Climategate and Ideology

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Time magazine's reporting generally embodies the conventional wisdom—or would that be the "consensus view"? Never mind. In any case, reporter Bryan Walsh takes a look at the fallout from the Climategate affair, and worries that views of climate catastrophe skeptics have gained "traction." All very interesting, but the most amusing part of the article comes when he quotes James Hoggan, cofounder of DeSmogBlog (motto: "Clearing the PR Pollution that Clouds Climate Science") and coauthor of the new book Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming. According to Hoggan:

"Right now for many people, their ideology is driving their view of science," says Hoggan. "Ideology decides what makes a fact a fact."

Now what I find interesting is that the context (and as we've all learned from the Climategaters, context is critical), makes it clear that Hoggan believes that he (and folks like those at the Climatic Research Unit) has risen above ideology. He and the CRU crew are just representing objective science in the face of ideologically (and possibly evil) climate change deniers. Perhaps, but social science gives us some reason to doubt that even as perspicacious an observer as Hoggan can achieve pure objectivity.

I have a couple of times reported on the fascinating work of the Yale Cultural Cognition Project. In my column "The Culture War on Facts," I reported:

"There is a culture war in America, but it is about facts, not values," declare the researchers at the Yale Cultural Cognition Project in a new study called "The Second National Risk and Culture Study: Making Sense of-and Making Progress In-the American Culture War of Fact" (full study not yet available online). Contrary to the late New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's famous maxim, the study finds that most Americans believe they're more than entitled to their own opinions; they believe that they are entitled to their own facts. Obviously, this complicates public policy debates.

The chief aim of the Yale Cultural Cognition Project is to show how cultural values shape the public's risk perceptions and related policy beliefs. Project scholars define "cultural cognition" as "the tendency of individuals to conform their beliefs about disputed matters of fact to values that define their cultural identities." Their research found that cultural identity values "exert substantially more influence over risk perceptions than does any other individual characteristic, including gender, race, socioeconomic status, education, political ideology and party affiliation."

The Yale project finds that based on their values Americans fall roughly into four groups: egalitarians, communitarians, hierarchists, and individualists. I wonder into which value group Hoggan might fall? Hmmm. To see how values might affect how people think of risks, the Yale group conducted a survey on beliefs about man-made global warming:

In the new study, the Project researchers conducted one survey of 1700 subjects about their attitudes about the risks of climate change. As the researchers expected the egalitarians and communitarians were worried about global warming and the hierarchs and individualists were skeptical. In one part of the survey some subjects read one of two newspaper stories about a study by a group of climate change experts. The stories were identical with regard to the facts about global warming, e.g., the earth's temperature is increasing, humans are causing it, and that it would likely cause dire environmental and economic damage if unabated. The only difference was the policy solution. In one story the experts called for "increased anti-pollution regulation" and in the other they recommended the "revitalization of the nuclear power industry."

The subjects who read the nuclear power version were less culturally polarized than the ones who read the anti-pollution version. Why? Because the individualists and the hierarchs who read the nuclear version were less inclined to dismiss the facts about global warming than the individualists and hierarchs who read the anti-pollution version were, even though the factual information and the source were identical in both stories. Interestingly, the individualists and hierarchs who read the anti-pollution version were more skeptical of global warming than those in a control group that did not read either version of the newspaper story. This suggests that a real-world consequence might be that media reporting on scientific evidence coupled with calls for interventionist policies such as the Kyoto Protocol hardens individualist and hierarchal skepticism on global warming.

The Project researchers see this response of the individualists and hierarchs to the newspaper stories as an example of "identity protective" cognition in which people subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values. The nuclear power version tended to affirm the individualist and hierarchal value commitments to technological progress, thus mitigating their skepticism of the dangers posed by global warming. "When policies are framed in ways that affirm rather than threaten citizens' cultural beliefs, people are less likely to dismiss information that runs contrary to their prior beliefs," notes the study.

So are egalitarians and communitarians able to put aside ideology when it comes to technological risks? Not at all. As the Yale project found:

The new study also reports the results of the Project's first survey in 2004. That survey focused on how cultural values shaped how people feel about the risks of new technologies about which they know little, in this case, nanotechnology. Some 80 percent of the subjects surveyed had previously not heard much about nanotechnology. As part of the survey, a subset of 300 subjects was given identical factual statements about the risks and benefits of nanotechnology.

Unfortunately, more factual information about nanotechnology led to more polarization on its risks and benefits. The study found that after reading the factual information that "egalitarians and communitarians were significantly more concerned with risks of nanotechnology relative to its benefits than were hierarchs and individualists." Why? Because of "biased assimilation." This is the predisposition of people to selectively notice and credit information that affirms their values. "When this dynamic is at work, individuals of diverse values don't converge but instead polarize when exposed to a common body of information on some disputed factual issue," say the researchers.

The Time article ended with the usual fond condescension of purveyers of conventional wisdom:

…unless the public's scientific literacy is improved, science itself risks becoming a political debate, like everything else today, with no room for objective data or authority.

So greater public scientific literacy is the solution, right? (Of course, scientific literacy won't help much if scientists are already smuggling ideology into their findings, but I digress.) Unfortunately, the Yale group's findings are not too hopeful about that efficacy of increased information to resolve policy issues. As I reported:

In their earlier nanotechnology study, the Project researchers concluded that that "mere dissemination of scientifically sound information is not by itself sufficient to overcome the divisive tendencies of cultural cognition." In the new study, the researchers note that when policies are framed so that they affirm rather than threaten citizens' cultural values, people are less likely to dismiss information that runs contrary to their prior beliefs.In their conclusion, they hold out the prospect of scholars someday "identifying [a] deliberative process that make[s] it possible to fashion regulatory policies that are both consistent with sound scientific data and congenial to persons with diverse cultural outlooks."

Hoping to devise such a deliberative process basically ignores the fact that politics is often a zero sum game in which some actors necessarily win and others must lose. The facts is that the best solution to the culture war is to shift more decision-making to the win/win dynamic of markets which offers greater scope for citizens to act on and express their diverse values. But of course, I would say that since I culturally identify as an individualist.

At the end I ask:

So is the proper framing of public policy issues really enough to bring an end to the culture war? I doubt it. After all, just who is going to make polluters, green scaremongers, Republicans, gun control nuts, neocons, fetus fetishists, Democrats, drug warriors, neo-luddites, global warming catastrophists, climate change deniers and the like stop distorting, I mean, framing the facts to fit their cultural values?

Fortunately for us there are objective ideology-free sources of information like Hoggan and Time magazine. Or at least they are pleased to think thus of themselves.

NEXT: This Chart on Fed Debt Projections Will Make You Cry Like Edmund Muskie in a Parking Lot

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  1. Hell has frozen over. This video from the CBC of all places – has it spot on:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..r_embedded

    1. So what’s it about?

    2. Ummm, why not post a link to the actual Jon Stewart episode, instead of some talking head blathering about it?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgPUpIBWGp8

  2. Apparently, specific scientists have elevated themselves to the position of Gods. Having used an influence granted through more than $40-million from the tax payers, they have abused the trust afforded to them placing a dark cloud over the scientific community. Surely, science will recover from this event as time heals all wounds.

    ‘Truth is the daughter of time’ was forgotten by this Scientific Fiefdom, but acknowledgment of other traditional philosophies which built science to the current respect also have been ignored, such as “Politics, religion, entertainment, fame and wealth have no place in Science”. Often, however, such important socially advancing fields as science need set backs thus forcing current and potential abusers to fall back to traditional thinking. This is the nature in the evolution of human thought and growth.

    The hubris of denial by these abusers of public trust, along with their followers, of the devastating magnitude of their deceptive and deviant activity, while trying to maintain their stature in society, is incomprehensible. Nevertheless, denial will continue dragging the entire scientific community into the pit. Unfortunately, a self awakened reality of their misdeeds likely will not appear until admission followed by humility becomes outwardly obvious to society. Forgiveness is the divinity of our civilization but forgetting never can be allowed.

    1. The hubris of denial by these abusers of public trust, along with their followers, of the devastating magnitude of their deceptive and deviant activity, while trying to maintain their stature in society, is incomprehensible. – ehmoran

      Indeed. Hubris is not new to science. But, unlike politics, the world of science has a vaccine that inoculates against the virus of hubris, it is called the scientific method. Sometimes it takes a while for an immune response to kick in, but it gets there eventually.

      So Phil Jones stepped aside as Director High Priest of the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit pending an investigation. Well, if his AGW projections don’t hold up, at least he knows that his legacy will live on with his groundbreaking New & Improved CRU Scientific Method. I was able to reverse engineer the East Anglia CRU Scientific Methodology from the procedures documented in the purloined e-mails and code. It is clear to me that they have built on the work of maverick chemist Theodore Hapner, who revolutionized thinking about the scientific method in 2006. Godspeed Phil Jones.

  3. We can now put this whole issue to rest. I have incontrovertible empirical data which supports AGW.

    When I went to my car this a.m., the thermo read 12 degrees F. I couldn’t find my ice scraper, so I let my car wam up for 15 minutes to defrost. When I got in my car, the thermo read 13!!

    Fifteen extra minutes of CO2 spewing from one car raised the temp a whole degree F!! (Raw data, I promise!)

    The science IS settled

  4. “people subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values”

    Tony?

  5. “people subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values”

    Tony comes to mind.

    And fuck your goddamn spam filter.

  6. Yale Cultural Cognition Project

    link no worky

    Regardless I see no climatologists on that Yale study. Therefore, the study is in no position to question anything relative to AGW being true.

    Take that!

  7. “people trolls sub consciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values”

    FIFY

  8. “people trolls sub consciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values”

    Fixed that for you.

  9. Hoping to devise such a deliberative process basically ignores the fact that politics is often a zero sum game in which some actors necessarily win and others must lose.

    Except in very specific cases, politics is at best a zero-sum game. It is usually a negative-sum game for society as a whole even though the game for the politicians themselves can be zero-sum or even positive-sum.

    Almost every law and regulation coming out of Washington makes the US economy and society in toto poorer.

    1. in toto

      I bless the rains down in Africa?

      1. Man, all this time I thought it was, “I guess it rains down in Africa”. The actual lyrics are better.

        1. I’ve always thought it was “God bless the rains down in Africa.”

        2. I’ve always thought it was “God bless the rains down in Africa.”

          1. Should have been “God damn all software.”

  10. One of my defining values is that people suck. I remain unworried about resisting factual information which threatens this value.

  11. This whole thing is really entertaining, and the reaction from some of these folks is really telling.

    ACORN: Hey, you filmed us giving advice on pimping underage girls! We’re suing!

    Climategate: Hey, you stole the emails showing the science ain’t quite settled! Prepare teh criminal probe!

  12. Because the individualists and the hierarchs who read the nuclear version were less inclined to dismiss the facts about global warming than the individualists and hierarchs who read the anti-pollution version were, even though the factual information and the source were identical in both stories

    Is dismissing the facts really what is going on? My spin would be whenever I hear that the “facts” lead only to a solution that is more government and additional taxation I do not dismiss the facts, I question if I have actually been presented with facts at all. Or, perhaps, the additional layer of government and tax was the conclusion and the “facts’ were then selectively assembled to support that conclusion.

    The reason I might be quicker to buy into a nuclear power solution based on the same set of “facts” is because of the resistance of the general public and government institutions to nuclear power would give me the feeling that the solution was a rationally thought out solution and not based on emotion or a desire to build extra layers of government. i.e. Nuclear power is not the easy answer that additonal regulation and taxation is.

    Disclosure: I was a submariner when I was in the navy, so I have more experience with nuclear power than your average Joe and am much less apprehensive of the use of nuclear power.

    1. Disclosure: I was a submariner when I was in the navy

      You were the only Marvel superhero as lame as Aquaman?

      1. Submariners are what people in the silent service have always been called, as far as I know. Well that and bubble head sailors.” 😉

    2. They ARE facts — actually, better than plain old facts — they’re VALUE-ADDED facts! With iron(y)!

  13. You see, that’s why there is no such thing as liberal bias. You can only be biased toward an opinion or an ideology. Since liberals are always objectively 100% factually correct, “liberal bias” is a contradiction. It can’t happen.

  14. From the morning links thread:

    Climatologists under pressure

    …In the end, what the UEA e-mails really show is that scientists are human beings ? and that unrelenting opposition to their work can goad them to the limits of tolerance, and tempt them to act in ways that undermine scientific values. Yet it is precisely in such circumstances that researchers should strive to act and communicate professionally, and make their data and methods available to others, lest they provide their worst critics with ammunition. After all, the pressures the UEA e-mailers experienced may be nothing compared with what will emerge as the United States debates a climate bill next year, and denialists use every means at their disposal to undermine trust in scientists and science.

  15. Individualists tend to have more self-knowledge than the rest, and so they are quicker to tell when they are lying to themselves in order to fit in with whichever way the herd is stampeding. Even if it is legitimate to separate people into these four groups, assuming they have equal insight is a stretch. For instance, I was a socialist until I realized that I was lying to myself about human nature and the capabilities of government. I was a christian until I realized that I had been lying to myself about believing in an invisible monster in order to fit in with my friends. As I got older, my self-knowledge grew, and my illusions lessened (never to go away completely, however). My point is that individualists are the closest to whatever ‘truth’ is because they are closest to themselves. The others tend to only understand lemmingism. Their certainty is rooted in cultural momentum. Whatever certainty an individualist can muster is primarily a result of self-awareness. And while an individualist can be wrong and a collectivist right, I trust the individualist’s method of turning information into belief more.
    Clearly, however, I’m an individualist, so whatever.

    1. Good comment, Chris.

    2. Re: Chris,

      Clearly, however, I’m an individualist, so whatever.

      And thus a denier – A D-E-N-I-E-R!!!

    3. Chris – yes, very good comment.

      This helps explain both sides: My mainstream conservative parents, who just uncritically believe everything Hannity says, and seem to have a ring in their nose that causes them to follow whatever they perceive “authority” to be; as well as the Obama supporters, who just want a piece of someone else’s pie, and think that since everyone else is doing it, there must be nothing wrong with it.

    4. The others tend to only understand lemmingism.

      Where can we get some of this lemon jism?

    5. Good comment, Chris.
      For what it is worth, it seems to me that being an individualist would bias you against Christianity making it harder for you to accept many doctrines and practices regardless of their validity. Ask yourself if you would be willing to accept it and the life it leads to if its truth were somehow proven beyond a shadow of doubt. In my admittedly limited experience, most people who think they have an intellectual issue upon reflection admit they would not make the change even if all issues were resolved. Perhaps taking another look while keeping your bias in mind might be in order, but only if you are willing to go where the truth may lead you. If you do, remember all points of view require faith; so the question is whose faith is best informed by reality. For instance, every advance in cellular biology makes the notion of the spontaneous development of life forms more difficult to believe.

  16. “Right now for many people, their ideology is driving their view of science,” says Hoggan. “Ideology decides what makes a fact a fact.”

    I’m guessing he said that without a hint of irony.

  17. With ClimateGate the end’s in sight
    But we got the money and all is right
    The final chapter has been wrote
    So at Copenhagen, we’ll finish the fight

    To continue getting the public’s cash
    We’ll blame the computer, not our falsely facts
    No one will know the abuse we’ve done
    Til we’ve enslaved them all, nothing else can be done,,,,,,,,

    1. Why does the poem end with a sperm dance line?

    2. “Falsely facts”? That doesn’t work. How about “faulty facts” instead?

      1. Good, Thanks, I’ll make the approriate changes.

        More…..

        However, ClimateGate set another debate,
        Through peer-review they’ll lock the gate,
        If you want in, we must confess,
        That what you say, we can and will oppress,
        Open your mind to nothing more,
        The cause of climate debate over,
        As professed by advocates associated with Gore??..

      2. How about “factiness”? Along the lines of Colbert’s “truthiness” …

  18. “We still do not yet know where the drive for truth comes from. For so far we have heard only of the duty which society imposes in order to exist: to be truthful means to employ the usual metaphors. Thus, to express it morally, this is the duty to lie according to a fixed convention, to lie with the herd and in a manner binding upon everyone. Now man of course forgets that this is the way things stand for him. Thus he lies in the manner indicated, unconsciously and in accordance with habits which are centuries’ old; and precisely by means of this unconsciousness and forgetfulness he arrives at his sense of truth.”
    -Nietzsche

  19. Hmmmmm……. I can see the concept of cultural epistemology or epistemological relativism being invented. In this new epistemology, those of us who think that logic is based on binary math will be considered dogmatist. 1 + 1 = 10. Well in your world view it does.

  20. I’m not really sure that the result of the Yale study is a fault of human nature.

    When I form an opinion on any subject, naturally I will think that my opinion is the “correct” one. To hold an opinion that I think is false is illogical – and maybe insane.

    I think it’s a good thing that people are resistant to new “facts” that contradict their own personal experience, their own examination of information, and, most of all, common sense.

    If the purpose of the study was to show that human beings are predisposed to be resistant to “facts” that contradict what they already believe, isn’t that the way that it should be? I mean, the opinions we hold now we hold for a good reason – presumably.

    Most science has very little to do with politics in that an apple is going to fall off a tree at the same rate whether governments want it to or not. The laws of reality can’t be changed by anything we do. As such, our understanding of those physical laws are based on pragmatism – ie, find a theory (an explanation of observed facts or data) that can accurately represent what’s really occuring. Our current theory of relativity may not perfectly describe every action and reaction that occurs, but the model is good enough that we can apply it. The question then becomes when the model is “good enough” that it becomes a law.

    In the case of climate science, it seems that everyone is arguing over whether the models are good enough – and the CRU got desperate and tried to make the models look better than they actually were.

    The Yale study shows thinks the way they should be. This isn’t an error in the way human beings operate.

    When politics get involved in science, it’s just as bad as when politics get involved in religion. Just as no one wants religion to be legislated, science should not be legislated either. From a libertarian perspective anyway.

  21. Didn’t libertarian philosopher ;)Martin Horkheimer point out the whole politics/economics shape science and views of science donkeys years ago?

  22. “”We still do not yet know where the drive for truth comes from”

    Yes we do. We learned that from Michael Polanyi about 50 years ago: the human mind seeks to close “logical gaps” even when we are sleeping.

    http://www.amazon.com/Personal…..amp;sr=8-1

    1. To be fair to Nietzsche, he wrote that long before Polyani did. Also, thanks for the link. I’ll probably buy that book now.

  23. ‘just who is going to make . . . fetus fetishists . . . framing the facts to fit their cultural values?’

    And who is going to make them stop beating their wives?

    1. Max,

      if you noticed, Bailey was using the favored perjorative term for most of the groups on that list:

      polluters, green scaremongers, Republicans, gun control nuts, neocons, fetus fetishists, Democrats, drug warriors, neo-luddites, global warming catastrophists, climate change deniers

      Why calling a decent human being a Democrat or Republican should be considered a slanderous offense.

      1. I’m certainly glad Bailey didn’t stoop so low as to use the “D” bomb or the “R” bomb.

  24. ‘just who is going to make . . . fetus fetishists . . . stop distorting, I mean, framing the facts to fit their cultural values?’

    And who is going to make them stop beating their wives?

  25. they hold out the prospect of scholars someday “identifying [a] deliberative process that make[s] it possible to fashion regulatory policies that are both consistent with sound scientific data and congenial to persons with diverse cultural outlooks.”

    In other words, they hope to someday find a way to get people to more readily fall for bullshit without questioning anything.

    1. Re: Smartass sob,

      In other words, they hope to someday find a way to get people to more readily fall for bullshit without questioning anything.

      Yep. That’s it.

    2. What, 51% of the electorate wasn’t enough?

      1. 51% of the 60% or so of the people eligible to vote who bothered to show up at the polls (you know, perhaps 50% of the population.)

        Tyranny of the 15% or more …

    3. I think that’s what I was trying to say in the novel I wrote above…

  26. “Right now for many people, their ideology is driving their view of science,” says James Hoggan. “Ideology decides what makes a fact a fact.”

    And right after this, he had to stop his hemorrhaging after bitting his tongue at the realization of the irony.

    Now what I find interesting is that the context (and as we’ve all learned from the Climategaters, context is critical), makes it clear that Hoggan believes that he (and folks like those at the Climatic Research Unit) has risen above ideology.

    Most sactimonious bastards and professional busybodies think that way, so it is not surprising.

  27. I hope Yale gave some mention and credit to the late Aaron Wildavsky (at Berkeley), whose seminal work on values sounds very similar. He and the anthropologist Mary Douglas also collaborated on values work.

  28. Bryan Walsh takes a look at the fallout from the Climategate affair, and worries that views of climate catastrophe skeptics have gained “traction.”

    He doesn’t get it. There is no climate change science. Fullstop.

  29. From a previous post:

    Re: Neu Mejican,

    You mean you wouldn’t [require assurances that the science is done properly]? Or do you trust implicitly the science that agrees with your ideology?

    This kind of stuff is why I call you a fool. Your indignation aside…these kinds of rants simply show that you aren’t able to think separately about the scientific issues versus their political implications.

    The Yale investigation gives me insight on why the Warmists accept at face value the cliamte science.

    Anyway, I do separate the science from the political implications – I have always found investigation on hair folicle growth intriguing, despite its political implications.

    Ok, jokes aside, just to put all cards on the table: Neu, the problem is not the political implications of climate research, it is the way leftists and greedy politicians take advantage of the research to justify imposing a massive, civilization-changing plan to solve a crisis that may not even be there. Even if humans were heating the planet a bit, what gives anyone the power to impose THEIR will over the rest?

    And I am outraged that a group of scientists would clearly go to lenghts to make their claims plausible by potentially doctoring data and lying. For what? Have you asked yourself why would they do that? Why risk their reputations? The only reason is because of a belief in a cause, in something higher than themselves (i.e. a religious belief in a higher reward for good deeds.)

    So it is NOT me that conflates politics with science – it was clearly THE SCIENTISTS who did.

    1. The Yale investigation gives me insight on why the Warmists accept at face value the cliamte science.

      Notice here that you have determined that accepting the science as accurate means to “accept at face value.”

      And yet you, apparently, because you are skeptical of the policy implications, are not taking the results at face value, you are “looking beyond the facts” to find the truth?

      Ok, jokes aside, just to put all cards on the table: Neu, the problem is not the political implications of climate research, it is the way leftists and greedy politicians take advantage of the research to justify imposing a massive, civilization-changing plan to solve a crisis that may not even be there.

      Shorter…it’s not the political implications…it’s the political implications.

      And I am outraged that a group of scientists would clearly go to lenghts to make their claims plausible by potentially doctoring data and lying.

      Your ideology says “clearly” the facts say “potentially.” What an interesting sentence.

      So it is NOT me that conflates politics with science – it was clearly THE SCIENTISTS who did.

      Dude…you condemn the people who do the studies first BECAUSE OF THEIR POLITICS and rant on and on about how it is their politics that makes it necessary for extraordinary assurances to be made that go above and beyond standard scientific practice.

      You BELIEVE that they are scamming you…your beliefs rule the day on this issue.

      1. Re: Neu Mejican,

        Notice here that you have determined that accepting the science as accurate means to “accept at face value.”

        The only way to accept something as “accurate” isntead of “at face value”, Neu, is to actually REVIEW what the scientists did – THEN you can know if it is accurate, or not.

        And yet you, apparently, because you are skeptical of the policy implications

        Ah, you are equivocating here. I am not skeptical of the science because of its political implications. I am skeptical of the conclusions these scientists reach in order to prop up POLICIES. There is a difference between saying “I am investigating if the sky is falling” and “I have concluded that the sky is falling and you must give us money.”

        Shorter…it’s not the political implications…it’s the political implications.

        See? You are equivocating again. I did not take you for a thoroughly dishonest person. I will be more careful next time – you have my solemn promise.

        Dude…you condemn the people who do the studies first BECAUSE OF THEIR POLITICS[…]

        Don’t put words in my mouth. I condemn them because they have gone to lengths to prove a case in a dishonest way. I speculate that their reasons could be ideological.

        [A]nd rant on and on about how it is their politics that makes it necessary for extraordinary assurances to be made that go above and beyond standard scientific practice.

        No, it is not because of their beliefs. It is because of their EXTRAORDINARY claims that they must follow very strict protocols and make assurances that the research is being done within all scientific and ethical guidelines. The fact is that they ver likely did not, being sloppy at best, conniving at worst.

        You BELIEVE that they are scamming you…your beliefs rule the day on this issue.

        It’s not a belief – they are not scamming me only.

        1. The only way to accept something as “accurate” isntead of “at face value”, Neu, is to actually REVIEW what the scientists did – THEN you can know if it is accurate, or not.

          I agree. But this is not how you formulated your assertion. You go backwards…you are assuming that to accept the results that support AGW (i.e., to be a “warmist”) requires that you accept at face value rather than after a careful review. You don’t seem to leave room for the possibility of a reasoned disagreement with your default assumption (that it is a scam).

          I am skeptical of the conclusions these scientists reach in order to prop up POLICIES.

          The scientific conclusions or the interpretation of those conclusions in a policy realm?

          There is a difference between saying “I am investigating if the sky is falling” and “I have concluded that the sky is falling and you must give us money.”

          You have conflated the science and the policy implications again…and yet you still don’t see it. You have three clauses here, yet you pair them incorrectly.

          “”I am investigating if the sky is falling” and “I have concluded that the sky is falling”

          Refers to the science.

          you must give us money.”

          This last clause is a cartoonish fools interpretation of the political implications, but it is not about the science. You assume that the scientist are moving backwards through these… The scientific process has built in (imperfect) safe guards to protect against influence from step 3. But your beliefs make you think that this particular endeavor is SO lucrative for scientists that extraordinary protections are required. Thing is…many many fields provide more financial incentives that more directly benefit the scientists.

          SO what do you assume is motivating these guys. Well, you seem very up-front about it. You believe that they want to turn the world into a socialist utopia and that their beliefs, their political agenda is the motivator. And, as I said above, because of your view that this is their belief, you condemn first because of their political beliefs, and assume that this taints their scientific work.

        2. I condemn them because they have gone to lengths to prove a case in a dishonest way. I speculate that their reasons could be ideological.

          This one needs its own response.
          Look a back at the sentence I highlighted from your own rant.

          And I am outraged that a group of scientists would clearly go to lenghts to make their claims plausible by potentially doctoring data and lying.

          Your outrage is looking for evidence. It hasn’t found it yet, but it is looking so hard that the “potential” for misconduct is treated as proof positive that a scam is occurring. You take assertions that data has been destroyed, that the peer review process has been undermined, that fraud has occurred…AT FACE VALUE without waiting for a careful review of the evidence.

          1. I AM OUTRAGED that someone MIGHT have acted improperly.

  30. Try this on for size:

    (1) People who believe AGW is a genuine threat, and restructuring the economy is the solution, would be outraged at what the emails reveal, because these emails cast doubt on the validity AGW science, and their primary interest is determining the scope and likelihood of AGW.

    (2) People who believe AGW is a convenient pretext for restructuring the economy along the lines they would prefer, would react to the CRU emails by minimizing their import, continuing their attacks on “denialists”, and calling for investigation into the hacker/whistleblower, because their main interest is enacting a given political agenda.

    1. RC, thank you for so clearly solidifying an idea I’ve had in my head all during this event, but could not write down properly.

      Over at realclimate, I have had a couple posts make it past their moderating, but this morning I made a comment along these same lines that evidently has been rejected. It had to do with Gavin Schmidt saying that, yes, “the science isn’t settled” while then talking about how settled it is. (Is it wrong to quote myself due to suppression at another blog?) Anyway here’s what I said:

      Semantics. Of course it’s not settled, but then you bandy about terms like “scientific consensus” which are functionally and logically equivalent.

      The reason this debate is so poisonous is that it really isn’t about science, it’s about politics. I believe there is some warming, but I also believe that the political agenda favored by the current AGW side is far more destructive than the warming will be.

      And your assertions that only the skeptics engage in hyperbole while the scientists are engaged in calm pursuit of the truth does not hold water for me. Just look at the Copenhagen report that was linked on this blog. The first thing I noticed about that report is that almost every image in that report of of some scary weather phenomena, which may or may not be related to AGW. You even went so far as to produce a computer-rendered picture of an angry-ocean for the cover. Why? It is a piece of advocacy, designed to produce an emotional response.

      A calm scientific pursuit of truth wouldn’t need computer-rendered oceans and out-of-context pictures of tornadoes if it was truly independent and objective.

    2. That makes no sense whatsoever. Anyone honestly concerned about global warming would be relieved if evidence were uncovered that put the entire field in doubt. You know, because it would mean there wasn’t a catastrophe to worry about. I WISH these emails proved that global warming was a fraud. Unfortunately they don’t.

      1. “Anyone honestly concerned…”

        There’s your problem. I think you mean ‘solely’ concerned. But there are many motives behind every belief, and whatever relief may be felt at the dissolution of a catasrophe is countered to some degree by other factors. The world might be okay, but the movement one is a part of isn’t. So while a concern may be honest, it’s not alone.

        1. There may be an element of tribalism with those who believe climate change is real, I dunno. Prove it. What’s for damn sure is that there is a direct financial stake in those who fund and peddle denialism.

          1. Yeah, you’re right. But not every denialist (and I don’t consider myself one) is getting cash or even basing their beliefs on those who do. As for proving what I said, it seems fairly obvious. I doubt any studies have been done specific to my exact point. Where there’s any sort of belief system, there are people with different motivations behind their beliefs. Clearly, tribalism is present wherever there are people. At least that’s what my experience has more or less convinced me of.

          2. What you refuse to accept, Tony, is that “there is a direct financial stake in those who fund and peddle” AGW alarmism, too.

            Even if it’s just competition to get grants. There are literally billions of dollars worldwide coming from governments to study this. And also to subsidize development of “green” technology. To get this money, there is a certain “right” answer to have.

            Funding, whether from corporate or government sources, can be a source of bias. Any time a funder has the chance to gain power/prestige/opportunity from funding something, it should make everyone scrutinize it carefully. And government funding has no differences whatsoever in this department compared to corporate funding.

            1. I would hope there would be billions of dollars available to fund research into the greatest environmental threat the planet faces.

              What makes absolutely no sense except perhaps to someone who is clinically paranoid is that there is a worldwide network of governments, universities, and private sources funding junk science to demonstrate a threat so that, I dunno, the solar power industry can get an advantage?

              Of course green tech industries are going to do what they can to get a leg up in this emerging market. That’s that wonderful capitalism you guys worship, remember?

              But the idea that green tech industries have managed to win over every major scientific body on the planet for their nefarious profit-making scheme, while the fucking petroleum industry is the propaganda underdog, is just silly.

              1. It takes no conspiratorial “worldwide network of governments, universities, and private sources” to simply act in their own interests. It is in the interest of government to gain power; not necessarily by conscious thinking, but by its very nature.

                And, you numbnut, subsidizing a non-viable industry with government money is the opposite of capitalism.

              2. I just thought of one more thing: your “greatest environmental threat” shows what we are talking about. You’ve already decided that, so sure, get out your gun and start taking peoples’ money!

                1. It’s stupid for me to have to preface everything with “assuming the general worldwide consensus of relevant experts is correct…”

                  That’s an assumption any rational person should make, isn’t it?

                  What exactly about the petroleum industry makes it a model of capitalism and efficiency, by the way? Don’t we import oil from state-subsidized companies in autocracies? Why aren’t you crusading against that humongous money suck? Your money has been used for decades to protect our access to oil WITH guns, so I don’t see how you can bitch about subsidizing clean energy.

                  1. “It’s stupid for me to have to preface everything with “assuming the general worldwide consensus of relevant experts is correct…”

                    That’s an assumption any rational person should make, isn’t it? ”

                    There was a consensus before this happened. Now it needs to be revised. It’s rational to call for a revaluation in light of such a revelation, is it not?

                    1. It’s still the consensus. Read some scientific sources on this subject. There are plenty to choose from.

                    2. The smoke hasn’t settled. You can’t see what the present consensus is yet. That’s a faith-based claim.

                  2. Everything is relative to you, isn’t it? Nothing true, nothing to stay principled on, right?

                    Because, you seem to have demonstrated the brains to see that the principled position is to oppose all subsidies to all industries, especially the large entrenched ones. And no fucking wars to subsidize them either.

                    But, you only see a red and blue team, I guess. If it’s for your team, ok; principles be damned.

                    1. And yet you engage in a ridiculous amount of conspiracy theorizing and hackery the result of which is nothing but a defense of the energy status quo. I expect as much from CATO’s mouthpiece Reason but your everyday, principled libertarian? I don’t get it.

                      What does being a libertarian have to do with denial of scientific reality?

                      I can only speculate that it has something to do with the fact that if you have to admit the crisis is real you’d have to admit the magical market can’t solve it.

                    2. Then you must not understand the principles of libertarianism all that well. It isn’t just about the economy or politics. It’s damn near a metaphysics.

                    3. Tony, if you look up thread where I quoted myself trying to post to realclimate, you will notice that I say I believe there is warming. I have a little more skepticism than I normally do with this subject due to the intense political nature of the subject, and the amount of money involved, but I still believe in the scientific process enough to think that some good science has been done.

                      However, I am utterly terrified of the totalitarian solutions offered by the scientists and the politicians. If the scientists would just be less active politically, I would be less suspect of them.

                      The politicians and scientists who see nothing but catastrophe in our future have a very static view of society and humanity. This is par for the course for politicians, but strange for scientists. They seem to think that people will just sit there and let the coastal flood waters swamp them while they eat potato chips. Very strange, since it will take years and years for that to occur, even per the science.

              3. Re: Tony,

                Of course green tech industries are going to do what they can to get a leg up in this emerging market. That’s that wonderful capitalism you guys worship, remember?

                and

                You sure like to make wild, unfounded, unevidenced accusations about others’ motives

                Well, let’s say that at least I have your motive here in black and white.

              4. Tony,
                We’re not talking about conspiracies or ‘nefarious profit-making schemes.’ There is no central body calling the shots. It is simply the unconsciously accepted ideology approving of and supporting what goes along with it. It all goes down to someone’s desk, or some panel or other that decides where some portion of money goes, and they tend to choose that which they support. This doesn’t make them evil, either. Look at this like a market. The majority of purveyors of grants, etc, are looking, however unconsciously, for research that jibes well with the paradigm (I hate that word, but it fits) they happen to subscribe to. Research then becomes a product sold in this market. And I’m not saying that people willingly look the other way when data doesn’t agree with them. More likely they don’t even notice it or they gloss over it without ever consciously considering the implications. What is happening is just the proliferation of an ideology within a market, and this influences what is supplied and what is demanded. We just happen to disagree with the momentum and direction of the present cultural interpretation of this shit, and this chink in the armor of the beast is an opening to get more of what we want to buy on the shelves, so to speak.

                1. You’d have to impugn all of science then. Science is built explicitly to filter out the biases you refer to. It may not be perfect, but there is nothing else that does it better.

                  1. My point is that bias is inescapable, and even science is not immune to it. And science is not built ‘explicitly’ to filter out bias; it is built explicitly to give as adequate an interpretation of reality as is possible given humanity’s finitude (among these imperfections is the inescapability of bias). You admit it’s not perfect, but you have all the conversational mannerisms of someone deeply convinced with utmost certitude. You say one thing but you believe another.

                    1. Further, if science is fallible, certainty is as close as one can come to sin this side of agnosticism. Some of the policies that some would have us enact can only be justified with certainty, and since certainty is impossible, they shouldn’t be enacted.

      2. Re: Tony,

        That makes no sense whatsoever. Anyone honestly concerned about global warming would be relieved if evidence were uncovered that put the entire field in doubt.

        I don’t think so – the issue meshes too perfectly with left-leaning ideology for its millenarist implications.

        You know, because it would mean there wasn’t a catastrophe to worry about.

        Don’t be absurd. There has been lots of other hoaxes that play with disaster enthusiasts tha thave not gone away, like the idea of overpopulation and other Malthusian poppycock.

        1. You sure like to make wild, unfounded, unevidenced accusations about others’ motives… when you’re not berating climate science for lacking evidence.

          1. I’ll take wild accusations over defending the indefensible and denying reality every single day.

            At least one seems rational – trying to fill in the gaps and is obvious opinion.

            On the other hand – defending the indefensible while denying reality can appear tinged with actual logic, which some chose to believe as proof.

            One to me seems more dangerous

  31. Hoggan’s website, DeSmogBlog, embraces a profoundly anti-free-speech philosophy. In essence, its argument is that anyone who disagrees with its global warming views is a liar and therefore not entitled to free expression. Don’t take my word for it, check out the right-hand sidebar on every page of the site which declares: “Free speech does not include the right to deceive.”

    My parody website, DeSoggyBog, may be found here: http://DeSoggyBog.com/

    My critique of DeSmogBlog from a civil liberties perspective appears here: http://desoggybog.com/an-all-k…..itique.php

    Mr. Hoggan is a PR professional who also happens to be chairman of the David Suzuki Foundation. He apparently sees global warming as a struggle between supposedly pure-as-the-driven-snow PR flaks such as himself and PR flaks on the other side of the issue. In reality, of course, lots of folks participate in this debate. Most of us are not hired guns but ordinary citizens trying to make sense of an important and confusing issue.

    Donna Laframboise
    NOconsensus.org

  32. Hmmm. People tend to believe what they want to believe. That’s quite a revelation!

  33. Data credibility is a bit like virginity: rare, but once lost (or inpuned), impossible to recover or restore. The now famous email hack/leak simply requires a redefinition of the CRU’s work as: GIGO. (and that’s before one begins to examine the model(s) used and their inability to predict tha past!)

  34. Four value systems? More like four folkways.
    That looks a heck of a lot like the book Albion’s Seed, by David H. Fischer!
    Egualitarian = Quacker
    Communitarian = Puritan
    Hierarchy = Cavalier’s
    Individualist = Backcountry

  35. Yes, all well and good. But what happens when new research comes out that changes the previous understanding? That is what science does, you know. And that is why this problem will never be “fixed” by just presenting whatever it is differently.

  36. I was skeptical about AGW the minute the politicians on the Left started their Chicken Little routine. I mean, how many times have we heard hysterical fear-mongering that turned out to be either an outright lie or a gross exaggeration. Here are just a few: The ozone layer scare, homelessness in america, the heterosexual AIDS scare in america, alar in apples. AGW may be legit, but I doubt it, and even if it is, I’ll bet the threat is GROSSLY exaggerated.

    1. Don’t forget that we were also supposed to run out of food by now.
      My biggest problem with AGW and the lefties who want to “solve it” are their actual solutions: Wind Power, Sun Power, etc. If they were embracing nuclear as part of the solution, I would give their ideas a little more weight. And when Ted Kennedy fought tooth and nail against a wind farm off the coast (because it would ruin “his” view) I became an even bigger skeptic.

    2. One more thing: I especially love the arguments by enviros against Nuclear: The toxic waste.
      Then to see them tie themselves in knots over the millions of birds that are killed every year by wind turbines and the miles and miles of ugly solar panels strewn across the landscape…it is sooo much fun to watch!

  37. Tiger Woods: The Media’s Allegorical Substitute for Climategate Reporting

    Sound familiar, but in another context????

    http://www.esquire.com/the-sid…..acy-120109

  38. I like how the objective science of the Yale study is presented to disprove the objectivity of climate change researchers. Thanks for clearing everything up for me.

  39. The war is less about facts than about the stories which integrate facts. Looking at the CRU emails, it becomes clear those climatologists believed they were playing a much larger game than science: they were the good shepherds, guiding you and me out of the dark.

    See “Climategate: The good shepherds”:

    http://vulgarmorality.wordpres…..shepherds/

  40. Not climate change, global warming, remember? The climate has always changed and always will, but up until the last decade or so, the globe was warming and we were all going to cook like a Thanksgiving turkey. Remember? Only when it started snowing in Texas in November and May did it become “climate change”. They should have stuck with the hole in the ozone layer. That way on those crisp cold days the bright sun would be proof positive that we need to fork over trillions of dollars to unelected UN panelists to save us from certain doom. It was better than the “acid rain” bit anyway.

  41. EGALITARIANS and COMMMUNITARIANS ARE….COMMUNISTS!!! You are writing an article about misshapen, culturally influenced blah blah blah are YOU are attempting to distort by the use of words with hidden meanings for a vicious ideology which SUPPORTS…. “Climate Change” which in reality is WORLD POLITICAL CHANGE.

  42. hi,
    everybody, take your time and a little bit.dawdwd

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