Filter bubbles and the climate wars

Image by Volker Ballueder – click

I try to read opposing views often, as that pretty much fits my job description for running WUWT, but not everyone does this. Some people are so steeped in tribalism that they won’t even venture outside of their comfort zone to see what the other side is saying, and when offered information by “outsiders”, flatly refuse to even consider it or even become combative towards anyone that suggests it.  They tend to prefer being surrounded only by people they like and content that they agree with, and consider giving attention to any other views as “false balance”. Joe Romm and his Climate Progress blog is a good example of this, which is why he has such few comments these days. WUWT often posts press releases generated by the opposite side of the debate verbatim, so that we can consider the merit, I also post articles where I disagree with some of the content, but we also have our own problems like any collection of like minded people. On the plus side, love it or hate it, WUWT is read almost equally by both sides of the climate debate, if it weren’t, it would not have so many blog spawn.

From MIT technology Review, h/t to Steven Mosher

How to Burst the “Filter Bubble” that Protects Us from Opposing Views

Computer scientists have discovered a way to number-crunch an individual’s own preferences to recommend content from others with opposing views. The goal? To burst the “filter bubble” that surrounds us with people we like and content that we agree with.

 

The term “filter bubble” entered the public domain back in 2011 when the internet activist Eli Pariser coined it to refer to the way recommendation engines shield people from certain aspects of the real world.Pariser used the example of two people who googled the term “BP”. One received links to investment news about BP while the other received links to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, presumably as a result of some recommendation algorithm.This is an insidious problem. Much social research shows that people prefer to receive information that they agree with instead of information that challenges their beliefs. This problem is compounded when social networks recommend content based on what users already like and on what people similar to them also like.

This is the filter bubble—being surrounded only by people you like and content that you agree with.

And the danger is that it can polarise populations creating potentially harmful divisions in society.

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

Read the entire article here: http://www.technologyreview.com/view/522111/how-to-burst-the-filter-bubble-that-protects-us-from-opposing-views/

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1311.4658 : Data Portraits: Connecting People of Opposing Views

(Submitted on 19 Nov 2013)

Social networks allow people to connect with each other and have conversations on a wide variety of topics. However, users tend to connect with like-minded people and read agreeable information, a behavior that leads to group polarization. Motivated by this scenario, we study how to take advantage of partial homophily to suggest agreeable content to users authored by people with opposite views on sensitive issues. We introduce a paradigm to present a data portrait of users, in which their characterizing topics are visualized and their corresponding tweets are displayed using an organic design. Among their tweets we inject recommended tweets from other people considering their views on sensitive issues in addition to topical relevance, indirectly motivating connections between dissimilar people. To evaluate our approach, we present a case study on Twitter about a sensitive topic in Chile, where we estimate user stances for regular people and find intermediary topics. We then evaluated our design in a user study. We found that recommending topically relevant content from authors with opposite views in a baseline interface had a negative emotional effect. We saw that our organic visualization design reverts that effect. We also observed significant individual differences linked to evaluation of recommendations. Our results suggest that organic visualization may revert the negative effects of providing potentially sensitive content.

About these ads

134 thoughts on “Filter bubbles and the climate wars

  1. “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” – Dr. Phil Jones

  2. I suppose it is wise for one to always be suspicious of what one “knows to be the truth”. I like the policy that once convinced of the truth of a thing, it is time to start trying to prove it wrong. Such is a good defense against spurious falsification but on the other hand it is good to be earlier rather than later to abandon an error.

  3. Michael Craig says:
    December 6, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Okay, how many of you Googled BP?

    I got mostly finance stuff but it may be that the spill is now stale.
    __________________
    In the bubble man, me too…

  4. On the topic of listening to the other side of an argument:
    “You can never get all the facts from just one newspaper, and unless you have all the facts, you cannot make proper judgements about what is going on.” – Harry S. Truman
    “If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.” – Sun
    Tzu
    The best wisdom is often old wisdom.

  5. Two major problems with this (worthy) process are the difficulty people have on a daily basis *verifying* the information they’re given, and what seems (and likely is) a generalized ramping up of hostility in communication, particularly political.

    In other words, there are a lot of lies and a lot of angry people hurtling around, and I actually don’t have any kind of solution to that which would work for most people. You can tell people to do a ton of research on every factoid, but mostly that just isn’t going to happen.

  6. This problem is a real one for everyone interested in the climate issue. What makes it worse is that advocates for each side “preach to the choir”, using assumptions and language and rhetoric that either insults or turns off anyone from the other side who tries to read it. Each time I look at a pro-AGW essay hoping to learn something I seem to encounter an insult, a debatable assumption, and a couple of logical fallacies in the first two paragraphs … so I soon stop reading. I’m sure that the reverse is often also true for any believer who reads a skeptical essay.

    Authors in the debate should address their essay to an objective neutral reader, forget the insults and justify their most basic assumptions and “facts” before using that as the starting point for their arguments. The other side might feel comfortable enough to read it then.

    Having said that, from what I’ve seen most of the ugliness in the debate appears to be on the “believer” side — they often assume that global warming is a fact and that really there can be no “debate” because whatever arguments the skeptics try to make are necessarily “false equivalencies”, etc., and are not seriously considered and in fact are typically sneered at openly. Even if they have a good argument to make, who wants to read it when it has that kind of tone?

  7. Michael Craig says:
    December 6, 2013 at 9:38 am
    Okay, how many of you Googled BP?

    I got mostly finance stuff but it may be that the spill is now stale.

    Ditto, but I got the British Pharmacopoeia as well. I have certainly been fretting recently about how the G-corporation is filtering my search requests.

  8. OK, Michael, I got mainly general info, certainly including financials. Mostly company website, including one item about how they’re paying all legitimate (?) claims.
    Spill IS now stale.

    I got a letter from one sister today saying that the other one, a warmist believer, said that the British were exonerated on Climategate. Remember that whitewash? I replied that the whitewash was over two years old and how was it that she was just now hearing about it?

    Your statement that WUWT is read almost equally by both sides of the Climate debate will be a huge help in getting my sisters and other caring people to read WUWT. The fact is, this site is probably the most scientific one in existence on the subject, so getting intelligent people to read it should result in a huge boost in real planetary understanding of the issues.

  9. “We introduce a paradigm to present a data portrait of users, in which their characterizing topics are visualized and their corresponding tweets are displayed using an organic design. Among their tweets we inject recommended tweets from other people considering their views on sensitive issues in addition to topical relevance, indirectly motivating connections between dissimilar people.”

    Al Gore has a wonderful new paradigm for your google search! Let’s test it. Use the search term “fair trade coffee.” In seven pages of results, only four or five sites are critical of fair trade coffee. Everything else is in positively glowing terms.

    But this is the way the cookie crumbles when you are the one who creates the new paradigm.

    bing has one critical article of fair trade coffee in five pages.

    Remember, then-Sec of State Hilary Clinton also thought that the internet needed to make sure all people have access to the same information. As a paradigm for internet use, this means that “asymetrical information” is a source of people coming into conflict.

  10. One good thing about living in the state that I do (California) and being in the profession that I have chosen (science teacher in a public high school) is that I am constantly exposed to the “others” whether I like it or not. No better way to hone your thinking, sez I.

  11. I agree in principle, and am discouraged that neither side wishes debate. We claim that we do but often we are as abrasive in our dialog as are the alarmists. This contentiousness does not contribute to the exchange of views or the changing of hearts and minds. The more strident the opposition to your belief system, the stronger one holds to it regardless of the quality of the conflicting point of view. When we do get someone from the AGW side to converse we often treat them as we are treated by the “political” scientists.

  12. Bayesian bullshit goes full circle. And the point is what exactly, is anyone surprised? The guy was a turgid old card shark for crying out loud. Just because we’ve seen a resurgence of this crap since the mid-fifties (and Sergey wotsisname made a buck or two out of it lately) doesn’t make it any better.

    Any shmuck who thinks they can run the world on such nonsense has yet to attend their meeting with reality.

  13. tolerance is just so over-rated…. /sarc

    Never underestimate the lizard-brain as a motivator in so much of the way we are. Billions of years of evolution is ignored at your peril.

  14. Doug Danhoff says December 6, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I agree in principle, and am discouraged that neither side wishes debate.

    Huh?

    ‘They’ won’t come off their ‘reservations’ or out of their cloistered hallowed ivory towers!!! What are we to do, stand there with megaphones shouting across the moat?

    When was the last time Algore debated anybody?

    When we do get ‘one’ here (purported; most come here to troll), they seem to have the mental faculties of a 10 yr old (Sisi?) … I even try to engage the few socialists we have show up in an even-handed non-derogatory manner, JUST to get one under a microscope to see what makes them tick, but, they slink away, choosing not to engage even on a polite level …

    .

  15. Hmmm… I see a problem with this. Back in 2007, I just assumed that CAGW was true, and anyone arguing against was probably an idiot. The truth was, though, that I had never tried doing any digging online about the subject, so at one point I did. I was actively looking for the arguments that were pro-manmade warming, in other words. It didn’t take me long, though, to begin smelling a rat, and the rest as they say, is history. The bottom line is, that if one is searching for the truth, regardless of where that truth leads them, then that is what they will find.

  16. Hum, I listen to NPR, because it is receivable all the way to work. I pick up the Left of the Left, Minneapolis Star, I occasionally turn on our local “Democrat Party News Outlet” (known as WCCO television in Minneapolis) and I’m insular and hearing on the “conservative side” (because I read those dastardly RIGHT WING sources, like DRUDGE, and WUWT.

    I KNOW many “liberals” (Through Church, certain social contacts, etc.) MANY of them that I know (with the exception of a couple with Libertarian leanings) TAKE IN EXCLUSIVELY LEFT LEANING, DEMOCRAT PARTY, LIBERAL media sources! (One older Gentleman at my health club, reads ONLY the New York Times, as the Minneapolis Star is “too conservative” for him!)

    How do we spell “projection”???

  17. For news I always look at two different sources. Usually Fox News and CNN. I find that somewhere in between lies the truth. When it comes to climate science I can’t say I do the same thing. Since most of this debate occurs on blogs it’s difficult to find blogs on both sides of the debate that allow contrarian views to be expressed. That’s why I like WUWT.

  18. Joe who??

    “You can never get all the facts from just one newspaper, and unless you have all the facts, you cannot make proper judgements about what is going on.” – Harry S. Truman

    Today, you can never get any facts from any newspaper.

    “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” – Mr. Phil Jones

  19. Doug Danhoff says:
    December 6, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Good points. The problem really does lie in “belief systems,” as opposed to applying critical thought to a problem of natural science. Scientists acting as scientists discuss before debating. They want to be sure that everyone is on the same page. This is often assumed to be the case even though reading the opposing views often makes it clear that the discussants aren’t merely not on the same page, but, as grandmother used to say, “not singing from the same hymnal.”

  20. I was at the gym last week talking about the CAGW myths with a friend that agrees with me. I was providing facts about CO2’s benefits and lack of data to support extreme weather increasing and so on.

    I was on tv for 11 years and when I talk, can get pretty loud. The other guy is even louder when he speaks, so people on the other side of the gym could hear every word.

    Suddenly, this guy we don’t know yells at the top of his lungs “You guys need to get the F out of here!”
    Both of us chuckled and looked at him, then he said “No, get the F out of here now!”

    We were speechless. My friend was leaving anyway and just said goodbye. I went over to the guy and apologized for offending him for being so loud. He would not respond. I got right in front of him and said “Did you hear me, I told you I was sorry for offending you!”

    He responded finally by saying “well, I just don’t agree with anything you guys were saying and don’t want to hear about it”

    I told him, “I understand exactly where you’re coming from more than you’ll ever know”

    That’s the way it is.

  21. Willingness to examine the evidence for the other side’s arguments is good. Once it becomes clear that their “evidence” is merely speculation and conjecture, dismissing it and avoiding pointless discussion of it is called: discernment, or wisdom.

    One need not intentionally associate with those who hold irrational views to be aware of what those views are. Whether one chooses to hang out with people one largely disagrees with has more to do with potentially persuading them to see it as you do than to being open to their views (or it may simply be because they are your friends). And, if they are your friends, to maintain that friendship, you would be wise to investigate their views from other sources. Nothing ruins a friendship faster than discussing political or religious differences. If they ever genuinely ask you a question, seeking to know the truth, then talk about it. In sum: it is not necessary and, sometimes, it is not wise, to hang out with the “other side” to know what they believe.

    Moral: Beware of the fallacy of moral equivalency; not all positions are equally supported by reality and rational thought.

    Ancient Wisdom:

    “Those who walk with the wise grow wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

    Proverbs 13:20.

    There is a reason that new bank tellers are given real money to stare at and become very familiar with instead of dozens of examples of counterfeit money: they learn to recognize fact from fiction by knowing the facts very well.

  22. Filter bubbles and the climate wars

    I think a healthy free society must be an extremely argumentative and a very fierce independently thoughtful place.

    I see the post implies our free society isn’t like that. I see the post implies our free society is unhealthy because many / most people have, for whatever reason, developed some preferences in the ideas they choose to associate with and ideas the choose to disassociate with.

    Freedom of the intellect will produce free association of ideas. That is healthy, so I tend to disagree with the post’s implication of a problem in our free society.

    John

  23. @ Mike Maguire (re: 11:04am) — You are a class act. That jerk (his language tells me that) was a deeply troubled AGW cult member, for sure! And I’m sure you don’t need me to say this, but, I will: Don’t ever stop talking about the truth — LOUDLY. GO, MIKE!
    #(:))

    @ Jorge Kafkazar — Yes, indeed. As Stan Stendera shared of his grandpa’s wisdom (and as many a wise person has said): You believe what you read in the newspapers until they write about something you know about.

  24. The science is settled.

    Don’t confuse my clearly modeled warming trend with 20 years of observational data.

  25. ‘Filter bubbles’ were a predicted effect of the internet, right from the early days. One example (2008):

    http://www.elon.edu/e-web/predictions/expertsurveys/2008survey/internet_and_tolerance_anon_2020.xhtml

    Respondents were asked to agree or disagree with an imaginary 2020 statement “Social tolerance has advanced significantly due in great part to the Internet. In 2020, people are more tolerant than they are today, thanks to wider exposure to others and their views that has been brought about by the Internet and other information and communication technologies.[...]“.
    Only 33% agreed. 55% disagreed.
    There were lots of really good thoughtful comments. Perhaps the one that best summed it up was: “People find more people like themselves online and so can stay fractured and not having to learn to get along with people.”

  26. In Rotary, it has always been an accepted norm that you never discuss religion or politics. I have now found, through the belligerent reactions of fellow members, that in my Rotary, U3A, and Probus clubs, it is safest never to mention religion, politics, or CAGW. Maybe that is no change, on reflection, because CAGW certainly has become a modern religion!
    Nice and warm down here in New Zealand, but could that possibly be because we are heading into summer?

  27. Let me get this straight…
    They take a guy who rides a Harley who is gay, and hook him up with a guy who rides a Harley who is a member of the Westboro Baptist Church?
    Not just by random accident, but deliberately on purpose?
    Good luck with that one.

  28. Thanks Janice,
    When I was much younger, I might have gotten into a fist fight with the guy but have learned a few of things.
    1. People with strong opinions usually don’t have the ability to see objectively. Their view of the world or the topic is formed and they interpret new information based on that.

    2. After being on television for several years, I leaned to present myself to the public in a certain, favorable way, regardless of how abusiveness or obnoxious somebody was. When you’re a weatherman/meteorologist, you become a target for jokes sometimes.

    Instead of getting upset over somebody about to use me for a weather man joke, I would steal their “thunder”.
    For instance,
    Person: “Hey weatherman, whats the weather forecast!”
    Meteorologist Mike: (sensing a joke) “Why are you asking me? I’m a weatherman and you know I’m just going to lie to you!”

    Then everybody laughs.

    The best part of acquiring that skill is that you always walk away smelling like a rose, even if being heckled by a nimrod. The other person looks bad and you can be proud of yourself or feel sorry for them.

  29. The simple phrase; “I don’t know” is the heart of intellectual freedom, the beginning of self knowledge and wisdom.
    Bubble Filter, another expert from academia using too many words to state the obvious.
    Feynman and Twain sum it up beautifully in their own way.
    The certainty of fools will always be a curse upon the societies of mankind.
    I do not believe that the majority of citizens are willfully blind,the ever shrinking visitation and comment reduction at the, protected from thinking, blogs is a reasonable indication of public distaste for willful blindness.

  30. Anthony, I did interact with one of the sites you mentioned and found out that your are not using Kenji to Kenji’s full potential. :-)

    “You could be an expert reviewer for the IPCC. So could Anthony Watts’ dog Kenji.”

  31. @ blank Jim How are you? Did you and yours come through that ice storm okay? (good point at 10:29am, btw — and a certain socialist who waved that banner with religious zeal has apparently gone off in a permanent huff, this time…. and that is a pity)

    @Mike Maguire — Cool (or, was that “partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers,” heh). When I grow up, I want to be like you.

  32. I just looked at the Aussie site. I can see why it has little traction. All it does is compile information from other sites.Most of that information is commentary,not science, so essentially boring.

  33. Janice Moore says:
    December 6, 2013 at 11:05 am
    One need not intentionally associate with those who hold irrational views to be aware of what those views are.

    Janice,
    I think Ayn Rand said it best: Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it.

  34. Very interesting read, thank you. Since I spend an almost equal amount of my precious web surfing time laughing at blogs such as SKS ans Climate Progress et al, I guess I’m out of the bubble? ;)

  35. The average liberals brain can’t even process anything that does not conform to their preprogrammed world-view. If by chance a lefty is shown an undeniable fact contrary to their beliefs, and they are actually able to see it, by tomorrow they will have forgotten because they literally have no place to store the event. This is what inductive pedagogy was created to do.

  36. I truly believe that conservatives in the US are better at including other points of view than liberals are. Everywhere we look on TV we see lots of liberals, and not just on the news, but also on entertainment shows, also in the movies. College campuses are filled with liberals, we have to learn to tolerate liberals, but many liberals hardly come across a conservative. There just aren’t that many of them in Burkley, or on the Upper West side. I know that liberals will say, “but Foxnews is conservative”, but the truth is that every single Foxnews show presents the liberal side, maybe they present more conservatives,but they have the liberal side on every show. Liberal will also say “look at talk radio.” Ok, but do you liberals listen to talk radio to get the other side? Some of you do,but not very many.

  37. Hi, Mac T.K.,

    Great Ayn Rand quote. Thanks for sharing. While I can see that it nicely supports the main point of my 11:05am post, ….. I’m afraid I don’t see how the Rand quote logically follows from the selected words of mine you quoted. And if you can’t BELIEVE how dumb someone could be not to get that …. lol, look upon explaining that connection to me as a fun intellectual challenge!

    Your Ally for Truth in Science,

    Janice

    *********************

    @ Desert Yote — Did you ever find that lab notebook that you lost (hopefully not permanently!) in the storage unit debacle a few months ago? I prayed and was just hoping the answer was, “Yes.”

  38. re: Janice Moore says December 6, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Thanks for asking, Janice. Cities here are figuratively locked in the grip of this ice … my car is a literal ‘block of ice’ … temp is up to *only* 26 degrees so far and _no_ sign of thawing for another couple of days! Many others are without power (due to trees on power lines; this need not be the case, if proper trimming were followed or allowed) and in worse circumstances than we find ourselves (my trees, now gone/cut up for firewood, gave up the ghost a couple yrs back owing to drought and a late freeze after leafing-out one spring.)

    .

  39. Marcia Ferrell says:
    December 6, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Let me get this straight…
    They take a guy who rides a Harley who is gay, and hook him up with a guy who rides a Harley who is a member of the Westboro Baptist Church?
    Not just by random accident, but deliberately on purpose?
    Good luck with that one.

    All part of the application of Harley Evolutionary Theory: Survival of the Fattest.

  40. Some folks are programmed to believe drivel. My wife had a conversation with a young lady who with her boy friend are really into Philadelphia Experiment and Indigo Children. Most folks that frequent this blog and googling this stuff will put it aside within 5 minutes. These two have been researching it and getting sucked in for months. My gently, quiet, librarian wife is carefully puncturing her bubble. My fear is that once off this they will find UFOs, Area 51 or Pyramids. Oh well. So, what color is your aura?

  41. An interesting survey here would be: “What date (approximately) did you convert from liberal consensus views? Was the impetus initially internal or external?”

    I’ll start:
    1: 2000
    2. External (blog comment challenge).

  42. @ _Jim — Thanks for letting me know you are okay. That is a HORRENDOUS situation. I’ll pray some more. Makes sense that someone as thoughtful and prudent as your WUWT comments reveal you to be was well-prepared. Take care!

    @ Brian H — fun idea. People might not be that eager to take you up on your proposal as you might hope, though, for around 600 of them described just such a “conversion” experience on a thread posted by a Mr. (Jonathan?) Abbott last summer. He share his story in this post:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/25/my-personal-path-to-catastrophic-agw-skepticism/

    I like your survey, though, for its conciseness. How about creating a multiple choice-type survey using software that does that — to prevent narratives (thus, no: “Other: please describe,” heh, heh)? Have to carefully plan choices of #2, though…

  43. Larry Geiger says:
    December 6, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Some folks are programmed to believe drivel. My wife had a conversation with a young lady who with her boy friend are really into Philadelphia Experiment and Indigo Children. Most folks that frequent this blog and googling this stuff will put it aside within 5 minutes. These two have been researching it and getting sucked in for months. My gently, quiet, librarian wife is carefully puncturing her bubble. My fear is that once off this they will find UFOs, Area 51 or Pyramids. Oh well. So, what color is your aura?
    ______________________
    Last Spring, someone confidently told me that the rough tornadoes which struck Oklahoma City were the result of HAARP experiments. When I told her that HAARP had been shut down, after a moment’s reflection, she said, “They just moved it to someplace secret and started over again.”

    I tried to use the analogy of a flashlight and how its power to illuminate diminishes with distance and relate that to any power of HAARP and she said, “but they have ALIENS helping them with technology that we don’t know about.”
    I’m not sure if we got around to Bigfoot that evening, or if that came later…

  44. Here’s a test Type whale and dolfin beachings into your browser and then do the same and add the word military. Which one paints the clearer picture.?

  45. I did things a different way…one night I heard Oceanographer Prof Nils-Axel Moerner totally debunk AGW and dangerous sea level rises. It was circa 2005. He also went on to say that the solar physicists were predicting cooling in the middle of his century and that we would notice a difference from 2007. I did not appreciate why he picked this year but noticed the change…it was the sun cycle.
    In 2008 I came across the video of Professor Bob Carter’s lecture to some Australian colleagues and it blew my mind…empirical data…no nonsense…thousands and millions of years of earth history. So much learned in half an hour….I then became of aware Anthony and this website, Steve McIntyre, Dick Lindzen, Roy Spencer, John Christy et al.
    Intrigued I emailed some of them and became a kind of pen friend with Bob Carter.
    I learned what to look for…the personal attacks because the pathetic warmers simply don’t know the basics of the science so as Bob would say…”Don’t discuss the science, attack the man, repeat the mantra”. I also noticed the BBC would not debate the subject…they simply informed us the “science was settled”. Politicians did the same and it became obvious that they had done no research themselves but simply watched or listened to the BBC or read the Guardian and Independent.
    Once you are aware how little the AGW’s actually know it becomes amusing…to think they actually believe that we are the warmest ever is laughable. That they have no idea that sea ice is measured every day and the ice area is increasing takes their stupidity to new levels.
    On BBC’s Question Time two weeks ago our Climate Change Minister said the sea ice was disappearing and another MP and a union leader nodded in agreement.
    Mind blowing….funny, yet worrying.
    Ignorance is bliss but not for us!

  46. Well, the ‘filter bubble’ is just a special class of the ‘echo chamber.’ Where, now, Google and other targeted search engines are simply reinforcing echo chambers. Nothing shocking about that at all. If people didn’t get search results that confirmed what they already believed, they’d find a different search engine to use. Rationality and cultural validation do not have any necessary intersection with one another.

    But as a generality, if you want to learn about a given ideological framework — what’s good and ill supported in it — then you don’t go swim in the culture that gave rise to it. All you’ll find there are reflexive tropes that and slogans that validate faith for the faithful. The best option, always, in looking at a cultural movement are to spend time with its most ardent detractors. Not that they don’t have their own culture. But because they’re the best odds for finding the weakest foundational assumptions in the culture you’re interested in.

    eg. If you’re interested in AGW, then you hang here. If you’re interested in climate skepticism, you hang no where: As there isn’t an active community detailing the flaws of “Show me the experiment.” Which is a rather common and expected issue to be found in science. But it in other contexts, social or rhetorical it works just fine both ways. As each opposed camp usually proffers its own affirmative notions. Such as Libertarianism vs. Socialism.

  47. “Some people are so steeped in tribalism that they won’t even venture outside of their comfort zone to see what the other side is saying”

    During my time exploring the climate science complex I ventured more into places like the BBC, the Guardian or the NYT or Der Spiegel, to Grist, thinkProgress, DailyKos, TPM, the most abominable of places to see how the other side ticks than I would ever have cared to otherwise, and read all I could about the Fabians, Stalin, Voltaire, Plato, the UN, the CFR, Cecil Rhodes, Charles Darwin, Francis Galton to get the picture. Suntze said it best;
    “If you know your enemy and you know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself you will succumb in every battle.” (Sun Tzu)

  48. Michael Craig says:
    December 6, 2013 at 9:38 am
    “Okay, how many of you Googled BP?
    I got mostly finance stuff but it may be that the spill is now stale.”

    What are you talking about? During the spill I BOUGHT them. I always buy stuff that has a problem. Problems get fixed you know. Somebody needs their product.

  49. I got “Careers at BP Global”. I never had to look for a job — with one exception, and that one exception did not involve google. I presume even shooting in the dark can be profitable.

    They tend to prefer being surrounded only by people they like and content that they agree with, …

    This is one of a few possible descriptions of racism, which is a common animal instinct. One special case of our preference for being surrounded only by people we like (does anyone else see a tautology here?) is that we mate only with people we like. The true fans of biological diversity know that this instinct is one of diversity’s primary drivers. If that were not the case, each continent would probably be filled with one single form of animal live.

    An interesting aspect of racism is that it tends to assign inordinate importance to small differences and can create and fix new traits where none existed before. Thus we get adjacent or even overlapping bird populations where females in one subpopulation mate only with males singing one particular variant of their otherwise common song. People in those countries where the difference in skin colour is unheard of and everybody looks the same are still able to find subpopulations that are more to their liking, as well as those worthy of contempt.

    Didn’t we read here earlier this year about a girl relating her horror of accidentally trying to mate with a “climate denier”? Or, look at them Indian Indians and their caste system. Or football fans in Europe. I feel that even though we are pretty much excused from natural selection, there are other powerful means of selection still in effect, so our evolution is not complete.

  50. @_Jim

    I see you are asking for me! Happy to oblige!

    “What are we to do, stand there with megaphones shouting across the moat?”

    If you look at history you will see that if you manage people to get out on the streets and do just that, then you may actually achieve something (no guarantees though).

  51. The answer to popping this supposed filter bubble is right here under your noses. Well moderated blogs with very limited censorship.

    Note that the study this thread discusses looked at Twitter users, not blog users. To understand the differences between blogs and other social media a comparison of debate in salons as opposed to coffee houses in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is useful. Salons where rules of debate were set by the hostess and guests were selected for a variety of viewpoints are most comparable to blogs. The rowdy debate with group-think and crowd participation of coffee houses most closely compares to Twitter and Facebook.

    Look what happened to the astroturf blog sites like RealClimate set up by Soros through Fenton. They failed. SKS became a joke by censoring and post editing of comments. They posed as salons but functioned like a coffee houses.

    Sites like WUWT, Climate Etc. and JoNova have proved successful because they did not censor ideas, just inappropriate language. RealClimate, Climate Progress and SKS tried to censor ideas and opinions and let the bad language flow when it supported their consensus.

    The filter bubbles of Twitter and Facebook are not the danger they seem. The collapse of global warming will have many benefits, discrediting institutions, political parties, ideologies as well as communication methods prone to group-think and vulnerable to Alinsky methods.

    The big picture is that blogs such as WUWT successfully popped the biggest filter bubble in human history. The Internet has become a powerful force for freedom and democracy. A handful of bloggers challenged the massively superior numbers of the environmental NGOs, the lame stream media and governments from one side of the globe to the other. Against an army of millions funded with billions, the bloggers still won. All Soros’ money and all Fenton’s men cannot put AGW back together again.

  52. Sisi says:
    December 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm
    “The big picture is that blogs such as WUWT successfully popped the biggest filter bubble in human history. The Internet has become a powerful force for freedom and democracy.”

    The Xerox machines in Russia
    Where as closely guarded
    As the missile sites.

    • DirkH says:

      The Xerox machines in Russia
      [Were] as closely guarded
      As the missile sites.

      Almost true. There has always been some sloppiness in everything Russians undertook, however seriously. When the guards went out for a smoke, women used the “Kseroks” machines to copy knitting recipes from German fashion magazines.

  53. Janice Moore says:
    December 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm
    …..I’m afraid I don’t see how the Rand quote logically follows from the selected words of mine you quoted. And if you can’t BELIEVE how dumb someone could be not to get that …. lol, look upon explaining that connection to me as a fun intellectual challenge!….

    Janice,
    The fault lies with me! I read the post and the comments on my lunch break and ‘hurried’ a response that mayhap lacked sufficient clarity. Let me explain.

    Your comment stirred thoughts of a recent conversation with a couple of engineers that I work with. My company had recently provided free flu shots to all employees. One of my teammates had come down with the flu the day after receiving the flue shot… and was certain that the flu shot caused his flu infection. A 2nd engineer chimed in that this had happened to her 2 years ago. I pointed out that simple correlation did not establish causation, something every engineer should know and agree with. I also pointed out that the flue shots use only ‘dead’ virus, making initiation of a bout of flu from the shot highly improbable. Yet, this only stimulated greater assertions that the shots had caused their cases of flu.

    I then asked them if they remembered I was not at work the day the flu shots were administered. Yes, they remembered. Why? I was sick with the flu! Obviously, an unadministered shot could not have caused my case of the flu but, if the fever had waited one more day to express itself, I would have had a similar correlation event paralleling their experiences. As I had contracted the flu in the same time frame without the ‘benefit’ of the shot, I thought it highly likely that we had both caught the flu from a common carrier at work.

    My one coworker responded “Bullshit! That shot caused my flu!” OK then. I guess, when reason flew out the window, in-flu-enza, eh? I walked away from my coworker thinking of that Ayn Rand quote.

    Your comment “One need not intentionally associate with those who hold irrational views to be aware of what those views are. elicited that specific memory… and the Ayn Rand quote “Reason Is Not Automatic…” sprang to mind immediately after.

    Whew! That was a lot of words for a simple recollection, but that’s what spawned my thoughts and response.

  54. The way I see it is this: I used to be a Warmist until I realised I was being misled. For decades we have had an endless stream of propaganda directed at us and well funded to the tune of billions. Guerrilla warfare took hold and so it becomes a little difficult to look ANY MORE at an opposing viewpoint. I know I should look at it, which I do, but I approach it is scepticism, which is the right thing to do. 90% of it is horse dung speculation about the future or misdiagnoses.

    References.
    Climategate, Himalaya gate, failed surface temperature projections, the standstill, Antarctica sea ice extent, the return of that thing from the past, Pachauri forms Glorioil, Peter Gleick criminal activities, Dana Tetra Tech Double Standards Oil Company, green investments and money motives, green hypocrites flying and living like there is no CAGW, continued FAILED predictions, liars, misleading assertions, etc.

  55. Don’t get me wrong, co2 is a greenhouse gas and so is water vapor. There are also other greenhouse gases as well as soot. Many story lines have been offered over the years.

    Dr. James Hansen et. al. – PNAS – 4 November 2003
    Abstract
    Soot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos
    Plausible estimates for the effect of soot on snow and ice albedos (1.5% in the Arctic and 3% in Northern Hemisphere land areas) yield a climate forcing of +0.3 W/m2 in the Northern Hemisphere. The “efficacy” of this forcing is ~2, i.e., for a given forcing it is twice as effective as CO2 in altering global surface air temperature. This indirect soot forcing may have contributed to global warming of the past century, including the trend toward early springs in the Northern Hemisphere, thinning Arctic sea ice, and melting land ice and permafrost……

    http://www.pnas.org/content/101/2/423.abstract

    —–
    Dr. James Hansen et. al. – PNAS – August 15, 2000
    Abstract
    Global warming in the twenty-first century: An alternative scenario
    A common view is that the current global warming rate will continue or accelerate. But we argue that rapid warming in recent decades has been driven mainly by non-CO2 greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as chlorofluorocarbons, CH4, and N2O, not by the products of fossil fuel burning, CO2 and aerosols, the positive and negative climate forcings of which are partially offsetting. The growth rate of non-CO2 GHGs has declined in the past decade……

    http://www.pnas.org/content/97/18/9875.long

  56. Sisi says December 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I see you are asking for me!

    Um, no, sorry, I really wasn’t.

    But, since you’re here, are you 10 (not “a” 10, but rather, are you 10 years old)?

    .

  57. Mac the Knife, et al
    Enjoyed your discussion and quote. Reminded me of . . .
    “It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.”
    —William Gibbs McAdoo (Secretary of the Treasury)

  58. John Morpuss says December 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    At some point reality has to take over from theory They showed us with that spiral in Norway that they are playing around with the natural energy balance They zapped the polar jet stream back in the 90′s …

    How?

    How does ‘air’ respond to 3 through 10 MHz RF energy?

    Can you supply a first principles link?

    Are you aware the H A A R P array was a 12 x 14 element planar array capable of directing its beam no more than roughly +-30 deg from directly overhead?

    .

  59. John Morpuss says December 6, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    … why America’s Tesla coil was pulled down ?

    Myth.

    Mythology.

    It’s what (you?) the people want (an unsung ‘hero’ to worship). It sells books and magazines, supports various Keepers Of Odd Knowledge websites.

    I take it the ‘hard sciences’ or application thereof are not your ‘thing’.

    .

  60. Brian H says “All part of the application of Harley Evolutionary Theory: Survival of the Fattest.”
    Thanks, Brian …
    That’s why I am still here. Will be for a lot longer, in my 6’3″, 140kg frame ….
    Another burger for my bubble please!

  61. Zeke says:
    December 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm
    —————————————–
    In a country where the state controls all media including printing, photocopiers can be very dangerous. People could begin distributing disinformation such as real tractor production figures or actual harvest results. They could make many permanent records of what the state published last week, seriously compromising the valiant work of comrade Winston Smith.

    Even more dangerous, they could distribute knitting patterns. Workers exposed to the seditions styles of West German bourgeois fashionistas may not longer feel a warm glow from the latest seasonally adjusted tractor production figures. They may start demanding luxury goods like knitting needles, or worse, actual wool. After that it’s a slippery slope to demanding blue jeans, colour TVs and the free market democracies that produce them.

    In a world where AGW propagandists control the lame stream media, government bureaucracy, schools and academia, the Internet can be very dangerous…

  62. Michael Craig says:
    December 6, 2013 at 9:38 am
    Okay, how many of you Googled BP?
    +++++++++++
    I got about 75% financial hits, with the remainder hits related to how bad BP is. Am I fairly balanced? Pray tell!

  63. You are probably right, Anthony. But hysterical warmists still piss me off and so I come to your website for a dose of sanity.

  64. “A handful of bloggers challenged the massively superior numbers of the environmental NGOs, the lame stream media and governments from one side of the globe to the other. Against an army of millions funded with billions, the bloggers still won. All Soros’ money and all Fenton’s men cannot put AGW back together again.” (Konrad at 4:12pm today)

    Quote of the Day! Hear, hear.

    ***********************************************************

    Dear Mac the Knight in Shining Armor,

    Your co-workers are blessed to have you working with them. Just think WHERE they would be if you weren’t around… .

    Engineer X: Uh…. I think we should report these results to management just like this.

    Mac: Whoa, wait a minute! That just says we saw something interesting. It doesn’t say why it happened. You’re saying it will make the Widget faster. We don’t know that. That’s just a good guess.

    Engineer X: Well, last time I guessed…. . Guess what? I was right! So there.

    Mac: Just give it to me. I’ll run some tests… .

    Mac: Sigh. {close door to office…. get out lunch…. go to WUWT….. muttering} There’s that “Janice Moore” again. She is so weird. She’s saying WHAT!!!??? Oooo, {typetty, typetty, type, type, type!!!!}

    I understand completely. How gallant of you to respond and let me know we just had a bit of a communication circuit break. All is well. I could have also been more clear at expressing myself, too, you know. Your co-workers have some kind of anti-modern-medicine phobia, I think; the incubation period factor would seem to easily have dispelled their silly notions. But, fear is a funny thing (or NOT so funny… that man going on about Ha-ar-p above is an example — wow; he really believes that stuff!).

    Hang in there, O Conscientious Engineer. Sure glad we (as a society) have fine people like you out there solving the problems that make life SO much better than it would otherwise be. THANK YOU!

    Your WUWT pal (I hope),

    Janice

    [Now, when Janet writes something in an elegant font, she must first compose it typrettying carefully on the keyboard.
    If so, is a typettty font only used for unimportant things? Mod]

  65. Good point (another one!), Konrad (at 6:19pm): “In a country where the state controls all media including printing, photocopiers can be very dangerous. People could begin distributing {Bibles, the most dangerous threat of all.}”

    Truly, it is AMAZING to what lengths the Soviet Union has gone to prevent Jews and Christians from openly practicing their faith. You’d think people who don’t even believe in God would just laugh and say, “Whatever.” They don’t.

    Ah, as I write, I just thought of the crux of the matter: when an individual matters more than anything, more than a collective, more than a state, when one is taught that while a state lasts as much hundreds of years but a soul will last forever, and that there is One to whom one owes the highest allegiance, the controllers get nervous.

    • Janice Moore says:

      Good point (another one!), Konrad (at 6:19pm): “In a country where the state controls all media including printing, photocopiers can be very dangerous. People could begin distributing {Bibles, the most dangerous threat of all.}”

      I have seen a lot of weird stuff circulating in copy (photocopy and hand-written), including Kama Sutra. There were no bibles there, for the simple reason that anyone who would want one already had it. They were available in print. I believe the rulers of the country simply did not find anything there that they would perceive as a threat. I wouldn’t. Things I had patience to sample were either repulsive or boring. But they did frown on derived products, like Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita”, pushing them them into “samizdat”. Here’s a synopsis of what was circulating:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samizdat#Genres_of_samizdat

      Truly, it is AMAZING to what lengths the Soviet Union has gone to prevent Jews and Christians from openly practicing their faith.

      They did a good job there. I am grateful to them for it. It was one of the very few good things they did.

      Since your government does not do it for you, you really ought to heed Mike Lowe’s wisdom and refrain from “openly practicing your faith”. It offends people.

      You’d think people who don’t even believe in God would just laugh and say, “Whatever.” They don’t.

      Me, I wouldn’t think so. You seem to think that your beliefs are cute and will earn you good will. But in reality, the opposite happens. People who are not religious find religious beliefs disgusting and their expression objectionable. Religious tolerance is a myth. If good will is important to you, don’t expose yourself in this way.

  66. @ Mario Lento (6:30pm) — You, sir, are no mealy-mouthed, namby-pamby, “fair-and-balanced” (barf — truth is NOT “balanced” truth is: X or Y not xxxish-yyyyish), Miss Melly.

    You are all-out, pedal-to-the-metal, gung-ho, for TRUTH AND LIBERTY!

    #(:))

  67. Canman says:

    December 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    The solution to filter bubbles in echo chambers: trolls with needles.
    ===============
    Even better, call it what it is.
    A piss-poor attempt to quell dissension.
    Ha.

  68. John Morpuss says December 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    The link I left explains how it works .
    Australia has had good results with ATLANT ( a 500,000 watt radiator) With this small antenna they increased rainfall up to 30%

    Nope, John. In your own words or not at all.

    You, um, didn’t actually invest in a crock of this nature, did you?

    You didn’t answer my question of tropospheric airmass influence via shortwave (3 thru 10 MHz) RF energy, did you?

    .

  69. I even try to engage the few socialists we have show up in an even-handed non-derogatory manner, JUST to get one under a microscope to see what makes them tick, but, they slink away, choosing not to engage even on a polite level … ~_Jim

    Wait, what does being a socialist have to do with thinking the AGW argument is bunk?

    Do I have to turn in my anarchist/socialist/hippie-BS card because I don’t buy the doom and gloom? I mean, I don’t think there is much that suits socialist ideologies about trying to make breathing a taxable act (demonize CO2, set up a mechanism for monetizing it by offering ridiculous offset credits to major emitters, get the whole idea comfortably embedded in the public mind as “the right thing to do“, quietly slide towards a fascist nightmare of breathing licenses and the sort of bureaucratic mechanism necessary to enforce such a system) but hey.

    Aaaaanyways, I feel the need to point out that there is a group with a less “traditional” opposing view which is kinda filtered here: Slayers.

  70. The flooding in Queensland, especially of Wivenhoe dam, was entirely the result of bad water management, which was the result of scary AGW water models which had projected drought. The story includes an extremely expensive desalinisation plant; the dam was being run above capacity because of the expense of the water. It all was chronicled on Andrew Bolt’s blog and show. Please look it up. John Morpuss is talking nonsense. Mods, I am going to ban myself for the rest of the night.

  71. John Morpuss says December 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    If you realy want to get your head around weather modification start with how the fair weather and foul weather electric fields work Atlant works in the up direction and helps drive FOUL weather.

    Can it moisten up otherwise dry airmasses (IOW ‘add water’ to dry air)?

    Can it move cold fronts in conjunction or in concert with a divergent upper-level air flow (at the say, 200 mb level) thereby putting the necessary meteorological ingredients necessary to effect a precipitation (convective) event? (a squall line or a series of ‘training’ thunderstorms?)

    John, this really sounds like puuuuuuuure magic, if it can, to this laymen who as at least read more than a few meteo texts (meteorological textbooks e.g. those used in courses teaching meteorology).

    .

  72. “When we do get ‘one’ here (purported; most come here to troll), they seem to have the mental faculties of a 10 yr old (Sisi?) … I even try to engage the few socialists we have show up in an even-handed non-derogatory manner, JUST to get one under a microscope to see what makes them tick, but, they slink away, choosing not to engage even on a polite level …”

    Oh the irony! :-)

    I never derogate, nor slink away, but the derogatory scorn exhibited in this post is regularly visited on people who try to chat with the other side (and I mean it happens all the time at every climate blog, whatever stripe).

    Barring a few exceptions I can count on three fingers, no climate forum is holier than the others, whether it’s WUWT, SkS or the any of the semi-popular climate blogs.

    Most participants have staked out their position and do not approach the discourse with any inquisitiveness – ie, few contributors are genuinely skeptical. I’d love to see this change, if only so that conversations get more rational and progress more quickly. Ideologically-morivated discourse is next to useless, and for most of those afflicted with it, unnoticed in themselves. It is very hard for an eye to see itself – people need to check the mirror more often, take their own opinions outside and beat them with sharp sticks. Skepticism starts at home.

    I’m off going out on the proch to thrash the opinion I just gave.

  73. Since I spend an almost equal amount of my precious web surfing time laughing at blogs such as SKS ans Climate Progress et al, I guess I’m out of the bubble? :-)

    No, the opposite.

  74. barry says December 6, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Oh the irony! :-)

    Most participants have staked out their position and do not approach the discourse with any inquisitiveness

    Oh the hypocrisy! Oh the presumed assumptions! (Or is it assumed presumptions?)

    Which is the greater sin, I wonder?

    (Perhaps little “b” barry suffers from ‘stimulus generalization’ condition from his time in ____ when he was ____ yrs old. You will have to tell us, barry, b/c I can’t imagine …)

    Little “b” barry I would still discuss your (potential and probable) socialist politics, without castigating in any manner, way, shape or form. I am curious why ppl believe what they believe, esp in light of all we ‘know’ today. (It’s not like we’re living in 14th century England, you see.)

    .

  75. barry says:

    December 6, 2013 at 7:46 pm
    “Most participants have staked out their position and do not approach the discourse with any inquisitiveness ”
    ===========
    I beg to disagree, it was my inquisitiveness that led me into this quagmire.
    Every turn leads me deeper into it, but I’m sure learning a lot.

  76. Janice Moore says:
    December 6, 2013 at 6:49 pm
    ++++++
    Janice: You really know how to stroke a person’s ego. I like that. And that’s the honest, genuine, unapologetic truth.

  77. Max™ says December 6, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Wait, what does being a socialist have to do with thinking the AGW argument is bunk?

    You tell me, since you’re the one assuming some connection. If you’re “seeing’ something, spit it out rather than my making a ‘guess’ as to what you’re seeing …

    (Seeing things in the low-light of evening again, Max?)

    Do I have to turn in my anarchist/socialist/hippie-BS card because I …

    Jumping to confusions; since you asked, I think you do. (I have just given ‘returned’ in the same spirit as was given.)

    On a different note, do you know who David Horowitz is? (Or do you just come here often to fight? Either way, I don’t care. So answer the question.)

    .

  78. Janice Moore says:
    December 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm
    ###
    Found one that is all torn up. The other two are gone. On the other hand, I am getting the materials together to put together some more experimental aquariums. I was actually surprised that a lot of my equipment including two 300 liter and a 200 liter tank were not stolen.

  79. (Perhaps little “b” barry suffers from ‘stimulus generalization’ condition from his time in ____ when he was ____ yrs old. You will have to tell us, barry, b/c I can’t imagine …)

    Little “b” barry I would still discuss your (potential and probable) socialist politics, without castigating in any manner, way, shape or form.

    I’m surprised the mods allow your ad hom and slights, but I do appreciate the doubled down irony in your comments.

    I find that those who mix politics with science are inevitably encased in the bubble. I’m not interested in mixing politics with science, and I’m not a socialist, so perhaps you’ll get more satisfaction snarking at a target more fitting for your interests. Maybe at a website where politics is the main theme?

    Cheers,
    barry

  80. _Jim says:

    December 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm
    ===============
    You took the bait, you gonna take the discussion to a more appropriate site, or what ?

  81. “I beg to disagree, it was my inquisitiveness that led me into this quagmire.”

    That’s why I said “most”, not “all” – and a staked out position (close-minded) after initial inquisitiveness doesn’t automatically mean that the opinion is well-reasoned or uninfluenced by ideology.

    I held no opinion and became interested because of the vigour of disputation.

  82. Oh, Desert Yote, that is too bad. I’m sorry. GOOD FOR YOU to “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.” What a guy. Glad they were too lazy to take all your stuff, though.

    You are an inspiration to us all to do the same.

    *********************************************
    Oh, Mario, you say that to ALL the girls (heh, heh). #(:))

    Anyway, thank you for your kind words. Glad to know that!

    You need to realize how special you are. I compliment people (meaningfully and sincerely) ALL the time and their response: cold stare. It’s really disheartening. Just today, there were at least two (and I could name many, many, names of those I’ve tried to encourage here who just stare back coldly). You are so good about acknowledging. AND you are one of the engineers (not someone whose gifts make him or her more likely to have good communication skills such as a sales rep.). God blessed you richly.

    Do you know what the opposite of love is? No, it is not hate. In the snarls of hatred, there is, at least, an acknowledgement of the person as a person. No, the opposite of love is: indifference.

    So, to have someone speak kindly in the face of all the indifference I encounter on WUWT is so healing to my (temporarily) bruised heart (yeah, I should protect it more, I know).

    You SHINE, Mario Lento!

    (and I’ll try not to embarrass you anymore……. today, lol)

  83. AND (eye roll… left out the most important part)

    you (Mario) do a super job of encouraging EVERYONE on WUWT (not just me, oh, brother…) — even the “difficult children.” Way to be.

  84. In a previous comment I brought up trolling. If you really care about an issue, it can be cathartic to go to an opposing echo chamber and drop a few unadressed points on the edge of their snark envelope. Sometimes you have to completely jettison the snark. Even then your points can end up MIA.

  85. Alan Robertson says:
    December 6, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    …told me that the rough tornadoes which struck Oklahoma City were the result of HAARP experiments. When I told her that HAARP had been shut down, after a moment’s reflection, she said, “They just moved it to someplace secret and started over again.”

    Sorry, it was a temporary suspension, with a change of guard. Still operating.

  86. Canman,

    does snark ever lead foster an illuminated discussion? If not, what use is it bar letting off steam or winning plaudits from like-minded people?

  87. A Marxist Proff teaching a mandatory critical thinking class ask us to state out loud “some of the things I believe are wrong” We did. He was then ask by a student if he would make the same statement. He refused talking around it instead. He was great if accidental teacher.

  88. I used to teach a class of adults and we’d often go to the pub and discuss things and climate change often came up. I did most of the talking on that subject. After three months of conversation one of the students remarked that he had no idea after so much discussion what position I took on AGW. I was happy to hear that.

  89. On a different note, do you know who David Horowitz is? ~_Jim

    Never heard of him, why?

    As for the “come here to fight” bit, really I come here to check out the sea ice page, glance through the posts, test my understanding when more interesting discussions show up, and enjoy that though I may not always find others agreeing with me, at least I don’t get the sense that everyone thinks I’m insane for daring to question some holy dogma.

    Spent too many thousands of posts on too many boards before I realized that not everyone operates under the assumption that facts trump opinions and critical rational examination of any conclusions drawn from a set of facts is a good thing.

    The socialist bit is more easily dismissed, as I’m one of the “if men were angels, this would be heaven” types, idealist BS no doubt, but I’m aware of the difficulties which arise when a capitalist oriented government tries to switch into something that looks enough like socialism at first glance to fool the unwary into believing the state is any more likely to be trustworthy or better at controlling capital/means of production for the benefit of all than private citizens generally are.

    Just pointing out that there are at least theoretical socialists who come around because they agree on the general AGW-is-crap front, though quite possibly have vastly differing takes on how a government should operate from what others may think would be a more common position around here.

    Nonetheless, our personal ideologies about politics aside, we can both surely agree that trying to turn science into a political field–as the IPCC and various others have been–is a very bad thing.

  90. Gene Selkov says:
    December 6, 2013 at 5:01 pm
    “DirkH says:

    The Xerox machines in Russia
    [Were] as closely guarded
    As the missile sites.

    Almost true. There has always been some sloppiness in everything Russians undertook, however seriously. When the guards went out for a smoke, women used the “Kseroks” machines to copy knitting recipes from German fashion magazines.”

    I was thinking more about Samisdat; but the influence of Western fashion was probably equally dangerous.

  91. Zeke says:
    December 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm
    “DirkH says:
    December 6, 2013 at 4:25 pm
    This was from Konrad’s comment.”

    Oh. Apologies to Konrad.

  92. Konrad says:
    December 6, 2013 at 4:12 pm
    Hear-hear, and well-said. If facts, logic, actual science, and truth are a “bubble”, then, guilty as charged.

  93. @_Jim

    “are you 10 (not “a” 10, but rather, are you 10 years old)?”

    No.

    More on topic, do you think that expressing “they seem to have the mental faculties of a 10 yr old (Sisi?)” is a good way to burst filter bubbles?

    (I understand you didn’t want to call me and would just prefer to talk about me behind my back, but -as you say- since I am here anyway…)

  94. People who are not religious find religious beliefs disgusting and their expression objectionable.

    I’m sorry if you’ve experienced this first-hand, but most of the agnostics I know (including me) respect the right to observe religion and even find great beauty and compassion in the gospel.

    Churches near me bless the community with their charity and receptiveness. I am not religious, and I do not despise those who are. They are my brothers and sisters, a little different from me, like all people are in various ways. I don’t find them or their practises objectionable. Ritual seems to be a necessary component for a healthy society of phyche, and the process in some churches unites people in grace and even majesty. Some practises in some churches seem strange and even dubious, but ‘tolerating’ those is as easy as breathing.

  95. This is as, Tbraunlic and others have commented, a real problem and I think also a very damaging for the society, because it leads to a lot of angry people with ill-informed views.

    A good debate should lead to the opposite. It should be informative and entertaining, where each part can listen and learn something from the opposite side, but the current climate debate is far from good, it is far too much polarized.

    It is no easy way to improve the situation, but I think it would be a good step if well informed people on each side from time to time looked to the extreme parts on their own side and criticized them.
    I think of something similar to Anthony’s eminent critique of “Slaying the Sky Dragon”

  96. Berry@December 7, 2013 at 1:19 am,

    I think there is a distinction between clever snark and ad homenim hate and that a fair-minded debater on the receiving end will see the former as a challenge.

  97. barry says:

    “I used to teach a class of adults and we’d often go to the pub and discuss things and climate change often came up. I did most of the talking on that subject.”

    I’ll bet.

    It never hurts to reiterate a skeptic’s position on AGW:

    AGW may well exist. However, there is no measurable evidence linking the rise in CO2 to global warming. None.

    Is that clear enough for barry?

    Without measurements, everything is simply a conjecture. Therefore, there is no credible rationale for spending $Billions/$Trillions to mitigate something that is too small to measure — and which may also not exist.

  98. All well and good but ask yourself how you came to be a skeptic. I think this bubble theory works mainly for the activist, the sinistral folks who don’t care whether a theory is correct or not but saw the enormous potential of it to push an agenda. Remember the guy who interfered with biologists trying to preserve dwindling frogs and toads because it made such a good global warming story, even though he basically knew it was a fungus killing off these lovely little critters.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/21/contrasting-good-and-bad-science-disease-climate-change-and-the-case-of-the-golden-toad/

    I used to buy into the AGW theory, simply because it didn’t occur to me that prestigious institutions might want to BS me. Indeed, I believe they actually started out very sincere but when they got hooked on addictive grants and adulation of the not so good guys who had a very good use for this theory, they daren’t let go. I initially took it like I take a news story that they have new promising therapies for cancer, or that a giant asteroid broke up and punched holes in Jupiter. Why would I not believe this was the straight goods.

    No my friends, I was not in any bubble. But when evidence began to mount and the NGOs were running the science and just egregiously bad science was being done, I naturally resisted this ugly violation of science. Yes I gravitated to like-minded folks who also where outraged by the increasingly political agenda being pushed.

    Now tell me why it will be a benefit and an expander of my horizons if I were to discuss CAGW over wine with Joe Romm, or the Stoat, or Nuticelli, or……We are not on opposite sides of a scientific question, it is pro science, freedom advocates battling against the new world order of centrally controlled living, “science” and economy. I do agree that these guys are in a tough bubble to break out of – they just keep adjusting to support the agenda – warming, cooling who cares?

  99. “You’d think people who don’t even believe in God would just laugh and say, ‘Whatever.’
    They don’t.” (me at 6:46pm yesterday)

    “… People who are not religious find religious beliefs disgusting … .”

    (Gary Selkov at 6:48am today)

    {Given the above (and the rest of Mr. Selkov’s comment at 6:48am today), my response along religious lines below is, I believe, only fair play. I do not plan to prolong the debate beyond this response to him.}

    Dear Mr. Selkov,

    You tell me nothing I did not already know. By not pretending that I do not believe (and writing accordingly), I (laugh out loud) am most certainly not looking for “goodwill.” The name of Jeshua (Jesus) is so powerful that it instantly arouses rage in some and, here on WUWT, even when only indirectly alluded to, has, from time to time, made me the target of some amazingly vicious language. Those who are comfortable and secure in their agnosticism or atheism never respond as you do. They either say nothing at all or are gracious, even if in disagreement.

    Your anger is telling. You could not sanely be that angry at a God you do not believe exists or at Jeshua who claimed to be God’s Son, who, given your beliefs, you would logically consider to simply be insane, someone to be pitied, not to be cursed at and spit upon. More likely, it is that you are (and your attacking me so personally along the lines of my thinking I’m “cute” indicates this is so) angry at someone who claimed to be a Christian or an observant Jew who was cruel to you. I’m so sorry (no, I’m not trying to be “cute”). As I said to Willis Eschenbach several months ago re: a known Christian who was downright uncivil to him in a comment on a WUWT thread, that person was wrong. But, try to remember this basic truth: the sinful followers of a faith do not logically negate that faith’s tenets.

    Keep your eyes on seeking Truth. Jesus loves you. The only thing that really matters in this world is what you do about the destiny of your eternal soul. While you are conscious, you still have a choice. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Choose life!

    L’ chaim!

    Shalom and agape,

    Janice

  100. Canman,

    I think there is a distinction between clever snark and ad homenim hate and that a fair-minded debater on the receiving end will see the former as a challenge.

    Maybe so, but I was asking a different question.

    Does snark ever foster an illuminated discussion?

    In my experience snark prompts a contest rather than a fair-minded exchange of ideas.

  101. db,

    Point is, I never preached my opinion.

    That long discussion began when I learned one of my students had graduated in maths and economics. I queried him on some points of statistical analysis. He asked why I wanted to know, so I told him I was interested in understanding climate change, and when my students queried me in the pub I described the scientific underpinnings and the different points of view as I understood them. The maths grad was the one who remarked he didn’t know my personal opinion after three months talking about it.

    De Bono has some excellent advice for fostering useful discussion. He gets people to swap “sides” and argue the case of their opponents as honestly and as powerfully as they can. A genuine effort is key to making that work. This is what a properly skeptical mind should do as a matter of course, in my opinion.

  102. In fact, arguing honestly and powerfully for the opposing point of view might be a good soluton to the problem of the bubble. This thread could be an example. But, as I said, the effort has to be genuine.

  103. barry,

    You’re arguing with everyone, as usual.

    You say, “He gets people to swap ‘sides’ and argue the case of their opponents…”

    That is a long-held tactic of law schools: they get students to argue both sides of a question.

    Seems somewhat unethical in my view. You are asking someone to “honestly” argue a position that is antiethical to their beliefs and understanding.

    By the same token you would probably want me to argue “honestly” that runaway global warming and climate catastrophe are approaching. Can’t be done, barry, at least not honestly.

    Why not?

    Because I am a scientific skeptic. Therefore, I require at least some measurable evidence to argue for something like that — and there is no such measurable evidence. None.

    So, sorry, barry. I guess I wouldn’t make a great lawyer. Somehow, that makes me feel like I just stepped out of the shower.

  104. db,

    Science and law are about assessment, not personal beliefs. Was it unethical of me to inform my students of the opposing views on AGW? Would I have exhibited intellectual integrity if I had argued for one view and neglected to mention others that I knew of?

    The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald

    DeBono’s advice goes further and is aimed at any forum, not just law students. It’s a fine way to encourage people out of their filter bubbles whatever the topic.

  105. barry,

    The problem is this:

    I am open to measurable physical scientific evidence that conclusively links human CO2 emissions to runaway global warming — while you, on the other hand, have a completely closed mind. For you it is climate catastrophe or nothing. Your way, or the highway.

    That’s the difference between scientific skeptics and True Believers. You do not need measurable evidence. Your Belief is sufficient. But scientific skeptics need verifiable facts, per the Scientific Method.

    Our way leads to technological progress and the betterment of humanity, while yours is the way of the witch doctor.

  106. db,

    …you, on the other hand, have a completely closed mind. For you it is climate catastrophe or nothing. Your way, or the highway.

    Take a look again at our conversation. I have described how I informed my students of opposing points of view and recommended that arguing for the other side is a good idea. You have said you are unable to do this and have described such a practise as unethical. I have not once given a point of view on climate change. But you have – in absolute terms – in your first reply to me and twice since. Which of us is traveling only one highway?

    This topic is climate neutral (the article that inspired the OP doesn’t even mention climate), but you can’t seem to help yourself.

    You have a habit of telling me what my general opinion is, no matter what sub-topic I’m discussing at the time, and you have always been wrong. You’ve never never asked me what I think on the general topic to verify your characterisation. And I’m close-minded?

    Can you dissassociate a discussion on filter bubbles from pushing a line on climate change? Because if you can’t do that, and you think it is “unethical” to articulate views different from your own, then you are probably a good example of someone operating inside a self-made filter bubble. Which would explain the utterly bizzarre interpretation of my views in complete opposition to what I’ve actually said. Did you miss where I wrote that I was happy my students didn’t know what view I held?

    Pop the bubble, man! Start afresh.

  107. Quite a few of the comments here seem to be defensive of the freedom to choose to live in a bubble of ideas amongst people conforming to their own views–a cyber-ghetto or “social network” if you will–whereas the article is really about being forced or routed into one, bit-by-bit, step, by-step, by insidious algorithms.
    Forcing isn’t freedom, war isn’t peace, etc.

  108. Khwarizmi,

    Net filter bubbles somewhat mirror real life choices, where people tend to associate with others that share their views or have similar aspirations. But in real life we are not bubbled off from opposing views by algorithms.

    But OTOH, if you want to deliberately encounter different views, there is no better way to get them in great number, and even of useful cogency, than by accessing the net. There is another side to this story if one looks beyond ‘passive’ use of search engines.

  109. barry,

    The rest of us are not wrong.

    If you have measurable scientific evidence connecting global warming to human CO2 emissions, post it here. You will be the first to do so.

    Otherwise, try being a scientific skeptic for a change, instead of a True Believer in an unproven conjecture, for which there is still zero verifiable evidence.

  110. barry
    Thank you for your insightful comments. I don’t know your position in the climate debate, but this was not about that, as you have pointed out.

    Some of the other comments here shows that there are people with closed minds on both sides of the debate.

  111. It’s a good thing to find info from the “other side”.

    That doesn’t mean one is morally obliged to expend one’s resources to publicize one’s opponents’ opinions.

    Experience in many web-based and usenet discussions of “ramping up of hostility” has taught me that it is only after such ramping up that enlightenment is achieved. It is only those who stick with the discussion through the heat who learn the basis of the disagreement. Often, it arises out of subtle differences in a shade of meaning — a connotation vs. denotation — of key terms and phrases. And those who shy away from verbal disagreement, never learn, but remain stuck in their irrational bubbles.

    When it comes to search engines, I prefer to clear out histories, caches, and cookies often, and switch among search engine sites. But it seems that recently they’ve been behaving ever more bizarrely. I now frequently get headlines that don’t match URLs or content. Upon searching again, based on the headline, I can only sometimes turn up the canonical on-line source. And it is educational to look, with their agreement, over a friend’s shoulder at their searches for the same terms, or even the differences in what they type as search specifications after a verbal request to search for a particular topic.

  112. The truth is out there, … it’s just not readily apparent. If there were two web sites/blogs that would put up equally points of view from both sides of the argument I would probably read both. In the case of global warming WUWT is the only one I have found that willingly puts up reports from both sides. I get suspicicious when one resorts to name calling and censoring to promote thier argument. Which is the reason I ended up here as one of my regular goto’s. In my father’s lifetime and that of my own I had had enough first hand “evidence” to realize that the alarmists science and conclusions were bogus. The snow storms, temperatures and heatwaves of the north American prairies have not fallen outside of the weather norms. The snow storms and accumulations of the 30s the 50s the 70s the 2010s are all the same. The Summer heat waves of the 70s 80s 90s 2000s are all repeating cyclically. They are neither gaining nor declining. Bull Crap reports that tell me what I know not to be true at first make me laugh and then make me furious that we are spending fortunes on this IPCC farce. These money’s steal the economy from both us and our childrens future. We play dice funneling billions into bogus predetermined “science” where we could be saving lives feeding and building infrastructure for people to live through storms that happen and have happened for thousands of years. The human race progressed because we stopped our offerings to the gods for protection and actually designed and built habitat that allowed us to live in our fluctuating climate. But now these fraudsters want us to offer up our progress in the name of the climate god that will burn us up. If anyone has some extra global warming please send it my way, because oddly enough it’s been frightfully cold on the Canadian prairies the last couple weeks. I have been donating my fair share of CO2 to the atmosphere with warming my truck and running the furnace to prevent my pipes from freezing but so far no warming. Thanks Anthony for a wonderfully balanced yet biased site. Thank for admitting your bias publicly and defending your point of view without resort to insult defense. You rock, send climate change soon, please.

  113. Bah! I can barely keep up with my own opinions, I have not got any time to read the opinions of people who are wrong.

Comments are closed.