Climate Change and Confirmation Bias

A new study suggests that your values, not science, determine your views about climate change.

The more scientifically literate you are, the more certain you are that climate change is either a catastrophe or a hoax, according to a new study [PDF] from the Yale Cultural Cognition Project. 

Many science writers and policy wonks nurse the fond hope that fierce disagreement about issues like climate change is simply the result of a scientifically illiterate American public. If this “public irrationality thesis” were correct, the authors of the Yale study write, “then skepticism about climate change could be traced to poor public comprehension about science” and the solution would be more science education. In fact, their findings suggest more education is unlikely to help build consensus; it may even intensify the debate.

Led by Yale University law professor Dan Kahan, the Cultural Cognition Project has been researching how cultural and ideological commitments shape science policy discourse in the United States. To probe the public’s views on climate change, the Yale researchers conducted a survey of 1,500 Americans in which they asked questions designed to uncover their cultural values, their level of scientific literacy, and what they thought about the risks of climate change.

The group uses a theory of cultural commitments devised by University of California, Berkeley, political scientist Aaron Wildavsky that “holds that individuals can be expected to form perceptions of risk that reflect and reinforce values that they share with others.” The Wildavskyan schema situates Americans’ cultural values on two scales, one that ranges from Individualist to Communitarian and another that goes from Hierarchy to Egalitarian. In general, Hierarchical folks prefer a social order where people have clearly defined roles and lines of authority. Egalitarians want to reduce racial, gender, and income inequalities. Individualists expect people to succeed or fail on their own, while Communitarians believe that society is obligated to take care of everyone.

The researchers report that people whose values are located in Individualist/Hierarchy spaces “can be expected to be skeptical of claims of environmental and technological risks. Such people, according to the theory, intuitively perceive that widespread acceptance of such claims would license restrictions on commerce and industry, forms of behavior that Hierarchical/Individualists value.” On the other hand Egalitarian/Communitarians “tend to be morally suspicious of commerce and industry, which they see as the source of unjust disparities in wealth and power. They therefore find it congenial, the theory posits, to see those forms of behavior as dangerous and thus worthy of restriction.” On this view, then, Egalitarian/Communitarians would be more worried about climate change risks than would be Hierarchical/Individualists.

On a scale in which 1 means no risk and 10 means extreme risk of climate change, the average for the overall sample was a score of 5.7. Hierarchical/Individualists averaged 3.15 points on climate change risk, whereas Egalitarian/Communitarians scored 7.4 on average. The public irrationality thesis predicts that as scientific literacy and numeracy increases the gap between Hierarchical/Individualists and Egalitarian/Communitarians should lessen. Instead, the Yale researchers found that “among Hierarchical/Individualists science/numeracy is negatively (emphasis theirs) correlated with such concern. Hence, cultural polarization actually gets bigger, not smaller as science literacy and numeracy increase.”

Why does polarization increase with scientific literacy? “As ordinary members of the public learn more about science and develop a greater facility with numerical information, they become more skillful in seeking out and making sense of—or if necessary explaining away—empirical evidence relating to their groups’ positions on climate change and other issues,” observe the researchers. Confirmation bias, the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions, is ubiquitous.

In addition to climate change risks, the Yale researchers surveyed participants for their views on the safety of nuclear power. In this case, the greater scientific literacy was associated with reduced concerns about the risks of nuclear power for both groups. However, the gap in nuclear power risk perception between Hierarchical/Individualists and Egalitarian/Communitarians expanded rather than converged as scientific literacy increased. In other words, as scientific literacy increased Hierarchical/Individualists became much more comfortable with nuclear power risks than did Egalitarian/Communitarians. Again, everybody suffers from confirmation bias. 

The Yale researchers chalk up this kind of divergence on technological and scientific risks to the pursuit of individual expressive rationality at the expense of collective welfare rationality. Basically, both groups are forming beliefs that advance their personal goals and help them get along with the people they interact with on a daily basis. They illustrate the point by observing, “A Hierarchical Individualist in Oklahoma City who proclaims that he thinks that climate change is a serious and real risk might well be shunned by his coworkers at a local oil refinery; the same might be true for an Egalitarian Communitarian English professor in New York City who reveals to colleagues that she thinks that ‘scientific consensus’ on climate change is a ‘hoax.’”

Kahan and his colleagues then argue that what is individually rational when it comes to expressing cultural values becomes collectively irrational in the pursuit of policies aimed at securing society members' health, safety, and prosperity based on what the best scientific evidence reveals about risk and risk abatement. In addition, the researchers note, beliefs about the risks of climate change “come to bear meanings congenial to some cultural outlooks but hostile to others.” In this case, Egalitarian/Communitarians, who are always eager to rein in what they regard as the unjust excesses of technological progress and commerce, see carbon rationing as an effective tool to achieve that goal. Not surprisingly, Hierarchical/Individualists are highly suspicious when carbon rationing proposals just happen to fit the cultural values and policy preferences of Egalitarian/Communitarians.

The Yale study implicitly accepts the “consensus” that climate change poses substantial dangers to humanity. But what about the cultural values held by climate scientists themselves? Could they be subject to confirmation bias too? A study [PDF] published in 2009 in the journal Climatic Change sheds some light on the policy views of climate scientists. Although the cultural cognition typology is more subtle, the Climatic Change study survey of over 400 climate scientists found that 67 percent identified as liberal, 20 percent moderate, and 13 percent conservative. Around 90 percent agreed that man-made global warming is now happening and that immediate policy decisions need to be made to address it.

According to the survey 96 percent support market incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; 85 percent favor a tax on industry to discourage practices that contribute to global warming; 89 percent favor higher prices for energy supplies and consumer goods that are not environmentally friendly; 99 percent favor developing no-carbon renewable energy supplies like hydro and solar; and 81 percent want to increase the price of fossil fuels. The few conservative climate scientists surveyed were somewhat less eager to adopt these policies except for the ambiguous “use market incentives” policy, which 96 percent favored. However, only 61 percent of politically conservative climate scientists favor a tax on industry; 65 percent support higher energy and consumer products prices; 92 percent back developing renewable fuels; and only 41 percent want to increase the price of fossil fuels. Could it be that Egalitarian/Communitarian biases against industry and commerce are informing the policy prescriptions of climate scientists?

The Pew Research Center conducted a 2009 survey comparing the political ideologies of scientists and the general public. Only 9 percent of scientists identified as conservative, 35 percent as moderate, and 52 percent as liberal, with 14 percent claiming to be very liberal. In contrast, the general public identifies as 37 percent conservative, 38 percent moderate, and 20 percent liberal, and 5 percent very liberal. Slicing the data another way, the survey finds that 81 percent of scientists lean Democrat whereas 52 percent of the general public does. Another telling division between the beliefs of the general public versus scientists is their responses to this statement: "When something is run by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful." Fifty-eight percent of scientists disagreed, whereas 57 percent of the public agreed with it.

Kahan and his colleagues at the Cultural Cognition Group suggest the Hierarchical/Individualists discount scientific information about climate change because it is strongly associated with the promotion of carbon rationing as the exclusive policy remedy for the problem. Indeed, it is curious that all of the policy questions in the Climatic Change survey arguably implied policies requiring limits on energy use. Kahan and his colleagues note that other policies that could address climate change might be more acceptable to Hierarchical/Individualists, e.g., deploying more nuclear power plants, geo-engineering, and developing new technologies to adapt to whatever climate change occurs. While the values of Hierarchical/Individualists steer them toward discounting the dangers of climate change, it is also true that the values of Egalitarian/Communitarians push them to discount the dangers that top/down policy interventions pose to the economic well-being of society. Confirmation bias is everywhere. 

Ronald Bailey is Reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.

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  • ||

    The more scientifically literate you are, the more certain you are that climate change is either a catastrophe or a hoax...

    So my belief "It's happening, but the world is not going to end by 2100" means that I am scientifically illiterate?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Aresen,

    And, a denier!

  • Zeb||

    I'm in about the same place as you Aresen. I question the scientific literacy of these supposedly scientifically literate people. I consider myself fairly scientifically oriented and as such I think that the most important thing in thinking about the world scientifically is to carefully examine how much you don't know. People on both sides of the climate debate are far too certain about their positions. Climate science is really not very strong science at this point. We don't know shit except that things seem to have been getting a little bit warmer for a little while.

  • Tony||

    You sure about that? You've surveyed the relevant data and you're pretty certain that the worldwide scientific consensus on this matter is--among all the sciences--simply a reflection of dogmatism?

    How likely is it that this one field of science, politically charged as it is, is flawed so fundamentally?

  • Almanian||

    the worldwide scientific consensus on this matter

    See, that's yer problem, right there. Ya never wanna go full retard right out the gate.

  • Anomalous||

    It's his way.

  • ||

    You have to appreciate the amount of irony he packs into a single sentence. In his skepticism about whether one has surveyed *all* the data, he makes a statement about *all* the scientists in *all* the sciences.

    That's a skill.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    You sure about that? You've surveyed the relevant data and you're pretty certain that the worldwide scientific consensus on this matter is--among all the sciences--simply a reflection of dogmatism?


    Not dogmatism, but bias. It is easier to say "But of course!" when the conclusion fits their economics agenda.

    How likely is it that this one field of science, politically charged as it is, is flawed so fundamentally?


    VERY likely. Remember phlogiston? Remember the bias against plate tectonics? Scientists are human, as fallible (and more gullible) than everybody else.

  • Tony||

    So there's no economic agenda on the other side that might, maybe present bias? Scientists--the vast, vast majority of them worldwide--are so bad at their job that their alleged political bias infects their work so as to negate the near-unanimous consensus among them? Yet denying climate change--that is siding with no respected scientific organization on the planet--doesn't come with political agendas? Come on now.

    A short list of ancient wrong hypotheses is not an argument for anything regarding a modern robust theory.

  • Jim||

    I just want to see more research done over a longer scale. This sort of thing doesn't lend itself to a couple-of-decades look. Remember, we had accurate temperature readings and ice-flow charts 50 years ago, and almost the entire scientific community was utterly, utterly convinced we were going into a cooling cycle.

  • Tony||

    Sorry, you can't keep beating that dead horse. The "global cooling" episode in the 1970s was more a media event than a consensus of scientists (that was always mixed at best). Our techniques have improved since then, and there is now no meaningful dissent from the basic claims about global warming.

  • Jim||

    Our techniques have improved since then...

    Which is what they said back then. So tell me, Future Man, is this the limit of our technology? Will we not say, 40 years from now, "Oh well our tech is much better now than it was then, so everything is more accurate and those previous assumptions were a momentary blip in a geologic timescale."

  • ||

    so we are with near certainty entering a new ice age?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    So there's no economic agenda on the other side that might, maybe present bias?


    Sure. And in that case, it becomes then a matter of numbers, instead of knowledge: "My side has more than your side."

    Is that how you want it?

    I don't think you have given any thought about this issue. You have a bunch of data that points to an Earth that may be in a heating phase - or maybe not. But then you have a bunch of scientists that not only ASSERT that man is the cause, but also go ahead and PRESCRIBE a solution based in ECONOMICS, a field they have NO GRASP OF. And you don't see that as suspicious?

    Scientists--the vast, vast majority of them worldwide--are so bad at their job that their alleged political bias infects their work so as to negate the near-unanimous consensus among them?


    Not bad at their job, Tony - they are bad at someone ELSE'S job. They are very LOUSY economists. Their stint at managing entire populations FAILED MISERABLY, with over 100 MILLION DEAD.

    Yet denying climate change


    No one denies the fact that climate changes. It changes all the time.

    A short list of ancient wrong hypotheses is not an argument for anything regarding a modern robust theory.


    If I had a penny for every "robust theory" that was shown to be not so... I would be like George Soros: filthy rich.

  • Tony||

    I don't see why the scientific community should have no seat at the table on policy prescriptions. They surely understand the issues at least as much as, say, Michelle Bachmann. Or you for that matter, who would design economic policy based on a demonstrably huge gap in your understanding of what's happening in the world.

    You don't get to refer to some unconnected theory that has been proved wrong and make a claim about a current theory. Yes theories can be wrong. No this one probably isn't.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I don't see why the scientific community should have no seat at the table on policy prescriptions.


    You're jesting, right? WHO THE FUCK ARE THEY TO PRESCRIBE TO YOU OR ME ANYTHING?

    They surely understand the issues at least as much as, say, Michelle Bachmann.


    Fuck me, then we're in worse trouble that I thought.

    Or you for that matter, who would design economic policy based on a demonstrably huge gap in your understanding of what's happening in the world.


    A "huge gap" that you made up in your head, Tony. Despite the facts, despite the data I have shown you, despite the economics I took pains to inform you, you still have this fantasy about a world where people, regular people, are hopeless brutes and only perfect and angelical beings dare govern us out of pure selflessness. Which is more likely?

    You don't get to refer to some unconnected theory that has been proved wrong and make a claim about a current theory.


    I am not conflating theories. I am pointing out that scientists have been WRONG before, many times, due to stubborness, biases, ideology or politics.

    No[t] this one probably isn't.


    Well, hope springs eternal.

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    Methinks Tony has a poster of Rousseau tacked up in his room.

  • Eugenicist||

    How ya doin'!

  • ||

    Your premise is flawed. It is not true that all scientists agree with the claims of the global warming alarmists. Thousands of scientists have gone on record questioning the claims: http://petitionproject.com/

    The press gives prominence to the scientists they agree with, that is all.

  • ||

    So there's no economic agenda on the other side

    I have an agenda to keep what I pay for energy low. I also have an agenda to keep that price low for poor poeple as well. The richer everyone else is the better off I will be.

    Low priced energy improves living standards and that is a fact.

    Reducing Unicorns floating in the atmosphere heating the world using magic rays of hate has been shown to do nothing to improve living standards....in fact every scheme from Kyoto to carbon trading have been shown that they will do nothing to stop climate change.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    The only Kyoto numbers I've seen indicated a 6 day 12 hour slow down. At hugh economic costs.

    Good job, guys. Proud of you.

  • ||

    The debate among scientists has long since moved on. All scientists agree the earth has warmed and most agree humans are contributing. However, the scientific community is wildly split beyond that. Many, like myself, feel that climate change is relatively minor and can be adapted to easily and is self limiting due to the coming scarcity of fossil fuels. We also feel that the science is new and uncertain and that amazing dire predictions are being made based on stuff we know very little about.

    If you name any aspect of the climate change debate, I can tell you how it has been wildly exaggerated. (I can also give you a list of ridiculous junk that "skeptics" spew out, too).

  • ||

    VERY likely. Remember phlogiston? Remember the bias against plate tectonics? Scientists are human, as fallible (and more gullible) than everybody else.

    It should also be pointed out that their is far more diversity in opinion among Climate scientists then there was about Plate tectonics.

    The global consensus Tony speaks of is neither global nor a consensus.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Joshua Corning,

    The global consensus Tony speaks of is neither global nor a consensus.


    Tony and people like him don't see it that way. If one day the consensus goes the other way, Tony would either not talk about it or say that the scientists "sold out to Big Oil" or some ridiculous shit like that.

  • Tony||

    Prove it.

  • sevo||

    Prove what, shithead?

  • ||

    Prove it.

    Christy, Spencer, McKitrick, Lindzen, Soon, McIntyre, Pielke Jr., Curry, Muller

  • Tony||

    Oh a list of names. I'm convinced.

  • Seguin||

    Rofl...after rereading the shit you write, how do you manage to continue taking yourself seriously?

  • ||

    Global Cooling, Global Warming, Anthropogenic Global Warming, Climate Change, Anthropogenic Climate Change.

    The name will change, but the song will stay the same--it's a problem we MUST solve.

    And the Solution to these and any and all problems--collectivism.

  • -_-||

    Don't forget about luminiferous aether. Belief in luminiferous aether was very widespread until the Michelson-Morley experiments.

  • Sam Grove||

    And don't forget diet and/or stress as the main cause...and cure...for stomach ulcers.

  • ||

    "How likely is it that this one field of science, politically charged as it is, is flawed so fundamentally?"

    I think many fields of science are fundamentally flawed and completely ridiculous. A list:

    1. I think dark matter and dark energy are fudge factors

    2. String theory is an abomination

    3. The idea that fat is bad for you is wrong

    4. That most psychiatric medications don't work

    5. That markets are NOT efficient

    6. That biodiversity does NOT necessarily increase ecosystem stability

    7. That general relativity may be wrong in the strong field limit and black hole theory may be wrong

    8. That most carcinogens don't increase mortality or in fact make cancers more likely

    9. That anti-oxidant in your diet will not help you live longer

    I could go on and on and on. I also think peer review retards science, that most of the scientific establishment is highly corrupt and that the whole scientific establishment is completely fucked up.

  • KDN||

    Markets are the most efficient means of alleviating scarcity that we have yet encountered, but they will never be perfectly so. This does not make them inefficient.

  • El Duderino||

    Not sure why market efficiency is lumped in here as a "science". Those who study the market and try to predict it may not like the results, but that doesn't make the market inefficient.

    My point here is that the market is not a science, it is the complex interaction of people trying to rectify demand with supply. It's not something some scientist decided to invent or discover. It is simply an emergent aspect of our physical reality.

    Anyway, markets are only as efficient as we allow them to be. Since all participants in a market have a demand for something of limited supply, only a market that allows all participants to influence the market according to their specific demands will ever be truly efficient. If the demands of an individual are artificially suppressed, for example by laws banning something from being sold or simply very costly to produce, then the displacement of this demand causes stress on the economy. Pot is an example of this. There is demand for it, but it is illegal so now it must be sold on the black market. The black market operates outside of the law and as a result often attracts and breeds criminals who are unable to maintain legal work. This is a demand stressor. All this does is cause the individual to take steps and risks that would be unnecessary if there were no laws banning the sale of pot.

    The same stressors apply to the supply of a thing. Take something simple like lemonade. There is a demand for it, but the supply is hindered by regulation. You can't just set up a lemonade stand, you need a permit and who knows, maybe a health inspector needs to get a wad of cash as well. This artificial stressor keeps a supply away from a demand.

    In the natural economy, the one without rules, the individual demand will seek out the best supply at the best price. As a consumer, you might not always like the price, but the price is set by the supply and demand. You may sell something over or under priced in a natural economy, but in aggregate, these human pricing errors for individual items will blend into the proper price over a larger volume of transactions. Basically, if you keep underpricing, you will be losing money and you will ramp up the price. It swings the other way for over pricing errors.

    This isn't some kind of scientific theory, it's just life. Its like a river. You can dam it up, but it will go around or over or wherever the path of least resistance is. Humans need things and as a survival instinct we tend to choose the path of least resistance in our effort to obtain the things we need, we may not always find the path of least resistance, but in aggregate, over time we always do, it's why people J-walk, it's why people clip coupons or shop around. Ad if you think that most stuff is crap people don't need, like IPads, fast cars, and high fashion then let me just point out that people also want to get laid and if they think a thing will bring them the status they need to get laid or land a good husband or whatever their biology demands then they will seek out the path of least resistance to it.

    You don't have to believe me. Just think of this the next time you go shopping. Do you settle on a higher price in favor of more convenient shopping, or do you go out of your way for a lower price. Either way, it's the path of least resistance for you as an individual at that moment in time.

  • ||

    The concept of market efficiency is a scientific concept in financial economics. It means that in financial markets it is not possible to reliably become Warren Buffet by investing because security prices are properly priced. In other words you could never hope to make more than the market return without taking on more "RISK" where risk is usually defined as volatility.

    Lets consider an example of what I am talking about...CAPM. CAPM predicts that if you take on more systematic risk (market risk) as measured by beta than you will get a higher return. Yet we know that betas do not predict returns. For instance, if you invest in JNJ right now you will very likely beta the market return over the next 5-10 years and do it with LESS systematic risk. This is an example of market inefficiency.

    None of you understand what I am talking about because you have never studied financial economics.

  • ||

    "I also think peer review retards science, that most of the scientific establishment is highly corrupt and that the whole scientific establishment is completely fucked up."

    Agreed but then they were taught at "Liberal Progressive" schools of though, and in order to get the "degree" they had to take "electives" and "humanities" to make them a better more "rounded" person.

    So since it has been demonstrated over and over the last several years "Liberals" will win at any cost because the end justify the means.

    So maybe we should do a review of how "politically polluted" the scientists became after their educations.

  • Zeb||

    This is not a special fact about climate science. Lots of branches of science have the same problem. It is simply not developed to the point where we can make reliable predictions.

  • Alan||

    It's not just with this one matter - most of science is more political than is generally acknowledged. Climate change is just more discussed than the others.

  • Juice||

    What about the values of scientists doing the research? Will this result in confirmation bias? How about the values of funding agencies?

  • Brett L||

    As you mention, the authors' confirmation bias was rampant in the tone of the piece. You could almost hear them screaming "how can these people be numerate and ignorant?!"

  • Almanian||

    I read "numerate" as "ruminant", which kind of made that sentence a lot more amusing initially.

    "Well, MOST ruminants are ignorant!" Oh, wait, that's not what Brett said...BUT HE SHOULD HAVE!

  • Brett L||

    Well of course they're sheep!

  • Old Mexican||

    Another telling division between the beliefs of the general public versus scientists is their responses to this statement: "When something is run by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful." Fifty-eight percent of scientists disagreed, whereas 57 percent of the public agreed with it.


    There's a good reason why "scientific communism" never worked. The survey shows just how much scientists are incredibly gullible: Despite the evidence to the contrary, most cannot fathom a world where people rule themselves.

  • T||

    I wonder how strongly that correlates between scientists who work at publicly funded institutions and those who don't.

  • -_-||

    ^^^This x1000

    The distinction between scientists who are paid with tax dollars and those who aren't, and who vastly outnumber scientists those who are, is rarely made, even to the point that private sector scientists aren't included in many surveys of the attitudes and beliefs of scientists. This is a pervasive systematic error.

  • ||

    Disagreement with that statement does not necessarily mean one thinks that government is usually efficient. One could think that it's impossible to make such a broad generalization.

    And it certainly doesn't mean that one thinks people are unfit to rule themselves.

  • ||

    who said that broads made that generalization?

  • -_-||

    The survey shows just how much scientists are incredibly gullible

    Putting aside the distinction between publicly and privately, non-charity-activist supported scientists, most modern science requires institutional support. There's not a whole lot of "garage science" that can be done these days. The necessity of institutional support, whether public or private, probably does affect the attitude of scientists to collectivism.

  • sevo||

    "There's not a whole lot of "garage science" that can be done these days. The necessity of institutional support, whether public or private, probably does affect the attitude of scientists to collectivism."
    The shadow of WWII is long indeed.

  • -_-||

    It would be cool if some fundamental work could still be done with a couple of prisms and a window crack on a sunny day, but the truth is that most experimental science requires some serious equipment and pretty much all science requires the leisure of being able to think long and hard about something without having to deal with immediate economic concerns. That implies independent wealth or somebody willing to pay you to just sit around and think.

    I'm not sure WWII has much to do with it.

  • Seguin||

    Corporations used to do fundamental science back in the day...Bell Labs for instance. But of course, gov't regs, rules and taxes made that one of the luxuries that had to go...

  • El Duderino||

    People who perceive themselves as more intelligent than the general population may tend to want to think for the general population. It's a parental instinct gone haywire due to an overwhelming sense of superiority and self righteousness.

  • Brett L||

    Yes, well, that or a complete lack of humility. Smart != right.

  • Apogee||

    Such people, according to the theory, intuitively perceive that widespread acceptance of such claims would license restrictions on commerce and industry, forms of behavior that Hierarchical/Individualists value.”

    They also know that previous claims of doom (Erlich, the '70's new Ice Age, etc.) have not come to pass due to a 100% failure rate to accurately predict the future by anyone who has made the attempt.

    Which leaves the false choice between those that are accused of wishing to "do nothing" and those who wish to "solve the crisis".

    The wild inaccuracy of the second assertion, compounded with the confirmed predictive failures of the first, should dispel the notion that there actually exist any group that fits the term "scientifically literate".

  • Old Mexican||

    Kahan and his colleagues at the Cultural Cognition Group suggest the Hierarchical/Individualists discount scientific information about climate change because it is strongly associated with the promotion of carbon rationing as the exclusive policy remedy for the problem.


    The possibility that individualists see the very wide jump to the conclusion that MAN is the sole source of the change as the bunch of baloney it really is does not fit in their mind, it seems. Nah, it has to be because of carbon credits.

  • ||

    To be fair, I wouldn't really have a problem with the climate evangelists if it weren't for the coercion they invariably demand.

  • ||

    the wrath of Kahan

  • El Duderino||

    Cry havoc and lat slip the dogs of collectivist mass social conditioning and manipulation.

  • ||

    All you need to know when it comes to climate change is that it's now KULTUR WAR, TEAM RED TEAM BLUE bullshit. Even if there is any scientific validity to it, it will never, ever fucking be considered honestly because it's too core to the TEAMs' identities now. They will lie, distort, confirmation bias, and obfuscate because now it's personal and their TEAM must win.

    We've seen it already, numerous times, on the climate "alarmist" side, and I'm sure we'd see it on the "denialist" side eventually too.

    Once something becomes this politicized, it's fucking over, dude. You might as well ignore it because both sides will fight to the death over it, but not based on any sort of truth, proof, or science; it just becomes another rope in their endless tug-of-war.

    So obviously it can't be that important anyway.

  • Zeb||

    I fear that you are right about this. Which sucks because I am actually interested in it as a scientific question. Climate is really interesting and we are getting to a point where we might be able to actually understand how it works a little bit (we sure don't understand it now) if people would actually do dispassionate science instead of playing politics. Fuck all of these people for turning what should be an interesting area of scientific study into a pointless culture war shitstorm.

  • ||

    Dude, you should already be used to partisan loser scum ruining lots of things. From discussions at parties to climate science, they are ready to ruin it all with their pointless, moronic tribalism.

  • Otto||

    You'd like the Welch / Gillespie book, Epi. They're pretty hard on the partisans, although more for the Manicheanistic splitting than the stultifying effects of TEAM! on thought.

  • ||

    I may give it a shot. But I have two Neil Asher books, a reread of Feast for Crows, and the new Martin book in the queue already. I'm sure it's good, but summer is no time for reading political non-fiction by the pool.

  • Jim||

    I just finished the first chapter of the new Martin.

    /masturbation

  • ||

    Is he back on track with the plotlines from book 3?

  • Jim||

    Yes, though there's an odd one page explanation to the chronology that states essentially that the first half of the book runs parallel to Feast, but that this book is much longer, and so into the second half you'll start to see POV chapters from Feast characters again. At that point, the storylines have merged again and it is moving forward as one plotline.

  • ||

    So that's how he's going to fix what he did in Crows. Pretty smart, actually.

  • Jim||

    Yeah, I'll reserve judgment until I've read this. I still think it's odd, but if it works, then I'll overlook the previous misfortune.

    Plus the show fucking rocks.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    "I'm sure it's good, but summer is no time for reading political non-fiction by the pool."

    What the heck is wrong with you?

  • Cultural Cognition Group||

    We heard that!

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    It is still capable of gathering and processing data. Fascinating!

  • -_-||

    pointless culture war shitstorm

    There are real stakes involved. Calling it pointless is a mischaracterization.

  • Apogee||

    I do know one thing: nobody has ever been able to accurately predict the state of human life on earth a century into the future.

    Which means that 'both' Teams are completely full of it when they assert that their 'science' tells them a predictable outcome.

    As I said above, the very act of attempted prediction renders both sides scientifically illiterate.

  • ||

    Agreed, which is why I laugh at anyone who tries to "science" me about it, either for or against. If you think that current science can predict the weather far into the future, you're a fucking retard and deserve only scorn and to be ignored. And if you think that because this winter is really cold refutes possible warming, you're a fucking retard and deserve only scorn and to be ignored.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "which is why I laugh at anyone who tries to "science" me about it, either for or against"

    There is difference between the two groups, however.

    The burden of proof always lies with those claiming the affirmative condition. No one has to prove a negative.

    The non believers are not required to "scientifically" prove it isn't true. The burden is on those who do believe to scientifically prove that it is - and do so with absolute definitiveness.

  • Tony||

    That's kind of a rudimentary way of thinking about it. There are several claims floating around. Sure, the claim that the earth is warming due to human activity is an "affirmative" claim that must be proven.

    But equally so is the claim that the near-unanimous consensus of climatologists is a giant worldwide conspiracy to oppress you. That is your burden.

    And at some point once the scientific community agrees as firmly as it does on climate change, the burden shifts to the skeptics. It's simply quite unlikely that the near-unanimous consent of scientists are as totally wrong as you guys claim.

  • DK||

    What if I don't claim any of this, Tony? What if I believe that man-made climate change is occurring and will continue to do so? Why does that imply that I should accept your policy prescriptions? Why can't I look back and say that government actions to curb climate change have already failed (e.g. Kyoto)? Where is the looonnnnngggg line of argument required to go from the premise "AGW is happening" to the conclusion "carbon rationing" (or whatever policy prescription you choose)?

  • Tony||

    It doesn't. If only we could get over the inexplicably large hump of believing in facts, then we could debate policy.

    What should be disturbing to you is that so many libertarians are apparently willing to reject science if they can't come up with a policy prescription that fits with it.

    Not surprising to me--your politics don't admit to a real world. Always the same prescription for all times and all places.

  • ||

    Is the Earth warming? Geology says yes. It will continue to warm for about 15 million years, based on current theory.

    Are there cooling cycles, too? Yes. Currently, we are heading in the general direction of glaciation, within about 10,000 years. Of course, if the worst predictions of the warmerbators are correct, it might be 30,000 years. How horrible would that be?

    Here's a test for you to try:

    First, calculate how much CO2 is released, and how much is absorbed. This is a very easy equation that we have reliable data for.

    Then, you'll find that the story that if we stop generating CO2 tomorrow (and I do endorse nuclear power, for several reasons), it will take "thousands of years" for that CO2 to chemically bind out of the atmosphere is utter fucking bullshit.

    This assumes CO2 at the minuscule partial pressure we maintain is relevant, which it is provably not (see chemical analyses of CO2 levels during the Carboniferous and Triassic).

    Then, realizing we're just coming out of a 300 million year RECORD COLD SPELL, that getting warmer is normal for the Earth, and we can do fuck-all about it. Polar caps are an occasional aberration in an otherwise warm and wet Earth (don't argue the point. 300 million years of tectonic records say you're wrong).

    Which comes to the second question: If it turns out warming IS natural, would you proceed to attempt to manage the climate to maintain our current low-lying cities?

    You would?

    In other words, we both believe in manipulating the climate for the benefit of mankind. We just disagree on approach.

    See that moral high ground? That's my artillery sitting on it.

    Have a nice fucking day.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "But equally so is the claim that the near-unanimous consensus of climatologists is a giant worldwide conspiracy to oppress you. That is your burden."

    Seeing as how no one has ever proven that there is a "near-unanimous world wide consensus" to begin with, there's not really any burden at all.

  • Tony||

    What alternative claim is there? That they're all just biased? Same burden.

  • sevo||

    "What alternative claim is there?"

    That you're full of shit.

  • -_-||

    What has never been even remotely shown by "scientific consensus" is that warming of the planet, whether by humans or by natural forces, would be a bad thing.

    That burden of proof still remains on the alarmists.

  • sevo||

    "What has never been even remotely shown by "scientific consensus" is that warming of the planet, whether by humans or by natural forces, would be a bad thing."
    And according to the Tonys of the world, ignoring specious claims doesn't constitute an "alternative claim".
    You *must* make some wild prediction, or shithead doesn't accept it as an "alternative".

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Nope the burden is ALL on you.

    You cannot prove that man made global warming exists.

    And you cannot prove that there is a "near-unanimous" scientific consesus that it does exist.

    In fact, you cannot even prove that YOU exist.

    LOL

  • ||

    Jesus Christ Tony...WHAT THE FUCK DOES CONSENSUS HAVE TO DO WITH SCIENCE?

    Dude, something IS or it ISN'T...that's science. What people "think" might be happening, "hope" might be happening, "guess" might be happening, "fear" might be happening has no bearing on reality. Just because a lot of people believe the same thing doesn't make it true.

    The word "consensus" flies in the face of science. STOP USING THAT FUCKING WORD as if it proves something to be factual.

  • Tony||

    No, you are the fucking retard who doesn't understand the difference between weather and climate, yet for some reason are trying to assert an opinion on something you clearly lack even an elementary understanding about.

  • ||

    I didn't give you permission to be part of my conversation with the others, sockpuppet.

  • MrGuy||

    Fantastic.

  • MrFantastic||

    Guy.

  • stephendedalus82||

    *Cough, kettle, cough, black, cough*...

  • Tony||

    Give me a break. I personally know several people who have read books about climate change.

  • sevo||

    "I personally know several people who have read books about climate change."

    OK, spoof. Even shithead wouldn't post this.

  • Shithead||

    I can't read, but I know someone who saw a movie about this.

  • ||

    ...This one time at band camp....

  • ||

    The problem also is that once leftists appropriated it as an excuse to enact every fucking goofball policy they had ever dreamed of enacting, it ended any hope of finding a practical solution even if it is true. The world is not going to stop using fossil fuels anytime soon and will never voluntarily give up its standard of living. So it doesn't matter if the greens are right since none of their proposed solutions will ever be enacted anyway.

  • ||

    You are exactly correct Epi. Kudos for nailing that one.
    And Zeb - "Fuck all of these people for turning what should be an interesting area of scientific study into a pointless culture war shitstorm."
    I feel the same way but would add "Fuck all these supposed scientist for the damage they have done to the tenuous credibility that science in general had with the public."

  • Old Mexican||

    Could it be that Egalitarian/Communitarian biases against industry and commerce are informing the policy prescriptions of climate scientists?


    Could it? Gee willikers, maybe the reason most scientists favor anti-market, anti-business solutions IS because they are anti-market and anti-business themselves. They may be experts in their field, but economists they are certainly NOT.

    We could make a new statistic to show that as more informed a scientist is about a phenomenon that affects the environment or the climate, or gravity, the more biased he or she becomes against people's freedom.

  • Tony||

    So the scientific method--the process of eradicating even the most specific and easily overlooked biases in uncovering facts--is susceptible completely and totally to basic, blunt political bias?

    How can we possibly know if all of biology or physics isn't similarly infected by the evil liberal bias?

  • ||

    We know that a stated theory isn't complete bullshit, when it has predictive validity.

  • Tony||

    I invite you to read current articles on the subject--we're no longer making predictions, we're experiencing climate change right now.

  • ||

    I invite you to learn to read, dumbass.

    We've experienced climate change throughout human history.

    The question is, "Do the numbers match what the models predicted?" not "Is the climate changing any?"

    Physics and Biology have passed this test many, many times over, and continue to do so. Climate Science, not so much.

    "Stuff is happening to living organisms" isn't enough for Biology to claim that, say, evolutionary theory is valid. The "climate has not been static" isn't enough for Climate Science to claim that it can predict future climate changes.

    You, apparently, lack an elementary knowledge of science and how it works.

  • MrGuy||

    Until the weather man can accurately predict what will happen tomorrow, I will be skeptical of climate science's prediction for a 100 years from now.

  • DK||

    Interestingly, the most basic physical equation which needs to be solved in order to model climates (Navier-Stokes) is known to give rise to chaotic solutions (solution is exquisitely dependent on initial conditions). So it's much, much easier to predict the weather tomorrow than the state of the climate 100 years from now. The later may, in fact, be impossible due to chaotic behavior.

  • Apogee||

    The later may, in fact, be impossible due to chaotic behavior.

    Agreed. Also, it's absolutely impossible at this point in time, regardless of whether it may be true in the future.

  • DK||

    All I'm saying here is that, in non-linear differential equations which display chaotic solutions, it gets much, much harder to get trustworthy results as you run your simulations to longer time points. Thus, further in the future is much, much harder.

  • Apogee||

    I agree with your math, which reinforces the inability to make accurate long term predictions in complex systems.

    However, holding to that principle requires me to leave open the possibility that our predictive abilities in the future may improve - lest I make a prediction now upon that future complex system.

  • ||

    True. But the climate modelers aren't trying to predict the complete dynamics of the system. They are only looking for a temperature trend.

    Systems with billions of particles are also impossible to predict but you can get useful information about statistical measures of the population of particles like temperature or pressure. So Climate modelling is to be thought of like thermodynamics.

    But I still have a big problem with climate science. My big problem is that there is not a single paper, mathematical argument or any empirical evidence whatsoever that it is possible to predict the global temperature trend for the chaotic climate system. The climate modellers assume that the chaotic nature of the system may lead to unpredictable dynamics but will not effect the predictability of the temperature trend. But they have provided zero proof for this massive assumption. Whereas in thermodynamics there is a massive body of experimental evidence and a very beautiful mathematical theory to support thermodynamics.

    With climate science they just made the analogy to thermodynamics and hoped everyone would just believe them that it would work. Why should I believe them?

    Just cause it worked for thermodynamics does not mean it will work for climate science.

  • sevo||

    "The climate modellers assume that the chaotic nature of the system may lead to unpredictable dynamics but will not effect the predictability of the temperature trend. But they have provided zero proof for this massive assumption."

    There was a poster here (Dr X) several months ago who seemed knowledgeable about the issue.
    We had a bit of an exchange, and he trotted out all the usual suspects, until I asked about the 'pause' in the predicted rise.
    His response, as best I remember it, had to do with un-anticipated mid-level ocean currents; more study required.
    OK, but if 'un-anticipated' (and as yet unconfirmed) forces affected the predictions to that effect, wasn't a bit of humility warranted before requiring major changes in the world's economy?
    Again, as best I remember it:
    'Well we should still be doing *something*'.
    Pretty sure that defines chutzpah.

  • -_-||

    Temperature is an intrinsic parameter which is only strictly valid in a system at equilibrium. The Earth's climate is not at equilibrium and so any mention of temperature wrt climate implies an "effective temperature". In order to calculate the trend of the effective temperature of the earth, complicated calculations using deterministic, highly nonlinear equations from the field of fluid mechanics are used to try to plot the trajectory of the earth's climate and an attempt is made to extract a change in the effective temperature from that. The nonlinear nature of the equations makes the calculations diverge very rapidly. If more people understood just how fragile this kind of effort is, there would be even more skepticism about the predictive claims of climate scientists than there is now.

  • sevo||

    "The nonlinear nature of the equations makes the calculations diverge very rapidly"
    Hey, let's plug in an ^3 and see what happens!

  • ||

    By god you are right Tony! It is not raining now at my house, but later today rain is predicted!
    How could I have been so wrong?

    Is it possible that you completely missed the point of the study?

  • ||

    In your case i would say that you believe climate change will be a problem become you are scientifically illiterate.

    On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones.

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/pa.....id=1871503

  • MrGuy||

    Excellent find by the way.

  • Brett L||

    You realize this is the same study Ron is citing, yes?

  • ||

    I suspected.

    But Ron did not mention the part about the more scientifically literate being less concerned about climate change then the less scientifically literate.

    Or at least I did not notice him mentioning it.

  • mgd||

    @ Tony|7.12.11 @ 5:52PM|#
    How can we possibly know if all of biology or physics isn't similarly infected by the evil liberal bias?

    Because in large part their results are based on the scientific method: Background studied, hypothesis formed, experiment designed, experiment executed, results analyzed, hypothesis either supported or refuted. The experiment can be replicated, others can do the same and see for themselves the results. The results are verifiable. The hypotheses have predictive value and are falsifiable.

    This is not what is happening in the AGW debate. The hypotheses are not tested with replicatable experiments, but are reached by means of models. The validity of the models is an unknown although there is a "consensus" that they are valid. (N.B.: Please note that "consensus" is not a part of the scientific method.) The hypotheses have no predictive validity. Global temperatures are well below what even the most conservative IPCC estimates on what the temperatures would be today. Ocean temperatures are well below where James Hansen's predictions place them. IPCC predictions that global warming would cause less rainfall across Africa have been proven wrong. Same for predictions on declining rainfall in India, on thinning and disappearance of Himalayan glaciers, on the slowing of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), and on and on. The models don't even predict the present accurately--it exaggerates global warming from 1850 to 2005 by 67%.

    Finally, nothing is falsifiable. Global warming leads to drought, but when drought doesn't materialize, the adherents say that is also a possible outcome of global warming. It leads to record rainfalls which don't materialize--which is also proof. It leads to higher temperatures, obviously, and that is used as a form of proof. But when record cold materializes, that is also proof--global warming causes record cold. It causes more hurricanes, but when we have seasons of fewer rather than more hurricanes that proves nothing. When we see an increase in the number of reported tornadoes, AGW adherents claim global warming predicts more and more severe tornadoes; when it turns out that the increase is due to our improved ability to detect smaller tornadoes, but that the frequency of stronger tornadoes has decreased, that's not proof that global warming is not occurring. When there is no actual warming for 12 years, that is also not proof--but just to set the record straight, the adherents change their tune from "global warming" to "climate change".

    Another field that does not rely on the scientific method, in which no claims are falsifiable? Religion.

  • ||

    And the answer is always the same. "Only a bigger and more powerful government can save us."

    When the globe was cooling there were scientists willing to predict a new Ice Age. A more powerful government was our only hope for salvation then, too.

  • wef||

    Scientific experts who have rigorously studied Kahan and his colleagues at the pretentiously-named Cultural Cognition Group have concluded that he and his coworkers have the servile genetic markers associated with pompous name attraction and smug buttinski-ism.

  • Sven||

    Could someone at Reason please kick out that Bailey guy? Seriously getting on my nerves, the little brainwashed eco-lemming...

  • ||

    They keep him on so that when someone accuses them of sucking Koch, they can trot Ron out.

  • ||

    Seriously getting on my nerves, the little brainwashed eco-lemming...

    Can't Ron be simply wrong about climate change? One can be wrong without being brainwashed or an eco-lemming right?

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!1!

  • ||

    jc: No. I distinctly remember having my brain not only washed, but bleached too.

  • El Duderino||

    Well at least nobody can accuse you of having a dirty mind.

    Rim shot

    I'll be here all night folks. Don't forget to tip your waitress.

  • Sven||

    Someone who wants to curb economic growth and human progress because a computer model told him that we will all drown a hundred years from now must have been brainwashed, sorry. Take it from someone who creates complex forecasting models for a living. It’s all bullshit.

  • ||

    The entire theory, though, is an example of confirmation bias, using the standard Berkeley caricature of left/right value systems. It leaves no room for non-hierarchical individualists, or hierarchical communitarians, when clearly the world is full of each.

  • AT||

    This!
    This study was not made in vacuum. The people who nominated those categories basically told us what we already knew: that liberals go with GW and that conservatives do not. They just gave it a game theory/statistics polish.

  • -_-||

    These categories do seem to just be other names for existing ideological preferences which makes surveys of the policy preference of individuals categorized this way meaningless.

  • MouthBreather||

    This is what I was thinking the whole time - "What are they gonna say about the Egalitarian Individualists or Hierarchical Communitarians?" Apparently such people don't exist, or were driven to extinction by the other two groups.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    I'm neither egalitarian nor hierarchical, if I understand their definition correctly. Nor any combination thereof. This is more of the false dichotomy incomplete spectrum stuff that we libertarians have known was bunk for years.

  • ||

    Barry D, AT, and Mouthbreather: I think that y'all are seriously underestimating the power of this typology - cultural values predict risk policy preferences much better than socio-economic class, gender, political party affiliation, education level, etc. I highly recommend that you find and read Wildavsky's brilliant Searching for Safety.

  • ||

    from what i see, it is, has been, and always be: the personal filters...

  • Apogee||

    cultural values predict risk policy preferences much better than...

    Again I have a problem with the idea of predictive. It seems like there is a conflation of predictive and categorical results.

    Has this been applied to future policies with any accuracy, or is it simply a categorization of current cultural values?

  • ||

    That may be true. But the notion that people and their values can be measured along a single axis should raise a red flag for libertarians -- and anyone with any intelligence whatsoever.

  • -_-||

    Isn't the attempt to link policy preferences to categories such as race and sex just an attempt to push the narrative that an individual's interests are ultimately defined almost exclusively by their politically defined class? Unless one believes that a person's race and/or sex entirely define their worldview, one shouldn't expect that race and sex would be good policy preference predictors. The degree to which they are good predictors really is a measure of the degree to which the population under study accepts the dogmas of identity politics.

  • -_-||

    I have no problems with hierarchy so long as it is not static and determined by merit. I, in fact, see hierarchy as an inevitable reality, a part of the human condition and human nature. Some people are leaders and some are followers. The Berkeley injection of race, income and gender inequality into the typology is just class warfare and identity politics.

    I also believe that the people should look out for the welfare of others, but that social pressure should be relied on, not governmental coercion.

    I don't see how I, in any way, fit into these categories.

  • ||

    Seemingly every day, we read or hear of some new, previously unknown or non-understood aspect of climate, which, we are told, will force scientists to rethink their theories and retool their models. That's to the good. Scientists should, methodically and continuously, hone and polish their understanding of the world. But the fact that such disruptive discoveries are still being made, at a fairly rapid pace, indicates that our understanding of climate is still immature -- far too immature to be used as the basis of draconian public policy.

    At this stage, climate science seems little more than the convenient excuse, the fig-leaf, for proposals that include some fairly heinous oppression and arrogation of power by the ruling elite. From where I sit, scientists are being used, which might inspire feelings of shame and outrage within them, were it not for the curios mix of aphrodisiac and anesthetic effects of the fame, money, and power that come from being on the politically powerful side of a controversial question.

    Scientists need to guard their integrity at the individual and group levels, making people aware of the limits of present knowledge and loudly warning against the dangers of acting beyond the portion of certainty that present knowledge allows. If they don't do this, I think they will find that the gains from fame, power, and money will prove short-lived, while the public's loss of confidence in science and scientists will cause enduring damage.

  • ||

    Climate science was a backwater discipline thirty years ago. AGW is not a particularly important scientific dispute. No laws of nature or fundamental understanding of the universe is at stake. Climate scientists have sold their souls and credibility for money and attention.

    AGW will pass. As time goes on and it becomes more and more obvious that the world is not catastrophically warming and the "solutions" proposed for AGW become more and more obviously impractical, it will fade. The leftists and ruling elite will find new causes. The real damage comes in the damage to overall reputation of science. In the future every quack will point to the AGW fraud as evidence why this time the scientists are wrong and he is right. Very sad.

  • ||

    You seem to have a magic ability to predict the future of a phenomenon that's barely gotten started. Please share your crystal ball technique with the world. Did you learn it from Alfred E. Neuman or an actual scientist?

    2005 and 2010 were the warmest years on record, and maximum potential warming is still DECADES away. How can any sane person proclaim they already know the outcome is benign?! I see cigarette smokers with that same blindness.

    On a positive note, I think Peak Oil production (U.S. 1970; world 2006, per IEA) may end up countering AGW to some degree, unless we go full-out to burn every bit of crude oil & coal that can be extracted with positive net-energy.

  • MrGuy||

    I'd just like to clarify that 2000 - 2010 showed a cooling trend compared with the warm 90's. Also water vapor accounts for the largest of greenhouse gases...

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Popular Science estimated in last month's issue that we we're only about halfway through our total hydrocarbon consumption, even if we are on the downturn. Of course, they didn't even consider how quickly some of the alternatives (such as space-based solar) *that they covered in the same piece* could be put into effect with a little get up and go.

  • ||

    Does someone have a long term fix for short term memory?

  • sevo||

    "You seem to have a magic ability to predict the future of a phenomenon that's barely gotten started."

    Pretty sure this is an archetype of "projection".

  • ||

    ...on record...

    Well, there's your problem.

  • -_-||

    Go find an encyclopedia from the 1930s and you will learn that peak oil occurred in the early 1950s and that we ran out of oil a long time ago.

  • ||

    "You seem to have a magic ability to predict the future of a phenomenon that's barely gotten started. Please share your crystal ball technique with the world. Did you learn it from Alfred E. Neuman or an actual scientist?"

    Good question. Basically it comes down to a simple hypothesis: Most things don't work. So if you come up with any idea, any system, any concept then I predict it won't work. That is how I predict the future. This is my genius. Now I make exceptions when something has

    1) already been proven to work many many times
    2) something very, very similar has been proven to work
    3) the system is very simple, well understood and predictable so that by well understood theories we know it will work
    4) some other reasons that haven't occured to me yet but that I will probably agree with if someone else brings them up.

    So with global warming you are making a definite prediction about the future and I am saying "IT WON'T WORK". Why does my predictive ability work? Why am I so smart. Because in most cases where someone is trying some particular idea or system there are many more ways it can fail than succeed. At least in the case of more powerful ideas and theories this should be the case.

    So by the principle of indifference since I know there are more ways for catastrophic global warming not to happen than to happen I predict it won't happen. The same as I predict parecon won't work, Keynesian stimulus doesn't work etc. Usually I am right.

  • ||

    Once again, I see people talking as if most or all scientists were endorsing the manmade global warming idea. The press makes it look that way, but in reality there are thousands of PhD scientists who have publicly express skepticism about the whole idea: http://petitionproject.com/

    It's simply not true that a "consensus" exists among "all scientists." If anything a majority is questioning the claims.

  • ||

    The whole concept of perpetual economic/population GROWTH on a finite planet is physically impossible, and climate change is just a symptom of that blind process. The atmosphere has a limited ability to slough off the effects of heat-trapping gases.

    I'd suggest siding with the logic of those who recognize the Earth's limits vs. those who deny limits for financial gains in the short term.

    Those who claim that both sides have "equal" merit are really just changing the subject (and flat out lying). It really comes down to learned folk vs. the likes of Rush Limbaugh. Over 90% of people actively studying the climate agree that Man is causing the current warming. Stick with that fact, OK? It means something.

  • ||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    And here's one of the fucking retards doing exactly what I said. How's being a retard cultist working out for you, buddy? You having fun?

  • Cultural Cognition Group||

    Nice skepticism ya got there. It would be a shame if sumptin' happened to it.
    *adjusts neck tie, cracks knuckles*

  • ||

    You are the very image of a retard, with such a meaningless reply to a thoughtful post. You have stated nothing of value here.

    Prove that the Earth has an infinite ability to absorb human impact or you are merely yelling.

    See "steady state economy" if you think there are no alternatives to mindless, parasitic economic/population growth on a finite planet. I'll bet you won't even bother to look up that steady-state concept. Most people only know how to spin reality to make themselves feel good.

  • ||

    Most people only know how to spin reality to make themselves feel good.

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Go look up "irony", Jim The Mindless Cultist.

  • ||

    Below is typical reaction of a sub-90 I.Q. human to any sort of intellect:

    "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"

    You can go back to repairing the roof on your trailer now.

  • ||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Keep 'em coming, genius! You like your cult, buddy? Does it make you feel like you belong? You need that, right? Someone to like you?

  • BigT||

    Thank you Prof Malthus!

  • Platypus||

    90% of people actively studying the climate agree that Man is causing the current warming...

    Kinda like the 90% of the people who studied the Earth who agreed it was flat?

    p.s. Did you just suggest that Man was a parasite? I believe you did. I bet you're a big fan of NPG, right?

  • ||

    Nice try, but you've taken the opposite side of what you're really on. The Church has been railing against science for centuries, and you'll find that a huge percentage of AGW deniers are Creationists (Bachmann, Inhofe, et al).

    The people who used to think the world was flat are the same types who now think massive emissions of GHGs are incapable of causing warming. They are too full of themselves to cope with evidence.

    The world is vastly overcrowded because it's finite, and human numbers are growing by about twice California's population each year (approx. 75,000,000). The need to halt population growth is another point that most scientists agree on. Just because it may offend a shallow concept of individual freedom doesn't make it false. It's ironic that so many Libertarians think they're gaining freedom as the world gets more crowded. They ignore the math.

    As for NPG, nature will enforce it if people don't do it voluntarily. All Libertarian protests will be futile.

    You have the luxury at the moment of pretending limits don't matter, but nature could care less. Future "conversation" between overpopulation deniers and nature:

    Dumb people: "Hey nature, stop restricting our per-capita food water and energy, we didn't mean any harm! All 9 billion of us are nice people just trying to get by. We swear we meant no harm! Please, nature, give us a break....!"

    Nature's reply: [silence and painful deaths]

  • ||

    Jim C.: Limits are defined by our technological capabilities, not by physical processes or stores of resources. For an introduction to these economic ideas see my interview with Paul Romer, and my essay, The Law of Increasing Returns [PDF].

  • ||

    "Nice try, but you've taken the opposite side of what you're really on. The Church has been railing against science for centuries,"

    I disagree. The history of the Church and science is a lot more complicated than you make it out to be. Your understanding here is shallow

    As for NPG, nature will enforce it if people don't do it voluntarily. All Libertarian protests will be futile.

    "You have the luxury at the moment of pretending limits don't matter, but nature could care less. Future "conversation" between overpopulation deniers and nature"

    I don't think will hit any limit. The limits have been calculated before. They are vastly greater than current human population.

    But more importantly, fertility rates have plummeted world wide very quickly mainly as a result of urbanization. Without any government intervention it looks like are population will go into a deep decline somewhere around mid century.

    So it seems to me like your limits to growth argument is irrelevant since humans will never come close to hitting any limits.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    I'll give you that the planet has a limited capacity for humans. With technology this number is expanded from where it would be without technology. We have probably passed the number at which the human population could be sustained without technology. However, we are probably not at the capacity number with current technology (were that technology available to the whole of the world's population*). With continuing advances this number will continue to grow. I don't pretend to know at how population increase will increase with respect to technological increases. In short, we have not reached our maximum population with current technology, and there is significant potential for advances.

    On another note, it is intellectually irresponsible to consider humanity eternally strapped to this planet. By the year 2050, I would be highly surprised if there were not a fair number of people living independently of Earth, and outright astonished if this were not the case by 2100.

    *The best means of distributing these technologies, and incidentally for making new ones, is free market capitalism. Despots and dictators, or bureaucracies, are the main problem in poorer nations, and poverty in those nations is arguably not an effect of overpopulation at all, but of lack of freedom.

  • Skr||

    The earth is not vastly overcrowded, it is overcrowded in places, which is to say the carrying capacity of certain locations has been exceeded. Luckily we have distribution networks to solve that problem. When those networks fail we have problems, but that doesn't mean we don't have enough room for a lot more people. We also produce enough food to feed the planet but run into those distribution problems. Generally those problems are associated with authoritarian regimes not capitalist democracies. Also food distribution problems are a pretty good reason the genetically modify crops to enable people to farm the marginal land they occupy. We have shit tons of energy in the ground, just not the kind you like. Also, the sun produces more energy than we will need in 100 lifetimes but if ITER goes well we will make our own suns for power. And did you seriously say we don't have enough water on a planet the surface of which is mostly water? Sure it's undrinkable but that is just an energy problem.

  • sevo||

    "you'll find that a huge percentage of AGW deniers are Creationists (Bachmann, Inhofe, et al)."

    And you'll find a whole lot of AGW catastrophists are lefties and/or bunny huggers.
    Enviro-fundies are only slightly different from X-ian/Jewish/Muslim fundies.

  • Skr||

    This^^^

  • sevo||

    "The world is vastly overcrowded"

    Sorta ignoring 'science' there, aren't you?

  • sevo||

    NOW we get to the meat of the matter:
    "Nature's reply: [silence and painful deaths]"

    Please tell us when the rapture is coming.

  • BigT||

    We'll be up to our eyeballs in horse shit by 1925!

  • -_-||

    Did you just suggest that Man was a parasite?

    Doesn't Jim C. know that the killing of a parasite infestation begins at home?

  • sevo||

    Pretty much sure that Jim C is simply an enviro-fundie who worships earth-mommy.
    See claims of 'not respect', 'canabilism;, etc. These are not claims of someone who deals with cost/benefit, or even +/- details.

  • sevo||

    "You are the very image of a retard,"

    Well, you're not doing badly as dipshit.

  • sevo||

    "See "steady state economy""

    For a real education in what absolute government control would do.

  • Tman||

    Jim,

    Seriously. That was just sad.

    "The atmosphere has a limited ability to slough off the effects of heat-trapping gases."

    This would be true as long as you exclude every other warming period that's ever happened throughout the earth's history.

    Climate change has been and will be a lot nastier than anything we as humans have experienced in our limited time as sentient beings. And that includes both the Medieval Warming period and the Little Ice Age. Check out The Snowball Earth hypothesis, which posits that the Earth's surface became entirely or nearly entirely frozen at least once, some time earlier than 650 million years ago, or the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum where temperatures jumped by about 6°C (11°F) over a period of approximately 20,000 years.

    We are but a faint blip within the history of this ecosystem.

  • ||

    I don't think you read my meaning. We seem to be on the same side of the argument. Past warming periods are mostly irrelevant to the one WE have to deal with as a modern society.

    The atmosphere is now warming because of what WE'RE doing, and it's entirely relevant to OUR foreseeable future, i.e. the next 100 years or so.

    Man-made climate change is a "blip" in the same sense that the Titanic iceberg was a "blip" to its passengers. It's a big deal when you're IN it.

    Marveling at how "small" Man is (in the scheme of things) does nothing to counter the blatant changes Man is causing these days. People alive today don't have the luxury of looking back at this "blip" as an historical curiosity.

  • Tman||

    I don't think you read my meaning.

    No, I read it fine.

    We seem to be on the same side of the argument

    No, not really.

    The atmosphere is now warming because of what WE'RE doing, and it's entirely relevant to OUR foreseeable future, i.e. the next 100 years or so.

    I think man has a part in the recent warming trend. But these questions- How much man affects the climate, whether or not the trend is unusual from a historical perspective, how much the sun, forest fires, dust storms and volcanic activity have to with it, whether or not the effects will be a boon or catastrophe for mankind- these remain unanswered at best.

    Man-made climate change is a "blip" in the same sense that the Titanic iceberg was a "blip" to its passengers. It's a big deal when you're IN it.

    Mankind has already survived several global warming and cooling events in the 100,000 odd years since we split away from our primate cousins. We will survive the next one.

    Marveling at how "small" Man is (in the scheme of things) does nothing to counter the blatant changes Man is causing these days.

    It's amazing you don't see how that statement contradicts itself. Think about it.

    People alive today don't have the luxury of looking back at this "blip" as an historical curiosity.

    It's not a "luxury". It's called "science".

  • ||

    Man-made climate change is a "blip" in the same sense that the Titanic iceberg was a "blip" to its passengers. It's a big deal when you're IN it.

    Mankind has already survived several global warming and cooling events in the 100,000 odd years since we split away from our primate cousins. We will survive the next one.

    I would also like to point out that not only have we survived countless local and global climate events....but you can make straight line correlations such as:

    More oil consumption = higher rate of survival from earth quacks, drought, flood etc

    More people = better technology to deal with catastrophic events

    The richer your country = the less likely the environmental will kill you.

    The factual evidence of population growth, resource consumption and economic growth demonstrate the exact opposite of what Jim is claiming.

  • Alan||

    I agree with Tman (and Ron Bailey).

    Certainly humans have had an effect on the environment: whether it has had a significant impact on climate is one question, and what our best course of action might be is another question. I don't believe the AGW enthusiasts have done a good job of answering either. On the other hand, many of the AGW deniers don't come off as much better, except that they aren't asking us to destroy humanity's best hope for the future in order to forestall a trivial threat.

    Of course, some of the AGW enthusiasts' prescriptions just make sense. Pollution means low efficiency, so non-polluting energy sources means higher efficiency, which means that after R&D costs are paid, it will be cheaper and cleaner - and that's good on many levels. Same with high efficiency products that use less energy. We focus an awful lot on areas of disagreement, and tend to ignore the important parts where we should mostly agree.

  • ||

    I fail to understand why anyone is concerned with global warming. Even substantial warming like 5 degrees increase I consider a great thing.

    I am far more worried about global cooling.

  • -_-||

    The atmosphere is now warming because of what WE'RE doing

    I'm looking forward to some warmer weather. Can you spare some sun tan lotion? Why do you hate warm weather?

  • Michigan||

    yes! please!

  • CraterMaker||

    You imagine too small, and you forgot to show your work.. For makeup credit, please tell me what the temperature will be at any of these time stamps and destinations : Chicago, 3:34pm tomorrow
    Seattle, 10/14/2025
    Washington D.C. 5/3/2204
    Remember, that's without changing carbon outputs - and show your work.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Jim C.

    The whole concept of perpetual economic/population GROWTH on a finite planet is physically impossible, and climate change is just a symptom of that blind process.


    You are conflating two very different issues. Economic growth and population growth are NOT the same thing.

    The atmosphere has a limited ability to slough off the effects of heat-trapping gases.


    Since there's a limited source of heat, I would say: hooray for it. Otherwise the planet would be as cold as Mars and lifeless.

    Those who claim that both sides have "equal" merit are really just changing the subject[.]


    Nobody is claiming that. This is no "us vs them" issue: There's no conclusive evidence that the Earth is heating up, but there's no denial it could be happening. The problems begin when so-called "scientists" (or East Anglia's Bullshit Artists(TM) along with their UN enablers, to be more precise) start prescribing ECONOMIC SOLUTIONS, when they are neither economists nor geniuses.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    "Since there's a limited source of heat, I would say: hooray for it. Otherwise the planet would be as cold as Mars and lifeless."

    I would say Pluto is a more appropriate example, and Mars' lifelessness is still a matter of some debate.

  • Chupacabra||

    I knew it!

    [adjusts tin foil hat]

  • Skr||

    The problem here is you are arguing a false tautology. Of course infinite population growth is impossible on a finite planet, but where is this infinite population growth of which you speak? Although UN population estimates were unfortunately revised upwards recently, they still strongly suggest a crest occurring during this century. The slowing of the rate of growth also correlates with increased prosperity which correlates to a reduction of environmental harm and increased desire to preserve the environment. So your "thoughtful gotcha" argument is neither.

  • Skr||

    That should read "nonexistant tautology".

  • ||

    Skr is right about the projected population trends.

  • ||

    The slowing of the rate of growth also correlates with increased prosperity

    Actually the evidence shows that the more people there are alive the more prosperous we are.

    Think of one computer solving a problem....now think how much better 1 billion computers would be at solving that problem....now think of 10 billion computers solving that problem.

    The more people living and breathing = the better off I am.

    So chop chop people...make more friggin babies!

  • Skr||

    I think you misunderstood. As people become more prosperous the rate of population growth decreases, not as the rate of growth decreases people become more prosperous.

    Also, I think we have a neo-feudalist on our hands. LOL.

  • ||

    But the "limits to growth" argument assumes a closed system, in which fundamental conditions don't change. The problem is that human intelligence is one of those fundamental conditions; it has always been a game-changer and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future. We reached "limits of growth" as hunter-gatherers a long time ago. So we invented agriculture. In various places, when we could no longer spread out, we built up. When disease wiped out large fractions of our population, the survivors developed sanitation and scientific medicine. Science and industry keep finding new uses for plentiful materials, and new ways to more efficiently use and re-use scarce ones. New methods of agriculture and deliberately bred crops increased yields and nutritional content of foods. And so on, and so forth. Someday, if enough of us are convinced that we have used up all the room and resources on Earth -- if we simply want more resources and more breathing room -- we will find ways to leave this planet and colonize others. Or at least find and retrieve additional resources from space. Or we may find yet another way to use existing resources more efficiently here. That's just how humans are, and they won't be convinced to change their ways -- nor should they! -- by simple, linear Malthusian arguments, when numerous, real-life, historical counterexamples are available.

    If you haven't noticed, the planet slaps us down in many different ways, regardless of whether or not our puny actions may in some way be environmentally provocative. We don't seem to matter to the earth and the sun. In that context, the only real yardstick to measure whether our actions are "good" or "bad" is whether they cause our situations to improve or deteriorate, respectively. (Not to say that you couldn't adopt an "objective," cosmological view, but that would be an essentially religious decision, not to mention another discussion entirely.) Prior restraint -- of research, development, enterprise, exploration, fecundity, consumption or production, etc. -- as recommended by Malthusian arguments, would seem extremely short-sighted and in conflict with humanity's actual needs. Only in the presence of an ACTUAL shortage or problem, of natural origin, might we need to change our behavior in a manner that were coordinated by our political apparatus. And if the shortage or problem were not natural, but merely political in nature (for example, starving people can't get food in East Tyrannistan because the military strongman in charge of the place keeps foreign aid for himself and his soldiers, or sells much of it in exchange for weaponry), then we might need a wholly different approach to effectively address the issue. There is a lot of evidence to conclude that MOST of our problems of scarcity and disease today are really political or economic in nature, and that, if we clean our own house as a species, the other problems will prove manageable.

  • ||

    The atmosphere has a limited ability to slough off the effects of heat-trapping gases.

    No. the correct answer is CO2 either has or will soon reach a saturation point in which all trappable heat is trapped. In other words at a certain point all the heat is trapped and it does not matter if more CO2 is added because More CO2 cannot trap non-existent heat.

    It should also be pointed out that water vapor is the the big heat trapping gas. All the heat that is not being trapped by CO2 is probably being trapped by water vapor anyway....so we are already at the saturation point of green house gases and any increase cannot trap any more heat simply because all the heat has already been trapped.

    not only does the atmosphere have the ability to slough off the effects of heat-trapping gases, but heat-trapping gases have an absolute limit at which they can no longer effect anything.

  • BigT||

    Not quite. The absorbance is a log function of the concentration, so each added amount absorbs less than before, but it still absorbs.

  • ||

    The "values" that determine whether someone is a climate change denier tend to be the same "values" that have made so many people disrespectful of nature throughout history. It's not just a random roll of the values dice, as the author chooses to portray it. Global warming deniers are the same people who declared the ozone hole a hoax, and decried the need for acid rain pollution controls. The list of historical denials is long, and can't be detached from this particular topic.

    Some people have simply never respected the natural world and its limits. They are still operating under the Genesis 1:28 "subdue" clause, and see no immorality in cannibalizing nature to serve the needs of a single species.

  • ||

    Yeah, and DDT too!

  • Au H20||

    We've come a long way from the anti-government scientist Galileo, huh?

  • ||

    but, but, over 8,000 species are becoming extinct each year!

  • BigT||

    How many species are there? No one knows. So such statements are pure speculation.

  • .||

    How many species became extinct before humans ever showed up? Millions?

  • T||

    see no immorality in cannibalizing nature

    This implies nature is eating itself, which makes it a natural process and therefore outside of morality. We don't ask whether a wolf pack taking down a bear is moral in doing so.

  • Skr||

    I was just going to say, "nature cannibalizes itself constantly."

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Jim C.,

    The "values" that determine whether someone is a climate change denier tend to be the same "values" that have made so many people disrespectful of nature throughout history.


    Now you're resorting to Ad Hominem attacks.

    Good! Good! I can feel your anger!

    Global warming deniers are the same people who declared the ozone hole a hoax, and decried the need for acid rain pollution controls.


    You're conflating totally different phenomena, Jim C. Whereas so-called "Climate Change" or "Global Warming" involves an extremely complex, multi-variable system, the Ozone layer only involves a simple chemical reaction. Acid rain, while it had some merit as a "problem," ended up not being the hobgoblin that people made it back in the 80s.

    The list of historical denials is long, and can't be detached from this particular topic.


    Yes, it can. They have NO relation whatsoever with each other.

    Some people have simply never respected the natural world and its limits.


    You're ABSOLUTELY right - they were called "communists."

    http://countrystudies.us/russia/25.htm

  • BigT||

    "Ozone layer only involves a simple chemical reaction."

    About 50 elementary steps is hardly simple. But I take your point - compared to the complexity of climate models, ozone Chem was relatively simple . More importantly, it was able to be studied very accurately in lab expts

  • Alan||

    Ozone hole also had broad consensus, and actions to rectify it were quickly taken. It's really not in the same category.

    In many cases, we're fighting over miniscule threats to the environment because all the major threats were adequately addressed in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s - by broad (if not complete) consensus.

  • DK||

    "Disrespectful of nature"? Interesting phrase. I study nature as a profession (physicist). I respect the hell out of nature, probably far more than a non-scientist could ever expect to do. Read anything about the anthropic principle in cosmology and you'll be astonished by nature. Try doing quantum field theory and not have a reverence for the cosmos. It's impossible. Suffice it to say I respect the hell out of nature. Moreover, I find it to be a testament to our love of nature that we are willing to study its laws and use the results to create technology which improves the human condition.

    If you disagree, I encourage you to forgo all of the things that man's "disrespect of nature" has given you. But that would mean you couldn't be posting on this forum. You couldn't drive (or bike or walk in your Nikes) home. You couldn't have disinfected water or cooked food. Let's see how much you love nature when put into humanity's bare state. Best of luck.

  • Lowdog||

    I think it depends on the kind of science that you are educated in. Me, I know a lot about geology and astronomy and other kinds of planetary science. In my discipline, things are not so certain, mostly because I can't do the kinds of controlled experiments that someone like a chemist, or to a lesser degree, a biologist, could. Therefore, I know how wrong models can be if they don't have enough data and that you should always couch your conclusions with a little bit of doubt.

    That's why I don't buy that anthropomorphic climate change is "settled" science - in fact, I think that we have a long way to go to really understand all the variables that can truly model such a complex system.

  • -_-||

    That's why I don't buy that anthropomorphic climate change is "settled" science

    Science is the human effort to understand the natural world, so until one believes that humans already have a perfect understanding of the natural world, then there is no such thing as "settled science".

  • BigT||

    Yes. The effect of CO2 can be accurately modeled, by itself. But there are many factors, many not well understood, that interact in complex ways that we simply do not understand, and may not even take into account. Models are only as good as the assumptions and observations upon which they are built.

  • Jim||

    I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I am not affiliated with Jim C.

  • ||

    Too late! Get him!

  • Old Mexican||

    Darn it! And I had already lighted my torch... You party pooper!

  • ||

    Eat it and weep.

    A large survey of U.S. adults (N = 1540) found little support for this account. On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones.

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/pa.....id=1871503

    So to be clear the more you understand the science the less likely you are to think it is a serious problem.

  • ||

    jc: To be just a bit clearer, the more you understand science and math in general as determined by the survey, the less likely you are to think climate change is a serious problem.

  • Apogee||

    Ron: To be even more clear - the more you believe in your ability to make long term future predictions of complex systems, one way or the other, the less scientifically literate you are.

  • ||

    Apogee: just stating the basis of scientific literacy within the confines of the study.

  • ||

    "Kahan and his colleagues at the Cultural Cognition Group suggest the Hierarchical/Individualists discount scientific information about climate change because it is strongly associated with the promotion of carbon rationing as the exclusive policy remedy for the problem. "

    Yes. Politicians are good at presenting solutions to crises that give them more control of people and resources, while ignoring solutions that would lessen their control. The climate change arena provides just one example of this. Another is the current, frenzied debate on the national debt limit. "Seniors might lose their social security checks!" Oooh! Scary! "The rich and middle class might have to pay a lot more in taxes." Oooh! Scary! "The US might have to default on its debt!" Oooh! Scary!

    In my household, if we get close to maxing out the credit card, we can increase income by working harder or getting additional jobs; reduce spending by curtailing activities or finding cheaper substitutes; or liquidate assets (e.g., have a garage sale). Oh yeah, and then there's also begging our bank to raise our credit limit or getting a different bank to give us a new credit card, but that would be denial of the problem and digging ourselves in deeper. The US views this as Standard Operating Procedure, which strongly suggests how dysfunctional our financial management has become.

    Anyway, in the national conversation on the debt, I have heard a lot about the first two approaches (and the fourth, dysfunctional one), but almost nothing about the third. Why aren't we talking seriously about selling off assets to cushion the shock as we reduce our spending to minimum feasible levels? The US has almost unimaginably vast holdings, especially West of the Mississippi. If we are at or near the limits of what taxation and spending cuts can do (I don't believe this, but let's say so for discussion purposes), then where is serious talk about forestalling "default" on the debt, or keeping social security promises to retirees, by having a national "garage sale," the proceeds from which can at least buy us time to develop and execute a more sustainable, long-term restructuring plan?

    I think that the current "crisis" may very well be a sham. If it were real, and being taken seriously, then asset sales would be an important tool on the table. We do not need to leave seniors or others in the lurch, or default on our debt, when we have so many assets in our portfolio. We are not even close to those horrible consequences as long as the federal government owns, for example, almost 50% of the acreage in the State of California alone. The fact that our leaders keep saying we are in such dire straits, without admitting the topic of asset sales into the national conversation, would seem an indication of the nature of the confidence game that is being played here.

    In climate change, health care, the national debt, and so many other areas of concern, we keep getting hobson's choices from our politicians, with the inevitable result that any "solution" takes decision-making authority and title to resources away from individuals and gives them to the elites -- those in the political "ruling class" and their close associates in business.

    I'm tired of this scam, aren't you?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I don't see why the scientific community should have no seat at the table on policy prescriptions.


    You're jesting, right? WHO THE FUCK ARE THEY TO PRESCRIBE TO YOU OR ME ANYTHING?

    They surely understand the issues at least as much as, say, Michelle Bachmann.


    Fuck me, then we're in worse trouble that I thought.

    Or you for that matter, who would design economic policy based on a demonstrably huge gap in your understanding of what's happening in the world.


    A "huge gap" that you made up in your head, Tony. Despite the facts, despite the data I have shown you, despite the economics I took pains to inform you, you still have this fantasy about a world where people, regular people, are hopeless brutes and only perfect and angelical beings dare govern us out of pure selflessness. Which is more likely?

    You don't get to refer to some unconnected theory that has been proved wrong and make a claim about a current theory.


    I am not conflating theories. I am pointing out that scientists have been WRONG before, many times, due to stubborness, biases, ideology or politics.

    No[t] this one probably isn't.


    Well, hope springs eternal.

  • MrGuy||

    Whats with all the climate change nonsense on Reason all of a sudden?

  • Tony||

    They're trying to figure out how to ease into being respectable as an outfit that accepts modern science without offending its denier readership and oil industry sugar daddies.

  • sevo||

    "They're trying to figure out how to ease into being respectable as an outfit that accepts modern science"
    Innuendo

    "without offending its denier readership"
    Lie

    "and oil industry sugar daddies."
    Innuendo.
    'Bout par for the course, shithead.

  • ||

    Ron does not seem to be shy about offending reason's "denier" readership.

    He like you has even called us "deniers".

    Pretty dickish if you ask me.

    Still he is no craven when it comes to offending the climate skeptics here.

  • ||

    Tony: Your lack of perspicacity is truly amazing!

  • Tony||

    So I'm expected to believe that a philosophy whose every tenet supports the profits of existing corporations in general and, with the otherwise inexplicable flirtation with denierism, those of the oil industry in particular, and is given money by them, that this outfit isn't just a little bit propagandistic? Nothing wrong with that, especially in your world--payment for service.

  • ||

    Tony: Sometimes conspiracy theories aren't true.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    a philosophy whose every tenet supports the profits of existing corporations in general

    Well, that's a lie. Where are the libertarians who supported bailing out GM.

  • wulfy||

    I would like a parallel economic bias survey to express the rent-seeking aspect of their confirmation bias. For example, the survey respondents' income source could be characterized as:

    A) 100% dependent on government employment/grants/contracts (EGC)
    B) 50-99% dep. on government EGC
    C) 1-50% dep. on government EGC
    D) 0% dep. on government EGC

    E) 100% dependent on the fossil fuel industry (FFI)
    F) 50-99% dep. on FFI
    G) 1-49% dep. on FFI
    H) 0% dep. on FFI.

  • wulfy||

    This data would certainly show a heavy economic bias by the "scientific" community in favor of AGW alarmist policy to ban all kinds of technologies, because most of them depend either directly on govt grants or university employment/tenure BASED on publishing govt grant-funded research.

    They know what side of the bread the govt will butter. It's a perversion of science, grants given for proposals which contain shamanic hysterical pre-determined conclusions of apocalyptic doom... it's kinky geek porno you're all paying for out of your income tax, and their bogus conclusions are used to overregulate and extort you again with gas and carbon regs and taxes!

    If Shakespeare were here, he'd day, "Let's kill all the govt funded scientists." They're as bad as lawyers now on the parasitism scale.

  • sevo||

    "and see no immorality in cannibalizing nature to serve the needs of a single species."

    Uh, did you learn of this "immorality" in your prayers to mommy earth?

  • Mizchief||

    So what about those of us who are Individualist/Egalitarian? What am I supposed to believe?

    As much as I hate this notion that you can lump everyone into one of two groups, I think the combination described points out the illogical contradictions in the values held by both major parties.

    I don't get how you can believe that each individual is important, but then at the same time believe that certain groups of people deserve more or less freedom, or that you can focus on the community over the individual, but think that you can achieve any sort of successful society without strict conformity to "the group"

  • ||

    Mixchief: Yale Scientific Magazine has a nice grid (scroll down) which shows how the four cultural cognition dimensions play out with regard to various risk issues, e.g., guns, abortion, nanotechnology, climate change, involuntary mental health treatment, HPV vaccination and so forth.

  • sevo||

    Dunno, Ron, that grid looks a bit simplistic.
    A couple of more issues might make it fall apart entirely; the HPV vaccination seems strangely located as a 'high risk'.

  • ||

    Sevo: I kind of see your point - HPV vaccine might be "high risk" in this category because some hierarchicalists worry that it will encourage "promiscuity," and/or vaccination is mandatory as it is in VA.

  • sevo||

    "and/or vaccination is mandatory as it is in VA."
    Which is the reason I think it might explode with further data. The presumption built into the grid seems to be the 'mandatory', not the 'vaccination'.
    Dunno about the 'promiscuity'; when I was younger, I found that to be a feature. Now that I think about it, as an old fart, I still do.

  • -_-||

    On the other hand, egalitarian-communitarians are ambivalent about markets and commerce, which they blame for social inequity

    They are ambivalent and yet they blame.

    Aren't there science writers who can write without injecting blatant biases?

  • -_-||

    Yeah, okay, the author is just a sophomore.

  • -_-||

    the next step is to solve the initial problem by ending debates that should not be happening in the first place.

    Yes, debating is bad, at least according to Kahan who seems to be advocating the creation of an agency devoted to manipulating the manner of communication about science in order to lower the resistance of the public to policies backed by the authority of "scientific consensus".

    The use of the issue of the HPV vaccine in the study is interesting. Kahan suggests that instead of advocating vaccines just for young girls, as was done because of the risk of the later development of cervical cancer, that there should have been an advocacy of vaccines for both girls and boys. He attributes opposition to HPV vaccinations for young girls solely to its association with casual sex, but he doesn't mention the issues of vaccine safety, crony capitalist deals with Big Vaccine, the compulsory nature of some proposals and the cost of universal vaccination, which would, of course, double if boys were included. Some parents were offended by the presumption of universal sexual promiscuity, as well.

    The public might well hear a great deal more about HPV vaccines if Perry jumps into the Presidential primary since he backed compulsory, universal HPV vaccines in TX.

  • -_-||

    I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that grid. My mind keeps wanting to replace Communitarian with Statism and view the right half of the diagram as representing policies rationalized by "do this for the good of the community". My mind also wants to think of the vertical dimension of the grid as representing whether the argument for a policy is presented by someone saying "We should do this because I say so and I am an expert/I am in charge/I really understand this better than you" or someone saying "We should do this because I say so and I know that this is what The People really want".

  • angus||

    Heh, I'm a pragmatist, somewhere in the middle there. And ironically I think we need greater liberty to prevent climate change.

    This, I get:

    Kahan and his colleagues at the Cultural Cognition Group suggest the Hierarchical/Individualists discount scientific information about climate change because it is strongly associated with the promotion of carbon rationing as the exclusive policy remedy for the problem.

    But the Lefts "solution" isn't a solution, it is evil and doomed to fail. The Caps need to be worldwide and trading will set a price at $X which will be the same for someone in Monte Carlo or someone in Malawi. This is good news for most people reading this blog as our price will be low compared to our incomes, but this breeds resentment amoung those living in Malawi (& the rest of the developing world) making them be highly motivated to circumvent the Caps. To prevent the circumvention the Left propose wealth redistribution from the developed world to those imposing the Stalinistic production controls in Malawi (and the rest). The reason climate change negotiations fail every time is that most leaders of the developing world don't aspire to the role of paid climate enforcement lackey suppressing their own people.

    And these alternative solutions aren't much better at enhancing liberty:

    ...more acceptable to Hierarchical/Individualists, e.g., deploying more nuclear power plants, geo-engineering, and developing new technologies to adapt to whatever climate change occurs.

    The first two (retooling power generation, civil infra-structure re-engineering) necessitate a high level of societal input and the 3rd is to do essentially nothing. Its an improvement over letting the UN become a Stalinistic overlord, but not enough. And its an implied admission of failure that essentially suggests that the only viable solution to climate change is the Stalinist one.

    So how about a solution that works and enhances liberty?

    Price Carbon into free markets.

    Place a carbon sales tax that is 4x higher than the price a global cap would impose and by definition it is 4x as motivating for change. Free the market - no subsidies, no state controls, no limits, no state borrowing, no income tax, no land tax, no state involvement beyond the bare minimum required for defence and security. Give people the liberty choose to increase the rate of climate change by paying more tax or reduce climate change by paying less tax.

    The prevention of climate change requires lower taxes and smaller government.

  • ||

    "And these alternative solutions aren't much better at enhancing liberty:

    " ... developing new technologies to adapt to whatever climate change occurs.

    "...{that is} is to do essentially nothing."

    Not precisely. "It is," perhaps, "for the GOVERNMENT to do essentially nothing," leaving individuals and voluntarily organized and staffed groups to develop the aforementioned "new technologies" that will enable us to adapt to whatever climate change comes our way. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and not an option that we should dismiss out of hand.

  • angus||

    The status quo is not to have government out of anybody's way.

  • Ben Wolf||

    The paper has a serious, fundamental flaw in how it determines scientific literacy. It asks a number of broad questions of a number of fields; it does not, however, attempt to determine subject literacy in relevant fields (climatology, glaciology marine science and atmospheric physics). Climatologists have not argued the public is scientifically illiterate, they have argued the public is illiterate in climate science. Correctly answering questions regarding "the father's genes" is meaningless in this context.

    In fact if we look at the actual questions asked in S&E Indicators 2010:http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind10/pdf/c07.pdf

    we see not a single question even remotely related to climate science.

    As a result the study tells us nothing in regards to how relevant literacy affects opinions and judgements. I have real trouble believing the authors weren't aware of this.

  • Skr||

    Actually, I would think that a general scientific literacy would be applicable because it would provide a broad base with which to understand the manner in which mankind has dealt with all sorts of difficulties and challenges not just climatological ones.

  • ||

    Skr: Correct.

  • -_-||

    General scientific literacy correlates to some extent with understanding of the formal scientific processes used to reach conclusions and provides an added ability to evaluate the truthiness of claims made by self-identified experts.

  • Watz||

    I am curious if many people who have entered a career in climate science would ever:

    1. Espouse a theory that implies that climate science is really not that important and thus doesn't need more funding and prestige, or

    2. Would risk being ridiculed and outcast by their intolerant scientific community, even if their data disproved popular notions about the impending weather apocalypse.

    My guess is no. The public has seen these scientists denying and hiding data that ran contrary to their line of self-interest. It is hard to recover from that kind of self-discrediting.

    If these people, who write computer models and pat each other on the back for their increasingly alarmist headlines, empirically show me the weather accurately following the behavior that they predict then I will take what they have to say seriously. Until then, speaking as a scientist myself, they are making wild extrapolations and conjectures that they have no clue will be true, and are stating them as fact. That is unscientific. You are supposed to LIMIT generalizations about your work. You are supposed to acknowledge and explore limitations and problems in your method, not deny them and attack anyone who mentions them. Most of all, if trying to predict something complex, you need to demonstrate that your model works and is not just a mathematical gumbo made from a bunch of partial differential equations, random assumptions, and oversimplifications of a complex system.

  • Tony||

    Would risk being ridiculed and outcast by their intolerant scientific community

    I swear to god it's like you people just learned that there are scientists and FOX or whatever gave you some thoughts the subject. You implicitly trust the methods of every other field, yet somehow this one field is totally corrupted? How? For what purpose? Government grants? Scientists as intolerant conformists, I love it.

  • mgd||

    That's right, Tony. He's a scientist, and just learned that he exists and found out about himself on Fox.

    Did you read what he said, at all?

    If these people...empirically show me the weather accurately following the behavior that they predict then I will take what they have to say seriously.

    Why, Tony, is it so difficult for you to grasp that other fields are trusted precisely because their hypotheses have predictive value? Do you understand that most skeptics would exhibit the same reluctance to accept claims made by Freudian psychoanalysts that their conclusions required the same draconian measures as the AGWers? Even if 97% of all psychoanalysts agreed with the conclusions?

  • ||

    Such an example of confirmation bias here!

    90% of the posters here are conservative and predictably show such in their denial of modern science.

    Hayek wrote about this in his condemnation of conservatives --

    conservatives are inclined to use the powers of government to prevent change or to limit its rate to whatever appeals to the more timid mind. In looking forward, they lack the faith in the spontaneous forces of adjustment which makes the liberal accept changes without apprehension

    conservatism fears new ideas because it has no distinctive principles of its own to oppose them; and, by its distrust of theory and its lack of imagination concerning anything except that which experience has already proved, it deprives itself of the weapons needed in the struggle of ideas.

  • Watz||

    You must have missed the memo. This is a libertarian site.

    I'll see your big government bloat and raise you a free market.

  • ||

    Doesn't stop 25-30 conservative posters from regular stops here.

  • NotSure||

    You still have not answered my question. Hayek did not support any of the government actions you support, so why are you fan exactly ???

    Hayek would most certainly would have rejected any support from an illiterate buffoon such as yourself.

  • ||

    I support Hayek 99% - the sole exception being monetary issues since I support a modern central bank.

    I prefer the smallest government possible - hence my hatred of the GOP (the Dems are bad too - but about 60% as bad - not close really)

  • Apogee||

    It is, indeed, part of the liberal attitude to assume that, especially in the economic field, the self-regulating forces of the market will somehow bring about the required adjustments to new conditions, although no one can foretell how they will do this in a particular instance.

    There is perhaps no single factor contributing so much to people's frequent reluctance to let the market work as their inability to conceive how some necessary balance, between demand and supply, between exports and imports, or the like, will be brought about without deliberate control. The conservative feels safe and content only if he is assured that some higher wisdom watches and supervises change, only if he knows that some authority is charged with keeping the change "orderly."

    He believes that if government is in the hands of decent men, it ought not to be too much restricted by rigid rules. Since he is essentially opportunist and lacks principles, his main hope must be that the wise and the good will rule - not merely by example, as we all must wish, but by authority given to them and enforced by them.

    Like the socialist, he is less concerned with the problem of how the powers of government should be limited than with that of who wields them; and, like the socialist, he regards himself as entitled to force the value he holds on other people.

    You do realize that this is a libertarian site, and that these sentiments are repeated here daily, by the majority of the commenters?

    Hayek is talking about government coercion, and the inability for those on both the right and the left to part with the authority they crave.

    Your beef is with Tony & pals, not the H&R regulars.

  • sevo||

    "I prefer the smallest government possible"

    Translated from brain-dead shreik:
    "I want the smallest government that outlaws everything I don't like!"
    Go away, asshole.

  • sevo||

    "Doesn't stop 25-30 conservative posters from regular stops here."

    Nor does it seem to stop adolescents with 'issues'.

  • Skr||

    "spontaneous forces of adjustment".
    Hmmm you mean like the ability of mankind to innovate and adapt to climate change?

  • Tony||

    So your plan is to sit around and hope for new technology? Meanwhile, let's not give it any help. Nope, they get to compete in an oil-centric world with no help. For the challenge I suppose?

  • ||

    No help? We're not stopping you.

  • Watz||

    "Scientists" who rabidly promote their theory (and try to make it thoughtcrime to even entertain a skeptical opinion) are right up there on the credibility scale with John Edwards and Jimmy Swaggart.

  • Apogee||

    The paper has a serious, fundamental flaw in how it determines scientific literacy.

    Yes, it assumes that people who believe in the ability of long term prediction of complex systems, despite the 100% failure rate of all previous attempts, aren't automatically disqualified from the group of scientifically literate.

  • Ben Wolf||

    Can you supply evidence of a "100% failure rate"? I'll wait.

  • NotSure||

    Easily shown by the simple fact that there has been no successful prediction produced yet, not a single one.

  • Skr||

    We're still here despite all the predictions otherwise.

    So what do I win?

  • Apogee||

    Yes. There are no examples of anyone accurately predicting the state of any complex system 100 years into the future. (Please refute if you have any) - I'll wait.

    There are, however, many instances of complete failure demonstrated on a far smaller time scale. I already mentioned the mid '70's "New Ice Age" scare, and "irrepressible doomster" Paul Ehrlich - both of which failed to predict events less than 20 years into the future. For more examples, please check out Ron's article.

    In fact, the predictive failures of the climate models is 100%, even if you allow for the ultra generic description of "global warming", as the flattening of temperature trends over the last decade was inconsistent with the output from the climate models.

    That's a 100% failure rate.

  • -_-||

    There are no examples of anyone accurately predicting the state of any complex system 100 years into the future. (Please refute if you have any)

    A Roman once said, "There will always be war."

    The Roman was speaking of the state of the complex system of human interactions. He has been correct for many centuries. You lose.

  • BigT||

    Mark 14:7
    For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

  • Apogee||

    The Roman was speaking of the state of the complex system of human interactions. He has been correct for many centuries. You lose.

    Wrong.
    Your example mistakes the speculation "There will always be war" with that of a prediction.

    In order to generate a prediction, you need a testable hypothesis. However, a scientific prediction is not something that is going to happen, but something that is already happening, but no one has ever noticed.

    War represents a continuing form of human interaction, and the observation of such suggests no more of a test than the observation that humans eat and sleep. How is this falsified? The time period is 'always', and as such is both non-testable and non-falsifiable.

    You could just as easily say "There will always be temperature", but that would still remain speculation, and not a prediction, as although molecular interaction on a global level is a complex system, the speculation is so general that it imparts no predictive value whatsoever because it is both non-testable and non-falsifiable.

    An actual prediction was the converse, at the end of the WWI, when the term "war to end all wars" made a testable hypothesis.

  • -_-||

    As soon as there is no war, the prediction that there will always be war will have been proved false.

    Temperature is a defined quality of a material system. Can a defined quality ever be falsified?

  • Apogee||

    Can a defined quality ever be falsified?

    Good question - and no, so it doesn't really rate as a prediction, does it? Climate scientists don't predict that the temperature will change - because that's not a prediction. They assert that the temperature will trend upward. That is a testable and falsifiable prediction. Your inability to falsify or test should have made you aware of your labeling error.

    Along those lines, would you describe "Humans will always eat" as a prediction?

    How about "the earth will always spin"?

    How about "that is a rock"?

    Do you think you could get anyone in Vegas to bet on such predictions? Why not?

    Describing the state of an existing system isn't really a prediction, it's an observation. As I said before, a scientific prediction (as this is what we're talking about WRT the Climate Scientists) is generated by a hypothesis.

    You continue to assert that observations and speculation are predictions. They are not.

  • mgd||

    We have to wait for "always" to end before we will know whether he will turn out to be correct. He's not correct yet. You lose.

  • sevo||

    "Can you supply evidence of a "100% failure rate"? I'll wait."

    OK, Ben, I can't supply evidence of a 100% failure rate, since I haven't wasted time with every one of the 'rapture-whackos'.
    Try the other side: Starting with Malthus, can you provide evidence of *one* accurate prediction of catastrophy?

  • sevo||

    Hey, Ben, still waiting....
    One? Just one?

  • cheapnike||

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  • cheapjordan||

    It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

  • ||

    Nope, I've already forgotten you.

  • wham bam thankyou maam||

    and a day to love someone,

    You must be a real slow poke.

  • Fire Tiger||

    Personally I would like to see how computer literacy affects a persons belief in the climate model.

  • Réplique Montres||

  • ||

    So, basically, the second study confirms that climate change isn't a political illusion and a cap-and-trade scheme is preferred among scientists regardless of political affiliation.

    Make it so.

  • ||

    Also, scientists probably see government spending mostly in terms of the scientific grant process. In which case government spending appears not to be overwhelming wasteful and, if that were what it all was, it would be largely true.

    That's a separate bias to consider: availability bias. We think the things close to us in time or consequence are common. They're not.

  • ||

    hey, something i have no FUCKING OPINION on!

    kewl. enjoying the thread.

  • ||

    Yeah no cop cock to suck here dunphy.

  • ||

    smooches, heller.

  • Almanian||

    I'd like to thank Jim C. for bringing today's "Major Dose of Teh Stoopid" to this thread, and to Ronald Bailey for gamely trying to play along in an adult and serious way.

    Jim C. please provide your address so the rest of us can come and beat you with bars of soap wrapped in a sock like PRIVATE PYLE in "Full Metal Jacket" for all the bytes you wasted and the air you're breathing that could be used productively by other human beings.

    You have a nice evening.

  • Mark||

    Literacy and reasoning ability are completely, utterly separate things.

    Literacy deals with recall of individual bits of information. Rain Main can do that all day long.

    Understanding, however, deals with visualizing and comprehending the relationships between bits of information - it deals with knowing WHY things are and WHY things happen.

    A better study would evaluate people's ability to recognize formal logical validity, to evaluate premises, and to draw rational conclusions. I would expect the global warming wackos to score especially poorly in these areas.

  • sasob||

    Literacy deals with recall of individual bits of information. Rain Main can do that all day long.

    Only if he is exposed to them in the first place.

  • Brad Fregger||

    You don't know what you're talking about. This web whatever should be called, No Reason. If you don't have time to do some up-to-date research, read some of the current literature, don't waste our time.

    Such old info. At least come up with some new data.

  • El Duderino||

    I'm tired of global warming. There is only one way to know for sure and that is to be cryogenically frozen and then thawed 100 years in the future and if old el Duderino has to take one for the team like this, then I better wake up to some fucking flying cars.

    Well! Get crackin, those flyin cars ain't gonna invent themselves.

  • ||

    Leaving the TV on overnight, I literally woke up to some fucking flying cars, as the early morning news on the channel to which my TV was tuned carried a video report about the Terrafugia Transition, which apparently was just given FAA approval:

    http://www.ksbw.com/automotive.....etail.html

    I woke up at the TV's mention of "flying cars." Pretty cool, though I think I'd rather have a Martin "jetpack."

  • El Duderino||

    Okay, thats an airplane with wheels. Please dont wake me up for anything that requires me to go to the airport. And at 250k it better come with a entorage of flight attendants and baggage handlers.

  • Neu Mejican||

    This thread is very meta.

    higher rate of survival from earth quacks

    Funny stuff.

  • Neu Mejican||

    The burden of proof always lies with those claiming the affirmative condition. No one has to prove a negative.

    Well, sorta. In this case the "denier" claim is that hundreds of years of pumping extraordinary amounts of a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere is not amplifying the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere. Seems you've got a burden to explain why not.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    It may seem that way to you.

    But, then you've never been right about anything.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Gilbert, Gilbert.

    Let's start with where you started here.

    The burden of proof always lies with those claiming the affirmative condition. No one has to prove a negative.

    That is a false assumption. The one who carries the burden of proof is not the one who is claiming the affirmative circumstances. It lies with the one who is claiming the circumstances differ from expectations. You belief seems to come from some sense that you can't prove a negative, but of course we know from logic that that is not true, or at least no more true than our inability to prove a positive.

    http://departments.bloomu.edu/.....gative.pdf

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "That is a false assumption. The one who carries the burden of proof is not the one who is claiming the affirmative circumstances. It lies with the one who is claiming the circumstances differ from expectations"

    And you're still wrong.

    The burden of proof is always on those claiming the affirmative condtion - period.

    Your blather about "expectations" is merely an exercise in circular logic.

  • Neu Mejican||

    And you're still wrong.

    The burden is upon you to prove that affirmative...I'll wait.

    (~_^)

  • Gilbert Martin||

    That isn't the affirmative.

    You global warming believers are claiming the affirmative.

    I never accept any of your premises, NM.

    You should know that by now.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I never accept any of your premises, NM.

    You should know that by now.

    Yes, I am aware of your limited ability to have an honest discussion of a topic.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    That's hilarious coming from you.

    Not that it matters since I never cared to have any discussion with you to begin with.

    It's quite simply physically impossible that you could ever be any wiser than me. You are, after all, merely a liberal.

  • Neu Mejican||

    The predicted response. On cue. Thanks Gilbert.

    Some factual corrections.

    Not that it matters since I never cared to have any discussion with you to begin with.

    If this is true, why do you do it so often?

    You are, after all, merely a liberal.

    Nope. Not a liberal. (Burden of proof is on you, of course).

    It's quite simply physically impossible that you could ever be any wiser than me.

    Burden of proof is on you here as well.

    I'll wait.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "If this is true, why do you do it so often?"

    I don't.

    "Nope. Not a liberal. (Burden of proof is on you, of course)."

    Yes you are. You long trail of posts over time hear are proof of it.

    "Burden of proof is on you here as well."

    Since you ARE a liberal, it is automaticly so.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Gilbert, Gilbert,

    I don't.

    Even once proves your statement incorrect as you used the term "never" ... while you may claim you never "cared" to do it, since no one forced you, I would find that a dubious claim.

    Yes you are.
    Nope.

    You long trail of posts over time hear [sic] are proof of it.

    If you get "liberal" out of my history of posting here it says more about you than me. Conflating "opinion" with "proof" doesn't improve your credibility in a discussion about the concept of "proof."

    Since you ARE a liberal, it is automaticly [sic] so.

    Name the fallacy.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Blah, blah, blah.

    I have proclaimed it to be so and therefore it is.

    End of story - and discussion.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Solipsism is bliss, and all.

    See ya next time.

  • Tony||

    You are making a so-called affirmative claim about the good faith and motivations of the scientific community. As Old Mexican proves over and over, a little understanding of logic is a dangerous thing.

  • Neu Mejican||

    You are making a so-called affirmative claim about the good faith and motivations of the scientific community.

    Some are. That, however, is a side issue. Those who claim that man's CO2 output has no impact on the climate system are making an affirmative claim. They are claiming that the climate system will absorb the extra c02 without an increase in temperature. It is not a case of proving a negative. They are claiming that something is happening to the c02 that prevents it from heating up the atmosphere, despite it being a greenhouse gas.

  • Neu Mejican||

    For an example, see Joshua C's claim:

    "CO2 either has or will soon reach a saturation point in which all trappable heat is trapped."

  • NotSure||

    Neu Mejican, there are those that claim they do not understand what actually is happening, nor are they arrogant enough to declare themselves experts in a subject they have no clue about (like you think you are). If someone says X is happening, and I say prove it, that is not equivalent to saying: X is not happening, no matter how many semantic word games you want to play.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Not sure.

    If someone says X is happening, and I say prove it, that is not equivalent to saying: X is not happening

    I agree.

    However, the majority of the discussion around AGW is not in this form. It is closer to "X is caused by Y" to which the following distinct response are made: 1) "Prove it"; or 2) "No, X is caused by Z"; or 3) "No, Y can't cause X because of Alpha". When Gilbert talks about the burden of proof falling on the AGW claims, he is ignoring the many many counter claims that carry an equivalent burden of proof. If you stick with response 1, it is the person making the claim that bears the burden of proof. But most of the discourse on this topic goes beyond a "prove it" stance, and moves into counter claim territory.

    arrogant enough to declare themselves experts in a subject they have no clue about (like you think you are)

    I would need you to be specific about where I am claiming expertise here. I am not an expert in climate science and have never claimed to be.

  • Apogee||

    the majority of the discussion around AGW is not in this form. It is closer to "X is caused by Y" to which the following distinct response are made: 1) "Prove it"; or 2) "No, X is caused by Z"; or 3) "No, Y can't cause X because of Alpha".

    Actually, the majority of the discussion regarding the claim "X is caused by Y" is along the lines of "What about A thru W and also Z?"

    But even that is incorrect, because the term AGW implies that there is a human effect on Y, while simultaneously making the claim that the X from Y effect is isolated. The actual formula should be X is caused by Y + Y^H, as Y exists even without humans, from apparent evidence of 3000ppm CO2 existed 250M years ago - long before humans and about 10 times the current levels.

    The response of 1) "Prove it" is proper given that:

    Single causal factors for complex systems - especially those who have been in far higher proportions previous to the current state - should be subject to necessary, testable proofs that they have validity, as the formulation excludes many other existing factors (as evidenced by the previous levels).

  • .||

    In this case the "denier" claim is that hundreds of years of pumping extraordinary amounts of a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere is not amplifying the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere. Seems you've got a burden to explain why not.

    Nope - you've got a burden to explain why it would.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Nope - you've got a burden to explain why it would.

    The "explain why it would" was shown long ago, the current burden for the AGW is to show that it has. Subtle difference, but important.

  • ||

    Funny how nobody today says GLOBAL WARNING anymore... Now we say CLIMATE CHANGE... as if... Well, may be it's not heating up the world, but all this human activity has to have some consequences

  • ||

    The other one they use is "Climate Disruption"

    "Some places are cooler and some places are hotter....see what we are doing to gaia?"

  • Tony||

    As one focus group participant noted, climate change “sounds like you’re going from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale.” While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.

    --Frank Luntz, Republican talking points guru.

    The rest of the memo this comes from is the exact language you can find all over this board. Also from the Luntz memo:

    The scientific debate remains open. Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate, and defer to scientists and other experts in the field.

  • ||

    I found Burt Rutan's discussion of the matter very helpful:

    http://rps3.com/Pages/Burt_Rut.....Change.htm

    -jcr

  • PP-l||

    "Burt Rutan's discussion of the matter . . ." Great link - thanks.

    I swear to god it's like you people just learned that there are scientists and FOX or whatever gave you some thoughts . . . blah blah blah . . .

    I'll give this the considered, thoughtful response it deserves: Suck Ebola and die, statist parasite vermin.

  • ||

    My gawd that is a useful link. Thank you, sir.

  • ||

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    BuzzSave.com

  • Neu Mejican||

    One of the interesting themes in this discussion is the tendency of those who are cast aspersions on the sophistication of climate science to then say things like "they don't understand economics." When, of course, economics as a science is studying a topic at least an order of magnitude more complex and as a result is less developed than climate science. Economic predictions about the impact of climate change or about the negative consequences of trying to avoid climate change are on a far, far shakier footing than AGW. If climate scientists can't predict the temperature trend out 100 years, then economist certainly can't predict its analogue in economics (GDP, say).

  • Apogee||

    If climate scientists can't predict the temperature trend out 100 years, then economist certainly can't predict its analogue in economics (GDP, say).

    I agree with you, and so does Russ Roberts - an economics prof.

    From Here

    I think it's a little awkward when you have really smart, Nobel Prize--winning economists say "if only we'd spent $2 trillion"--instead of what we spent, close to $1 trillion--while others say "we should have spent zero." What does that tell you?

    It tells you it's not science. That's the first thing it tells you. It tells you that despite 80 years of trying to understand how the macroeconomy works in the face of big recessions and sometimes a depression, we don't really understand it. And again I think Hayek has the right thing to say about this dispute. In his 1974 Nobel Prize lecture "The Pretense of Knowledge," he says macroeconomics is not really ever going to be "solved."
  • ||

    Interesting observations.

    I found it interersting that I have had many heated conversations with both the "global warming is real and man-made" and the "global warming is a hoax" groups as I maintained that there is insufficient evidence to support any of these views.

    From a global warming standpoint we have insufficient data (of decent quality) to establish what exactly is going on from a climate (long-term) vantage point. There is some short-term data that suggests that there may be global warming, but it is not yet conclusive.
    The usual argument from one side is "we can't wait to do something, it will be too late!", and from the other side "if there isn't enough data, it does not exist". Clearly each view is inaccurate.

    Continuing, the climate models are absolute jokes from a technical and scientific perspective at this point although they will improve over time. The work on them should proceed, but they are without value for prediction purposes in the near future.
    Valid models require good data (that is lacking) and testing (that has been unsuccessful to date).
    Most of the potential variables needed by the models have not been measured at all, and in many cases a reliable method for obtaining the measurments has not been developed. Hence the discussions of how much CO2 the oceans absorb varies by orders of magnitude depending on who is talking and the amount of CO2 released by undersea sources varies as much.
    Discussions about ocean absorbtion involve hundreds of individual process' most of which are not well understood.

    My own conclusion is that we currently do not know if there is a problem, if it is caused by man, or if there is anything we can do that will impact it.

    A belief held in the absence of data and proof is not science, it is religion.

  • Yet another Dave||

    This strikes me as backwards - I would think that the less literate people would be the ones more likely to take one side or the other in this or any other argument, because they're told by Oprah or whomever. Those who are more educated realize that the more we know, the less we know.

    As for climate change itself, I've said it on other threads that I do think doing all we reasonably can to take care of our planet is smart, regardless of whether climate change is a reality or not. I become skeptical about its legitimacy, though, when it becomes a tool for those who would dare go so far as to even legislate that I must spend more on fancy light bulbs and energy efficient cars, regardless of whether I can actually afford them or not. Further, I raise an eyebrow when the loudest of those who are telling me I need to curb my energy abuse have considerably larger carbon footprints than I do. I tend to pay more attention to actions than to words, and the actions of Al Gore, etc., has me thinking it's all just a big power grab based on nothing.

    It's also not the first time that scientists have been wrong about climate changes. Based on the scientific "fact" of the 1970s, we should be enduring an ice age now rather than triple digit temps over most of the country. Of course, Tony's right and they've got better technology and three more decades of trends under their belts, so maybe this time, they've got it right. Except that in the 70s, they had the best technology of their times, and 30 years from now, the techniques being used today will be just as archaic and laughable as what they had 30 years ago, so really, until there really is a consensus in the scientific community (and sorry Tony, but there are many dissenting voices, they've just been strong-armed into being silent), I will continue to be skeptical. Granted, I'm not convinced the whole thing is a huge hoax, either, but unlike Tony, I'm not yet convinced it's a reality, either.

  • delta||

    "Based on the scientific 'fact' of the 1970s, we should be enduring an ice age now rather than triple digit temps over most of the country."

    I don't recall this from the 70's. Here's a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon from 1987 on public discussion of the greenhouse effect and possibly melting polar ice caps (as has indeed come to be the case): http://www.gocomics.com/calvin.....008/09/04/

  • Apogee||

    I don't recall this from the 70's.

    Then it must not have happened

  • ||

    There are so many facts never mentioned in this whole debate. The one I like in particular is how 9099 out of the last 10500 years were warmer than the present.Journal of Quarternary Science Reviews 19:213-226

  • ||

    This was the finding from one article on ice core data from Greenland. This is not a measure of the earth as a whole. The authors were very confident in their data... "Well-preserved annual layers can be counted confidently, with only ~1% errors for the age of the end of the Younger Dryas ~11,500 years before present."

  • ||

    Many of these so-called scientists are ideologues who have abandoned the scientific method. Does this abandonment make them 'literate' or does jumping to a solution before clearly defining the problem make them 'literate'? Knee-jerk guess work is neither scientific nor a competent plan.

  • ||

    It's all about political power, not "science." http://historyhalf.com/the-global-warming-agenda/

    And the thousands of scientists who question or deny manmade global warming are just being ignored. Here's the pledge thousands of PhD'd skeptics have signed: http://petitionproject.com/

  • ||

    "My economic policy is correct: it will create or save 3 million jobs."

    "My climate theory is correct: it predicts either more or less hurricanes, more or less tornadoes, more or less heat in that large region."

  • P. Miller||

    Resolved: hippies and social parasites believe in climate change; white men don't.

    This "study" was probably funded by a federal grant, too. Sad.

  • Apple||

    This study is half BS. It was a good idea, but they can't know the cause is confirmation bias in both cases, and only one answer can be right do they can't both be irrational bias.

  • delta||

    The research shows that social values are "correlated" with concern for climate issues, i.e., that knowing one can help forecast the other to some degree.

    But this is a result for people in the aggregate, not for every individual. It's incorrect to take this and say that "Confirmation bias... is ubiquitous", or "Again, everybody suffers from confirmation bias", or "Confirmation bias is everywhere." The research has not demonstrated that it is "ubiquitous" or "everywhere" or true for every individual person.

    Just as you could say, "male gender is correlated with greater lifting strength", or "male average strength is greater than female average strength", but it would be false to conclude that "any male is always stronger than any female".

  • delta||

    And as I meant to add... even the numbers in the article contradict such statements. If 13% of climate scientist are conservative, and 90% "agreed that man-made global warming is now happening and that immediate policy decisions need to be made to address it" -- then 3% or more of climate scientists are both conservative and support immediate policies to reverse man-made climate change. So: Not ubiquitous bias.

  • ابداع ويب||

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  • ||

    I'm a meteorologist and I went to a college reunion of meteorologists last year. There were probably 100 people there...all ages and specialties. While all agree earth has warmed and most agree humans are a driving force, that's the end of the agreement. The issue is so contentious among the scientists, that it is not an acceptable topic of conversation at a friendly event like a reunion. Almost all the people who earn their living off of climate research or work for a university or the government are convinced of catastrophic climate change. Almost all real-world forecasters or folks in the private sector are highly skeptical of the doom and gloom despite supporting the basics of greenhouse theory.

    The bottom line...not all scientists agree. We fight like cats and dogs about this. Those with reputation or livelihood at stake are much more convinced. Those with the requisite scientific knowledge but no iron in the fire, so to speak, remain highly skeptical.

  • ||

    I was just re-reading an article you wrote in 2004 titled Pathologizing Conservativism and a link lead me to this article. It was a nice combination. I think the Gop evolved into a cult. As horrible as that sounds I think it is the only rational that makes sense in light of their behavior. People with false beliefs will not change their minds no matter what evidence is presented. We know no one holds false beliefs like a cult member. I enjoy your writings very much. Thank you.

  • ||

    Weak spots in the study:

    1. "Basically, both groups are forming beliefs that advance their personal goals and help them get along with the people they interact with on a daily basis." But it's unlikely that the degree such considerations influence people are themselves, is itself evenly distributed along the 2-axis split used as a base criterion. Some people are much more inclined than others to disagree with what everyone around them believe. Unless this is really a randomly-distributed trait, it's guaranteed to distort the conclusion.

    2. It is hardly news, that we interperet information in ways consistent with our world view. A question, not asked here, is how much it matters to a person what his philosophy is, and how conscious he is of what his view are (or even that they ARE his views).

    Again, it is very unlikely that this does not cross-correlate with both someone's place on 2-axis model, and with his scientific literacy.

    3. The 2-axis model is itself less than obviously a good base. I know a number of people who are clearly "H/I" on the scale, but who cannot agree among themselves on their actual underlying philosophies. The study needs to be continued at a deeper level to be complete.

    That said, it's a step. Not so big a step as Mr Bailey seems to imply, but a step.

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