Apathy and the climate change divide – it isn’t about science literacy

From Yale University,  it seems the climate debate has become completely tribal. On the plus side, this study blows the “if only we could communicate to the public better” meme out of the water. The great climate divide deepens even further.

Yale study concludes public apathy over climate change unrelated to science literacy

Are members of the public divided about climate change because they don’t understand the science behind it? If Americans knew more basic science and were more proficient in technical reasoning, would public consensus match scientific consensus?

A study published today online in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that the answer to both questions is no. Indeed, as members of the public become more science literate and numerate, the study found, individuals belonging to opposing cultural groups become even more divided on the risks that climate change poses.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the study was conducted by researchers associated with the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School and involved a nationally representative sample of 1500 U.S. adults.

“The aim of the study was to test two hypotheses,” said Dan Kahan, Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale Law School and a member of the study team. “The first attributes political controversy over climate change to the public’s limited ability to comprehend science, and the second, to opposing sets of cultural values. The findings supported the second hypothesis and not the first,” he said.

“Cultural cognition” is the term used to describe the process by which individuals’ group values shape their perceptions of societal risks. It refers to the unconscious tendency of people to fit evidence of risk to positions that predominate in groups to which they belong. The results of the study were consistent with previous studies that show that individuals with more egalitarian values disagree sharply with individuals who have more individualistic ones on the risks associated with nuclear power, gun possession, and the HPV vaccine for school girls.

In this study, researchers measured “science literacy” with test items developed by the National Science Foundation. They also measured their subjects’ “numeracy”—that is, their ability and disposition to understand quantitative information.

“In effect,” Kahan said, “ordinary members of the public credit or dismiss scientific information on disputed issues based on whether the information strengthens or weakens their ties to others who share their values. At least among ordinary members of the public, individuals with higher science comprehension are even better at fitting the evidence to their group commitments.”

Kahan said that the study supports no inferences about the reasoning of scientific experts in climate change.

Researcher Ellen Peters of Ohio State University said that people who are higher in numeracy and science literacy usually make better decisions in complex technical situations, but the study clearly casts doubt on the notion that the more you understand science and math, the better decisions you’ll make in complex and technical situations. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”

According to Kahan, the study suggests the need for science communication strategies that reflect a more sophisticated understanding of cultural values.

“More information can help solve the climate change conflict,” Kahan said, “but that information has to do more than communicate the scientific evidence. It also has to create a climate of deliberations in which no group perceives that accepting any piece of evidence is akin to betrayal of their cultural group.”

###

In addition to Dan Kahan and Ellen Peters, other study researchers were Maggie Wittlin of the Cultural Cognition Project, Paul Slovic of Decision Research, Lisa Larrimore Ouellette of the Cultural Cognition Project, Donald Braman of George Washington University, and Gregory Mandel of Temple University.

Citation: The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks, Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1547.

The Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School is an interdisciplinary group of scholars interested in studying how cultural values shape public risk perceptions and related policy beliefs. Previous studies, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund at Yale Law School, have looked at perceptions of environmental and public health risks and of expert scientific consensus on such issues. For more information, visit www.culturalcognition.net.

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127 thoughts on “Apathy and the climate change divide – it isn’t about science literacy

  1. The divide is a reflection of people’s position on the burden of proof. If you believe the burden is on the alarmists to prove that CO2 is causing terrible climate effects, you’re a skeptic. If you believe the burden of proof is on the skeptics to explain why it got hotter since the 70s, then you’re an alarmist.

    It isn’t about science. It isn’t about consensus. It’s about who you believe has the burden of proof.

  2. Not surprising. Since this dispute came into the public eye, it’s been about status. Those who already have high status and want to keep it, and those who want to join the popular crowd, favor the high-status side. Those who don’t have high status and don’t want to be anywhere near it, favor the low-status side.

    As Monckton has been saying: money, power and glory.

    In other words, it’s always been about cool, not warm.

  3. It is turning out to be a war between liberals vs conservative/libertarians over everything.

  4. “Researcher Ellen Peters of Ohio State University said that people who are higher in numeracy and science literacy usually make better decisions in complex technical situations, but the study clearly casts doubt on the notion that the more you understand science and math, the better decisions you’ll make in complex and technical situations. ”

    Note the bias inherent in the phrasing: it assumes that AGW is indeed “the better decision.”

    I run across the same thing in the antismoking battles all the time: “All the cognizant scientific authorities agree that secondhand (or THIRDhand!) smoke is the deadliest thing since Bubonic Plague.” with the advocate then using that claim to push their agenda.

    In both cases you have a similar mechanism at work: many “authorities” who figure it’s “better to err on the side of the angels” and figure “The harm caused by taking these ‘precautions’ is far less than the potential harm of not taking them.”

    A secondary mechanism, playing on people’s immediate fears for their own personal welfare and that of their children in order to achieve a political goal, is also common to both: remember the TV commercial of the little girl standing on the train track and the far off train of Global Warming suddenly rushing to a few inches away? How about the one where the little girl can be heard repeatedly screaming and pleading for her father to (evidently) stop beating her… only to have the camera eventually zoom into the living room where the whole family is happily enjoying a TV show but the father, sitting off in an easy chair, is smoking?

    Improving people’s scientific knowledge is part of the solution, but you also have to fight the emotional propaganda tricks the scare-mongers use.

    – MJM

  5. “More information can help solve the climate change conflict,” Kahan said, “but that information has to do more than communicate the scientific evidence. It also has to create a climate of deliberations in which no group perceives that accepting any piece of evidence is akin to betrayal of their cultural group.”

    In other words, don’t consider the evidence of the science, but use social engineering to get people to agree with your point of view, regardless of the evidence. The evidence for AGW is not strong. In fact, much of it is contradictory and in some cases fabricated, while ignoring counter evidence. All in all a pretty self-serving policy.

  6. The results of this study do not surprise me. Strong AGW advocates will ignore emperical evidence that shows their position to be wrong, yet they maintain said position. The same can be said about AGW skeptics.
    And this gets to the crux. Both skeptics and deniers of emperical evidence have to understand that at times a published paper really does show something relating to climate of substantial interest.

  7. …Indeed, as members of the public become more science literate and numerate…

    This really is a fallacy. Members of the public are not more literate in science, they only think they are. The gap between what the general public “knows” and what is truth in science is a wide as it ever was, maybe even wider. I ascribe the latter to the “little knowledge is a dangerous thing” meme, where the general public thinks they are getting a literate knowledge of science, and therefore cease to seek the deeper truth. Complexity and knowledge has raised both the bar for education, and for the deepth of our understanding, but the gap between the two is as wide as ever.

    I think a major difference between now and as little as 60-70 years ago, is that today, because we’ve had a little education, most of it uncritical, we presume to know, whereas, back pre and post wwII, there was an understanding by individuals , broadly, that there really was more to learn, so the general public was open to seek and to learn. It was and own goal.

    Today, that seems to be less so. The biologist in me wonders if we’ve begun to achieve cognitive saturation – overwhelming the neural capacity to learn and retain because there is so much, that we are neurologically screening out.

  8. Just another study that proves you either have common sense or you don’t. Australia is the biggest coal exporter in the world and probably the second in iron ore exports and yet we are introducing a co2 tax of $23 tonne from July 1st this year.
    Our idiot govt states we must tackle climate change or take action on CC but then will do anything they can to increase exports of the above.
    Iron ore must use incredible ammounts of energy from coal etc to become finished products to market so our exports must produce heaps more co2 than the much smaller tonnage that we use domestically.
    Aussies will have to rely on unreliable, super expensive,useless solar and wind energy but our competitors get to use our cheap coal to process iron ore etc and steal our jobs and industry.

  9. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”

    Again, if you’re pro-AGW, your conclusions are “better for society”. But, if you actively read and follow the science and have high math and science comprehension skills that compel a different conclusion, you must, therefore, be “selfish” and a person who is thinking what’s best for yourself as an individual.

    Or, they’re wrong.

  10. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”

    Yeah, the aliens are coming, right?

  11. Climate talks stall with nations ‘wasting time’
    Richard Black By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News
    Oil rigs on US coast The US was accused of being in a “coalition of the unwilling”, along with other oil-fuelled states
    Continue reading the main story
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    Europe struggles for climate lead
    First chuffs from the Durban climate train
    Climate consensus cracking open – or not…

    The latest round of UN climate talks has made little progress, observers say.

    The meeting in Bonn, Germany saw angry exchanges between rich nations, fast-industrialising ones and those prone to climate impacts.

    Campaigners spoke of a “coalition of the unwilling” including the US, China, India and several Gulf states.

    Developing countries are also concerned about the lack of firm pledges on finance beyond the end of this year.

    This was the first negotiating meeting since last December’s ministerial summit in Durban, South Africa.

    The key outcome there was an agreement to begin talks leading to a new global deal involving all nations.

    The “Durban Platform”, as it is known, will see the agreement tied up by 2015 and coming into force by 2020.

    Opening the Bonn session, UN climate convention (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres told negotiators that progress depended on ambition – “ambition to support developing countries, ambition to mobilise finance and… ambition to decisively and tangibly reduce emissions according to what science demands”.

    By the end, several observers including Tove Maria Ryding of Greenpeace International concluded that ambition had been largely absent.

    “It’s absurd to watch governments sit and point fingers and fight like little kids while the scientists explain about the terrifying impacts of climate change,” she said.
    Complex world
    Continue reading the main story
    “Start Quote

    Some of the world’s largest emitters have wasted too much energy in trying to move backwards rather than in securing progress”

    Connie Hedegaard EU Climate Commissioner

    While UN climate talks used to be characterised as a simple “rich versus poor” battle, the politics have become much more tangled in recent years.

    At the Durban meeting, dozens of the world’s poorest and most climate-vulnerable nations teamed up with the EU to press for a new global deal with legal character – which eventually found form in the Durban Platform.

    The main opponents of the move included developing countries such as India and China, as well as rich ones such as the US.

    This split within the developing world bloc led to a spat in Bonn that more than one experienced observer described as “unprecedented”.

    China’s delegate Su Wei asked veteran Surinamese diplomat Robert van Lierop to step down as interim chair of the working group on the Durban Platform (ADP), alleging a possible conflict of interest.

    Conventionally, chairs of all sessions are supposed to behave impartially – and questioning their capacity to do so is highly undiplomatic.

    Mr Wei was backed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait. But Barbadian Selwin Hart described the move as “unprecedented and alarming… we have crossed a very unfortunate line”.
    Continue reading the main story
    Climate change glossary
    Select a term to learn more:
    Adaptation
    Adaptation
    Action that helps cope with the effects of climate change – for example construction of barriers to protect against rising sea levels, or conversion to crops capable of surviving high temperatures and drought.
    Glossary in full

    The Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis), with which Mr van Lierop is associated, is adamant that the ADP must work on curbing emissions before 2015; and Mr Wei’s intervention was interpreted in some quarters as a slap to Aosis.

    China and the oil-producing states fear the breaching of the “firewall” between the traditional developed and developing worlds.

    They fear this will help developed countries make the case that fast-industrialising nations such as China should face emissions cuts before too long.

    In turn, China points to the repeated failure of rich countries to cut their emissions as far as mainstream science indicates they should – particularly those such as the US, Japan, Russia and Canada that have opted not to take further emission cuts under the Kyoto Protocol.

    “Both sides are right,” said Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    “The US and Japan and Russia aren’t taking their responsibilities seriously; yet the developed countries are right in that you can’t rebuild the firewall and pretend that the future for China is the same as the future for Bangladesh,” he told BBC News.

    The agenda for ADP negotiations was finally adopted. But there was little progress on another key issue – agreeing the terms under which the EU, and possibly other developed nations, will put their emission cuts under the Kyoto Protocol.
    Funding hiatus

    Three years ago, developed countries pledged that by 2020 they would be providing $100bn per year for poor nations, to help them “green” their economies and prepare for impacts of climate change.

    For the period 2009-12, they are provided $10bn per year in “fast-start finance”.
    Christiana Figueres Christiana Figueres asked for “ambition” – but many said the talks were bogged down in “process”

    But that agreement comes to an end in December, and no developed nation has yet indicated what happens afterwards.

    “No progress was made to deliver the financial support that the world’s poorest and most vulnerable need to deal with the growing impacts of climate change,” said Celine Charveriat, Oxfam advocacy and campaigns director.

    “It is now vital that, at the next UN climate summit in Qatar in November, rich countries commit to an initial $10-15bn… between 2013 and 2015.”

    EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard complained that the meeting had discussed process rather than substance.

    “This week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has reported that global emissions have reached their highest ever level,” she said.

    “At the same time, in Bonn, some of the world’s largest emitters have wasted too much energy in trying to move backwards rather than in securing progress.

    “This is not just irresponsible; it is untenable for a UNFCCC process that wants to remain relevant.”

    While the coalition between the EU and its developing country allies appears to have held, the climate-vulnerable nations are not happy about the EU’s repeated failure to pledge tighter emission cuts.

    It appears that Poland is the only EU nation holding things up – and there are indications that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will wield her country’s considerable diplomatic muscle at the EU Council meeting next month.

    Meanwhile, the UNFCCC process is likely to include an extra meeting this year, probably in Bangkok, though the funds are not yet in place.

  12. The study reflects the cultural values of the researchers themselves. The accusation of group-think on the part of the public shows their own group-think about how people form opinions.

    It is better to be divided by truth than to be united by error.
    -Luther

  13. “It is turning out to be a war between liberals vs conservative/libertarians over everything.”

    Naturally. You’ve got one group that hates people, but trust them. And the other group doesn’t trust people, but loves them. There’s no limit to the perversity this causes within either group. But it’s near certain that each group will be wholly opposed the other.

    As for science? If scientists had scientific literacy we wouldn’t have spent a dime on AGW or numerous other bits of boggled nonsense.

  14. The divide between those who believe in the absolute power of a small elite to solve any problem and those who are skeptical of that ability will continue without regard for how the problem or solution is communicated.

    The definitive experiment as regards tidal heights was performed by the great war chieftain Knute (anglicized Canute).

  15. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”
    and collectivism places the value of the abstraction called ‘society’ far above the actual life of any individual or any number of them.
    individuals take note. you don’t count and if you think you do, you may be diagnosed and treated.
    you had equal right to express your opinion and vote for the choices you were given, which were meaningless except insofar as it was an easy way to sweet talk your pants off instead of having to slap you silly and just take what they wanted without your consent.
    however, now you have a lifetime of habits, well rehearsed, in this codependent and abusive relationship.
    you might whine and bleed, but you’ll be back for more.
    and once all your gold is gone, you’ll eat lead.
    it’s all been done before and looked just the same then. nobody hid his motives. nobody defended his rights until he had nothing to lose.
    it’s all salvage, here on out. and there are no fairy godmothers or super heroes.
    there was never anything but individuals – and they gave up without a fight.

  16. “individuals with higher science comprehension are even better at fitting the evidence to their group commitments

    And hiding the decline.

  17. So the more you know, the better job you can do of fooling yourself. Nothing new there. “We each ride through life on the back of a great elephant. We don’t know why the elephant does what it does. We just make up reasons why it did it.”

  18. I don’t know where to begin enumerating the errors and mistaken assumptions in this article. I will therefore just make a couple of personal remarks. When forming my opinions based on evidence, I do not try to figure out what “group” or “community” I belong to. I try to decide what the truth is. I owe no allegiance to any exterior group. The idea that people in the general public try to conform their opinions to what they think a particular group wants them to think is preposterous. The whole group-psych bafflegab is unprovable, unfalsifiable, and thus scientifically worthless. Yuck!

  19. For at least some people, including me, it comes down to whether what has been claimed about the science is really what the science can tell us or is telling us.

  20. 100% of the scientists I work with call BS on CAGW (and AGW). 97% of my non-scientist friends agree. But, that’s just my little part of the world. Nothing to see here. move along…

  21. Of course, there’s a third option, but I wouldn’t expect Yale to be able to comprehend that.

    There is also the group that would be alarmist as anyone, except have realized that the entire issue is either made up or the result of horribly poor science. We (I’m in this group) listened to the AGW hypothesis, and went looking for credible evidence. Alas, we found none.

    Oh well.

  22. Ordinary members (and extraordinary members) of the public credit or dismiss scientific information on disputed issues based on whether the information presented by either side makes sense in the light of records and research. Ordinary members of the public still retain their common sense and nose for bullshit at quite large distances.

  23. I’ve never seen a hypothesis that did not include a confidence level. This is more tedious BS, that people are supposed to accept as gospel. When in fact it’s just more Crap.

  24. “Indeed, as members of the public become more science literate and numerate, the study found, individuals belonging to opposing cultural groups become even more divided on the risks that climate change poses.”

    — Okay, so the better someone’s ability to understand the technical aspects of the science, the less likely they are to be undecided and the more likely they are to take a strong position for one side or the other.

    “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”

    — Wait… what? That almost sounds like code for saying that the better someone comprehends the technical aspects of the science, the more likely they are to be skeptical of the alarmist position.

  25. “More information can help solve the climate change conflict,” Kahan said, “but that information has to do more than communicate the scientific evidence. It also has to create a climate of deliberations in which no group perceives that accepting any piece of evidence is akin to betrayal of their cultural group.”

    =================================

    If this were impliimented years ago then the CAGW scheme would have been over much sooner and would have likely never gotten off the ground.

  26. From the abstract of the study: “Why do members of the public disagree – sharply and persistently – about facts on which expert scientists largely agree?”

    — For a following study, I suggest the researchers tackle the topic of when human life begins — specifically, whether it happens at birth as many people with a liberal ideology believe, or whether it happens much sooner, as science demonstrates.

  27. Say it: conservatives reject AGW. Libs “believe” it.
    A few months ago a Pew poll found only 19% of Republicans believe in man-made global warming. And now a poll finds that only 17% of conservative Canadians (voted for the Tories) “are concerned” about global warming: http://www.660news.com/news/local/article/365630–new-poll-says-global-warming-is-not-a-major-environmental-concern
    And we know the reason why. Yes, the gig is up on the ideological motivations, the lying, and trumped up “science” of the leftist scare-mongers. But only conservatives seem concerned about these glaring problems with AGW.
    The environmentalists have called for de-industrialization; I could recite quotes up and down this page attesting to that. The 80%+ CO2 cuts that the warmists demand are exactly what the de-industrialists dream of. Conservatives, never being too thrilled with de-industrialization to begin with, have been receptive to the glaring problems with the AGW science. On the other hand, leftists, in tune with the leftists behind the scam, tend to have the philosophy of leftist senator Tim Wirth who said ““We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing …”
    Hence, the left – right political divide. It’s not any more complex than this. We don’t need an Einstein to figure this out.

  28. “individuals with higher science comprehension are even better at fitting the evidence to their group commitments”

    … and since those with science training would therefore have the highest science comprehension, why wouldn’t AGW climate scientists also be the best at fitting the evidence to their “group commitments” ???

    Based on that statement, the logical question is someone ought to study the “group commitments” of those leading the AGW charge. Given the known politics of many of the leaders, it would be shocking if that study didn’t show the group was overwhelmingly liberal. That would be a huge blow to their personal credibility & the overall credibility of AGW, in light of this study.

    Now just to be fair, I wouldn’t be surprised if the opposite was true as well, with many skeptics being conservatives or libertarians.

    So, where does that leave us? Probably means the truth lies in the middle (no strong “group commitments”) – maybe the “Lukewarmers” (some CO2 warming possible but nothing catastrophic) are most likely correct, if you believe the results of this study.

    Something to think about anyway. Now, I have to get back to my “group commitments” :))

  29. More seriously, we seem to be in a “Millerite” moment. You will recall that William Miller predicted the end of the world between Mar 1843 and Mar 1844. It caused considerable excitement in the USA and Canada, and even some in the UK and Australia.
    When March 1844 was over, a new date of April the 18 was announced. When that went by, many stopped believing, but for remaining believers a new date of Oct 22, 1844 was predicted. When that date went by, there were still enough believers to form 3 sects (one of which morphed into the Jehovah’s Witnesses). Needless to say, the further dates of 1874 and 1914 also passed unfulfilled.
    We have had predictions of Global Warming coming in 10 or 20 years for the last 40 years. Long enough for many to become sceptical.
    But the believers have rallied in Yale University, still hoping for the end.

  30. Anything out of Yale is suspect, IMHO. I got my bad attitude from the Yale Forum on Climate Change, or some such nonsense blog emitted by Peter Sinclair and Zeke Hausfather, and funded by financial wizard [but otherwise complete lunatic] Jeremy Grantham’s Left Of The George Soros Foundation Foundation. Or something like that. IIRC.

    Anyway, for a peek at the future of global tribalism, see here:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/if-greece-was-california

    But don’t worry, the new High Speed Trolley will fix up California for sure, for a mere $100 billion+ down payment. Operating subsidies extra. The Trolley won’t go where folks want to go, but it will make some tribes feel good, because the hard-bitten Taxpayer Tribe and tribes in other States will be forced to pay for it. And feeling good is what matters most in California, right? Right?? [I call the HST the "Dead-on-arrival Urban Money Burner": D.U.M.B.]

  31. gnomish says:
    May 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    “you might whine and bleed, but you’ll be back for more.
    and once all your gold is gone, you’ll eat lead.
    it’s all been done before and looked just the same then. nobody hid his motives. nobody defended his rights until he had nothing to lose.
    it’s all salvage, here on out. and there are no fairy godmothers or super heroes.
    there was never anything but individuals – and they gave up without a fight.”

    Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
    And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
    That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

    As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
    There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
    That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

    Excerpt from ‘The Gods of the Copybook Headings.’
    Rudyard Kipling 1919

  32. the study clearly casts doubt on the notion that the more you understand science and math, the better decisions you’ll make in complex and technical situations. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”
    ============================================
    …welcome to the borg

    Why didn’t she just go on and say that people that don’t agree with her are morons………

  33. All of the numerous studies along these lines appear to be nothing more than market analysis and strategy.

  34. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
    People with a sense of history will recognize this quote from a master manipulator of the masses.
    Little have changes since then but for the fact that AGW is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind

  35. This study is total and utter gibberish. The more literate people are about science and technology, the more likely they are to come to correct conclusions on areas of disagreement. When people DON’T understand the science and technology, THAT is when they are likely to fit the narrative that they don’t understand to their world view.

    Understanding science and technology is by DEFINITION the ability to understand the issues accurately DESPITE one’s world view. These people have the whole thing exactly bass ackwards.

  36. So at the basic level what they are saying is that even if a young male is scientifically literate he won’t turn into a skeptic because that would isolate him from the female population he’s desperate to mate with, thus further perpetuating generational group-think.

  37. Is there no limit to the mental gymnastics they’re willing to undertake instead of just admitting that the more scientifically literate one is the less likely one is to accept that legislative action on climate change is necessary because the evidence is weak?

  38. Looks like all they did is confirm John Dewey’s study.

    ….Dewey’s philosophy had evolved from Hegelian idealism to socialist materialism, and the purpose of the school was to show how education could be changed to produce little socialists and collectivists instead of little capitalists and individualists. It was expected that these little socialists, when they became voting adults, would dutifully change the American economic system into a socialist one.

    In order to do so he analyzed the traditional curriculum that sustained the capitalist, individualistic system and found what he believed was the sustaining linchpin — that is, the key element that held the entire system together: high literacy. To Dewey, the greatest obstacle to socialism was the private mind that seeks knowledge in order to exercise its own private judgment and intellectual authority. High literacy gave the individual the means to seek knowledge independently. It gave individuals the means to stand on their own two feet and think for themselves. This was detrimental to the “social spirit” needed to bring about a collectivist society. Dewey wrote in Democracy and Education, published in 1916:

    When knowledge is regarded as originating and developing within an individual, the ties which bind the mental life of one to that of his fellows are ignored and denied.

    When the social quaility of individualized mental operations is denied, it becomes a problem to find connections which will unite an individual with his fellows. Moral individualism is set up by the conscious separation of different centers of life. It has its roots in the notion that the consciousness of each person is wholly private, a self-inclosed continent. intrinsically independent of the ideas, wishes, purposes of everybody else.

    And he wrote in School and Society in 1899:

    The tragic weakness of the present school is that it endeavors to prepare future members of the social order in a medium in which the conditions of the social spirit are eminently wanting …

    The mere absorbing of facts and truths is so exclusively individual an affair that it tends very naturally to pass into selfishness. There is no obvious social motive for the acquirement of merely learning, there is no clear social gain in success threat.

    It seems incredible that a man of Dewey’s intelligence could state that the sort of traditional education that produced our founding fathers and the wonderful inventors of the 19th century lacked “social spirit” when it was these very individuals who created the freest, happiest, and most prosperous nation in all of human history….

    John Dewey is the “Father of American Education” so if you every wondered why the US schools get worse and worse now you know. It was done on purpose to produce good little “Co-dependent” serfs willing to give up freedom and individualism to become part of the “Group” or the “Collective”

  39. ““What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”” —Researcher Ellen Peters of Ohio State University

    Well, Ellen, needless to say you won’t be reading what I write here since you know everything you can possibly need to know about what is better for society and why I am wrong. But let me fill you in anyway. The meme that your side pushes is that excessive CO2 is a tragedy of the commons and that warming from CO2 from guilty parties will cause numerous inconveniences or worse to innocent parties including present day severe weather. As pointed out in various hundreds of articles here and similar sites, that notion is wrong. But the core issue is that the use of fossil carbon to create atmospheric carbon dioxide is the basis of a civilized and prosperous society, a fact which you fail to understand since you only believe in central planning.

    Sure, we could some “saviors” of the environment kill off 95% of the human population and allow the rest to live in caves with appropriate population controls. Or we could use one of your “reasonable” half measures and force millions in developed countries to choose between heat and food and a billion or more to die in the undeveloped countries once the developed countries go under. But even your merely half-depraved half measures will not stop the increase in CO2 and modeled increase in temperature. So not only is it incredibly immoral but incredibly stupid, so we reject it.

    I would close with the thought that everything I have ever done and said on energy and climate issues is for the good of humanity, certainly not me as an individual or me as part of any group.

  40. Paul and Gnomish…..

    “When all the world would keep a matter hid,
    Since Truth is seldom Friend to any crowd,
    Men write in fable, as old Aesop did,
    Jesting at that which none will name aloud.
    And this they needs must do, or it will fall
    Unless they please they are not heard at all.”

    intro stanza to The Fabulists…by Kipling. :)

  41. I am pretty far on the left but I don’t buy AGW anymore though I once did. I really can’t figure out how this is a left- right issue. It is a science issue. Since when did science become left or right?
    And maybe that gets to the real problem, science is way too politicized. And yet, it seems like time and time again when we need scientists to really oppose the government propaganda of the day, scientists are off hiding under a rock.

  42. This study is rotten to the core because simply being “numerate” and knowing something about science is NOT the same as understanding and living by the hard rules of scientific methodology. I might well have been taught to do calculus without grokking the fundamental methods by which rational inquiry proceeds.

    As Mark in the very first post in this thread points out the Warmists are generally confused about where the burden of proof lies. This is one of the most fundamental concepts in epistemology. If you don’t understand the logical process of hypothesis formation and testing how can you possibly be “scientifically literate?” Then there are Warmists who know the methods of science, but willingly chose to abuse and degrade them.

    The real climate war is the battle between the ideals of Enlightenment Science (transparency, reproducibility, testing against empirical data, etc.) and the forces of what has been called “Endarkenment,” which represent the values of consensus, passion, narrative, doctrine, coercion and political correctness over empirical measurement and cool scientific method.

    True, it’s part of the larger cultural war going on. It’s the most important part, because if the forces of Endarkenment can degrade the methods of rational inquiry through abuse or by subversion, then they will have won the culture war, since their ultimate aim is to destroy the objective methods by which we measure and come to understand empirical reality. Once science is degenerated into just another post-mod narrative, then “The Truth” can be simply dictated to the masses by The Priesthood. No need to learn how to think critically and logically. In fact, to do so is already called the “Denialist” heresy.

    The AGW hypothesis was early on appropriated as a critique of capitalism to revive moribund neo-Marxist ideas advocating command economics and limiting individual civil liberties in favour of collectivist values. The fact that the eco-Marxist appropriation of science for political coercion threatens to degrade science is a feature not a bug to the Greens, who well understand that systematically rational thought is their worse enemy.

    Many well-informed warmists like Tim Flannery, (the Australian Climate Commissioner) and Paul Krugman have publicly said that lying to people is morally appropriate to fool them into supporting collectivist economics.

    Therefore, the climate debate is about nothing at all, if it isn’t first and foremost about the proper conduct of rational inquiry, how we know what we know and how the rules of the scientific method should be enforced in research and taught in our schools.

  43. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”

    Ah, yes! If you oppose Central Planning, you are opposed to a healthy scociety.

    “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

    We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.” –Frederic Bastiat

  44. Since this is about communication, etc. there’s something evil comes this way. A great deal of the strength of the skeptic community is dependent on the internet. If the following comes to pass, I’ll give y’all three guesses who will be on the target list.

    Quote:

    House lawmakers will consider an international proposal next week to give the United Nations more control over the Internet.

    The proposal is backed by China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members, and would give the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the governance of the Internet.

    It’s an unpopular idea with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress, and officials with the Obama administration have also criticized it.

    “We’re quite concerned,” Larry Strickling, the head of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said in an interview with The Hill earlier this year.

    He said the measure would expose the Internet to “top-down regulation where it’s really the governments that are at the table, but the rest of the stakeholders aren’t.”

    At a hearing earlier this month, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also criticized the proposal. He said China and Russia are “not exactly bastions of Internet freedom.”

    “Any place that bans certain terms from search should not be a leader in international Internet regulatory frameworks,” he said, adding that he will keep a close eye on the process.

    Yet the proposal could come up for a vote at a UN conference in Dubai in December.

    In an op-ed earlier this year in The Wall Street Journal, McDowell warned that “a top-down, centralized, international regulatory overlay is antithetical to the architecture of the Net.”

    “Productivity, rising living standards and the spread of freedom everywhere, but especially in the developing world, would grind to a halt as engineering and business decisions become politically paralyzed within a global regulatory body,” McDowell wrote.

    He said some governments feel excluded from Internet policymaking and want more control over the process.

    “And let’s face it, strong-arm regimes are threatened by popular outcries for political freedom that are empowered by unfettered Internet connectivity,” McDowell wrote.

    More: http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/229653-house-to-examine-plan-to-let-un-regulate-internet

  45. It is very simply stated that knowledge of science doesn’t equal objectivity. Alarmists are masters at manipulating reality to fit their agenda. They claim to be scientific but using science to distort reality is about as anti-science as you can get in my book. At least they made that point correctly that knowledge of science doesn’t mean they are right about whatever conclusions they draw and many people with scientific knowledge are good at manipulating it to fit whatever agenda they have.

    Their attitude makes me doubt they even see their own hypocrisy. They sound like typical liberals that see their faults in everyone else. At least they identified that particular fault which is better than most of them.

  46. With well over 200 semester hours in math, science and engineering (as well as having earned a living for almost 50 years in a very diverse assortment of technical fields), I consider myself quite capable of grasping at least the fundamentals of most mathematical, scientific, and engineering arguments. It does take some interest on my part to motivate me to attempt to fill the many specialized niches which may be lacking, but I have invested considerable time and effort to understand the subject called global warming. The thing that brings the most emotional reaction to me is not whether it fits my preconceptions (there were essentially none) or whether it fit in with the views of my associates. It is the perceived difference in the attitude of the alarmists and the skeptics.
    The skeptics appear to be willing to enter into discussion, show the original data, and show their methods of processing that data. There is a lot of spirited dialog regarding their process and their conclusions on the internet. The alarmists appear to hide their data and their methods of processing that data and to be very unwilling to discuss the data, the process, or the conclusions. Indeed, they appear to be willing to violate laws to hinder such discussions. There is also good reason to suppose that they are altering the data before processing it and making false statements concerning those alterations. They appear to make a great effort to suppress any questioning of their conclusions and to suppress any opinions which differs from theirs.

    I discriminate on appearances and I would no more waste my time on an alleged scientist that appears to be secretive than I would buy a used car from an individual whose appearance and manner fits some of my stereotypes.

  47. The results of the study were consistent with previous studies that show that individuals with more egalitarian values disagree sharply with individuals who have more individualistic ones

    Since when was egalitarian the opposite of individualistic?

    The opposite of individualistic would be collectivist or communitarian. But I guess they sound too socialist. So the authors thought it better to corrupt the English language.

  48. “If Americans knew more basic science and were more proficient in technical reasoning, would public consensus match scientific consensus?”

    Not necessarily, because science isn’t about “consensus”, it’s about proof. Presumably a more scientifically literate public would know that.

  49. Just put in perspective this simple, indisputable, fact from our government in the US.

  50. Sounds like this will become another stick they will try to beat us with – claiming that we “don’t believe” because are afraid to step away from the opinions of our friends. In other words, we are emotionally weak. Frankly, I’ve never come across a Realist (skeptic, if you prefer) that wasn’t willing to stand alone.

  51. Paul Coppin says:
    May 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    What a great post. This is my view exactly but I never had the eloquence to express it so well. We are in the age of sound-bite knowledge. Modern debate consists largely of people merely exchanging a selection of fatuous ‘smart-arsed’ comments at a most superficial level. Critical thinking has given way to advocacy and cAGW belief is merely one symptom.

  52. “”””” Researcher Ellen Peters of Ohio State University said that people who are higher in numeracy and science literacy usually make better decisions in complex technical situations, but the study clearly casts doubt on the notion that the more you understand science and math, the better decisions you’ll make in complex and technical situations. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.” “””””

    Well excuse me !!

    When did individuals become responsible for “society” ? Persons are responsible to and for themselves. In most family oriented cultures, persons (majors) are also responsible for any minor children (maybe also a spouse on the off chance that one exists these days).

    If everybody toed that line, most of the world’s problems would not exist.

    Did “researcher Ellen Peters” say just WHO gets to decide what is “society” and what is “best” for it.

    And did she construct a list in order of merit of what are “the better decisions” Well in her researcher humble opinion of course.

    I wonder how many job offers Ellen Peters has received in the last month/12months from profit making enterprises who have job openings in her much needed specialty; so that she can start to contribute to society !

  53. In turn, China points to the repeated failure of rich countries to cut their emissions as far as mainstream science indicates they should – particularly those such as the US, Japan, Russia and Canada that have opted not to take further emission cuts under the Kyoto Protocol.

    The US isn’t a Kyoto signatory. We refused to buy into the obligations then and now pompous pipsqueaks are scolding us for not complying with obligations we don’t have.

  54. davidgmills says:
    May 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    “I am pretty far on the left but I don’t buy AGW anymore though I once did. I really can’t figure out how this is a left- right issue. It is a science issue. Since when did science become left or right?”

    Excellent comment. AGW [and CAGW] is not a left-right issue. It is a question of scientific truth. Either there is runaway global warming caused by the rise in CO2, or the “carbon” scare is a lie based on money and political power.

    The planet is making clear that the rise in CO2 is not a problem. At all. Therefore, honest people like yourself do not buy into the AGW conjecture. Climate alarmists don’t like that fact, but if there is any evidence to support the AGW scare, they have to produce it. Now. The ball is in their court.

  55. Dr. John M. Ware says:
    May 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm
    Stark Dickflüssig says:
    May 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm
    Philip Bradley says:
    May 27, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    You guys are touching on something very important here. I reject the conventional left-right dichotomy; there are just as many communitarian nannies on the right as on the left. The important distinction is between the socialist/communitarian school of thought and individualists/libertarians.

    In the last couple hundred years, scores of millions have been sacrificed on the altar of socialism by people determined to eliminate “people with high science and math comprehension [who] can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society”. People like Thomas Edison and Bill Gates for example.

    The most dangerous people I know of are those that, because they genuinely believe that their ideas will benefit society, are willing to inflict their “solutions” on the unwashed rabble. Somehow, because their goals are noble, whatever they do MUST be for the best, whatever the cost.

  56. “””””
    Steve O says:

    May 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    From the abstract of the study: “Why do members of the public disagree – sharply and persistently – about facts on which expert scientists largely agree?”

    — For a following study, I suggest the researchers tackle the topic of when human life begins — specifically, whether it happens at birth as many people with a liberal ideology believe, or whether it happens much sooner, as science demonstrates. “””””

    Well on a larger scale, there is a belief that “life” began some 4 1/2 billion years ago or so.

    I’m not aware of any evidence for life ending or beginning again, since that first event; and when restricted in the extreme to just humans (izzat a single species), maybe we have to go back as much as a few million years, or perhaps as little as 100 k years (I dunno).

    As to your very much restrictive question of when a single person’s existence begins; the “liberal” answer of “at birth”, is surely not correct; but then so are some of the more “scientific answers” that are offered, in particular by many “religious persons” and that term is simply a categorical one; not a judgemental one; because many non-religious persons hold the same view; perhaps the most definitive position being “at the instant of conception.”
    Well “at birth” and “at conception” are equally wrong; the second having a clear existence proof of error. There are many millions of people on earth; who simply do not exist, if you believe a human life begins “at the moment of conception”. They don’t exist, even though they are alive and well, because “at the moment of conception” huge numbers of persons simply were not present; ergo they cannot exist. The only alternative explanation, is that these strange people are the result of the most garish of all birth defects; they were born in multiple autonomous separate parts.

    Science calls them identical twins or triplets; maybe even octets; although I am not sure identical octets have ever been authenticated; but triplets for sure. At least half of all these persons simply were not present at the moment of conception; somebody else was there in their stead.

    So I go with my earlier belief; life began maybe 4 1/2 billion years ago; and so far as we know, it has never happened again. I did say as far as we KNOW.

  57. The informed and logical eloquence found throughout this thread is a joy to behold.

    Many thanks.

  58. If this study was not rotten and biased it would not be on Nature Climate Change to start with…

  59. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”
    LOL
    Another way to say that scientifically educated people are no suckers for AGW and thus are a threat to society and this has to be addressed by all means…
    Ecototalitarians at work.

  60. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”

    That is a considerable overstatement, in that it is implicitly weighed-against by:

    1) the number of apostates from the Climate Cassandra Camp.
    2) The percentage of leftists (20%?) in the Climate Contrarians Camp.
    3) The alternate explanation given below for the overlap between Contrarianism and Conservatism (basically, hardheadedness):

    Chris H says:
    September 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    To a limited degree Dessler is right in saying that opposition to big government and climate scepticism go together. However, his implication that the one determines the other is incorrect. As Melanie Phillips points out in her book “The World Turned Upside Down”, the liberal left mindset predisposes to a set of values that is in favour of AGW, “green” issues and big government….

    In contrast, those on the right tend to be more pragmatic and look at what works and consider the evidence. As a consequence, AGW scepticism and opposition to the current US government, which many observers reckon to be one of the most leftwing in the country’s history, will go together without one “causing” the other.

  61. 1} CHALLENGE TO ALL COMENTERS, TO FIND BETTER ANSWERS

    You constantly use the terms: ‘’thermodynamics and convection’’ but never implement it.
    IT’S, THE SELF ADJUSTING MECHANISMS: to be same warmth units in the troposphere every hour of every day / year and millenia

    Factor 1] when troposphere warms up – oxygen + nitrogen expand, INSTANTLY. They are 998999ppm in the troposphere. Volume of the troposphere increases INSTANTLY. Nobody talks about it; if they did – they would have proven their misleading is WRONG. Because of bigger cities, bitumen / bricks / more people are having hot showers and cooking than 150y ago; the air in those cities is always warmer than before (city island heat) From 500km3 of air is expanded to 550km3. Those extra 50km3 are increasing the volume of the troposphere. Take in the account the contribution of every big city on the planet; conservative estimate: the ‘’troposphere’’ has expanded by 5-7m up; that extra volume intercepts and redirects enough extra coldness ‘’to CANCEL the extra heat’’. That extra coldness doesn’t fall back into those cities; because in few minutes falling down – by spinning the planet fast eastwards + horizontal winds on the way down disperse that extra coldness somewhere far west = far west of every big city is fraction colder. ‘’Fraction, because that coldness is distributed on much larger are, than the city. Overall, same warmth units in the troposphere every hour of every year and millenia.

    Factor 2] usually, HORIZONTAL winds take the heat from the ground; VERTICAL winds take that heat to the edge of the troposphere; discharge the heat into the unlimited coldness; and exchange it for coldness, which takes about 3,5 second > that extra cold air gets to the ground in minutes. WHEN HEAT INCREASES on the ground > VERTICAL WINDS INCREASE.

    Warmer air expands > increases volume > on the way up. Hot air balloon is a good example; because is using the heat convection – to get up, and stay up. The power of warm air wants to go up – the warmer it gets – the more powerful vertical winds. Lifts 100kg balloon + the gas bottle + the basket + 5-6 people in it – it’s lifting 600kg, over half a ton. In that balloon is lots and lots of CO2+H2O; but doesn’t prevent it of going up, to release heat. Example: if the balloon instantly disappeared – that warm air inside the balloon would have shot up as a rocket – to take the heat to the edge on the troposphere and replace it with coldness.
    Can CO2 and water vapor prevent the warmed air from getting up? A: When the gas burns to warm up the air inside the balloon; the flame turns the gas into CO2 AND ‘’VATER VAPOUR’’. If those two molecules CO2 + H2O were preventing expansion of oxygen + nitrogen inside the balloon; the balloon wouldn’t have taken off the ground with that extra weight. That is factual / proof of their lies / Warmist ‘’smoking gun’’.

    After 1/2h up in the air; in the balloon is over 20 000ppm of CO2 + lots of water vapor!
    Q: can CO2 + water vapor prevent the warm air into the balloon of expanding and going up? A: you know the answer; don’t let them get away with their cheap lies.

  62. BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO ALL COMENTERS, TO FIND BETTER ANSWERS

    Temperature in the atmosphere is NOT same as in human body; when under the armpit is 1C warmer than normal = the WHOLE body is warmer by that much. In nature is opposite. Time for mature debate; for real proofs, it’s time for the secular Skeptics to get on the front foot.
    Q: do you know that: oxygen + nitrogen are 998999ppm in the troposphere, CO2 only 260-400ppm? Q: do you know that O+N expand /shrink INSTANTLY in change of temperature? Q: do you know that; where they expand upwards; on the edge of the troposphere is minus – 90⁰C? Q: why O+N expand more, when warmed by 5⁰C, than when warmed by 2⁰C? A: when warmed by 5⁰C, they need to go further up, to release MORE heat; to intercept more extra coldness, to equalize. Q: if O+N are cooled after 10minutes to previous temperature, why they don’t stay expanded another 5 minutes extra? A: not to intercept too much extra coldness, to prevent too much cooling. A2: they stay expanded precisely as long as they are warmer – not one second more or less – that’s how they regulate to be same warmth units overall in the troposphere, every hour of every year and millennia! (Past GLOBAL warmings were never global!)

    Q: do you know that: if troposphere warms up by 2⁰C extra – troposphere expands up into the stratosphere by 1km, how much extra coldness is there to intercept? A: intercepts extra appropriate coldness, to counteract the extra heat in 3,5 seconds > that extra coldness falls to the ground in minutes Q: if O+N are warmed extra for 30minutes, why they don’t shrink after 15minutes, or after one day? A: if O+N after cooled to previous temperature; stayed expanded for a whole day extra -> they would have redirected enough extra coldness, to freeze all the tropical rivers / lakes.

    Q: can CO2 of 260-400ppm prevent oxygen + nitrogen (998999ppm) of expanding when they warm up? A: O+N when warmed extra – they expand through the walls of a hi-tensile hand-grenade. Q: do you believe in the laws of physics, or in IPCC and the Warmist cult? The laws of physics say: part of the troposphere can get colder than normal – only when other part gets warmer than normal. B] if the WHOLE troposphere gets colder -> air shrinks -> intercepts less coldness on the edge of the troposphere > retains more heat and equalizes in a jiffy. C] both hemispheres cannot get warmer simultaneously for more than few minutes – if they doo -> troposphere expands extra -> intercepts extra coldness and equalizes in a jiffy. Q: do the O+N wait to warm up by 2-3⁰C, before they start expanding; or expand instantly extra, when they warm up by 0,000001⁰C? Mitich formula: EH>AE>EHR (Extra Heat >Atmosphere Expands >Extra Heat Releases) Tons of extra CORRECT proofs, why I am a GLOBAL warming Infidel. I believe in climatic changes; big and small – I know that human can improve the climate / because water controls climate = to a degree, human can control water. On the other hand, ALL the phony GLOBAL warmings are, yes, phony.

    Lots of B/S makes fertile imaginations. Money corrupts even honest people, lying is bread and butter to people involved in climatology, don’t blame them. Present our own ‘’honest’’ proofs. Warmist believe in 90% possibility of GLOBAL warming – the face Skeptics believe 101% in global warming. Can I join your circus?… DON’T BE COWARDS, CONFRONT THE CHALENGE

  63. “Why do members of the public disagree – sharply and persistently – about facts on which expert scientists largely agree?”

    or perhaps ‘about facts on which a small sub-set of highly activist expert scientists largely agree’?

  64. “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.”

    Day by day, week by week, month by month, it appears that the AGW movement is reaching the “pound the table” stage.

  65. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”

    Ignorance is strength

  66. If this study is correct (and thats a big IF), then we all make our minds up first and then choose the interpretation of the science that supports our position. Which, incidentally, is what we have been accusing the alarmists of all along.
    So now we, the sceptics are doing the same thing
    In that case, where would we look for people who are immune to this human condition ?
    the people who changs sides ? the number of anomalies ?
    It seems to me that more people are leaving the CAGW bandwagon than are joining it, and I have heard a lot of less well off people in the UK complaining of higher energy prices yet refusing to take free solar panels on their roofs

  67. These researchers can’t think straight to save their lives. They claim that since more knowledge and ability leads to greater conviction on both sides, then both sides must be doing the same thing. Absolute non-sequitur. Knowledgeable alarmist-leftists cherry pick evidence and dismiss contrary reason and evidence while knowledgeable skeptics are skeptical of alarmist claims precisely because they don’t cherry pick, but look at all the evidence. The researchers never consider such an asymmetry for either side. This guy Kahan has zero grasp of logic:

    “In effect,” Kahan said, “ordinary members of the public credit or dismiss scientific information on disputed issues based on whether the information strengthens or weakens their ties to others who share their values. At least among ordinary members of the public, individuals with higher science comprehension are even better at fitting the evidence to their group commitments.”

    It is very easy to document that there is a glaring asymmetry and that it is the alarmists who dismiss contrary evidence. See my post: “Omitted variable fraud: vast evidence for solar climate driver rates one oblique sentence in AR5.”

    While Kahan’s analysis is puerile there is at least some value in the raw date he collected. Still, the fact that green money is going not just to climate science but also social science about climate science can only be destructive. Not a penny goes to any climate scientist who does not affirm the alarmist position and the same thing will happen in social scientist. Yes, they are already a bunch of leftists, but don’t think that they can’t be corrupted even further. This army of paid eco-propagandists is just getting its boots on. There is going to be a flood of this garbage down the road.

  68. Social studies aren’t worth the space they take on a harddrive. There is no measure of objectivity possible. A social study only serves to ‘prove’ a preconception.

    Discussing the outcome of social studies is like discussing religion. A waste of time

  69. “individuals with higher science comprehension are even better at fitting the evidence to their group commitments”

    “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”

    “has to create a climate of deliberations in which no group perceives that accepting any piece of evidence is akin to betrayal of their cultural group”

    Yep. Describes behavior, motivations & peril of the Team nicely. On society at large, I wouldn’t bet.

  70. The science doesn’t really matter to me anymore. It is clear that if they can can get the world to buy AGW, they will do far more damage to civilization than any climate change.

  71. Citation from the original article (not from comments about the article):

    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/nclimate1547.pdf

    “This result suggests that public divisions over climate change stem not from the public’s incomprehension of science but from a distinctive conflict of interest: between the
    personal interest individuals have in forming beliefs in line with those held by others with whom they share close ties and the collective one they all share in making use of the best available
    science to promote common welfare.”

    “What guides individual risk perception, on this account, is not the truth of those beliefs but rather their congruence with individuals’ cultural commitments.”

    “A hierarchical individualist who expresses anxiety about climate change might well be shunned by his co-workers at an oil refinery in Oklahoma City. A similar fate will probably befall the egalitarian communitarian English professor who reveals to colleagues in Boston that she thinks the scientific consensus on climate change is a hoax.”

    “Hence, polarization actually becomes larger, not smaller, as science literacy and numeracy increase.”

    Conclusion: when you belong to a tribe you will behave in accordance with its basic tenets, regardless of any “objectivity” that you can derive from scientific or rational analysis.

    The study has nothing to reveal about climate but much about human behaviour. And it is scary… and confirmed in many historical cases.

  72. even educated people can be incredibly ignorant outside their area of expertise…especially the so called social scientists and journalists

  73. Do you ever get the feeling that these people never leave their offices? I mean, I don’t remember WUWT running a meet and greet session for any researchers wanting to find out why sceptics are so ornery. Am I incredibly naïve to think that the best way to study something is to get close to it? Is it so alien to social science to venture into the territory of your subject matter? Or are we too scary?

    There are a few huge misconceptions in these studies.

    1) That people like to think the way they do because it fits in with their social group. Well what about if people already think a particular way and join social groups that reflect that? It’s called the internet! We don’t all think the same on every subject. It would be interesting to find out if educated sceptics are more diverse on wider viewpoints than educated warmists. The researchers have a reasonable theory – that improved education would lead to a better decision about AGW. But then ruin it by assuming that sceptics are making a worse decision and have to look for some mental condition that explains it. “Congruence with individuals’ cultural commitments” is code for “comfort zone”.

    2) That the egalitarian communitarian (for that read warmist) point of view is the right life choice and that deviations from that must be intrinsically wrong. They offer no proof of that. They also make it a black and white choice, where in truth most people are a blend of hierarchical individualist and egalitarian communitarian. I for one appreciate the benefits of a fossil fuel society, am I less communitarian for wanting to maintain the security that those energy sources have given us and even extend it to developing countries? Since the Industrial Revolution we’ve seen an end to legal slavery, the liberation of women, huge improvements in health and lifespan and freedoms unimagined before coal became our work horse. Were those things bad for society? Now if I was to engage in psycho babble too I’d say warmists have an irrational fear of things they perceive as ‘dirty’ like coal, industry, nuclear, etc and find it easy to reject them in favour of an unachievable utopia. Also they tend to be over cautious and if humanity had been mostly made up of these personalities we’d still be swinging from the trees.

    3) They return to the old favourite of a need to communicating the science better without ever questioning if they need better science to communicate.

  74. The first principle you should apply to how people take decisions is whether the decision will affect their ability to eat, feed their family and protect their children. So you could be the most educated scientist on the planet, but if you unemployable as anything else and being a climate skeptic stops you bringing in grant money or even getting employed, what would you do? Sacrifice your kids or sacrifice a scientific conclusion??

    Not hard to answer that one, is it?

    The questions which need to be asked are these:

    1. What are the economic consequences for individuals of fearless examination of evidence, drawing of tentative conclusions and changing your position in the light of new, perhaps contradictory evidence in future?
    2. What are the economic consequences for a nation of varying answers to question 1?
    3. As a result of the answers to the first two questions, what are the most likely political positions going to be in a variety of scenarios??

    The answers will tell you that the incorruptibiity of science and scientists only goes so far; the relevance of science to political decision-making depends on its vote-winning capacity; and the kinds of societies we live in are a consequence of those answers.

    When you have those answers, you can then ask how easy it is to change things, assuming you want change to occur.

  75. The Yale study has much in common with Monty Python & the Holy Grail, extract follows:
    WOMAN: We don’t have a lord.
    ARTHUR: What?
    DENNIS: I told you. We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take
    it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.
    ARTHUR: Yes.
    DENNIS: But all the decision of that officer have to be ratified
    at a special biweekly meeting.
    ARTHUR: Yes, I see.
    DENNIS: By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,–
    ARTHUR: Be quiet!
    DENNIS: –but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more–
    ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!
    WOMAN: Order, eh — who does he think he is?
    ARTHUR: I am your king!
    WOMAN: Well, I didn’t vote for you.
    ARTHUR: You don’t vote for kings.
    WOMAN: Well, ‘ow did you become king then?
    ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake,
    [angels sing]
    her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur
    from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I,
    Arthur, was to carry Excalibur.
    [singing stops]
    That is why I am your king!
    DENNIS: Listen — strange women lying in ponds distributing swords
    is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power
    derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical
    aquatic ceremony.
    ARTHUR: Be quiet!
    DENNIS: Well you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power
    just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
    ARTHUR: Shut up!
    DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin’ I was an empereror just
    because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they’d
    put me away!
    ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up!
    DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.
    ARTHUR: Shut up!
    DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system!
    HELP! HELP! I’m being repressed!
    ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!
    DENNIS: Oh, what a give away. Did you here that, did you here that,
    eh? That’s what I’m on about — did you see him repressing me,
    you saw it didn’t you?

  76. If people’s worldview determines their intellectual position, then considering AGW, what causes the poll numbers to change? Or are they suggesting that people’s worldview is changed first?

    So I need to become a facist hippie before I can change my world view to believe in AGW?

    The study is self defeating.

  77. “According to Kahan, the study suggests the need for science communication strategies that reflect a more sophisticated understanding of cultural values.”

    How about they just produce the raw data and models!

  78. If this study is correct (and thats a big IF), then we all make our minds up first and then choose the interpretation of the science that supports our position. Which, incidentally, is what we have been accusing the alarmists of all along.
    So now we, the sceptics are doing the same thing
    In that case, where would we look for people who are immune to this human condition ?

    A very good question.

    There is good evidence that making up our mind and then interpreting the facts in the light of our ‘beliefs’ is just how the human brain works. I’d say no one is immune to it, but some are more able to revise their beliefs in the light of new facts. To a large extent it seems to depend on how emotionally dependent (invested in the term used) you are on a belief.

    Enter the scientific method and process, which should allow beliefs (aka theories) to be rigorously examined in a way that overcomes this natural tendency to a biased interpretation of the facts.

    There are several ways in which the scientific process got subverted in climate science. I’ve read hundreds of climate science papers, well at least the abstracts, and an astonishing number make a statement about AGW that is either only one of several possible interpretations of the study or not supported by the study at all.

    The above explains why interested outsiders, like many here, arrive at the sceptical position. We don’t have significant emotional or financial/career investment (as defined above) in whether AGW/CAGW is true, and therefore are more able to critically evaluate the AGW theory and claims in the light of facts.

  79. Dr. John M. Ware

    I am with you part of the way. I suspect that you are in a not-insignificant minority. The majority have given the science of the climate issue only cursory attention and sre probably swayed by group-thin.

    Bill- you are onto something there.

  80. “That almost sounds like code for saying that the better someone comprehends the technical aspects of the science, the more likely they are to be skeptical of the alarmist position.”

    Great comment.

  81. Absolutely stunning arrogance. I have a Ph.D. from a top school, worked as a college professor, post-doc and got paid on gov funds, all that stuff. I also believe the climate is warming, but is it outside natural variation, caused by CO2 alone, and what really gets my goat is that they have cooked the books, the studies truly are manipulated! Am I science literate, absolutely. Are the people who did the Yale study science literate or did they not bother to do their own analysis and took Hansen word for gospel. Who is the real scientist then, me or them?

  82. “individuals’ group values shape their perceptions”
    “ties to others who share their values”
    “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”
    “information has to do more than communicate the scientific evidence. It also has to create a climate of deliberations in which no group perceives”

    “When forming my opinions based on evidence, I do not try to figure out what ‘group’ or ‘community’ I belong to.”

    But the collectivists do, and are determined to “prove” it.

    IOW, the Yale “study” authors are biased in favor of collectivism and against individualism. “Groups” don’t perceive; individual human beings do. “Groups” cannot think; only individual human beings do. And individual human beings can and do communicate with each other.

    “In both cases you have a similar mechanism at work: many ‘authorities’ who figure it’s ‘better to err on the side of the angels’ and figure ‘The harm caused by taking these ‘precautions’ is far…'” greater than the harm of not taking them. All economics is about trade-offs.

    This approach has been becoming more prevalent. For the last decade or more, the “sociologists” and “psychologists” have been producing “studies” saying that group loyalty determines opinions. If a close family member commits murder, he was just misunderstood, but if one of those other people touches his nose, he was being so extremely disrespectful that he must be slapped down. If one of my people says it, I believe him; but if it was one of those others, I won’t, regardless of how it is said, or what evidence is presented.

    It’s a gimmick based on political POV, aimed at undermining science and dividing and undermining the opposition.

  83. The first idea is that political controversy over climate change is caused by the public’s limited ability to comprehend science.

    The second idea is that the political controversy about climate change is caused by the public’s opposing sets of cultural values.

    Neither of these is a scientific hypothesis simply because there are so many variables and fuzzy concepts that the statements cannot be quantified and scientifically tested.

    Nevertheless Peters and Kahan appear to have concluded that people who understand science are good at distorting scientific evidence to benefit themselves and their cultural group even if it disadvantages society. But they make no inferences about climate scientists.

    Dan Kahan proposes that we should consider climate science as “deliberations in which no group perceives that accepting any piece of evidence is akin to betrayal of their cultural group.”

    Dan you should spend a bit of time reading WUWT where you will find that scientific evidence is considered on its own merits and nothing else whatsoever. Then you should read the Climategate emails or perhaps an analysis of them such as this:

    http://assassinationresearch.com/climategate/

  84. Eric (skeptic) says: @ May 27, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    …..But the core issue is that the use of fossil carbon to create atmospheric carbon dioxide is the basis of a civilized and prosperous society, a fact which you fail to understand since you only believe in central planning…..
    _________________________________
    Oh they comprehend that very well, too well as a matter of fact.

    “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.” Henry Kissinger 1970

    The key word of course is CONTROL.

  85. ““What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”

    These ideologues lack any awareness of their assumptions, so we shouldn’t be surprised when they fail to question them.

    “Society doesn’t even exist” — Margaret Thatcher

    But human nature does, we skeptics probably have more unadorned perspective on that as well.

  86. Brad says:
    May 28, 2012 at 4:29 am

    “…I have a Ph.D. from a top school, worked as a college professor, post-doc and got paid on gov funds, all that stuff. I also believe the climate is warming, but is it outside natural variation, caused by CO2 alone…”

    Good for you.

  87. A Goebbels-Pravda study by a leftist organization favorable to advanced manipulation of information…

  88. TinyCO2 says:
    May 28, 2012 at 2:09 am
    ………………Since the Industrial Revolution we’ve seen an end to legal slavery, the liberation of women, huge improvements in health and lifespan and freedoms unimagined before coal became our work horse. Were those things bad for society?
    I dunno, ask a Progressive Muslim. My impression is these things [are] against Islam.

  89. The study wouldn’t make sense if there were not unsettled issues and uncertainty in the outcomes. There has to be wiggle room: the more educated find more wiggle room as they recognize possible errors, overenthusiasm and outright bias.

    There is no divided opinion on gravity, nor that if you breathe in sea water you drown. Divided opinion reflects a subject not yet nailed down.

  90. There is an old wise expression which states that it is your attitude , not your aptitude that determines your altitude . The divide will continue to exist as long as the attitude of some of those with scientific aptitude is one of science by decree only ,where debate is regularly muzzled and where the threat of the sky is falling is a frequent call. Higher aptitude does not always equate with public good or better public communications as we observe on Wall street and the political domain. As long as there is greed and the desire for ever more power over others , the divide will exist.

  91. Doug Proctor says:
    May 28, 2012 at 7:13 am

    “There is no divided opinion on gravity, nor that if you breathe in sea water you drown. Divided opinion reflects a subject not yet nailed down.”

    Please note there is no consensus needed to validate gravity or drowning, and that gravity can be experimentally and reproducibly verified.

  92. mib8 says:
    May 28, 2012 at 4:37 am
    ……………..
    “When forming my opinions based on evidence, I do not try to figure out what ‘group’ or ‘community’ I belong to.”
    ——————–
    I didn’t used to either, until I read about the science of Gore, Hansen, Jones, Mann, et al.
    I tried to believe then I heard:
    Nobel Prize winner Gore said Yeah, I’m lying but, it’s ok you can ignore my environmental damage.
    GISS Director Hansen said let me prove it and opened windows of the Capital to ensure the heat.
    Professor Jones said no you can’t have the data and prove me wrong.
    Professor Mann said here’s a tree that proves the team is correct (I’ll just hide the decline.)
    As this continued I decided I could not relate to them. I could not be part of that TEAM.

    The main reason I don’t accept the team conclusion (or is that collusion?) is I read the entire harry_read_me file. It reads like Jones and the CRU purposely and in secret destroyed the original data and now thinks it’s ok to have the team cherry pick and make things up. IMO That’s not how honest scientists treat data.

  93. Harry (of read me fame) wrote while trying to save corrupted data:
    “OH F*** THIS. It’s Sunday evening, I’ve worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I’m hitting yet another problem that’s based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform data integrity, it’s just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they’re found.”
    ———————————————————–
    And this is what they use to prove CAGW.
    And I’m the denier? nfw

    cn

  94. Missing are interviews with believers and skeptics on how they came to their views on this issue. It reminds me of the research back in the 1950’s showing that working people in big factories were alienated from their work, it being so impersonal and all.

    Turns out, it was the social scientists who were alienated from their work. The factory workers saw themselves as doing productive work. But, a lot of papers and books were published about this.

    Anyhow, I propose we start a series of testimonials by both believers and skeptics on how they came to their views on AGW.

    Here is my personal story:

    I voted for George Bush in 2000. Bill Clinton had stunk out the White House too much for me to vote for Al Gore, who really seemed alright (dull average) at that time. He had yet to show his true colors. I had doubts about how smart Bush was, however. When Bush announced he wasn’t going to support the Kyoto protocol, there was universal outrage. I was shocked myself. Like all unthinking people, I thought it must be a good idea, especially after the ozone hole problem was fixed by the Montreal treaty. (It was still to come that the ozone hole was not going to shrink despite banning certain aerosols.) So, I decided to find out if Bush was smart or dumb. I researched Kyoto. It took only a week or two to make me realize Kyoto was nothing. Bush was quite right. However, Kyoto had no chance to pass the US Senate. So, I decided Bush was smart, but he was a bad politician. He should have let the US Senate take the blame.

    So, I began to pay attention finally to the global warming science (as an educated layman). The conduct of the believers has been totally outside the bounds of anything I associate with science, and completely accords with the behavior of any orthodoxy trying to suppress heresy. (I have read extensively about the Christian Church and the history of Soviet science). They even changed climate history and cowed people into silence. I read books and articles and interpolated. This isn’t science as I understand it.

    So, without even crunching numbers, I know what is going on. And, it ain’t AGW.

    I bet the lay believers have never investigated this question, but just accepted what they were told.

  95. Is it any wonder that the “The Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School” found “the need for science communication strategies that reflect a more sophisticated understanding of cultural values.”

    This paper was nothing more than group-think. To any person with a couple of working neurons it’s obvious this paper is just self-promoting propaganda with a dash of arrogance.

  96. “The results of the study were consistent with previous studies that show that individuals with more egalitarian values disagree sharply with individuals who have more individualistic ones on the risks associated with nuclear power, gun possession, and the HPV vaccine for school girls.”
    Would those “egalitarian values” be the same ones which say that we are all equal, but some of us are more equal than others?

  97. So, they have confirmed it is, in fact, a division influenced by individual perceptions of reality. This is not strictly cultural. It is also related to defining science. Those who consider nuclear processes as inherently unsafe; who accept a consensus as a scientific concept; who defer individual dignity in favor of a collective; who conflate science with philosophy; are doing so in favor of their own perceptions and not any objective reality. Science, in particular, is a faith necessarily constrained to a limited frame of reference, or that which we refer to as “reality.”

    This is about competing interests. There is nothing “egalitarian” about it. Not everyone will enjoy a beachfront property in Hawaii. There are finitely accessible resources and they will not be recovered without consequence. From a low-level it is about two contrasting ideological groups. From a high-level it is about alphas (or mortal gods), who desire to consolidate wealth and power through the exploitation of their followers.

    This is the same nonsense which was prevalent throughout recorded history, but with a twist. This time, one side lacks integrity and will not acknowledge the articles of faith which underlie their philosophy or religion; and thereby cause the corruption of science specifically, and society generally. Well, at least they claim to have “good intentions.” They have managed to successfully obfuscate their motives from millions of people and exploit them for personal gain.

  98. I know a lot of posters think this research is bunkum – after all, it must be obvious that the more scientific knowledge one has, the more robust one’s conclusions.

    Well, confirmation bias not withstanding, I think there is plenty of real world evidence that these researchers may be on to something.

    There are a number of people who say the moon landing was faked (I know, I know, but please bear with me). From what I can see, these beliefs emminate from a number of empirical observations: 1) No stars were visible in the dark sky on that iconic astronaut photograph; 2) The shadows of the astronaut and flag split into multiple shadows (implying multiple light sources); 3)The flag appears to wave in the breeze after planting; 4) Neil’s footprint is so well defined it could only have been made in “damp earth.”

    Basically, people who were culturally predisposed to doubt that this monumental feat could have been achieved, applied limited scientific knowledge to back up their beliefs. Each of these “observations” has, incidently, been adequately explained by “Mythbusters”, but basically, the explanations are as follows: 1) Stars cannot be captured on film without exposure times of many tens of seconds; 2) When a shadow from a single light source runs over uneven ground, it can appear to break and split; 3) Without damping from air, a flag mounted on a thin aluminum frame, will continue to oscillate for minutes after being disturbed, giving the appearance of a breeze; 4) Using a type of dust most similar to moon dust, in a vacuum, a footprint does indeed look as if it is impressed into damp soil.

    So, if these conspiracy theorists had a greater scientific knowledge, would they have still made the same mistakes? Well, I am certain that if they were complete ignoramuses, they would not have been able to reach these conclusions in the first place. But would more knowledge have helped? Maybe not. Maybe their cultural biases ruled out ever seeing explanations that conflict with their own prejudices – certainly, they have not yet recanted, despite these explanations.

    Another group that springs to mind, are those who say Einstein was wrong. If anything, this group exhibits even greater mathematical and scientifc understanding that the first group. But rather than leading them back to the fold, it appears to have empowered them to concoct more and more ingenieous mathematical and logical arguments to reinforce their positions. Again, a complete ignoramus would never have entertained such a notion in the first place.

    So, no. I don’t think there is evidence that the more scientific knowledge one has, the more likely one is to avoid making massive errors. Indeed, the greater the knowledge, the more tools one has to vigorously cling to these erroneous views.

  99. Doesn’t surprise me.

    Science education just means more who think they have a clue but don’t.

    And more people who have more resources to come up with ingenious justifications for preconceived but crazy ideas.

  100. I presume you’re referring to this study:

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1871503

    “Abstract
    The conventional explanation for controversy over climate change emphasizes impediments to public understanding: limited popular knowledge of science, the inability of ordinary citizens to assess technical information, and the resulting widespread use of unreliable cognitive heuristics to assess risk. A large survey of U.S. adults (N = 1540) found little support for this account. On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a se-rious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones.”
    ……
    “4. Rationality—individual vs. collective
    The evidence we have presented is at odds with PIT—the “public irrationality thesis.” PIT implies that members of the public are divided about climate change science because they have limited scientific knowledge and limited capacity to reason about evidence in a scientific manner. Our data, how-ever, show that as individuals become more science literate and more proficient in the mode of reasoning featured in scientific inquiry, they don’t reliably form beliefs more in line with scientific consensus.”
    In fact, they are LESS likely to form beliefs in line with the “scientific consnsus”.

    I suspect that their original study was an attempt to demonstrate that those more skeptical were less informed about the risks of CAGW. Instead, they found the opposite, Better informed people are MORE apt to be skeptical of CAGW. THAT BS about “cultural polarization” was probably a post hoc data mining artefact: an attempt to get something pro CAGW, or at least not ANTI CAGW out of a devastatingly ANTI CAGW study.

  101. TomRude: If this study was not rotten and biased it would not be on Nature Climate Change to start with…

    Well said, precisely and concisely.

    “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society…” “Why do members of the public disagree – sharply and persistently – about facts on which expert scientists largely agree?”

    There is a nasty element here. The assumptions that are so “obvious” they don’t even need naming as unevidenced assumptions, let alone discussing. They come from the same foul source as “The debate is over” said while holding the positions of power and refusing to debate. Bullying, sneaky, cowardly, orwellian.

  102. “In effect,” Kahan said, “ordinary members of the public credit or dismiss scientific information on disputed issues based on whether the information strengthens or weakens their ties to others who share their values.

    In other words, they herd together like frightened sheep, afraid to actually form an opinion apart from the approval of the group. As such, they are not free.
    Can they even be said to have free will?
    Can they even be said to be individuals?

    And some of them also believe it because it is something that makes them feel good, and gather with people who believe likewise to help them do so. Are we to believe things simply because we want to? Is this statement true for you?
    As Thucydides wrote, men will accept without argument conclusions they find agreeable; but will bring all the force of logic and reason against those they do not like.
    They will also bring all the forces of illogic and unreason.
    If you see yourself using illogic and unreason, you need to ask yourself, “could I be wrong?”.
    Most people never even look, many never will..

    Are you free, or just another sheep?

    Note that you can be just a sheep even if the herd you are gathering with believes something that is completely true, if you are believing it simply to stay with the herd or because it makes you feel good. Being just a sheep is not good, sheep get fleeced, sheep get eaten.

    “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

    The world looks with some awe upon a man who appears unconcernedly indifferent to home, money, comfort, rank, or even power and fame. The world feels not without a certain apprehension, that here is someone outside its jurisdiction; someone before whom its allurements may be spread in vain; someone strangely enfranchised, untamed, untrammelled by convention, moving independent of the ordinary currents of human action. Winston Churchill, politician and statesman (1874-1965)

  103. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society

    In other words, indivuduality is evil, being against “society”, while being part of the herd, “society”, is good. In other words, the author has shown here that the real reason for this article is to support socialism and attack freedom and individuality.

    Also, note that “people with high science and math comprehension” are smart people. What they are saying is that smart people are deciding for indivudual freedom, and against socialism, and thus against things like CAGW which support socialism. What they say we want, therefore, it to be people with low comprehension, in other words, stupid people, who will decide against individuality and will just go dumbly along with the crowd because it is “better for society”.

    Note also “people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions”., well we wouldn’t want that, now would we? Stop thinking, people, it’s bad for you! Just believe whatever we tell you, it’s so much easier!

    In other words, they want us to simply be dumb sheep. Sheep are so much easier to fleese, and then eat.

    So much given away in just one sentance…

  104. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society

    In other words, indivuduality is evil, being against “society”, while being part of the herd, “better for society”, is good. In other words, the author has shown here that the real reason for this article is to support socialism and attack freedom and individuality.

    Also, note that “people with high science and math comprehension” are smart people. What they are saying is that smart people are deciding for indivudual freedom, and against socialism, and thus against things like CAGW which support socialism (“better for society”). What they say we want, therefore, it to be people with low comprehension, in other words, stupid people, who will decide against individuality and will just go dumbly along with the crowd because it is “better for society”.

    Note also “people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions”, well we wouldn’t want that, now would we? Stop thinking, people, it’s bad for you! Just believe whatever we tell you, it’s so much easier!

    In other words, they want us to simply be dumb sheep. Sheep are so much easier to fleese, and then eat.

    So much given away in just one sentance…

  105. Vince Causey says:
    May 28, 2012 at 10:40 am

    I think you need to differentiate scientific knowledge from knowledge of the scientific method. It’s my contention that many scientists have a weak understanding of the latter.

    There is a rather glaring example in this paper.

    about facts on which expert scientists largely agree?”

    A fact is something that is empirically measured and isn’t open to debate, unless you are alleging fraud, incompetance or similar. What we disagree about is the interpretation of facts. Whether they support theory A or B. Etc.

  106. According to Kahan, the study suggests the need for science communication strategies that reflect a more sophisticated understanding of cultural values.
    In other words, coveying information is not enough, we need to make it into clever propaganda instead (“communication strategies”, note the word “strategies”). Clever, carefully crafted propaganda based on studies (“by people like me, send grant money”) of the people you are trying to propagandize. You make strategies when you are at war, who are they at war with?

    “More information can help solve the climate change conflict,”
    So long as it is carefully sanitized to be from our side only. I mean, look what heppened here, the people with more scientific understanding found out too much!

    “but that information has to do more than communicate the scientific evidence, so, it has to have, what, a lot of unscientific “evidence” mixed in?

    The messege is simple, scientific evidence is not what we want, it just drives them to disbeleive us. So, we must do something else. What, exactly?
    The “truth” isn’t working, so lets try something else…
    Fact is not working, lets try fiction.

  107. George E. Smith; says:
    May 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm
    Did “researcher Ellen Peters” say just WHO gets to decide what is “society” and what is “best” for it.

    Exactly.
    Seven people are being paid to produce this rubbish?
    I protest as a member of “society”: this kind of activity makes everybody poorer and stupider.

  108. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”

    Here is a question, if deciding that CAGW is wrong is “better for them as individuals”, then what is “better for society” must, necessarily be worse for them as individuals, and since this is supposed to be a global problem, it must be worse for all individuals globally. So, how can something be bad for everyone everywhere individually, yet somehow simultaneously be “better for society”?

    This shows that these people are deliberately and knowingly doing something that they know will hurt everyone everywhere. They are therefor your enemy.

    And if the individuals, all the people of the world, are considered separate from “society”, what, exactly, is their definition of “society”? These people are sociopaths, “a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others”.

    So much from one sentence…

  109. Babsy says:

    May 28, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Doug Proctor says:
    May 28, 2012 at 7:13 am

    “There is no divided opinion on gravity, nor that if you breathe in sea water you drown. Divided opinion reflects a subject not yet nailed down.”

    Please note there is no consensus needed to validate gravity or drowning, and that gravity can be experimentally and reproducibly verified.

    This may be the solution. The reason there is no consensus on gravity and breathing seawater is that those who believed gravity would not pull them down to the earth eventuall had to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge to prove their theory. in doing so, they fel into the bay, inhaled seawater, and now sleep with the fishes.

  110. “the study clearly casts doubt on the notion that the more you understand science and math, the better decisions you’ll make in complex and technical situations”

    This is, of course, based on the assumption that AGW is proven correct by the ‘consensus’, and therefore all those people are in error.

    Question: If AGW fails the test, will these researchers conclude that an artificially manufactured consensus is inferior to the public wisdom?

  111. LazyTeenager says:
    And more people who have more resources to come up with ingenious justifications for preconceived but crazy ideas.

    —–

    YOu mean like AGW, lazy?

    And guess who has the most resources, lazy?
    Sure as Hell not the Skeptics. We just have the greater education. One has Lots of time to think for themselves, when they are not on the government dole, trying to think for the politicians.

  112. I think I get it. They expected people who weren’t AGW alarmists to have low science literacy and numeracy; instead they scored highly. The authors then sought an explanation that allowed them to marginalize the people who they disagreed with, ergo non-alarmists merely used their literacy and numeracy to reinforce their preconceived notions and serve their self-interest.

  113. AGW science is largely self-fullfilling prophecy designed into models. If you take a high climate senitivity to a doubling of CO2 as given, then you adjust other parameters to make a fit with the temperature record, the correlation is pre-ordained, but not necessarily correct. Indeed, when the fit began to diverge, rationales for adjusting the temperature record came became the solution. The trouble was they had already adusted back to lower the temps of the 1930s and raise the temps at the recent end to allow the 1990s become the hottest decade on record. Now they, I’m sure, wish they had not adusted at all so that the 1990s didn’t stick up above the past 15 years.

    When sea-level began to slow its ascent, there was delay in updating the graph for months while they added on glacial rebound – thereby changing what is being measured. I note another major delay in the sea-level graph that is now sitting at February 2012.:

    After Climategate, Fakegate, and other disgraceful performances by the core scientists of the CAGW movement, the divide is certainly partly a moral one.

  114. They don’t seem to place a value on truth, so can’t imagine people who do. The whole better for the individual versus better for society thing is a red herring. Truth is the foundation, the rock upon which both individuals and society must build.

  115. Gail Combs says:
    Looks like all they did is confirm John Dewey’s study.

    Gail – where is that quote from?

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