Skepticism ‘requires high cognitive ability, strong motivation to be rational’

Stephan Lewandowsky tried to make climate skeptics look stupid (by not even bothering to sample them, but impugning their beliefs as irrational from out of population samples), this study turns the tables on his execrable work and suggests that climate skeptics are both analytical and rational.


  • Analytic thinking is not sufficient to promote skepticism toward various unfounded beliefs.
  • Analytic thinking and valuing epistemic rationality interactively predict skepticism.
  • Cognitive ability, rather than analytic cognitive style, seems to account for these findings.


The moon landing and global warming are hoaxes. The U.S. government had advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. A UFO crashed in Roswell, New Mexico.

Is skepticism toward these kinds of unfounded beliefs just a matter of cognitive ability? Not according to new research by a University of Illinois at Chicago social psychologist.

In an article published online and in the February 2018 issue of the journal Personality and Individual Differences, Tomas Ståhl reports on two studies that examined why some people are inclined to believe in various conspiracies and paranormal phenomena.

“We show that reasonable skepticism about various conspiracy theories and paranormal phenomena does not only require a relatively high cognitive ability, but also strong motivation to be rational,” says Ståhl, UIC visiting assistant professor of psychology and lead author of the study.

“When the motivation to form your beliefs based on logic and evidence is not there, people with high cognitive ability are just as likely to believe in conspiracies and paranormal phenomena as people with lower cognitive ability.”

Previous work in this area has indicated that people with higher cognitive ability — or a more analytic thinking style — are less inclined to believe in conspiracies and the paranormal.

Ståhl and co-author Jan-Willem van Prooijen of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam conducted two online surveys with more than 300 respondents each to assess analytic thinking and other factors that might promote skepticism toward unfounded beliefs.

The first survey found that an analytic cognitive style was associated with weaker paranormal beliefs, conspiracy beliefs and conspiracy mentality. However, this was only the case among participants who strongly valued forming their beliefs based on logic and evidence.

Among participants who did not strongly value a reliance on logic and evidence, having an analytic cognitive style was not associated with weaker belief in the paranormal or in various conspiracy theories.

In the second survey, the researchers examined whether these effects were uniquely attributable to having an analytic cognitive style or whether they were explained by more general individual differences in cognitive ability. Results were more consistent with a general cognitive ability account.

The article notes that despite a century of better educational opportunities and increased intelligence scores in the U.S. population, unfounded beliefs remain pervasive in contemporary society.

“Our findings suggest that part of the reason may be that many people do not view it as sufficiently important to form their beliefs on rational grounds,” Ståhl said.

From linking vaccines with autism to climate change skepticism, these widespread conspiracy theories and other unfounded beliefs can lead to harmful behavior, according to Ståhl.

“Many of these beliefs can, unfortunately, have detrimental consequences for individuals’ health choices, as well as for society as a whole,” he said.


The study:

Epistemic rationality: Skepticism toward unfounded beliefs requires sufficient cognitive ability and motivation to be rational


Why does belief in the paranormal, conspiracy theories, and various other phenomena that are not backed up by evidence remain widespread in modern society? In the present research we adopt an individual difference approach, as we seek to identify psychological precursors of skepticism toward unfounded beliefs. We propose that part of the reason why unfounded beliefs are so widespread is because skepticism requires both sufficient analytic skills, and the motivation to form beliefs on rational grounds. In Study 1 we show that analytic thinking is associated with a lower inclination to believe various conspiracy theories, and paranormal phenomena, but only among individuals who strongly value epistemic rationality. We replicate this effect on paranormal belief, but not conspiracy beliefs, in Study 2. We also provide evidence suggesting that general cognitive ability, rather than analytic cognitive style, is the underlying facet of analytic thinking that is responsible for these effects.

376 thoughts on “Skepticism ‘requires high cognitive ability, strong motivation to be rational’

  1. Some of the most intelligent, cognitive, analytical people I know believe in God.

    Some even believe in ghosts, because they believe they have seen one.

    • *raises hand on both counts*

      I also note that I have a degree in geology; that I have read books out of virtually every century since ancient Greece and that I have been a skeptic of CAGW since the 1980s.

      • ClimateOtter

        A relative came to stay in our 200 year old cottage a number of years ago. He was a Lt. Commander in the Royal Navy. A more analytical, level headed and cognitive guy you couldn’t hope to meet.

        He swears to this day he saw a ghost in the house one night when he was drifting off to sleep. He said it was non threatening, in fact peaceful and reassuring. Judging by what he described, it was entirely consistent with the history of the building.

        No one else in the entire building (a row of cottages) has reported seeing anything to or knowledge.

      • “when he was drifting off to sleep”

        Anyone with reasonable skeptical thinking would discount anything they experience at that time. I’m sure that along with many people, I very often experience apparently real things during this phase of sleep. For example, just the other day I clearly heard the door bell ring, and wondered who could be calling at night – it took a few minutes to remember that the bell had been changed two years ago, and I’d heard the old bell!

      • Have to agree with Steve on this one. It may be that he was actually asleep but did not know that. I have had similar experiences, although the ‘beings’ I saw were not ghosts. At the time I would swear I was ‘awake’ but I know that I wasn’t.

      • hotscot – visions on the point of sleep are well attested…

        I have met people who claim to see ghosts on a regular basis… and are quite unconcerned about this. sometimes these are indistinguishable from ‘real’ people.

        My friend X told me she used to pass a little old lady on the other side of the street every day when ending her nursing shift mid afternoon. One afternoon she was on the other side of the road from usual – and the little old lady walked right through her…

        Don’t know what to make of this sort of observation, real to the observer…

      • I have all sorts of “experiences” just before waking up at night. They’re called dreams. One in particular last year I went back to where I was before waking up to pee because it was highly entertaining, others, not so much. A dream helped Friedrich Kekulé formulate the structure of benzene at a time when chemical bonding and structures were not well understood. It’s rather strange sometimes, lying there dreaming, but knowing that you could wake up get out of bed anytime you wanted to.

      • I am pretty sure that, if there are ghosts, there are not very many of them, or they can somehow reveal themselves selectively.
        Because I have very keen senses and pay close attention to things.
        And I grew up in a very old house in which a lot of people died over the years.
        It was owned between 1885 and about 1920 by two women who were doctors who made a practice of caring for children and veterans injured in various wars, particularly in France.

        On the topic of waking dreams…the scariest is when you are awake but cannot move or speak or wake up and a frightening thought come to mind. Simple explanation…when we are sleeping, and especially while dreaming, our skeletal muscles are disconnected, and for good reason: A person could get hurt trying to act out dreams.
        Funniest example of this mechanism working imperfectly…cats dreaming: You can see their eyes darting around under the lids, their paws twitching and their whiskers flexing and their noses sniffing…just a tiny bit.

      • Just the other night while I was nodding off to sleep I heard Al Gore on TV admitting that his whole climate change alarmism shtick has been a cover for personal enrichment, status, moral superiority positioning in service of gaining “social license” and increased powers for governments worldwide.

      • I’ll see your high-cognitive-ability privilege card and raise you with my low-cognitive-ability-victim-group privilege card. And you’ll find that this will be the only time the MSM will call “TRUMP” for me!!

      • “– visions on the point of sleep are well attested…”

        So that’s your excuse , hey griff.

        Stay of the booze and sedatives.. !

      • Steve Ta , DC Cowboy.

        So the PWO (Principle Warfare Officer) on board one of Her Majesty’s Ships, namely a destroyer, wakes up to the sound of a phantom missile passing through his bedroom and launches a full scale attack on a phantom enemy.

        Talk sense, the guy was well aware of the possibilities of hallucinations whilst falling asleep. It had never happened to him before or since. His description included the ‘ghost’ placing her hand on his head and pushing it gently down onto the pillow, as though with a child. What he, and we, were unaware of at the time was that the building was originally occupied by schoolteachers from the local primary school.

      • Simple explanation…when we are sleeping, and especially while dreaming, our skeletal muscles are disconnected, and for good reason: A person could get hurt trying to act out dreams.

        “Yup”, a person sure could get hurt ifffen an asleep person physically reacts to his/her dream “content” …… and many, many asleep people do get hurt and it is usually the spouse or bed-partner of said “dreamer” that is the recipient of said violent reaction, And of course, the “dreamer” him/her self oftentimes gets hurt iffen they “strike” the headboard or nightstand with their hand or fist …….. or when they “crash” to the floor after “rolling” out of bed. (Now talk about a “surprise” wakeup.)

        Cheers, Sam C

      • For those interested in a logical perspective of ….. “Dreaming and REM sleep” …. continue on reading this excerpted commentary ….

        Now “dreaming” occurs when one is sleeping and the Professionals refer to it as the REM phase of sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) because it is characterized by the darting of the eyes under the eyelids. Now one is only aware of their dreaming if their sleeping is disturbed during said REM phase. A noise, a smell, a pain or being touched can cause one to awake. It is the controlling subconscious mind that puts the conscious mind to sleep and it is the subconscious mind that wakes it back up whenever it receives a stimulus from one of the senses that the conscious mind needs to be made aware of. When this happens the conscious mind is also made aware of the content of the “dream” and thus one remembers it. But dreams are quickly forgotten unless one “talks or thinks about them” shortly after they wake up.

        Now there are 3 or 4 theories as to the cause of REM, and of course, I have my own. And it is my opinion that REM is caused by that same portion of the brain (subconscious mind) that directs eye movement and focus when one is awake. The conscious mind does not control eye movement and focus. It posts a “request” to the sub-conscious mind by “focusing” on the mental image and the subconscious signals the eye muscles to constrict or relax thus causing the eye to move in its socket and the lens to change the focal length so as to correctly view the actual visual image. But this conscious action that directs eye movement is relatively slow and which I will call SEM (Slow Eye Movement) because if one moves their eyes too quickly or moves their head too quickly their visual picture becomes a blur, is distorted and out of focus. And the reason this occurs is that the lenses of the eyes do not have time to refocus before they transmit another image and the fact that said two (2) visual images takes time to transmit through the optic nerves and are changing too quickly for the subconscious mind to combine the two and/or to compose a new single mental image for the conscious mind to view.

        And this same action occurs when one is “dreaming”, ….. when their sub-conscious mind is retrieving bits n’ pieces n’ parts of pre-recorded data from memory ….. and mixing, matching, manipulating, making up and composing “live action video” pictures of false visual data and “posts” it to one’s conscious mind’s memory area, …. the same at it does when receiving the two (2) channels of “live action video” from one’s Optic nerves via their eyes …….. and one’s eyes are being directed (REM) to move as if they were focusing on the “dream picture”.

        But dream sequences occur very quickly, like at “warp speed” or “fast forward”, meaning they are compressed into a very short time frame relative to one’s equivalent conscious actions. In that said images are recalled from memory no reformatting or composing is required. Said difference being comparable to “uploading” and displaying a photo via E-mail verses retrieving and displaying a photo stored on one’s PC’s hard drive. And if said dreams are occurring “rapidly” and the eyes are being given false “motion” commands to focus on the primary subject in one’s dream then that explains the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) when one is dreaming.

        And said false “live action video” dreams also includes “sounds” and ”feelings” to accompany said action. But now I do not ever remember experiencing or being told about “smells” being included in one’s dreams.

        Everyone dreams, but not everyone remembers dreaming. And those that do remember dreaming only remembers a portion of their dream(s) and usually only for a short time. And one can see “plain as day” and hear “clear as a bell” everything that is happening in their dreams. And one sometimes listens to people talking, and sometimes talk to others, in their dreams.

        So the question is, …… how is it possible for one to be “seeing” and “hearing” what is happening in their dreams …….. if one is sound asleep in a dark room with their eyes closed and there is no one around for them to be talking to or to be talking so that one can hear them?

        The obvious answer to all those questions is quite simple, ….. and that answer is: one’s conscious mind can only see, ….. hear, ….. smell, …. taste …. and/or feel ….. what one’s subconscious mind permits it to see, ….. hear, ….. smell, …. taste …. and/or feel.

        One’s conscious mind does not “see” what their eyes see (or hears what their ears hear, etc.). One’s eye(s) transmit “streaming video” via their optic nerves directly to their subconscious mind which it then combines the two (2) video streams via editing, adjusting, inverting, converting, associating, etc. …… and then permits their conscious mind to “see” (or hear, or smell, etc.) the results.

        And that is exactly what happens when one’s conscious mind experiences a “dream” ….. except that one’s subconscious mind is generating/composing/creating their “dream” from bits n’ pieces n’ parts of their stored memories. I mean like that dream that included that terrific looking person that one seen at the mall last week but with her/him walking around in their own living room or where ever. All dream are in effect “out of body experiences”.

        Dreams are the ONLY per se “window” that a person’s conscious mind has for “seeing” what their subconscious mind is doing …… and thus is literal proof of the existence of a subconscious mind.

        A person’s conscious mind is subservient to their subconscious mindc

    • I’m not a believer in God, but unfortunately I’ve never been able to rule out Gods existence. So I’m stuck as a theist.

      • A theist believes in God(s). “Theism is broadly defined as the belief in the existence of a deity or deities”. Thus, “atheism” is a rejection of “theism”. You’re closer to agnosticism, but not quite. An Agnostic would not say they don’t believe in God, they would say that the existence or non-existence of God(s) is not “knowable” by humans.

      • Klem November 14, 2017 at 3:26 am
        “I’m not a believer in God, but unfortunately I’ve never been able to rule out Gods existence. So I’m stuck as a theist.”
        No. You are a theist if and only if you believe in god. If you don’t believe in god you are an atheist. You might also be an agnostic, but that depends on how you define agnostic: different people seem to mean quite different things by it.

        [For this WordPress site, you must use angled brackets for html text. .mod]

      • Is not that where and when science as method steps into the parlor game and simply asks for a testable hypothesis? Because humanity seems afflicted with an ability to name and ruminate over the sundry definitions of names that may have no realities, should we not let belief in such names remain with those who hold them while remaining skeptical?

      • -Klem
        Why is it “unfortunate” that you have not been able to rule out God’s existence? Isn’t that just a simple fact? The statement implies that you want God to exist.
        The natural follow up question would be, why do you want God to exist. If there is no evidence for his existence, you have actually invented something non existent to want. Or society has invented it for you.
        This is how a rational mind deals with this “question”. I am an atheist.
        The real question is what do we form the foundations of our existence upon? Humans need spiritual fulfillment. Where do we get that in a rational form?

    • A belief in God is the most intelligent, cognitive, analytical thing there is, because of two things.
      1. Knowing or realizing what we don’t know, and how it vastly outweighs our knowledge/theory’s.
      2. Purpose. A reason to care. Why one doesn’t simply take.

      I’m not saying there is or isn’t a God, because both statements would be faith based beliefs. But until someone figures out the force that repels and attracts subatomic particles, and/or the point of it all, I would think the best course would be to choose a point. So long as that point doesn’t hinder investigation…

      • Belief in god is none of the above.

        Acknowledging that there are forces beyond man’s nature and probably beyond his understanding, is reasonable. Giving them a human face or a consciousness and purpose is not.

      • Leo Smith

        Agreed 100%.

        A Geography teacher of mine in the 70’s, when asked about his religious beliefs said “I believe in God but I think he’s put us on the planet and left us to it to see what’ll happen”.

        So even his God didn’t have any more insight into the future than an alarmist AGW fanatic.

      • Leo says…”Acknowledging that there are forces beyond man’s nature and probably beyond his understanding, is reasonable. Giving them a human face or a consciousness and purpose is not.”

        Seems unreasonable to claim to a rational minded person that the source of all forces beyond the understanding of man’s nature is devoid of consciousness. How do know that?

      • The idea that the Universe created itself, that it came from nothing and nowhere in particular, for no reason at all…are these sorts of ideas really more logical than other explanations?
        I really doubt it.

      • How does putting an extra layer of the unknown on top make it any clearer? I think that your god is not the top god. He is a very good and strong one, but I have a god that is actually just a level above your god and s/he actually controls and made your god. I can do that indefinitely and it does not explain a damn thing. Just like putting another turtle on the stack.

      • But your stacking of gods (your creations) contradicts the very (Christian) concept of God, i.e., an uncreated and unknowable intelligence. It’s simply an exercise in futility that does nothing to honestly address the possibility that there is something beyond ourselves that we have no ability to know (via reason, logic, etc), and we can only know if that intelligence gives us that ability and we choose to exercise that ability.

      • To those who doubt God exists and are open to changing their minds – my advice is: read the New Testament – a set of documents extremely well attested archaeologically and historically – the words of Jesus, even just the ethical instructions of Jesus are so revolutionary and elevated, and his reported actions so pure and consistent, that this set of writings alone has convinced many people of God’s existence. ‘Liberal’ scholars such as Spong and the ‘Jesus Seminar’ who cast doubt the historicity of the New Testament are so off the mark that they bear a comparison with Global Warmists, actually, for their irrationality.

      • I really appreciate this polite, reasoned debate of the existence of God. No name calling, insults, or other of the usual bad behavior. Thanks to all.

        Now to throw a bomb over the transom, is Atheism a religion? Agnosticism? I believe that the Supreme Court has ruled that Atheism is a religion because it espouses a specific answer about the existence of God. I believe the legal argument or rationale is that in order to be protected in the equal practice of religion, Atheism must be recognized as a religion. I am not sure about the Agnostic position. Does that mean that when my son’s teacher tells him that Evolution disproves the existence of God (not a very well crafted argument, but oh well) that teacher is proselytizing his religion?

        I would appreciate polite, reasoned responses if there are any to be offered.

      • Mind you I don’t mind teaching my son about evolution, but the personal opinion about the implications surrounding religion are what I am addressing.

      • Cold in Wisconsin,
        The teacher is making an unsupportable conclusion.
        Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

      • Evolution has no comment on the existence of god, genesis on the other hand it does refute. Belief in the existence or non existence of god is just that.

      • Evolution has no comment on the existence of god, genesis on the other hand it does refute. Belief in the existence or non existence of god is just that.

      • Several years ago a co-worker (and friend) relayed to me a story about his uncle, who lives up in Jacksonville.
        It seems this uncle is an avid fossil collector, and has what must be a very expensive collection of various old bones and fossilized remains of various creatures that lived many eons in the past.
        He knows all of their names, the era in which they lived, the strata from which they were obtained…an expert paleontologist from the sound of it.
        The interesting part is…he is also a young Earth Creationist, and belongs to a religious group that interprets scriptures in such a way as to leave no doubt in his mind that the story of Genesis is a literally true story.
        My friend asked him how he could reconcile his fossil collection with his religious beliefs of a young Earth?
        The uncle replied that the answer was that these objects have been put on Earth as a test of faith.
        So…if you believe in certain things in a certain way, other items of information will morph into a form that can be reconciled with this belief.
        At the time I did not know of the concept, but here we have cognitive dissonance, and a coping mechanism invented by the brain to avoid a psychologically injurious conflict.
        Most here have likely know of Scott Adams’ thoughts on this, and many might have seen the videos of well known people literally having hallucinations right in fronts of our eyes while on a popular TV program.
        This person’s brain would simply not allow him to hear what was being said, and substituted another statement for the one that was spoken.

      • Bob,
        I’m not so sure that Genesis negates evolution. It has long been held (perhaps mistakenly), per the wording in the Bible, that God created Man in His Own Image (to the image of God). This could be a mistaken interpretation where God creates Man in Mans own (separate) image to be Man and not Animal. It is then implied that Man is a perfect being (interpreted as being created in his current form of perfection). Now, for a creature to be “Perfect” that creature must be able to adapt (evolve) to meet the conditions of his ever changing environment. Perhaps man was created in one image, but being a Perfect Creature, has evolved into his current persona simply to meet the needs of the ever changing environment.

      • Might I suggest ” Conversations With God” by Neil Donald Walsh Volumes 1, 2 & 3. Captivating. Life changing.

      • Regarding evolution and the supposed conflict with the idea of creation of the universe by God. I believe most theologians and philosophers would distinguish between first causes and immediately antecedent causes, in other words, they would say God is the first cause of the universe both in temporal terms (first in time) and ontological, in that he sustains its existence and guides it, whereas other causes are later on in the chain. Precisely because God exists ‘outside’ of the chain of causes (except for miracles which are scientifically hard to prove because they are once off unrepeatable events) his existence cannot be ‘proven’ in the same way an object inside the chain of causality can. This doesn’t necessarily contradict evolution. A scholar called Michael S Heiser has done some great work on Genesis showing how the stories in Genesis are actually a kind of Jewish commentary turning upside down the assumptions of pagan myths about the purpose and meaning of the universe, while sharing the same mechanics, a world on four pillars with a dome above it. World views and ‘scientific facts’ change through history (precisely because science is a process of doubting former hypotheses) but the bigger question than what is the mechanics of this is, what is the purpose of all this? Interestingly many atheist philosophers were very reluctant to entertain the idea of the Big Bang in the early part of the twentieth century because it implied a beginning, which implied a Creator. To Cold in Wisconsin – why don’t you complain to the teacher or the school? The Supreme Court appears to be on your side – he is purveying his religion which is atheism, and he probably shouldn’t. At the Montessori school where I teach class music in Australia if I started teaching Christian beliefs I am certain some parents would complain. By the way, the weather is rather warm in Perth at the moment! Mostly pleasantly warm, although we’ve had some hot days. By the way, I really have enjoyed reading these comments too.

      • To Bryan A – re the image of God. What this Biblical term means has been a subject of theological debate through the centuries!
        In the New Testament the beginning of John’s gospel describes Jesus as God’s image in a uniquely perfect way, as God’s Word made flesh (Hebrew Word=Davar which encompasses the idea that God creates the universe by speaking ‘Let there be light’; 1st century Jewish philosopher Philo, in Greek philosophy e.g. Plato, Word=Logos, which means ‘word’ literally but also encompasses the idea of reason & rationality; the irrational in Greek were called ‘alogoi’ – without reason. The genius of John’s gospel is to combine the Greek and Hebrew philosophical ideas in one, in referring to Jesus. )
        In the New Testament the image of God , in other words, is tied up with the use of language and the therefore (as per the Greek word logos) rationality.
        I think the uniqueness of language is a true description of the uniqueness of humans among created things. While my dog can express a number of ideas through a kind of language of actions, e.g. pushing the food bowl around when I’ve forgotten to feed her, I doubt whether she could come up with a metaphor or express a thought about a future possibility even in symbolic acted-out terms.

      • Not sure why people obsess over the faith based issues, in particular the Evolution/Creation tempest. Can any person of faith explain to me how an omnipotent God could create light, mass, all forces and chemical constraints of the universe AND the universe in six days, but then strike out and not be able to create evolution? To me it’s simple, God created evolution as well. Why? Purely for entertainment value. Same reason that we love dinosaur movies.

      • Obviously there will always be the things that we understand well or well enough, and the things we do not which many would then ascribe to a deity.

        The problem with the deity solution is that it leaves more questions than answers. Any answers we get simply add to the things we understand. Unless we make a rule that no one can question the nature of the deity, hence closure.

        The trouble with this approach is that things that were ascribed to the deity under further investigation suddenly become subject to scientific analysis and you get problems of heresy and such.

      • Mat,
        That is a wrong assumption. Very many people lead quite normal, intelligent, cognitive, analytical lives with no thought of a deity beyond the normal inquisitive. QED. Purpose can exist with resort to deity. QED2. Physics of sub-atomic particles goes on without a need for a deity. QED3. Geoff.

      • Leo,

        I believe personalities obey unpredictable chaotic rules, as the weather does. Also God appears to be unpredictable and loving with apparent purposes, just like my most-loved human family and friends.
        Ergo, the universe also has a personality.

    • To deny the supernatural is to deny things that are simply outside of normal human experience, and I would call this garden-variety denial.

      The “science vs. religion” debate has been going on for centuries, and people who are stuck in one camp or the other are missing the point. You can’t “prove” the existence of God by using rational thought. It requires a bit of a leap.

      Some would say that the beauty and order of the natural world is proof enough of a supreme being, and I would agree with this. This cannot happen by chance. And is it rational to believe that anything humans cannot understand is not real? Uh,no. Think about it.

      • ” It requires a bit of a leap”

        I would describe it as an infusion of a superior intelligence that enables us to stand outside of ourselves, so to speak..

      • “You can’t “prove” the existence of God by using rational thought”
        Wrong. You can. You just need a proper definition of God, and since “god” is just a word nobody agrees about what it means, nothing prevent you to do that.
        So, let’s do this.
        I say: God is rational thought, and all that comes with it (logic, coherence, mathematics, physical facts…). This is an entirely valid definition of God, even though not every body would agree about it (but, eh, that’s a matter of religion, so let’s not discuss this).
        Obviously, using rational thought require the existence of rational thought in the first place. That is, God existence. So is God existence proven by using rational thought.

        bottom line: all discussions about God are just fuss about a word and its actual meaning, few people actually agreeing about it.

      • “Why not?”

        A better question is, how can ordered systems arise from disordered ones? Empirical evidence would be nice instead of just speculation and equivocation of the term order. Either something apart from the physical order created it, or the physical order created itself. Where is there indisputable evidence of the latter? Note, class creation and instantiation of class are to be distinguished; the latter is not the type of creation in discussion.

      • Darwin made a mistake proclaiming that evolution was proof that God doesn’t exist. That was entirely unscientific opinion. As best, it does prove that Genesis is allegorical. But, science still can’t explain how you make a universe (or anything) from nothing (There had to be a first, somewhere, even if The Big Bang is correct.) and how life can be created from non-life. It’s perfectly reasonable to be skeptical of (any version of) God’s existence, but science doesn’t have anything to say on the matter. There is no testable hypothesis. We’re all stuck with the choice to believe, or not, without any real evidence either way. That will, likely, always be the case.

      • Steele,
        I agree with those statements very closely.
        I would add to the origin of the Universe and the origin of life, another origin…that of consciousness.
        I believe there is no explanation for our ability to be sitting here thinking about this stuff…or anything else.

      • Steele,
        You said, “There had to be a first, somewhere…” Where does a circle begin? Where is the “edge of space?” “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” If space is defined by gravity warping the space-time continuum, and all mass now resides in the shell of the sphere of expansion from the Big Bang, does the point of origin of the universe exist outside the universe? Some questions simply don’t make sense and others are unanswerable, especially when you try to use analogies based on Newtonian Physics and personal experiences from our short existence on this ‘mortal coil.’.

      • To deny the existence of a creator is to believe in an astounding number of awesome, perfectly ordered coincidences. To believe in a creator is to believe in one awesome coincidence. I submit Sir William of Ockham’s razor into evidence.

      • Random chance was not a sufficient explanation of the Universe — in fact, random chance was not sufficient to explain random chance; the pot could not hold itself.

        Robert A. Heinlein as “Jubal Harshaw” in “Stranger in a Strange Land”

    • I choose to deploy Steve Gould’s non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) principle whenever this kind of topic comes up. It asserts as a fundamental axiom that science has nothing whatsoever to say about religion and vice versa. There is nothing but confusion and pointless argument to be gained from attempting any kind of overlap since they do not have any relationship to each other at all. It saves a lot of heartache. Under NOMA scientists and lay folk alike are quite at liberty to believe in whatever supernatural stuff they choose without compromising their work or appreciation of things like science lying in an entirely different magisterium with no communication of any kind even in principle possible between the two.

      So it’s goodbye to Christian science. Adios young earth creationism. Hasta la vista intelligent design.

      • Stephen Gould’s concept of non-overlapping magisteria sounds good but is actually complete nonsense. As I see it there is no point in believing in a religon that has nothing to do with the world around us. For example almost every religon believes in free will while scientically it is impossible. So here is a clear example of overlapping claims about the world. Miracles are another case in point – most religons have them and again I do not see the point of any religon that states that God does not intervene in the world around us.

        • Way to completely miss Gould’s point. Most religions DO state that some supernatural deity intervenes in the World around us but Gould is making the point that it is a hypothesis which is untestable by the scientific method and therefore does not even exist with the magisterium of science. Same with your free will example. If people are asserting that free will is bestowed upon us by a supernatural being then that is untestable in science. Science may elect to investigate free will through scientific means but that has nothing whatsoever to do with the claim that it has a supernatural origin. Do you understand? You cannot say anything about the supernatural with natural science. Nor can religion say anything about science because whatever it tries to assert is by definition an untestable hypothesis.

          Btw, the mother of all untestable hypotheses is ‘climate change’ but that never seems to filter through to the faithful’s heads and that is why it is a religion.

      • If there was a force or being or guiding principle that created the Universe, or created life, or brought us to consciousness, or all three, why is that then stipulated by some to be “supernatural”?
        If we discover some day that we have within us a lifeforce than can remain after our body dies via some quantum mechanical mechanism or however, then ghosts will no longer be supernatural.
        The world we accept as technological and rational would seem like a world of magic and sorcerers and perhaps deviltry to someone from thousands of years ago.
        Not knowing about or understanding something does not make it unlikely or magic.
        It simply means we are not omniscient and our sense and sensibilities can lead our thoughts astray.
        We know full well there are things we cannot wrap our minds around but that we nevertheless know exist.
        Does anyone know how and why matter can become energy and vice versa?
        How the hell something can have no exact position and momentum, and is not even really fully formed until we look for it?
        I know that there are people that think we are a few months or years from creating life from inanimate matter, but to that I say there are people who are sure we are a few years away from a small portable fusion reactor too, and other who think we will have the problem licked of storing electricity in sufficient quantity to replace fossil fuels any day now.
        In fact none of these things are possible today, and they may never be.
        Is that faith any more or less illogical than believing it to be unlikely that the universe invented itself?

      • cephus0 you choose to be wrong. “Darwin’s Doubt” genius Steven Meyer takes mental midgets like yourself to the cleaners—-SCIENTIFICALLY.

      • Guys, let me put it another way – I don’t care. I don’t come here to argue metaphysics and theology. What I do come here for is to learn more about the climate and to lend my support to those who seek to defeat the virulent and monstrously funded anti-scientific cult of CAGW – which if left unchecked will destroy Western civilisation.

        I do not want for there to be any deflection of that purpose into discussing people’s individual personal belief sets. That is why I raised NOMA because it provides a rational avenue for people of all faiths and beliefs to work together on Anthony’s vital project. If NOMA doesn’t work for you then that’s fine too but I’m still not interested in discussing your personal religious beliefs – whether you believe they are scientifically justified or not

        This is a science blog. It is periodically deflected into politics and religion because CAGW itself – and particularly the sublimely absurd and forever unfalsifiable “climate change” morph – is both a politically motivated movement and a belief set too, having no foundation in science. So then I will discuss politics and religion as far as those general areas apply to CAGW but not otherwise.

        Btw – CB – you ham it up like Emperor Ming you FOOL Mwahaha!!

      • Cephus0 writes ” There is nothing but confusion and pointless argument to be gained from attempting any kind of overlap since they do not have any relationship to each other at all.”

        Exactly. We already see such confusion on this blog, as evidence for Gould’s assertion. Geoff.

    • Considering how many odd occurrences have happened in my life, with no reasonable explanation other than “coincidence”, I have to toss “coincidence” into the waste basket because I don’t believe in coincidence.
      Is it a coincidence that I ran across someone online who was impersonating someone else because the “someone else” had sued him for IP theft, and when “someone else’s” retirement photo was finally found, he turned out to be someone I dated in the Navy nearly 50 years earlier? And the impersonator, who has turned out to be a Very Bad Person, is in jail for doing some reprehensible things.

      I don’t think there is ANY coincidence there. I don’t believe in coincidence, period.

      Belief in a higher power is something inherent in humans. Needing to explain away natural phenomena is destructive of the imagination.

      The search for the God particle (Higgs boson) finally got results and yet, it just was NOT enough for those guys. They just KNOW there is something more.

      • Sara: I would call it coincidence. I see no reason to try and figure out the complex interaction of variables that led to the outcome. Does “coincidence” mean “without a cause” or “without a known cause”? I use the latter. It’s like “random”—is that “without a cause” or “without a known cause”? How one defines these things pretty much defines whether people believe in them or not. It seems to be more in the definition than the belief whether one subscribes to the idea or not.

      • Sara, is it coincidence or a Cosmic joke that the letters in what Lysenko spawned can be rearranged to spell Stephan Lewandowsky?

    • Given the scale of the universe, the complexity of even the smallest life form, and the way in which homeostatic mechanisms sustain human life, I think it asks a lot not to believe in God.

      I haven’t seen too many ghosts, but enough has happened to me during my long life to make me know I am a spiritual being and have an existence outside my physical body. This is just on the basis of what has happened to me, what I have been lucky enough to have experienced.

      I have been interested in climate science for well over a decade now. Initially like most I accepted what I was told. But after a little study and significant reading on the subject I have now long been an out-and-out sceptic. You read the literature and make up your mind on the basis of what makes sense. No emotion, just logic.

      • Aidan Condie

        If God exists, why would he make earth the only planet within millions of light years capable of supporting life?

        And if he so almighty and deserving of worship, wouldn’t it be logical to have more planets doing so?

        There might be something in the uniqueness of the human spirit, which makes me more inclined to believe in ghosts than God.

        Why would he allow different religions, some not even worshipping him?

      • HotScot on November 14, 2017 at 11:21 am

        Because He prefers creatures with free will?

        As for all those planets, maybe they are there so humans will want to learn about things larger than ourselves?

      • Millions of light years?
        That is not even remotely true.
        There are likely dozens of earth like planets within a few dozen light years.
        We have no ability to detect Earth like planets yet.
        And we can so far only detect planets that orbit their star within a certain orientation with respect to Earth.
        The entire Milky Way containing billions and billions of stars is only 100,000 ly across, and our entire Local Group cluster of about 58 galaxies spans a space of 10 million light years, with us in the middle.
        Unfortunately, even one light year is a very long distance in the harsh vacuum of space.
        Hell, it would be a long way if we could walk there in shirts and hiking shoes.

      • And it may be the Big Guy did us a huge favor by putting us a nice long way from the Gzabdain Brain Sucking Hellworms from planet Zlorch 9.

      • menicholas

        So is planet earth and it’s occupants the first, second, third……..or last planet to bear ‘intelligent’ life in the universe?

        If the first, perhaps it’s human destiny to colonise life supporting planets. But that would make no sense when God can do that within 6 days. And if he has made other life forms, wouldn’t they be in the likeness of himself rather than Gzabdain Brain Sucking Hellworms from planet Zlorch 9?

        If we are the second or third planet to support intelligent life, what would be the point of dispersing them so widely across the galaxy? (although the term ‘disperse them so widely’ is relative to many other things).

        If we are the last of a long line of now lifeless planets formerly supporting intelligent life, why is there no meaningful evidence of life from those other planets on earth (although many claim there is). Were all his other creations failures in seeking out other life forms? That doesn’t fill me with a great deal of hope because he’s supposed to be all knowing and all seeing, and if so, shouldn’t have made mistakes, or has he only become all knowing and all seeing because of mistakes he’s learned from? In which case, how do we know he’s learned everything?

        And what’s with the Devil? If God created everything in the universe, why would he create the devil, for a bit of company? And if he wanted company, why wouldn’t he just create deities, unless of course he considers human beings deities in their own right when our spirits join him in heaven, in which case, why bother with the intermediary stage of creating life and death on earth when he could create us in his own image, with his level of intelligence?

        Unless of course he’s a manipulative dictator just playing games, which might explain a lot about our own existence.

      • Just to be clear, I am not and never have put forth the notion of God, as described in anyone’s bible or Koran.
        Those are stories.
        I am talking about the actual Universe, and the origin of life, and how it is we are conscious.
        I have nothing to say one way or the other about anyone else’s view of the Bible.
        I do not imagine there is some old guy sitting on a cloud looking down on us and deciding who wins the lottery, deciding to put people over here and whatever life may exist elsewhere in some other particular place and time.
        And I certainly am not of a mind that the concepts I am talking about can be spoken f in light of some dusty old book, that is not even an original telling, but a retelling of older stories.
        I am not talking about the Bible…I am talking about the Universe.
        But I do know one thing…this is our planet, and our solar system.
        It is too far from any other stars to seriously consider going somewhere else.
        It is not even clear to me that we are not watching our technological civilization crumbling around us.
        Anyone who thinks humanity has any chance at all of packing up and finding some new planets and then moving to them is dreaming.
        I would bet a lot of money that in the next 50 years we will not even succeed in getting anyone to Mars and back alive.
        If anyone goes there, they are not coming back.

      • “So is planet earth and it’s occupants the first, second, third……..or last planet to bear ‘intelligent’ life in the universe?”
        I have never and will never waste my time inventing questions like this, or attempting to answer them.

      • Wait, where did I say that?
        In any case, I find evidence that at least some of us are intelligent, starting with me.

    • A friend has seen ghosts on rare occasions throughout his life. The most recent happened just a week ago around 9pm. He was in a car park behind an old club. As he was about to reverse his car sensors beeped. He looked about and saw a really pale gent walk past his car, through a wall, which is beside a river and then disappear. He then told someone of the apparition, and was asked to describe the ghost’s clothing. The ghost was wearing brown shirt and apron. Turns out that someone else that uses the building had described seeing a ghost described the same clothes. Apparently the building had initially been the fruit market in the village and there had been a bridge over the river at that point.

    • HotScot writes: “If God exists, why would he make earth the only planet within millions of light years capable of supporting life?”

      I have no idea, but I suspect to clean up the ecliptic and sweep up the asteroids and other things, stuff like that.

      But I take a more Christian view that creation is pretty much just “let there be light” and there was light. After that y’all are more or less on your own; see you on the other side.

      “And if he so almighty and deserving of worship, wouldn’t it be logical to have more planets doing so?”

      Logic is a process. Perhaps you meant “reasonable”. But yes, if he desired to have billions of worshippers he would have billions of worshippers and probably does over on Alpha Centauri.

      “There might be something in the uniqueness of the human spirit, which makes me more inclined to believe in ghosts than God.”

      It is difficult to believe in one but not the other; the supreme ghost being God and God being the supreme ghost, or at least a holy ghost, more or less, but that’s obviously a matter of definition.

      “Why would he allow different religions, some not even worshipping him?”

      Perhaps the effort of preventing it isn’t worth the trouble.

      But I suspect it is a feature; the very essence of his purpose. Free will cannot exist without choice. Why is there free will? I speak of the kind that can exist, not the kind that cannot exist. Can I go to Walmart and choose between chocolate and vanilla ice cream? Indeed I can; but if there was only vanilla, then I have no choice. That my choice will be influenced by many things is hardly in doubt.

      • Michael 2

        So why free will? God put’s us on the planet, sends us his son to tell us he’s there, which many religions don’t acknowledge nor even know of.

        His son is murdered and chaos ensues, religious wars break out, children abused by priests, priests resplendent in finery, churched bedecked in gold, entirely contradicting Gods word. Christianity spread throughout the world and perceived by many to be the most brutal, dictatorial, oppressive regime most have encountered with beatings and torture commonplace. And where’s the free choice over abortion? A woman’s body is frequently no longer her own, even having been raped or in the full knowledge her child has a disorder it will never recover from.

        The arguments are long and numerous, they will never be resolved because too many people on the planet are like climate change alarmists. They believe everything the read, they never question it, they blindly follow instructions they interpret from the Bible, just as ISIS do, from the Quoran, yet we condemn ISIS for doing almost exactly what the Christian faith has been doing for thousands of years.

        That’s free will? That’s what God intended for us? And is there a resolution, will there be one, ever?

        Religion is cited as a reason for much brutality on the planet, to either support it or suppress it.

        If there is a God, he must have a pretty sick sense of justice to do all this with the end game being, as the earth plunges into the sun, we all turn to him to repent and surrender our free will.

      • Sorry HotScot, I like much of what you say, but this comment of yours displays such strong bias, it fails to achieve rationality. The answers to every single point you raised are readily available. Just to take a single point, for example, the conflation of free will and abortion. The standard Christian perspective is that the baby (or, fetus, if you wish) is a life also, and fully deserving it’s own chance. Again, this is just one example. I could offer a rational counter to every single point you made, but given that this site’s policy is strictly defined, I feel like I would be venturing far afield indeed to pursue this topic here. I’d be happy to engage in email correspondence, though, if you’re interested.

        Respectfully yours,


      • “But yes, if he desired to have billions of worshippers he would have billions of worshippers and probably does over on Alpha Centauri. ”
        Same “Big Bang” created Alpha Centauri, and they very well could read the same “Genesis”.

        And the problem with the Gzabdain Brain Sucking Hellworms from planet Zlorch 9 is probably because THOSE locals banned DDT. Same idiots throughout the Universe.

    • However, God is “Immortal, Invisible, God only wise” as the hymn states. If you don’t have a complete definition, you can’t prove existence.
      I follow the physicist Newton, and Mathematician, Descartes, in believing that studying the natural world is seeking the Mind of God. He is the Creator, after all. And because we’re part of the universe, humans will never fully understand it, so I then take Pascal’s wager, and try belief to see what happens. I feel more satisfied, and my wnats appear to be met. So, I believe.

      • “He is the Creator, after all. ”

        Yet to be proven.

        “And because we’re part of the universe, humans will never fully understand it”


        Is Pascals wager a bet? Betting is, potentially a sin? I’m not sure but I’m not religious so not in a position to comment.

        My stance is that religion is based on a convincing story, with little evidence. It might be true, but the likelihood is, it isn’t. Judged on any rational metric we adopt now. That doesn’t mean to say God doesn’t exist, just that it unlikely.

        I value your belief in God. It was the guiding principle of mankind for thousands of years. Science has overtaken it in recent years, and is equally unsuccessful in convincing me that adherence to it is any more successful than adherence to religion. Indeed, science is becoming the new religion, with it’s own distortions and politics. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have the anchor of ‘God’ to judge it’s progress by.

        The subject of God may be in itself subjective, but at least it’s a starting point. The ‘religion’ of science has no such starting point, or constraint.

        Maybe that’s the point of ‘God’, to restrict us overreaching reasonable boundaries of morality, as a concept, rather than as an entity.

        • HotScot asks, regarding [And because we’re part of the universe, humans will never fully understand it]


          Doubtless so. I suspect there’s a word for it that a container cannot contain itself and its container; there’s a wee bit of overhead. To fully understand the universe is to *be* the universe. Being part of the thing to be understood complicates things, including trying to understand yourself.

          “Is Pascals wager a bet? Betting is, potentially a sin?”

          Pretty much anything is a sin, or not, depending on who you ask and the circumstances. One of my minor hobbies is examining the exceptions to the rules; it is at these margins that greater understanding exists.

          Mere belief in this formless thing called “god” works for evangelists but doesn’t quite meet what I think are the actual simple requirements of the Christian god whose greatest concern is how we treat each other (the first Great commandment is obeyed by obeying the second, which is to love your neighbor). Abundant examples are given that a persons reward in heaven is based pretty much entirely on how you treated your neighbors. As it happens it is good to be good whether you have a god in mind.

          “That doesn’t mean to say God doesn’t exist, just that it unlikely.”

          Some gods are a lot less likely than others.

          “Indeed, science is becoming the new religion, with it’s own distortions and politics.”

          And a fascinating thing it is to watch this new religion come into existence.

          “Maybe that’s the point of ‘God’, to restrict us overreaching reasonable boundaries of morality, as a concept, rather than as an entity.”

          I believe Rosseau had something to say on this very thing. A “social contract” expires once the king or emperor or whoever established the social contract is dead. Religion, in some instantiations, provides a durable social contract.

  2. I’d be interested to know whether the editorializing about climate change skepticism as an “unfounded belief” was in the study itself or whether it was just something added in the press release.

    • Funny thing… AGW is the only negative conspiracy/paranormal belief.

      Skeptics supposedly believe in all sorts of paranormal phenomena and conspiracy theories, but don’t believe in Gorebal Warming.

      • On the subject of Roswell…
        They do have photos of weather balloon debris (in someone’s office and nicely staged) but where are the weather balloon debris images from the site? Aren’t their generally site photos when clean ups are necessary?

      • Ironically enough, WARMISTS like Lew and others believe in a vast conspiracy created and funded by the oil industry. They believe that bloggers like Anthony are part of this conspiracy, and that he gets paid to foment doubt and “skepticism” about AGW.

        And yet they then write essays about how stupid one has to be to believe in conspiracy theories.

        The higher one’s cognitive ability is, the more clearly they differentiate between facts/evidence and opinions/individual conclusions, and the more readily they recognize and discard their own biases in favor of fact and evidence.

      • Aphan: I point this out in discussions. The AGW believers do not seem to comprehend that mocking belief in conspiracies and then engaging in the Big Oil conspiracy “reasoning” for why there are skeptics is quite irrational. I guess it keeps them from having to look for REAL reasons why people don’t believe, but they really look foolish doing it.

      • Like the book that Talk Show Host Michael Savage authored
        “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder”
        Lewandowski sees conspiracies everywhere so accuses skeptics of being conspiracy ideationists while himself being the greatest ideationist

        • It’s a lot of fun. I really liked their “library” and the dioramas. We did Roswell and the VLA in Socorro on the same day on a trip from Dallas to Moab. I wish we had bought one of the inflatable aliens in Roswell. We could have posed it for pictures at the VLA… LOL!

    • It was wierdly not quoted text. A bit of narrative reinforcement perhaps. Ironic that the true believers can also be claimed to engage in dangerous behavior by among other things urging states to make us all poorer and to keep those currently poor from ever becoming prosperous.

    • Yeah there is a lot of miss reporting here by both sides. It’s useful to actually listen to what Stephan Lewandowsky is thinking he is doing and although he is one of the most boring speakers I have ever sat thru but it is worth actually listening to his argument.

      Basically he is another in a long line of Psychologist who actually thinks he has some understanding of the unwashed masses behaviour. His great idea is that consensus is the way you influence acceptance of an idea, not education and not proof. He basically argues it doesn’t about the science it’s about how you sell the product.

      He probably should be working for Pepsi or Coke but his current product of choice is climate change. If one was cynical you could ask does it pay better 🙂

      • I think Coke and Pepsi probably pay good money to the people who increase the number of people who believe in Coke and who believe in Pepsi.
        Climate change has no such results based screening…any and every jackass and jackass idea gets top billing.

      • I’m afraid Stephan Lewandowsky is typical of the many psychologists that have worked out that the best way to get funding for their latest fatuous research project is to claim that it is related in some way to climate change. The words ‘train’ and ‘gravy’ come to mind. And no, I didn’t get through the whole 21 minutes. I gave up after only 4 minutes in, after realising that the speaker’s reasoning was as logical and rational as one might expect from the average eco-psychologist. God help this guy if he ever had to do any actual, real science!

      • Should we sacrifice a pack of hot dogs to him? That’s the real question… hot dogs, curly fries and cold beer.

      • I did not get past the part where he conflated “believing in science” with believing in CAGW, is if he was discussing the sky being blue and people who are colorblind.

      • In the future, the climate change meme will be the go-to example for a whole slew of psychological maladies and logical fallacies.
        There is no better example of so many people employing circular reasoning in all of history.

      • This psychologist is a little nuts. To believe the US landed on the moon, the only evidence we have are some pictures and some films, even the things that radios and TV told us. This cannot be called evidence in some strict sense. More than evidences, I would call this “testimonies”. The same can be said about UFOS, they are testimonies, in general from lunatic people. There was not any serious campaign in TV or radios selling the UFOS were real. About the attack on the win towers is evident the were attacked for they fall down totally. Then the question about, “the government knew” of the facts previously, is a thing to be doubted. Conspiracies can exist alright among academics. We can take as reference the theory of “Continental Drift” and how they American geologists rejected it, for some unknown reason. Perhaps because Wegener was a German scientist. If we consider the case of AGW, more or less cacaphonic worming, ordinary people has not any evidence that this year was 0.2 degrees wormer than previous one. Unless we are talking about “testimonies” but testimonies is not an evidence to be believed seriously.

      • “Consensus is the way you influence acceptance of an idea, not education and not proof.”
        That’s the underpinning of Naz1sm.

      • leopoldo Perdomo,

        The astronauts left a laser retro-reflector on the moon, Anybody who is so inclined, can verify that it is there, with personal experiment. The astronauts brought back rocks from the moon that have been shared with petrologists throughout the world. They have found that the rocks are similar to, but distinctly different from, rocks found on Earth. These same rocks have been found to contain minerals that have never been found on Earth. The whole of any scientific theory is a tapestry of interwoven facts, any one of which can potentially unravel the fabric. However, the durability of the fabric of facts is what lends credence. Those who choose to believe that we didn’t land on the moon do so only by ignoring the totality of facts that destroy their conspiratorial fantasy.

        AGW is equivalent to the D-Nye-al of the set of ALL facts related to climate change. They choose to support their view by only acknowledging those facts that conveniently support their claim, and give special credence to models that are known to be running warm.

      • >>
        leopoldo Perdomo
        November 14, 2017 at 9:30 am

        To believe the US landed on the moon, the only evidence we have are some pictures and some films, even the things that radios and TV told us.

        Or you could travel to the Moon an see if the equipment and footprints the Apollo astronauts left are really there. Or you could test the rocks brought back from the Moon and see if they bear the Moon’s signature.


      • I find it interesting that belief in QM and GR run at really low numbers it probably no more than 10-20% and science functions just fine. We don’t find a need to run on consensus or hire snake oil salesmen to pad the numbers.

        Like many have said what they are doing is dangerous to science, they want science by consensus. Let me guess the next step will be they want a committee who approves the agreed science. I suspect all the real scientists will end up fighting another group of zealots and a whole new Spanish Inquisition coming our way.

    • So would I. In a weird bit of sophistry, skepticism about global warming is described as the “conspiracy” while belief in global warming is implied to not require skepticism. This is the same as saying that the conspiracy around the JFK assassination is that some people are trying to make other people believe that there was a conspiracy. It is implied that the rational person would be skeptical of the conspiracy to promote the conspiracy theory, but not of the conspiracy theory itself. So by this logic we should be skeptical of the questioning of CAGW but not of CAGW itself. The authors of the article had to use some extreme mental contortions to make skeptics of CAGW come out as the ones who should be considered irrational. Amazing piece of garbage.

      • It would have been clearer if I said, that the way this article refers to skepticism about CAGW is the same as saying that skepticism about CAGW is similar to skepticism about the JFK assassination conspiracy theory. We should be skeptical of those throwing doubt on the conspiracy theory, but not on the JFK conspiracy theory itself (which would be analogous to belief in global warming). Sheesh, trying make analogies for convoluted thinking is confusing.

      • Hey, conspiracy theories are fun. I have planned out a meeting between Ho Chi Minh, Nikita Krushchev, and Mao Tse-Tung at a restaurant in Paris in 1961. The rest is history.

      • Ho Chi Minh, Nikita Krushchev, and Mao Tse-Tung walk into a bar.
        Bartender looks up, and says “Get the hell out of here”.

    • David Middleton,

      Skepticism of CAGW is not accepting some future projection on humanity and the Earth. Most skeptics do not question even the adjusted temp data that shows the Earth has warmed since 1980. It is the future projection I reject because it is based on flawed models that are nothing but confirmation bias.

      The others are operating on Past events:
      -Apollo Moon Landing denial-hoax 1969-1972
      -Roswell UFO belief-US govt cover-up, 1947
      -9/11 conspiracies, 2001

      Those are all operating in the past time frame. Something in the past did or didn’t happen, and there was a cover-up/conspiracy is intentionally confused with the reasonable rejection of a future prediction (CAGW).

      The rejection of a future prediction because it is based on pseudoscience is clearly and demonstrably different than denial of or belief in conspiracies about things in the past. That is where Stahl (this article) Lewandowsky (the other fake studies) and his ilk go off the rails.

      • I’m fairly close to you on this, Joel. I would add that I am generally NOT a conspiracy theorist. Most conspiracies are too complicated and require too many people to keep their mouths shut. It isn’t in human nature to stay quiet about important secrets.
        However, my scepticism about AGW started from trying to learn about it because I accepted that it was probably correct and I wanted to be informed, and finding out that the evidence was incredibly weak and manipulated atrociously. The more I saw the machinations of climate scientists, the more suspicious I became.
        Because I don’t normally believe in conspiracy theories I was extremely reluctant to accept what I was seeing. I gradually came to believe that there is in fact a conspiracy. I believe it is mainly based on self interest on the part of climate scientists, lefty politicians who see it as a path to power and money robbed from industry and radical environmentalists who see humans as a blight on the planet. Foremost and most organized are the Lefty pols who are a cancer on a world that needs economic efficiency to produce higher standards of living for the 3 or so billion who the modern world has left behind. A better economy means a cleaner world. They don’t seem to understand this.

  3. Perfect example of eco activists being embedded in the view that to be sceptical of junk climate science is a result of an inability to be analytical. Ironic.

    • No Kidding, talk about getting things backwards! They would be much better served by actually responding to the skeptics claim with ACTUAL data, that is not fudged, accurate and calibrated, of sufficient sample space (time and location), with a detailed theory/model that actually agrees with the data.

      Oh, wait…..I see now why they focus on this crap instead.

    • Eyal Porat

      “It only takes a look at comments here to realize most people require data and proof to scientific claims.”

      Not quite true, I suspect if we were all offered enough money not to believe in AGW, we would all abandon our principles and buy a beach side property next to Al Gore.


  4. Did I misread something here? This seems to say that people don’t care about logic and rational thinking. That’s the exact opposite of why most people are skeptical of agw in my opinion.

    • I think you interpreted that differently than I did. I think it says that rationality and analytical thinking are not enough. One must have the wits to see what is “good” data and what is not. This is not just an AGW issue. The majority-correction- vast majority of our politicians lack the cognitive ability to sort out crap from valuable information. In a world where special interest groups and brain damaged “scientists” flood the field with garbage information. This ability to sort good information from bad is THE MOST CRITICAL facility that decision makers can have and it is the skill that is most lacking!
      For the record-
      The JFK assassination was a criminal conspiracy. The Mafia certainly and probably elements of the CIA
      NASA really did land on the moon
      Those planes actually brought down the twin towers
      Saddam did not have any serious weapons of mass destruction at the time of the invasion
      Most likely the Russians did try to lever some advance goodwill from the Trump campaign. Nothing personal. Putin is 100% a creature of analysis and intellect to maximize his short term advantage and work slowly toward his longer term objectives. Democracy does not really allow for such an approach in the West. Good and bad to that.

  5. I think its more that GULLIBILITY requires a lack of cognitive ability, and zero motivation to think rationally.

    • AndyG55, speaking of thinking rationally, you didn’t reply to my request for you to reassess your position that temperatures will drop. Earlier today you said:
“Temperatures are starting to drop.
 A slight delay, but not by much. See what happens over the next few months.
Or are you going to rely on El Nino transients as well.”
      On January 8 this year you said:
“Start of 2017. That’s 3 years. 
Let’s see where the go over the few months shall we.
 December 2016 was 5th December in UAH and 9th December in RSS. 
Looks like I might be pretty much on track.”
      On January 4 2014, you said:
“we are almost certainly going to start heading down hill.”

      Can you see a pattern yet?

      • I did… go read it, petal. !!

        How’s your inner city ghetto basement , btw. still got plenty of fossil fuel powered heating?

        Ya gunna need it. !

      • “Can you see a pattern yet?”

        Yep, I think just about everyone can now see the COOLING pattern starting to emerge.

        Not you though…. that would require some cognitive ability.

      • Andy… you’ve been telling me cooling is just around the corner for four years now. And that’s just me, I spose you’ve been predicting cooling a lot longer than that. What will it take for you to revise your thinking? Honestly, I’m curious.

      • Andy… You’ve been telling me cooling is just months away for four years now. And no doubt before that to others too. What will it take for you to adjust your thinking. That’s an honest question, what would it theoretically take?

      • I said 2017.

        Looks like I will only be a few months late.

        So sue me, child-mind.

        One heck of a lot of energy has been RELEASED from the ocean in the last year and a half. !

        MASSIVE ocean cooling event….. do you comprehend ?

      • Yes AndyG55, La Nina will lead to short term cooling, but as you like to shout it will be TRANSIENT. The key point is, where does temperature end up after the transient event? Since the satellite records began, the temperature has ended up higher between transient events, going up in a stepwise fashion, as the La Nina/El Nino spikes and troughs are larger than the background rising trend. It’s a simple pattern, one I’ve shown you before:

      • Mat~ can you provide the paper you wrote and published to go with that graph? Also, can you actual designate the increments you drew on that graph?

      • Poor mat,

        you just PROVED you are an idiot, without the vaguest clue what you are talking about

        You have just proven that you HAVE to rely on NON-CO2 El Ninos to create a warming trend.

        You have just proven CO2 warming is a MYTH.

        Thank you 🙂

      • Great to see you are no different from any other AGW climate w**ker., Mat.

        FABRICATED non-data. AGW stock in trade.

      • Mat’s hand-drawn stair-step “graph” uses the stairs heading up from his mommy’s basement as a model.

      • The pattern is that warmistas have been completely wrong about every thing.

      • Regarding Mat’s idea of a trend: If the IPCC formlula, Watts = K ln (CO2/CO2) original is correct, and if the Stefan-Boltzmann T = (K *Watts)^0.25 is correct, any LINEAR CO2/Temperature trend MUST be spurious.

      • Mat, why don’t you put together a graph that shows CO2 levels following the same multi-year-plateau/2-year-step function that Andy’s graphs of temperatures show?

      • Please, oh please, stop trying to read the tea leaves of short term trends. The climate operates on many scales, from days to weeks to months to years, to decades, to centuries, to millenia, to eons. The weatherman’s forecast ” tomorrow will be about the same as today” is right nearly 90% of the time. The only time it isn’t is when the weather changes.

        One thing you can say with near certainty is that a glaciation will be starting “soon”. Every available record of glaciations and melting shows they don’t last forever. Warming and cooling has been a feature of the earth’s climate for as far back as we can find fossils and even before that.

      • No matter what the time scale, the only thing never seen on graphs of temperature records, or reconstructions thereof, is straight lines.
        Temperature varies on every scale, and always has.
        Anyone who claims high confidence that recent warming is primarily due to human emissions of CO2 is an ignoramus or a liar.

      • Since the satellite records began, the temperature has ended up higher between transient events, going up in a stepwise fashion, as the La Nina/El Nino spikes and troughs are larger than the background rising trend. It’s a simple pattern, one I’ve shown you before:

        But such step like behavoir (if indeed that is what it is) incidental to a natural, event not driven by GHGs, is not the pattern of warming one would expect with ever increasing levels of CO2. It bears no relationship to a forcing brought about by either the amount of CO2 being emitted annually by man, or with annual increases in atmospheric levels of CO2.

      • @Mat, since that strawman cartoon you drew has no axis labels, I’m just going to assume it’s Herp over Derp.

      • AndyG55, I’m trying to understand your logic better. From what you write, I think I can summarise your thoughts as:

        1. There has been warming, but it is not caused by CO2.
        2. The warming is stepwise, occurring during El Nino events.
        3. El Nino events are the actual cause of the warming.
        4. In the next few months, we will see a precipitous drop in global temperatures, well below the average over the last few decades.

        Correct me if I have misinterpreted what you have written. But if I have understood correctly, then:

        5. What is generating the heat that El Nino’s emit?
        6. What is the physical driver that will stop El Nino’s emitting heat, if global temperatures are to drop?

        And a follow up question (which I’d asked above but wasn’t answered).

        7. What would it theoretically take for you to change your mind. What evidence for greenhouse warming would you find compelling?

      • Your ignorance doesn’t allow you to understand logic.

        The best you can come up with is a childish drawing showing NIL-education

        There is ABSOLUTELY NO CO2 warming signal in the whole the satellite record.



        Under –

        Stand !!!

      • “5. What is generating the heat that El Nino’s emit?”

        Keep displaying your ignorance.

        Or get out of your inner city ghetto basement during the day, and look up into the sky !!

        “4. In the next few months, we will see a precipitous drop in global temperatures, well below the average over the last few decades.”

        No, more likely , down to about the pre-1998 El Nino level

        Ocean temperatures have already dropped to the pre-2015.16 El Nino level.

        Do try , for once in your insipid, latte-sipping, leftist “I’m the greatest” life….. TO KEEP UP !!

      • Now, I’ll try again, and do try to keep the childish insults to a minimum, it’s not doing you argument any good.

        I take it from your answer to 5, that you think it’s the sun. Well, that’s a fatuous answer, as all energy on earth derives from the sun (other than a very small component of radioactive decay in the mantle). I could equally shout at you that the cause of CO2 warming is THE SUN. So I’ll ask again in a slightly different way.

        5. Why do you think El Nino’s cause a stepwise, rather than transitory, increase in total heat content of the atmosphere?
        And you still haven’t answered:
        6. What is the physical driver that will stop El Nino’s emitting heat, if global temperatures are to drop?
        7. What would it theoretically take for you to change your mind. What evidence for greenhouse warming would you find compelling?

      • I am not paid to teach you basic understanding.

        Your ignorance is for YOU to fix.

        Go back and draw another meaningless 5 year old style graph.

      • “. Why do you think El Nino’s cause a stepwise,”

        Because its there.. in the data.

        OBVIOUS for all to see, except the WILLFULLY BLIND.

        El Ninos will stop emitting heat surges when a balance is obtained between solar energy penetration into the oceans and atmospheric temperatures.

        That solar energy has dropped low for most of this cycle, so the energy will be mostly gone, so cooling will ensure.

        WAKE UP and at least TRY not to be a blinkered AGW brain-washed twerp.

      • And because you seem to have basic comprehension issues, I will repeat for you

        There is absolutely NO CO2 warming signal in the whole the satellite record, just solar and ocean cycle effects.

        NO warming except the 1998 El Nino step..(take off your blinkers to see).

        The current El Nino looks like being purely a transient effect as ocean temperatures have ALREADY dropped back down to pre-El Nino levels. Again. LOOK at the data.

        There is absolutely NO CO2 warming signal ANYWHERE.

        Do you com-pre-hend.

      • Oh, AndyG55,

        Your ideas can’t be simply looked up because your views are not supported by others. You are proposing a new mechanism, so it is incumbent upon you to be able to describe them.

        I’ve given you the opportunity to describe your theories, but you have not take it. Instead, you’ve fallen back on name calling. In my experience that comes from a place of insecurity.

        And you’ve misunderstood the basics of what drives El Nino/ La Nina. You seem to think it is buoyancy driven, but it is primarily wind driven. the La Nina phase is a result of cold water upwelling to replace warm water pushed along by trade winds.

        You also misunderstand that El Nino/La Nina is a coupled phenomena of the ocean+atmosphere. If there is no energy added or removed from the ocean+atmosphere system, El Nino/ La Nina will still occur. What my child-like drawing is trying to show you is that you can add a rising trend to an oscillation, and it will start to look like a stepwise increase. Here, let me show you without the trend…

        And you still haven’t answered my question:
        7. What would it theoretically take for you to change your mind. What evidence for greenhouse warming would you find compelling?

        If you can’t answer that, you’re not acting logically anymore, your acting dogmatically.

      • Mat,
        I know I am not the one who you asked, but I think Andy might agree that we would need to see:
        – Climate scientists quite monkeying around with the data
        – Open stand up debates between all interested parties
        – An actual trend that matches up with what the GHG hypothesis predicts in advance, such as the formation of a tropospheric hot spot; warming that is global and not regional and not cyclical (simultaneous warming at both poles, and say…in deserts…where water vapor has minimal influence); the people who are pushing the whole meme quite shutting out contrary opinions and quite pretending that pal review is a scientific process; the people who are screaming the loudest at us start behaving as if THEY believe it, say by selling oceanfront property instead of buying it, teleconferencing instead of jetting all over the world to stand on a soapbox and chide the rest of us over emissions, etc; suggesting or implementing solutions that are actually designed to replace fossil fuels with non CO2 emitting means…like nuclear, more hydro, etc; stop giving a pass to some countries while pretending the US is messing everything up for everyone, even though those other places are increasing emissions and we have cut them…IOW, cut out the political chicanery and wealth redistribution shenanigans; some explanation of why we should be concerned about a warmer world when all through history both scientists and historians have known for a fact that warmth is good and cold is bad, particularly on a planet which is having a ICE AGE(!); people who are scare mongering about all the bad things they know are just around the corner acting like rational human beings and being, you know, HAPPY, when disasters fail to materialize; cut out, once and for all, the ridiculous and over the top rhetoric in which people who waste huge amounts of resources scold those who are skeptical but who have far less impactful lives on our base of resources…IOW, quite the damn virtue signaling and acting like talking a good game is more important than actually changing the way you live; and lastly, not because I am out of material but because it is tiresome to answer questions posed by people who will not answer the same question themselves, a corresponding answer from those who have been moving the goalposts for the past 30 years, and act like having proven themselves wrong by every prediction they have ever made is not a reason to admit they THEY are in fact the ones who have it wrong.
        For starters.
        OK, your turn.

      • Wow, Mat turns his kiddie artwork on its side make a non-point.

        I have given you FACT, after FACT , after FACT that there is NO sign of any CO2 warming.. ANYWHERE.

        You..just about managed a kiddie drawing

        Your mind is EMPTY, Mat

        You have NOTHING to offer.

      • And stop the moronic pretense that you have ANY idea what drives El Nino and La Nina,

        …. because you have made it patently obvious that you DO NOT.

        Notice the large La Nina forming

        as cold water from below replaces the energy lost during the El Nino, and which has now all but dissipated to space… yes energy lost to the system

        You can IGNORE facts , and draw idiot charts as long as you like, but it only make you look like low IQ mindless twerp.

        Remember., mat-child….

        NO CO2 warming signal in the whole satellite data.

        No CO2 warming signal ANYWHERE.

      • “but it is primarily wind driven””

        Good to see you admitting El Ninos are PURELY NATURAL

        And since El Ninos provide the ONLY warming in the whole satellite data,
        (no warming from 1980-1997 or from 2001-2015)

        I assume you must now concur that there is NO CO2 based warming in the whole satellite record.

        So your proof of any sort of anthropogenic warming now looks pretty darn thin, doesn’t it, mat-child.

        Have year 10 exams finished or something ? Is that why mummy is letting you at the computer?

      • AndyG55,

        You have again resorted to name calling, which as I said before, in my experience comes from a place of insecurity.

        > “I have given you FACT, after FACT , after FACT that there is NO sign of any CO2 warming.. ANYWHERE.”

        No, you have made a statement that there is no sign of warming. That’s not a fact, that’s an opinion. And an incorrect one, because obviously there have been signs of warming.

        > “And since El Ninos provide the ONLY warming in the whole satellite data”

        I’ve asked many times what your alternative physical mechanism is, and you haven’t answered (the sun is not a mechanism, I could equally say “it’s the sun” which drives CO2 warming).

        > “as cold water from below replaces the energy lost during the El Nino, and which has now all but dissipated to space… yes energy lost to the system”

        You don’t understand basic thermodynamics if you think cold water from below will displace water over it. Buoyancy doesn’t work like that. Even someone with your basic science understanding must know that cold water doesn’t rise. There needs to be another mechanism to overcome the potential energy required to move cold water up and displace warm water over it. That mechanism is wind driven Ekman pumping (you can look it up).

        I’ll ask you for the fourth time, as you still haven’t answered my question (which is quite telling) – what would it theoretically take for you to change your mind? What evidence for greenhouse warming would you find compelling?

        If you can’t answer that, you’re not acting logically anymore, your acting dogmatically.

      • Poor mat, not a single bit of anything to counter the facts.

        You yap mindlessly.. regurgitating propaganda pap.

        But you are EMPTY !!

      • “because obviously there have been signs of warming.”

        Yes little boy.. From El Ninos… NOT from CO2.

      • “You don’t understand basic thermodynamics if you think cold water from below will displace water over it”

        The patterns of MEASURED water movement show that you are absolutely and completely WRONG !!

      • There ISN’T any evidence of so-called greenhouse warming.

        NONE what so ever.

        You are like a child in the back seat. !!

      • “I could equally say “it’s the sun” which drives CO2 warming.”

        You could.. but you would look like even more of a gullible brain-washed ignorant fool. !

      • The ONLY evidence little mat has produced is a chart drawn by a 5 year old.

        Maybe that is enough to convince him that CO2 is a massive boogieman !!

        One wonders about his state of mind. !!

      • I’ll ask you for the fifth time, as you still haven’t answered my question (which is quite telling) – what would it theoretically take for you to change your mind? What evidence for greenhouse warming would you find compelling?

        If you can’t answer that, you’re not acting logically anymore, your acting dogmatically.

      • “I’ll ask you for the fifth time… blah, blah…..”

        And I’m saying .. present your evidence.

        That would be the rational thing to do.

        You are EMPTY and irrational so far.

      • AndyG55,

        Ok, so let’s go back a step and summarise what we’ve learnt.

        You’ve proposed a new mechanism whereby El Nino has been the driver for global warming over the last 100 years or so. This is a controversial suggestion (i.e. it is not supported by others). So to help you flesh out your argument, I asked you three basic questions:
        1. What is generating the extra heat that El Nino’s emit?
        2. What is the physical driver that will stop El Nino’s emitting heat, if global temperatures are to drop?
        3. What evidence for greenhouse warming would you find compelling?

        If I focus on your actual answers, you have:
        1. “look up into the sky!!”
        2. no answer
        3. “Evidence, Mat”

        As I’ve said – the sun is the source of almost all energy in the Earth system. So what’s your mechanism?
        You’ve made some declarative statements like:
        “cold water from below replaces the energy lost during the El Nino”
        but haven’t been able to give any physical mechanisms. I’ve said you misunderstand the basics of El Nino processes, that it is wind driven, not buoyancy driven. I now doubt you even know what Ekman pumping is.

        You never answered the question on the physical driver (which is telling)

        And “evidence” is the evidence you would find compelling? Mmmm, good one.

        You have shown an utter ignorance of basic thermodynamics, an inability to discuss physical mechanisms, and haven’t been able to refrain from amusingly childish insults.

        As I’ve said, if you can’t answer these basic questions, you’re just an angry anonymous person who can’t even articulate mechanisms for their crazy, simplistic ideas.

      • AndyG55,

        Let me put it another way…

        For many years you’ve made predictions of imminent cooling to pre-1998 levels (sustained for more than a few months). How much longer will it take for you to revise your position?

    • Mat,

      Let me give it a go.

      5. Source of El Nino heat: the sun.
      6. What will cause the temperature to drop: Oscillation back to La Nina.

      7. Compelling evidence: Rule out all natural causes, with the remaining warming correlated to CO2, not other Greenhouse gasses.

  6. Actually, people who believe in crazy stuff tend to be a little stupider. link

    It is possible to be completely logical and still believe crazy stuff. People with right hemisphere brain damage tend to believe anything which is logical and self consistent. The reason for that is that they can’t draw on their lived experience for insight. link

    Overly conventional people will take the consensus view. They don’t believe in conspiracy theories but neither are they actually willing to think for themselves. In some ways that’s just as harmful. link

    Conforming never brought about anything but mediocrity and dangerous blind people.

    • ‘Conforming never brought about anything but mediocrity and dangerous blind people.’

      When it comes to CAGW, it also brings cash, apparently.

    • I disagree completely, intelligence mated with too much self centeredness creates the ability to convince yourself that anything you want makes sense. The need to feel compassion to justify or offset your own short comings or right your own immoral behaviors is the just a form of narsisism. All you have to do is look at Hollywood or Washington.

    • “Actually, people who believe in crazy stuff tend to be a little stupider”
      I would like to see someone try to disprove that assertion.

    • I don’t necessarily disagree with you, cB. but many geniuses see the world in different ways that turn out to be crazy/correct. Many brilliant physicists discounted Einstein, but he appears to have been right. Of course his theory overthrew Newton, who was definitely a genius-and definitely a little cuckoo!
      Lots of examples of this sort of contrast. The world is open to the imagination, humans are equipped with a bonus load of it. Today’s manifestation of widespread and self serving imagination is the bullshit called AGW! Possibly the most impressive pile since the Tulip Mania. I’m sure there were many unscrupulous actors who got rich before sanity showed up and shone his light on the madness.
      The really crazy thing is that humans seem to always stumble forward, staggering like drunks but gradually getting somewhere. I hate the AGW crowd because they are backward, blind and dangerously mad at progress. They are anti-science and anti-human.

  7. Just goes to show, just cause you’re analytical doesn’t mean you’re right. Distrust of government is the biggest determinant of conspiracy ideation, including those who dismiss the theoretical basis and observational evidence for human induced global warming.

    • Government is and has been most often and most everywhere a protection racket in part and a parasitical entity in part which conceals its true nature by pretending to look after interests of the governed, most of whom are indoctrinated by it from the time of birth. Should it be trusted following rudimentary inquiry? Are its goals also ours? History gives a strong “No.” How to explain those that go from trust to distrust – many to a state of hysteria – following change of party in power? Emotional rubes, knaves worrying about payout at risk, or fully informed sophisticates?

    • “Distrust of government is the biggest determinant of conspiracy ideation”

      Do you apply the same standard to the Democrat’s “vast right wing conspiracy” and “Trump’s collusion with the Russians” ideations?

    • Mat,

      “Distrust of government is the biggest determinant of conspiracy ideation, including those who dismiss the theoretical basis and observational evidence for human induced global warming.”

      Just goes to show, that just cause you speak in declarative sentences doesn’t mean you’re right.

    • “including those who dismiss the theoretical basis and observational evidence for human induced global warming.””

      ROFLMAO.. you poor gullible little child-mind..

      There is NO physical basis for human induced global warming.

      There is NO proof of human induced global warming. You have produce nothing but chihuahua-like yapping.

      You have been SUCKED IN, by the anti-science propaganda agenda.

    • People always have a bias that comes from their position and self interest. As a result, people in government tend to believe that they have a responsibility that would not be adequately looked after if they were not personally vested with the power they have, and a little more power would be a good thing as they would not have to argue or negotiate to do all the things that they think are obviously needed. So they work to accumulate power and conceal their intentions. The bunker grows as power does, but also grows as power is threatened. This is the nature of bureaucracies. If you don’t believe that’s true, you know nothing about them. Or possibly you area denizen of the swamp.

    • Government is in fact a coercive entity. When people started to live in larger settlements, peer pressure lost it’s effectiveness between people who had little to do with each other. Religious based proscriptions were created to make people believe that good behaviour was in their own interest as God or Krishna or Big Juju would punish them if they were socially bad. In time that became insufficient and organized law and order were required. This mainly served the interest of those with power and money-those with something to lose.
      Warlords and dictators slowly gave way top a more advanced commercial society where rules created a real benefit for all.
      The result is a modern world where we behave because the government has assumed the power to punish us and create complex guidelines for behaviour. The police are the enforcers. Revenue agencies are official thieves. Taxes are organized and official theft. we allow it because it stays on the right side of beneficial. We are close to the line that the Socialists tell us doesn’t exist. It exists!
      I am not a conspiracy theorist. But a long, hard look at society reveals there are definitely some groups and individuals who understand how to personally benefit from a system that nominally is supposed to work for everyone. In Socialist hands it works against those who create and build.

  8. Just more pseudo-scientific psychology claptrap.
    Design a model with very few pigeon holes to grade people, then cram a small number individuals into the pigeon holes, now extrapolate the results out to cover the population. Guess what(?) everyone is an individual, some share a number of similar ideas but none of them are identical in all aspects.
    People are individuals, not clones, drones, or programmed zombies — though we all probably know of individuals that very successfully impersonate such non-humans.

  9. It seems to me that there is a (sizable?) segment of the population who are somewhat lacking in either cognitive ability or the motivation to think rationally and are thus susceptible to believing and then proscelytizing fantasy that has been dogmatized that they deem desirable or that they ‘feel’ to be attractive without seriously questioning the factual rationale of the fantastic. It seems to me that diligent seekers of truth and reality may be more rare than I had ever believed.

    represent as an incontrovertible truth:

  10. Dear Stahl et al,

    Please provide the paper which shows dangerous anthropogenic global warming to be statistically significant, to a standard physics 3-sigma probability. Only then can you claim it is fact and evidence based.


  11. Indeed. By rational analysis, I have to reject the unfounded belief that heat can successfully be “trapped” on a surface flooded with natural refrigerant.

    • An excellent way of putting it! The Earth has a natural setpoint, created by widespread water. More heat makes more water vapour, with an astounding heat capacity. More heat drives more of this “refrigerant” to altitude, where it releases this heat. The altitude attained increases the quantity of heat which goes to space. At night the heat is basically going one way-out! At high latitudes in winter, night is a full time exercise in heat removal. Getting back to scratch is no big deal.

  12. “Skepticism toward unfounded beliefs requires sufficient cognitive ability and motivation to be rational”
    Yes. CAGW Skepticism/Climate Realism do require exactly that. Glad that we are in agreement. It didn’t take any “study” though. We’ve known about it all along.

    • Bruce Cobb: Lewandowski’s comment may be right, depending on who has the ‘unfounded beliefs’. I just think its the CAGWers that have those.

  13. “these kinds of unfounded beliefs”

    Huh? Says who? These studies are totally blind to the inherent bias here which lumps “conspiracy theory” with “paranormal” as if both are obviously illusions to rational people.

    As if psychologists occupy some higher ground where they can see that such ideas are inherently false.

    Are they? Or is that just another cognitive bias?

    Just to employ the terms conspiracy theory and paranormal is to fall into the trap. Take 911. There were massive puts purchased on AA and United prior to the attacks. That’s a fact. Someone knew. So how come the suggestion that some people in government had advance notice is so preposterous as to label it conspiracy theory, requiring some stupid online survey to grapple with how people could be so gullible.

    Of course they don’t use loaded words like “gullible”, because that would give the game away.

    There are no conspiracy theories, just good and bad theories. There is no paranormal, just different definitions of normal. All of this psychology is just puerile name calling. A junk discipline.

  14. One’s predictive track record is an objective measure of one’s technical competence. All the IPCC’s scary projections of humanmade climate change, catastrophic global warming, and extreme weather have failed to materialize, despite significant increases in atmospheric CO2, the alleged cause of climate change. The IPCC has a negative predictive track record, and therefore has NEGATIVE credibility. One would have been more correct if one had assumed the opposite of the IPCC’s scary climate projections.

    • What evidence supports skepticism? CO2 is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has increased 40% since the industrial revolution. Scientists since the 1800’s have predicted that increased CO2 emissions will trap heat and cause warming. The earth is warming as predicted. What evidence refutes any of the facts I outlined?

      • CO2 does not “trap” heat. It absorbs long wave radiation and re-emits it instantly. It can only slow down the rate at which those photons reach space, but they DO reach space.

        CO2 makes up 0.04% of the atmosphere.

        Long wave radiation cannot, and does not “heat” land or ocean surface.

        The Sun heats the Earth. Period. Earth has ALWAYS warmed during interglacial periods, and has been warmer than it is today. It doesn’t take a degree in science to know that, or to predict warming.

        The amount of warming “predicted” by scientists and their computer models does not match reality, despite increasing CO2 emissions.

        What EVIDENCE do you have that demonstrates that atmospheric CO2 is the ONE and ONLY cause of any of Earth’s warming?

        • Aphan writes “CO2 does not ‘trap’ heat. It absorbs long wave radiation and re-emits it instantly. It can only slow down the rate at which those photons reach space, but they DO reach space.”

          Apparently the CO2 molecule transfers its energy mostly by mechanical means to adjacent molecules if the density of air exceeds a certain amount. Only at the “TOA” (Top of Atmosphere) can CO2 radiate energy. The effect of this is that re-radiation downward doesn’t exist except in the wavelength where water vapor and CO2 don’t absorb photons. Portable infrared remote reading thermometers are usually tuned to that wavelength as otherwise you’d be measuring the temperature of the CO2 and water vapor directly in front of it.

        • C. Paul Pierett “Long wave radiation can heat the burger sitting underneath the lamp (at McD’s), please tell me why log wave radiation cannot heat the land or the ocean?”

          It works because the wavelength of the infrared from the heat lamps is tuned to match the thickness of the burger; effectively creating a cavity resonator that greatly amplifies the effect of the infrared.

          Or it might be that the willingness of an atom or molecule to absorb an infrared photon depends on it not already having that quantum of energy that the photon wishes to impart.

          Or it might be that there aren’t any long wave photons hitting the ocean or land; which if you RTFC, you will see is what I have asserted is the case.

      • Tripp Funderburk asks: “What evidence supports skepticism?”

        None is needed. Skepticism exists when the skeptic is the one doing the demanding of evidence.

        “CO2 is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.”

        Indeed; however, it is not exclusive in having this property.

        “CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has increased 40% since the industrial revolution.”

        So it seems.

        “Scientists since the 1800’s have predicted that increased CO2 emissions will trap heat and cause warming.”

        I will suggest that the actual source of the warmth is the sun, but yes, CO2 has a part to play in the system.

        “The earth is warming as predicted.”

        That is where we start to disagree. Predictions have been many and it seems NONE of them has been accurate.

        “What evidence refutes any of the facts I outlined?”

        Temperatures and CO2 plotted by time for starters. That’s sufficient in my estimation to challenge your assumptions..

  15. Judging from most of the comments, the battle here gives up ground right from the beginning. The ‘study’ that impugns us ‘skeptics’ states:

    “…….belief in the paranormal, conspiracy theories, and various other phenomena that are not backed up by evidence……”

    1. Our skepticism IS based upon evidence.
    2. We do not have a desire to be rational; we are being rational.

    The ‘study’ takes the arrogant position that our skepticism has no rational or fact-based basis.

  16. Even the low hanging fruit researchers pick when shouting “conspiracy theory!” (why do I see Donald Sutherland pointing with his mouth open) picks bad apples. It can turn the best intention of any psychological study into an empty exercise of virtue signal branding.

    For one, there’s a new crop of millennial never-landed-on-the-moonies who only use it to drop it among other topics (“did someone say MOON?”) to knowingly F with people. No deeper than that. If you engage them you might get a coward’s feint like a link to a website (of someone over 40, and they are few) but offer no narrative response. It’s on the level of “wellwhataboutthis?”. The most peculiar thing about the moon landing is how two generations could pass without any demand to return, as the inner-directeds ascended to power.

    There’s a “no one died at… it’s all fake” contingent that rises after every disaster now. Its central core are not believers at all but people who derive an endorphin rush from F’ing with other people. Sadly although they socialize over Internet and do not run the risk of a Bart Sibrel response from the victims’ families, some have managed to reproduce.

    How could a study isolate true believers from these counterfeits?

    9/11 independent investigation was on the verge of being the first detailed crowd sourced inquiry of the Internet age. Many angles were being considered from Qui Bono to state actors, possible intel warnings deliberately disregarded… but those of us who were just looking at Tower blueprints, photos and reading through firefighter testimony were ‘viciously’ broadsided by several full-kook elements [missile Pentagon, no planes, an odd fixation on WT7 to exclusion of towers]. They seemed to have no day jobs, injected off-topic junk and argued (even among themselves) to monopolize the space. It was so bad that many of us have tacked on another level to it, that someone was deliberately trying to derail the effort and inject low-hanging conspiracy fruit which the news, obligingly, picked up.

    How could any study deciding its focus by looking at Internet postings develop enough of an understanding of an issue to pick rational skeptics from deliberately injected noise?

    Which is why WUWT with its dedicated moderators and bona fide contributors is a precious thing in today’s world.

    • HP – good points.
      but these always-“doubting” conspiracy theorist folks really are helpful in a way – they help the rest of us consider how we might make the case that there really was a Boston bombing, or a Los Vegas shooting. That makes us all smarter, or at least makes us exercise our brains a bit.

      It also makes us realize we cannot automatically, necessarily, trust our media, or elected officials, “scientists,” or the spokespeople for the local LEO.

      • I think those folk rather take a plainly obvious set of circumstances and add a layer of unnecessary bogosity around it.

      • There are many, many Socialists in the world.
        They believe that giving money to people to do nothing is good for the economy.
        They believe that government can better allocate capital than can individuals or corporations.
        They believe that society as a whole has an inherent right to take from individuals.
        They believe that truth is relative and they are the sole arbiters of what truth is
        They believe that they (individual Socialist leaders) are rightfully the decision makers and uniquely qualified to determine on behalf of the rest of society what is best-
        As a result of this belief, they refuse to respect the public will as expressed in any way other than through the economic and political model which they control
        How does this not constitute a conspiracy?

    • There is solid evidence of explosives in the dust of the Twin Towers – described in a detailed, lengthy, peer-reviewed study by researchers from Denmark and the US.

      The website Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth features some videos with more evidence, eyewitness accounts, and interviews with numerous seasoned construction experts who seem perfectly rational and sane to me. If you just focus on the actual, physical evidence, entirely without looking at possible players and their motives, it becomes perfectly plain that the official story about 9/11 cannot be true.

      • Oh man, please don’t start Truther stuff on this site. It is frightening to me how many people trot that junk out.

      • Andrew – for your edification, two figures from the paper I quoted:

        The one at the top shows the elemental composition of two types of nanomaterials extracted; one rich in iron oxide, the other in aluminum. (The latter is also quite rich in oxygen; that may be related to aging.) The picture at the bottom shows traces from isothermal calorimetry – the material goes off and produces a heat peak when heated to 420 degrees centigrade. The paper also shows electron micrographs of the globular metallic particles produced in these experiments. Those are similar to ones also found in the WTC dust.

      • Michael Palmer,
        I’m not sure of your point. There were millions of people viewing the airplanes hit the buildings! Wouldn’t one expect to find iron and aluminum oxides from the high-temperature destruction of a building with steel girders and re-bar in the concrete, and ubiquitous aluminum door trim, furniture, hand rails, aircraft body, etc.? More convincing of an alternate interpretation to the destructive power of jet fuel would be evidence of nitrates.

      • Clyde, I don’t doubt that the planes hit the towers, and that both the planes and the buildings contained aluminum. However, that doesn’t account for the specific type of explosive nanomaterials detected in the dust. I’m sure you are aware that aluminum cans don’t ignite when heated to 420 degrees. So, the planes simply aren’t the whole story.

        The WTC towers were designed to withstand being hit by a Boeing 707, a plane very similar in size to the 767s that were eventually crashed into them. Do you remember being surprised when the towers came down? So were the fire fighters and construction experts – steel-framed high-rise buildings like these don’t collapse simply due to fire.

        The official story about 9/11 simply does not fit the facts.

      • >>
        Do you remember being surprised when the towers came down? So were the fire fighters and construction experts – steel-framed high-rise buildings like these don’t collapse simply due to fire.

        Except that the new, environmentally friendly fire-retardant used on the towers blew off the steel members when the planes struck. No fire-retardant means no fire-rating and no fire-resistance. No fire-resistance means no protection from fire softening the support members. If they had used the older, sticky fire-retardant, the buildings might still be standing.


      • Jim, I am not sure what to make of that comment. The WTC towers were not “new.” What parts of the building do you propose had been insufficiently fire-proofed? Also, if you look at the pictures, the fires were not very intense and had not spread much beyond the immediate impact sites, certainly not downward. How do you propose did the fire cause the parts of the buildings below the impact sites to dissolve into clouds of dust within seconds? What caused the lingering subterranean pockets of molten steel that were found even weeks after the event?

        Also note that the high-riser in London that recently went up in flames, apparently due to the use of faulty fire-proofing, is still standing.

      • I have looked into this in great detail.
        The twin towers were not ordinary buildings with an ordinary steel frame structure.
        For one thing they were far taller and more massive than nearly any other buildings on Earth…they were at the time the largest office buildings by square footage in the world, along with the Pentagon.
        The majority of the structure was the outer wall. This was a fatal flaw once the jets sliced through several of the pillars and knocked off all of that insulation.
        How carefully have you looked into this to think the fires were not that hot or extensive and did not spread down? Reports are that each plane sent a fireball down the central core of the building to the lobby and points in between. The core was only lined with double sheets of drywall…no cement block as fire stairs typically have.
        If a fireball exploded all the way down to the lobby, it seems likely that fire was widespread in the building.
        And 767s came in different models. The ones used were extended range models, with a max take of weight of around 400,000 pounds, carrying 10,000 gallons of jet fuel, and travelling at nearly 500 mph.
        This is 100,000 pounds heavier than a 707, had more fuel and was going much faster than a 707 cruising speed.
        The planes that hit were wider, heavier, and faster than any 707, by a lot.
        But it was not only or primarily structural damage that caused the collapse on both towers.
        All that had to happen was for a few key support members to weaken sufficiently that they could no longer support the tremendous weight above them.
        Buildings like that are mostly air inside, but what is not air or steel is mostly very flammable stuff, as many office fires have proven. Look at the Meridian Place fire in Philly.
        The amount of weight above the point of impact was itself more weight than most entire mega skyscrapers.
        Once that weight caused the top of the building to move even one slight but…it was all over. nothing could arrest that motion, bring that much mass to a halt.
        Buildings like that are designed to resist certain types of loads, but not the shifting of the whole top of the building slightly.
        And once the top fell into the floor below it, nothing could ever stop it.
        Each floor collapsed in a rapid progressive failure, and the energy liberated pulverized the materials inside the building in a way that is pretty much unimaginable.
        Can you imagine what was going on in the interior of such a collapse?
        How much pressure there must have been?
        At a certain temperature metals ignite.
        Aluminum and Iron that are pulverized form a compound called thermite, as you must know.
        It burns very hot.
        Look, maybe you are right.
        I could be wrong.

        But I have spent a lot of time watching the truthers and every thing they say has a more convincing rebuttal.
        I notice the same sort of thing when I looked into stories of UFOs, and mysteries of the occult.
        It is a lot of people making assertions, many flatly wrong.
        The buildings did not fall at free fall speed, did not collapse into their own footprint (huge sections fell outward and landed far from the footprint, and the cores can be seen still standing after the initial collapse.
        The idea that people were in those buildings laying explosives after the planes hit is silly.
        Implosions take months to set up, involved miles of cord or wire or whatever it is they use…and besides, it can be clearly seen that the initial failure was at the most heavily damaged corner of the building where the second plane hit.
        I think it may have only taken inches or less of movement, and that was that…it could not stop moving, too heavy, too much inertia and gravitational potential energy released.

      • Michael Palmer

        Grenfell Tower in London wasn’t hit by an aeroplane travelling at 500MPH.

        As far as I can understand, much of the problem with Grenfell was that the air gap between the outside of the building, and the insulation, is what encouraged the fire, with an ever increasing updraught.

        And Grenfell was a fraction of the size of the twin towers so fire fighting was possible.

      • [With the inclusion of this, the below, comment, let’s agree to put this topic to rest here at WUWT. This is not within the allowable topics here, and has only been permitted at all due to the nature of the original post. We’re done now. Additional comments need not apply. -mod]

        Menicholas, here is a picture of one of the towers during construction:

        You can see that the main steel columns are concentrated in the middle.

        Next, what do you think will happen if a hollow aluminium shell, already damaged by the collision with the outer wall, slams into those inner steel columns? Who will win?

        There were no continuous elevator shafts or staircases that went all the way down from the impact site to the lobby, so it is unclear how the jet fuel would have reached the lobby so quickly. Also, there are eyewitnesses who state unequivocally that explosions occurred below ground level already *before* the impact, and did massive damage there. One such witness was a janitor who afterwards went upstairs into the building to help people find their way out and who was recognized by GW himself for his bravery – there are pictures of the two men shaking hands.

        Jet fuel fires just don’t burn hot enough to melt steel. But assuming they do, and the fire did weaken the steel columns, already damaged by the impact, to the point of failure. Then what? Should the damage not be greatest on the side of the impact, and the top part of the building tip over and fall down on that side? If this was *not* a controlled demolition, how come *both* buildings just collapsed neatly onto their own footprints? If that’s just the way it works, why do we even need controlled demolition experts?

        I could go on: molten metal seen spouting in random places from the sides of both buildings *before* the collapse; WTC-7; etc. But the real impediment to understanding is not the want or ambiguity of factual evidence. Instead, it is the strong moral aversion we feel toward the implications. This situation reminds me – I am German, even though my name doesn’t suggest it – of the age-old question: how could the German people not have known about those extermination camps? Surely somebody must have talked?

        Surely must. However, people just could not fathom the depth of moral depravity of their own kind, of their own government. It was the wrong moral certitude of a civilised nation that compelled people to reject the truth before their eyes (or ears).

        Another parallel: consider the subject of eugenics. Mention it, and people will immediately, reflexively, denounce it as “pseudoscience.” However, eugenics is simply the application of established animal breeding techniques to Homo sapiens. There is nothing scientifically unsound about it – we reject it for moral reasons, but tend to mistake our moral abhorrence with certitude of its factual falseness.

        Coming back to 9/11, I understand that this must be much more painful for American people; it is much easier for me, as a German expat in Canada, to take a detached view. So I am not blaming anyone.

    • It was not my intention to start a “9/11 paste-fest” here… even though I have studied it and would have plenty to paste. My topic was the plight faced by independent 9/11 investigators, as it relates to current topic.

  17. Good book on this topic by Rob Brotherton
    He makes the same false equivalence between CAGW non-believers and conspiracy theorists but makes the important point that just about everybody believes in at least one conspiracy theory. The truth is always more nuanced than the propaganda makes it seem, otherwise there would be no need for propaganda.

  18. So fundamentally what this research says is that you have to be ready (educated), willing (have a motive), and able (possess the cognitive ability) in order to practice rigorous healthy adult skepticism.

    That probably explains why one meets so few genuine adults in this life.

    (That’s not a claim to adulthood; merely an observation.)

    Every criteria you add as a filter will reduce the result set to some degree.

      • Clyde Spencer

        “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

        Difficult for most people to do, even if they are aware of the concept. Nor do I exclude myself from that.

  19. “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”
    ― Friedrich Nietzsche

    To be fully analytical, is to embrace the emptiness of purpose and carve away the emotions and biases that carve analytical thought.

    Sadly, AGW is a religion for many so science will muddle through this modern dark age.

  20. Dragon slayers are skeptical (deni*rs) of AGW and still there is little or nothing good to say about their cognitive ability or their rationality…

    Both this and Lewandowski’s study are bullsh*t.

    The key is how one becomes a skeptic. It can be because of real rational analysis of data and through detection of flaws in a theory, which indeed requires the mentioned abilities, or it can be “because whoever says so and I am too stupid to understand who is right but prefer to rely on him”.

  21. It is worth remember that in Lew paper’s work it was actual AGW proponents who were most keen on the idea of the moon landings being faked. Which comes a little surprise given to constant referral to ‘fossil fuel funded ‘ conspiracy see by such people . Not to mention how many of them are 9/11 truthers and sure the government is listening into their ever word.
    To understand why Lew papers work was so poor , you only needed to look at the views of those who supported his claims when it came to lots of other areas and the large amount paranoia they displaced over why the world has not gone ‘green ‘

  22. General observation –

    Within the “climate change” discussion, skeptics appear more apt to think for themselves while “alarmists” show the need to be told what to believe.

    A skeptic will look at the claims “the science is settled” or “97% of Climate Scientists say” or “we must act now” and say “wait a minute, what about this?” while an “alarmist” believes and repeats those things without giving them any thought.

    • In my experience it is totally possible to find the behaviour that you describe for alarmists among the skeptic group. There are very rational skeptics and also those who will just repeat whatever they heard from someone else who claimed to be a skeptic.

      • Yes, there are skeptics who are skeptical for bad reasons, i.e. reasons other than careful analysis.
        But there are also warmistas who know that CAGW is a SPOC.

      • There are strands of opinion among skeptics which can only be labelled ‘conspiracy theories about climate change’

        for example the ‘Agenda 21’ meme, or the ‘communists switched to AGW after the fall of the Soviet Union’ or even ‘climate scientists only publish to get funding’.

        As opposed to (for example) a critical examination of the locations of stations contributing to the surface temperature record. (which is surely rational skepticism, even if the result would show you there’s no problem with said surface temp record)

      • And yet the FACT is that AGW leaders have come out, in public, and said things that DIRECTLY INDICATE the socialist agenda behind the AGW farce.

        And remember it was out esteemed host that started looking at the quality of surface station sites, which showed massive issues with the surface station non-data…

        So you are, AS ALWAYS, yapping from a point of mindless LIES and MIS-INFORMATION

      • Griff

        “There are strands of opinion among skeptics which can only be labelled ‘conspiracy theories about climate change’”

        But of course, AGW couldn’t possibly be a conspiracy.

        Despite you knowing that, for example, there was 12 years of no major US land fall hurricanes before 2017, but the moment there was a sniff of one, the BBC and the Guardian (to name but two) were crawling all over it implying (if not, stating) global warming was to blame.

        And you know full well that’s rubbish because the IPCC themselves tell you there is no relationship between hurricanes and AGW. So just who do you believe, the BBC or the IPCC? You have also seen credible evidence on here, independent of both, that catastrophic weather events demonstrate an inclination to decrease as atmospheric CO2 has risen over the last 40 years.

        You need only listen to BBC radio where, daily, indeed, hourly almost, there are snide comments made about right wing politicians, principally Trump; a snigger following mention of his name, a ‘meaningful’ pause, a sigh, or an open ended question crafted to suggest “I know what I’m talking about on Trump……and you are an idiot to contradict me”. It is insidious. They may be right, but the BBC is supposed to be impartial and is clearly not.

        But you swallow it all, hook line and sinker despite considerable evidence there was a conspiracy of silence over the likes of Jimmy Savile and Gary Glitter, amongst many other questionable incidents within the BBC. And we know from numerous reliable accounts that the BBC is a left wing organisation, as most public bodies are, and to cross the Rubicon to truth risks expulsion, ask David Bellamy amongst others.

        You also know full well the Guardian is largely occupied by freelance journalists, paid a pittance, desperate to have a story published to make money. Are they going to bite the hand that feeds them by submitting articles contrary to the Guardians very ethos, socialism?

        Contrary to the popular perception of a conspiracy, numerous people gathering together to agree on a particular course, It only takes access to one influential person at the top of each organisation for a conspiracy to propagate. It does so by putting people in fear of their jobs or reputations if they contradict their superiors. It doesn’t even mean they have to agree with it, they just want to turn a blind eye and get on with their lives.

        The Third Reich was an open, left wing conspiracy. From his early days in politics, everyone knew what Herr H. was doing, but he managed it by influencing people in high places that they would be wealthy and secure, or dead. He used a carrot and stick with the population, conform or die. Having already been through WW1, much of Germany didn’t agree with Herr H. but they were given no choice.

        Conspiracies are real, but more likely to come from the top rather than from individuals.

        So what about Christina Figueres’ announcement that climate change was the opportunity to change global politics? What about The Club of Rome’s stated intention to use climate change as a means of population reduction? These are powerful, influential people with access to anyone at the top levels of government and media.

        Agenda 21?

        The governor of Alabama banned any and all sustainability projects of the UN from being enforced in the state. It’s a law, Senate Bill 477, passed unanimously. “It seems that Agenda 21 does actually bring people together in communities — just not in the way the U.N. had hoped for,” said Justice Gilpin-Green about the win in Alabama. “Rep. Terri Proud, a Tucson Republican and proponent of the bill, said in a mass email to her supporters that the non-binding declaration “will take away our rights as Americans by allowing the United Nations to mandate laws on our soil.””

        New Hampshire was working on a similar measure. I have no idea how far it got but the mere fact they were trying indicates Agenda 21 is of considerable concern.

        In Arizona, 2012, the bill prohibiting any UN sustainability passed in the Senate and was heading for the House. I have no idea what happened there either but, again, it’s sufficient credible evidence to identify Agenda 21 as a real problem.

        “or even ‘climate scientists only publish to get funding’”

        Like it or not griff, that’s a fact of life, particularly in non government funded US universities. Even the UK university my wife works for as head of department pushes like crazy to get funding for research projects (unrelated to climate science) and climate change is the passing bandwagon of the moment. Just look back at the papers presented on this site over the past year. Many of them are barely credible as climate science documents in any way other than inclusion of a reference to it or stitching it into a barely related subject.

        But all this just passes you by in your blind allegiance to conformity. You are one of the people who would have supported Herr H. by your complacency and self interest.

  23. Global Warming fanatics seem to use Global Warming (which does have a scientific basis) and Climate Change (which is local) and Weather (which is again local) interchangeably.
    There is no scientific basis for claiming that extreme weather events this year were caused by a 0.01C temperature change last year.
    Furthermore, the claims are made after the fact.
    The hurricanes this year? Even a broken climate model is right once ever 12 years (/sarc).
    There is no way to test the climate models after the fact claims, with the alternative hypothesis that it was caused by butterflies flapping their wings in Tokyo.

    • When coherent arguments are made that knock AGW out of orbit (it’s so easy it’s ridiculous), Griff never replies. He is just an agitator. More accurately, he is a regurgitator. Endlessly parroting the catch phrase false assertions of AGW mainstream B.S. They have a fairly simple strategy. Ignore the truth utterly and attack from all sides with barrages of phony papers about how the oceans WILL BECOME acidic and the EARTH WILL WARM and the SEAS WILL RISE and LIFE WILL BE EXTINGUISHED. All of these canards are proven nonsense. But they engage us in whack-a mole. Truth is irrelevant, which means they can produce an endless supply of B.S. phantoms for us to fight.
      We have to get smarter. Cut funding for the U.N. and university eco programs and social “science” programs. We need to call out The New York Times and Huffington Post as agents of Socialism and create a coherent social banner for those who believe that the path to the Left is destructive and false.

      • The canards are proven nonsense? 50% of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef died in the past two years due to hot water caused by AGW and CC. Sea level is rising. The ocean is becoming more acidic. These are just facts. Amazing to me that you use the word “truth”. You ignore the truth.

        [?? ?? .mod]

        • Tripp Funderburk “50% of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef died in the past two years due to hot water caused by AGW and CC.”

          Interesting, and a bit redundant, to specify both CC and AGW. I think it needs a bit of NFL.

          “Sea level is rising.”

          Except where it is falling:

          At any rate, I’ll heed your advice and move my house a few millimeters higher. You should do likewise.

          “The ocean is becoming more acidic.”

          I look forward to making pickles merely by dipping cucumbers in the sea.

          “These are just facts.”

          I’ve often wondered what is a “just fact”. Perhaps it is claiming that 8.1 ph, which a chemist would say is alkaline, is really an acid.

  24. Some say that there are no facts “out there”, because every thing is actually an observation, ie. a method of seeing which yielded a result. (The nonduality of experience and observer).

    I like this as a rational tool, because whatever someone claims, we can ask, ok, what did you see, how did you see it, and how did you analyse what you saw?

    For example, there is a neurosurgeon who has written books about his near death experience, and he details why he thinks the experience could not have been generated by his physical brain. And the point is, not to take his conclusion as a new belief — gee, NDEs are real! — but to remain open to the possibility and always bear in mind what his reasoning was, as to why he thinks it could not have happened in his brain. That way it can always be questioned. Whilst also remaining open to the possibilities which it suggests.
    Skeptical, but open.

    I think the Ferengi had a Rule of Acquisition: “hear all, trust nothing.”

    And I can accept AGW in terms of, computer model runs which are doing the “seeing”, and I can remain skeptical of what such tools can accomplish about the future (not a lot one might guess).

    I can also recall one distinctly paranormal event but I always bear in mind the specifics of how and why it seemed that way — all the details matter and remain open to question.

    AGW has all the hallmarks as a popular movement of being about an religious/ethical drive — and I gather Al Gore is aquatinted with some psychology models which detail the basic DNA of religious belief and group conformity — what Gean Gebser called the “mythic-membership” stage, and of which, society usually has some large percentage of people who are at that level. In the West this stage was generally dominated by Christianity but AGW can fill that stage just by adopting a similar structure, in the language and culture, of the movement.

    We think we are criticising AGW by calling it religious, but the people leading it probably take it as a compliment — “mission accomplished!”

    • “We think we are criticising AGW by calling it religious, but the people leading it probably take it as a compliment — ‘mission accomplished!'”

      Well said.

  25. I can’t account for it. The field of education is filled with what amounts to educational malpractice and entrenched administration that keeps known to be ineffective interventions in place sending any and all professionals who swim against the flow down the road. Worse, some of these interventions are so outlandish they could easily be material for Saturday Night Live. Yet even PhD’s allow and some even encourage such practices. It is so bad I have been yelled at when trying to interject scientifically defensible argument from peer reviewed research against this insanity. Boy could I write a book.

  26. From linking vaccines with autism to climate change skepticism, these widespread conspiracy theories and other unfounded beliefs can lead to harmful behavior

    Although my understanding of the paper was a little fuzzy, they had me interested up until this point.
    When you START a study with the assumption that climate skepticism is a conspiracy theory you show the rest of the paper is trash.

    • Of course, being that this came from warmistas, they start with the conclusion that they are correct and anyone who believes anything else but what they believe is wrong.
      Like everything from warmistas regarding skeptics, there is a strong undercurrent of psychological projection.

  27. For a “science site”, this far more resembles a relilgion bashing and bad behaviour site. Just once, when discussing rational beliefs, I would like to see atheists not prance about, chest thrown out declaring their superiority and religious people to leave religion out of science and logic discussions. Psychology CLEARLY states religious beliefs are not mental illness OR delustions in and of themselves, but no one cares about this. Science cannot prove itself, so it’s taken on faith to be “true” just as much as religion. Yet, reality is not what we are interested in. Rather, it’s jump in and pound the people who don’t believe like you do (the authors of the paper should study that phenomena—that study might be useful). It’s disgusting. It’s unscientific and rude. Yet it goes on and on and on and on and on. Science is dead in most of the internet world and there’s a huge tombstone on this site any time “rational” thought is discussed. There’s NO rational thought. NONE.

    • Sheri – When someone cannot defend their position, they turn to one of two strategies – or both. These two are: name-calling and change-the-topic.

      This is pretty much what all of the atheists end up with when faced with a good argument. Reviewing the many you tube debates of a Christian versus an atheist makes this evident.

      “This is science; everybody knows this; don’t question me further.” Wow, impressive.

      • Yes, I see that all the time in other areas and comment sections. It bothers me—no, I’ll be honest, it irritates me mightly—when a “science” site becomes a continual argument over religion. If people want to discuss their religious beliefs, there are blogs out there.

        You’re right, “this is science…..” is not impressive.

      • As an atheist who believes that humans have a set of natural morals as a social species, I have never had to resort to name-calling or subject-changing. Religion has noting cogent to say about science, being perforce lacking the use of the scientific method. And, science has nothing to say about religion, as faith does not submit to the scientific method. Evolution as an example: evolution says nothing about the origin of life, never has never will. Religious people do not realize that their religious view of the world does not have to agree with the scientific. We evolved. Without the principles of evolution all of modern medicine would be gone and nonfunctional.

      • higley, what is the source of the natural morals of which you speak? Do they come from society itself or from enlightened humans?

    • Sheri, you should take a moment and read read your above post, in terms of being rational. It is not as rational as you think.

      You miss a major aspect of science and religion. People have “faith” in religion—an unfounded belief in something. As a scientist, I have no “faith” in science, I have confidence in it knowing that I can be constantly skeptical, seeking reproducible results, evidence, and rational connections.

      Atheism is quite different from religion, although people think there is a need to deny the possibility of a god. My take on atheism is that there simply is no need for a god. As a social species we have evolved with an innate set of morals that can be codified into ethics. All social species have a code of ethics. Religion simply codifies these natural social morals into a religious dressing.

      Religion then serves two purposes. First, it helps our young learn the rules faster than by trial and error and being chastised or beaten up by offended adults, as occurs in a wolf pack to pups and adolescent wolves. Religion also serves to help people remember the morals. Finally, religion gives many some solace regarding their own mortality and how to emotionally rationalize the death of loved ones and also having faith in oneself when trying to make a life for yourself.

      An atheist is not by definition devoid of morals. As an atheist myself, I have no good name for it, but I think the human race has a set of morals, which many would call Christian principle–they are indeed the same. An atheist has the potential to be a more moral being than a religious person, as such an atheist would be devoid of the trappings and biases all religions possess. I see no need to dress my morals up in religious garb.

      As a scientist, there is no conflict with religion as science describes the real world and religion deals with the spiritual side of humans. It is a mistake when religious leaders think that they can dictate science form their faith. Science is based on established and reproducible facts and principles.

      Whether there is a god or not does not matter as this possible god does not mess with the laws of nature, as in miracles. As a scientist, I could easily accept that I am studying the laws of god or, rather, the laws of the universe that he might or might not have created. There are some things we cannot know.

      • higley7: I suppose it depends on how one defines religion. If it’s belief in a higher being, then atheists lack religion. If it’s belief in a being or process that gives meaning and order to your life, then science may qualify. If religion requires a higher being, what of those who worship nature? Is that religion? I am asking because I don’t see my comment not being rational. Perhaps you use the first definition and I use the second one.

        You are using the argument that there is no need for God. But need does not determine reality, so far as I know. It’s interesting to me how you present your case—it is what I do if I am explaining science without referring to God. I don’t believe atheists are devoid of morals, but they have to get the morals somewhere and bottom line, it’s still an arbitrary choice, perhaps based on utility. You do illustrate very well that science and God are in no way mutually exclusive. Perhaps what I find most interesting is your statement “there are some things we cannot know”. Many times when I bring that up, a “scientist” will lose it and vilify me for saying we just can’t know. It’s reassuring to find some in science understand.

        Thank you for taking the time to explain your position. I agree with much of what you said.

      • higley, your belief system about the source of morals is vague. Did we, as humans, create these morals ourselves? Are we good or evil? As society evolves, do our morals evolve? Why are one set of morals better than another? If one set of morals is just as good as another set of morals, how do we know who is immoral?

      • As higley suggests, morals derive from the natural social interplay that determines how we all get along in society. If we behave according to standards, we can expect to be treated according to standards. This is why sociopaths and even many psychopaths observe the rules of normal social behaviour. They understand that they cannot manipulate people without first showing that they accept the value of these rules, when in reality they intend only to use them to acquire advantage.
        Normal people just fall into a pattern of give and get, without being overwhelmed by greed or failing to understand the natural rights of others.

    • If psychology were an actual science I might pay closer attention to what they say. Every flavour of opinion can be found therein. If ever there was a reason to be sceptical, it is that psychology and psychiatry exist and speak with authority when they should water their wine with much humility. Psychiatry in particular is almost as dangerous as what they treat.

  28. “Jan-Willem van Prooijen of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam”
    Makes my brain hurt trying to pronounce that. Still, it’s more pleasant than saying Stephan Lewandowsky.

  29. There’s a feel-good story out, about a man at a check-out at Wal Mart having nothing but a pocketful of loose change, being nervous, and miscounting, and the beautiful, kind, loving and patient cashier calming him, and helping him count it.
    The problem is. there is amost no way to corroborate the story. Even if the cashier were to step forward (which they haven’t), it could still be made up. These types of stories make the rounds on social media continuously. The usual motivation is a religious one, but the thing they have in common is that they make people feel good, so they want to believe them.
    Now, this particular story could be true. But we have no way of knowing, and that in itself is part of the tell. So I remain skeptical, for which all the Believers out there gushing over this story would probably like to lynch me. So yes, there is a lot of irrationalism out there.

    • And yes, I do find my own lack of faith disturbing. Perhaps I should check in at the next Skeptiholics Anonymous meeting.

      • Go ahead Bruce. But that will require faith that they can help you. I’m not so sure, myself. What have they done for you lately?

    • I did not bother watching the video…I will take your word for it.
      But I have been in checkout lines and seen people who could not pay for something they evidently needed or wanted.
      The proper thing to do it insist on helping them out.
      The last time this happened, it was in a Walmart, of all places.
      A woman was buying cupcakes for her kid, a little girl IIRC.
      She turned out not to have enough money.
      The little girl got her cupcakes.
      IMO, people should not congratulate themselves for being decent people, or doing the right thing…it oughta be automatic.
      Sadly, that is not the case.

      • Agreed. We now “reward” what is really just being a decent human being. We’ve apparently gone so far to the dark side that decent is rare and is used as “news”.

  30. The term “Conspiracy Theory” was coined by the CIA to marginalize people who did not believe their lies.
    The problem the warmunists are having is that as the government and the media keep publishing more and more lies, sooner or later people tend to not believe a word they say.

  31. How did that saying go from “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues”?

    I believe in nothing, everything is sacred.
    I believe in everything, nothing is sacred.

    All institutional thought becomes dogma, as we see with the whole global warming/change orthodoxy which parallels organized institutional religions. It just becomes faith based and everyone is free to pick their own way to hell, at least in a western democracy. A skeptic has to continually fight off alarmists with facts, which are not listened to anyway but the alarmist position just has to be stated as authority, stomp your feet, wave your arms and make a declaration. Just like organized religion, which if you even think about it for 3 seconds, how could more than one ‘true’ religion be the only true one religion. Absurd. Perhaps this is good for simpletons, but it is not critical, logical thinking. Believe whatever you want, but don’t dare call me a heretic because I don’t believe like you.

    Just like science has now done about anyone who questions climate change. Or the big bang, the age of the universe or questions the present orthodoxy how this all started from some some infinitesimal small point and there was nothing beyond that. Notwithstanding, that this whole premise may be overturned someday easily as a simple illusion, like a mirage, when we understand much more about things in the future. The religionization of science is exactly why we have this stupid CAGW threat always hanging over our head, just like hell is always around the corner for the unbeliever.

    • Great analogy to optical illusions!
      I never thought of that analogy, but have always intuitively known there was something very unscientific about ad hoc explanations for physical phenomenon that are widely accepted for no other reason than that they have not been found to be flatly wrong, or no one has thought of anything better…yet.
      Things like dark matter because the rotational rate of galaxies seems wrong, accelerating cosmic expansion because of anomalous findings when examining distant type 1A supernovae, cosmic expansion because of red shifted light from immensely distant objects, cosmic strings and ‘branes and evaporating black holes and yadda yadda yadda…

      Sure, any and all of the prevailing explanations could be exactly right.
      Or not.
      Will any of the things that are, at present, widely believed to be true, be found to be categorically false at some point n the future?
      One would have to think we have passed some unique cusp in history to think that nothing that a whole lot of smart people currently think is true, turns out to be false.
      One reason is…people are not all that great at coming up with the correct explanations for physical phenomenon on sparse evidence, or based on what seems intuitively obvious.
      It was obvious to everyone in the world for a long time that when something was on fire, some substance was leaving the object that was burning, and at the point of exit was turning into flame. IOW, fire was inside of some materials and burning released it.

      • I should have said that second sentence more carefully: What is unscientific is believing that anything must be the case too wholeheartedly, unscientific to close one’s mind to the possibility of alternate explanations or paradigms.
        There are a lot of different sorts of evidence for an expanding Universe, and running the movie backwards leads to certain conclusions.
        But there have been many examples of beliefs that were overturned which had tons of reasons to think were true.

      • menicholas: IMO, ‘belief’ itself is unscientific. Conclusions from evidence derived via logic… yes. Belief in their truth… not so much.

      • I understand what you are saying, but the word belief applies to simply what is in one’s head upon reaching a conclusion.
        I cannot think of a way to say the following without tripping over semantics.
        I believe warmistas as wrong.
        I know a whole bunch of them are deliberate liars.
        I am pretty sure a lot of others are just deciding what to believe based on what someone else told them is true.

  32. This study bothers me for all the same reasons articulated in the comments above. Namely, that a skepticism in CAGW is predicated on a lack of, as the author’s term it, “epistemic rationality”. (I take it, by this term, that they mean simply rational knowledge…sigh…it’s so wearisome dealing with pseudo scientific disciplines who derive internal merit through the creation of redundant, obfuscatory, and useless vocabulary.)

    At any rate, since it wasn’t clear to me if the paper was describing skepticism about CAGW as an unfounded belief, or the actual belief in CAGW as unfounded, I decided to skim it to find out what they were really saying. Here’s what I came up with…for all who are interested:

    The paper states, “To measure conspiracy beliefs, we assessed participants’ levels of belief (1 = definitely not true, 7 = definitely true) in nine well-known conspiracy theories.”

    The list of “conspiracy beliefs” was not directly reproduced in the paper, but was cited as a reference from a previous paper: “Connecting the dots: Illusory pattern perception predicts belief in conspiracies and the supernatural,” Van Prooijen, Douglas, & Inocencio, in press.

    So I tracked that one down, and in the supporting documents found the Word file with the following:

    “Existing conspiracy belief scale:

    There is often debate about whether or not the public is told the whole truth about various important issues. These questions are designed to assess your beliefs about some of these subjects. Please indicate the degree to which you believe each statement is likely to be true.

    (1 = definitely not true, 5 = definitely true)

    – The US government deliberately conceals a lot of information from the public
    – Ebola is a man-made virus
    – The US government had advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks
    – The US government covered up crucial information in the aftermath of J. F. Kennedy’s assassination
    – The science behind global warming has been invented or distorted out of self-interest
    – Various wars in the Middle East were launched by oil companies
    – The moon landing was a hoax
    – The HIV/aids virus has been genetically engineered to wipe out certain sectors of the population
    – Evidence of unidentified flying objects and extraterrestrial visitors is being suppressed by the government”

    So, there it is. Demonstrable evidence that our skepticism of CAGW is conflated with conspiracy theories and other unfounded beliefs.

    Interestingly, the paper does discuss the idea that individuals with scientific understanding will fit data to their beliefs…but…this is a bit like discovering the wheel. They’ve essentially just confirmed that confirmation bias exists. What a finding! (And this passes as novel scholarship?)

    At any rate, my reaction to this ties in directly with something I’ve been thinking about for a while, that is, how to explain the difference between this skepticism and other, less rational, beliefs. For me it’s extremely apropos since I have a dear college friend who’s been amicably engaging with me on climate change. (He’s a believer…but he’s also a doctor, and has a highly scientific mind. AND, other than this, he’s a near perfect match ideologically to me, so it’s sort of an interesting case study.)

    At any rate, the key difference to this, and the one that seems to be completely misunderstood by the hordes of journalists, media personalities, non-hard-science university professors, and average FB users, is that the DATA IS ALL OUT THERE FOR REVIEW!!! That’s the point I’ve been trying to make to my friend. Reasonable people disagree about this because they have the scientific understanding necessary to review the publicly available data, and have come to different conclusions. The only reason that more people haven’t done so is that they lack the requisite scientific training. And if you take this to it’s logical conclusion, it’s easy to see why skeptics are treated the same as conspiracy-theorists by the true-believers (let’s call them “tb’s”).

    The tb’s, lacking the ability to analytically review the data themselves, are completely blind to the possibility that others might actually be able to do so. And since it’s impossible for them to conceive of the idea that it’s actually possible to understand the science and form different conclusions from the data, they’re forced to believe, by default, that skeptics are forming beliefs in the same manner that conspiracy-theorists do.

    This is further complicated by the dishonest manner in which climate scientists have conducted themselves with regards to the science: Hiding data, refusing to release information, telling the general public that they couldn’t possibly understand climate science because it’s too complicated, and etc. As though climate science is the singular branch of knowledge unattainable by the average joe. Sure, you might understand quantum electro dynamics, you might be a professor in an engineering discipline, you might be an economist trained in stats, you might be able to design complex electronic circuits or design sophisticated modelling algorithms… but you’ll NEVER understand climate science. Only we can!

    Meh! Makes me sick!

    And THIS is the heart of our issue. Somehow, we have to help people understand that this branch of science is knowable. And simply because a tb lacks the training necessary to make a critical review, it does NOT mean the skeptic does also! And if they refuse to accept our word for it when we tell them it’s possible to understand, well…actually…I’m not sure what then. If a tb believes the climate-gnostics, and refuses to pull their head out of the sand, I guess…move on to the next. As has been stated many times before, they’ve chosen this as a matter of faith, and made it their own personal religion. They’ll back their self-appointed priests and you’re simply a heretic. Move on to the sympathetic listener…ignore the barren fields and spread your seeds on fertile ground (to borrow a metaphor).

    Sorry for the rant.


    • Very nicely said. To paraphrase Harlan Ellison, everyone is entitled to an informed opinion (informed being key). To crystallize the difference between believers and rational skeptics it is important to identify which group is forming their opinion based on the data and which is formulating their opinion based on the popular press.

    • rip: I like your rant! I made me realize we need a way to explain climate change in a way that is easier to understand by most people. I write a children’s blog on climate and it’s actually difficult to take complex issues and explain them at 4th grade level. Yet, in a way, that’s the only solution to the problem of those who could understand, but don’t. The tb (love that abbreviation) will never change their minds. We need to reach those who believe, but can learn. Thank you for very eloquently pointing that out. You pretty much made my day with this.

      • Thanks!

        I love the challenge of explaining scientific concepts to kids. When I do it with my own, I’m forced to boil the issue down to it’s most fundamental nature. That in itself often leads to a deeper understanding than I had previously. Good for you for doing the same!

        And thank you for the kind words.


    • Wait a second…are they assuming all of those statements are untrue?
      The government does not conceal information?
      There was no JFK cover-up or whitewash?

    • Thank you rip. I too was disturbed by the last two paragraphs of Anthony’s article but couldn’t find the words to express my discomfiture. I was led by the lede (no pun intended) to think that this study refuted Lewandowsky but I think these studies actually support his position.

    • “So, there it is. Demonstrable evidence that our skepticism of CAGW is conflated with conspiracy theories and other unfounded beliefs.”

      Can skepticism be called a conspiracy theory? Skeptics just point out that advocates have not proven their case. I don’t think that requires a conspiracy.

    • Rip,

      “The US government deliberately conceals a lot of information from the public.”

      The existence of an elaborate classification schema, and governmental organizations to vet individuals for security clearances, and agencies to expose and prosecute violations of security laws, is prima facie evidence that the statement is necessarily true.

      When one has the power to withhold information from the electorate, along with it comes the potential for corruption of a process that is justified on the basis of preventing our enemies from learning things that could allow them to harm us.

      The problem is, because of the classification of information by an anonymous bureaucracy, we can’t determine to what extent information is withheld, and whether information is inappropriately classified to cover up incompetence, malfeasance, illegal activity, or partisanship.

      • I used to work inside that system. From the Reagan to the Bush II administrations (including Clinton), the national security system was very protective of their system and kept the politicians from classifying decisions that were purely political. The system only works when all have confidence in it. That seems to have changed with the Obama administration, but as I retired before he came to office, that is only an outside looking in (with a good deal of what “in” looks like) analysis. It appeared that the Obama administration was attempting to convert every element of the government to a party apparatus. That was very worrying and I am not sure that the Republicans are that interested in dismantling it.

      • I agree wholeheartedly, Clyde. It’s obviously true, but it’s also trivial (not your observation…the statement). (Rare indeed is that which is both true and non-trivial.) Of course the government withholds vast quantities of information…as Owen points out, though, we have a right to expect that it’s done so in an apolitical way.

        I think the really clever bit is the not-so-subtle insinuation that if you believe the government’s anything other than a benevolent force, you’re psychologically aberrant. Unfortunately, this does seem to be a prevailing attitude in at least half of the populace.

        Well…come to think of it, half of the populace seems to think the civil side of government can do no wrong, and the other half feels the same way about the military. Funny and ironic that each of our respective angels is the other’s demon!


    • You might also note that the degree to which one is sceptical of a proposition (or set of propositions) is likely to be proportional to the degree that the proposition is in conflict with one’s more precious prejudices.

      Objectivity is relatively easy when one doesn’t particularly care about an issue. As soon as one has ‘skin in the game’ the rationalising commences.

      • Skeptical –

        I have found this to be very true, personally. I have now reached the general operating procedure of accepting that when I’m most inflamed, impassioned, or otherwise emotional about something…I’m most likely wrong. So, in general, I try to avoid decisions, discussions, and heaven forbid, sending emails, when emotionally charged. I credit this practice for my continued employment. 🙂


    • Ripshin you gave a very good summary of the situation I think.
      I also believe a lot of intelligent people who would otherwise look at the data, don’t want to, because of fear of the social approbation shown to climate skeptics. They are afraid that if they look at the data honestly they would turn into climate change atheists! i.e. non-believers and suffer being outcast from polite society for being antisocial.

    • I have a similar experience with my older sister. Valedictorian in her class. Completed undergrad and medical school. Practicing physician and of course she accepts the AGW narrative.

      The challenge is that doctors (and others in STEM professions) are trained to accept 3rd party research. Whether it is drug treatments, pathologists, or other experts; it is impossible for a physician to personally validate all the results they rely on from the broader profession.

      The 97% meme is extremely powerful to this highly educated constituency and they believe “scientists” adhere to a higher ethical code, because they do as individuals.

      As McIntyre, Steyn and others have exposed the corrupt and nefarious cabal of snake oil salesman posing as climate scientists, interested parties started to see through the fog.

      The compliant media has not excoriated these fraudsters, and continues to publish absurd claims like “Boston snow caused by Global Warming”. They also shield the lack of credibility from broader coverage allowing folks like your friend and my sister to be insulated from the shoddy research holding up the house of cards.

      Unfortunately, we have to wait until Gaia freezes vast areas before the failure of the AGW
      Theory is laid bare.

      • This is a really good point. And further complicated by the fact that our passion is not shared by many. That is, I always joke with my friend that he’s free to tell me to stop talking about climate change whenever he wants, because I realize that he doesn’t share my passion for it. It’s just not that interesting to him, or to many other people (relatively speaking).

        And frankly, I don’t blame them. If my passion were directed towards a more “valuable” subject…I’d be frickin’ king of the world…”soaking it up in a hottub with my soulmate.” As it is, not much more that personal satisfaction from this subject…I don’t even get to alleviate the pain and suffering of my fellow man as do your sister and my friend. Oh well. It is what it is. This is my interest and “imma do me.”


  33. Of course that’s not really what the paper said, they are your garden-variety soft-scientists without any high analytical cognitive abilities of their own, that subscribe to the dogmatic belief that skepticism of CAGW is belief in a “conspiracy theory.” If they were around 60 years ago they would have likely been ice-picking the frontal lobes of anyone the deemed abnormal and if they were around 100 years ago they would likely have been telling anyone that they deemed physically unfit as humans that they were not allowed to have children.

  34. Anthony,
    Your title is: “Skepticism ‘requires high cognitive ability, strong motivation to be rational”

    Their paper concludes more like: “Skepticism of unfounded beliefs requires high cognitive ability as well as strong motivation to be rational”

    The article states:
    “From linking vaccines with autism to climate change skepticism, these widespread conspiracy theories and other unfounded beliefs can lead to harmful behavior, according to Ståhl.

    ‘Many of these beliefs can, unfortunately, have detrimental consequences for individuals’ health choices, as welll as for society as a whole.'”

    The study may demonstrate that climate change skeptics are highly cognitive, anylitical thinkers, but it also seems to conclude that they may not be as “motivated by logic and reason” as climate change “acceptors.” (Whatever the crap you define that as)

    In the end, we’re back to semantics…what definition are they using for “climate change skeptic”? The article implies it’s synonymous with “global warming hoaxers”. And neither one of those terms as stated applies accurately to the vast majority of readers here, although Lew and others might think otherwise.

      • Well, OK.
        Maybe he is simply the only one who is not either looking for a handout or is a simpering ninny.

      • Nonsense. If he was the only rational person, who’d be left to elect him?

        But even that’s wrong. It’s not clear he’s rational, nor is it clear those who elected him are. He’s certainly not the best person for the job. You make far too many assumptions with this claim.

      • “Nonsense. If he was the only rational person, who’d be left to elect him?”

        I did qualify it by saying “among world leaders” because I think there are a lot of rational people out there, just not many of them are running for Office.

      • Bartleby: “But even that’s wrong. It’s not clear he’s rational, nor is it clear those who elected him are.”

        It’s pretty clear to me. The irrational thing to do would have been to elect Hillary.

        Bartleby: “He’s certainly not the best person for the job.”

        And who would be better in your opinion?

        Bartleby: “You make far too many assumptions with this claim.”

        Maybe, but I would like to see who you think is more rational or better for the job than Trump.

  35. Did we read the same study? Their claim is that skepticism in an unfounded belief requires analytical skills. They classify skepticism in climate change as one such unfounded belief therefore skepticism in exactly what you believe requires analytical skills not the other way around.
    Now I understand what you are saying in that our skepticism in their unfounded theories requires analytical skills but that is not what this study is saying.

  36. It boils down to this, so pay attention.

    1 – Religion feeds the irrational part of the brain.

    2 – Science feeds the rational part of the brain.

    3 – You have to have both parts fed in some way to keep yourself balanced.

    4 – CAGWers were not brought up in any kind of religious beliefs, not even paganism, ergo, their thought processes are out of balance. They’re having brain f**rts.

    5 – Using pop figures like Algore, that bow-tie fellow, bodaprez, and some silly group exercises like mindless screaming at the sky feeds the irrational part of the brain, hence CAGW is somehow turned into a religious experience, including that grinning, idiotic high that occurs with a religious experience. It is called an epiphany. It happens in converts to any belief system of any kind, period. A psychologist did a study on this response by interviewing people, especially teenagers, who had converted to Daesh’s brand of Islam.
    Same thing: they get a high, called an epiphany, that satisfies an empty place in their emotions.
    You see it in people who go to rock concerts, for example. They’ll tell you how “good” they feel afterwards. When these people want to criminalize and punish those who do not agree with their views, it has become a religious order, period. (The Pope should shut his yap and stay out of it.)

    6 – The rational part of your brain tells you they are silly, uninformed, ignorant, etc., but this has corrupted a branch of science, which is supposed to be logical and orderly, into a religious experience. All the logic in the world won’t deter them from their goal, which is to convert you, the unbeliever, to their belief system. This is not how science works, but it is what they are turning it into, just like conspiracy theorists turn a horrifying event like the 9/11/2001 hijackings into government conspiracies, with no thought for the pain they bring to the families who lost people in those crashes.

    I think that should logically explain the whole thing.

    • Sara, it follows then that all Exxon need do is hold a series of group rallies that involve a charismatic speaker, inspiring music, and lots of jumping and shouting. The tide of opinion would then turn against CAGW and the planet would be safe from religious zealotry (at least for a time).

      Unfortunately, it seems real scientists have trouble engaging that tactic, while false messiahs like Algore and Adolph dote on the stuff. Oh well.

    • You just nailed it, Bartleby. And I think the Warmians, like conspiracy theorists, want the “bad stuff” agenda instead of the “real stuff” agenda, because it gives them someone to blame for something.

  37. Now they just need to study the teen and millennial mind in context with Bernie’s utopian claims and the survey results of being indifferent to communism.

  38. I don’t believe that skepticism of (or gullibility to) all conspiracy theories is a measure of cognitive ability. Cognitive ability, and a knowledge of the proven truths of science gives a person the means to evaluate a conspiracy theory with facts to discern whether it is true, false, or “somewhat true” (there are lots of gray areas in nature).

    For example, there are some conspiracy-mongers who claim that people within the Federal government are trying to poison people by releasing toxic chemicals from planes, and claim that the contrails sometimes seen behind jets are actually toxic chemicals, or “chemtrails” (they are really mostly water vapor that sometimes forms ice at those altitudes).

    I have worked for 16 years modeling the dispersion of pollutants in the atmosphere, and releasing toxic chemicals at high altitudes is one way of ensuring that ground-level concentrations are low, which is why the EPA forces manufacturing plants to release pollutants from tall smokestacks. Any toxic chemicals released at 30,000 feet altitude will be extremely dilute by the time they reach the ground, and have no effect on life on earth. Anyone wanting to poison people would be far more effective by releasing toxic chemicals in a subway station than releasing them from planes, which is why I find the “chemtrail” theory extremely far-fetched.

    But someone who has not studied the dispersion of pollutants in the atmosphere may be more likely to believe such a theory.

    The problem that skeptics of AGW theory face is the media conflating AGW skepticism with skepticism about the Holocaust (a known historical fact) or the moon landing (another known historical fact), or somehow claiming that AGW skepticism is “unscientific” because some scientists believe it to be true. Some millenials born after 1975 or so may try to deny the moon landing, but their parents believe it because they watched it on TV. I was born after the Holocaust, but I believe it happened because my parents saw photos of the concentration camps, and told me about them.

    As for skeptics of AGW theory being “unscientific”, science is supposed to be about forming theories and testing them against empirical evidence. If the climate models that were run in 1990 or 2000 have over-predicted the temperature rise through 2017 by a factor of 2 or 3, any clear-thinking person can discern that they are unreliable for predicting future temperatures. This is why the media and the AGW scaremongers try to hide these differences from the public, and/or “adjust” (fudge) past temperature records to try to prove the models correct.

    • yes – but what about the recorded temps from 1990 to the present day?

      which show an actual recorded increase?

      • There are many recorded increases and decreases in temperature Griff. It’s cause that’s at issue. Proponents of the AGW hypothesis never fail to overlook this, or to conflate natural variation with human activity. This is the essential nature of the debate though, which is what frustrates AGW skeptics to the point of distraction; it’s like arguing with a brick.

      • Griff,
        Once (if ever) you understand the difference between accuracy and precision, you will also come to understand that we don’t know as much about temperature trends as you currently think. Also, once you understand (if ever) the difference between process models and validated computer models, you will understand how little we understand about how the global environment works wrt temperature, precipitation, etc. If you ever get to that point, then we can have a rational discussion about any “actual recorded [temperature] increase.”

    • Amazing how that albedo from snow cover over all of Canada really cools most of the entire continent. And it all basically started in very early November this year, at least 2-3 weeks earlier than our recent normals. Ok, it is an early fall and just a La Nina watch so far, but will probably be a full on La Nina by March. Let’s not assume that the last 30-40 years of very minor warming can’t end, and we slowly cool/drift in the other direction either for the next 30 years. Isn’t that just natural variability?

      • Even though cooling, substantial and undeniable cooling, would almost surely be quite detrimental to human interests, at this point I am not only thinking that is what is most likely, but hoping it happens, and the sooner the better.
        Is there any way that global cooling to a temp lower than the 1990s can be reconciled with warmistaology?

      • “Is there any way that global cooling to a temp lower than the 1990s can be reconciled with warmistaology?”

        No, I don’t think so, because we are not dealing with a logical premise to begin with. Or that the little bit of warming we have gotten since the depths of the LIA has been entirely beneficial, it being the coldest period on record since the YD events 12,900 years ago. I really have no idea what the alarmists are crying about, or what magical temperature they would like to take us back to, if they could. We have had it pretty good the last 40 years, which has enabled us to grow to 7.5 billion people.

        I think it does cool slowly over the next La Nina shorter period, which maybe continues or reverses the Pause especially if SC 25 is as weak as some think as soon as it flips over too. And if the PDO and AMO goes negative then everything is lining up for the natural variability to turn downwards for a fair amount of time. While this may be a time for scientists to really understand the sensitivity of CO2 and the effect humans have had on the planet, my fear is that then the Warmistas would say “see, look, our attempt at mitigating carbon into the atmosphere is working and we need to keep it up, if not do more”. They won’t be happy until we are in another LIA, and the economy is shattered. Then we will really have to pour on the coal to survive.

  39. “From linking vaccines with autism to climate change skepticism, these widespread conspiracy theories and other unfounded beliefs can lead to harmful behavior,”

    Stahl appears to fall on his face with this. Neither belief is based on conspiracy., nor are they the same type of skepticism. The autism/vaccine link is the acceptance of a hypothesis based on poorly designed experiment (which reduces to a lack of evidence) while AGW criticism is a refusal to accept a hypothesis based on lack of evidence. Neither are conspiracy theories.

    If the authors aren’t able to differentiate, and classify both as a belief in conspiracies, it’s unlikely they’re capable of designing a useful survey.

  40. The unfounded belief here is that CO2 has anything more than a minor role in the determination of Earth’s climate.

  41. “From linking vaccines with autism to climate change skepticism, these widespread conspiracy theories and other unfounded beliefs can lead to harmful behavior, according to Ståhl.”

    I h ave read three stories on WUWT today and this being the third one, I notice that all three seem to point towards support of CAGW rather than skepticism of such.
    Outgassing from continental drift claims CO2 drives the temperature.
    We have the Global Warming Physical Process Backwards also argues that CO2 drives the temperature.

    Should I even bother to read anthropomorphism? Or is it too going to argue that what is not proven is right or I am not rational?

  42. So called “conspiracy theories” are some of the most interesting things to look a with an open scientific mind. You can of course find plenty of them all over the internet ranging from the old classics, but still going strong (e.g. moon) to the more recent (e.g. no bullet holes in Texas church) . I won’t mention any more by name, you probably know most of the classics anyway and you can pick and choose to suit your own tastes.

    Try treating them all EXACTLY the same as any open scientific investigation. Have an open mind. Ignore how offbeat or kooky it seems. Just apply science and rigorous enquiry.

    Rigorous enquiry often leads you down a useful path when those asked pertinent questions fail to answer the question but instead suggest you are stupid/offensive for asking it. You will have seen this behaviour before in other aspects of your life. Draw on the experience. It’s probably relevant.

    Careful thinking about the expected physical reality of a situation compared with photographic or video evidence may throw light on “anomalies”. What possible explanations can there be? Be aware that all evidence can change over time so keep your own copies of stuff found on your own storage media. Many instances of tweaking of photos take place slowly bit by bit in certain areas.

    Experiment or thought experiment can be useful to eliminate certain possibilities. I personally give a very heavy weight to actual experiment and have debunked debunkers quite easily sometimes with a home set up of a lamp, a ruler and a camera (argument over shadows for example).

    All the above is quite easy for a thinking person with a scientific mind . The really HARD bit is convincing the sheeple and/or putting up with their incessant bleating when you have actually discovered the TRUTH of something. What we need is a carefully crafted course in how to cope with knowing the truth when everyone around you thinks the opposite. Can some psychologist have a go at this for us?

    Relevant quote;
    “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned”

  43. From DC Cowboy “An Agnostic would not say they don’t believe in God, they would say that the existence or non-existence of God(s) is not “knowable” by humans.”

    I don’t think that’s correct. The ‘not knowing’ would preclude any such definitive statement as ‘Not Knowable”

    An agnostic is simply someone who says, “I don’t know. Show me some evidence” Declaring it ‘not knowable” put the person over on the Belief side of the ledger.

    I have disagreement with some of the examples. It is fairly easy to find actual evidence that some of those ‘conspiracies’ exist – remember a conspiracy is simply 2 or more people agreeing on something and keeping it secret.

    e.g. Vaccines – looking at the actual data as held by the USA and UK shows every illness, including Polio, for which there are vaccines trended DOWN drastically BEFORE the vaccine was discovered. Polio is particularly interesting because there is an ‘official’ explanation – Polio numbers dropped because earlier doctors were diagnosing diseases with similar symptoms as polio and once they were better trained the numbers dropped.

    What they DON’T say is that means the ‘wonders’ of the vaccine are nowhere nears as wonderful – polio clearly was NOT as endemic as they tell us.

    Dr Maurice Hilleman is on video laughing about how vaccines introduced SV-40 into the population and how they even tracked where it came from.

    e.g. While I think the Moon landing was real, there are some questions that need to be answered and the ridicule doesn’t help us get them. e.g. the tinfoil level of protection against the radiation and van Allen belts, The discovered pieces of video showing discrepancies in the video the world was shown.

    My personal thought is perhaps the US DID make an Earth-based film of the Moon landing, ‘just in case’ – it was Cold War days – imagine the blow to national pride if they’d lost the astronauts?

    e.g. Ghosts – I have never seen one and TBH, do not expect to, but I have travelled out of body a few times, a couple of them deliberately and once you do that, your opinion of such things alters. I am convinced by experience we have bodies like we have cars and just as a good driver has the car become an extension of Self while they drive, so our bodies become Self, but more so. It’s harder to get out of a body than a car but I think at the end of life we discard the vehicle and go find a new one.

    e.g. 911 conspiracy – it is difficult to know anything about physics and believe what happened. Whatever explanations they gave for planes disappearing into a tiny hole, for kerosene somehow managing to drop 3 buildings in their footprint or for aluminium tubes somehow shearing through massive steel columns, as soon as we bring actual physics to the table, the explanations fail.
    Does anyone really accept a guy in a cave thousands of miles from the scene, somehow managed to exactly emulate the military exercises planned for that exact day?

    We have become so dumbed down the MSM can say almost anything and probably 70% of the people will not just believe it, but fight to maintain the belief.

    It’s not just a wacky conspiracy theory if there is evidence for it. It’s not wacky uf physics says No, nor if enough personal experiences build a case across the world.

    we know from the Church of AGW how FEW conspirators it takes to build a worldwide consensus that is false-to-facts – let’s not be in the position of laughing about people who have realised a similar thing about other issues.

    • I know a lot about physics, know exactly what I saw that day, have watched tens of hours of footage over and over again, and I believe what happened.
      The buildings did not do anything even close to falling into their own footprint. Are you kidding?
      A 767 is not “an aluminum tube”.
      500 mph is very fast.
      So, which is it…did you want a bigger hole, or did you want the planes to go from 500 to 0 mph and fall into the street?
      Landing gear, jet engines, structural members…it is only the skin that is thin and light.
      The planes had a takeoff weight of 400,000 pounds, including 10,000 gallons, that is almost 70,000 pounds by itsewlf in huge tanks that also had mass and structural rigidity.
      The plane is not a solid block of steel, or it would have made a cartoon cutout in the side of the building in the shape of the plane…as it is some parts of the plane disintegrated and some did not, but all of the pieces were still going 500 mph.
      If all of the outer columns were sheered through, what would have supported the trusses in those locations?
      they were heavily damaged, and some were broken and bent by the engines, landing gear, and other massive parts.
      Personally, I have not done a whole lot of up close observations of heavy things hitting strong but not solid objects at 500mph.
      Have you?
      Do you figure it is intuitively obvious how much damage should occur and exactly what should have happened instead of what did?

      Hear is what it looks like when 100+ story skyscrapers collapse into NOT their own footprint:

      Own footprint my eye.
      I do not know how this is still being repeated.
      There are a million videos of them falling OUTWARD, peeling out on all four sides.
      And after they fell some core pillars are still standing many hundreds of feet up…but unsupported they too fell.

      • But even the aluminum skin is very strong in fact.
        Next time you walk onto a plane, have a close look and a feel of the “aluminum tube” comprising the skin of the jet…if you took a piece and put it in a vise and attached plyers to it, you would not be able to even start to bend it.
        I know this because I have tried, in a physics class using a piece of a plane that was smashed to smithereens in a air show crash.
        You think a 400,000 pound jet that flys at 500 mph and is highly pressurized and withstands this thousands of times over tens of years is a aluminum tube?
        You must not be familiar with the actual strength to weight ratio of an average Festivus Pole.
        Airplane skin is stronger dan dat!

      • In case anyone is still reading this, here is a reverse angle video from most of the others, from a baot on the Hudson River, of the second tower falling.
        You can see from the moment it started to fall on the other side, it was still intact on this side (note the collapse beginning on the right side of the break point)
        On this side, you can see all four sides of the outer walls of the building peeling out and away…it is nothing like an implosion.
        Also, no puffs of air on this side to speak of (the puffs some are calling squibs or likening to explosions are just all the air being forced out of the windows as the building pancaked, shooting out the fire and air and debris as it went).
        Quite saying or believing that the buildings fell into their own footprint, nothing like that happened.
        Last thing to note…after the skin had fallen away, the core columns can be plainly seen to still be standing, almost the full height of the building. These buildings fell exactly as I would expect something incredibly massive to be wrecked asunder by it’s own gigantic mass that had lost the strength on one point to support the weight above it…it fell, and nothing in the structure could ever have stopped that once it started moving:

    • And since this is a science site, I think it is fitting to conclude the 911 truther debunking with a video made by real scientists, a animated reconstruction of what could be expected given the physics of the situation.
      It matches what is seen incredibly well…worth a look even if this subject does not interest you:

  44. Not all psychology papers are of Lewandowsky’s ineptitude.

    The following 2 are not survey-based and both draw more flattering conclusions about those they call ‘Conspiracists’ – note the term itself suggests to me these researchers are not particularly pro-sceptics. I’d have used the term ‘Constrarians’ to oppose the ‘Conventionalists”
    In a world where we KNOW the MSM and Govts lie to us as a FIRST choice, (think how many pollies have told unnecessary career-ending lies that got exposed) where our rights and freedoms are being stripped from us with false flag and obfuscated bills being passed, (think of the FOI Acts around the world, that for the first time, put into law that elected Govts could hide information from their employers) being a crontrarian is a saner move than simply accepting the pap we’re being fed.
    The behaviour of the conventionalists shows strongly, even AFTER the researchers removed all the comments that were pure vitriol. We have all experienced this, where posting a link to a paper or questioning the status quo as presented by the priests of AGW brings a rabid attack directed personally instead of at the data.

  45. Anthony,
    All you have done here is infer that AGW is a conspiracy theory —-without evidence. This is why you’re stuck on the outside of the scientific realm.

  46. ”From linking vaccines with autism to climate change skepticism, these widespread conspiracy theories and other unfounded beliefs can lead to harmful behavior, according to Ståhl.

    Ummm. There is ironclad proof that CAGW advocacy is a conspiracy. Many here know that. The study would put us in the wrong bucket right from the start thus invalidating the research.

  47. Most people come by their opinions the same way animals do, they base them on experience. This is not unreasonable. People believe the world is flat because it seems flat. It is a lot of work to think about reasons for why the world may be round and some of those reasons involve math. If a person experiences the supernatural is it easier to believe in the supernatural or to try to understand neurology. If someone came of age during in the cold 70’s and then experienced the hot 80’s but never experienced the hot 30’s it is not unreasonable for them to believe that the world is warming at an alarming rate.

    It is also not unreasonable to follow the herd. If you don’t want to think about a decision very much and yet want to make a reasonably good decision just do what everyone else is doing. If everyone else is buying a certain product there is probably a good reason. Are there exceptions? Millions! Do marketers try to exploit this by trying to make their product look more popular than it is? Of course! But unless you want to spend your time agonizing over every decision then just go with the rest of the pack.

    Let us accept without proof that the more humans act like ‘not animals’ the better it is for everyone. In this case let’s assume that the more citizens who think about where the herd might be going rather than follow blindly then the better it is for that society/herd.

    Some people think about where the herd is headed because thinking is easier for them so they do more of it. We call these people smart.We can’t make everyone smarter yet, maybe someday. Some people think about where the herd is headed because they have been taught thinking as a value. These people value thinking in the same way clean people value clean. Yes it is hard to do but look at the result when you are done. We should encourage this and also give people the intellectual tools they need.

    Two intellectual tools that people need are logic and meta-cognition. Logic is hard and must be explicitly taught and logical fallacies explicitly un-taught. Meta-cognition doesn’t give hard answers but it helps one to get closer to the true answer. People need to be taught to ask ‘why do I believe this? Have I really thought this through? Was I nurtured this way or is there something about my nature that drives me to believe this way. Maybe I have ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) and that is why I always believe the minority opinion. Maybe I’m so sensitive to rejection that I believe whatever the majority believes’. It doesn’t change any facts but it does change the weight that we assign to various facts.

    There is one other key ingredient for clear thinking and it is very pertinent to the AGW debate. Humility is the catalyst of truth. Most people only change their opinions at high temperatures and pressures. Humility allows the truth reaction to take place under less extreme conditions. Marketers know that pride keeps people from changing their minds so they focus their efforts at the young. When the young become old they will be too proud to admit that they made a wrong decision and stay with the brand/idea. Humility allows us to listen to other people. The strength of humanity is our ability to work together. None of us alone are smart enough to build a jumbo jet and none of us are smart enough to come up with every deep thought and every possible counter objection to every objection. That is why we need to have civilized discussions. For a humble person listening to reasons why to believe something that presently don’t believe is no lose. If the new reasons change their mind and that is a good thing. If they don’t then they know even better why they believe the things that they do. For the proud, listening to contrary opinions is just plain painful. What if one is forced to admit that one is wrong. The consequences are too terrible to contemplate (yes that is sarcasm).

    So as individuals and as a society we need to teach the value of thinking. We also need to teach the logical and the meta-cognitive tools that lead to good thinking. We also need to encourage people to approach thinking with an attitude of humility.

    • “If a person experiences the supernatural is it easier to believe in the supernatural or to try to understand neurology.”

      False dichotomy. You can also take up cooking.

      But seriously, “neurology” does not explain how it is that a voice told me to change lanes and avoid a head-on collision that would have happened moments later. Neurology does not explain how it is possible that a voice told me someone needed assistance (named the someone but I’m not repeating here) and discovered that his daughter had been in an automobile accident and I spent the rest of the day with that family providing assistance. Supernatural also isn’t an explanation.

      So you know what I do? Basically nothing. I don’t explain. There’s not much to explain; merely to report on experiences.

  48. Atheism is not a belief or a religion. It is the absence of a belief…. the absence of a belief in magical people in the sky.

    The burden of proof lies on people who make a positive assertion. The lack of a belief requires no ‘supporting evidence’.

    • “Atheism is not a belief or a religion. It is the absence of a belief…. the absence of a belief in magical people in the sky. “

      Ah, well then in that case I guess I must be an atheist because I do not believe in magical people in the sky. They live under mushrooms (duh!)

  49. “The moon landing and global warming are hoaxes.”

    Stopped reading right there. Conflating these two very different subjects makes his predetermined argument a forgone conclusion. I’ve no time to waist on stupidity.

  50. “Why does belief in the paranormal, conspiracy theories, and various other phenomena that are not backed up by evidence remain widespread in modern society? ”
    This premise makes the article questionable right from the start.
    Why does belief in ‘official stories’ that are not backed up by verifiable evidence, remain widespread in modern society? This is the question that is legitimate!

  51. Labeling those that do not accept the AGW dogma as conspiracy theorists belittles the journey many of us took to reach the conclusion. Like many, I have voraciously poured through content here and other places and reached the logical conclusion from the evidence.

    While the key points leading to my conclusion are too many to list, some highlights include:

    Credibility of the experts:
    Mann caught excluding data that did not fit the narrative
    Climategate showing collusion
    Mann & Trenberth erroneous attributions of Boston snow, hurricanes, etc.
    (How can experts not know basic weather phenomenon)
    Just about everything Hanson and Schmidt have said proves unsupportable

    Physics of climate change:
    We are talking a delta of 100 ppm on CO2 some how drives earth’s climate
    Sun is 99.99% of all mass & energy in solar system – constant in climate science
    Water, water, water – everything about the physics of water says it can’t be CO2
    There is no way a cold atmosphere can heat a warm ocean by minute changes in CO2
    AGW makes zero sense for 70% of the planet’s surface

    Every key indicator (SLR, CO2 levels, ocean acidification) has been greater or less in earth’s history
    All the “extreme” weather events are just normal

    Albeit brief, that is a short view of my journey. Curious to hear others..l

    • “Albeit brief, that is a short view of my journey. Curious to hear others.”

      My journal is similar. Until “Climategate” I didn’t think about it much; it was a rather expensive hobby for people to pursue, no worse and no better than studying the mating habits of moths. Climategate blew the lid off and suddenly this wasn’t just an expensive hobby. It took at least a year of study to glean what so many AGW’ers deprecatingly call “basic physics” which in my case was mostly chemistry; the behavior of carbon dioxide. Finding useful information untainted by global warming was remarkably challenging. I also explored “in situ” scenarios; some physics from Lubos Motl for instance, learned about “phonons” which are like “photons” but deal with mechanical transfer of energy. In the near-surface atmosphere CO2 rarely gets a chance to emit photons in any direction; mechanical collisions transfer heat energy to nearby non-radiating molecules.

      The effect is similar; heat transfer out to space is delayed somewhat but it doesn’t re-radiate back into the ground. It’s in the air. This causes convection, rising air eventually is thin enough that CO2 can emit; and at that altitude it also starts to absorb heat from other molecules and emit that, too.

      All of this happens much more often with water vapor which is why to observe the effect of CO2 vs water vapor visit a desert where the day-night temperature swing is enormous because CO2 simply cannot prevent loss of heat; but water vapor excels at moderating the day-night temperature swing. Much of that phenomenon isn’t due to water vapor interaction with infrared but rather its heat of fusion or enthalpy.

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