Political left, right similarly motivated to avoid rival views on climate change, and other topics

Ideological information bubbles conquer financial incentives


A new report from social psychologists at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Winnipeg suggests people on both sides of the political aisle are similarly motivated to dismiss monetary enticements in order to distance themselves from hearing or reading opposing ideals and information.

The research, published online by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, details the findings from five studies involving liberals and conservatives who were presented with statements on issues such as same-sex marriage, U.S. and Canada elections, marijuana, climate change, guns and abortion.

Approximately two-thirds of respondents declined a chance to win extra money in order to avoid reading statements that didn’t support their position, say report co-authors Linda Skitka, UIC professor of psychology, and Matt Motyl, UIC assistant professor of psychology.

The UIC researchers and Jeremy A. Frimer, a corresponding author from the University of Winnipeg, indicate the divide goes beyond political topics.

Respondents also had a “greater desire to hear from like- versus unlike-minded others on questions such as preferred beverages (Coke vs. Pepsi), seasons (spring vs. autumn), airplane seats (aisle vs. window), and sports leagues (NFL vs. NBA),” they wrote.

The aversion to hearing or learning about the views of their ideological opponents is not a product of people already being or feeling knowledgeable, or attributable to election fatigue in the case of political issues, according to the researchers.

“Rather, people on both sides indicated that they anticipated that hearing from the other side would induce cognitive dissonance,” such that would require effort or cause frustration, and “undermine a sense of shared reality with the person expressing disparate views” that would harm relationships, they reported.

The researchers note the drawback of liberals and conservatives retreating to ideological information bubbles.

“What could ultimately be a contest of ideas is being replaced by two, non-interacting monopolies,” they said.


105 thoughts on “Political left, right similarly motivated to avoid rival views on climate change, and other topics

  1. Aha! So it’s not about dubious science and more government power and spending after all. I guess.

    • Sheesh! We need a study to tell us what we already know from common sense. They don’t call it the “Ivory Tower” for nothing. This study contributes nothing of value to the knowledge base.

    • Depends on just how bad you hate the idea. It is really, really, hard to force yourself to read something you really don’t like.

      • David, I fear you are speaking on my behalf when you should not.
        While it may be “really, really, hard” for YOU to force yourself to read something or other, that’s not at all true for me. I read things daily from both the left and the right, and from both skeptics and alarmists. How else can I stay informed?

      • Willis, it’s not just hard. Very often, especially with tracts that don’t even consider your opinion or use arguments that you know to be false, it does get difficult. You get disgusted. You get angry. You get frustrated.
        I disagree with you on some opinions, but I know that your writings will typically give the opposition a fair shake. I can’t say that for a lot of people. Just read about the French election if you want examples. Politicians openly call Le Pen and her supporters fascist on articles in the Associated Press. I don’t care if you agree or disagree with her, that sort of invective closes the discussion, and no one will be willing to cross the aisle after that.
        Back to Janice’s comment, you get to the fact that reading things that affirm or slightly modify your beliefs is interesting. Reading contrary views can be fun. Reading antagonistic views is entirely negative. It’s work. If they aren’t pushing enough cash, then it’s work that isn’t worth doing.

      • Ben of Houston April 25, 2017 at 9:40 pm

        Willis, it’s not just hard. Very often, especially with tracts that don’t even consider your opinion or use arguments that you know to be false, it does get difficult. You get disgusted. You get angry. You get frustrated.

        What is it with you people telling me what I do and don’t do?
        Ben, it sounds like YOU get disgusted and YOU get angry and YOU get frustrated .. but guess what?
        I don’t. Me, I just laugh. Stop assuming that I’m like you. I’m not.
        A wise man once told me “You have two choices in life. You can dig it or you can bitch about it.” I chose option A.
        So please, folks, stop claiming to be my spokesdude.

      • Bull Crap, Willis… if there’s anyone who’s prone to displaying his hot headed anger, it’s got to be YOU (!)

      • afonzarelli April 25, 2017 at 10:07 pm

        Bull Crap, Willis… if there’s anyone who’s prone to displaying his hot headed anger, it’s got to be YOU (!)

        I didn’t say I never get angry. I said reading some random paper espousing a position from either the right or the left doesn’t make me angry, which is a very different thing. Sure, if people call me a liar I’ll do my best to hit back twice as hard.
        But this discussion is not about people calling other people liars. It’s about reading somebody’s ideas.
        Once again, folks, you’re claiming to know what goes on in my head, when you have no more of a clue about that than I do about your own internal mentation.
        Bunch of would-be carnival mind readers … sheesh.

      • Willis
        “you’re claiming to know what goes on in my head, when you have no more of a clue about that than I do about your own internal mentation.”
        Perhaps people are offering you a compliment, they are suggesting that, having carefully observed your style and the products of your thinking, they can make a reasonable prediction about your reaction to other matters.
        “Bunch of would-be carnival mind readers … sheesh”.
        Carnival mind readers are very observant and can make reasonable guesses. I suspect Sherlock Holmes is their role model.

      • Willis Eschenbach April 25, 2017 at 10:01 pm
        “… especially with tracts that don’t even consider your opinion or use arguments that you know to be false, it does get difficult. You get disgusted. You get angry. You get frustrated.”
        What is it with you people telling me what I do and don’t do?

        I suspect that he wasn’t referring to you personally. In that case he could have written was:

        … especially with tracts that don’t even consider one’s opinion or use arguments that one knows to be false, it does get difficult. One gets disgusted. One gets angry. One gets frustrated.

        If he was speaking, the emphasis he placed on the word ‘you’ would convey his meaning. If ‘you’ was emphasized, then he would be talking about you personally. If ‘you’ wasn’t emphasized then he would be talking about people generally. ie. ‘you’ would be used as an impersonal pronoun rather than a personal pronoun.
        IMHO, the word ‘one’, used as an impersonal pronoun, sounds dated or stilted. I usually find another way around the problem. eg. ‘Folks tend to find this frustrating.’

      • The impersonal ‘you’ is common usage; nosisms bug me: ‘nosism, from the Latin nos, “we”, is the practice of using the pronoun “we” to refer to oneself when expressing a personal opinion …’ (Wiki).
        Nosisms are frequently used by warmists in their exhortatory lectures to the masses, for instance Al Gore might say ‘we need to bring our carbon emissions to zero’ when he means ‘you’.

      • Not true in my case. Effective rhetoric requires one to understand both sides. This is the premise in all forms of Intel, from strategic military to business. Even interpersonal relationships require empathy.
        Some of us like to understand how things work, including other minds.
        I never liked the novel “The Great Gatsby” but I had to see why my high school English teacher thought it was everything. Just another hubris-nemesis with a soap opera overtone.

      • commieBob,

        I suspect that he wasn’t referring to you personally.

        I can’t speak for Ben of Houston, but I thought the same thing. I call it the “general” you. I always make that clarification with my wife, before she thinks that I’m accusing her of something. 🙂
        I agree that the use of “one” is awkward, but unfortunately using “you” can also be misunderstood.

      • Glad somebody already pointed out the impersonal “you” in English.
        It was pretty obvious to most readers that Ben of Houston was not accusing Willis of anything or claiming to be inside of his head. Too bad Ben’s polite comment was taken the wrong way. Ben tried to converse very politely and even complimented Willis for his fair and reasoned writings.
        Willis, take the opportunity to apologize to Ben for your unnecessary outburst and we’ll all think better of you for it. We know you are better than your response to Ben, so this is a great opportunity to show it.

      • climatereflections April 26, 2017 at 12:55 pm

        Glad somebody already pointed out the impersonal “you” in English.
        It was pretty obvious to most readers that Ben of Houston was not accusing Willis of anything or claiming to be inside of his head. Too bad Ben’s polite comment was taken the wrong way. Ben tried to converse very politely and even complimented Willis for his fair and reasoned writings.

        climate (and others), here is what Ben said:

        Very often, especially with tracts that don’t even consider your opinion or use arguments that you know to be false, it does get difficult. You get disgusted. You get angry. You get frustrated.

        That is not “impersonal” in any sense. If he says “you get disgusted” when he actually means “some people get disgusted”, he is absolutely including me and he should be more specific.
        Yes, I know that this is a common way of stating it, but that doesn’t make it valid. If I say “some people get disgusted” that is demonstrably true. But saying “you get disgusted” is not true. Instead, it is an attempt, often unconscious, to turn an actual verifiable observation into some kind of general rule.
        Such usage is a cheap way to try to give extra weight to your words by including me and everyone, as though it were a general rule applying to humanity.
        It is not. Some people don’t get disgusted or angry just because someone has used a logical fallacy.
        Here’s an example. If I say to you “Here’s how the world works. If someone talks back, you punch them in the mouth”, would you agree with that, or would you say “No, I don’t do that, so your statement must be wrong”?
        You go on to say:

        Willis, take the opportunity to apologize to Ben for your unnecessary outburst and we’ll all think better of you for it. We know you are better than your response to Ben, so this is a great opportunity to show it.

        First off, you’re doing just what Ben did by saying “we’ll all think better of you” if I apologize. No, you will not all think better of me. Some folks out there have made a cottage industry out of hating on me. There are pages on the web dedicated to rubbishing my name. Others will think me weak if I apologize. The rude truth is, some folks will NEVER think better of me regardless of what I do.
        Next, I have an iron-clad rule. I never apologize to someone because a third party thinks I should. I call that someone taking “second-hand offense” at my actions, and I pay no attention to it. It’s just another example of what you and Ben are doing, projecting your own personal feelings onto the rest of the world. For all you know, Ben may be laughing about what I said, or unaffected by it, or feel any of a hundred ways about it.
        So like Ben, you’re trying to make your personal feelings and emotions into some kind of general rule applying to everyone, including Ben. You see why I object to such generalization?
        On the other hand, if Ben says he is offended and explains why, I’m more than happy to apologize if I am in the wrong.
        However, as always, the world is more complex. I have another rule, which goes like this:
        The fact that I am offended does not mean that you are offensive.
        So someone convincing me that they are actually really and truly offended doesn’t lead to an automatic apology.
        I hope this clarifies things.
        My best to all,

      • Willis:
        As to your example, agreed. I would say, “No, I don’t do that, so your statement must be wrong”.
        What I wouldn’t do is misread the impersonal “you”, act like I’ve been personally attacked, and jump in with defensive statements like, “What is it with you people telling me what I do and don’t do?”
        And then I wouldn’t in the next breath accuse the person who made the obviously polite and impersonal ‘you’ comment by asserting, “Ben, it sounds like YOU get disgusted and YOU get angry and YOU get frustrated .. ”
        Anyway, whatever. I’ll drop it. If you want to keep digging your heels in for all to see, fine.

    • As a kid I used to read a magazine called schizm. It presenTed both wacky right and looney left. Some people are born curious.
      Some folks who disgree with every word you write find a way to enjoy the lunacy.

    • Sometimes. If i have the chance to trash the argument used by a green, or someone else I disagree with, I will listen to or read the argument. If I cannot make comments, no way.

  2. And regarding “…distance themselves from hearing or reading opposing ideals and information…” I find it astounding that that statement can be made about non-True-Believers, since the climate alarm messaging has been going on for what, 20+ years now? It’s the skeptics’ legitimate concerns and questions that are not being heard in the media.

  3. The one thing I have that I can control is my time.
    I do not want to read material by Al Gore, Paul Ehrlich, M. Mann, …, …, or Bill McKibben.
    My price (monetary enticements) to read such authors will be quite high.
    But I am not rich. And I have about $75,000 of house renovations in mind. Thus:
    I would be willing to waste my time if they want to waste their money.

  4. Okay. A more thoughtful response.
    The issues listed above as typical of those presented to the survey respondents are either:
    1. Seen as very important. (i.e., deeply held moral/philosophical positions, e.g., abortion).
    Issues cared about too deeply for one to have any interest in reading the opposing view (with which one is already familiar).
    2. Seen as trivially important. (i.e., esoteric or peripheral to what matters in life, e.g., “climate change” — as seen in polls).
    Issues not cared about enough to want to waste one’s time being BORED by reading about them.
    Unless…. the money was enough….. Heh.
    Re: the “fun” issues, like Pepsi — Coke or sports
    This is recreational, not educational — just having fun yacking about something. Not interested in arguing seriously about it. Thus, like-minded, “kindred spirits,” are who one hangs with on these topics.

    • I think you have made a very good point here, Janice. Having a spirited disagreement about football teams (or even reading about such a discussion) is a whole helluva lot less emotionally tiring than than one on something which you actually care about (apologies to those people for whom their football team is that emotional, but you are probably not the target audience here). Therefore, to get me to invest so much of my emotional energy, there needs to be a pay-off and we “know” that you never change anyone’s mind on these things so winning the argument isn’t a pay-off – you need to offer more money.
      I personally have to read a lot of stuff for my “day-job” which is often really bad science and so when it comes to down-time fossicking on the web I don’t spend a lot of time on arguments which I know from the outset are going to piss me off. Bad of me? Of course, but since I don’t have any role in this debate (beyond observer) there is no pay-off for me to read Steve Mosher’s comments. If there was ever a vote on this that would be a different situation, but my time is limited and I have better things to do.
      What would be interesting research is to keep upping the offer to find the point at which people would read arguments they expect to be emotionally upsetting. That might provide some good insight into how people value their good humour.

  5. Note to self (and an FYI) — don’t quote the article above’s mention of ab0rt i 0n without misspelling it. Sigh.

  6. I grew tired of Mann after the abstract of MBH98. It was clear his PhD was political immediately.

  7. I find this highly unlikely. If I go to anyone on the street and say “I’ll give you $25 if you read this paper”, many, perhaps most will do it regardless of what the paper says.
    And if I make $100 most everyone will read it.
    So I find it unbelievable that people would not read something, no matter what, when offered money. That just tells me, as Janice said, that they didn’t offer enough money.
    Nor do I find it surprising in the slightest. If you pay people to sit on flagpoles, you’ll have plenty of people willing to do it.

    • Good point. A well-known pizza company (which sponsors the Simpsons) in High Wycombe paid a bunch of people to dress up in tatty old Spider-Man costumes and wear sandwich boards while jiggling up and down at the side of the roundabout all day, enduring freezing temperatures and billowing clouds of diesel fumes. I bet they were paid minimum wage and didn’t even get a free pizza.

    • Except that is NOT how they did the test.
      If you read the paper ( you wont since you disagree) you will see they did the test like this.
      take a group of right and left leaning folks who disagree on same sex marriage.
      Say you are in the “right” group and think same sex marriage is bad
      I give you two choices.
      A) Read 8 statements that SUPPORTS your view and you will have a chance of winning 7 dollars
      B) Read 8 statements that Attack your belief and you will have a chance of winning 10 dollars.
      Its a forced choice. The study required them to ONLY CHOOSE which task they would perform next
      task A or task B
      Given that the test subjects had already committed to donating their time to the study, the notion that they might have something better to do with their time, or that more money would have swung the answer is dubious.
      But the way you criticize science is ACTUALLY BY DOING YOUR OWN SCIENCE. So, to question this study you would have to set up another study and say offer 7 dollars or 15… then 7 or 25..
      The point is there is some threshold where people choose to listen to statements that support their view rather than those that challenge them.
      More money doesnt answer the threshold question.
      The question here was same sex marriage. I’m generally in favor of states deciding, and if you offered me a choice
      A) read EIGHT FRICKEN STATMENTS that agreed with me for a chance to win 7 bucks
      B) read 8 statments that oppose my postion to win a chance for 10 bucks..?
      Who but a moron would choose A?
      THAT was the test they did, the amount of money really isnt important.

      • I believe you have made a correct observation. “A chance to win…” would be key here. I admit I am regularly perusing the expected online locations (such as WUWT) for new nuggets or bits of information that might be the knockout punch that sinks the alarmist cause. I would much rather forgo such a trivial sum as $3, or rather a chance at winning $3, for the opportunity to find new information that might provide that punch.
        I have long since read and dismissed most of the warmest arguments. Given what I understand of the science ( admittedly limited) I don’t expect to find anything new in reports written by warmest. Runaway confirmation bias, but there you go. At least I don’t believe people should be jailed for being alarmist. For altering data, promoting fraud, and for outright cronyism, yes. But not for disagreeing.

      • Does the paper say how old the participants were? If they were university students, this is entirely believable. Students seem far more interested in belonging and being part of a group than having money. By the time you get to retirement age, that can all change. Perhaps the money was not the real variable here.

      • Taking your summary of the study as true and complete, Mr. M0sher, (Note: the reason I did not read it is IT WOULD BE A WASTE OF MY TIME, I didn’t have a strong right-wrong opinion about the study.) I would agree with you. Only a “moron,”…. .
        College students may be rebellious and foolish, but they are not morons, thus, I think it likely there is more to the study than you told us (not that you are intending to deceive; you may be reporting all the facts given accurately).

    • As I read it, they were offered tge chance to win money.
      I often ignore chances to win money, as the chances are typically small, and the amounts not worth my time. I admit I didn’t read it, though (for the same reason).

    • We don’t know how much they were offered. Secondly, they were only offered a chance of winning. It’s quite possible they would have spent time reading, and gotten nothing.

      • They were given the following choice.
        Read 8 statments in support of your position. .and you’ll get a lottery ticket to win 7 dollars.
        Read 8 that attack your position. .win a chance at 10..
        Which do you choose?
        That was the test. You guys should read the science before jumping to answers.

    • Willis,
      I’m not going to reread the article, so I might be wrong, but I think they said “a chance to win money.” If you gave me $25 to read something I wasn’t interested in or disagreed with, I’d do it. If you gave told me I had a chance to win $25 to read something I wasn’t interested in or disagreed with, I’d probably not waste my time.

  8. “The researchers note the drawback of liberals and conservatives retreating to ideological information bubbles.
    “What could ultimately be a contest of ideas is being replaced by two, non-interacting monopolies,” they said.”
    Conservatives love to debate. It is the Liberals who live in an ideological bubble, and they are the ones who want to continue in their delusions.
    I personally don’t like to listen to Leftist talking points. I already know what they are going to say before they say it, so what’s the point.
    Talking points are not the same as a genuine debate. I’m happy to engage in a genuine debate with any Liberal, but most of the time all one gets is talking points. Liberals run away from genuine debates.

      • “I am a liberal. I spent my career in a courtroom debating conservative political and economic philosophy.”
        I wasn’t saying Liberals can’t debate, I was saying the ones I see in the CAGW game don’t do much debating. Most of them don’t know the subject well enough, so are stuck with talking points. There are a few Liberals on WUWT who attempt to make a case, and some of them actually know the subject although all of them assume facts not in evidence, so they eventually lose whatever debating point they are trying to make.
        If you want to debate some point, feel free to jump right in. You will get a fair hearing on WUWT, but if you assume facts not in evidence, that will be pointed out, so be forewarned. 🙂

      • Well… So much for classifying everyone into neat little groups I guess.
        We are all judged liberal by some and conservative by others, as all of us have a unique, enigmatic perspective from which we view our fellow Terrans and the experience of living.

      • First of all you made a comment that was not limited to climate. It was a general comment. Then you backpedaled and said you meant liberals who expressed views on climate.

      • MarkW: That was my question, too. In the U.S., at least, a courtroom is for fact finding.

      • David: “First of all you made a comment that was not limited to climate. It was a general comment.”
        That’s true.
        David: “Then you backpedaled and said you meant liberals who expressed views on climate.”
        Well, I wouldn’t call it a backpedal, I was just being specific with regard to the climate change debate since that is the kind of forum we are on, but I could and did say the same thing about other aspects of Liberal political thought, too. Lots of talking points, little real debate, on any subject.
        And you use “backpedaled” as a perjorative. I find that Liberals use the technique of character assassination as part of their toolbox of methods to undermine their opposition. Unfortunately, that’s usually what you get when you debate a Liberal: character assassination. They don’t debate the issue, they attack the person engaged in the debate.

    • TA, yes, did it ever occur to them that conservatives are right and liberals are close minded? There’s a lot of merit to the saying that if you’re not a liberal at age 20 then you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative by age 40 then you have no head…

      • ” did it ever occur to them that conservatives are right and liberals are close minded?”
        If you are a Liberal, you probably don’t see things that way. They would say the Liberals are right (correct:) and the Conservatives are closed minded.
        That’s the question: Which worldview is the proper worldview, the Liberal view or the Conservative view? Being a conservative, I know which way I’m voting. 🙂

    • Liberals run away from genuine debates
      But just prior to running away they accuse their would-be opponent of running away from the debate – that way they can later legitimately claim that they made the accusation first, and therefore should be believed.

    • I’ve seen little or no evidence conseratives love to debate any more than liberals when it comes to their own prejudges and preferences. Many conservatives jump to insults, etc, just as fast as liberals are accused of. Said persons dismiss science and politics just as rudely and profanely as any liberal. Right now, you’d be very hard pressed to convince me either side has any interest in the truth or the facts. That would be individual by individual, not by group.

  9. I live just south of Seattle. You cannot escape the socialist democrat ‘bubbles’…. until you cross the Cascades headed east! You can work to effect change though!

  10. “Birds of a feather flock together” is as true today as it always has been. There was a time when most everyone recognized that truism on its face. Who thinks that very many who flock to this site spend a great deal of time in “the enemy camps” looking for converts. I know I only visit those camps occasionally and then only to see into what form their (in my perception) alternate reality has morphed.
    The burning question I would pose is, “How much did it cost taxpayers to have these academics ‘discover’ that ‘birds of a feather flock together’?”

    • It’s only true generally, not specifically. Though with this study you’d think otherwise.
      For myself, I wouldn’t cross the road for a chance to win anything. After a lifetime of lottos; I’m done with “chance to win”.
      And a choice between reading something I agree with for 7 bucks, or something that’ll give me a headache for 8 bucks. God help me, I’ll take the 7 thanks.
      I do read opposite ideas. Though usually when people point out a specific article which is of interest. Then I’ll go to Real Climate and read said article if that’s the point of interest.
      So, do I conform to their stupid conclusions. Generally perhaps…

  11. Chicago’s academia is a hotbed of immigrant induced progressive socialist activism. Anything that comes out of there challenges the paradigm which brought the US and the free world to the place we are today. Beware the indoctrination which originates from one of the most liberal-run(down) states in the nation.
    Please watch this slightly off-topic video about social activism masquerading as science-

    • Pop Piasa – thank you.
      This video made a clear and I think, accurate explanation of what I felt about the march, in a manner I could not.
      Double thumbs up.
      Oh, by the way, I looked the video actually anticipating it to portray the opposite side of the argument.
      (Ok, I might have stretched the truth just a touch on that last bit.)

  12. “people on both sides indicated that they anticipated that hearing from the other side would induce cognitive dissonance,”
    Really? People said that? Does anyone actually think that way? Oh my, I might get cognitive dissonance if I read that. Double the offer?

    • Roger that, Clay. I’ve never known ANYONE who would say “If I read that it would induce cognitive dissonance” about ANYTHING. That’s just more made-up nonsense.

      • Read the paper. The words folks use are things like. It’s frustrating or annoying. ..Basically cognitive dissonance.

    • I thought the same thing. I read “cognitive dissonance” as a reason people reject AGW in comments on the internet, but I haven’t heard people use that term in actual face-to-face conversations. I would think it would come across as very stilted and rehearsed.

  13. It is more likely that bona fide scientists are sceptical about everything — such is the nature of proper science. But if at an early age you become convinced about the correctness of one particular theory, it is difficult to change your opinion – that goes for both scientists and non-scientists.

  14. It happens on the right, within the climate skeptic community as well. I called out Tony Heller on twitter a few days ago for his making an asinine tweet, he meant to be funny, where he used the 911 massacre as a prop against the left.
    I told him “not funny”, and asked him he’d been drinking again.
    He blocked me.
    I’m fine with that. Some on the right, as climate skeptics, are unhinged. Tony verified that for me, so ething I suspect other rational thinker/posters here at WUWT already knew about Tony.
    The world is diverse place. Thankfully we can disagree here in the US, and the most that happens is someone blocks you on twitter. Not so in places in western Europe where just calling out Islamic jihad atrocities are labeled by Germany, Sweden, Holland govts as criminal hate speech, while their Christian citizens are being run down by trucks in the street.

  15. When I read about how evil skeptics are, how hate-filled skeptics must be to sacrifice the futures of a generation of innocent children and especially when I read that skeptics should be locked up for their honest thoughts and writings, I tend to stop reading at those moments to look over my shoulder, fearfully… And then I quickly find something else to read….

    • …. Which is the problem I’ve found when trying to look at the opposing arguments for climate change. From my point of view, when I look in ‘those places’ I see two techniques; science/maths filled discussions that, if I tried hard enough and did a load of background reading, I could probably understand or the ‘consensus’ argument. The former is just too time consuming for me to put much effort into and the latter is just not worth even thinking about.
      On the sceptical side though, there are plenty of people writing (or, like Bob Carter, have written) books and articles that address the science in a way that is easier to understand, so can be more easily digested. They also consider the earth’s history, conditions on other planets, model failures and economics (Nigel Lawson’s book is basically all about that, and very good IMO) and come to what, to me, is a sensible, logical and rational conclusion.
      The other side seems more like anti-logic so that also makes it difficult and un-enticing to read.
      Ah well…

  16. If one does not read an article, how can one decide if it is for or against an established belief?
    Did the researchers taint the exercise by suggesting that the article was for or against their beliefs before they made the decision to read or not?
    As others have already stated, pay enough and people will do anything.

  17. You’re just not allowed to disagree with climate alarmists these days. Now THEY can be frightening! For the moment, it’s still legal to disagree with ’em … just not in schools, or on TV, or in newspapers. Sceptics are hunted down and silenced. Yes, I read both sides of the ‘warming’ questions. But I ain’t gonna say so anywhere but here.

  18. Thinking hard takes energy and is actually quite tiring. link It’s one thing to read crap and dismiss it out of hand. It’s quite another thing to read something, realize that it’s crap, and then have to figure out why.
    Given all the information coming at us all day, every day, it’s probably a valid self-defence mechanism to find ways to ignore most of it. It’s impossible to thoughtfully consider all of it anyway. I’m guessing that Skitka et al didn’t take that into account.

  19. So they’ve worked out that folks are lazy, belligerent, argumentative and set in their ways of thinking.
    What I’ve been saying for years and wondering why.
    Having a lot of first hand experience of alcohol, I thought it was that. With the notable exception of USSR, places/countries/states that believe in cAGW are high consumers of alcohol.
    But I do NOT imply that they are (classically) drunk – having a good time, being ‘happy’, socialising and enjoying themselves.
    I mean drunk in that a large section of their thought processing has been disabled by the ingestion of a depressant substance.
    Makes sort of sense, until one realises that there is a much more commonly used depressant out there = sugar. In manifold forms from glucose through sucrose, dextrose, fructose and certainly not least, processed (cooked) carbohydrate.
    It explains everything, from Government errors & lies to the legions of lawyers/new laws we all see- along with the obsession with ‘the negative’ and the over-reaction to new events, such as the rush to install windmills & solar panels while smashing up perfectly good coal power stations.
    Also universal fear, fear for the future, fear for the children/grandchildren. Clear headed and self-confident people do not fear the future, they look forward to it.
    Its is monumentally huge and of course, chronically depressed folks simply cannot see or think that big.

    • Clear headed and self-confident people do not fear the future, they look forward to it.
      Maybe less so if they see funded-with-their-money, self-confident morons succeeding in their goals!

  20. It’s not so much that people don’t want to even hear opposing viewpoints as it is a matter of not wanting to hear uncontested propaganda. A true debate with both sides represented by knowledgeable folks, as well as folks in the middle, would be far more valuable than simply hearing
    opponents canned, unopposed arguments. Science is conducted like a courtroom, with both sides presenting evidence and arguments. But both sides need to be represented by competent spokesmen, not intellectual bimbos like Al Gore.

    • Exactly. For example, this morning I was listening to NPR. I can generally stomach most of their stuff, with the exception of their climate crap. Well they had these two climate clowns on, Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope, authors of “Climate of Hope” (a book I might read, for say $1,000). They were waxing idiotic on how cities and towns are on the front lines now of switching to “green” energy, and all other things related to that, with or without Trump. The “interviewer” Rachel Martin was asking softball questions, of course, and they were slamming them out of the climatespeak park. I had to shut it off. Take a listen, if you dare:

  21. An alternate hypothesis – Time is money. If the arguments presented offer no new insight into the debate, they are a waste of time. And if the money offered is less than the value of the time, then people ignore it as a loss, not a gain.
    This has been proven many times in the field of economics. While the understanding of economics is low, the use of it on a daily basis is high. Some call it “instinct”. But it is just an individual evaluating their time in terms of earnings and assigning a value to it.
    Social science gobblydegook strikes again. Their problem is they do not know enough to even be ignorant.

  22. I am among the 1/3 who DO read articles opposed to my views, to shoot holes in the counter arguments.
    Of course, as others have pointed out, the amount of money offered versus the time needed to read the article are relevant factors. Also, even I and the others in that 1/3 don’t waste our time reading articles that don’t support our position that are purely emotional, devoid of logic.

  23. This is further evidence (as if needed) that politics, ideology, and science don’t mix, and are anti-thetical to each other. Politics and ideology are all about true-believerism … science is all about challenging one’s understanding of the universe.
    Doesn’t matter, left or right.
    That’s why I wish wattsupwiththat would stay out of political discussions and focus exclusively on the science. The latter discussion is extremely valuable, but it is often lost in the noise over political discussions on this site (both authors and commenters). That the left mixes politics, ideology and science is both true and disgusting does not make the mixing of right wing politics and science any more palatable or useful in life.

  24. Like almost all social psychology studies, this one is so silly as to defy comprehension. There is no attempt whatever to discover whether or not their method produces reliable, real results. They simply assume that refusing an offer to possibly win $3 extra means something …. $3 doesn’t buy a cup of Starbucks!
    Again, it is a survey of people on the Internet….people with time to waste…people smoked out of their minds, small groups of uni students pretending to be one person, etc etc etc. I will admit to taking survey’s (not intended as scientific studies) with my wife, pooling our answers.
    These studies can only start to possibly be valid if they involve live persons interviewing live persons whom they can actually see, and verify. Internet and telephone surveys are almost entirely invalid for this type of research.
    Nonsense results from one invalid study are used as the assumptions of the next study — and this has been going on for years….utter nonsense is the result.
    Social Psychology has more than just a replication crisis — it has a foundational crisis.

    • I agree. What evidence do they have of what they call “construct validity”–that their method measures what they intend it to, or what they advertise it does? I have read many papers by AGW enthusiasts for nothing at all. I do this because I am interested in some of their arguments, or at least interested in new arguments, but I do it when I feel I can spare the time, and there are some topics and authors which I know in advance to be a complete waste of time. In such an instance I would take the lower remuneration in order to read something with greater potential of intellectual reward. I cannot imagine what it would take to get me to read Aristotle ever again, for instance.

  25. You used the “d” word (which if it’s part of your website and your email links to said website, everything you comment on goes to moderation…..). There seems to be a fairly long list, involving the “c” word (which the moon falls under), the “d” word and so forth. Kind of tough to keep track. Just end up in moderation if you need to use the words.

  26. Ohferchrissakes, if someone’s paying me I’ll read almost anything.
    Maybe not a compendium of gangsta rap lyrics…

    • Except in this study they are not “paying” anything. They are offering a chance to enter lotteries paying either $7 or $10.

      • I see and get offers to enter lotteries with a chance to win $1,000,000 all the time. All I have to do is subscribe to a magazine. I regularly trash those scam offers. My impression on getting such an offer in the mail is that it would be another scam.

  27. Mosher, above, asks the question

    Who but a moron would choose A?

    If I were familiar with the authors of the two competing passages to read, I might, based on what I know in advance, or on the basis of titles, or on just pure cussedness, to choose ‘A’ because my utility calculation was not what Mosher assumes it is. The problem here is that unless the authors can demonstrate that their method accounts for confounding influences, then they may be measuring not just ideological rigidity, but all sorts of other things. What moron cannot understand this?

    • I have downloaded the PDF and from reading the introductory material I see that the authors never discuss anything like a calculation of utility. Instead they are focussed on all sorts of ideological explanations.

  28. Okay, but what if you just want to fact check both sides in an environment of settled science and spin tactics of the Obama industrial spin complex and IPCC paragraph spin? How about some research on fact finding and the valuation of facts by different groups even when the facts start to move against held positions, especially in a less than crystal clear quasi-science field of models and scare monger tactics? There must be some research potential here where the fuzzy, slow moving accumulation of facts and good research is proportional in some way to the duration and depth of distorted debate? Case in point, think how fast stem cells research moved over, around, and past the temporary flash point of embryonic stem cell research.

  29. This is really false equivalency. The entire consensus machine is driven by an academic left with 10 to 1 numerical superiority of political predisposition and from that base the rest of green political and populist supporters that can be neatly called the global elite.
    There is no corresponding conservative academic or social coordination to equivicate in scale. There is a large base of elite climate dissent but it lack political orthodoxy that AGW advocacy shares as a general rule.

  30. It all comes down to the avoidance of cognitive dissonance. It is a truly rare individual who is willing to even consider questioning long-held beliefs on any subject, let alone accept information that leads to the discarding of a long-held belief in favor of an opposed one – an ‘epiphany’. Such people, once convinced of the validity of the new belief, are almost immune to reversion to the original, now discarded belief.

    • If traditional hard science rules were applied at all times the basic AGW claim would be laughed out of public discourse as it was in the early days of the carbon targeting build up. 1960’s heading into Earthday mobilizing.
      Since then science was changed to fit the agenda and society changed to accept the new science social standard. “May” and “possibly” became “likely” and “consensus” substituted for “proof”. A fantastic decline of science reasoning and climate politics are only one application. Forget X and Y chromosomes, you can pick your gender with the new science standard.
      Most technically informed people realize it’s political and the science was an advocacy tool and distortion. That they choose to conceal the realization reflects tactics of advocacy or fear of being dismissed for being overtly political themselves. AGW advocates can never own up to the agenda science they are mouthing or supporting and risk losing the science authority (paycheck as well) that has taken generations of academic political inbreeding to achieve. Skeptics are so completely outnumbered in the incentive based AGW culture that is funded they are often trapped as dissenting political minorities rather than academics themselves.
      Does cognitive dissonance explain this history of interacting? I don’t think so at all. It’s about a growing statist elite rooted from WW2 academic central planning and concentration of authority found in particular institutions such as media, academics, government management in alliance with the welfare state or crony capital interests it relates to. If it’s all politically coordinated by similar groups the most basic belief systems become “facts”. Science becomes political consensus in our example regarding climate war culture.
      You’re looking at 50+ year decline in human reasoning that has only accelerated along the way. Earthday 1970 was a totally different statement regarding self seriousness and arrogance found at ED 2017. Now you have populations who can’t distinguish their political aspirations from a quantitative science claim. That’s a pretty profound change well beyond cognitive dissonance.

  31. There are few things in life more frustrating than listening to a position you support argued badly.
    I don’t care all that much what the conclusion is. If it’s well argued, I’d like to hear it. If it’s poorly argued, I have better things to do with my time. That may not be the majority opinion, but they say they ruled that position out. If I find time and opportunity simultaneously, I will try to see how they did that.

  32. Earlier today I posted a ‘Greenland ice melt’ article on Facebook and tagged a couple of AGW True Believer family members. (Green Party supporters) Their response to evidence of potential data-adjustment was po-faced fury. I kid you not. Neither wanted to engage in defending or debating the new evidence AT ALL. I think they were too afraid of having to admit there could be a problem with AGW theory, in any way. Textbook cognitive dissonance reaction and an indication of how ingrained climate views have become.

  33. I’m always amazed how these ‘think tanks’ always divide everyone else into ‘right and left’ – the ‘right’ apparently applying to everyone who is non-Progressive, providing the appropriate ‘us/them’ dynamic.
    Near as I can tell, ‘skeptics’ are from many different world view points – and certainly most self-defined ‘independents’ – whereas warmists are generally Progressive ideologues (with a few opportunistic snake-oil salesmen, trying to exploit fear in order to create a market for the Emperor’s Clothes) – and frankly, with all the presumptions that must be in place, and the kind of things you have to pretend not to know, you kind of HAVE to be.
    As far as this study goes, who here has the option of not being exposed to Progressive viewpoints?

  34. I don’t mind being exposed to opposing viewpoints, as long as it is in a venue where two way communication is possible. I don’t like being “preached at”, I like being spoken with. That’s why I can’t stand newspapers and network TV. I get so frustrated when the spout their propaganda, half-truths and sometimes non-truths and there is no legitimate avenue for voicing disagreement.
    I enjoy discussions with people that hold opposing viewpoints and am open to being proven wrong. Unlike the liberals I personally know, I’m willing to change my position if one can convince me that said position is based on flawed logic or incorrect data points.
    But being lied to, misled or proselytized at with no avenue for response does nothing but pi$$ me off. No thanks.

  35. The left has been trying to make the issue of climate change a non partisan affair as the deepening woes of overzealous “progressive” proponents begin to look like they are on the wrong side of the question. They were content to adjust data to fit the theory and to move goal posts until it began to seem that these rear guard actions may not tide them over until warming resumed with a vengeance.
    A bevy of warming scientists have already been taken out of action by the climate blues neurosis caused by the ‘Pause’ “in T rise and the act of cooking the climate record is prima facie evidence they are beginning to worry they have been wrong after all. Perhaps the biggest sign of trouble among the whitecoats of climate oblivion is that evermore it is sociologists, social psychologists, and other long politically corrupted and terminally broken ‘sciences’ that are taking up the torch. Anyone seen a publication by Trenberth or Schmidt lately?
    Now Trump has arrived on this desolate scene. Their only hope was to get big drops in CO2 and sea to shining sea windmill farms in place so they could claim the coming cooling or at best the fizzled out flattish trend was because they acted in time and saved the planet. To late now! It ain’t going to be pretty from here on in for them. Making thermageddon bi-partisan is a pathetic Plan B.

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