-minded, there is no particular reason to fear them either.
    “Al Ghoul”, however, is a different story altogether.

  29. Speaking of scary, Dwight Eisenhower was afraid of the military industrial complex, but what really had him quaking was the elevation of publicly funded ‘science’ until it became more important than freedom.
    Of course, Ike was just a Texas country bumpkin. AGW is so thoroughly documented and accepted by every single science organization, it only makes sense that freedom must be dissolved to make way for SCIENCE!
    The technological elite will now take over.
    Thank you scientists one and all.

  30. Leif has a point. The first point is the Sun – the rest are solar effects, whether they be secondary or tertiary, or even less direct climatic effects

  31. UK Sceptic (03:40:41)
    thats in the “Eating your own pet” or “kill your friends and neighbours” to save the planet ethos which feature in the AGW feature.
    Leif – AGW is masanthropic and dark. They appear mild mannered because they are officially accepted

  32. Norm/Calgary (23:21:09) :
    OT: What happened to the AMSR-E Sea Ice Extent today (Oct 26)?
    ____________________________
    Either a malfunction, or strong winds compacting the ice.

  33. People are starting to disbelieve in AGW because it’s obvious that it is not a scientific position, it’s a political one. And it’s a transparent political position at that.
    Proponents of AGW quite obviously don’t give a damn about science. They’re using it to push their agendas in order to pass more stringent laws (most of which wouldn’t help fight climate change in the slightest, BTW). It’s a power play. It’s scare tactics being perpetrated against the public, and the public is starting to see through the bullshit.
    Climate change may indeed be real. However, that’s not a valid reason to use it as a boogeyman in order to promote your socialist agenda. I will always answer these polls with “no, global warming is a myth” even if I know for a fact that it is not. Why? Because the question itself has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics, power, and control.

  34. Mike Bryant (04:38:59) :
    Thank you scientists one and all.
    Perhaps the real problem is the politicians exploiting the stupidity and ignorance of their constituency. Of course, not only the politicians are at fault. In Dover, PA, the reverend Ray Mummert thunders: “We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture”.

  35. Lief,
    I agree. I cringe when I see some of the silly, ignorant and uninformed anti-AGW comments that would be snipped on CA.
    However, the % of these is small compared to the equiv pro posts on RC or Tammy (on the rare occasions I stop by).
    I am an engineer with over 45 years experience designing and building dams and hydro projects around the world. I have taken issue with some of your comments in the past, but have come to appreciate your pov and expertise.
    Jack

  36. Melinda–Many people find it easier to go to haunted places or search for ghosts simply because many don’t want to deal with AGW.

  37. of course it is political when you realize that everything is political in life the fact that the government wants you to searching for the great beyond rather than face what is right in front of you is nothing new. It is only now no longer able to be pushed aside.

  38. UK Sceptic (03:40:41) :
    Dunno if this has been flagged here …
    Seems to have backfired for now, Oh Dear! But have a look at ‘the big theme park’ plan.
    Visitors map is on last page, note the green blobs that “could be up and running within two decades” versus reality today. Never mind, you get to become a vegan and tuck into a nice salad Niçoise instead. Cows just use too much power as you can see. Is there some latent form of BSE cauing this level of madness?
    Farmers who endured the 2001 F&M outbreak (and many didn’t) have seen similar looking maps before. 80% of the approx 4.5 million officially recorded head of livestock culled were disease free, blamed principally on “inappropriate poor mathematical modelling” (see Kitching et al 2005, ‘The Veterinary Journal’). I often wondered why DEFRA never relocated that lab (which leaked live virus causing the 2007 outbreak) to some isolated off-shore island instead of leaving it in the middle of farming country. Obviously there wasn’t a lot of point with this coming down the track.

  39. Even if AGW is real and as big as the IPCC says, the truth is that the consequences wouldn’t be scary and in fact most consequences would be benign or beneficial.
    Although, the AGW legislative bandwagon, as opposed to AGW itself is pretty scary.
    Here in Australia the latest piece of legislation (proposed I think) would restrict beach property developments because of the risk of rising sea levels.

  40. Think how stupid the average* person is. Then remember, half of the population are more stupid than that. It wouldn’t really matter what these numbskulls think, but, quite rightly, they all have a vote. Education is the planet’s only hope. That applies to all of us, including both pro and anti AGW bigots who like to hang around climate blogs.
    *OK, should say median, but that’s not as snappy!

  41. I agree education is our ticket recognizing those now in school will be the ones who will have to grow into this what our planet needs. Rather than stating there are so many “stupid” people in the world put into action a why to education the world. Otherwise your words are simply flapping in the wind.

  42. Melinda (09:55:21) :
    Otherwise your words are simply flapping in the wind.
    Which is just fine with the anti-education forces. Look around on this blog [even] to see that many posters are actually proud of knocking on scientific education. In another thread, there were even people maintaining that it was good and desirable [and protected by the Constitution, no less] for people to impress their beliefs on other people. Probably some of those worms might come out the woodwork and respond to this my comment and spare you having to go look for their postings.

  43. There is something in the fact we do not have to baulk at the protection of the Constitution as look as we face the children, teenagers and college students of today are the people who will be in charge tomorrow. They are the ones who will make the decisions and push them forward. The Constitution also specifically addresses the issue of right to life…. therefore without the awareness of our planet. The education they are receiving and willing to put into practice is what we will all have to depend on in the future.

  44. @Gary: 2880 Broadway seventh floor haunted? Probably not, ghosts prefer interactions with sentient beings. ‘Course there could be an aquarium.

  45. @Patrick: I’d say it’s probably to late to do anything about all the incidious things that are affecting our education system.

  46. Comment #42 By Leif Svalgaard on October 27, 2009 at 7:11 am :
    “… read from the bottom up. Also note the ‘mild-mannerism’ of the ignorant.”
    That was funny.

  47. This statistical comparison only leaves me wondering why Americans are so stupid (or at least the Americans surveyed for the purposes of acquiring this statistic).
    I would rather Americans believe in climate change than haunted houses. At least climate change has the built-in intention of caring for the environment.
    Even considering that over a third of Americans believe in haunted houses makes me want to move to Denmark.

  48. Well, we have a Specter in the Senate, don’t we? So why would the House be immune?
    Mark me down with the 37%.

  49. Steve (18:17:33) :
    “This statistical comparison only leaves me wondering why Americans are so stupid”
    It’s not just Americans, stupidity may be a global phenomena:
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/19558/paranormal-beliefs-come-supernaturally-some.aspx
    “more people in each country believe in haunted houses than any of the supernatural or paranormal items tested; 37% of Americans believe, as do 28% of Canadians and 40% of Britons.”
    http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind06/c7/c7s2.htm#c7s2l3
    Belief in astrology may be more prevalent in Europe. In 2001, 53% of Europeans surveyed thought astrology is “rather scientific” and only a minority (39%) said it is not at all scientific.

  50. The fact that so many people believe in haunted houses is testament to how woeful our scientific literacy is in the USA.

  51. An insteresting statement of whether science has brought greater belief in haunted houses or if it simply the fact that people are willing to search further than their own front door. Some could look at haunted houses as an unknown that science has not touched.

  52. Benjamin P. (19:07:31) :
    The fact that so many people believe in haunted houses is testament to how woeful our scientific literacy is in the USA.
    Not so sweeping please. Beliefs in metaphysical phenomena should not be contrasted to science in such a way.
    The more science progresses, the more unknowns are discovered. An 18th century scientist faced with a 3D hologram would surely believe in the supernatural. This would not make him less a scientist, as long as he/she clearly knew where science started and ended and beliefs took over.
    Beliefs are a level of thought organization crucial to our development as a species, and very useful. Science involved on a meta level when we finally organized a system of objective reality. Still, beliefs are needed to face metaphysical situations from birth and death to even falling in love, for all humans, including scientists. It behooves scientists to know where science stops and beliefs take over, but it is hard for the general population.
    I believe, and I know it is a belief, and not science, that any metaphysical effects, from telepathy ( of which I have experience) to haunted houses can be explained with laws of physics that have not been discovered yet. Present day physics leaves open a lot of gateways with time being a dimension even in orthodox physics and many more time and space dimensions available in frontier theories to allow me to hold such a belief.
    I will not invalidate the experience of fellow humans by saying :science cannot explain it therefore it does not exist, from reincarnational memories to near death experiences. In the end, each of us is one running experiment, with a beginning a middle and an end, and we each will know the results soon enough.

  53. anna v (00:29:27) :
    An 18th century scientist faced with a 3D hologram would surely believe in the supernatural.
    Would he? A scientist of all people would surely look for an explanation of the phenomena.
    I believe, and I know it is a belief, and not science, that any metaphysical effects, from telepathy ( of which I have experience) to haunted houses can be explained with laws of physics that have not been discovered yet.
    But these beliefs can be (and have been) tested by experiment and have found to be wanting. A non-existent phenomenon doesn’t require a physical explanation.

  54. I absolutely agree with Anna v. for the idea to push away or look down upon anyone’s beliefs into the unknown is nothing to be accepted. I am a Spiritual Intuitive and have indeed experienced many haunted houses as other that science has yet to be able to explain. A great science mind Doug Matzke has shown through many of his works that all things are connected and are balancing in every arena. The concept to believe that energy is not continual that the energy of a person who had existed and has simply left his/her physical being should therefore be an easy theory to accept.

  55. Yarmy (06:10:07) :
    Would he? A scientist of all people would surely look for an explanation of the phenomena.
    The difference between scientific belief and ‘other’ [e.g. religious, ideological, etc] belief is largely that scientific belief can be falsified [and a lot end up that way], while ‘other’ belief is not open for discussion or falsification.

  56. Leif Svalgaard (07:43:34) :
    The difference between scientific belief and ‘other’ [e.g. religious, ideological, etc] belief is largely that scientific belief can be falsified [and a lot end up that way], while ‘other’ belief is not open for discussion or falsification.
    Indeed. And more generally…
    “What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.” (Bertrand Russell)

  57. infrasound and haunted houses:
    The presence of the tone [ sounds beneath 20 Hz down to 0.001 Hz ]resulted in a significant number (22%) of respondents reporting anxiety, uneasiness, extreme sorrow, nervous feelings of revulsion or fear, chills down the spine and feelings of pressure on the chest.[19][20] In presenting the evidence to British Association for the Advancement of Science, one of the scientists responsible said,
    “These results suggest that low frequency sound can cause people to have unusual experiences even though they cannot consciously detect infrasound. Some scientists have suggested that this level of sound may be present at some allegedly haunted sites and so cause people to have odd sensations that they attribute to a ghost—our findings support these ideas.”

  58. Electrophysiology and “telepathy”?
    “Extracellular field potentials are local current sinks or sources that are generated by the collective activity of many cells. Usually a field potential is generated by the simultaneous activation of many neurons by synaptic transmission.” Wik

  59. Once the criminal elite realise more people believe in ghosts they could set up
    a new phenomena of Global “Haunting” and tax everyone to death.

  60. The coin of science only has one side.
    Leif, you miss my meaning. The US produces a whole passle of scientific illiterates. But it is also a leader in terms of scientific achievement. We are a lot more heterogenous than Europe, especially the west and the north of it.
    (I like anna’s analogy. A moebius strip coin.)

  61. I don’t believe in either, however this doesn’t strike me as unexpected.
    Believing in ghosts is relatively easy, because a) people are gullible and b) they have direct experience of things that they consider “spooky” and which they cannot explain.
    Belief in AGW is less direct and less impacting. I personally don’t buy it because I’m skeptical about the reliability of the data (and yes, I have looked at it myself and determined that I’m unconvinced… skepticism is a good thing), but most people don’t even have that data to back up anything. They look around, say “it doesn’t seem that warm to me” and get on with things.
    So, this is not surprising, really.

  62. Yes it is easy for people to believe in Ghost simply for the fact so many are searching beyond their self. Others have experienced Ghosts or something they simply are not ready to acknowledge.
    AGW falls into the same category. So many do not understand while they are searching to know more about the atmosphere and what is happening. There is nothing wrong with a great skeptic I believe they help to keep most of us honest and to keep searching. Therefore, for the skeptics of Ghost and the AGW each should consider to keep searching.

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