You Have to Do the Research
“Social scientists have documented that the public follows ‘elite cues’ when forming opinions on topics, especially those for which they don’t have a lot of information,” Dr. Riley Dunlap, an environmental sociologist at Oklahoma State University, told The Huffington Post in an email. “So when Republican politicians and pundits, whose voices are amplified by conservative media figures, deny climate change, this readily filters down to party activists and eventually many lay Republicans.”
These media messages have a major impact. In a forthcoming study, researchers tested the influence of climate change denial messages on American adults’ views of climate change, and found that they have an especially strong effect on conservatives.
The only reason people can successfully propagate invalid ideas and get others to believe them is because those “believers” don’t try to discover the facts themselves. Many people want to be told what to think. It’s easy. The process of learning and discovery is not easy. It can also have the inconvenient consequence of finding out that you’re wrong sometimes.
Update: This seems to happen with many other issues as well.