Climate Craziness of the week: Chris Mooney, climate trolls, beluga whales, NRDC and all that

Here’s another one of those things I discovered when I was looking at something else, and serendipity kicked in. This comes from comment in Chris Mooney’s Twitter feed highlighted by Tom Nelson.

In another laughable Cool Hand Luke “you gotta get your mind right essay at Mother Jones, Mooney complains that “emotions come faster than the “rational” thoughts” when it comes  to climate blogs. He writes:

In the context of the psychological theory of motivated reasoning, this makes a great deal of sense. Based on pretty indisputable observations about how the brain works, the theory notes that people feel first, and think second. The emotions come faster than the “rational” thoughts—and also shape the retrieval of those thoughts from memory. Therefore, if reading insults activates one’s emotions, the “thinking” process may be more likely to be defensive in nature, and focused on preserving one’s identity and preexisting beliefs.

I about fell out of my chair laughing when I saw this ad image that went with his story: 

The advertisement for the National Resources Defense council has two images:

NRDC_YearEnd_Stop-BadGuys_DonateNow_300x250[1]

Photoshopped for emotional effect much? Here’s the other ad:

NRDC_YearEnd_Statistic-Belugas_DonateNow_300x250[1]

Research for the Beluga whale population reveals this from the NOAA fisheries office of protected resources:

Population Trends
In the U.S., there are 5 distinct stocks of beluga whales–all in Alaska:

  • Cook Inlet
  • Bristol Bay
  • Eastern Bering Sea
  • Eastern Chukchi Sea
  • Beaufort Sea

Of those, the Cook Inlet is the only endangered population. It is the most isolated stock; genetic samples suggest these whales have been isolated for several thousand years. The Cook Inlet stock has been severely reduced in numbers over the last several decades. NMFS estimates this population numbered as many as 1,300 in the late 1970s. The current estimate is about 325 beluga whales in the Cook Inlet.

“Of those, the Cook Inlet is the only endangered population.” That’s a pretty glaring lie of omission, don’t you think? Here’s a thought; maybe they just moved to a different location. After all, whales have been known to migrate vast distances. Their range (from NOAA) seems to indicate they aren’t static:

Beluga Whale range map
Beluga Whale Range Map

But wait there’s more! At the link the ad goes to at NRDC we see these images:

NRDC_whales_donate

On the link upper right, Stop Big Oil’s Attack on Whales campaign page » we are directed to a page which shows this image of the whale sans the stop sign:

NRDC_airgun

Note the background for the whale image and how the water and sand/gravel looks. Some image research reveals the image to be part of a series taken by photographer Flip Nicklin. On the presentation page at Animals and Earth, we see this image from the series along with the caption:

Whale_canada

And here’s the one NRDC used:

Beluga_flip_original

Since NRDC doesn’t credit Nicklin in their advertisements, I sure hope they have permission to use the photos.

So, not only does NRDC not tell the reader that only one population has any notable changes, that the 284 Belugas remain is a false number not representative of the whole global population, perhaps only the Cook Inlet population, the photo they use isn’t even FROM Cook Inlet.

Rational readers might find all that a bit incongruous, perhaps even false advertising.

In another hilarious twist of irony, there’s this ad on the story by Chris Mooney at Mother Jones.

MJ_Lies

I have to wonder if I give them $5 will they bar Chris Mooney from writing junk stories about emotions and science and take NRDC advertisements off their web site? Inquiring minds want to know.

About these ads

103 thoughts on “Climate Craziness of the week: Chris Mooney, climate trolls, beluga whales, NRDC and all that

  1. I’ve seen a pod of beluga whales swim by on the Nushagak River in Alaska, they go upriver following the salmon. They are awesome creatures. The Cook Inlet group is a long ways south and a long ways in miles from the other belugas. It’s quite possibly always been a small isolated outlying group. I do love that the picture they use is not of the Cook Inlet whales, as usual they lie by indirection.

    Finally, this has nothing to do at all with oil exploration or drilling.

    w.

  2. ‘Motivated reasoning’ is the latest projection from the Borg. I’m surprised it took MoonPie this long to get the memo.
    ============

  3. I’m sure this is going to have a big impact on Putin’s push to explore oil resources in the Russian Arctic, which represernts most of the Arctic waters. Never mind, this is about making a buck from people that don’t know much to begin with and are not really interested in facts. It amounts to mining dollars from personality types.

  4. Cook Inlet has been active, so maybe the belugas were in fact driven away?

    “Apache has leased approximately 850,000 acres onshore, in tidal areas and offshore in the Cook Inlet Basin, an underexplored oil and gas producing region that was first developed in the 1950s and 1960s. Modern 3-D seismic will enable Apache to gain accurate imaging of the subsurface of the region and identify the most promising locations for exploratory drilling.

    About 1.4 billion barrels of oil was discovered in Cook Inlet in the early stage of its development. After Prudhoe Bay was discovered, industry activity in the region dropped off substantially. While only a handful of fields have been discovered in Cook Inlet, the field size distribution strongly suggests at least another 1.3 to 1.4 billion barrels of oil yet to be discovered in the basin.
    Apache’s Cook Inlet 3-D seismic program employs the industry’s first true cable-free wireless seismic technology in order to limit disturbance of communities, wildlife and the environment in the Cook Inlet area. Apache has worked with contractors, stakeholders and government agencies to minimize the impact on Cook Inlet Beluga whales and other marine mammals including killer whales, harbor porpoises, Steller sea lions and harbor seals.”

  5. I live in Alaska, and I can see part of Cook Inlet from my house. (Yes, I really can. :-)) The Endangered Beluga in question manage to strand themselves quite often chasing Hooligan (Smelt) in the Turnagain Arm section of Cook Inlet. Over the past 10 years or so, the sand (Mud) bars in Turnagain Arm have become quite extensive, much larger then in the past. I have wondered if the Good Friday quake changed the way the silt from glacial runoff plugs up the channels in the region. Turnagain Arm has one of the largest bore tides in the world, you would not believe the difference between low tide and high tide.

    I think that what the government is seeing is a natural result of Turnagain Arm becoming choked with sediments due to subsidence from the 64 quake. The immediate region subsided around 10 feet. (Look up the city of Portage) This has caused the Beluga population to move to greener pastures as it were… In other words. The decline in LOCAL Beluga population is natural, and has nothing to do with human activities. (IMHO)

  6. NIcklin has been doing whale photos for many decades, including at least some published in a National Geographic series, probably dating back to the early 70s. I do recall that he was generally, um, in favor of “saving whales”.

  7. And the sun melted the last glaciar in North America from SE Wisconsin back above the arctic circle.

  8. Sadly, no amount of detailing inaccuracies will make much of a difference with those that are emotionally attached to “saving the environment”. Somewhere along the way they developed a sense of guilt and need to counter it with mindless actions to make them feel better. (i.e. look at me, I’m saving the whales!)

  9. Actually, I totally agree with Mooney on motivated reasoning. It’s a pretty prevalent factor on all sides of the climate debate, but I think he’s also quite guilty of it. I know his irritatingly smug condescension and insulting characterizations of skeptics turn me off.

    On a separate note, here’s a great quote from Richard Feynman that summarizes how I think about the AGW debate: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

  10. My emotions came faster than the rational, dignified and politically correct part of my noggin, when I read this latest episode of dishonest, money-grubbing, pseudo-environmentalism. The emotion past so swiftly I wasn’t able to jot down the words, however it had something to do with white Moby Dicks.

  11. Based on pretty indisputable observations about how the brain works, …..

    Not only are the brain observations indisputable…. but they are visually appealing!
    That’s a ‘pretty’ damning statement….
    MtK

  12. The howling irony is that Mooney describes himself so well in this simplistic essay. We all know case after case of CAGW true believers being unable to accept contrary evidence. Why so?
    He neglects to think that some people reject “facts” because the source is suspicious, not because they are stubborn. Doesn’t matter which side you’re on. Mooney could present a correct fact such as the idea that emotional reaction takes precedence over reasoning and many of us here would reject it because of Mooney’s behavioral history that’s been well-documented by Anthony. Yet Daniel Kahneman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow) explains that this actually is what goes on in our minds. The point is that our thinking is more complex than Mooney asserts. Both proponents and skeptics would do well to let the emotional response subside so reasonable judgement can kick in.

  13. Notice that first they claim there ain’t much wildlife still left,then they describe the oil testing
    environment as “full of wildlife.” The fact that they do not claim any demonstrative harm means there probably is none. This is their way of panhandling. Instead of asking for a few bucks to help a down and out fellow, they have latched on to the idea of substituting poor, suffering animals
    who are being driven to extinction, accompanied by an irrelevant picture of beached whales. Now, exactly how does one sue these people for misrepresentation and obtaining contributions by fraud and lies? Suggestion – send this writeup to Bill O’Reilly or the science guy over at Fox..

  14. Another circumstance to note here is that it’s not that difficult to find a stranded beluga, compared to other whales. Belugas like to wallow in the sand and gravel and it is part of their hygiene. That is, by the way, why they are called belugas (“whities”) — they never have a complete set of skin layers on them. With a habit like this, I would rather wonder how they manage not to get stranded more often.

  15. So we only care about WHITE whales and WHITE bears. I guess whales of color will just have to fend for themselves. … Umm … I guess they already do.

  16. And while we are around the Arctic here is another threatened species laughing in the face of Arctic meltdown. It’s worse than we thought.

    9 January, 2013
    This afternoon I came across some startling information. There are now 22,600-32,000 polar bears worldwide, when tallied by nation. This is a big change from the 20,000-25,000 that has been touted as the global polar bear population since 2005.

    According to a dynamic summary report on the home page of theIUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group website called State of the Polar Bear, there are now 22,600-32,000 polar bears worldwide, when tallied by nation.

    http://www.thegwpf.org/polar-bears-booming/

    From here:

    Here are the numbers, by nation, listed in the State of the Polar Bear summary report (see map below):
    Canada 13,300-17,500
    USA 1,200-1,800
    Russia 2,700-4,800
    Norway 1,900-3,600
    Greenland
    (Denmark) 3,5000-4,400
    Total 22,600-32,000

    http://polarbearscience.com/2013/01/08/polar-bear-population-now-22600-32000-when-tallied-by-nation/

  17. Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow has his details on fast system-1 intuition and system-2 error-filled rational thought. Kahneman and Amos Tversky collaborated with N. N. Taleb on Black Swans and randomness.

  18. Oh what the heck let’s go to the south pole and find another ‘threated’ species.

    Apr. 13, 2012
    A new study using satellite mapping technology reveals there are twice as many emperor penguins in Antarctica than previously thought.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120413145303.htm

    An Emperor Penguin Population Estimate: The First Global, Synoptic Survey of a Species from Space. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (4): e33751

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0033751

  19. Doug Huffman says:
    January 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm
    “Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow has his details on fast system-1 intuition and system-2 error-filled rational thought. Kahneman and Amos Tversky collaborated with N. N. Taleb on Black Swans and randomness.”

    Do the Black Swans get stranded often? I hear they’re pretty rare. Damn Big Oil.

  20. I was amused when I saw Whales as a topic here today… the FRONT PAGE lead item in today’s Calgary Herald (the “mainstream” newspaper) is about a dozen Orcas (Killer Whales) trapped in ice. They’ll die, said the article. They need to be rescued, and natives in the area are weeping.

    As I read in, I realized this was actually a politically motivated hit piece on the current Conservative Government. Apparently they’ve reduced funding for the only agency that could have saved these poor whales, now there are no ice breakers around to help out.

    The whales don’t seem to mind, two more articles at http://www.calgaryherald.com have appeared explaining that the whales swam away. Crisis: averted by activists being concerned!

  21. And lest we forget, mankind’s prosperity depends 100% on the following:

    “If it can’t be grown, it’s gotta be mined.”

  22. So Mr Mooney believes that people’s views on climate science are heavily influenced by genetic programmed for attempted survival, not necessarily accuracy. Presumably that also applies to his views on the subject? If not, why not?

  23. seismic airguns in sensitive, wildlife-filled waters

    Followed the link

    Even at great distances, this excruciatingly loud noise can drive whales to abandon their habitat, fall silent and stop eating. At close range, it can deafen, injure and even kill.
    Pierce Brosnan, Actor and NRDC Member

    Oh, you mean like the piercing noise in save-the-whales, Star Trek IV movie. Eh .. you got some actual evidence for that, Pierce? Or is it just assumption.

    BTW: environmentalists in Hong Kong were concerned about the effect of noise on a rare species of dolphin from the construction of Tsing Ma bridge (which is kind of silly as HK is already one of the busiest harbours in the world). So the contractors installed an air bubble curtain to block the spread of noise. It dampened the noise, scientists wrote papers, everybody was happy. But the dolphins most of all.

    What these papers and the environmentalists don’t tell you (I heard it directly from someone working on the project, so no link and only anecdotal) was that the dolphins liked the bubbles. They approached the curtain and appeared to play in it as if it were a jacuzzi.

    The noise of piling or quarrying would annoy anyone, whales and dolphins included, especially if it were close by. But people (and probably cetaceans, for all anyone knows) just learn to deal with it, till the noise goes away.

  24. Mooney a dripping mass of projection.
    I read some of the comments on his article.
    Mutual Admiration Society?

  25. Grew up in the area, over 30 years, the upper Inlet is really silty. I sport fished it, commercial fished it, worked on the oil refineries and the platforms. And worked doing the discharge metering for the return water (for a local instrumentation company.)

    All the discharge from the platforms is cleaned, tested, and far cleaner then the water it is going into. I know what was put in, I helped spec it. The platforms have almost no impact, except to open holes in the ice for them to breath through. The ice can get 6-10ft thick in a cold snap, and there won’t be places to get air for square miles. The platforms break that up.

    I really don’t have an appropriate comment as to the total fail that ad is.

  26. 68% of those contributing to save these whales are worried given the connection to the Beluga Caviar supply.

    57% (of the 100%) are wondering if Big Fisheries are somehow complicit,
    34% are worried this may impact prices and/or available supply.

    (Note there is an overlap that is ashamed their selfish desires for tasty caviar are hurting these noble creatures, and will be extra generous with their donations. Of course they are blameless and had no idea this was going on, as their suppliers had assured them the caviar was humanely harvested from free-range non-endangered stock.)

  27. DirkH: ‘Do the Black Swans get stranded often? I hear they’re pretty rare.’
    Black swans are in abundance here in Australia – we have nothing but black!

    NIce post, Anthony. But it’s OK to make things up in a good cause. Virtuous corruption.

  28. The pix point out that the whales are beached at low tide . Is there any indication that they are not just sunning themselves ? Gene Selkov says they like to get out on the gravel .How long are they going to be exposed ? Maybe it’s worth it to them .

    • Not that they really like to get out of the water, but they seek coarse sand and clean gravel that can only be found on sand banks and in river mouths. Away from the surf or vigourous river currents, the sand is quickly silted up. I presume it is hard for them to avoid getting beached once in a while if they are so attracted to shallow waters, so either it is not a problem for them, or a trade-off. They also fish in the rivers and can get trapped there when the water goes low. I’d say going upriver must be more perilous for them than having a short rest at low tide.

      behttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xH1tjwBhlCE

  29. The ‘You can trust NRDC!’ claim looks a bit doubtful. Perhaps time for Charity Navigator do a reassessment…

  30. Big sea creatures getting stranded is not a rare occurrence.

    Shores are not always uniform slopes. Tides vary. Since they often flock together there’s a high risk that more than one will get trapped at the same time. If they follow a school of fish or otherwise like to feed close to shore there is risk (for example, one type of small whale type creature deliberately washes fish into shallows then somehow/sometimes eats them – best to do that on a rising tide)

    Sometimes they get trapped by ice shifts in the Arctic.

    Good thing humans are around to help them, many times. (Sometimes all they need is covering to reduce the effect of the sun (as they are air breathing creatures).)

  31. Sunning themselves is worth checking, but not likely in those pictures.

    I have watched seals on the wet coast keeping themselves out of the water as long as possible, by arching their body as the tide rises over the rocks they were on.

  32. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    January 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Please, PLEASE tell me you forgot the /sarc tag… I beg of you!

  33. As with most things here in AK, we are able to screw things up just by doing what we do on a daily basis. But to really turn it into a disaster takes help from the feds.

    Belugas have been hunted in Cook Inlet for as long as there have been people up here. Whaling is now controlled by NOAA. Sometime in the mid-1990s, they decided that they could really open up whaling by the natives and did so for a couple years which crashed the estimated population from around 1200 to less than 500. It was a great time for the whaling natives, as we ended up with people from across the state in the Inlet getting free meat an muktuk. Some of it was sold on the highways out of vehicles. Someone in NOAA finally figured out that they had taken too many whales and stopped the gross whaling. Since then, the whaling captains have only taken a couple every year.

    Estimated numbers continued down to around 300. Local greens got involved and forced a listing as endangered as a vehicle to shut down oil and gas exploration in Cook Inlet where it has been going on since the 1950s with no ill effect.

    Whale numbers have rebounded a little, but there is a running argument between the feds / greens and local whaling captains who claim the numbers of whales are being deliberately undercounted while the beginning population was deliberately inflated. Cook Inlet is nasty silty gray water, so a real census is difficult at best. We also have several pods of killer whales in the Inlet and they feed on beluga. It is not uncommon to see several tens of whales stranded on the mudflats near Girdwood having beached themselves at low tide to escape orca. I have seen over 50 a time or two. They refloat and escape when the tide rises.

    Beluga eat salmon, so their presence at various places in Cook Inlet are a good sign for local fishermen chasing salmon themselves.

    This is not a development caused problem. This is and was entirely caused by mismanagement of beluga whaling in Cook Inlet by native whaling. And we now get to deal with a critical habitat where we can’t kill the things that are snacking on the beluga either (orca). Cheers -

  34. He’s right of course – I used to believe in the pseudoscience because of an emotional response.

    When my brain actually kicked in I realised I no longer believe a word of their snake oil.

  35. Don’t you have the equivalent of our Advertising Standards Authority over there? Here adverts must be “Legal, decent, honest & truthful”. Complaints against those that are not are often upheld with advertisers being fined and forced to withdraw misleading adverts. This covers all media including online.
    If that had appeared on a UK publication I’d have fired off a complaint just to be vexatious.

  36. Fascinating educational thread about Beluga whales. Thanks, Anthony and commenters, especially those with local knowledge. Is there nowhere in the world that WUWT doesn’t reach? It sure must keep Anthony and his guest posters on their toes. :)

    Anyway, from what people have said, it’s not surprising that they are not a numerous species. All that wallowing around in the shallows is pretty risky, especially if there are predators like orcas around.

  37. I guess that’s what’s “wrong” with me. I have slow emotions. I’ll end up thinking and thinking and puzzling something out… and only after I’ve got a handle on it does an emotional state form. After all, how can I know to choose between anger, pity, fear, whatever; unless I’ve figured out if they are attacking me, just damn fools, or raving idiots with real power? Takes time to work that kind of thing out, so I’m usually just “contemplative / aware” until I reach an end point of understanding.

    Don’t know how else to explain it. It’s just a “centered and processing data stream” emotion pended state. Maybe that is it’s own emotion. “Pended”. One some folks lack…

    Oddly, in Karate class we spent a fair amount of time learning that state. Some folks had a hard time with it. “Be an empty vessel” (Karate is ‘empty hand’ and also metaphorically the empty vessel…) For me it just seemed natural. Didn’t see what the big deal was.

    In Aikido we had even more emphasis on the whole idea. “You chose not to fight. Let your opponents energy fight with himself.” and “Be centered and at peace.” “Return your opponents energy and un-centeredness to them. Do not let it disturb you.” (Many Aikido movements blend with the energy flow from an opponent and lets it flow back into the attacker, causing them to fly off a ways ;-) It’s really fun ;-) ;-) It’s the one that looks like folks in big black culottes doing a turning dance… then someone goes flying…)

    It is hard to explain how you can have a fist or foot headed right at your face and be completely emotionally unengaged, but that is the state; and I’ve been in it. There’s an odd experience (that I first really had at 7th colored belt, Purple in my dojo) when you are just an observer as your body engages with your opponent. Being “of no mind” as the lower brain levels decide to block, or kick, or catch a kick. Very peaceful, in a strange kind of way.

    Perhaps if we bought the warmers all a membership in a nice eastern philosophy dojo somewhere they would learn to not emote first and think later. To realize that they can be at peace and not subject to emotional pleas and ‘tear jerk’ fear campaigns.

    I think I need to revisit the “empty vessel” philosophy again…

  38. johanna says:
    January 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm
    … All that wallowing around in the shallows is pretty risky, especially if there are predators like orcas around.
    =============================================================
    I saw a headline today about some orcas that were stranded under some ice but now appear to be in the clear. I didn’t actually read the details to see how too much ice was somehow our fault.
    Polar bears have (or will have) too little ice. Orcas have too much. What’s a Mother Gaia to do?

  39. Tim Ball: ‘How many Jonahs will swallow it’

    Hmm, thought he WAS swallowed! The story of Jonah is very instructive in the context. Worth a read. What is very apposite is that when (after his being swallowed event) he finally tells Ninevites to change their ways – they do! This really riles ol’ Jonah – who wanted to see their destruction and was hoping for a ringside seat. In the early days of the green movement, on the whole industry genuinely began to clean up when asked to. As Patrick Moore remarked, “If people do what you ask, it’s pretty hard to carry on being confrontational” – but they did, so he left.

  40. “So we only care about WHITE whales and WHITE bears. I guess whales of color will just have to fend for themselves. … Umm … I guess they already do.”
    And don’t forget “black” carbon is evil.
    These guys sound awfully racist, especially when you consider what proposed energy policies will do to third world countries.
    /sarc, sort of anyway.

  41. Roscoe, I hear you about the snake oil… but in this case it’s Whale Oil… great for lamps as I understand it. Good thing our civilization came up with better solutions, whether that’s electricity or kerosene from those evil fossil fuels.

    When it comes to beggars, it’s ALWAYS about emotions. From street level to boardrooms, begging is begging and it USED to be considered an embarrassing situation to be in. Now it’s a standard method to raise funds for lefty causes.

    Why? Well, the same things that makes someone a lefty makes someone gullible enough to finance things like NRDC, Greenpeace, WWF, and so, so many more. They scour the world for images that jolt emotions, images of animals in distress or starving children, and as these ads demonstrate, if they can’t find a suitably emotional image they just make one up.

    Yet another thing the Internet should be opening people’s eyes to, but currently they are using the Internet to advance their cause.

  42. “pretty indisputable observations about how the brain works” ??? when did that happen? I hope not, that would take all the fun out of living.

  43. I wonder if anyone has access to Mother Jones’ income and expenditure accounts. It would be interesting to see what salaries are paid to its senior staff compared to their spending on their so called good causes. They must have a huge income through soliciting donations so strongly via their website

  44. Anthony, the ad picture is NOT the same as Nicklin’s pic on AnimalsAndEarth. Nicklin’s whale has its “tail” raised, its mouth under water… and other minor differences.

    However on other points I fully agree.

  45. This craziness is a little O/T but it certainly qualifies as crazy. I came across a video on the NYT’s Andrew Revkin (via Climate Depot) blog. It’s a Skeptical Science video trying to rebut the lack of warming since 1998. However the video gets off to a fraudulant start. At the 14sec mark they show a graph which the narrator and type on the video that state is a NASA long term temp record. Now I’ve a few NASA long term temp records both before/after “adjusting” and not one of them shows the 1930′s to be cooler than the 1970′s. And not one of them show an almost linear rise in temps from 1910 forward. This appears to be an outright case lying/fraud from the team over at SkS. And to think a prominent climate scientist at a prestigious Pennsylvania Univ often refers people to this website to get the “facts” about the climate.

    BTW I have a screen copy of the graph as I’m sure they’ll take the video down for editing :-)

  46. agimarc says:

    January 10, 2013 at 1:53 pm
    ==========================
    Thanks for that comment. It is always refreshing to hear from someone who has a true perspective on the subject.

  47. DirkH said @ January 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Do the Black Swans get stranded often? I hear they’re pretty rare. Damn Big Oil.

    No, they do not get stranded. Locally (Tasmania) they have become so numerous, the government had to reintroduce a hunting season. Like geese, they are grazers of grass and they contaminate the paddocks along the river. Cattle won’t eat grass contaminated by their poop.

    Damn Big Oil’s right. I never have received any of those paycheques I’m supposed to be getting!

  48. I think i’m going to set upsome sort of conservation charity , it seems pretty easy to fleece the greentards of their money and charities these days can consume up to 25% of donations in ‘overheads’. Looks like I’m jumping the green gravy train

  49. Emotions are quicker, than rational thought. Well, yeah, like flight or fight and other base (primative, reptilian) brain responses evolved to keep us alive. But, with a reasonably intelligent person were talking milliseconds, not minutes, hours, or days. Unless, of course, if you are a self-deluding, politically driven nitwit.

  50. Repeated for emphasis:

    john robertson says January 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm :
    “Mooney a dripping mass of projection.”

    This applies pretty much across the board for AGW promoters. For all the accusations they hurl out, they could aim them all right back at themselves. But on top of that, now they have to project their own “feel first, think second” flawed mentality to us skeptic trolls in a wacko twist to insinuate we do actually ‘feel’ the righteousness of AGW, but we ‘think’ our way back into our defensive corporate capitalist, pry-my-SUV-from-my-cold-dead-hands, Fox viewer/Limbaugh listener selves.

    Meanwhile, I’ve dived headfirst into MotherJones and other such sites as a troll asking if any of them have outright proof that skeptic climate scientists were given money in exchange for false fabricated papers, assessments or viewpoints, and not one of the AGW promoters can answer that. Naturally, they ‘feel first’, hitting me with all kinds of weird sidesteps, insults and whatnot. But if one of them actually ends up thinking “Oh, wow, there is no evidence for the ‘big oil corruption accusation’, watch out!

    I figure there are only two kinds of people out there: skeptics, and people who will become skeptics when they read and fully comprehend skeptic material.

  51. @ philjourdan on January 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm
    and Robert M on January 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm:

    A guy I know said he did this at college, about mid-1970′s. I’ve heard of others doing it.

    Set out a chair upholstered in leather-like material. Add sign decrying the hunting of the noble Nauga for its valuable hyde. Poor things are almost extinct, no one’s reported seeing a live Nauga in ages. Collect signatures on your petition to ban said hunting. Yes, you will get people signing up, seriously.

    If doing it these days, don’t forget to mention the habitat loss mainly from fracking, with more expected from climate change.

    Yes, there are people worried about how the fate of these Beluga Whales is tied to the supply of Beluga Caviar. Field research indicates that those who are more likely to donate to the above cause are also more likely than the general population to worry about said Beluga connection.

    BTW, thankfully we are in the internet age of instantly-available trustworthy information. For those worried about the fate of the Naugas, you can show them this helpful site supplied by Uniroyal, where it’s revealed the Naugas are an intelligent species that has peacefully coexisted with humans for millennia that willfully and harmlessly shed their old hydes. So those people can instead worry about real problems, like the unreasoning hatred and proposed wholesale slaughtering of the hapless nekomimi species.

  52. “Based on pretty indisputable observations about how the brain works, the theory notes that people feel first, and think second.”

    It depends upon the stimulus and the “people”. If the stimulus is a statement such as the above, then how can I feel anything before I read it, while thinking? If it’s a visual by the NRDC…since I know they lie, then I expect something to be wrong with their Advert.. But when I see a beached whale supplied by the NRDC, yes, I do immediately groan!

  53. Yeah, that “feel first, think second” sounds like a load of cobblers to me.

    It implies that everything we perceive generates some sort of emotional response. Rubbish. When I look at a mathematical equation, or the wall of the smallest room, I don’t “feel” anything. It also seems to ignore the wide range of differences between individuals. Some people seem to experience the world almost entirely through their feelings, and the converse is also true.

    Besides, feelings can be rational. If I am hanging from a precipice by my fingertips, do I feel scared? You bet. Is that a rational response? Oh, yes.

    It is one of those catchy throwaway lines that doesn’t stand up to analysis.

    (No feelings were hurt in the creation of this post.)

  54. johanna said @ January 10, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Yeah, that “feel first, think second” sounds like a load of cobblers to me.

    It implies that everything we perceive generates some sort of emotional response. Rubbish. When I look at a mathematical equation, or the wall of the smallest room, I don’t “feel” anything.

    Oh, I dunno. When I look at those things I think: “What’s for dinner?”, or “Hmmm, a nice curry would go down a treat.” Yes, we are all… different ;-)

  55. Whie reading these comments my wife showed me an ad for a ‘life-like’ doll of a baby orangutang for $200 and part of this cost is given to a ‘save the orangutang’ fund.
    As with this article about saving belugas, the doll is designed to trigger an emotional response whilst my male brain thought “why wouldn’t you send the $200 to the fund?”.

  56. On a related note.. I saw just the other night an ad by WWF for donations to help save the polar bears from extinction. Yes, you can “virtually” adopt a polar bear. The ad made it clear that their numbers were dwindling.
    (Their actual population notwithstanding..)

  57. Well spotted, TPG. I think you should submit this to Nature. There’s a good chance it will get published (happy to provide peer/pal review if required).

  58. It implies that everything we perceive generates some sort of emotional response. Rubbish.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Sorry folks, but people’s decision making processes are primarily emotional. Logic isn’t just second, it is a distant second. I’ve been in sales for over thirty years. It is my job to influence people who make highly technical decisions. Even in the technology industry, where you would think that the best technical decision would rule, actually emotion does.

    Peer pressure for example is an emotional response over riding the facts. Confirmation bias is an emotional response over riding the facts. In any technical decision, the incumbent vendor wins 90% of the time even when they have the weakest product. Why? Because change = risk and most people are risk averse. Better the devil you know. Changing vendors gets you a pat on the back if things improve, it get you fired if they get worse. Unless the current vendor is so bad that keeping them around will get you fired, there’s little reward for changing. That’s why the incumbent vendor wins with an adequate product over and over against a stellar product.

    Pick up any book on sales. There are a few exceptions that focus on sales strategy, but the bulk of them focus on building rapport, building trust relationships, building credibility. These are all emotional responses that must be dealt with first in the sales process or there will be no sale regardless of the facts.

    In fact, one of the primary tools used by companies with a weak product set is FUD. Yes, it even has a three letter acronym. Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. (To be honest, companies with good products often use FUD too, all is fair in love, war and business). FUD can be as simple as pointing out that a competitor has their 3rd CFO in six months, implying that they are financially unstable. Defending against FUD could be as simple as pointing out to a prospective customer that your company is restructuring due to rapid growth and the changes were planned in advance as part of an orderly transition. Fail to defend against FUD and you WILL lose the sale because customers don’t have time to look into these details themselves. FUD (emotion) wins. Fail to build rapport and trust (emotional responses) and FUD will still win because your defense lacks credibility even though it is factual.

    Hence, CAGW proponents lead with scenes of polar bears stuck on ice flows and beached whales. They evoke an emotional response. Sets a negative emotional state. Associate global warming with the negative emotions. The poor whales, look what global warming did to them. Then hiit ‘em with Appeal to Authority (people respect authority, it has credibility). The scientists say it is Big Oil’s fault. Hit ‘em with consensus (which is nothing more than peer pressure). ALL the scientists say this, everyone knows this. Hit ‘em with FUD. You know those skeptics are funded by Big Oil right? You know that if we let them go on, it will get worse, right?

    It is all about the emotion, and the hard part of selling the facts is that they have little emotional appeal.

  59. There is a population of Beluga (about 650) in the St. Lawrence estuary that is reported to have issues with chemicals causing high rates of cancer and other issues. That’s an old report (to 1999). In 2003 the estimate was 1,100. Strandings have been increasing: 8 in 2008, 9 in 2010, and 16 in 2012.

    http://www.universityaffairs.ca/the-unexplained-deaths-of-st-lawrence-belugas.aspx

    The “Range Map” (tiny globe image) presented above seems to miss this group.

  60. The CBC had a tear-jerking item tonight on the trapped killer whale pod trapped in the ice complete with a ‘scientist’ who stated that the whales should not be there but were lured into the area by ‘global warming’ and ‘we are all partly responsible for this’. The CBC did not mention the fact the local temperature is well below normal touching near -60. The sea froze so quickly the whales were trapped. When a polar bear showed up to try to catch one, local villagers shot it. Unlike the makers of the 2008 video embedded at the top of this article, they did not use a camera.

    How nature deals with these events:

  61. Lucy Skywalker says: January 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm
    “…Anthony, the ad picture is NOT the same…”

    But undoubtedly the same whale, in the same place, on the same occasion…. with a slightly different viewpoint and a different lens….

  62. I e-mailed this to Flip Nicklin and ended with saying his comments here would be welcome. I’d like to know what he thinks of the NRDC using his photo, without credit, to lie about the Beluga and solicit donations.

  63. davidmhoffer says:
    January 10, 2013 at 9:18 pm
    “Peer pressure for example is an emotional response over riding the facts. Confirmation bias is an emotional response over riding the facts. In any technical decision, the incumbent vendor wins 90% of the time even when they have the weakest product. Why? Because change = risk and most people are risk averse. Better the devil you know. Changing vendors gets you a pat on the back if things improve, it get you fired if they get worse. Unless the current vendor is so bad that keeping them around will get you fired, there’s little reward for changing. That’s why the incumbent vendor wins with an adequate product over and over against a stellar product.”

    In your example the person who makes the decision AVOIDS personal risk by deciding to use the known old product. This is RATIONAL. It might not be the best outcome for his company but it avoids personal risk to HIM. (A company can neither be emotional nor rational – a company does not have a brain and is only a legal fiction. The rational or emotional actor is the human involved. In your example, the actor acts rational.)

  64. .
    You should see the adverts on Dutch TV (one of the few parliaments that has elected politicians from a ‘save the animals’ party).

    They always have cuddly seal pups left stranded (deliberately) on a beach, and then some kindly grandma cuddling it. It is never an angry sea-lion or aggressive bull-seal. Nor is it ever some grotesque-looking bottom feeding parasite – it is only cuddly seals and cute kittens that are ever endangered in Holland.

    .

  65. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    Again documenting more nonsense from the greenies. I note that about half of the beluga range is in Russian waters, and about half of the remainder is in Canadian waters. Accordingly, US-based whiners can have little to no benefit for their stated cause and can only hurt the US economy and bog down the US courts.

  66. DirkH;
    In your example the person who makes the decision AVOIDS personal risk by deciding to use the known old product. This is RATIONAL
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    No two situations are alike. But I have over the years seen more people lose their jobs for fear of making a change than I have seen people losing their jobs for having made a change that went awry.

    BTW, companies make emotional and irrational decisions all the time. We don’t use the same words to describe organizational decision making, but the terms do apply, though loosely. Companies are founded by entrepreneurs who are be definition risk takers. As companies grow and mature they become increasingly risk averse until they become incapable of change in the face of competitive threats.

    Switzerland at one time dominated the watch making market. They were decimated by Seiko and the quartz movement. The quartz movement was invented in Switzerland and the inventor pitched it to every watch company on the country. They all turned him down because they knew how to make watches and they saw no reason to take the risk of changing to this new fangled technology. He went to Japan, sold it to Seiko, and a few years later almost all the Swiss watch makers went bankrupt. Not only are companies sometimes irrational, entire industries can be irrational.

    A researcher at 3M came up with glue that kinda sticks but kinda doesn’t. created pads of yellow paper with a stripe of the glue on one edge. 3M killed the project because because they were certain it had no market value. A few months later the admins that the researcher had given samples of the product to ran out. When they found out that the product had been cancelled they went ballistic and gave the execs a talking to. 3M was lucky, that researcher could have walked out the door and taken the idea elsewhere.

    The mouse, the gui, and ethernet were all invented at Xerox (among many other things). But the sales and marketing organizations were so resistant to selling anything that wasn’t a photo copier that they failed. Apple, Digital and many others made more money off of the things Xerox invented many times over compared to what Xerox made on photo copiers. So resistant was Xerox to change driven by their own research company (Xerox PARC) that they tried to get back into the computer business by developing new products based on other technologies that were more expensive and a fraction of the performance of the products of other companies who were licensing technology from Xerox PARC. One could hardly call that rational.

  67. @Anthony

    junk stories like this are useful for helping break the consensus. When younger people see sloppy work like this, they become much less confident in the narrative. I know in the interest of accuracy you want to see stories like this become less frequent, but I am the total opposite. I want the 300% positive feedback true believers to double down on their ignorance and continue to write junk like this.

    The only thing Chris Mooney cares about environmentally is the big daisy on his jacket, which fires seltzer water.

  68. Silver Ralph says:
    January 11, 2013 at 5:36 am
    “They always have cuddly seal pups left stranded (deliberately) on a beach, and then some kindly grandma cuddling it. It is never an angry sea-lion or aggressive bull-seal. Nor is it ever some grotesque-looking bottom feeding parasite”

    Tests with grandmas cuddling angry sea lions and with grandmas cuddling parasites didn’t work out well I suppose so they opted to show the less graphic material.

  69. Caviar is a red herring. (sorry) :-)

    From Wikiipedia: “Beluga caviar is caviar consisting of the roe (or eggs) of the beluga sturgeon Huso huso. It is found primarily in the Caspian Sea, the world’s largest salt-water lake, which is bordered by Iran and the CIS countries of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan. It can also be found in the Black Sea basin and occasionally in the Adriatic Sea. Beluga caviar is the most expensive type of caviar, with present market prices ranging from $7,000 to $10,000 per 1 kg. ”

    They could be wrong – they often are.

  70. @Davidmhoffer 9:18.
    You are right sir, emotional response first, logic later.
    Strikes me that this is the reason, most readers here, value the scientific method.
    It allows us a filter to evaluate our emotional desire to believe.
    And a tool to combat the inbuilt, self justification of dumb decisions.
    Course if like Mooney, never look in the mirror, all evil is external , irrational thought is the proper response.
    A quivering mass of projection, fear and illogic.
    Screaming follow me to his admirers.

  71. Sorry missed the point, what will sell the facts is the emotional response to being hit in the wallet.
    Sucker, you are being scammed, used and impoverished. Generally provokes a sever emotional response.

  72. David, I think you may have misunderstood my post.

    I never said that people’s decisions are not driven by emotion (in fact, I explicitly said that often, they are). I never said that lots of irrational decisions are not made. either.

    What I said was, this glib generalisation does not take into account lots of decisions and human variability.

    When I decide to do a load of washing and hang it out because it’s sunny, emotion plays no part whatsoever. I perceive that it’s sunny, and there is a basket of washing to be done, and that’s all there is to it. When, as the person in the office in charge of stationery, I notice that paper is running low, I order more. Same thing.

    Of course it is true that some decisions are manipulated by those who play on emotions, or are shaped by people who are primarily emotion-driven. But that’s not what I disputed.

    What I disputed was the superficial and facile claim that decisions or beliefs in general are always subsequent to, or subsidiaries of, some upwelling of emotion. Balderdash, I say!

  73. Sea creatures have been observed trying to avoid the noise from seismic airguns. Its decibels are in ranges that over the long term are harmful, and at close range immediately injurious to humans if it were in the air.
    Emotional response? Yeah, I guess. Having spent a night recently trying to sleep with the constant boom, boom, boom of rock music emanating from across the street, I am on the whales’ side on this one. There must be a better way to find oil.

  74. Any word on how many of these whales were stranded when they decided to swim into the shallows of the estuary to exfoliate (yes, they do that) and the tide went out and caught them?

    At any rate it’s as dishonest as the polar bear on the melting ice berg.

  75. To banjo:

    No. Beluga caviar is roe (eggs) from the Beluga surgeon, found
    in the Caspian Sea and Black Sea. Beluga sturgeon
    ( Huso huso ) are rare, and this causes Beluga to be the
    most expensive form of caviar. I think concern over the species
    led the import of Beluga caviar into the U.S.A. to be banned in 2005.

  76. johanna said @ January 10, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Well spotted, TPG. I think you should submit this to Nature. There’s a good chance it will get published (happy to provide peer/pal review if required).

    I’m not so sure. I’m still waiting to see the paper I co-wrote with Hannah (The Great) Gadsby on variations in the mating habits of the Drop Bear (Thylarctos plummetus) in Tasmania published.

    http://australianmuseum.net.au/Drop-Bear

  77. TPG – I had no idea you were part of the ground-breaking team that discovered Drop Bears.

    Some very funny comments on that thread, especially from those suffering PDPTSS who tried to tell us that they don’t exist. Not to mention the heart-wrenching tales involving pets. Then, the good advice (like not looking up, to avoid exposing the jugular) has certainly been noted by me.

    Well done, sir. The path of the pioneering scientist is not an easy one.

  78. @davidmhoffer Instead of exploiting the mouse, GUI and other advanced technology invented at Xerox, the company’s serious venture into computers was with a CP/M machine running a Z-80 CPU. It was called the 820 Information Processor. Presaging the iMac design by many years, it had the entire computer inside the monitor, with a detached keyboard. That was followed by the 820-II. As the IBM PC and clones took over the market, Xerox tried a last ditch play of making a 2-in-1 version with both a Z-80 and an 8088 CPU. A program could be run on one then the system switched to the other CPU while the first task continued to run in the background.

    It was too little, too late. Xerox soon bailed out of the computer business.

  79. Galane;
    Presaging the iMac design by many years, it had the entire computer inside the monitor, with a detached keyboard.
    >>>>>>>>>>>

    Yeah, I remember. They also had a “flying window” word processor when nobody had heard of word processors yet and it was WYSIWYG years before anyone started talking about those things. What was truly odd though was that even if you knew about them, you couldn’t buy them. Management was dictating that the store fronts had to dedicate a certain percentage of their floor space to the new products. The store managers were making the big bucks without doing very much work selling photo copiers (Xerox had the patents so no competition) and they didn’t want to waste their time on the new products. So, they would designate the storage room in the basement as “floor space” and put all their demo models down there. Good luck trying to find someone to even talk to about them.

    Of course the patents ran out, suddenly there were a dozen competitors and life wasn’t so easy anymore, and their leadership position in technology had evaporated, they were way behind on almost everything. Their efforts after that were, as you said, too little too late. But a remarkable case study in the vision of management being thwarted by thousands of their own employees refusing to change and nearly bankrupting one of the largest companies in the world in the process.

  80. Aldous Huxley wrote:

    Surely it’s obvious
    Doesn’t every schoolboy know it?
    Ends are ape-chosen
    Only the means are man’s.

  81. “kadaka (KD Knoebel)” on January 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm talked of Beluga cavier as though the Cook Inlet Beluga _whales_ had something to do with that delicacy.

    Was that person thinking of _eggs_ of the Beluga _sturgeon_, which is primarily found in the Caspean, Black, and Adriatic seas?
    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beluga_caviar which does not mention existence anywhere else.

    Sturgeon are fish that lay eggs, whales are mammals who give live birth.

  82. Bob Armstrong asked if the whales are sunning themselves on the sand. I’m skeptical but it is a possibility to investigate.
    I’ve seen seals and sea lions arching their backs to stay out of the water as long as they can, when the tide is rising on the rock outcrop they were perched on.
    Much less energy loss out of the water, and if the day is at least bright they get warmth from the sun. (I did not check what they were doing at night in the many days I saw them from a seaside cabin.)
    However seals are somewhat more mobile on land than whales? (Flippers relatively larger for body.)

  83. Keith Sketchley says:
    January 15, 2013 at 9:13 am

    “kadaka (KD Knoebel)” on January 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm talked of Beluga cavier as though the Cook Inlet Beluga _whales_ had something to do with that delicacy.

    Was that person thinking of _eggs_ of the Beluga _sturgeon_, which is primarily found in the Caspean, Black, and Adriatic seas?
    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beluga_caviar which does not mention existence anywhere else.

    Sturgeon are fish that lay eggs, whales are mammals who give live birth.

    I believe that it was merely another reason we should have a [humor] tag, I’m pretty certain kadaka wasn’t being serious. Me, I found his post freakin’ hilarious. With that in mind, you might want to revisit it, viz:

    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    January 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    68% of those contributing to save these whales are worried given the connection to the Beluga Caviar supply.

    57% (of the 100%) are wondering if Big Fisheries are somehow complicit,
    34% are worried this may impact prices and/or available supply.

    (Note there is an overlap that is ashamed their selfish desires for tasty caviar are hurting these noble creatures, and will be extra generous with their donations. Of course they are blameless and had no idea this was going on, as their suppliers had assured them the caviar was humanely harvested from free-range non-endangered stock.)

    w.

  84. A humo(u)r tag would be appropriate, Willis, for obscurely written posts.

    Certainly are environmentalists out there who are stupid enough to to connect beluga sturgeon to beluga whales – they regularly leap to connections without checking. (“beluga” probaby comes from a Russian word for white, uses include for a river in Alaska and a rural area there.)

    Sturgeon BTW are very large fish which live long, some are in the large Fraser River in BC.

  85. Regarding seal pups, they are sometimes left alone for a while as the mother needs to go get food. Problem in urban areas is people taking the pup as they think it is orphaned or abandoned.

    Deer get their fawn to stay hidden under a bush or such, but a beach has less place to hide.

    Birds usually have two parents staying around, so they can take turns minding the young,

Comments are closed.