Clueless study: Can social media networks reduce political polarization on climate change?

From the Universoty of Pemmesylvania and the “obviously they’ve never engaged with Michael Mann or Gavin Schmidt” department comes this laughable study that suggests “incorrect interpretations” of climate data can be cured by interaction on social media. Yeah, riiiiight.

Can social media networks reduce political polarization on climate change?

A study from the Annenberg School for Communication shows that exposure to anonymous, bipartisan social networks can lead liberals and conservatives to improve their forecasting of global-climate trends

Social media networks, which often foster partisan antagonism, may also offer a solution to reducing political polarization, according to new findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from a team led by University of Pennsylvania sociologist Damon Centola.

The Penn researchers asked 2,400 Republicans and Democrats to interpret recent climate-change data on Arctic sea-ice levels. Initially, nearly 40 percent of Republicans incorrectly interpreted the data, saying that Arctic sea-ice levels were increasing; 26 percent of Democrats made the same mistake. However, after participants interacted in anonymous social media networks–sharing opinions about the data and its meaning for future levels of Artic sea ice–88 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of Democrats correctly analyzed it, agreeing that sea-ice levels were dropping.

Republicans and Democrats who were not permitted to interact with each other in social media networks but instead had several additional minutes to reflect on the climate data before updating their responses remained highly polarized and offered significantly less accurate forecasts.

“New scientific information does not change people’s minds. They can always interpret it to match their beliefs,” says Centola, director of Penn’s Network Dynamics Group and author of the new book “How Behavior Spreads.” “But, if you allow people to interact with each other in egalitarian social networks, in which no individual is more powerful than another, we find remarkably strong effects of bipartisan social learning on eliminating polarization.”

To test this notion for politically charged topics like climate change, Centola, along with Penn doctoral student Douglas Guilbeault and recent Penn Ph.D. graduate Joshua Becker, constructed an experimental social media platform, which they used to test how different kinds of social media environments would affect political polarization and group accuracy.

Their study was motivated by NASA’s 2013 release of new data detailing historical trends in monthly levels of Arctic sea ice. “NASA found, to its dismay, that a lot of people were misinterpreting the graph to say that there would actually be more Arctic sea ice in the future rather than less,” Guilbeault explains. “Conservatives in particular were susceptible to this misinterpretation.”

The researchers wondered how social media networks might alter this outcome, so they randomly assigned participants to one of three experimental groups: a political-identity setup, which revealed the political affiliation of each person’s social media contacts; a political-symbols setup, in which people interacted anonymously through social networks but with party symbols of the donkey and the elephant displayed at the bottom of their screens; and a non-political setup, in which people interacted anonymously. Twenty Republicans and 20 Democrats made up each social network.

Once randomized, every individual then viewed the NASA graph and forecasted Arctic sea-ice levels for the year 2025. They first answered independently, and then viewed peers’ answers before revising their guesses twice more. The study outcomes surprised the researchers in several respects.

“We all expected polarization when Republicans and Democrats were isolated,” says Centola, who is also an associate professor in Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, “but we were amazed to see how dramatically bipartisan networks could improve participants’ judgments.” In the non-political setup, for example, polarization disappeared entirely, with more than 85 percent of participants agreeing on a future decrease in Arctic sea ice.

“But,” Centola adds, “the biggest surprise–and perhaps our biggest lesson–came from how fragile it all was. The improvements vanished completely with the mere suggestion of political party. All we did was put a picture of an elephant and a donkey at the bottom of a screen, and all the social learning effects disappeared. Participants’ inaccurate beliefs and high levels of polarization remained.”

That last finding reveals that even inconspicuous elements of a social media environment or of a media broadcast can hinder bipartisan communications. “Simple ways of framing a political conversation, like incorporating political iconography, can significantly increase the likelihood of polarization,” Guilbeault says.

Instead, Centola says, put people into situations that remove the political backdrop. “Most of us are biased in one way or another. It’s often unavoidable. But, if you eliminate the symbols that drive people into their political camps and let them talk to each other, people have a natural instinct to learn from one another. And that can go a long way toward lessening partisan conflict.”


Funding for the research came, in part, from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneer Grant, and the National Institutes of Health’s Tobacco Centers for Regulatory Control.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
September 4, 2018 9:47 am

I’m pretty sure this site and others are systematically shadowbanned. That is how they try to address this issue. I know our site is. Here is an example.

Note: This Post may be being Shadow Banned on FB. It has 131 Facebook Shares, but a relatively few views for so many shares. Most views are coming from Bloggers ReBlogging it.

Reply to  CO2isLife
September 4, 2018 9:54 am

Most people who use Facebook have tuned-out the climate wars.

There are of course activists on both sides using social media, punching back, counter punching claims, then blocking. Which is why most everyday people, more concerned about posting pictures of their cats, dogs, and grandchildren have tuned out the political stuff. And climate change is nothing but a political movement. Fueled by biased, unethical researchers.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 4, 2018 11:19 am


In my limited experience of facebook, most of it’s users are more interested in meaningless gossip than anything serious.

Those that took an interest in the Scottish referendum were, in the main, ignorant, spittle flecked ranters aggressively demanding everyone agree with them because it was a nationalistic issue, little to do with the practical or economics of the question.

I don’t think I’ve used FB since I started visiting WUWT but I do recall the enormous amount of ill informed opinions on the subject of climate change. I just couldn’t debate it since I didn’t know enough about the subject. Hence my seeking out information from both sided of the debate.

I wouldn’t bother visiting FB again to discuss climate change because my experience of the Scottish referendum has convinced me that climate alarmists are at least as ill informed and overly emotional on the subject as nationalistic Scot’s.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 4, 2018 7:56 pm

Have you seen ‘The Staircase’ on Netflix? The North Carolina Prosecutor’s office is to justice what the IPCC is to climate science. We may not know who/what the culprit is, but we sure as heck know there is a lot of unethical behaviour going on.

September 4, 2018 9:52 am

Social media networks are a major source of political polarization about climate change (and a host of other issues).

They certainly will never reduce political polarization of climate change.

Bryan A
Reply to  Bsl
September 4, 2018 10:12 am

Absolutely…If you want to politicize an issue, post it on Facebook.
Then ban/delete all comments that differ from your own point of view on the subject.
Even Facebook as an entity is very politically leaning Left on most issues with far more Right Wing views and posters being both deleted and banned respectively.

Russ Wood
Reply to  Bryan A
September 6, 2018 3:07 am

Mind you, BookFace has (so far) not blocked a skeptic page “Climate change is natural”:
It’s very political, but isn’t that CAGW all over?

September 4, 2018 9:56 am

Big tech is certainly good at censoring millions of Americans as we have seen recently.

Reply to  Cascadian
September 4, 2018 11:32 am


And what better way to spawn a new free expression medium, as FB once was in its early days.

Reply to  Cascadian
September 4, 2018 2:49 pm

I am sympathetic to your statement, but must object to the word censorship, which must be exclusively refer to GOVERNMENT-sensorship, i.e., if private organisations filter, that cannot and should not be called censorship. Let’s not make the mistake of our opponents, so ley’s refrain from Orwellian Doublespeak.

Reply to  CyrilWentzel
September 4, 2018 5:11 pm

Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Definition of censor
1 : a person who supervises conduct and morals: such as
a : an official who examines materials (such as publications or films) for objectionable matter

Government censors deleted all references to the protest.

b : an official (as in time of war) who reads communications (such as letters) and deletes material considered sensitive or harmful

Facebook can certainly censor content on its platform. It owns and controls it. By the constitution the Government cannot censor speech. By the same constitution Facebook can say, or not say(publish) whatever it wants.

The article refers to a NASA article and graph.
The NASA graphs pretty clearly show that Arctic sea ice hit a low in 2012 and has increased since, including 2017 and 2018.

Smart Rock
Reply to  Philo
September 4, 2018 8:34 pm

Philo – the article states that it was ice-extent data released in 2013 that was used in the “test”.

If you look at the 2013 ice curve, the summer minimum ice extent was almost 50 percent higher than the 2012 (5.07 wadhams vs 3.39). How this shows a declining ice extent, beats me. I suppose you need to be a climate scientist to understand these subtleties.

You can see the annual curves at:

note 1 wadham = 1 million km² – a unit of measurement used at WUWT, named in honour of Peter “the arctic will be ice-free in 2013” Wadhams, professor of applied mathematics at Cambridge University, and an arctic climate “expert”*

The ice areas are based on a minimum of 15 percent ice, for a unit area to be “ice covered”. As a parameter, it lacks a certain rigor and IMHO should never be used to try and identify trends (except maybe looking at multi-year numbers for a qualitative estimate of a trend).

* With experts like these, who needs uneducated idiots?

Reply to  CyrilWentzel
September 4, 2018 5:35 pm

Censor: “a person whose job is to read books, watch films, etc. in order to remove anything offensive from them, or who reads private letters, especially ones sent during war or from prison, to remove parts considered unsuitable” (Cambridge Dictionary). No mention of government. But it is exactly what FB and others have hired people to do., in the modern setting. So the use of the word “Censorship” is accurate.

September 4, 2018 9:56 am

JAXA Arctic Sea Ice Extent looks oddly like it’s reached – or nearly reached – minimum.
Must be an illusion – way too early surely?

Bryan A
Reply to  Phil Salmon
September 4, 2018 10:15 am

I see what you mean. Arctic Temps are now at -2 as well so the refreeze should commence shortly

Reply to  Bryan A
September 4, 2018 10:56 am

The open waters will still receive sunlight energy until about 21 September equinox slowing refreezing. Further, 37ppthousand salt seawater needs below -2 C to freeze.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 4, 2018 12:38 pm

The surface melt water ponds do begin re-freezing each night (radiant cooling, convection and evaporation losses exceed the little heat gained from the sun during the day) after 12 August (78 north example). The Russian North Pole extended sea ice camps confirmed this mid-August date for refreezing. Your 21 September date is arbitrary, not valid for most of the arctic sea ice. Not valid for the actual amount of heat energy being absorbed and reflected.

The southern edge of the sea ice in September is NOT down at the Arctic Circle, but much further north – up past 78 north.

Reply to  Bryan A
September 4, 2018 12:34 pm

Yes. Judith Curry (and all other sea ice explorers actually measuring the data up there) report the surface water melt ponds begin re-freezing each night on 12 August – then remelting through the day only to refreeze again the next night. Each night’s re-frozen ice is thicker than the previous night.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Phil Salmon
September 4, 2018 11:01 am

I’ve noticed this, too. It looks like Arctic sea ice minimum is about two weeks early. Also, multi season ice has an expanded area and we are 6 years past the minimum ice area.
I have concluded that Arctic sea ice is at the early stages of a protracted expansion.
As Northern sea ice expands the Arctic will become less indicative of marine temperatures and more “continental” (colder). This will cause temperatures South of N60 to be colder as well, especially winter temperatures.
Overall, we are dropping back into a period similar to the 1940-1975 period with the difference being that the globe has seen positive natural variation since approximately 1800 so we won’t get quite as cold as that period.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Phil Salmon
September 4, 2018 11:43 am

It could be a random uptick. See the other graphs for 2007, 2012, and 2015 and you can spot upticks before the true upturn. I’d wait another 2 weeks before saying for sure

September 4, 2018 9:57 am

Calling everyone that disagrees with them….bigots racists and homophobes…is so endearing

Tom Halla
Reply to  Latitude
September 4, 2018 10:06 am

You forgot a tool of big oil or a Russian bot.

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 4, 2018 10:32 am

LOL….and a ton of etc’s

The Russia thing is hysterical…and they don’t even realize it

Reply to  Latitude
September 4, 2018 10:45 am

I could be one, in my student days I was fluent in russian.

Reply to  vukcevic
September 4, 2018 11:37 am


I was always russian around.

Sorry, moscow, dinners ready!


Reply to  HotScot
September 4, 2018 11:41 am

that is so lame….it made me laugh! LOL

Reply to  HotScot
September 4, 2018 1:11 pm

tossing the caber at Braemar ?

Reply to  vukcevic
September 4, 2018 3:30 pm


Braemar is a bit of a celebrity event. Lots more games out there, Luss, on the banks of Loch Lomond was my favourite. I intend to be a regular spectator when I retire back there.

Reply to  vukcevic
September 4, 2018 1:06 pm

mind you, this could have been more serious, remember the recent air leak on the ISS
“Leak on The ISS Was Made by a Person
It was done by a human hand – there are traces of a drill sliding along the surface,”
comment image

Reply to  vukcevic
September 4, 2018 3:28 pm


Ignoring the cause for a moment, don’t they have a rivet gun up there?

Slap on a bit of epoxy resin, pop a rivet through and it’s probably as reliable as any other joint on the ship.

As for the cause, was anyone singled out in the Challenger flight, or the final Concord flight as blameworthy?

If you want to drill a hole as an act of sabotage, surely you put a piece of masking tape over the site to stop the drill skidding. You might also want to drill a bigger hole. And if it’s some dimwit apprentice on the ground, hasn’t that place been up there for some time? How come it took so long to manifest itself?

Personally, it looks to be the dimwit but then again, in the time the ship has been up there, it should have been evident long before now there was a problem.

Just thinking out loud.

Reply to  HotScot
September 5, 2018 10:28 am

In fact Air France explained that the missing piece on the landing gear (that caused the drifting issue during Concorde takeoff) had no purpose at all. Without that additional issue, the pilots may have had sufficient reserve power to compensate the reactor fire.

The firemen contradicted the official report. The official version was that they didn’t knew what they were talking about (they were talking about the geometry of that airport which they probably know well). During trial, they couldn’t even be brought to provide a testimony (they had been moved to another airport).

Many high profile accidents in France have very strange stories.

One pilot was committed because he criticized the automation of Airbus. There is a cult of Airbus in France.

[“reactor fire” is the tire-brake fire on the Concorde after impact on takeoff? Automation error caused two ? Airbus crashes, but none on the (pre-computer) Concorde. .mod]

Reply to  simple-touriste
September 5, 2018 2:54 pm


When you talk sense, it’s good stuff.

I especially like the last comment about the Airbus cult. I mean we Brits are a bit mad, and we’re happy with it, but don’t the French have a grammar police to ensure the language doesn’t deviate? Or is that just another urbane myth?

Reply to  HotScot
September 5, 2018 10:54 am

I doubt it was done in orbit. Living and working spaces on the ISS are fairly cramped and in close proximity. Everyone on board would hear the loud whrrr of a power tool.

Note that the ISS is modular in design and has been put up there module by module. Finding out who worked on the module where the damage was found would probably narrow the search significantly.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  vukcevic
September 4, 2018 6:20 pm

I am surprised no water was flowing out…after all it’s all filmed in a pool.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
September 5, 2018 2:55 pm

Patrick MJD

Wkd….. 🙂

Reply to  vukcevic
September 16, 2018 4:39 am

“You might also want to drill a bigger hole.”

Or maybe it was a non-sabotage sabotage. A sabotage without the part where it has non trivial consequences.

A “sabotage” but for the status quo.

Reply to  Latitude
September 4, 2018 10:59 am

The hysterical thing is Germany’s Green Party, big on the green blob of course, is calling for Germany to have better relations with Putin and Russia. Any guesses where their funding is coming from?
(Hint: sounds like “Gazprom”)

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 5, 2018 3:27 am

theyd be wise to do so, however i see the us govt milgoons just did a deal to ship a hell of a lot of munitions TO the ukies..gotts keep the angst brewing, just like they did as it started huge buyups of ukies land thinking usa would gain on coal oil etc lot of your pollies in companies that tried it.
only to find it didnt exist there;-)
ditto assad hate isnt about him, its about the pipeline .
turkey wants syrian land to run his pipeline and the arabs i gather too.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 5, 2018 3:00 pm


I’m certain the Germans still lust after the vast part of the continent Russia owns.

I’m sure the majority of Germans are rather nice people, but like the US is collectively enthusiastic about everything, the Germans are collectively globally ambitious.

Brexit isn’t the UK leaving the EU, it’s a strategic withdrawal.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 16, 2018 4:53 am

“[“reactor fire” is the tire-brake fire on the Concorde after impact on takeoff?”

Allegedly the tire was destroyed by a “titanium strip” lost by a Continental Airlines plane.

“Automation error caused two ? Airbus crashes, but none on the (pre-computer) Concorde. .mod]”

Concorde uses “analog computers” to control flight.

No crash was officially blamed on automation error. Not sure what are these two crashes you’re talking about.

Reply to  Latitude
September 16, 2018 3:53 am

The former members of LR(*) now members of “Les constructifs”(***) French turncoat so-called political “right” (à la David French) now want to investigate the Russian meddling into the tweets about the Benalla scandal!

True story. Not making that up.

They pretend that tweets about Benalla are pushed by Russian bots and want an investigation … of political speech on the Internet. Their only “constructive” proposal is to use the power of the state to investigate criticisms from opponents.

Anyone still doubts that the French “rightists” are mostly Blairists/Clintonists?

(*) LR = Les Républicains, formerly UMP (**)
(**) UMP could mean “Union des Moutons de Panurge” (approx. union of lemmings)
(***) formerly “les constructifs”, now “Agir” (= “act”)

Robert W Turner
September 4, 2018 9:58 am

UAH August 2018 is down to +0.19 C above the 1981-2010 mean, continuing to settle back down to The Pause anomalies. I wonder how this would be interpreted on the group-think apps.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Robert W Turner
September 4, 2018 11:03 am

Doesn’t seem very “Catastrophic”, does it?
Fewer storms, great crop yields, growing economies. Horrible.

September 4, 2018 9:59 am

The Progressives have been successful in propagandizing social relevance over politics, law, and government and utilize the various social media to do it. Trump was smart to use Twitter despite the hue and cry from the old guard. Climate Change is an easy target for them except very few care at all. It’s a dead duck as far as most people are concerned until it takes money from their pocket and then it’s too late.

Reply to  markl
September 4, 2018 11:48 am


Most politicians haven’t a clue how powerful social media is.

But of course the Donald’s so stupid he used it, and won.

What a humongous slap in the po faces of his political opposition.

Imagine that, beaten by an old man who understood social media better than his ‘youthful’ opponents. Not that Clinton’s youthful, but she’s supposed to be clever. Hah!

J Mac
September 4, 2018 10:03 am

Lede line typos “From the Universoty of Pemmesylvania ….”

Rich Davis
September 4, 2018 10:10 am

Is Pemmesylvania some kind of a pun?

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 4, 2018 11:05 am

I don’t think they teach them to spell at University anymore. Not that one anyway.

Reply to  John Harmsworth
September 4, 2018 12:08 pm

Correction – not at that Universoty

[But if the institution cleans up its act, is it still a Universooty? .mod]

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 4, 2018 9:37 pm

It is the First Nations name for the territory: pemmican was a popular method of storing dried meat, by mixing it with cranberries or blueberries. Pemmican was widely eaten in winter in the Pennsylvania territory. Good for hunting trips too.


September 4, 2018 10:14 am

“Can social media networks reduce political polarization on climate change?”

Hell, no. Next question?

September 4, 2018 10:17 am

Social media is the worst place to find echo chambers. Turning to it, won’t solve old fashion research to form individual opinions. Quite frankly, having opinions shoved down one’s throat is the reason the debate over Global Warming/Climate Change is over, there never was room for debate.

Reply to  RHS
September 16, 2018 4:46 am

I tried to engage with those with alternative opinions on Twitter but they flagged me all the time. The worst are:
– Dems (one Dem politicians even wrote he wanted to know how to flag me as a “bot” while I was kicking his @ss)
– anti-Brexit people (they like to denounce people like during n@zi occupation)
– vaxxers (they only “win” a discussion when their opponent get banned)

So the only way to keep an Tweeter account is to never step out of the echo chamber.

September 4, 2018 10:23 am

What am I missing (y axis):
comment image

comment image

Reply to  Greg F
September 4, 2018 11:55 am

Greg –

The data in the two graphs don’t agree – maybe different months? What is the source for the second graph? And is it supposed to be for December of each year, as the green data points would indicate?

Bryan A
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
September 4, 2018 12:05 pm

The Top Graph is Global and the Bottom Graph is Arctic

Reply to  Bryan A
September 4, 2018 12:26 pm

The Top Graph is Global and the Bottom Graph is Arctic

No. Cannot be.
14 Mkm^2 (for December) IS Arctic, not the global total for Arctic and Antarctic. And the of the upper graph reinforces that: It is for Arctic only for December. “Average Monthly” “might be” for the Actic minimum, but it is a single yearly value, truncated 6 years back in 2012! If the Arctic sea ice extents are cyclical at a 50-60 year length, and – if as is evident from the daily measured extents data going back to fall 1978 – we had a peak Arctic sea ice in 1982-1984, experienced a decrease through 2007-2008, then have been generally steady since 2007.

Today, nearing the fall minimum of 2018, we are seeing greater Arctic sea ice extents than in 7 of the past 11 years since 2007. Consistent with the entire cycle since fall minimum of 1978.

Now, why do the selected linear extrapolations end in 2012 and 2016, and begin AFTER the small rise between 1978 and 1983. Those years you omitted are a large part of a 25-30 year half-cycle!

Bryan A
Reply to  RACookPE1978
September 4, 2018 8:36 pm

I must agree with your assessment.
The likely reason that the bottom graph has been truncated would be to hide the current lack of continued rate of loss … or levelling off

Reply to  Bryan A
September 4, 2018 8:55 pm

Bryan A

The likely reason that the bottom graph has been truncated would be to hide the current lack of continued rate of loss … or levelling off

Now consider your “leveling off” observation with this:
2018, August through 1-2 September.
Arctic Sea Ice extents from NSIDC’s graphic, WUWT Sea Ice page.
Today, Arctic sea ice extents are higher than 7 of the past 11 years going back to 2007, 2008.
All of the more recent sea ice extents are lower than today’s sea ice extents on 1-2 Sept 2018, and only the earlier (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014) daily extents this date are higher in recent years.

Through the entire summer 2018, the 2018 daily extents have been solidly mid-range of the most recent ten year period average.

And, what has never been explained by the CAGW community, in June 2014 the Antarctic sea ice anomaly set an all-time record high at 2.16 million sq kilometers – an area larger than the entire Greenland ice field! This after 2012 and 2013 also set all-time record daily high sea ice extents around Antarctica at the top of a near-continuous expansion since 1992. Now, late 2016 and 2017 were “reset” by the NSIDC by 1.5 Mkm^2 when the Cryosphere at the University of Illinois shutdown its sea ice database updates so 2016 and 2017 set no new record highs. But, until mid-2015, one could rather (im)properly extrapolate the growing sea ice around Antarctica and predict that the Straits of Magellan were going to be shut by Antarctic sea ice before the Northwest Passage was opened by the loss of Arctic sea ice.

Reply to  Bryan A
September 4, 2018 1:20 pm

The top graph states that it is for Arctic for the month of December.
The bottom graph states that it is for the Arctic, but is a monthly average, which I take to be January through December, added together and divided by 12.

Reply to  Greg F
September 4, 2018 12:30 pm

Well, for one, you are looking at two graphs that eliminate and underestimate several important years of real sea ice extent measurements.
For another, you are looking at two graphs that lay a simplistic straight line – extrapolated from the two truncated ends of a probable sine wave into a (deliberately!) single straight line aimed down into the infinite future of “0.0” sea ice!
And that is done to (deliberately) force you into the conclusion the artists want you to believe.

D. Anderson
Reply to  Greg F
September 4, 2018 12:35 pm

“What am I missing?”

In the top graph you are missing 0-10 (y axis).

Reply to  Greg F
September 4, 2018 1:18 pm

December is a relatively meaningless month. About half way between ice minimum and ice maximum.

September 4, 2018 10:25 am

‘Social media’ is a plague, don’t touch it
However, there are still interesting things happening every day; this one I’m looking forward to:

“NASA’s daring plan to rescue Mars Opportunity rover REVEALED
Now the giant storm appears to be settling down, NASA shared its six key recovery efforts, directed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.”

mary graves graves
September 4, 2018 10:28 am

I just returned from Svalbard Northern tip of Norway and Greenland, I learned that those around the arctic and probably the antarctic like global warming. It opens up land for crops plus gas,oil and mining. Those near beaches in warmer climate hate global warming. There are too many people on the planet. we need to ebb and flow

Reply to  mary graves graves
September 4, 2018 11:53 am

mary graves graves

“There are too many people on the planet.”

In whose opinion?

Reply to  HotScot
September 4, 2018 2:45 pm

The planet’s.

Reply to  Otteryd
September 4, 2018 3:33 pm


The planet doesn’t have an opinion.

Reply to  mary graves graves
September 4, 2018 1:22 pm

The planet could easily support 10 times the current population. If the climate warms up a few degrees, we could support more than that.

Reply to  MarkW
September 4, 2018 3:36 pm


Millions of acres of frozen tundra across Canada and Russia turned into productive agricultural land.

And greens say that’s bad?

September 4, 2018 10:31 am

“Initially, nearly 40 percent of Republicans incorrectly interpreted the data, saying that Arctic sea-ice levels were increasing;”

What year is being used as a baseline?

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Jimmy
September 4, 2018 11:07 am

Good question. Which “data”, and how it was presented matters greatly to the conclusions reached.

“Initially, nearly 40 percent of Republicans incorrectly interpreted the data, saying that Arctic sea-ice levels were increasing; 26 percent of Democrats made the same mistake. However, after participants interacted in anonymous social media networks–sharing opinions about the data and its meaning for future levels of Artic sea ice–88 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of Democrats correctly analyzed it, agreeing that sea-ice levels were dropping.”

This statement makes me think Approx. 66 % got a different interpretation than expected, until they were told what to think by those under the spell of the consensus.


D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Steve Reddish
September 4, 2018 11:52 am

Winning any debate is all about controlling how the question is framed. If all you have to look at is one graph and can’t access other sources for, oh, say, the ice extent in the 1930’s, you can steer the discussion to whatever conclusion you want. I’d like to see them repeat this with the “97%” consensus paper by Doran and Zimmerman. That would open some eyes.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Jimmy
September 4, 2018 11:38 am

Hold on – I just reread their paragraph. I notice now they say that social media interaction increased percent % of Republicans “correctly” interpreting their data from 60% to 88%, while the same social media interaction increased % of Democrats “correctly” interpreting their “data” from 74% to 86%.

A greater % of Republicans had their minds changed by social media than % of Democrats??? And a greater % of Republicans ultimately believed the “correct” interpretation of the “data” than Democrats???

Who are these people in the survey? They don’t match any I know.


Reply to  Steve Reddish
September 4, 2018 11:50 am

“Twenty Republicans and 20 Democrats made up each social network.” An incredibly large population for each test ((:-)). And maybe they were all from the State College, Pennsylvania, area?

J Mac
September 4, 2018 10:31 am

Using social media (facebook, twitter, google, etc) is analogous to unwittingly playing cards against card sharps using a marked deck. You are the ‘mark’. You are not the ‘customer’. You and your surreptitiously collected wealth of personal data are the ‘product’ they steal from you to sell.

Add to that the embedded personal bias and algorithm enforced censorship imposed by the socialist progenitors of these social media platforms, and you have the perfect self funding, self censoring propaganda platforms only socialists will defend and applaud.

John Endicott
September 4, 2018 10:46 am

In short this is just lefties once again saying “if only we could communicate our message well enough everyone will agree with us”. Hint for the lefties, it’s the method of communication that is letting you down it’s the false narrative of your message.

John Endicott
Reply to  John Endicott
September 4, 2018 11:08 am

Should have read: “it’s *not* the method of communication that is letting you down it’s the false narrative of your message”

Hate when my fingers skip important words when typing.

Reply to  John Endicott
September 4, 2018 6:42 pm

I blame the Russians.

September 4, 2018 11:52 am

“Their study was motivated by NASA’s 2013 release of new data detailing historical trends in monthly levels of Arctic sea ice.” Ummm, I’ll bet that the “new”data in a 2013 study report ends in 2012, a low point in Arctic sea ice. A bit of cherry-picking, perhaps? Isn’t there a guy at Penn State who continues to use the same, old, data in his presentations? Maybe it is the Univeristy’s approach to use old data that proves their point?

Bruce Cobb
September 4, 2018 11:56 am

Excusez-moi, but since when are people in general in the business of “forecasting global-climate trends”? Most people can’t forecast what they’re having for dinner that night.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
September 4, 2018 12:04 pm

Bruce Cobb

I can’t remember what I had for breakfast! 🙂

Give an alarmist a fact and it’s in one ear and out the other. Remember Griff?

Peta of Newark
September 4, 2018 12:00 pm

They really have got horribly low opinion of everyone else (folks apart from their own clique) and then they *seriously* imagine that dot-dot-dotting into computer will fix everything.

I mean……. what?
Where *did* they get that mentality from?

Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 4, 2018 2:08 pm

“Where *did* they get that mentality from?”

Umm….Facebook ?…lol

September 4, 2018 12:02 pm

When force fed invalid interpretations of data, many people changed their opinions of the data.
Nothing new there.
Propagandists have been using this technique for generations.

I can here the “conversation” now.

Student: It looks like ice has been expanding since 2012.
Researcher: That doesn’t matter, it’s lower today than it was in 1979.
Student: What was it doing before 1979.
Researcher: That doesn’t matter, it’s lower today than it was in 1979.

Dale S
September 4, 2018 12:27 pm

It would be interesting to see the data, seeing how many people “misinterpreted” it. I wouldn’t expect sociologists to have a better grasp on sea ice statistics than the general population.

The study was motivated by a release from NASA in 2013, immediately after the record arctic extent low. According to the puff piece here, the participants were shown “the NASA graph” then asked to “forecast sea-ice levels for 2025.” Given that we don’t know what sea-ice levels will be in 2025 — and that the 2012 low *remains* the low extent — treating a forecast below 2012 as the correct response seems extremely dubious to me.

September 4, 2018 12:47 pm

Well, depends on what graph over which periods of dates showing what data the (manipulated) survey people were shown.

Since 2007, the daily Arctic sea ice extents HAVE BEEN STEADY, then began increasing slightly.
Nobody can argue they are continuing to decline, since this year’s August and Sept daily sea ice extent is larger than most (7 of 11) of the previous years daily amounts since 2007.

Now, IF you ASSUME that there is some “average sea ice extents” based on an ASSUMED and ARBITRARY 30 Year “average climate daily sea ice extents”, THEN, you can claim this year’s sea ice extent is “below average”.
You can then ASSUME (and tell people) that “Arctic sea ice extents are declining” IF you draw a straight line from the HIGH POINT of some 30 years ago, through the ASSUMED “average sea ice extents”, then down PAST today’s values into some arbitrary future year ….

But ONLY if you ASSUME there is some steady, average, perfect-never-changing Arctic sea ice daily extents!

But you notice that a 55-60 year arctic sea ice cycle fits the data between 1978-2018 much better, then – well, YES -0 Arctic sea ice extents are increasing today from their recent minimum in 2007-2008, back towards some future maximum about 20 years from now.

September 4, 2018 1:00 pm

Of course the two sides apparently were not assessing what they believed was happening to Arctic sea ice from their own analysis but what the NOAA graphs and model projections were saying. So given the same graphs and same predictions sure they could agree that doesn’t mean they agreed on the veracity of the graphs or model projections.

All this is the Left trying hard to figure out ways to manage and improve the distribution of the propaganda.

September 4, 2018 1:35 pm

There are two basic problems with this study.
The first is that social media encourages people to stay in silos of their belief systems.
The second is that where there interactions, the tendency is for people to gravitate towards the most vociferously held viewpoint.
For these reasons, rather than interaction helping towards a reality-based interpretation of events, it becomes a one where the most vociferously-held opinions prevail. “Facts” are increasingly interpreted through the lens of belief, rather than a beliefs and conjectures being adjusted in the light of empirical evidence.

September 4, 2018 5:22 pm

How many times have you been caught without an umbrella or coat when it rains unexpectedly?
Your failure was caused by your inability to use knowledge of past rainfall to predict future rainfall.
In the head article, a test is made of people looking at past sea ice extent data and predicting future extent. This is about as futile as avoiding getting caught out by rain.
You really have to reject a study whose foundation is so flawed.
Indeed, this is compelling reason to not consider this study at all. Just press the button to bin it, along with the ever increasing pile of similar junk. Geoff

michael hart
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
September 4, 2018 8:33 pm

Indeed. It starts out awful and gets worse.
For example, as others have pointed out, “Their study was motivated by NASA’s 2013 release of new data detailing historical trends in monthly levels of Arctic sea ice”, is simply unbelievable. No sociologist I have ever met peruses NASA’s data releases, much less uses them as inspiration for some ‘study’ about forecasting of global-climate trends. Their inability to use language adequately precludes their use of logic or statistics in a meaningful way.

Tom Abbott
September 4, 2018 6:41 pm

This study is more psychobabble.

I have a hard time believing a simple graph can be so misinterpreted, by either side.

Now we can argue about how the graph was constructed and argue about its validity, but just looking at it doesn’t allow for much interpretation.

As another poster pointed out, the study chart looks like it only went to the year 2012 and the amount of artic ice has increased since then.

Reading a chart is pretty straightforward. If the chart shows an uptrend, how does one communicate to another that they should consider that they are actually looking at a downtrend? In other words, how do they convince them to disbelive what they are seeing? That must be a pretty good trick!

Reply to  Tom Abbott
September 5, 2018 9:01 am

Vaccine vs. disease (or contamination) graphs are often misinterpreted as justifying a vaccine by the luminaries of the CDC and other vaxxists.

Johann Wundersamer
September 4, 2018 7:59 pm

“Simple ways of framing a political conversation, like incorporating political iconography, can significantly increase the likelihood of polarization,” Guilbeault says.

the study confirmed:

uniform convict clothing ends all internal disputes.

Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
September 5, 2018 3:32 am

The “right” wants uniforms in schools. Like the good old times. Because being dressed like when it was unthinkable to attack teachers will make it impossible again

September 4, 2018 9:28 pm

I do not understand how media outlets as the Washington “Compost” and the New York “Past Its Times” are able to continue with their lies. Meanwhile, Facebook shuts down smaller outlets that often lean conservative. You cannot pick and choose what you silence and use your platform as a social experiment.

%d bloggers like this: