Study: Reliance on ‘gut feelings’ linked to belief in fake news, climate change

COLUMBUS, Ohio – People who tend to trust their intuition or to believe that the facts they hear are politically biased are more likely to stand behind inaccurate beliefs, a new study suggests.

And those who rely on concrete evidence to form their beliefs are less likely to have misperceptions about high-profile scientific and political issues, said Kelly Garrett, the lead researcher and a professor of communication at The Ohio State University.

“Scientific and political misperceptions are dangerously common in the U.S. today. The willingness of large minorities of Americans to embrace falsehoods and conspiracy theories poses a threat to society’s ability to make well-informed decisions about pressing matters,” Garrett said.

“A lot of attention is paid to our political motivations, and while political bias is a reality, we shouldn’t lose track of the fact that people have other kinds of biases too.”

Garrett and co-author Brian Weeks of the University of Michigan published the study in the journal PLOS ONE. They examined data from three nationally representative surveys that included anywhere from 500 to almost 1,000 participants. Their aim was to better understand how people form their beliefs and how that might contribute to their willingness to accept ideas with little or no evidence to support them.

They looked at how participants responded to 12 questions including “I trust my gut to tell me what’s true and what’s not,” “Evidence is more important than whether something feels true” and “Facts are dictated by those in power.”

They used responses to these questions to assess people’s faith in intuition, their need for evidence, and their belief that “truth” is political.

“These are characteristics that we expected would be important above and beyond the role of partisanship,” Garrett said. “We’re tapping into something about people’s understanding of the world, something about how they think about what they know, how they know it and what is true.”

The researchers compared how participants’ approach to deciding what is true was related to their beliefs about hot-button topics. The study included questions about the debunked link between vaccines and autism and the science-based connection between human activity and climate change.

Garrett and Weeks found that people who believe that truth is shaped by politics and power are more likely to embrace falsehoods. On the other hand, those who rely on evidence were less likely to believe those falsehoods.

The researchers also evaluated survey respondents’ tendency to agree with seven well-known conspiracy theories. More than 45 percent said they didn’t buy that John F. Kennedy was murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald alone; 33 percent agreed that the U.S. government was behind the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and 32 percent said Princess Diana’s death was orchestrated by the British royal family.

Previous research has shown connections between belief in conspiracy theories and education level, religious fundamentalism and party affiliation, Garrett said.

In this study, a belief that truth is political was the strongest predictor of whether someone would buy into conspiracy theories. Garrett also found that those who rely on intuition to assess the truth had a stronger tendency to endorse conspiracies.

“While trusting your gut may be beneficial in some situations, it turns out that putting faith in intuition over evidence leaves us susceptible to misinformation,” said Weeks, who worked on the research as an Ohio State graduate student.

Garrett said it’s important to acknowledge that our beliefs aren’t based solely upon political predispositions.

“Misperceptions don’t always arise because people are blinded by what their party or favorite news outlet is telling them,” he said.

The good news, as Garrett sees it? “Making an effort to base your beliefs on evidence is an easy way to help avoid being misled.”

It’s also possible to influence others in a positive direction, he said, by sharing evidence in a calm, respectful manner when faced with misperceptions. If a Facebook friend, for instance, posts an inaccurate item, a link to a trusted news source or document can be helpful, Garrett said.

“People sometimes say that it’s too hard to know what’s true anymore. That’s just not true. These results suggest that if you pay attention to evidence you’re less likely to hold beliefs that aren’t correct,” he said.

“This isn’t a panacea – there will always be people who believe conspiracies and unsubstantiated claims – but it can make a difference.”

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111 thoughts on “Study: Reliance on ‘gut feelings’ linked to belief in fake news, climate change

  1. “And those who rely on concrete evidence to form their beliefs are less likely to have misperceptions about high-profile scientific and political issues, said Kelly Garrett, the lead researcher and a professor of communication at The Ohio State University.”

    Eureka…?

      • Kind of like the PROOF that the climate data has been manipulated in such a fashion thAt the past data is now reported as being approx 1C cooler than it was originally recorded in 1880 and the current data has been warmed by 0.4C than it was actually recorded

    • EUREKA, …… and oh my gosh.

      Excerpted from commentary:

      In this study, a belief that truth is political was the strongest predictor of whether someone would buy into conspiracy theories. Garrett also found that those who rely on intuition to assess the truth had a stronger tendency to endorse conspiracies.

      Me thinks that iffen those two University Professors of Communications, …..Kelly Garrett and Brian Weeks, ….. are going to be doing any more research on …… “the communication of environmentally nurtured info/data from one person to another person” …….. then they should first educate themselves on exactly what is biologically meant by and/or being defined as …….. “belief” verses ”intuition”.

      Call it a “belief” or call it an ”intuition”, …… it makes no difference because they are virtually (biologically) the same thing.

      Information that is recorded in one’s brain neurons being per se “recalled” by one’s subconscious mind and presented to one’s conscious mind for consideration (choice making). And the person’s “conscious choice” is whether to “call it” his/her belief …… or his/her intuition.

      • Samuel,

        “Call it a “belief” or call it an ”intuition”, …… it makes no difference because they are virtually (biologically) the same thing.”

        Hmm, I’m not sure what you mean by biologically the same thing . . It seems to me that if a person (like me) has an “intuition” that something is wrong, for instance, they might start paying more attention to their environment, might try to recall recent incoming sensory inputs or thought processes to examine them more carefully, in an attempt to detect where the intuition that something is wrong is coming from. etc . . If they “believe” something is wrong, they might start running, or hiding, or calling out, etc . .

      • Belief means deliberately thinking something is true with no empirical evidence to prove it so. Intuition means automatic thinking based on past experience and knowledge. They are most definitely not the same thing.

      • Dinsdale,

        “Belief means deliberately thinking something is true with no empirical evidence to prove it so.”

        Do you really believe that? . . ; )

        That’s a con, I’m quite sure. Check a dictionary, though ; )

      • JohnKnight – September 19, 2017 at 2:11 pm

        Samuel,

        [quoting Sam C] “Call it a “belief” or call it an ”intuition”, …… it makes no difference because they are virtually (biologically) the same thing.”

        Hmm, I’m not sure what you mean by biologically the same thing .

        JohnK, …. “beliefs” or ”intuitions” are biologically the same thing …… meaning that they are both info/data that is stored in the DNA of brain neurons …….. and which is recalled (retrieved) by the subconscious mind in response to an environmentally generated “data trigger” (sight, sound, smell, etc.) that was detected by one of the “sense organs” and transmitted to the subconscious mind.

        And all of the aforesaid ”info/data that is stored in the DNA of brain neurons” consists of either ….. info/data that one inherited from their biological parents ……. or ……. environmentally generated info/data that one’s sense organs detected and uploaded to the subconscious mind for processing and/or storing.

        A “belief” or an ”intuition” is whatever one’s conscious mind perceives it to be ……. simply because one’s subconscious mind made that determination and informed the conscious mind of said.

        The fact is JohnK, …. your conscious mind is subservient to your subconscious mind and its basic function is limited to “choice making”, that is, if or when the subconscious mind presents two or more entities for it to choose from.

        It seems to me that if a person (like me) has an “intuition” that something is wrong, …….. etc., etc.

        Right you are, JohnK, …. your subconscious mind detected a environmental stimuli to be a “warning signal” …… which in turn “triggered” an inherited survival instinct …… thus informing the conscious mind to make a “choice” …….. to either “flee or fight”.

        And that was just a partial “overview” of what the brain-mind functioning entails.

      • Samuel,

        “JohnK, …. “beliefs” or ”intuitions” are biologically the same thing …… meaning that they are both info/data that is stored in the DNA of brain neurons …….. and which is recalled (retrieved) by the subconscious mind in response to an environmentally generated “data trigger” (sight, sound, smell, etc.) that was detected by one of the “sense organs” and transmitted to the subconscious mind.”

        All you’re saying to my mind, is that YOU are unaware of differences that exist between these (and other, apparently) forms of response to what is perceived (and concluding your awareness is essentially complete) . . That they are all related to memory/intelligence systems is a given, but that does not mean they can’t be different in significant ways.

        Consider sexual arousal, for instance, or hunger inducement through perceived stimuli, which conform to your basic model too, but involve particulars that generate a variety of potential responses with distinct biological components/characteristics . . So too, I tried to convey above, with things like potential danger, wherein believing one is in danger will often produce a different response set than having an intuition along those lines, in my experience.

        “Information that is recorded in one’s brain neurons being per se “recalled” by one’s subconscious mind and presented to one’s conscious mind for consideration (choice making). And the person’s “conscious choice” is whether to “call it” his/her belief …… or his/her intuition.”

        One always has the “choice” to call things whatever one wishes to call them, I have no beef with that claim, but if one watches carefully, one can see indications that the overall intelligence systems have concluded something is so (is believed), or not, by the way the living creature acts . . Further info/data may or may not be sought out/of interest, for instance, physiological reactions may or may not be triggered, a sense of “harmony” with regard to what one has called the “it” in question, may or may not exist . . perhaps one has claimed they believe something for social reasons, but “in truth” they merely suspect or are believing someone else is rightly convinced, and they believe that person is an authority, and so on.

      • PS ~ I don’t see the overall intelligence systems as it seems to me you do . .

        “I” who am speaking with you am one subsystem among many, with limited awareness of the other subsystems. I hesitate to speak of “the subconscious” as if a distinct entity/consciousness, rather than stuff “I” have limited awareness of, but which requires sophisticated intelligence processing.

        “I” can’t type, for instance, but “I” can will the hands to get positioned over the keyboard, and the creature can somehow type (after a fashion ; ) . . there’s a flurry of extremely delicate and intricate muscle-mind interactions that happens, and word appears on a screen . . but I don’t think in terms of “the subconscious” doing that. The subsystems can form virtual consciousnesses of immense complexity and sophistication, which can make it seem to us “I”s, as though another “mind” was really running the show, so to speak.

        Something far greater than “I” is, I believe, but it is the whole of the intelligence systems, not a sort of “other” in there . . . it seems to me.

      • JohnK, there are lots of things in your above two posts that I would like to address but that would require me writing dozens n’ dozens of pages …… so I chose the following to respond to.

        “I” can’t type, for instance, but “I” can will the hands to get positioned over the keyboard, and the creature can somehow type (after a fashion ; ) . . there’s a flurry of extremely delicate and intricate muscle-mind interactions that happens, and word appears on a screen . . but I don’t think in terms of “the subconscious” doing that.

        John, and just how many years of subconscious mind “nurturing”, after your mommy birthed you, did it require before your conscious mind was capable of “willing” your hands to be positioned over a keyboard, and via a flurry of extremely delicate and intricate muscle-mind interactions, correctly written words, phrases and paragraphs appeared on a PC screen or the paper in a typewriter?

        At one (1) year of age, three (3) years of age, seven (7) years of age, fifteen (15) years of age, ….. when?

        John, a newborn child does not have a “conscious mind” simply because its senses (touch, audio, visual, smell, taste) have not yet uploaded any environment info/data to the brain-mind of the child that it could be “conscious” of.

        John K, iffen you are truly interested in learning more about why …… “You are what your environment nurtured you to be” …… then I suggest you read this published commentary which I am the author of.

    • Ironically, the study’s authors are afflicted by the same maladies that they attribute to the subjects of their study. For instance, they wrote, “Large segments of the U.S. population have expressed the inaccurate belief that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction prior to the U.S.-led invasion.”

      It is remarkable that educated people could write such nonsense, that educated peer-reviewers could endorse it, and that educated editors could publish it, in light of the abundant proof of Iraq’s WMDs — even in the left-wing mainstream media, if you know where to look:

      The Feb. 15, 2015 New York Times reported that in 2005-2006 the CIA ran a secret program called “Operation Avarice,” which purchased hundreds of Saddam’s old chemical weapons on the black market, to keep them from falling into the hands of terrorists:

      On Oct. 14, 2014 the New York Times finally, belatedly, admitted “Iraq’s practice of mislabeling [chemical] ordnance to confuse foreign inspectors.”

      In mid-June, 2014, press reports said that ISIS had captured Saddam’s old Al Muthanna chemical weapons facility, including bunkers with stockpiles of ‘damaged and contaminated’ containers of mustard gas and three kinds of nerve gas: Sarin, Tabun, and VX.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10910868/Iraq-crisis-Obama-may-launch-air-strikes-without-Congress-amid-calls-for-Maliki-to-go-live.html

      In 2010 WikiLeaks revealed that the U.S. hunt for WMDs in Iraq found chemical weapons labs, chemical weapons specialists, and multiple small stockpiles of chemical weapons and related equipment.
      http://www.wired.com/2010/10/wikileaks-show-wmd-hunt-continued-in-iraq-with-surprising-results/

      The language used in the paper about climate change suggests that the authors are badly confused about that issue, as well. Only someone who has not payed even cursory attention to the debate over global warming could think that the argument is over “belief in climate change,” or whether “anthropogenic climate change is real.”

      The paper’s authors have definitely shown “willingness to embrace falsehoods about high-profile scientific and political issues.”

      Additionally, given the fact that disbelief in the evidence of Iraq’s WMDs is usually accompanied by belief in a conspiracy between U.S. and British leaders to perpetrate a hoax about it (“Bush & Blair lied”), it seems likely that the paper’s authors are also afflicted by a “propensity to engage in conspiracist ideation.”

      I wonder if they are familiar with the proverb quoted in Luke 4:23: “Physician, heal thyself.”

      • (And if I’d paid better attention to my proofreading I might not embarrass myself as often with fractured grammar, while criticizing others for not paying attention. Sigh.)

      • While Saddam Hussein’s WMD program was far less robust than indicated by pre-war intel, the Duelfer report clearly demonstrated that it existed and in serious violation of the UN Security Council resolutions which ended Desert Storm.

      • and the makers n labels ON those weapons were?
        hmm
        bit of a buyback mayhap?
        before shtf?
        I read online and then have in a book the lists of the bioagents usa sold TO the iraq regime
        not pretty reading, enough infectious materials to be able to breed up a massive and nasty stockpile.
        i never cease to be amused(cynically) at the platitudes from the UN while their very members ARE the ones making and supplying weapons globally.
        usa uk france and the dutch feature prominently.

      • Speaking of believing in myths, up pops are reliable propagandists.
        The chemicals that can be used to manufacture various chemical weapons are common and have many uses.
        This belief by the left that somehow, the US is behind every bad thing that has ever happened is amusing.

      • It does seem the paper’s authors have put their own beliefs or intuitions on display by making unfounded assumptions about climate science, about the evidence used to debunk very unlikely but still possible conspiracy theories (where the only “facts” one has access to upon which to draw conclusions are entirely controlled by those who might be involved in or covering up such a conspiracy) and about the belief that small minorities might believe fake news but, by implication, large majority beliefs must be true. I am not a believer in what most refer to as conspiracy theories because probability suggest they are just not very likely, however that is not the same thing as proving them wrong, and so judging another’s beliefs based on this type of opaque subject is not necessarily a valid way to assess an individuals psychological workings.
        It is similar reasoning that allows these authors to simply assume there is a global scientific consensus on climate change/global warming based on irrefutable facts (one of the best examples of “fake news” that I can think of), so that anyone who disagrees has some innate psychological bias in their reasoning. I suggest the authors take a long hard look in the mirror.

      • ozspeaksup September 19, 2017 at 5:12 am

        What “bioagents” do you imagine the USA sold to Iraq?

        The US ended its offensive biological warfare program in 1969 and ratified the 1972 BWC treaty in 1973.

        Nor did the US sell any chemical weapons to Iraq. They got theirs from the USSR and made their own, which they used against Iraqi Kurdish civilians and Iranian troops. Saddam sent most of his stockpiles to Syria before the Americans and allies overthrew his regime. They’ve since been used by Assad against his Sunni subjects and by terrorists against Jordan.

      • Obviously, I feel, if the WMD threat posed by the Iraq Gov. was grossly exaggerated, to justify attacking, then there will be all manner of blither blather available that was also generated to make that potential seem like nonsense . . I believe it was grossly exaggerated, myself.

        (Which would not mean “the US” perpetrated such a deception, also obviously, I feel, anymore than the “Russian collusion” story now being perpetrated was the handiwork of “the US” ; )

    • Thanks for the link.

      I have seen many times that a University publish a press release about a study without identifying and linking to the study. No wonder that the relianse on gut feeling is so widespread when even Universities are so bad at providing traceability. Shame on OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY.

    • That’s the whole point, they don’t want you to see the “evidence” , they want you read their rewriting of the study’s findings and believe it without question. That is what those in media studies do. They are not scientists. They are there to create the “truth”.

      This is why papers like the UK’s Guardian almost never give even the title or leading author ( let alone a proper reference ) when “reporting” the findings of the latest climate studies. They spin it fit their agenda and get a quote from Mickey Mann, their go-to climate expert. They know that making it an active effort to try and guess the source paper from various snippets in their articles ensures that virtually no one will make the effort and fact check their version of “the evidnece”.

    • That’s the whole point, they don’t want you to see the “evidence” , they want you read their rewriting of the study’s findings and believe it without question.

      And that is why the IPCC issues the Summary for Policymakers, and why that is drafted before the science assessment reviews are complete. The IPCC/UN does not want politicians or journos to see how unsettled and uncertain the science is.

      • Yes, the bottom line here seems to be that if you have enough intelligence to question official “facts” you are mentally impaired.

        Apparently if you do not accept the Warren Commission’s farcical cover up you are “susceptible” to engage in conspiracy theories. The fact that the Zapruder film was not released to 12 years until it was leaked and that there is a trove of information which was official sealed up, not to be release for 70 years does not tell them this was a bad litmus test to use.

    • Yes, the bottom line here seems to be that if you have enough intelligence to question official “facts” you are mentally impaired.

      Apparently if you do not accept the Warren Commission’s farcical cover up you are “susceptible” to engage in conspiracy theories. The fact that the Zapruder film was not released to 12 years until it was leaked and that there is a trove of information which was official sealed up, not to be release for 70 years does not tell them this was a bad litmus test to use.

      Apparently conspiracies never happen in real life so it is sufficient to say the words “conspiracy theory” to debunk anything.

      The study included questions about the debunked link between vaccines and autism and the science-based connection between human activity and climate change.

      As though the “science-based connection” connection is one binary object which is either swallowed whole or totally rejected by mentally deficient individuals.

      So the analysis and conclusions of this paper are based an assumption that Oswald killed JFK and that “the science” of climate is an indivisible unity which you either accept or reject.

      The is basically a rewrite of Lewandowsky’s ‘Moon landing’ paper.

    • No concrete evidence that rising SST and therefore changing tropical cyclone characteristics are anthropogenic. The assumed human cause of changes in hurricane activity (if any) is a ‘gut feeling’

      I would add to that list:

      There is no hard evidence that temperatures today in the Northern Hemisphere are any warmer than they were in the 1930s/1940 era.

      There is no hard evidence that temperatures taken in the past need to be cooled by up to around 1.5degF.

      There is no hard evidence that unvalidated models can make any meaningful projection as to future climate state.

      There is no hard evidence that in real world conditions that CO2 drives temperature change.

      All of these are gut feelings of a few activists.

  2. The problem is that the researchers seem to accept “the concensus” on climate change, and believe that disagreement is buying into a conspiracy theory. Et tu?
    Other cases, like anti-vaxxer models passed the editorial staff at The Lancet, so they were at least initially plausible.
    What I would consider the test is whether one continues to accept a conspiracy theory despite good contrary evidence. The Kennedy assassination conspiracy claims initially seemed possible, until the several books I read on the subject repeatedly made very easily disprovable claims. What I did conclude was that there was a coverup, but one to protect errors by the FBI, not a larger conspiracy. Whats that line–extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

    • What I would consider the test is whether one continues to accept a conspiracy theory despite good contrary evidence.

      I consider that to be the crux. Most of us never get to see the full evidence, so we are never in a position to make a really informed view/assessment. Indeed, the flames are sometimes fanned by Government, when Government decides to lock away evidence/reports for lengthy times.

      A lack of transparency is always unfortunate, and that raises its ugly head in Climate Science.

    • I think the language around “Climate change” is a HUGE impediment to the general public understanding the situation:

      Global Warming

      Human-caused Global warming

      Climate change

      Human-caused Climate change

      These decriptions are all used interchaneably, adding to the confusion about just what is being talked about, when they have different meanings in the real world.

      • Would someone please explain, that apart from natural, highly beneficial warming out of the coldest period in 10,000 years, and some temperature ups and downs due to ocean cycles…….

        … in what way has the climate changed in the last, say 100 years ??

        Seems to have been remarkably stable.

    • Wakefields results were that he found GUT bacteria altered in kids who were vaccinated with the MMR(later admitted to be a lousy vax btw) who also developed autism
      and suggested it had an impact on kids systems, and called for further research as he should have.
      so now as we keep researching the biome we find that gut bacteria CAN and DO affect mental health and is implicated in alzheimers and other disorders
      so why is what Wakefield found so wrong?…it was ahead of time and risked massive pharma profits.
      seen the new mega implanted vax doses now touted as the final solution pretty much?
      fine
      implanted slow release and if there IS a reaction how the hell can they remove it asap?
      not considered it seems.
      the vaccine court that had to be created after pharma got total immunity(ha ha) from prosecution for dud batches death etc…has paid billions out to those with resource n lawyers enough to manage to get there…that says harm IS done.

    • “The problem is that the researchers seem to accept “the concensus” on climate change, and believe that disagreement is buying into a conspiracy theory.”

      Buying into conspiracy theory as a pejorative is the problem. Conspiracy is a crime and when prosecutors or plaintiff’s allege conspiracy they are arguing conspiracy theories. It is a common practice and an element of justice:

      “A criminal conspiracy exists when two or more people agree to commit almost any unlawful act, then take some action toward its completion. The action taken need not itself be a crime, but it must indicate that those involved in the conspiracy knew of the plan and intended to break the law.”

      http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/conspiracy.html

      Now, consider The Climate Accountability Institutes 2012 workshop in conjunction with The Union of Concerned Scientists who, along with attorneys such as Matt Pawa and Richard Ayers conspired to maliciously prosecute Exxon/Mobile.

      http://www.climateaccountability.org/pdf/Climate%20Accountability%20Rpt%20Oct12.pdf

      First this report establishes that players of the workshop are not aware of any crime or wrong doing in terms of the doubt regarding climate change:

      “When I talk to my students I always say, tobacco causes lung cancer, esophageal cancer, mouth
      cancer. . . . My question is: What is the “cancer” of climate change that we need to focus on?

      —Naomi Oreskes pg 6

      “Tobacco started with a small box of documents. We used that to wedge open a large pattern of discovery. . . . It looks like where you are with climate is as good as it was with tobacco—probably even better. I think this is a very exciting possibility.”

      —Stanton Glantz pg 11

      To further establish they have no clue what they are doing or how to pin criminal activity or wrong doing on those who doubt:

      “Why should taxpayers pay for adaptation to climate change? That is a sound bite that I don’t hear used. Why should taxpayers bear the risk? Perhaps that question alone can help shift public perception.”

      —Myles Allen pg 15

      They openly admit they don’t have scientific backing for their legal strategy:

      Absolutely crucial is real progress on regional and local consequences of climate change. We have general notions that the Southwest will be drier. But once the science is able to say with confidence what will happen in the states of Colorado and Arizona, then the people who live there will want to pressure their
      representatives to fix their problem. Then political people will be much more responsive to the issue. That will
      be real progress in the next few years.

      —Lew Branscomb pg 16

      “Here is one possibility for a public narrative: “Coal, oil, and gas companies are engaging in a fraudulent attempt to stop the development of clean energy.”

      —Jim Hoggan pg 22

      “Every hazard is unique, with its own personality, so to speak. Does it pose a risk to future generations? Does it evoke feelings of dread? Those differences can make an impact on strategy.”

      —Paul Slovic pg 23

      “There was widespread agreement among workshop participants that multiple, complementary strategies will be needed moving forward.”

      pg 27

      “It is possible to see glimmers of an emerging consensus on a strategy that incorporates legal action with a narrative that creates public outrage.”

      The above quotes are those the author of the report chose to highlight and is not by far the only quotes and notes that incriminate the players of the workshop. What are they guilty of?

      Malicious Prosecution

      malicious prosecution n

      : the tort of initiating a criminal prosecution or civil suit against another party with malice and without probable cause

      http://dictionary.findlaw.com/definition/malicious-prosecution.html

      N.Y.’s Schneiderman is praised for his attempts to use RICO to investigate Exxon/Mobile, but RICO involves conspiracy.

      “The RICO statute expressly states that it is unlawful for any person to conspire to violate any of the subsections of 18 U.S.C.A. § 1962. The government need not prove that the defendant agreed with every other conspirator, knew all of the other conspirators, or had full knowledge of all the details of the conspiracy. Delano, 825 F. Supp. at 542. All that must be shown is: (1) that the defendant agreed to commit the substantive racketeering offense through agreeing to participate in two racketeering acts; (2) that he knew the general status of the conspiracy; and (3) that he knew the conspiracy extended beyond his individual role.”

      https://www.justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-109-rico-charges

      The attempts to smear skeptics by labeling them tin hat wearing conspiracy theorists is just more of the same hand waving the activists have relied upon for years. Meanwhile a conspiracy has been afoot and the Exxon Knew campaign is filled with the same players found in that 2012 workshop.

      • JPZ, I was not stating that there are no such things as conspiracies, just using the very sloppy term for egregiously false themes that somehow persist, like the Illuminati, Alien Abductions, or Senator Charles Schumer’s good faith.

      • Tom,

        It was not my intention to make you wrong. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to establish actual conspiracy. Thank you for that opportunity.

  3. Interesting how one may interpret this excerpt from the published work. While this abstract may seem reasonable, I suggest you read the linked paper in Dave Burton’s comment. Lest we allow unwarranted political bias to influence our understanding of the truth it is also useful to understand the authors concepts of truths/hoaxes:
    “Over the past fifteen years, widespread endorsement of falsehoods has become a defining feature of the political landscape [2]. Large segments of the U.S. population have expressed the inaccurate belief that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction prior to the U.S.-led invasion [3], that President Obama was not born in the U.S. [4], that climate change is a hoax perpetrated to advance a political agenda [5], and many others”. Introduction.
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0184733

    • i think a couple of weird guys dropped a copy of that along with Watchtower last week when i hosed them off the porch..

    • Don’t think it is reasonable at all. The authors chose things they felt were true – without examining evidence – like climate change and then determined if you think news sources they think are good so if you think the New York Times and Washinton Post are incredibly biased – you are just plain ignorant since you also are sceptical of climate change. It doesn’t make sense the correlation doesnt mean what they say.

      I could construct a similar politically biased survey to prove thst leftists are morons. It just isn’t science. I don’t know how this stuff gets funded.

      This is like similar studies you get out of Berkeley periodically that conservatives are stupid, or mal adjusted. It is just nonsense.

  4. “Facts are dictated by those in power.”

    Is that not the key belief of the po-mo left?

    I’ll wager that Garrett, thinks that CO2 cause hurricanes.

  5. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a cat! 97% of government science officials affiliated with universities and more degrees than the Sun puts out agree, so it must be true.

  6. I’d say it’s also linked to advocacy of CAGW, fake news etc.

    I believe it was Phil Jones who emailed:

    “you cannot trust anything that M&M write. MBH is as good a way of putting all the data together as others. …
    Bottom line – their is no way the MWP (whenever it was) was as warm globally as the last 20 years. There is also no way a whole decade in the LIA period was more than 1 deg C on a global basis cooler than the 1961-90 mean. This is all gut feeling, no science, but years of experience of dealing with global scales and varaibility.
    Must go to Florence now.”

    Should be inscribed on an archway at the entrance to every Climate Science department in every University in the world:

    Gut feeling only. Please leave science at door.

  7. Here is one example of the use of gut feeling withinin peer review:
    «I do many of my reviews on travel. I have a feel for whether something is wrong – call it intuition. If analyses don’t seem right, look right or feel right, I say so. Some of my reviews for CC [the Journal ´Climatic Change´] could be called into question!» UEA’s renowned Director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), Phil Jones
    http://di2.nu/foia/foia2011/mail/2486.txt
    (Climatic Change: is An Interdisciplinary, International Journal Devoted to the Description, Causes and Implications of Climatic Change)

    If analyses seem right, look right or feel right, He would say so too – I guess.

  8. Junk Science — “They looked at how participants responded to 12 questions” — twelve questions — the usual left leaning social science bias against conservatives/republicans and now adding in Trump supporters, is the leading light of this study.

  9. Intellectually superior experts are the masters of facts. They can back up their prognostications with more facts than any of us mere mortals can ever muster. Yet the prognostications of experts are wrong more often than they are right.

    It’s unsurprising that lots of people don’t bother trying to figure things out based on facts. It looks like, and often is, a waste of time. Facts are what lying liars use to befuddle our brains and deceive us. It’s easier to go with gut feelings and the results won’t be that much different anyway.

    The other thing is that most of what comes out of our mouths is the confabulation our brain invents to explain what we have already decided in our guts.

    ‘Facts’ are highly overrated.

    • Facts can in deed be misleading, if they are not placed in context.
      Claim: CO2 will warm the planet.
      Fact: For the last 30 years arctic ice has been decreasing.

      From those two items, it’s easy to conclude that the fact proves the claim. A bit more knowledge about cycles in nature and such makes it obvious that the two items, all by themselves, mean nothing.

  10. Dave Burton, thanks for posting the link to the actual paper.
    Being a visual kind of guy, I look at the figures and read the captions to absorb the gist.
    Figure 2 has this gem of gibberish in the caption:
    “Disturbances on endogenous factors are also omitted from the figure. Path coefficients for all three epistemic beliefs measures indicate that these factors have an influence on conspiracist ideation that is comparable to or larger than other established predictors.”
    Huh? I’m a pretty smart guy – got a PhD in Climate Science ™ – but that caption makes no sense to me, and neither does anything else I glanced at in the paper.
    My guess is that the paper was generated by one of those random academic treatise generators, such as “Sci Gen”: https://pdos.csail.mit.edu/archive/scigen/
    and the “Postmodernism Generator”: http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo (which uses the “Dada Engine” – gotta love it!)
    and sometimes mentioned on the better climate blogs:
    http://joannenova.com.au/2014/02/busted-120-gibberish-science-papers-withdrawn-so-much-for-peer-review/
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/13/diy-climate-psychology-lewpaper-generator/
    The only thing in the paper that did make non-random sense, but in a negative way, was the claim, noted by “rocketscientist” earlier in this thread, that the following were “falsehoods”:
    “… the inaccurate belief that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction prior to the U.S.-led invasion [3], that President Obama was not born in the U.S. [4], that climate change is a hoax perpetrated to advance a political agenda [5] …”
    That would be intentional gibberish, and the paper is not completely random.

    • “Huh? I’m a pretty smart guy – got a PhD in Climate Science ™ – but that caption makes no sense to me, ”

      That is because it is gibberish (as you pointed out).

  11. Not sure you’ve seen this yet. I’m guessing it’s fairly important:

    The world has warmed more slowly than had been predicted by computer models, which were “on the hot side” and overstated the impact of emissions on average temperature, research has found.

    New forecasts suggest that the world has a better chance than claimed of meeting the goal set by the Paris Agreement on climate change of limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

    The study, published in the prestigious journal Nature Geoscience, makes clear that rapid reductions in emissions will still be required but suggests that the world has more time to make the necessary changes.

    https://www.thegwpf.com/we-we-wrong-climate-scientists-concede/

    • ‘The global average temperature has risen by about 0.9C since pre-industrial times but there was a slowdown in the rate of warming for 15 years before 2014.’

      It wasn’t a slowdown, more a plateau kept aloft by El Nino and it ain’t over yet.

      • “It wasn’t a slowdown, more a plateau kept aloft by El Nino and it ain’t over yet.”

        Yes, just look at all the heat those hurricanes are pumping up into space.

    • I submitted something similar earlier and it disappeared into the ether so apologies if that appears to duplicate this post.

      I think this is a very important announcement. It opens Pandora’s Box for many other challenges to AGW claims. The adjustment down of part of the historical temperature record, the affect of the massive reduction in contributing weather stations and the impact if UHI. I heard prof Myles Allen on BBC Today programme this morning and he was essentially saying that they will keep the models as they are but it gives us a bit more time to save the planet, that they were only written 10 years ago (then what did Hansen base his testimony on in the Congress in the late 80’s?). I’d like to see the models corrected to reasonably meet current observations and then run from 1850 to see how they do in the long run so we can see if they still run hot and give us some idea about 2100 predictions.

    • “New forecasts suggest that the world has a better chance than claimed of meeting the goal set by the Paris Agreement on climate change of limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.”

      Thank goodness, there is still hope!

      I don’t have to put a sarc tag on that, do I! No, the sarcasm should be obvious.

  12. “…. I try not to think with my gut. If I’m serious about understanding the world, thinking with anything besides my brain, as tempting as that might be, is likely to get me into trouble.”

    ― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

    • It’s pretty clear that he doesn’t understand how we think. What we observe as thinking is the verbal processing that happens in our left brains. Our BS filter is the right brain which evaluates our left brain thoughts against everything else that we’ve ever learned. That thinking is largely unobserved by us. Some folks call it the unconscious. It’s where gut feelings originate. link

      If the right brain is disabled, by accident or as part of an experiment, our thinking becomes unmoored from reality. We will believe anything that isn’t self-contradictory. In some ways our thinking mimics schizophrenia.

      If we can entirely suppress our gut feelings, we may literally end up not in our right minds.

  13. The problem is that increasingly its ALL conspiracy.
    I sat there shrieking at the TV.

    I AM AM ENGINEER WHO WORKED ON MISSILES. NO WAY HAS SADDAM GOT MISSILES WITH THAT RANGE OR FITTED WITH MASS DESTRUCTIVE WARHEADS.

    Dr. Kelly said the same, then he ‘died’.

    I am an engineer. I understand windmills and solar panels. I looked at the data and said, a little more quietly, that there was no way these things could replace fossil or nuclear power stations.

    I am an engineer. I know enough about computer modelling and statistics to follow most of the arguments here. There is no way that CAGW is a ‘fact’.

    Watergate happened.

    Were these all conspiracies that happen to be true?

    I absolutely don’t think the Royal family topped Diana. She was well capable of doing that herself.
    I absolutely dont believe anyone blew up the twin towers. I am an engineer and the explanations offered are sound.
    I absolutely believe we put men on the moon, and that Elvis is dead,

    Were these all conspiracies that happen to be false?

    I keep an open mind about Kennedy.

    Every day we have new conspiracies. Some turn out to be true., Yes we have seen for example massive manipulation of foreign exchange markets, insider trading, lies told for political gain (which is apparently morally acceptable), lies told to sell products…indeed we have whole industries dedicated to the art of persuading people what to think

    No ffolks. Its not about not believing in conspiracies. They WANT us to believe in conspiracy. It’s which conspiracies they can get us to believe in, that matters.

    After all, Climate Change is one of theirs. It’s the ‘official’ conspiracy, so you had better believe in it, or get ‘Kelly’ed’ as has happened to nearly all who didn’t.

    In general, a conspiracy of deception is in operation if people who are staunch deniers of its veracity lose their jobs and/or their lives.

    • Scientists make hypotheses and test them. There’s no penalty if they guess wrong. They aren’t in the business of absolute reliable truth. Engineers, on the other hand, have to be 100% reliable or bad things happen. In that light, why is it that scientists have such a glowing reputation for veracity and reliability?

      • Normally, people don’t suffer when a scientists theory turns out to be wrong.
        However we celebrate the scientist who’s theory results in products that make our world better. (Ignoring all the engineers who had to work to bring that theory to the market place.)

    • ” NO WAY HAS SADDAM GOT MISSILES WITH THAT RANGE”
      Tell that to all the people who died when those non-existent missiles fell on them.

  14. Much the same way as people can base their attitude towards some new person they meet on the impressions gained in the first few nano seconds, and usually take quite some time to change that first impression, my delegation to the skeptic side of the camp was in the very early days of this new mega hoax when I was shown a graphic showing that the apparent warming trend preceded the Industrial Revolution. After this ‘conversion’, most of the research that I did into the AGW question was to support my early convictions.
    My first attempt to rationalize the motivation by those selling this hoax, was to attribute the craze to an unholy alliance of France and Germany, both with significant not so cheap nuclear power, seeking to penalize those countries with cheap fossil fuel energy.

  15. I’m a believer in AGW, I just think it is wild speculation in regards to the sensitivity, feedbacks and how much of recent warming is attributed to it. The more I see weather events, that have happened before, being blamed on climate change and co2, the more suspicious I become. If they lie about things I can spot and verify, what are they doing on the other aspects?

    • If they lie about things I can spot and verify, what are they doing on the other aspects?

      I simply assume that by and large 97% of what isn’t basic common sense, is a lie.

      Especially if it comes from a place which is funded…so a LOT of science and especially medical research is funded…to produce specific results.
      My fleeting contacts with the powers that be, do nothing to disarrange this: My experience of Arthur Andersen for example was an open invitation to collude in illegal account rigging for personal financial gain. Their ethos was simply ‘dont get caught’. The sheer and total contempt the ‘plebs’ are held in by anyone who doesn’t count themselves amongst their number is staggering. And largest amongst those who profess to represent them.

      Sometimes the camera catches the coke fuelled contempt unmasked by its veneer of left wing hypocrisy.

      • If one looks at how that 97% consensus was built and how often it us thrown around as some kind of trump card to win any discussion, that should make people suspicious.

  16. Yet 100% of Lefties believe that businesses and markets are some big conspiracy. And nearly 100% of Lefties believe that wanting to reduce regulation is a big conspiracy to do evil ins various different ways.

    And a large proportion of Lefties and Greenies believe that GMOs are a big conspiracy. And that Deniers are part of a big conspiracy.

    And a large proportion of Remainers in the UK think that the vote to leave the UK was a big conspiracy.

    Quite a few climate change alarmists (like de Niro) believe vaccines are a big conspiracy.

    Why do these studies never ask about these conspiracies?

    • I’ve always been fascinated how those who preach tolerance and love, have absolutely no tolerance or love for anyone who disagrees with them.

      • I agree. Some of the worst atrocities in human history have been made by prioritising the environment over human rights for all. Malleus Maleficarum, Mein Kempf, Stalin’s Purges and Pol Pot’s Year Zero, just to name a few.

      • Add Rachel Carson to the list. Her mistaken (at least) research and the brutal policies that flowed from it caused the deaths of millions and millions of people, especially children, in the developing world.

  17. From the article: ““Scientific and political misperceptions are dangerously common in the U.S. today. The willingness of large minorities of Americans to embrace falsehoods and conspiracy theories poses a threat to society’s ability to make well-informed decisions about pressing matters,” Garrett said”

    “Scientific and political misperceptions” are pushed by an enormous propaganda machine called the Main Stream Media, who are themselves thoroughly caught up and live in a world of delusion, which they faithfully push out to all who will listen.

    It’s no wonder there are a lot of confused people out there. They are being fed garbage passed off as truth, by a worldwide propaganda machine run by the Elites of the world, who seek to control the people of Earth.

    The most important duty of the press: presenting the truth to the people, has been subverted by the political Left for their own political gain.

    Trump is in the process of changing all this.

  18. gut feelings = cynicism using the proverbial “sniff test” and the rejection of the imprimatur fallacy. Sounds more like the study is bemoaning the loss of credibility by “experts” after years of discovering that so called expert scientific pronouncements were wrong and just the opposite of what is now understood.

    Global Warming BS was the final nail in the coffin of believing experts.

  19. Not to worry. The never-do-evil guys at Google have our backs(ides) and will spoon-feed us nothing but the officially approved truth from now on. Ironically, they quit China in a huff a couple of years ago when asked the same favours by the Chinese government.

  20. “The willingness of… Americans to embrace falsehoods and conspiracy theories poses a threat to society’s ability to make well-informed decisions about pressing matters,” Garrett said.

    Certainly true regarding misguided beliefs about benign multiculturalism and illegal immigration. Probably not what the authors had in mind.

  21. You are mean.

    But, while I listen to my greenie friends, I totally have had enough GMO, Monsanto, Exxon and other conspiracy stuff they push. Electricity allergy is one of their best. Yeah sure, it is a fact… no prob. Wakefield was a simple fraad, but they’re antivax as well.

  22. I find it interesting that much of the discussion flows down to an either / or when it comes to dealing with objective and subjective information. It’s about arriving at what is correct (used to say right). Dismissing the combination given to us between analytic analysis and intuitive awareness is foolish and in the long term will be under productive. Dismissing intuition is like dismissing half your brain. If you do not have a well-developed intuitive sense, you’re not firing on all cylinders. And I don’t say that in a condescending way, rather in consider tuning yourself up to enjoy all your inherent talents.

  23. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    But fools despise wisdom and instruction” — King Solomon, Proverbs 1:7

    Truth is as near to us, of as far away from us, as we want it. But since truth has a moral basis, truth must be obeyed to be understood. Since we are needy and poor in morality, we also must come with humility.

    Refusing to humble ourselves and to obey the truth that we do know darkens our understanding of all truth, including truth that we do not know. Continued pride and disobedience makes us more and more foolish, until one day we will believe anything.

    In short, we progress from ignoring the truth to justifying our disobedience to it to soothe our consciences. Since that doesn’t work, we them mock and ridicule those who live by it. Since that doesn’t work either, we then try to force others to join our conduct, and we would rather wrench the universe to the crazy tilt of our own immoral axis than admit the truth. With time, we graduate to the next step, which is to suppress the truth, first by lies, then imprisonment and fines, murder, then mass murder via death camps.

    The apostles of the pagan and idolatrous CAGW movement are just getting to the fines and imprisonment part. Their violated consciences will eventually propel them to the next steps. If they have their way, the 100 milliions murdered in the previous century will look like a two-car accident compared to the death toll that they will leave behind them in this one.

    And they will have self-justifying studies, lots of them, just like this one, at every bloody step.

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