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:
Photoshopped for emotional effect much? Here’s the other ad:
Research for the Beluga whale population reveals this from the NOAA fisheries office of protected resources:
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
But wait there’s more! At the link the ad goes to at NRDC we see these images:
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:
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:
And here’s the one NRDC used:
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.
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.