A new study shows why we are polarized about climate change

By Larry Kummer. From the Fabius Maximus website.

Summary: Slowly scientists’ investigations produce insights about the psychological and social dynamics that create our dysfunctional politics. Here is a new study about one of drivers of political polarization, that which keeps us divided (despite our common interests), ignorant (despite the internet), and easily ruled. The specific subject is one of the central political issues of our time, and among the most contentious: climate change.

The essential accessory for the modern politically-active fashionista…

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Here is a provocative new study (not peer-reviewed) by blue-chip authors. It’s well worth reading, and reveals much about the polarization that is a defining characteristic of modern politics.

How People Update Beliefs about Climate Change: Good News and Bad News

By Cass R. Sunstein, Sebastian Bobadilla-Suarez, Stephanie C. Lazzaro, Tali Sharot.
Excerpt from the preliminary draft posted at the Social Science Research Network.

“People are exposed to a great deal of variable information with respect to climate change. {The footnote cites an example: “Developing a Social Cost of Carbon” (ungated copy) — whose complex and assumption-laden calculations are certainly “variable information”.} …We aim here to investigate two simple questions:

  1. How do people update their beliefs when they receive new information about likely warming?
  2. How do people’s prior attitudes affect their response to such information?

“…We find that people who are doubtful that man‐made climate change is occurring, and unenthusiastic about an international agreement, show a form of asymmetrical updating: They change their beliefs far more in response to unexpected good news, suggesting that average temperature rises likely to be (even) smaller than previously thought, than in response to unexpected badness, suggesting that average temperature rises likely to be larger than previously thought.  In fact, we do not find a statistically significant change in their views in response to bad news at all.

“By contrast, people who strongly believe that man-­‐made climate change is occurring, and who strongly favor an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, show the opposite asymmetry: They change their beliefs far more in response to unexpected bad news, suggesting that average temperature rises likely to be even greater than previously thought, than in response to unexpected good news, suggesting that average temperature rises likely to be smaller than previously thought. People with moderate beliefs about climate change show no asymmetry.

“…The findings have implications for how people will update their beliefs about climate change in particular, and also for beliefs about science, politics, and law more generally. If people receive new information about climate change (as is inevitable), and if it is highly variable (as is predictable), we should expect to see greater polarization. Those most concerned about climate change will be more likely to revise their estimates upwards upon receiving bad news than those who are least concerned. Those who are least concerned about climate change will be more likely to revise their estimates downwards upon receiving good news than those who are most concerned.

“This asymmetry undoubtedly contributes to polarization with respect to climate change, as both alarming and less alarming news comes to people’s attention.”

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The New York Times explains why we don’t understand this

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Emanuel Derman.

Two of the study’s four authors ran an op-ed in the NYT with this provocative title: “Why Facts Don’t Unify Us” (titles are often written by the NYT staff, not the authors). Here’s an insight about the title by Emanuael Derman (Ph.D. in theoretical physics and a prof of industrial engineering at Columbia; Wikipedia bio)…

“{The} new “information” about climate change is prediction, not fact.”

As Professor Derman said, what the NYT headline calls new “facts” in the study are actually expert opinions (or model outputs) — accurately described by the authors as “news” or “information”.  These are expressions of theory, not “facts” in the usual sense of the word.

The NYT staff is not alone in this confusion of fact with theory; it has become quite common in the peer-reviewed literature — with models’ output often treated as empirical evidence. It’s a category error that can lead even the best research to absurd conclusions.

Essential reading to understand use of quantitative models

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Available at Amazon.

For more about our misuse of quantitative models see Emanuel Derman’s Models Behaving Badly: Why Confusing Illusion with Reality Can Lead to Disaster, on Wall Street and in Lifeclip_image004. He’s leading the counter-revolution, fighting the misuse of these powerful tools. After years of model output being regarded as reality, Derman points out that they are metaphors or abstractions; expressions of theory not observations of reality.

Derman explains what models are, debunks the exaggerations claimed for them, and what they can and cannot do. He contrasts models in the physical and social sciences; many of his insights apply to both — and especially so for public policy.

“Models try to squeeze the blooming, buzzing, confusion into a miniature Joseph Cornell box, and then, if it more or less fits, assume that the box is the world itself. In a nutshell, theories tell you what something is; models tell you merely what something is like. “

For More Information

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see The keys to understanding climate change, My posts about climate change, and especially these…

  1. Is our certain fate a coal-burning climate apocalypse? No!
  2. Manufacturing climate nightmares: misusing science to create horrific predictions.
  3. Despair about the fate of Earth: a win for the doomsters.
  4. Nassim Nicholas Taleb looks at the risks threatening humanity.
  5. Ignoring science to convince the public that we’re doomed by climate change.

Another perspective on “theory”

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The last of the West’s scientist-artists reminds us that there are different routes to knowledge — different epistemologies — other than the reductionism of our scientific method.

“The highest is to understand that all fact is really theory. The blue of the sky reveals to us the basic law of color. Search nothing beyond the phenomena. They themselves are the theory.”

— By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in his “Theory of Coloursclip_image004[1]” (1810), his rebuttal to Newton’s theory of color.

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227 thoughts on “A new study shows why we are polarized about climate change

  1. So politics go with confirmation bias? That still doesn’t explain why some people want to believe a disaster scenario. Greens have green disaster scenarios, and evangelical Christians have chiliastitic scenarios. Different, but still a taste for being told that something dreadful is coming soon.

    • Tom,

      That’s an important and fascinating question, quite different than the issue of political polarization examined in this study. Here are several perspectives on the popularity of doomster narratives.

      * Journalists suffer from the crisis crisis, warping America’s vision — Peter Moore’s famous article in Playboy, March 1987.
      * Collapsitarians and their doomster porn, an analysis by K.L. Cooke.
      * My guess: Politics in modern America: A users’ guide for journalists and reformers.

      Climate doomsterism is however imo simple to understand: it provides great clickbait for journalists and a powerful tool for climate activists. Look at their fantastic success selling RCP8.5 as the inevitable future unless we give them power: Manufacturing climate nightmares: misusing science to create horrific predictions.

      No need to look far for examples. See this week’s doomster warning featuring RCP8.5: The Price Tag of Being Young: Climate Change and Millennials’ Economic Future.

      • If you want to be the savior you first have to convince people they need saving. Hence the joy at bad news.
        It goes like this…

        “Only we have the answers!”

        “To what?”

        “It doesn’t matter, we’ll think of something!”

      • “OMG is something going to happen?”

        “Don’t worry, we have the answers”

        “I’d heard that somewhere; please save me from the dreaded something”

        “Sling funds”

      • “Bad news; research shows an even higher probability that something is going to happen.”

        “I knew it, I just knew it. I’m so glad I’m on top of the situation!”

      • “It’s worse than we thought. ”

        Of course the CAGW people are trying to paint those that disagree as something is wrong with us. It’s a power grab. A common practice among communists, dictators, and religions.

      • So John, I’m on the payroll of big oil, mentally sick, a problem with authority, don’t understand science, not qualified,… yea, I can see the power now that I’ll hold over millions of people. (Sarc)

      • *Of course the CAGW people are trying to paint those that disagree as something is wrong with us. It’s a power grab. A common practice among communists, dictators, and atheists.*

        Can you hear me now? ; )

    • chiliastitic? Google finds chiliastic, but it defines it as the christian belief that there will be a 1,000 years of peace and prosperity under Jesus’s rule. Not exactly a dreadful thought for Christians.

      Maybe you meant the “7 years of wrath” that is said to precede the 1,000 years and includes the war of Armageddon. You are right that many Christians believe that pre-chiliastic time is approaching.

      But you should be aware that no Christians I know of are currently re-structuring governments in preparation of that time. (On the other hand, it seems the 1948 creation of Israel was done in large part to trigger the next stage of the end-times scenario.)

      Unfortunately, the war of Armageddon is also part of the Quran end times prophecy and it is explicitly stated by ISIS and Iran that they are structuring their governments to trigger the return of the Mahdi and Armageddon.

      Thus I suspect WW 3 (Armageddon) will be triggered by middle east actors in the not too distant future. It’s very handy that Obama has given Iran a path to nuclear weapons. Maybe he is the Christian you see trying to usher in the end times?

      • I’d assert that the “Cold War” was WW 3 and that the current era of asymmetrical warfare is possibly WW 4. Perhaps it’s premature to label Armageddon with a “WW #” …

      • exboatman: I agree completely. We might even have time to squeeze in a WWV with China before Armageddon; that is, if we survive WWIV.

      • gregfreemyer ,

        I don’t believe Mr. Obama is a Christian, since I saw him mocking Christians for believing in miracles . . (and that rules out him being a Muslim as well, logically speaking.)

    • “evangelical Christians have chiliastitic scenarios. Different, but still a taste for being told that something dreadful is coming soon.”

      But not dreadful to evangelical Christians; dreadful to their enemies and the instantiation of a thousand years of peace and tranquility (for the survivors). What’s not to love?

      • MIchael 2 and Tom Halla, based on your comments I would have to conclude that your understanding of what evangelical Christians believe is somewhere in the range of non-existent to superficial-at-best.

        Evangelical Christians take no joy in the thought of the coming Apocalypse, nor in “envisioning all us poor sinners in Hell.” They do take joy in the thought of spending eternity with God. If you actually knew anything about the beliefs of evangelical Christians, you would know this.

        May I suggest that you educate yourselves by engaging in some study of Christian theology and doctrine. Talk to some real, live evangelical Christians about their faith. And stop projecting your beliefs onto other people.

      • Monna Manhas says “I would have to conclude that your understanding of what evangelical Christians believe is somewhere in the range of non-existent to superficial-at-best.”

        Quite all right. I’m libertarian about such things. The “No True Evangelical Christian” fallacy pertains. Perphaps you would like to define what exactly is an Evangelical Christian? Not that you are an authority on the word but at least I’d have your opinion.

        “Evangelical Christians take no joy in the thought of the coming Apocalypse”

        Some do, some don’t. Others simply see it as a respite from waiting for it.

        “May I suggest that you educate yourselves by engaging in some study of Christian theology and doctrine”

        No need to ask my permission; this is not my blog. But in case you get around to actually suggesting it, my next question would be which Christian theology you believe is the One True Theology, and why you think your version supersedes anyone elses version?

      • “But not dreadful to evangelical Christians; dreadful to their enemies and the instantiation of a thousand years of peace and tranquility (for the survivors). What’s not to love?

        Would you love for your enemies to experience dreadful things, Michael?

        If not, why would you assume Christians would?

      • JohnKnight wrote “Would you love for your enemies to experience dreadful things, Michael?”

        I have no enemies; but to the extent that some people wish me harm, I wish nothing worse than to be left alone. This is also my understanding of God. There will be no hell per se, no eternal punishment, not at his hands anyway. Why bother? All who live in light and love won’t even think (very often) on others who, having made their choices, may well be enjoying the choices they made even though it isn’t my choice.

        “If not, why would you assume Christians would?”

        I have had several evangelical Christian roommates in the Navy. They were almost without exception hostile to my particular flavor of Christianity (and to each others’ of course). They also didn’t have much endurance. Evangelical Christianity is brittle and sooner or later it breaks.

        What I consider a reasonable authority on the topic is Walter Martin’s “Kingdom of the Cults” which is anti-Catholic, which is a surprise, but included a great many other religions. [https]://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kingdom_of_the_Cults

        So when someone says “evangelical Christian” it helps to specify whether you advocate pre-trib rapture or post-trib rapture or you are an inerrantist or any combination of these things and many others.

        An excerpt: “It may be necessary also, in the course of discussing terminology and its dishonest recasting by cult systems, to resort to occasional polemic utterances.”
        [http]://www.waltermartin.com/cults.html

        Licensed or even commanded to be rude. The bible forbids you to call me a fool but seems not to forbid any of its synonyms if you are an inerrantist.

        “There are those of whom Peter warns us, who wrest [the Scriptures] unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16).”

        Yeah, happens a lot; and who wrests scripture more than evangelical Christians? Out comes the proof texts. I’ve used a few myself.

      • Michael 2 – on a blog such as this, of all places, I would think you would be more circumspect than to make general, sweeping assertions about a group of people based on your admittedly small, and might I add not necessarily representative, sample.

        Suppose I were to say, “the members of this ethnic group are uniformly lazy, and I know this because I knew several members of this ethnic group who were lazy.” You do see the problem, don’t you?

      • Michael,

        Thinking people will suffer, is not the same as loving that they will suffer, right? And it’s not like you or I or any form of Christian is initiating whatever suffering one might believe anyone is going to experience, simply by believing they will, right?

      • JohnKnight wrote “Thinking people will suffer, is not the same as loving that they will suffer, right?”

        Agreed. Thinking it is either an observation or an imagination; such as comes from reading the Revelation of John. That a person feels empathy and sorrow, or joy, is quite another matter. Devotees of Christianity generally ought to recognize that suffering to come will be vastly greater, at least on scale, than anything previously experienced; and you can either focus on that, or look beyond to the joy waiting on the other side of that tribulation.

        “And it’s not like you or I or any form of Christian is initiating whatever suffering one might believe anyone is going to experience, simply by believing they will, right?”

        I do not believe so but systems of belief exist that your inaction is equivalent to concurrence or even initiation. I had a friend that believed that the sin of lusting after a woman was identical in gravity to actually committing adultery; that the act itself was inconsequential, it was the thought that counts. The relevant scripture says he has committed adultery in his heart, and while that is doubtless true, there is no penalty for committing adultery in your heart whereas actually doing it is serious stuff. Similarly, we read in James if I remember right a difference in merely wishing for someone to have food, clothing and shelter versus actually providing someone with food, clothing and shelter. What matters is the DEED, not the wish!

        I believe it is a duty of Christians to warn neighbors of doom; but if the neighbor does not accept that warning then the Christian’s duty has been fulfilled. It is so for global warming advocacy as well: Warn me of doom and then your duty is fulfilled.

    • Climate doomsterism is however imo simple to understand: it provides great clickbait for journalists and a powerful tool for climate activists. Look at their fantastic success selling RCP8.5 as the inevitable future unless we give them power: Manufacturing climate nightmares: misusing science to create horrific predictions.
      _______________________________

      Yes, FabMax :

      With Karl Kraus : revolver journalism

      And with Pullitzer : Yellow Press

    • “That still doesn’t explain why some people want to believe a disaster scenario”
      Indeed. On the other hand it is easy to understand why people want to believe there is no disaster, especially if it will affect others more than themselves. People like cheap energy and SUV’s. By this reckoning we ought to find more people that do not believe in disaster in high consuming societies and among the old.

      • Yes, I am getting to the point of being an old fart (60), but my skepticism is a matter of having seen disaster scenarios predicted over the last 40 years that JUST NEVER HAPPENED. Meters of sea level rise by ten years ago, mass famines in the 1970’s…..

    • The question is not exactly why people want to believe a disaster scenario. Quoting above:

      “This asymmetry undoubtedly contributes to polarization with respect to climate change, as both alarming and less alarming news comes to people’s attention.”

      I think the asymmetry does not contribute to anything, it is rather a result of an underlying process.

      My theory is people don’t want to believe in a disaster scenario, rather the opposite, they might like to talk about it, but they don’t truely believe it. And it is not a question of belief, it is a question of opinion formation. People form an opinion, and in order to have a stable worldview (one could argue that is evolutionary important concept), they need to, after selecting an opinion, somehow be reluctant to change that opinion. How they select a view might be random from an external point of view. But the important thing is opinions are rather stable, they kind of need to be stable.

      Biologically I see the stability of opinion a very important survival factor. Trying new things may be good, but not trying new things might also be pretty damn good thing to do.

      Put it this way. I don’t eat any white mushrooms. That saves my life. Somebody who eats any white mushrooms will survive better than me until (s)he finds the deadly white mushroom. It depends which strategy is better, but in given circumstances, either of them could be better.

    • So, the great-grandson of Chicken Little is hit in the noggin by “something from the sky.” He tries, like his forebear, to warn people, but they’ll have none of it.

      Now, our modern guy has become wealthy, and so he uses some of his money to buy research showing that indeed the sky IS falling. Part of the research product is a model, based on the falling sky theory, whose output “amazingly” shows that the world is in danger from falling skies.

      Finally, our modern Chicken Little gets due respect for his theories, since he now can show that his model PROVES it.

      (Josh:Is there a cartoon book here?)

      • Thanks for the reply, what I wrote was my initial reaction.

        I probably shouldn’t have hit the Post Comment button.

      • Let’s look at the questions to which they sought answers:

        1. How do people update their beliefs when they receive new information about likely warming?
        2. How do people’s prior attitudes affect their response to such information?

        Back in about 2000, I started to think that AGW might be valid. Despite the fact that my education in geology had taught me that Earth had been much warmer during parts of the Holocene and that there was no correlation between CO2 and temperature during the Phanerozoic Eon, I had received news: Mann’s hockey stick, the correlation of CO2 and temperatures in Antarctic ice cores and a couple of “hotter than Hell” years.

        Over the next few years, I received more news: Mann’s hockey stick was wrong, if not fraudulent, it was revealed that CO2 lagged behind temperature in the Antarctic ice cores and global temperatures droped for a while. This led me back to being a full-fledged skeptic and put me on the path to becoming a blogger here.

      • David Middleton,

        As another geologist, I have to say that my “evolution” on global warming was similar to yours. I was in high school in the 1970s when it was all about global cooling and the next “ice age.” First started hearing about “global warming” in the late 1980s/early 1990s and thought it was B.S. then and never paid much attention to it. I started hearing about GW and asked a friend of mine who worked at NASA at that time (the only rocket scientist that I really knew), and he said (as an objective scientist should) that there was some evidence of warming, but that they couldn’t determine whether it was man-made or natural at that time.

        Been a skeptic of the whole CAGW BS ever since.

    • I agree with you Steve, and our initial reactions are often the most accurate.

      I cannot believe that Sunstein is STILL publishing the crap he has just figured out as if the world hasn’t ever thought about it, or worked in such issues before.

      http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/03/17/pessimism-vs-optimism/

      Never mind….I can believe it. Some people just really enjoy the sound of their own voices, or the sight of their own words. And Sunstein is one of those people. Besides being a political nutcase.

      • Aphan, Steve, yes, the paper tells us nothing that we didn’t already know. It’s just confirmation bias – sceptics dismiss scarier stories while alarmists lap them up. Amazingly, the term ;confirmation bias’ does not appear in the paper at all. I wrote a short comment at the SSRN site saying this, but it hasn’t appeared.

      • Paul Matthews, your comment appears to display the very bias you describe. “Sceptics dismiss scarier stories while alarmists lap them up”. You could equally have said warmists dismiss reassuring stories while alarmists lap them up. The article describes that the asymmetry affects both committed sceptics and warmists. The fact that you chose to phrase it the way you did seems to me to be confirmation bias- that is you have taken on board the information that backs up your views whilst ignoring the information that contradicts it.

  2. Most people support which ever political ideas that they believe will benefit themselves and their families.
    People who value work and self-reliance support political ideas that result in low taxes and a light regulatory environment.
    People who are fearful, want a powerful government that promises to protect them from every ill, real and imagined.
    People who aren’t that interested in working hard support government policies that support transferring other people’s money to them. After all, those other people either cheated or got the money from their parents, so it isn’t really theirs in the first place.

    • Most people support which ever political ideas that they believe will benefit themselves and their families.

      Some people support policies which benefit them. Some people support policies that are harmful to them. Whether they know it (benefit/harm) is not a key question, it is rather what people see good in an abstract sense. And how that realises as a vote and a representative and as a policy implemented by the party representative belongs to, is totally another question.

      When I ask my mates how they vote, the answers don’t come from what will benefit them, they circle more around who they hate most. They also have weird ideas of what is beneficial, which may apply to me from their perspective.

  3. Did Sunstein et al., copy this from a Monty Python sketch?

    “This asymmetry undoubtedly contributes to polarization with respect to climate change, as both alarming and less alarming news comes to people’s attention.”

      • Maybe the humour in the quote is that it is stating the obvious in a way that makes it sound scientific. What if I said “Our research shows that people are inclined to believe points of view which agree with their beliefs and tend to disregard those which disagree”. Does that sound like a profound revelation? I believe R. Feynman lectured us on the proper use of models. His rule went something to the effect that if it works use it, if it doesn’t, throw it out. No belief required. So the really big question is why we can’t throw the climate models out when they have been shown to be worthless. Why do “scientists” keep pushing models which are no better than straight line projections? Of course people tend to believe things that support their viewpoint. Every time some half baked paper comes out you can’t completely redo your evaluation of a topic to see if that one paper changes everything. That’s just the way minds have to work or we would be in a constant state of paralyzing uncertainty. The really big question is why do scientists keep promoting/supporting/defending models that are no better than chance and why are they allowed to continue to confuse politicians and the public with such nonsense. The work described above is a distraction from the real ball.

      • BC,

        “Does that sound like a profound revelation?”

        Look through any science journal. How many “profound revelations” do you see?

        Science is about finding evidence for (or against) things people believe, and learning the details about the world works (the mechanics behind what we see).

        Odd that so many of the comments here seem to reflect a bizarre understanding of science. One that ten minutes reading science literature would correct.

      • “Science is about finding evidence for (or against) things people believe, and learning the details about the world works (the mechanics behind what we see).

        Odd that so many of the comments here seem to reflect a bizarre understanding of science. One that ten minutes reading science literature would correct.”

        Maybe you could examine your personal biases, because YOUR understanding/belief in what constitutes “science” seems to be the outlier-bizarre one. And the insinuation that anyone who disagrees with you, or finds your article puzzling, odd etc is clearly not only WRONG, but would come to agree with you (and be “correct”) with only ten minutes of scientific literature reading, only indicates cognitive bias on your part even more.

        Oxford Dictionary-
        “Science:the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment:”

        Science has nothing to do with finding evidence for, or against, what people BELIEVE. It’s about observing how the physical, natural world BEHAVES and figuring out why, how it does it. People can, and often do, BELIEVE whatever they want to and “evidence” be d@mned.

      • Monty Python makes sense to me too… It just struck me as an overly academic manner of stating the bleeding obvious.

      • “David Middleton September 7, 2016 at 4:47 pm

        Month Python make sense to me too…”

        Really? Didn’t make any sense to the writers (According to John Cleese).

      • As someone who spends a fair bit of time with relatively simple economic models, I keep coming back to the George EP Box quote, which hangs above my desk:

        “…essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.”

        Not sure why a paper discussing broken models and the ridiculous faith the credulous place in them should be coming as a revelation. The economist side of me has a darker interpretation of Box’s quote … “useful” might be interpreted as political value rather than scientific.

      • Sorry, just curious. What was their conclusion? I found their (or your) post difficult to understand. Tried to reread it several times and just quit. what the f*ck does Cass Sunstein know, or have to say, about “climate change?”

      • Phil,

        I guess you didn’t understand it.

        The study was about how people react to information given their prior beliefs. The accuracy of their beliefs was irrelevant to the question.

        It used climate change, but any other political issue could have been substituted. The authors were social scientists; it was not a study about climate change.

      • BCBill. If you say “I think that people are inclined to believe points of view which agree with their beliefs and tend to disregard those which disagree” I might say “prove it”. The authors have proved it, which is worth reporting. Even so, this statement is about individuals. The comment about polarisation is about the effect of these individuals on the debate, which is a slightly different, if arguably obvious point.

      • OK Editor of FM … let me put it more succinctly for you. Scientists re-discover confirmation bias for the umpteenth time and act as if it is something new. Trivial paper is trivial.

  4. Social Science.

    There’s your skunk in the wood pile right there.

    So we should go to their social networks on our finger toys, for more information.

    g

    • D*mn,

      Another opening!

      SOCIOLOGY – The study of a group of people who don’t need studying by a group of people who do.

      :>)

  5. After years of model output being regarded as reality, Derman points out that they are metaphors or abstractions; expressions of theory not observations of reality.

    I spent much of my time explaining why the simulators gave the results they gave, for the questions that were asked.
    They have always been an abstraction of reality with some level of fidelity.

    • kim,

      We’re all just people. The best we can do is understand our limitations so we can better work around them.

      “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan
      The proper study of Mankind is Man.
      Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
      A Being darkly wise, and rudely great:
      With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
      With too much weakness for the Stoic’s pride,”

      — Alexander Pope’s poem “An Essay on Man” (1733).

    • wallensworth,

      Bingo! Particularly when ‘Facts’ are actually model projections out to the end of the century.

    • wallensworth. The article clearly said that the asymmetry affected both sides, not just one. You have demonstrated confirmation bias by ignoring the information that does not back up your beliefs.

    • Wallensworth, you have captured it brilliantly. That’s the only truth that matters in the end. There’s no calamity, no doom, no fiery end – just exploitation.

    • Exactly. I’ve even seen political commentary that the outlier models don’t assume the world is doing something about climate change. That is, that coal is on the wane and renewables are getting cheaper and more abundant. China is moving to renewables for political reasons. You can’t criticise the IPCC for their success. Governments are taking this action due to their work.
      There are even statements that the earth was warmer 9000 to 500 years ago. The IPCC is thoroughly in agreement. We have a clear understanding of how this affected populations of that era. London, Sydney and New York weren’t in existence and neither was the modern world. If we are fine with trying to shoehorn 7.4 billion of us into a world from 9000 years ago, then I guess there’s no debate.

      • Grumnut says:

        “You can’t criticise the IPCC for their success. Governments are taking this action due to their work”.

        Umm-m… The IPCC’s “success”? Maybe a few hundred billion dollars has affected the IPCC’s conclusions? Those same governments originally set up, and gave the IPCC the remit, to specifically find that human emissions are a major cause of global warming? (Oh, excuse me. You said “climate change”. But same-same, no?)

        So yes, I can “criticise the IPCC for their success.” They were paid lavishly to arrive at a specific conclusion, and that’s the specific conclusion they arrived at. Science had nothing to do with it, aside from being a thin veneer of pretend legitimacy. In reality, their conclusions were bought and paid for. But that isn’t science.

        And:

        “If we are fine with trying to shoehorn 7.4 billion of us into a world from 9000 years ago, then I guess there’s no debate.”

        I’m sure that made sense to you. And since you’ve opened another debate, here’s the other (rational) point of view:

        The Holocene has been a very beneficial time for humanity and the biosphere. Your “9000 years ago” was during the Holocene. What was your point was with that factoid?

        And yes, there are 7 billion+ people, but they aren’t a problem WRT land area. You could fit them all into a sphere only one kilometer diameter, and have room left over.

        The ‘problem’, if there is one, is that those 7 billion people all want to live in a relatively few desirable spots: at the intersection of rivers, and where the weather is especially nice, and where good paying jobs are plentiful, on the sea shore, etc.

        So the ‘shoehorning’ of people into desirable locations totally misrpresents the population issue. There’s simply not a population problem, either at current or projected numbers. And no one is being ‘shoehorned’; they want to be in those desirable places.

        You’re looking at a glass that you’re certain is half empty, while most readers here are looking at the same glass and seeing that it’s half full. People in general are living much longer, healthier, and wealthier lives now than ever before. That’s a fact, which negates your alarming factoids. Those factoids are simply false alarms, like the runaway global warming nonsense that started the silly ‘climate change’ debate.

        But so far, it’s Planet Earth that agrees with scientific skeptics—and she contradicts the alarmist narrative. There is no climate catastrophe happening, and no evidence that ‘runaway global warming’ is going to happen in the forseeable future. So either Planet Earth is wrong, or the climate alarmist crowd is wrong; they can’t both be right. Right?

        Which one is right, Grumnut? Pick one.

    • There are two kinds of people: Those who have the shovel and do the digging, and those who have the gun and do no digging.

    • There are only 2 kinds of people. Some people put lampshades on lamps, while other people put lampshades on their heads.

      • Ingrained in the American psyche is a natural mistrust of government. After thousands of years of self serving, totally corrupt, mean, cruel, wasteful, inefficient and all around the worst scum on the planet institutions and people (N. Korea by any chance), the United States constitution gives the right of its citizens to bear arms, it also gives us the right to dissolve the government. The design was to keep the government in check. Although they could also see that through skillful manipulation that it could be something other than a government that existed for its people.
        The phrase that I truly hate the most when limiting freedoms and intrusions into privacy is ” trust us” . Does anyone think that we will ever return to pre 9/11? After billions of dollars wasted and many lives, 15 years of near continously war, exactly what has been accomplished ? That every word I say, everywhere I go, everything I do is analyzed, and in the context of climate science, where they are advocating criminal status for disagreeing with their political stance, I loose the political freedom to prevent what I see as the whole destruction of western civilization. Through law I become an enemy of the state. The science and predictions that AGW has made are little more than fraud. Reverting to any council that supposedly knows what’s best, is the lampshade on some people’s head. That council certainly knows what’s best for them, everybody else is the grass which softens the ground upon which they walk.

      • There are only two kinds of people. Those who believe there are only two kinds of people, and those who know better. :)

      • Cass Sunstein is one of Obama’s czars, and a warmunista fanatic. That is the joke. In this case, he has something in common with us–a strong bent on one side and a desire to understand why he has difficulty changing people’s minds. His study here is more valuable to us than to him because we have the actual scientific measurements on our side while he has computerized imagination.

        Definition:
        Models are mathematical paradigms guessing at the laws of reality or nature. Models are scientific if they make accurate forecasts. If they don’t, models are nothing more than computerized fantasy.

      • Esther,

        (1) A scientific study should stand on its own, not be condemned because you don’t like the author. Science is not a high school popularity contest.

        (2) Look at Sunstein’s record: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cass_Sunstein — Clearly on the Left in many of his views, but he doesn’t look dogmatic. The Left opposed his appointment to Obama’s White House. He’s a guest author on the right-wing The Volokh Conspiracy blog.

        “Sunstein is a proponent of judicial minimalism, arguing that judges should focus primarily on deciding the case at hand, and avoid making sweeping changes to the law or decisions that have broad-reaching effects.”

        He gave “public support for George W. Bush’s judicial nominees Michael W. McConnell and John G. Roberts, as well as providing strongly maintained theoretical support for the death penalty.”

        “In 2002, at the height of controversy over Bush’s creation of military commissions without Congressional approval, Sunstein stepped forward to insist, “Under existing law, President George W. Bush has the legal authority to use military commissions” and that “President Bush’s choice stands on firm legal ground.”

        Plus: “Studies of legal publications between 2009 and 2014 have found Sunstein to be the most frequently cited American legal scholar by a wide margin.”

        This is someone whose work deserves attention. That doesn’t mean robotic approval of it, of course.

      • I think Sunstein also promoted the notion that pets should have legal standing to sue their owners in Federal courts.

        While any pet parent who thinks they own their pets probably doesn’t deserve to be a pet parent, the notion of pets having legal standing to sue people is prima facie evidence that Cass Sunstein is batschist crazy.

      • What is obvious is that you are completely unfamiliar with Cass Sunstein, who does not hold a scientific degree of any kind. He’s a LAW professor who has written controversial books and hangs out with wildly progressive people.

        http://skepdic.com/confirmbias.html
        Notice the dates in the studies/articles/books written on confirmation bias….1990 onward. 26 years old this idea and the “evidence to support it.”

        Francis Bacon even grasped the concept-
        “It is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives.” – and he died in 1626.

  6. I am Not polarized about CAGW – I do not believe, trust, support anyone/group/organization that has demonstrated purposeful deception (lies), especially in science. Any time the Gov’t is involved, look behind the screen and ‘follow the money’.

      • It is always helpful to try to explain why I disagree with you, and it becomes more helpful if you try to understand wh I think so.

        Global warming being a very complicated issue with a lot of moral and economic consequences. That being the case it is very unhelpful to stick to one pole and deny even trying to understand why opinions differ.

        This is the very reason why the Conversation is useless in bringing united understanding. It is only ‘useful’ in making the warmist side more uniform and more closed.

      • Hugs, I am not sure what you disagree with. The point I was making was that the debate is polarized, not the individuals. The fact that there are people at one pole and other people at the other pole means the debate is polarized.

      • Seaice1 said-
        “The point I was making was that the debate is polarized, not the individuals. The fact that there are people at one pole and other people at the other pole means the debate is polarized.”

        Here’s the logical flaw in your position-according to you, the debate only has two sides. You’ve created a false dichotomy for some reason. In truth, the debate itself is full of nuances that create numerous sides a person could be on. Just SOME examples-

        1. The Earth is warming.
        A. The Earth is warming as a completely natural process just like it has during every other inter-glacial period.
        B. The Earth is warming due to human emissions
        C. The Earth is warming due to a combination of human and natural contributions.

        2. The Earth is warming:
        A-A little
        B- A lot
        C-Just the right amount
        D-Not sure

        3. A warming Earth is:
        A. A bad thing
        B. A good thing
        C. A natural thing and thus as a process itself can be given no moral distinction of right/wrong etc.
        D. Just how things are….and who cares anyway?

        Polarization-noun
        1. “a sharp division, as of a population or group, into opposing factions.”

        That you have “exposed” yourself to the two most vocal categories does not rationally, or logically mean in any way that there are only two sides, and thus only two poles that oppose each other. In logic you’ve created a “false dichotomy”. You indicated several times that you believe that by coming here and “exposing yourself to the arguments presented” that you are being open minded and successfully overcoming your own biases….but if you believe that there are only two sides…”your side” and the “WUWT” side, you’re still engaging in flawed logic and cognitive biases.

        Most of the regulars here understand and accept that there are more than just two sides in this debate and have been vehemently and vocally attempting to STOP “scientists”, activists, politicians, and other people from portraying the debate as if there ARE ONLY TWO SIDES…..”the correct side and the morons/idiots/liars/psychotic/religious/other wing political opponents/deniars who disagree with them on even the smallest scientific issue”. Most of the regulars here seem to be of the mentality of “Hey…let’s keep collecting evidence, learning, understanding, and exploring our world….especially since we’ve only explored roughly 8% of our oceans (and they make up about 70% of this planet)…until we actually KNOW (not suspect/guess/hypothesize) enough to make intelligent, official, declarative statements about how all of it’s systems even work….let alone work together.”

        The “Divide and stigmatize” mentality has no place in science or truth or even human society today. Oddly enough, it is certain social scientists/psychologists who seem to be completely engaged in creating and promoting our world’s newest form of BIGOTRY.

    • Yes, and the failure is inherent. See my guest post on models here many moons ago on details why. ~7 orders of magnitude computational intractability to get fine enough resolution to do convection cells half decently. So these large grid ‘gaps’ are parameterized in order to best hindcast–the CMIP5 ‘experimental design’ was ye2005 back to 1975. But there is no way to sort attribution between AGW and natural variation in that time interval. And 1975-2000 is indistinguishable from 1920-1945, the earlier period being one where even the AR4 SPM figure 4 said the warming wasn’t AGW, cause just not enough delta CO2.
      So not just failure, a predictable, explainable even to warmunists failure.

  7. Confirmation bias on both sides of the debate. How novel. That will wash out as reality bites ever harder and is harder to bias.
    Except for a now rapidly cooling 2015 El Nino blip, no meaningful temperature rise this century. SLR not accelerating. Arctic ice hasn’t disappeared. Ever growing disconnect between CMIP5 projections and balloon/sat observations. Ever clearer impossibility of intermittent renewables absent grid storage. No climate extinctions. No climate refugees. CO2 fertilization effect evident in NPP globally. Bumper 2016 wheat, corn, and soy crops despite hottest evah claims. Coral bleaching a natural response to change via symbiont exchange, ordinarily not fatal; GBR fine. Observational sensitivity calculable several different ways about half of model sensitivity, ~1.65 versus 3.2. INDCs in Paris failing to come anywhere close to green goals. US CPP likely unconstitutional, hence stayed.

    • Well said. Unfortunately, there’s no accountability for the billions and billions of wasted dollars, the politically motivated Nobel prizes that will never be recalled, the betrayal of positions of trust in private and governmental offices, the swindling of the misinformed, but well-meaning environmental enthusiasts whose energies are needed to combat real world problems. The money and spirit that was expended chasing the fairy tale of Global Warming could have been spent cleaning up the waste dumps, our oceans, and relieving wildlife habitat encroachments. What a waste— and the guilty will walk…

      • John, you haven’t been keeping up! A recent study published just this last week shows ocean “acidity increasing” (odd one that) by “0.002 pH/year”. Break out your wellies before going to the beach!

        I’m waiting for someone with more time on their hands than I to point out the authors have just successfully published a study of instrument noise and been paid to do it.

  8. “The highest is to understand that all fact is really theory. The blue of the sky reveals to us the basic law of color. Search nothing beyond the phenomena. They themselves are the theory.”

    The words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, now reincarnated ad Steve Mosher.

  9. There is a solution to this for us and for most of the “greens.”
    People can only change where they are more than half right already. If we focus on where the other side is wrong, they cannot learn. Neither could you.

    The greens tend to be RIGHT on poison-based agriculture. It is this which has destroyed much of the soil carbon, leading to gullies and hydrological problems. Ironically, some of those other problems do include local climate change of a desertification nature. It is not “global warming,” but it does involve an increase in extremes of both heat and cold.

    The repairs for the mistakes are available and economic: regenerative agriculture. Emphasize this and the two sides can come together. And if you want to be a hero, this is how you do it.

    • E M Cook,
      As the global warming threat dies we need another topic for control freaks. So we invent the threat of poisoned agriculture, with a simple assertion of sweeping harm that neglects the well-studied chemistry of thousands of professional scientists.
      Poison is a ridiculous word, organic farming is a failed fad like windmills.
      Retract your words, here and now, with an apology. Wash your mouth, child.
      Geoff

    • Well, I own a major dairy farm in Wisconsin. Now, we definitely use ‘poisons’ aka herbicides and insecticides. Also use GMO crops to minimize those. All tested and approved and used judiciously. Nothing but class 1 milk. If we farmed organic only, you would have no milk, cheese, or yogurt, and I would be bankrupt.
      Regenerative ag on a big farm means crop rotation to distrupt pest life cycles. It means contour farming crop rotations. It means careful contours to minimize erosion. It means no-till wherever and whenever possible ( which requires big tractors and new planters plus GMO seeds for RR weed suppression since you aren’t plowing them under in the spring when they germinate). It means big hydraulic manure spreaders out of big blue storage tanks to minimize synthetic fertilizer inputs and max methane regeneration for local supplemental energy.

      • Hi ristvan. Here in Chile the dairy farmers down south were absolutely amazed that all the milk in the US (or most) is packaged fresh and refrigerated. In Chile and most of SA you can’t even buy fresh milk. It’s packaged in liter size aseptic packages. My question is why can’t we get aseptic packaging in the US? It’s great! The milk tastes the same and keeps for months. Is this a ploy by Big Milk? Just an off topic question but it has perplexed me since I’ve lived here.

      • @chilimike , this is not a negative question but can you link me to that process, it could have an effect on what I am doing regarding the length of spoilage time. ( not related to dairy btw)

      • ristvan September 7, 2016 at 5:40 pm
        Well, I own a major dairy farm in Wisconsin.

        Wow, being a resident of the state, I know how big those can be. Earlier this year Manitowoc county’s Breakfast on the Farm included a tour of an operation with about 1200 cows. Very impressive if not odoriferous (-:>/B>

      • @Toby Smit. Hi Tony, I would just try to Google the major dairy producers or Tetrapak. Tetrapak (sp?) does all of the aseptic packaging.

  10. I’m an idiot about this stuff. I see that Chicago was buried under between one and two miles of ice 20,000 years ago. It melted naturally. So because I am an idiot, I am predisposed not to believe the alarmism. The planet has been through MUCH worse conditions and life flourished.

    And because I’m an idiot about this stuff, I take my cues from the lukewarmer scientists who are not idiots about this stuff. Lukewarmers are people who accept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas; that atmospheric CO2 is rising due to man; and therefore some warming should be expected due to rising CO2. But the lukewarmers are not yet convinced either that man is the DOMINATE cause of the warming; how much warming to expect; whether the costs to mitigate the warming are worth the benefits; or even that whatever warming occurs over the next century will be detrimental.

    So when the lukewarmers change their minds this idiot will consider changing his mind. I’m just glad the ice melted a few thousand years ago so Chicago, NYC, Detroit, and Toronto could be built.

  11. In a nutshell, theories tell you what something is; models tell you merely what something is like.

    That isn’t right.

    A theory or a model is at best an approximation of reality. It works within a certain realm. The poster child for this is Newtonian physics.

    Newtonian physics works really well for objects that have a certain mass and are moving less than a certain speed. For small particles you need quantum physics. For very fast objects you need relativity.

    We daily trust theory and models with our wellbeing, health, and lives. That’s engineering it’s really reliable.

    If we restrict ourselves to reliable theory and models, we probably aren’t doing science. It’s like my favorite adage about skiing: “If you aren’t crashing occasionally, you aren’t skiing hard enough.” Real science deals with unreliable and messy details and produces conclusions that are highly conditional. Most scientists realize that … some don’t.

    • or maybe the poster child is astrology. it doesn’t have any factual basis but that doesn’t matter to believers.

    • commieBob September 7, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      “Newtonian physics works really well for objects that have a certain mass and are moving less than a certain speed.”

      And Climate Science hasn’t work at well any level, never has, and apparently never will, ever.

      What a load of rubbish, So, what’s your point?

      • So, what’s your point?

        Lots of people think theories are some kind of immutable, eternal, cosmic truth. I know of no theory that can be naively applied under all conditions. Apparently some scientists haven’t twigged onto that.

        Here’s an example. Right after the Ohm’s law lesson, measure the resistance of a 100 watt incandescent bulb. It will be something like 10 ohms. Have the students calculate the current that will flow at 100 volts and then calculate the dissipated power. They will get 10 amps and 1000 watts. Why, then is the bulb rated at 100 watts? Measure the current flowing through the bulb at 100 volts. It will be 1 amp. The bulb is indeed dissipating 100 watts.

        Does the above demonstration prove that Ohm’s law is wrong? No, but it does demonstrate that you can’t naively apply a theory and expect correct results all the time.

        The trap the students were led into was that the resistance of the bulb changed as it heated up. Mother Nature leaves such traps around all over the place.

        There is an adage in engineering that says that you should never do a calculation until you know what the answer should be. Theory and formulas and models are wonderful as long as where they apply and where they don’t. That’s my point.

      • So, what’s your point?

        Lots of people think theories are some kind of immutable, eternal, cosmic truth. I know of no theory that can be naively applied under all conditions. Apparently some scientists haven’t twigged onto that.

        Here’s an example. Right after the Ohm’s law lesson, measure the resistance of a 100 watt incandescent bulb. It will be something like 10 ohms. Have the students calculate the current that will flow at 100 volts and then calculate the dissipated power. They will get 10 amps and 1000 watts. Why, then is the bulb rated at 100 watts? Measure the current flowing through the bulb at 100 volts. It will be 1 amp. The bulb is indeed dissipating 100 watts.

        Does the above demonstration prove that Ohm’s law is wrong? No, but it does demonstrate that you can’t naively apply a theory and expect correct results all the time.

        The trap the students were led into was that the resistance of the bulb changed as it heated up. Mother Nature leaves such traps around all over the place.

        There is an adage in engineering that says that you should never do a calculation until you know what the answer should be. Theory and formulas and models are wonderful as long as you know where they apply and where they don’t. That’s my point.

      • @ coomiebob:

        “There is an adage in engineering that says that you should never do a calculation until you know what the answer should be.”

        I don’t understand at all what you are saying there.

        To me you do calculations until the answer IS, not what it “should” be

  12. You know, a lot of money could be saved on psychological studies if there were actual debates about climate science.

    • heh- maybe there’s a reason why soap operas don’t discuss science – it’s not that entertaining to most
      drama, on the other hand, is found to be rather compelling.

  13. Interesting approach to the question of why some understand (or try to understand), why some don’t understand – and don’t seem to see the need, and why some are incapable of understanding and therefore have to believe someone else.
    The scientific – experimentally supportable – concepts are simply not understandable by everyone. Some of the necessary statistical, probability and uncertainty concepts are pretty subtle to get ‘right’. Yet it is these factors which make or break an argument when we try to discern very small differences. It seems to me common sense that most people – not technically literate – try to understand and agree with someone they have learned to trust and then, if something changes that, they do not let go of those conclusions right away. Most people judge an argument against a standard that ‘makes sense’. When it no longer makes sense it takes a while to find an explaination that does – to change the standard.

  14. I used to admire the academic class.
    At one time even thought about trying to become one of them.
    I was naive about the class part.
    Whenever I read about these kinda psychoanalysis type stuff, it always comes across as “why you don’t think right.”
    Somehow I’m always the misguided lab rat.
    I feel that it is perfectly logical for me to conclude that the modern liberal academy is dehumanizing,

  15. The thing you need to remember about Cass Sunstein is that he’s always talking about *other people’s* confirmation biases and irrationality, never his own.

    He wrote a book called “Nudge”, arguing that government should be in the business of “nudging” the populace toward more desirable behavior—-with, of course, Enlightened Beings like him formulating the policies leading to the “nudging”.

    The problem, of course, is……..what makes people like Sunstein think that *they* have all the right answers?

    For years, the US government “nudged” us with the Food Pyramid that pushed carbohydrates. How did that work out? Now it’s “nudging” us to use thermostats capable of being controlled by “authorities”, to “conserve” energy and “save the planet”, doncha know…. It mandates falling auto safety standards to promote the greater good of fuel mileage, to “reduce our dependence on foreign oil” and counteract mythical “climate change”.

    Conceptually, “nudging” bumps up against the major objection to “progressive” politics: what are its limiting principles? There seem to be none, as American and European governments continue to hack away at freedom. As for economic irrationality, progressives still have a lot to answer for; after all, they’re the ones who continue to favor many of “scientific socialism”‘s tenets.

    Hillary Clinton said, back in 2004: “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” Yes, she said it in the context of withdrawing a tax cut “for the rich”, but she used much the same language to justify reducing health benefits for some, to benefit others. In all cases, the “we” are the elitist overlords who don’t give a good gawdam about “We, the People”.

    Basta!

  16. This is a good study. Yes, almost everybody reading it will think everything stated is already known but this is only on a certain level.

    When one has a strong confirmation(cognitive) bias, the only way to compensate for it, is to recognize it in ourselves. Since polarization continues and if fact, the disparity grows greater, those with the bias must not be recognizing their own bias.

    Which is the point. We can all immediately recognize what we perceive to be a bias in somebody that disagrees with us but are unable to do so with ourselves. If confirmation bias is a no brainer assumption of the human condition, why are humans, even really smart humans that understand this trait, unable to apply this in a substantive way to themselves and the way they process new information?

    There are several different explanations and the explanations themselves may also be part of a cognitive bias that prevents us from seeing our own cognitive biases. Overconfidence and ego for instance. Situational circumstances(my job depends on it or there is an emotional attachment).

    An authentic way to overcome our natural confirmation biases is to sincerely try to prove yourself wrong………….instead of what most of us do, which is search for information that proves ourselves right.

    Most people have jobs that reward us for being right and penalize us for being wrong. Most people get positively reinforced for being right about most decisions in their lives and are held accountable for being wrong. Sometimes its the opposite. You can be rewarded for being wrong and move in that direction with your confirmation bias to get the reward.

    However, it’s realms that have no accountability for being wrong in which people can let their confirmation bias run rampant. They can feed it and make it grow and feel good about themselves and the world. It’s can be unpleasant to do the opposite. Facing a consequence for being wrong in the real world stinks. In the world of opinions, we never have to do that. We look for opportunities to prove ourselves right by searching out information that favors our side, go to sites with people that share our views and so on.

    Sometimes, when combined with overconfidence/ego, confirmation bias drives us to put down those that disagree with us. Seek to humiliate them if possible….while believing that those block heads need somebody to give them a reality check.
    It becomes a war and only one side can win……..instead of a discussion leading to the universal truth.

    • “An authentic way to overcome our natural confirmation biases is to sincerely try to prove yourself wrong………….instead of what most of us do, which is search for information that proves ourselves right. ” An excellent point. Which is why I come here, to see if there is something in the arguments. So far I have found the denial of AGW to be entirely unconvincing, but there is something in the view that it might not be as harmful as some say.

      • seaice1 displays his confirmation bias:

        So far I have found the denial of AGW to be entirely unconvincing…

        Even though NOT ONE scary, alarming prediction ever made by the climate alarmist crowd has come true…

        …yet ‘seaice’ still says skeptics are guilty of denial of AGW”.

        Not many folks here have said that AGW isn’t happening at all. For example, I’ve never said that AGW does not exist. What I’ve said repeatedly is that AGW is too minuscule to measure, therefore it is a non-event. AGW is simply too small to matter—a fact confirmed by thousands of empirical observations.

        But ‘seaice1’ believes, so he will always remain “unconvinced”. No matter what, because eco-beliefs are as hard to dispute as any religious beliefs.

        “Dangerous AGW” is a matter of faith with some folks. Science has nothing to do with their beliefs. If it did, they would be skeptics.

      • dbstealey, I am challenging my confirmation bias by exposing myself to arguments I do not agree with and where necessary looking up information to see if there is anything in those arguments.
        It is not true that nobody denies AGW. I have seen several comments arguing that the greenhouse effect is impossible. I do not find these convincing. I have seen several comments arguing that the sun did it and we are now cooling. I do not find these convincing. I have seen comments arguing that IR cannot warm the ocean. I looked it up and there is a convincing explanation for how this effect happens.

        I have seen many comments arguing that the current warming is natural. I have satisfied myself that there is nothing in this for several reasons including:
        Studies that show the current warming is statistically outside natural variation. Not conclusive, but enough to throw serious doubt on the natural argument.
        A lack of a coherent explanation for the source of the natural warming. The energy must come from somewhere. I have asked in these comments pages several times, but no coherent answer has been forthcoming.

        So for clarity, not all sceptics are in denial about AGW, but those that are I find very unconvincing. Those that say there is AGW but it does not explain current warming have failed to come up with an alternative explanation, so I find that unconvincing also.

        The arguments I find more convincing are those that say the damage from the predicted temperature rise may not be as great as stated. The evidence, such as it is, from integrated climate and economic models such as FUND, DICE and PAGE do not all show huge economic losses up to the end of the century. Climate models combined with economic models are going to be subject to lots of errors, so I am keeping an open mind, but we must go with the best evidence we have. That is one area where I have found the evidence to be not entirely in the so called warmists favor. What is clear is that denial of the underlying AGW will make mitigation more expensive. It may be cheaper to move entire cities than to stop global warming, but those cities are not going to move unless people accept that the warming is happening.

        Of all the arguments presented here I have found those presented by yourself to be among the least convincing. That is just my personal opinion.

      • Seaice, … I’m not in denial, denial implies that someone is killing jews and I’m doing nothing about it. Denial implies that hundreds of millions of people will die from AGW. Denial implies that we must restructure our political and economic system as it isn’t responding to this eminent threat . Denial implies that in order to save and protect the planet, whatever that means ( does that include other planets, asteroids, rocks ? ) , that those that disagree should be tried as war criminals.
        Show me where CAGW has been correct . CAGW commits the sin of conviently leaving things out, misrepresenting, and performing astonishing feats of magic with math. Not only will they warm the present and cool the past, NOAA will readjust the record so that temperatures lag co2 rather than lead (within the last year). CAGW will crow about the warmest year ever, but leave off that it’s well within error bars and that the warming is so far below the predicted/projected models that it is a proof that invalidates AGW. You know the projected models that show where a rise in co2 and a corresponding rise in temperature has a 95% certainty rate . That time came and went. Didn’t happen. And you still believe ?
        The other thing that CAGW is doing is that they narrowly focus on one particular issue at a time. They will argue to the n th degree about something, like out going and incoming radiation , while forgetting that their numbers are based on assumptions with no error margins, present them as facts, and continually use information that was shown to be in error.
        One other thing that CAGW does is that it makes a one or two line statement, and it takes a fifty page paper to refute it. That is really annoying.
        Then there is the continual ” it will happen in the future” . And the excuses that they hide behind, .. the heat is hiding in the deep oceans or we are looking for a tropical hotspot. With the certainty that CAGW claims with their math, no way, not ever would it happen sometime 50 years from now. With the amount of heat that should already be here, it should have already happened.
        From what I can tell most of the people on here that are skeptics are professional, scientists, and engineers. They aren’t some group of wild eyed mystics believing in the supernatural as a basis for being a critic of AGW . Or a bunch of demented loosers . That’s what I see this article as an attempt to paint skeptics as. More psychological warfare of the cold war kind.

      • seaice1 sez:

        I am challenging my confirmation bias by exposing myself to arguments I do not agree with…

        “Exposing” isn’t enough. You have to overcome your tendency to repeat the alarmist narrative, and begin thinking. Start with this thought, and try to complete it if you can:

        “My job is to try to support my belief in CAGW. The job of skeptics is to deconstruct all hypotheses. My job is to produce sufficient data (measurements), and observational evidence, showing that the rise in human CO2 emissions will cause ‘X’.”

        Now you must define specifically what ‘X’ is, and quantify it. What remains standing after all the smoke clears is as close as we can get to scientific probity. Keep in mind that skeptics have nothing to prove. Skeptics are not trying to make a case. You are. So skeptics will ask you:

        “Where is your evidence? Where are your confirming observations, if any? Remember, they muct be directly connected with causation: you must show that ∆CO2 is the cause of ∆temperature. Skeptics will reply that so far, the only verifiable causation is that CO2 follows temperature changes, and that there are no measurements quantifying AGW. That does not mean that AGW doesn’t exist. But it does mean that if AGW exists, it is too small to measure with current instruments.

        You took a step up here:

        …there is something in the view that it might not be as harmful as some say.

        A skeptic of the CAGW hypothesis would ask, “How harmful has the rise in CO2 been? Quantify the global damage, if any.”

        And the Warmist would reply: [ “… ” ], since no one has produced any credible evidence of global damage from “carbon” <–(that's carbon dioxide, in case Algore is lurking).

        So then, we are agreed, there's been no global damage observed due to the added CO2? Good. Please let me know if you discover any global harm, or damage. It will be a first.

        Your next question: “…there might be some damage that no one has found yet.”

        Skeptic: “Yep, and there might be Sasquatch, too.”

        The time is long past when you can misstate; it’s too easy to debunk:

        “It is not true that nobody denies AGW.” I didn’t say “nobody”. I wrote:

        “Not many folks here have said that AGW isn’t happening at all.”

        You said: “I have seen many comments arguing that the current warming is natural.”

        Mine among them. Because natural climate variability is the skeptics’ default argument. Global temperature parameters remain well within their normal range, since at least the mid-1800’s. Nothing unprecedented or unusual is occurring. That’s the starting point of the AGW debate: No harm, no foul. So they either have to show global harm, or it’s “Trust us. We know what’s best for you.” And of course, what’s best for us is a carbon tax. The President even said so!

        Your job is to convince skeptics that “dangerous AGW” is a serious problem. If so, post your evidence, and any corroborating (global) observations. Post any verifiable facts you have showing that human CO2 emissions are harmful. Provide causation. Show cause and effect.

        So far it’s been a lot of hand-waving and assertions, but very little if anything quantifiable (measurable) that can be nailed down. None of the alarming predictions made about global warming, or ‘climate change’, or ‘carbon’ have come true, either. When every scary prediction made by the alarmist side of the debate fails, isn’t it time to question the hypothesis?

        Skeptics can be convinced. But it takes real evidence, not just opinions asserted as facts, or letter-signers on the bandwagon, or the incessant appeals to authority. Post your evidence, seaice, if you’ve got it. Real, quantifiable evidence showing cause and effect is convincing. That evidence would be better than this being delivered in a (very likely, and affected) haughty tone:

        “Of all the arguments presented here I have found those presented by yourself to be among the least convincing. That is just my personal opinion.”

        Ouch! Your personal opinion?… Like your ‘dangerous man-made global warming’ personal opinion? Sorry, that’s not good enough.

        It’s your hypothesis; post your evidence. Skeptics have nothing to prove. The onus is on you.

        Evidence, please…

      • Lovelock was right about one thing — before the century is over billions of humans WILL die, mostly by old age at least in the western nations :-)

  17. This certainly applies to the subject of ethanol, only the roles are reversed for the majority of the cheerleaders of this site.

      • dbstealey,

        You’re correct, no one mentioned ethanol but me.

        What I am referring to is the clear double standard exhibited by the proprietor and followers of this site. When any kind of study is published confirming AGW, it’s picked apart with a fine tooth comb and relentlessly criticized, yet when a study is published against the use and/or benefits of ethanol, it’s looked at uncritically and universally accepted as fact here at this site. It’s a great example of the conclusions reached in the study referenced above. The “Blinders” graphic Mr. Kummer used sums it up well.

        [And, that is a problem because of ….? .mod]

      • Barry Bewley complains “I am referring to is the clear double standard exhibited by the proprietor and followers of this site.”

        What a singularly narrow view of things! Count the number of commenters and there’s your number of standards. Be sure to add your own standards.

      • BB says:

        When any kind of study is published confirming AGW, it’s picked apart with a fine tooth comb and relentlessly criticized…

        Yes, Barry, that’s called scientific skepticism: only what remains of a hypothesis after skeptics have done their best to deconstruct it can be considered credible.

        How else would you want it done, Barry? Would you prefer that AGW must be accepted as a matter of faith? After that, it’s just a short step to CAGW… Oh, hello there, Dr. Lysenko!

        Next, you say:

        …when a study is published against the use and/or benefits of ethanol, it’s looked at uncritically and universally accepted as fact here at this site.

        You’re new here, aren’t you? Because I can’t recall much cheerleading for ‘the use/benefits of ethanol’ here. At least, not for ethanol outside of glass bottles…

    • My father was a staunch advocate of ethanol; Seagram’s 7 in particular. The U.S. Navy (its sailors to be specific, 98 percent of them) also ran on ethanol.

  18. “We find that people who are doubtful that man‐made climate change is occurring, and unenthusiastic about an international agreement, show a form of asymmetrical updating: They change their beliefs far more in response to unexpected good news, suggesting that average temperature rises likely to be (even) smaller than previously thought, than in response to unexpected badness, suggesting that average temperature rises likely to be larger than previously thought. In fact, we do not find a statistically significant change in their views in response to bad news at all.”

    Well if the lukewarmers are correct, there simply were no such bad news (provided all “questionable science” was filtered).. I dont see the asymetrical updating.. it’s just being skeptic about questionable results

    • Most intelligent, rational, logical people do NOT form their opinions based upon “suggestions”. They form them based on facts, verifiable data, actual measurements, evidence. If you have examined the data and found it unconvincing when it comes to gloom and doom scenarios, then why would more “suggestions” that it really is gloomier and doomier change your mind at all? IT SHOULD NOT. Only EVIDENCE that “proves” a contrary can and will change the mind that is logical, rational and well educated. SO the result that they “did not find a statistically significant change in views in response to “bad news” or “suggestions of badness” is NOT surprising to anyone rational or logical.

      The question that needs to be asked-How are the study authors defining “good news” and “bad news”. Did they ask ALL participants to define how THEY (individually) defined “good news” and “bad news” to be sure that all of them define those terms the exact same way? Because I don’t define “news” or “suggestions” as “facts” or “evidence” at all.

  19. In fact, we do not find a statistically significant change in their views in response to bad news at all.

    What utter rubbish. Unless they dug into WHY any given respondent has a given response, they have shown precisely nothing of value. Some people take bad news at face value, some people have existing expertise which allows them to evaluate the importance of bad news on the fly, some people respond by researching the issue themselves, some people respond by ignoring it because they have issues of more immediate importance that they have to deal with, some people are depressed, some people are high, some people are dumber than a bag of rocks and some people are geniuses, some people just drift along with the crowd and some people… I have more but that should be sufficient to make my point.

    Painting with such a broad brush is for barns, not science.

  20. Cialdini (ht Scott Adams) says it best. “Good personal consistency is highly valued in our culture. And well it should be. . . Without it our lives would be difficult, erratic, and disjointed.” “The drive to be (and look) consistent constitutes a highly potent weapon of social influence, often causing us to act in ways that are clearly contrary to our own best interests.” (from Influence: The psychology of persuasion).

    There are two things you can try on yourself to see if you are suffering from confirmation bias. First, do you have a gut feeling that your belief may not be valid? Second, if you try to step back and ask yourself Knowing what I know now, would I have believed then what I believe now? In both cases, I remain a skeptic. It is, in my opinion, why it is much easier to find former true believers than former skeptics. It is the question we should be asking our true believer friends. Put the seed into their minds and let it grow.

  21. The authors of the study make the assumption on behalf of participants regarding the definition of bad & good news, throwing their own biases into their work.

  22. What we learn from this study: People on the “Other Side” are (mostly) no liars. But deceived by their own expectations. Self-deception is a part of the human nature. Possibly this may gvie some understanding why someone has a certain position, even if it is obviously wrong. And it may help us to find way how to show others a bit of our perspective.

    Calling others liars and shouting at them is certainly not the way. (Produces outpouring of certain hormones who prepare us for fight or flight.)

  23. Nothing with Cass Sunstein in the byline is with the paper it is written on. I can’t get back that 3 minutes (5 actually but my kids are watching Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakuel) but I can pause a moment to register my disgust in their statement of the obvious. One world view is built on sand (warmists, who are pretty much worshippers of the idols of the State, sex, drugs, abortion and every other toxic Progressive utopian scheme), and the other on rock (the other folks).

  24. When I assess the claims of those who demand that I accept the position that human activity is inducing the climate to change in a way that harms the biosphere, I is very clear that the weight of their research, their complaints and their demands for action are not honest. They are liars. Their claims are not honest. Neither are their demands. And neither is their teleology.

    How can I make this assertion in good conscience? For one, the net effect of their claims and demands consistently converge on post-modernist reshaping of humanity through increasing government power and reducing human prosperity and liberty. Even when they tell the truth about an aspect of climate science, it is only in order to advance this broader lie: that humanity will be better when we all live a “sustainable” organic life in a socialist society. This is the same Utopian reasoning that allowed the Khmer Rouge to force city-dwellers into the countryside to be “purified” of bourgeois thinking by living the peasant lifestyle. We even have the same spirit of murder, for more than once I have read on this very blog news that someone wanted to have armed government agents arrest me (which implies the will to use deadly force) in order to punish me for my opinion.

    As a point of fact, even the etymology of the term “climate change” is fraudulent propaganda. At first it was “global warming”, but when that paused for too many years, it was re-imagined into a term that was more salable. Only a fool would deny that the climate was always changing. Otherwise we would not have people making money by selling recently-thawed mammoth tusk ivory from Siberia and we would not have quaint tourist attractions in the American southwest left by tribes of cliff dwellers. Nor would we have had crop farming in Greenland. Nor would I be farming soil that was made by a receding glacier.

    Climate Change is but a cause to impose socialism and thereby purify humanity. That is the truth about “climate change”.

  25. Let’s not get dragged into the strawman question of whether climate change exists. No one says it doesn’t. The debate is about the alarmist agenda, which says: (1) Climate change will or may be catastrophic; (2) Human activity is mostly to blame; (3) We can solve the problem by such means as reducing our energy use; and most especially (4) There are no easier, cheaper, and faster means we can use to solve the problem (for instance, https://reason.com/archives/1997/11/01/climate-controls ).

  26. Summary: Slowly scientists’ investigations produce insights about the psychological and social dynamics that create our dysfunctional politics.

    Sorry, there is so much wrong with this that it’s not even wrong. Stopped reading after the firs sentence. Psychology and sociology are NOT sciences. However, if you replace

    our

    dysfunctional politics with

    their

    dysfunctional politics, you might have a place to start.

  27. Apply Ancient wisdom: Always cross examine. Proverbs 18:17
    Scientific method:

    The Royal Society. The Royal Society’s motto Nullius in verba — ‘Take no-one’s word for it’ — is an expression of the determination of the Fellows to withstand the domination of authority (such as in scholasticism) and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment.

    Richard Feynmann

    The first principle is: Don’t fool yourself.

    CS Lewis

    “Logic!” said the Professor half to himself. “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?

  28. Regarding the pro-AGW crowd “They change their beliefs far more in response to unexpected bad news”.
    What happens if the “bad news” is mini-ice age or at least a decade of statistically significant falling temperatures? CO2 use would go up as more fossil fuels are used to heat yet the temperatures fall.

    I for one would be very interested in just how long it would take with rising CO2 and falling temperatures for them to change their minds. We had almost 2 decades of flat temperatures with rising CO2 which did change some scientists and regular folks minds but the vast majority of the pro-AGW crowd didn’t change their position.

    In fact their happiness at a massive el-nino breaking that flat line trend was completely at odds with the fact that el-nino is not influenced by CO2. Never underestimate the true believers ability to rationalize away reality.

    • “I for one would be very interested in just how long it would take with rising CO2 and falling temperatures for them to change their minds. We had almost 2 decades of flat temperatures with rising CO2 which did change some scientists and regular folks minds but the vast majority of the pro-AGW crowd didn’t change their position.”

      We are still in a flatline temperature profile, which means it could go up or down from here, so those thinking it could/should go up, are still in the ballgame. If we go into a downtrend from here, then I believe a lot of people will have to rethink their position.

    • I for one wonder just how long it would take with rising carbon dioxide and rising temperatures for the sceptics to change their minds. Maybe three consecutive record-breaking (during the instrumental era) hot years would do it? Maybe not. Never underestimate the true believer’s ability to rationalise away reality.

      • seaice1 wrote “I for one wonder just how long it would take with rising carbon dioxide and rising temperatures for the sceptics to change their minds.”

        The “and” part is important. Over the past 20 years CO2 has definitely risen but temperatures are not well correlated. Obviously there’s more to the story.

        Then, once you change my mind that it’s happening, comes the hard part: What, if anything, to do about it. But that’s like persuading an atheist that God exists. That’s hard enough but it is still the easy part. Then comes: What to do about it.

        I know climate changes; it has been changing all my long life. Whether I should give up life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in a probably futile attempt to stop what cannot be stopped remains not much of a question.

  29. Facts are difficult things. I really cannot give you any of mine; they become mere words in the attempt. You’ll have to get your own.

  30. Seems that even the climate screechers at NYT agree that d@n1@r$ and wamists are equally irrational in their mental functioning, reaction asymmetrically in a divergent (chaotic) manner to information. Only the skeptic / lukewarmers process information rationally – as Keynes said, changing their opinions as facts change, without anchoring.

    I haven’t interviewed all 1billion of us, but I know that I have a climate model on my laptop, regularly assessing both HadCRUT4 and RSS in a rigorous statistical manner.

  31. “The last of the West’s scientist-artists reminds us that there are different routes to knowledge — different epistemologies — other than the reductionism of our scientific method …”.
    =======================
    Yeah, anyone who has mucked around with paints knows that if you run out of white pigment you won’t get it by mixing red, blue and yellow together and anyone who has done secondary school physics knows that white light is made up of different wave lengths split by a prism — one a subtractive process of reflected white light the other additive, they are not two ways of understanding the same phenomenon.

    • Nonetheless, the interaction of light of different wavelengths with matter is one way to explain both observations. If you want to know about the world the scientific method is the best we have by far. If you want to argue about morals, ethics, aesthetics, God and other things outside the physical world then science may not be your go-to answer. The is-ought dichotomy. Science answers the is part, it cannot on its own answer the ought part.

      So in context, is the world warming? Is carbon dioxide responsible? Will it cost more to stop emissions than to respond to the changes? These are questions to which we may turn to science for the answers.

      Should we tax carbon? How much should we care about future generations? Should past emitters be held to account for their emissions? How much should we apply the precautionary principle? Should we follow the economically optimum route? These are questions outside of science.

      • “seaice1 September 8, 2016 at 3:52 pm

        Should we tax carbon?”

        It is carbon dioxide NOT carbon. FAIL!

    • ‘seaice1’ says:

      If you want to know about the world the scientific method is the best we have by far.

      And:

      How much should we apply the precautionary principle?

      Textbook cases of psychological ‘projection’: imputing the faults of the alarmist crowd onto scientific skeptics.

      The Scientific Method is the best method we have to arrive at scientific understanding. But the alarmist crowd has yet to use the Scientific Method. Instead, they constantly use logical fallacies like the Precautionary Principle: “But what if…? And so on.

      To answer questions seaice1 asked:

      Should we tax carbon?

      Absolutely not! Carbon (dioxide) is as beneficial to life on earth as H2O. TPTB would tax water if they could; don’t give them any ideas.

      Adding one ten-thousandth more CO2, over more than a century, has not done anything measurable to global temperatures. There is no indication that the rise in CO2, along with the concomitant rise in global T, is anything other than a coincidental occurrence.

      Next:

      How much should we care about future generations?

      Climate alarmists could not care less about future generations or even about the current generation. Skeptics care far more about humanity than the alarmist crowd ever did, so that’s just more alarmist ‘projection’.

      The rise in harmless, beneficial CO2 is the cause of a measurable rise in agricultural productivity, which in turn keeps a lid on rising food prices. That combats malnutrition and starvation — human suffering that the alarmist crowd simply doesn’t care about. They only pretend to care, because their ‘holier-than-thou preaching takes the place of what they lack: verifiable evidence showing that CO2=CAGW.

      And:

      Should past emitters be held to account for their emissions?

      Yeah, and while we’re at it, let’s make the current generation pay reparations for slavery. That would make about as much sense as taxing “carbon”.

      How about this instead: the climate alarmist crowd must pay reparations for all the people malnourished and starved due to their misguided, self-serving demonization of “carbon”. That’s only fair, since demonizing CO2 is 100% the fault of the alarmist crowd. Please include your name and billing address to get the reparations started…

      And:

      …is the world warming?

      Yes! For the umpteenth time: the planet is recovering from the Little Ice Age; one of the coldest episodes of the entire Holocene. But there is no measurable evidence that CO2 is the primary cause of global warming. If you want to be honest about it, there is no empirical evidence whatever proving that CO2 causes any global warming (but as I’ve stated repeatedly, I personally think that CO2 has a small effect, but it is too small to measure).

      Next:

      Will it cost more to stop emissions than to respond to the changes?

      Whoa there, Nelly. First off, the onus is on you to produce reliable, verifiable, data-based evidence showing that any gloobal temperature changes are caused by ’emissions’. You’ve failed at that. You’re not even close. Wake the skeptic intelligentsia here if/when you’ve produced verifiable, testable evidence that supports your eco-belief.

      As usual, conflating religion and science is just more projection — something the alarmist crowd constantly does. Their religious belief in the ‘carbon’ scare trumps science, and the Scientific Method, and Occam’s Razor — and basic common sense.

      Questions answered. Skeptics have no problem answering questions, or admitting it when we don’t have the answers. The alarmist crowd could learn a lesson there; a big lesson.

  32. People tend to hear news that backs their case and not notice news that throws doubt on it. That is simply why it is so polarised. This is further reinforced by the attitude that the science is beyond question. To believers this means what it says. To those who do not believe, this is interpreted as the science is not up to even the lowest level of questioning so any questioning at all must be ruthlessly suppressed.
    The worst aspect is when they changed the name from global warming to climate change. To those who believed this was no matter. To others who did not, this failed to explain how a mechanism that is supposedly triggered by the CO2 blanket retaining heat and increasing the temperature does not still have to have clear cut warming significantly above the random fluctuations to trigger positive feedback which does not happen on a day to day basis. This does not occur in every other feedback system without exception so why is climate so different and the one exception?

  33. The inferred ‘asymmetry’ is an illusion created by looking t the trees instead of the forest. Both groups are influenced by the same phenomenon, which may be described as ‘mental inertia.’ Both groups find it easier to accept that which reinforces their existing mental models than to accept that which contradicts them.
    The only way around this conundrum of mental laziness is strict adherence to the scientific method. Forecasts/predictions must be held accountable to raw, real-world data. When there is a discrepancy between the data and the expectation, the data must always win. Any mental model that leads consistently to failed predictions of the phenomena of the measurable world may be properly called ‘religion.’
    The overwhelming temptation of some self-described scientists to tweak the data to comfortably reinforce their preconceptions is not only intellectually dishonest, it delays the advancement of the science as visiting a quack doctor would delay the proper treatment of a serious disease.

  34. As Professor Derman said, what the NYT headline calls new “facts” in the study are actually expert opinions (or model outputs) — accurately described by the authors as “news” or “information”. These are expressions of theory, not “facts” in the usual sense of the word.
    ___________________________________

    Were dealing with green belivers and pseudo climate experts, not with people of the real world. You’re telling me!
    ___________________________________

    And the ‘study autors’:

    How People Update Beliefs about Climate Change: Good News and Bad News

    Cass R. Sunstein
    Harvard Law School

    Sebastian Bobadilla-Suarez
    Affective Brain Lab, Department of Experimental Psychology, University College London

    Stephanie C. Lazzaro
    University College London – Institute of
    Cognitive Neuroscience
    ___________________________________

    Tali Sharot
    University College London – Affective Brain Lab, Department of Experimental Psychology

    – Law School, Cognitive Neuroscience, Experimental Psychologie –

    … same as it ever was …

  35. @Toby Smit, perhaps I can explain. I’m a lecturer in Computer Science. I spent about an hour today telling students to tackle a problem by quickly making the simplest program that could possibly work SO THAT THEY CAN TEST THAT THEY HAVE UNDERSTOOD IT, and that they shouldn’t bother trying to make a fast program until they know what the right answers are for some simple cases, SO THAT THEY CAN FIND MISTAKES. In the same way, I understand “you shouldn’t do a calculation until you know what the answer should be” to be saying “BECAUSE WE MAKE MISTAKES, you should know how to check the result of a calculation before you carry it out SO THAT YOU CAN CHECK IT.”

    For example, we know that the Earth’s climate has varied a lot in the past, but has undergone runaway heating to Venusian levels. So any model that predicts a stable climate, or runaway heating, MUST be wrong.

  36. The highest is to understand that all fact is really theory. The blue of the sky reveals to us the basic law of color. Search nothing beyond the phenomena. They themselves are the theory.

    And that is why we need more than ever, with science under attack from many vested interests, to go back and review the philosophy and understand what exactly constitutes a fact, and how one fact is related to another.

    And then realise that there are no facts, just model outputs. And the only way to qualify them, is that some outputs accord with experience, and some do not.

    And that is the sole justification for Natural Philosophy,or as we now term it, Science.

    Science has only itself to blame. IN the rush to claim that it has uncovered ‘truth’ rather than ‘models that work’ and in its tendency to throw phrases like ‘scientific fact’ around, when there has never been such a thing, it has laid itself open to a very successful series of attacks, by those who would seek to peddle theories that either dont work, or are orthogonal to external experience (e.g. god theories. Belief in a God changes precisely nothing outside of the individuals psyche) on an equal basis with those that do.

    The subjectively experienced phenomenal world is the output of a model of underlying experience. It generates what we call facts, but they are always relative to the modelling we do of the world to render it comprehensible.

    That modelling, subconsciously done, is what makes the so called physical world, be the way it appears.

    And that modelling is susceptible to modification, at the conscious and the subconcious level. And psychological techniques of brainwashing, constant exposure to propaganda, peer group pressure and the like can actually make the sky appear purple.

    None of this is radical or new. 2000 years of belief in a particular sort of sky fairy has gone unchallenged by and large. Because its truth was in-decidable, but its utility to society was indisputable.

    My plea is this: stop thinking in terms of truth or lies, and look solely at utility.

    Is climate change theory useful at predicting future climate?

    The answer is, no. Its failed dismally. Ergo it is a refuted hypothesis as it stands. It is not true science.

    Is belief in Climate Change beneficial to society’s survival?

    Again, the answer is no.

    Belief in false man made climate change is being used by a narrow elite to strip wealth from people and accumulate it in corporations and governments they control. Again, this is in historical context, not remarkable. The Church and the Monarchy did similar. But Christian monarchies have survived. The people that comprised them did not die from mismanagement, too much.

    And that is why Climate Change Belief is so dangerous. Its not that it erodes to power of the plebeian – that has always been under threat, it’s that it threatens the very structures and systems that support the narrow elite that benefits from it.

    That is, my accusation is not that we have an elite, nor yet that that elite is as usual selling snake oil to the great unwashed. T’was ever thus. No my accusation is that the elite is incompetent, so incompetent than not only are they wrecking a century of technological infrastructure in which the plebeians’ lives depend, but they have utterly failed to grasp the fact that their lives, too, depend upon it.

    This suggests a pragmatic line of attack. WE merely need show that belief in climate change, and the concomitant insistence on useless renewable energy, is in fact a threat to the ruling elites.

    Oh. The post. Well the answer to that is of course people who have fundamentally different beliefs, will respond to information in fundamentally different ways.

    “If you were, say,. to experience a blinding light on the road to Tulsa, and hear a voice declaring that you should rise up and forsake your sinful life, what would you do”

    “I’d take half a dozen aspirin and go see a quack”..

    Ho hum.

    Beliefs shape the very perception of the world. Without a belief in causality, there can be no science. Causality seems to make sense of our experience. It works. Belief in Climate Change also makes sense of our experience. However it doesn’t work. It is a False God in the sense that it will lure those who believe in it to destruction, and thereby eliminate itself from human consciousness.

    Its such a pity that the rest of us will get dragged along too.

  37. If I set out to discover from comments on this blog what sort of person is a climate skeptic, I’d have to conclude it was someone with right wing conservative views, whose objection to AGW is primarily political – i.e. they reject it not primarily on scientific grounds, but because they suppose it to be a belief held by people of a ‘left’ or ‘progressive’ political inclination only…

    • I am a skeptic (And I could tell my teacher what a solar CME was when I was 8) not because of politics, right wing nor belief (In AGW). You want to prove AGW via the ~3% human CO2 contribution to ~400ppm/v CO2 *IS* changing climate (The 30yr avg of weather that the IPCC says so) then please present your evidence. Otherwise go away!

      • Please explain the 3% contribution to 400ppm carbon dioxide. It appears that you are rejecting the idea that the increase in carbon dioxide is due to the massive quantities of same that have been put into the atmosphere by humans burning fossil fuels.

      • Massive? One tenth of one percent is massive ? It took over 150 years to do that. And that’s if CAGW is right about the carbon cycle being in equilibrium before anthropogenic burning. I might think otherwise.

      • “seaice1 September 8, 2016 at 4:02 pm

        Please explain the 3% contribution to 400ppm carbon dioxide.”

        Google IPCC, EPA etc and human contribution to CO2. I don’t need to explain, it is fact.

    • stevekeohane is right: Griff is projecting his own faults regarding the ‘climate’ scare onto skeptics.

      And Griff’s side—not those skeptical of it—has turned a science question into a question of politics.

      Skeptics don’t reject climate alarmism, as Griff claims, “because they suppose it to be a belief held by people of a ‘left’ or ‘progressive’ political inclination…”

      No, skeptics reject climate alarmism for a solid scientific reason: because every wild-eyed, scary prediction ever made by Griff’s alarmist pals has failed to come true. No exceptions—the alarming predictions were wrong. All of them.

      That’s a very good reason to reject the “dangerous AGW” scare, no? When every scary prediction ever made turns out to be contradicted by observations, then the basic premise must be wrong.

      What’s really strange is that presumably rational folks like Griff always disregard the abject failure to predict the results of ‘DAGW’.

      What’s up with that, Griff?

      • I keep seeing the word ‘left’ used to label people on a certain side of the climate debate though…

        The evidence on temperature, sea ice, glaciers clearly shows that there is an observable physical effect operating in the world.

    • That is merely what you need to believe, Griff, in order to avoid an acute case of cognitive dissonance.

      • Well naturally I think the skeptic side is the one with the dissonance…!

        arctic sea ice at second lowest in the record at present and apparently that’s not happening/an issue

      • Griff says “arctic sea ice at second lowest in the record at present and apparently that’s not happening/an issue”

        I look out the window and I see no arctic sea ice so not much of an issue. Back in my Navy days I once flew on an ice edge recon flight right up between Alaska and Siberia. I saw rather a lot of desolation and the polar bears are welcome to it.

    • If you HONESTLY/ scientifically wanted to know what sort of person a climate skeptic is, you’d have to DEFINE exactly what you mean by that term, seek out people who agree with and identify THEMSELVES with your definition, and then collect evidence to support the idea that ALL climate skeptics are exactly the same.

      Instead, you observed some comments, made unscientific assumptions, and came to an erroneous conclusion that you pretend you’d “have” to come to.

      • I could cite the number of people who have called me a lefty/leftist/commie or similar without any idea of my voting preference

    • Griff writes: “If I set out to discover from comments on this blog what sort of person is a climate skeptic…”

      You put the cart before the horse. If you came to this blog and read the comments you ought to conclude that people here are generally opposed (not skeptical) to left wing politics, but how exactly did that become “climate skeptic”? What does that mean?

      I am not a climate skeptic. Climate exists! I’m sure of it.

      The phrase “climate skeptic” is a product of the gentle left (same spectrum as “climate denier”), so yes, if you notice people judging you to be of the left, it is because you blew a dog whistle that everyone here recognizes.

      I do not know anyone that denies climate or is even skeptical of climate and neither do you.

      But your conclusion more or less agrees with mine that the principle opposition and concern is not about sea ice and polar bears but the American values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    • Griff says:

      If I set out to discover from comments on this blog what sort of person is a climate skeptic, I’d have to conclude it was someone with right wing conservative views, whose objection to AGW is primarily political…

      Another ^classic case^ of psychological ‘projection’.

      Griff, your side lost the science debate. The onus was on you to produce solid evidence to support your CAGW hypothesis. But you’ve got zilch. Zero. You’ve got nothin’. You failed.

      So yeah, it’s political now. But that’s because you couldn’t support your conjecture — and now your stupid ego gets in the way of admitting that your hypothesis failed.

      That’s just immature. At least crooked scientists are getting some loot out of their scam. What are you getting out of it?

  38. On Goethe:

    – Please give a precise source (work:edition:page) for your Goethe ‘quotation’ from an original (German) text. If you cannot do this please admit that you do not know what you are talking about.

    – Each sentence of the ‘quotation’ is incomprehensible to me.

    – Have you actually studied Goethe’s works on colour (there are quite a lot of them)? If you had you would know that Goethe’s colour ‘theory’ is bonkers. It is unscientific claptrap and brings no one any further.

    Name me a subsequent theory or instrument that derives from anything in Goethe’s work.

    In contrast, Newton’s work has been involved in the development of thousands of optical devices and laid the ground for our modern understanding of QED.

  39. Marketing 101—everyone who ever sold products understands this idea. You sell to those most likely to believe whatever you say, lie or truth. All you have to do is watch an hour of network television with commercials to see this in action. You don’t market to people who think—that’s a waste. So both sides market to the believers, the gullible who want to believe, where it’s effective.

    If you market to nonbelievers, you have to use either vilification of the other side or try to educate people to the reality of your product. Nowadays, vilification is most effective.

    Of course, none of this has anything whatsoever to do with global warming science and its accuracy. That’s irrelevent. All this is is a marketing strategy.

  40. You can fool some of the people all of the time.
    You can fool all of the people some of the time.
    You can not fool all of the people all of the time.
    There is a never ending line of people who will try all of the time.
    The lust for power is powerful and seductive.
    H. L. Menken was right.

  41. Comfort zones rule the day. People will always retreat to their comfort zone. Now, not all comfort zones are comfortable. It is simply a description of where a person feels they need to be because that’s where they have been most of their lives. To some, peace and tranquility are uncomfortable and they prefer to be in a state of worry.

  42. Perhaps the questions which should be asked are these:

    1. Based on the adversarial system being prevalent in Western media and internet searches, what is the likelihood that a forum displaying a genuinely dispassionate nature to climate change being easily accessible and funded for the medium-to-long term?

    For what it’s worth, my view of WUWT is that it is not dispassionate, even though it tries hard to be. It is written with a distinctly American bias, an utterly pro-oil bias (not that that is a bad thing necessarily) and an implacably Republican bias.

    2. Given the never-ending bombardment of partisan information into people’s lives, what is the likelihood that this information is satisfactorily processed by the majority of people and as a result, what percentage of blog contributors actually write their contributions from a position of serene calmness as opposed to having a welter of unresolved frustrations to get off their chests?

    My judgement there is that the evidence across the blogosphere is clear: well over 50% of contributors are channeling huge amounts of pent up frustration, aggression and pugnacious energy into the blogosphere, which makes more sensitive people withdraw due to the overload of strong emotions into their more sensitive souls.

    There are those who think that pugnacious debate is the way forward. They are usually the less sensitive types (nothing wrong with those, it’s just the way you are wired, after all). I don’t actually find that that method works very well. You end up with screaming matches chasing ‘share of voice’ instead of actually examining the issues critically. Who wins is more important than what the truth is and all that…….

    • rtj1211 wrote “Perhaps the questions which should be asked are these…”

      There is no “should”. Do, or do not.

  43. Why is this research considered interesting? I thought this was already self evident and would have been established behaviour.

    People will tend to believe sources they trust more than those they do not. This study says as much.

  44. Our Governance is most often effectively manipulated by “Fear Narratives” , the majority of people are easily cowed by the use of fear. Climate change a.k.a. cAGW, like WMD’s is one of these fear narratives that is useful to the ruling elite which the MSM is part of.
    cAGW has a multi-faceted fear factor, the human made global warming narrative is a political narrative of fear,
    fear of droughts,
    fear of flooding,
    fear of hurricanes,
    fear of tornado’s,
    fear of rising seas,
    fear of acidic oceans,
    fear of melting ice caps,
    fear of climate refugees,
    fear of bleaching coral,
    fear of melting glaciers,
    etc. etc.,
    this narrative of fear is being used for political taxation purposes and green industry monetary gain, we are being directed to someone or some solution that will save us and make us feel safe.

    • The 21st century modern western fear narrative of Climate Change and what can lead us to safety.
       why money of course
      • trillions from carbon taxes
      • trillions from carbon cap’n trade
      • billions for computer climate models
      • billions for more satellites for science
      • trillions for terrestrial climate science research
      • trillions for green NGO’s
      o Contrived energy prices go up and meanwhile the poor of the world are driven ever deeper into energy poverty as a civilized existence slips through their fingers.
      • Create fear and generate anger at those who don’t agree man made global warming will be catastrophic.

      Malcolm Gladwell ; “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”

      Malcolm Gladwell ; “There are exceptional people out there who are capable of starting epidemics. All you have to do is find them.” ( James Hansen, Al Gore, David Suzuki etc. etc. )

  45. Four logical domains: scientific, philosophic, fantasy, and faith, separate and intersecting.

    The scientific domain is established by a frame-based philosophy with accuracy inversely proportional to the product of time and space offsets from an observation reference.

    As for the climate, the system is incompletely and, in fact, insufficiently characterized and unwieldy, which precludes indefinitely long-term forecasts. Prophecies or predictions are verboten in the scientific domain.

  46. Larry, all your contributions display a total misunderstanding of the skeptic’s case on climate change. I actually believe you are right about the largely left leaning AGW proponents’ case- it is political/activist in nature and the throngs of BELIEVERS who are scientifically illiterate give it it’s popularity. There is an analogue of of this of course among the anti warming political right who are also scientifically illiterate. The true skeptic, perhaps the majority on this site, are scientifically literate. Their main point is not that manmade global warming is not or will not happen. They simply tell the AGW proponents that they haven’t been able to show us incontrovertible evidence of man made or any other kind (if you consider natural variability). You would get rid of most skeptics in one fell swoop if a satisfactory demonstration could be made of not only AGW but even alarming GW of any cause. Less a degree in 150 years (as we climb out of a the LIA) doesn’t excite muchy. You look upon it as a debate, which it isn’t.

  47. And then the model inputs are pre-arranged to arrive at the desired outcome to begin with. How many lawsuits and how much public policy was made citing the many Duke lab papers now discredited as fraudulant by design. The modelers have it seems always exaggerated the importance of their art.

  48. Some here seem to argue that both sides must be balanced. But I thought all scientists were supposed to be from Missouri, the “Show Me” state – all scientists are supposed to be skeptical (and it works for ordinary people too so they are not so easily fooled).

    Doesn’t the scientific method rely on observation and data, and forming testable hypotheses? And that predictions are a part of that, and if the predictions fail, the hypothesis is wrong or is not at all useful? Seems to me the CAGW projections/predictions/reading goat entrails/measuring a single tree’s rings fall into the wrong/not useful category.

    • http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

      Here is an extract of some observations and data from the above:

      “since August 26, total sea ice extent is already lower than at the same time in 2007 and is currently tracking as the second lowest daily extent on record. In addition, during the first five days of September the ice cover has retreated an additional 288,000 square kilometers “

  49. The explanation given in the report/study is so fuzzy that an eighth grader could pick it apart. If I understand their analysis correctly the audience is responding to news that is either negative or positive based on whether the temperature is project to go up or down. I suppose for the low-information crowd just that level of information would be enough to get their angst up. They dutifully believe all statements given by government or academia as fact, and do not dig any deeper. So, yes I can see how they would be further angered by bad reports/analysis. But most climate deniers I know, don’t look to MSM for their source of information. The research other scientific websites to get a balanced view. So I don’t see how this study addresses people with who go to greater extent with their background research.

  50. Thank goodness for folk like Anna Keppa (I don’t know how to copy and paste with my phone!) . It supports my contention that the human species has members thinLy scattered among the more malleable docile flock that do not get taken in or coerced by the best mind twisters in the business. This is the important factor always underestimated by would-be totalitarians (and those who are taken in). They believe they can exterminate or lock up or “rehabilitate” this pesky tiny minority.

    Those who study modern sociology or related subjects (which are irreparably broken and harnessed to soshulist masters) are totally unaware of this important minority and its vital role. The USSR with all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t snuff out this minority. We’re I to guess, I would say they number about 5%. Actually I never had any issue with Cook’s 97% because at 3%, he had the thinking individualists about correct.

    Perhaps Larry Kummer can now see that his premise on the “debate” and who sceptics are is totally invalid. I leave for homework to identify the three (four if you want to split left and right ideologues into two groups).

  51. Larry,

    ” Slowly scientists’ investigations produce insights about the psychological and social dynamics that create our dysfunctional politics.”

    Any sign these dorks acknowledge liars and con artists could be a prominent aspect of “the psychological and social dynamics that create our dysfunctional politics” ?

    Guess what I suspect they are, if not?

  52. So what.

    [It is considered polite and useful if a link to a video has at least a description of what might be found and why it is relevant. Not everyone has the bandwidth or data cap to manage these links, nor does everyone just click on a link without cause. Please bear that in mind out of consideration for your colleagues here at WUWT. Thanks . . mod]

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