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Strong Climate Change Opinions Are Self-Reinforcing

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the opinions-are-like-delusions dept.

Earth 655

An anonymous reader writes "A study recently published in Nature (abstract) looked at how personal beliefs altered a person's perception of climate change. Surveying a sample of people in 2008 and then the same people again in 2011, the study looked for 'motivated reasoning,' where 'high belief certainty influenced perceptions of personal experience,' and 'experiential learning,' where 'perceived personal experience of global warming led to increased belief certainty.' According to the article, 'When you categorize individuals by engagement — essentially how confident and knowledgeable they feel about the facts of the issue — differences are revealed. For the highly-engaged groups (on both sides), opinions about whether climate is warming appeared to drive reports of personal experience. That is, motivated reasoning was prevalent. On the other hand, experience really did change opinions for the less-engaged group, and motivated reasoning took a back seat.None of that is truly surprising, but it leads to a couple interesting points. First, the concrete here-and-now communication strategy is probably a good one for those whose opinions aren't firmly set — fully 75 percent of Americans, according to the polling. But second, that tack is unlikely to get anywhere with the 8 percent or so of highly-engaged Americans who reject the idea of a warming planet, and are highly motivated to disregard anything that says otherwise.'"

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655 comments

How come... (0, Flamebait)

HappyCycling (565803) | about a year ago | (#42229579)

....when it's extremely cold in the winter, scientists say thats just normal weather, but when it's extremely hot in the summer, it's global warming?

Re:How come... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229591)

Can you find just one scientist that said that in winter and in summer? Should be easy, right? Please provide a link.

Re:How come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229633)

Looks like the GP illustrates the point of TFA.

Re:How come... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229683)

He doesn't have to, because of the magical use of the meaningless term "Scientific consensus" by virtually all of the scientists and journalists writing about the field. What we're told, over and over, is that virtually all credible scientists are speaking with one voice.

The idea that science is somehow subject to a vote is even scarier than the idea that it should be subservient to religion.

Re:How come... (2, Insightful)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | about a year ago | (#42229937)

He doesn't have to, because of the magical use of the meaningless term "Scientific consensus" by virtually all of the scientists and journalists writing about the field. What we're told, over and over, is that virtually all credible scientists are speaking with one voice.

It's a simple fact that virtually all credible scientists are speaking with one voice, and as such, it has meaning. It is not direct evidence that global warming is occurring; it is good evidence that the direct evidence has been thoroughly examined.

The idea that science is somehow subject to a vote is even scarier than the idea that it should be subservient to religion.

Well, I have comforting news for you: it's not. You seem to have scared yourself with your own rhetoric.

Social Proof (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42230097)

They come out with a bogus study that says 97% of scientists all agree. That's not proof, it's social proof.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Proof

Re:How come... (4, Informative)

QRDeNameland (873957) | about a year ago | (#42230113)

He doesn't have to, because of the magical use of the meaningless term "Scientific consensus" by virtually all of the scientists and journalists writing about the field. What we're told, over and over, is that virtually all credible scientists are speaking with one voice.

The idea that science is somehow subject to a vote is even scarier than the idea that it should be subservient to religion.

As someone who thinks the "scientific consensus" on AGW is much more likely correct than not, I have to say I agree with this. History is littered with examples of scientific consensus that was later proven wrong, and indeed that is the very definition of scientific progress.

The key thing to consider when evaluating an unsettled scientific issue is to note whether the evidence for a particular hypothesis gets stronger or weaker as more and better research is done. By my admittedly layman's interpretation of what read, the evidence for AGW has only been getting stronger over time, and the evidence presented against it seems increasingly narrow. But even though I agree with the "scientific consensus", I hate hearing and reading it as the cliched soundbite and doubt it's convincing any of that 75% of people who are unsure (however they defined unsure).

Re:How come... (4, Insightful)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about a year ago | (#42230151)

The climate data isn't mere the preponderance of the evidence, it is overwhelming. A team that loses 5-4 can say the need a couple of breaks, a team that loses 11,000 to 24 – got hosed.

Re:How come... (5, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | about a year ago | (#42229729)

Scientists rarely say anything one way or the other. They publish papers and then the politicos, pundits and whatever you call us here on Slashdot and other sites start arguing and calling each other names over what they published.

They don't (4, Insightful)

Anubis350 (772791) | about a year ago | (#42229617)

I've read plenty of studies talking about how abnormally cold winters in many places are also the result of climate change. What you did there? It's a logical fallacy. You're assuming that scientists say that, then making an erroneous conclusion based on it. But your initial assumption isn't factual.

Look At What They Propose (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229701)

If someone says they believe in AGW but refuse to support nuclear technology, the ONLY technology able to replace our base load generation requirements and not produce CO2, then it is more likely that they believe in AGW only as a vehicle to impose their already established political agenda of rationing and taxes.

The irony is that if we did go full nuclear, it would go a long way towards satisfying the agendas of anti-AGW people (Cheap and abundant energy) and the AGW crowd.

Then we'd never have to suffer any more wanksfests about Global Warming on Slashdot again. That right there should be worth a few rads of exposure.

Re:Look At What They Propose (1, Troll)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#42229793)

If someone argues nuclear would be the only technology to fight AGW, then it is more likely that they believe in AGW only as a vehicle to further their nuclear agenda. See? Works in the other direction too.

Re:Look At What They Propose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42230025)

Only my argument is a fact. A fact that has much more evidence to support it than does AGW.

Disprove it and name a current technology that can replace fossil fuels as the base load requirements other than nuclear.

Re:How come... (4, Insightful)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | about a year ago | (#42229703)

weather != climate

Unless it's a hurricane in a US city (1, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year ago | (#42230027)

Then, it's climate, not weather. Otherwise somebody would have to take responsibility and what self-respecting politician would do that?

No matter how many decades engineers say that the levees in New Orleans are perfectly insufficient for a city in that place, it's still climate change when the inevitable happens. When hurricane Irene came to New York last year, the models of the expected flooding were right at everybodies hands - because it happened before. Several times.

Nobody asked the obvious question: Why hasn't anybody done anything about it, since everybody seems to know about it?

Re:How come... (1, Interesting)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#42230065)

hurricane != climate

flood != climate

drought != climate

tornado != climate

superultramegastorm sandy !=climate

record high temperature at a given location != climate

record low temperature at a given location != climate ...actually, I might actually call drought "climate" now that I think about it.

Re:How come... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year ago | (#42229715)

>....when it's extremely cold in the winter, scientists say thats just normal weather, but when it's extremely hot in the summer, it's global warming?

They don't. Some PEOPLE do, but I haven't heard climate scientists claim that. I heard some people 'disprove' global warming every time it snows.

Re:How come... (5, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#42229735)

....when it's extremely cold in the winter, scientists say thats just normal weather, but when it's extremely hot in the summer, it's global warming?

Maybe you could make us a list of scientists who are saying that.

We know about global warming, not from observing warm days, but from longitudinal measurements from all over the world.

And of course, we understand the mechanism. The "greenhouse" property of certain gasses that we have been spewing into the atmosphere in ever-increasing amounts since the beginning of the industrial age has been known IIRC for about 200 years.

Also, global warming doesn't imply warm winters in any particular location. It means more thermal energy in our atmosphere and oceans, which can destabilize that very complex dynamical system that we call "weather".

For an example of a mechanism whereby global warming can make winter colder in specific locations, see "The Winters of Our Discontent" in the December 2012 Scientific American.

But then, I'm guessing that you're not particularly interested in learning how scientists figure out what's going on, or you wouldn't be posting such nonsense. A "first post!" would have made you look less foolish.

Re:How come... (-1, Flamebait)

HappyCycling (565803) | about a year ago | (#42229817)

The ad hominem attacks aren't necessary, but typical of unskeptical-science types.

Re:How come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229947)

The trolling. It BURNS!

Seriously, why are people even responding to this guy?

Re:How come... (-1, Troll)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#42230017)

The ad hominem attacks aren't necessary, but typical of unskeptical-science types.

Sorry, but I believe in calling a spade a spade.

I have the utmost sympathy for someone who has an IQ of 70, but IMO people who are wilful idiots deserve all the crap anyone cares to dump on them.

Re:How come... (0)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#42230075)

The ad hominem attacks aren't necessary, but typical of unskeptical-science types.

Sorry, but I believe in calling a spade a spade.

I have the utmost sympathy for someone who has an IQ of 70, but IMO people who are wilful idiots deserve all the crap anyone cares to dump on them.

I guess if you can't attack the argument, attack the person instead. At least you'll feel better. I see you did attack the argument earlier on, but you might as well not have bothered with a sign-off like that.

Re:How come... (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#42230103)

The ad hominem attacks aren't necessary, but typical of unskeptical-science types.

Sorry, but I believe in calling a spade a spade.

I have the utmost sympathy for someone who has an IQ of 70, but IMO people who are wilful idiots deserve all the crap anyone cares to dump on them.

I guess if you can't attack the argument, attack the person instead. At least you'll feel better. I see you did attack the argument earlier on, but you might as well not have bothered with a sign-off like that.

But you see, I *did* attack the argument [slashdot.org] . You're just latching on to the fact that I ended by mentioning that anyone who made the slightest effort to inform themselves never would have made the argument in the first place.

Maybe we should address the question of why you're doing that instead of responding to my refutation of the argument?

Re:How come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42230101)

This is your typical AGW cheerleader and the reason the public is skeptical.

Someone just coming into this debate expresses a reservation or asks a well meaning question and shit like this gets thrown in their face by assholes like this.

You go right ahead calling a spade a spade and they will go right ahead calling you a fucking asshole and electing people who think the same.

 

Re:How come... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229797)

How does this even get a score.

This is exactly the kind of stupid statements that confuse the rest of the sheep.

Scientists don't say that at all. Climate scientists will tell you that the average temperature is going up, and that you should expect more extreme events.

Mostly those events will be gigantic floods, gigantic fires, and gigantic cyclones.

Not nearly as many snow events.

Re:How come... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229953)

No, actually. If the atmosphere warms, the temperature gradient from the equator to the poles will be reduced, making for fewer and less severe cyclones.

Re:How come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229857)

I live in a place in Canada where it is never extremely hot in the summer. I believe it if they say the planet is warming, but whether it is pollution from my vehicles or recreation I don't know or care as much.

Re:How come... (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about a year ago | (#42229935)

Often, because people are dumb.

More justifiably, there have been some recent heat waves that are far enough off the bell curve to make it plausible that the center of the bell curve has shifted.

Obvious (3, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#42229607)

Prof. Obvious of the Romero Institute noted today that people who already strongly believe something will continue to do so regardless of new evidence. In related news, the government edges closer to falling off the fiscal cliff, the totally solvable budget problem that we created to force our two political parties to play nice together. Both sides have recently stated they aren't open to negotiation, will not offer any concessions, and aren't talking to each other, however our correspondent on the scene reported recently that they have started writing numbers down on a sheet of paper. The sheet of paper was not immediately available for comment at the time of this post.

In other words... (5, Insightful)

A bsd fool (2667567) | about a year ago | (#42229609)

'motivated reasoning,' where 'high belief certainty influenced perceptions of personal experience,'

"I believe GW is happening and that it causes bad things. Today bad weather happened, must be due to GW."

or

"I do not believe GW is happening or that it causes bad things. Today bad weather happened, as it does from time to time."

'experiential learning,' where 'perceived personal experience of global warming led to increased belief certainty.'

"I did not believe GW was happening, but did believe it would cause worse hurricane. Today a bad hurricane happened, so now I have more faith in GW."

or

"I did not believe GW was happening, but did believe it would cause hotter summers.. We had snowfall in June so, therefore, no GW.

The far more interesting thing than the conclusion reached by the source is that none of these is a remotely scientific line of reasoning. Correlating personal experience (i.e., weather events) with climate is long acknowledged as foolish, just like jumping to the conclusion that you live in the most unsafe city in the world because you got mugged -- or that you live in the safest one because you've never been mugged.

Re:In other words... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#42229691)

Yeah, that's the first think that caught my eye. How do you personally experience global warming? A hot day?

How can an individual's experiences ever rise above anecdote?

Technically this is known as Cognitive Bias (5, Informative)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about a year ago | (#42229621)

Cognitive bias is nothing new; it is not specific to climate change.

"A cognitive bias is a pattern of deviation in judgment that occurs in particular situations, which may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias [wikipedia.org]

Only 8%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229627)

But second, that tack is unlikely to get anywhere with the 8 percent or so of highly-engaged Americans who reject the idea of a warming planet, and are highly motivated to disregard anything that says otherwise.

I'm surprised the figure isn't much higher. The denial movement has been quite strong lately, even here on slashdot where you might expect some degree of scientific literacy.

Re:Only 8%? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#42229669)

But second, that tack is unlikely to get anywhere with the 8 percent or so of highly-engaged Americans who reject the idea of a warming planet, and are highly motivated to disregard anything that says otherwise.

I'm surprised the figure isn't much higher. The denial movement has been quite strong lately, even here on slashdot where you might expect some degree of scientific literacy.

Given the high percentage of ACs among the anti-GW posts, you have to wonder whether they are ordinary slashdotters or shills. Or trolls.

Ditto for the many creationists, though I don't think so many of them are ACs.

Given that we have people who sit around all day watching television hoping to find something they can complain to the FCC about, I find myself wondering if you've got groups of people who sit around "watching" the internet for stories to cast doubt on.

Re:Only 8%? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#42229681)

Maybe if the warmists tried persuasion, posting from their login account instead of calling everyone a scientifically illiterate jerkface dweeb as AC, they might be winning more people over to their point of view.

Re:Only 8%? (1, Insightful)

KeensMustard (655606) | about a year ago | (#42229965)

There isn't any need, nor motivation to persuade anyone. Denialists can think what they like. What they cannot do, is say what they like. If you are tempted to post denialist lies, misinformation and scaremongering, then you will be called on it. So get used to it.

Re:Only 8%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42230081)

Well, that's why we have freedom of speech, not freedom from speech. People absolutely CAN say what they like; that's their right. And people can respond as they like as well. And back and forth. Our society is designed to preserve and encourage argument.

Re:Only 8%? (0)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#42230089)

Maybe you're not a yankee, but actually, we do have this thing called the 1st amendment that means that we can *say* whatever we like.

As for "lies, misinformation and scaremongering", wouldn't that be what people who are asserting that the world is going to come to a terrible end because of human emissions of a trace gas measured in parts per million? I mean, look, if you want to call AGW skeptics liars, and misinformers, I can understand your motivated reasoning to, and you might even be able to make a cogent case for it, but scaremongering? Scaremongering? If anything, skeptics are *refuting* the "imminent doom unless you repent" cries of alarmists.

Re:Only 8%? (0)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about a year ago | (#42230087)

Maybe if the warmists tried persuasion, posting from their login account instead of calling everyone a scientifically illiterate jerkface dweeb as AC, they might be winning more people over to their point of view.

I'll be happy to call you a scientifically illiterate jerkface dweeb from my login account.

Does this help? You're welcome.

Re:Only 8%? (1)

ancientt (569920) | about a year ago | (#42229889)

even here on slashdot where you might expect some degree of scientific literacy.

The most interesting thing I've noticed about both sides is how quick each is to dismiss the other's opinions. I've spent quite a bit of time reading well written opinions on both side and I can conclusively say that there is solid reasoning on both sides. There is also a lot of poorly written and even more poorly reasoned stuff out there.

Short but related story: I got sick of political attack advertisments a couple election cycles back. I started keeping track of every negative ad I saw and voted for the candidates who ran the least.

If I were doing the same thing to determine whether I'd support or oppose climate change, I'd certainly have long since decided to oppose AGW. I don't think that's the right way to decide, but language like the parent poster's doesn't help the cause.

The other 17% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229949)

If 75% of Americans aren't as set, and 8% reject the idea of a warming planet, then it follows that the remaining 17% are firmly set that global warming exists, and are unlikely to be swayed by any evidence otherwise.

Cognitive bias works both ways. Apparently, even against the authors of the TFA, who neglect to even mention the impact of cognitive bias on those who are set in accepting it.

Doomsday Preppers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229643)

That show is way cool! Some of those people believe in a global warming apocalypse. However all those people are idiots. They're taking the absolute wrong approach. They stock up with months or years worth of supplies, and then try to figure out ways to protect them. However the reality of it is most people are not knowledgable about military type tactics, and most people will not be vigilant 100% of the time. For me, I'm going to be the guy that stocks up on guns and military surplus gear and just a little food. When the food runs out, you band together with 2-3 other like minded individuals and start taking over the 'preppers' stashes. If the shit really hits the fan, it'll be a Mad Max style free for all, and I plan on being on offense, not defense. I'm going to be the guy bringing the rain!

Communications Strategy? (1, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#42229645)

How about just relying on the science to speak for itself?

A figure of 75 percent unconvinced is encouraging in one sense. I means that the majority of the people aren't buying either argument yet. That's fine. We don't have anywhere near a clear understanding of how climate change is working (or not), who or what is responsible and what, if anything, we can do about it. The fact that the majority remains skeptical is a healthy sign.

We can only hope that the group that actually does the science and gets it right will sway the majority. And that the group who is giving up on the science and switching over to propaganda and public opinion manipulation will be recognized as an admission of the failure to get the figures to go their way.

Re:Communications Strategy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229697)

That would be great if it weren't both groups relying on propaganda and public opinion. The discussion stopped being credible when it became a political debate.

Re:Communications Strategy? (0)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#42229805)

You could just stop listening to the political sides and listen to climate scientists instead.
Problem solved.

Re:Communications Strategy? (2)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#42230091)

You could just stop listening to the eco-activists until they start the first step of the scientific method and make clear their necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statement.

Problem solved :)

Re:Communications Strategy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42230095)

It stopped being science long ago, when every scientist who accepted global warming was labeled a "climate scientist" and every scientist who questioned the theories or data was labeled a "denialist" fraud. When respected scientists feel the need to leave their scientific societies because global warming is such dogma that it becomes "settled science" that must be accepted or else, while the theory of gravity can still be questioned, then scientists have BECOME politicians.

Re:Communications Strategy? (0, Troll)

BlueStrat (756137) | about a year ago | (#42230133)

You could just stop listening to the political sides and listen to climate scientists instead.
Problem solved.

Wrong, because the scientists have politicized themselves and the science.

If a scientist advocates for some political action to be taken or not taken or policy to be enacted or not enacted then he has politicized himself, and his opinion is political, not scientific.

Ergo, any scientist that comes out in favor of AGW or against AGW is not acting as a scientist, but as a partisan political/ideological advocate.

Scientists do studies, perform experiments, and publish papers on purely scientific topics. They don't engage in political/ideological advocacy. Those advocating one side or the other are not scientists, at least while they are advocating.

So, no scientists have advocated one side over another, as the very act of advocacy disqualifies them as performing "science" and therefor their opions are not "scientific", but political.

Strat

Just like Space Nutters (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229707)

No matter how many times you tell them there are no magical materials or fantasy energy sources, they still think 1970s space posters are real.

It looks like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229711)

eight percent of Americans need to be dispatched to save the planet. Remember, individual liberty is the number one threat to the environment.

subject (1)

Legion303 (97901) | about a year ago | (#42229721)

Who do you trust more to give you the facts about this issue?

1. The vast majority of scientists who have devoted their professional lives to the study of the earth's climate;

2. Politicians.

Re:subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229751)

The first derive their income from grants controlled by the second.

DOWNMOD POSTHASTE: Unpleasant truth encountered.

Re:subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229757)

Exactly. Politicians like Al Gore have been talking about global warming for years. That's pretty good proof that it is bunk

Re:subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229979)

You conveniently ignored point 1.

Re:subject (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#42229991)

According to the paper, most people trust their personal experience of the local weather. Sadly, this is one case where common sense like that doesn't really work.

Really? (1)

LordRPI (583454) | about a year ago | (#42229727)

I thought strong opinions were self-reinforcing. Disclaimer: I didn't read the article, just the title.

Leave it to the experts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229731)

It's insane how so many other areas of study are just accepted when 99% of scientists agree, but this one is different. Shall I listen to some turd on the internet, or people who've been studying it most of their lives and actually know what they are talking about?!

Re:Leave it to the experts (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#42229773)

It's insane how so many other areas of study are just accepted when 99% of scientists agree, but this one is different. Shall I listen to some turd on the internet, or people who've been studying it most of their lives and actually know what they are talking about?!

Rejection of creationism or global warming is comprehensible, because of the strong ulterior motives. What I don't get is how rabidly so many people here oppose the existence of dark matter. I'm having trouble grokking a financial or religious motive for that one.

Re:Leave it to the experts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229849)

Because supporting Dark Matter requires believing in indetectable entities that somehow influence the entire universe around them, and that's too much for the average slashdotter to admit.

Re:Leave it to the experts (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year ago | (#42229871)

What I don't get is how rabidly so many people here oppose the existence of dark matter. I'm having trouble grokking a financial or religious motive for that one.

It's an "X" invented to plug a hole between a theory and observation, and with no evidence for it other than that discrepancy (despite much searching for it). That makes it inherently suspicious. That it supposedly makes up the lion's share of matter in the universe makes it even worse that we can't detect it in some other way.

However, attempts to plug the hole by modifying the theory of universal gravitation have been unsuccessful. So dark matter as a theory survives.

Re:Leave it to the experts (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#42230137)

What I don't get is how rabidly so many people here oppose the existence of dark matter. I'm having trouble grokking a financial or religious motive for that one.

It's an "X" invented to plug a hole between a theory and observation, and with no evidence for it other than that discrepancy (despite much searching for it). That makes it inherently suspicious. That it supposedly makes up the lion's share of matter in the universe makes it even worse that we can't detect it in some other way.

However, attempts to plug the hole by modifying the theory of universal gravitation have been unsuccessful. So dark matter as a theory survives.

Actually, it explains several apparently unrelated anomalies.

And FYI, MOND is very good at explaining galaxy rotation curves, but utterly fails at the other stuff.

Sorry, but I don't remember what the other stuff is or how dark matter explains it. But all that is a favorite topic at the Starts with a Bang blog, and in fact I notice that he has yet another post on it [scienceblogs.com] right now, so if you're interested it may be worth a read.

Re:Leave it to the experts (1)

ancientt (569920) | about a year ago | (#42230099)

I thought I was the only one who tied those arguments together. For me the tie-in was the preference for a simple explanation over a vague one, and when I learned of more compelling evidence, I changed my beliefs regardless of my preference.

I still like the Quantum Gravity theory better, but I'm no longer convinced it is the truth. I'm feel exactly the same way about AGW. Whenever I try to grasp the size of the world we live in, let alone the magnitude of something like the sun, I feel how small and insignificant humanity is by comparison. When considering the impact of humanity on the climate compared to the other factors, I would like to believe our contribution exists, but is likewise insignificant. With growing credible information supporting AGW, I'm more convinced that the theory is accurate.

Interestingly, "Rejection of creationism" is a phrase I'm surprised by. I think many rational minds are willing to accept a belief that they can understand the origins of the universe we find ourselves in without requiring the intervention of an outside agency. I am absolutely convinced that I don't know enough about God or science to really reason out the truth. Failing that ability to rely on my own reasoning, I fall back on trusting those I find trustworthy in other matters. When people I find wise disagree, on dark matter, on the origins of the universe or even on how it works, I typically wait for additional information.

Re:Leave it to the experts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229779)

To the degree that the conclusions are not understood to not ill-affect one's standard of living, people will accept.

Darwin awards (0)

openfrog (897716) | about a year ago | (#42229739)

...that tack is unlikely to get anywhere with the 8 percent or so of highly-engaged Americans who reject the idea of a warming planet, and are highly motivated to disregard anything that says otherwise.

We are pleased to announce that in recognition of their high engagement and their high motivation to disregard facts, those 8% are all eligible to a Darwin award.

Re:Darwin awards (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#42229787)

...that tack is unlikely to get anywhere with the 8 percent or so of highly-engaged Americans who reject the idea of a warming planet, and are highly motivated to disregard anything that says otherwise.

We are pleased to announce that in recognition of their high engagement and their high motivation to disregard facts, those 8% are all eligible to a Darwin award.

I think the Darwin Award would only be appropriate if their actions harmed themselves without having the same negative consequences on the rest of us.

Re:Darwin awards (2)

openfrog (897716) | about a year ago | (#42229931)

...that tack is unlikely to get anywhere with the 8 percent or so of highly-engaged Americans who reject the idea of a warming planet, and are highly motivated to disregard anything that says otherwise.

We are pleased to announce that in recognition of their high engagement and their high motivation to disregard facts, those 8% are all eligible to a Darwin award.

I think the Darwin Award would only be appropriate if their actions harmed themselves without having the same negative consequences on the rest of us.

Indeed, I can only agree with you. On the other hand, if an 8% of ignorants is enough to prevent us to act collectively, we are in for the highest Darwin award (or next to the highest as the highest would be the extinction of all life): a Species Darwin Award.

Darwin Award Nominees (1)

Latent Heat (558884) | about a year ago | (#42229823)

Michael Crichton

Jerry Pournelle

Burt Rutan

Freeman Dyson

Re:Darwin Award Nominees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42230021)

Michael Crichton

Jerry Pournelle

Burt Rutan

Freeman Dyson

Let's See:
Crichton - Fiction Writer
Pournelle - Fiction Writer
Rutan - Aircraft Engineer
Let's trust these guys (not a scientist among them) over climate scientists who actually UNDERSTAND the factors involved in climate change and have the data to back it up

Dyson - Physicist
OK, he is a bit more credible, BUT HE ACCEPTS that AGW is real and simply thinks climate patterns are too chaotic to reliably predict.

What was your point again?

I do believe the climate is changing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229745)

but I also believe it is not due to mankind.

Re:I do believe the climate is changing (3, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#42230109)

but I also believe it is not due to mankind.

You must concede that mankind has some influence though right? I mean for millions of years there has been a fairly stable cycle of volcano's etc spewing out CO2 and the plants locking the carbon away underground to keep the balance approximately even, and now we are taking that buried carbon and turning it back into CO2, and also cutting down the trees, while the other outputs of CO2 remain approximately constant.

CO2 is a known greenhouse gas and the mechanism is well understood, so I hardly think that's up for debate. Just how much influence that is having on the current climate and how much influence it is going to have in the future is a bit of guesswork (there are other much more potent greenhouse gases around, like water vapour and methane), but to say that mankind has not had any impact at all seems a little ignorant.

What if we set up a denial campaign? (4, Funny)

Bruce Perens (3872) | about a year ago | (#42229775)

To show how these things work, I've been thinking about setting up a denial campaign for an obviously factual event: "Hurricane" Sandy.

It wasn't really a hurricane. National weather service decided not to issue a warning. The roller coaster would not have landed in one piece as it is photographed. We could build a pretty solid case that it wasn't real. It would really piss off the people who were there :-)

Re:What if we set up a denial campaign? (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about a year ago | (#42229995)

Can I play?

After all, where did people hear about it? The liberal media! Where did the "relief" money go? To wicked New York!

The NOAA "forecasters" who said it was a hurricane all depend on government money!

It's rained before, and nobody said it was a hurricane until the New World Order hurricane conspiracy came along!

If it were a hurricane and not sabotage, how come none of the emergency generators worked?

It's scary how easy and fun this is.

Re:What if we set up a denial campaign? (1)

Dwonis (52652) | about a year ago | (#42230061)

Great Scott! What's in New York? WALL STREET! They're afraid of higher taxes, so they pre-emptively orchestrated this FAKE "DISASTER" in order to get us to send MONEY their way!

Sheeple! Wake up!

Re:What if we set up a denial campaign? (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#42230123)

To show how these things work, I've been thinking about setting up a denial campaign for an obviously factual event: "Hurricane" Sandy.

It wasn't really a hurricane. National weather service decided not to issue a warning. The roller coaster would not have landed in one piece as it is photographed. We could build a pretty solid case that it wasn't real. It would really piss off the people who were there :-)

Wish i hadn't responded to a troll then I would have modded you up.

If you want a model on how this might work, have a look here [wikipedia.org] . And yes, people get really pissed off. For something a bit less touchy try this [wikipedia.org] too.

This is not an opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229821)

Why the hell is this even a matter of opinion?

The lay person does not have any idea about this. They are not equipped to evaluate the science, consequences, or solutions. We don't go around asking everybody what they believe the military threats to the country are, and what technologies and strategies should be employed to counter those threats. We don't go asking the public about what area of theoretical physics, in their opinion, will be fruitful to study and provide funding to.

Not going to listen to ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229825)

Not going to listen to politicians or political scientists on either side. The southern hemisphere has been on a "global cooling" trend the last 10+ years while the northern hemisphere has been on a "global warming" trend. There is record ice creation an the south pole while we record ice loss at the north pole. I am not saying they cancel each other out , but you only ever hear once side of the story.

The media has been extremely biased on what information they portray to the public. They justify it by saying that they don't want to "confuse" people ... Like they should decide? Like they actually understand themselves what is truly going on? If they are going to report north pole ice melts shouldn't they also report record south pole ice levels? There are really good scientists on both sides of the issue and the fact that some politician and media network can declare a winner on a scientific issue is just disgusting.

They do it by using words such as "consensus", "most scientists", and "expert" ... while never telling you that a Consensus is a logical fallacy, "most" doesn't mean anything as it could by 50%+1 of people that you picked to talk too, and "expert" could mean anything.

I am a scientist, but not one in the field of global climate. I make no claims to know what is happening, but I have to wonder why these people can believe they do. The planet has been both warmer and cooler than it is now and it seems rather arrogant for someone to draw a line in the sand and say what is and is normal. Hell, 125,000 years ago ... basically yesterday on a planetary scale ... there was no ice at the north pole at all. Life back then would think that what we have today is not normal.

The real issue I have is (0)

sunking2 (521698) | about a year ago | (#42229831)

Climate change is big business. Those in the profession who don't push the agenda end up hungry. Money corrupts all, and at this point I basically have a hard time believing anyone 100%. Scare tactics work, and generate money. And when caught in a flat out lie, over overexageration it becomes a 1 step forward, 2 steps back as far as trust with me.

Re:The real issue I have is (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#42229929)

Climate change is big business. Those in the profession who don't push the agenda end up hungry. Money corrupts all, and at this point I basically have a hard time believing anyone 100%. Scare tactics work, and generate money. And when caught in a flat out lie, over overexageration it becomes a 1 step forward, 2 steps back as far as trust with me.

So how come scientists in all the other fields are too stoopid to get in on the scam? Can't astronomers just make up claims about a non-existent asteroid that's going to smash us later this century if we don't poor big money into further research, and rely on greed to keep anyone from revealing the fraud? Physicists, astronomers, biologists, geologists - all too dull witted or honest to do what those clever climatologists have done.

Re:The real issue I have is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42230031)

All other fields have means to test the results and prove them false. People expect from all other fields of science to make accurate predictions. However, the new age of "liberal sciences" like psychology or climatology work by finding evidence to support your point of view, finding an explanation so that both positive and negative results proves your theory, and then talk lauder than the rest. I've heard in those sciences the theories, rather than disproven, just get out of fashion every few years.

Re:The real issue I have is (0)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#42230117)

[Warmist] climatologists are modern day astrologers who can explain every single event ever observed, and ever to be observed with their pet hypothesis. Once you have a non-falsifiable hypothesis that asserts it is confirmed when it is both hot and cold and wet and dry, if people aren't discerning enough to realize you're playing the game of "heads I win, tails you lose", they can easily be fooled by the flimflam of people in lab coats. Heck, fake psychics use this all the time, maximizing their "hits" and minimizing their "misses", the way AGW proponents wave away refuting lines of data, but trumpet "confirming" ones.

On the other hand, for the most part, your physicists, astronomers, biologists, geologists and other *actual* scientists start with a falsifiable hypothesis, and then look for any possible falsifications a hard as they possibly can. Honestly, how many AGW proponents have actually tried to *look* for refuting data of their hypotheses? How hard did Michael Mann ever look at what possible flaws his hockey stick could have had?

Motivated reasoning is an excellent explanation for why otherwise rational atheists can develop a brand new Church of Global Warming.

Re:The real issue I have is (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about a year ago | (#42230119)

Climate change is big business. Those in the profession who don't push the agenda end up hungry.

Either that, or the scientists overseeing grant funding are actually competent, and don't waste money on crackpots who fail to grasp even the most basic results in the discipline.

Nah. It's gotta be the conspiracy.

Does not really matter (3)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#42229841)

The time to do something effective about climate change was 20 years ago. And the scientific data was solid back then. It was ignored because it was too inconvenient. I guess that will make a nice inscription on the tomb-stone of the current civilization: "It died because saving itself was too inconvenient".

This website is very good (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year ago | (#42229843)

http://www.skepticalscience.com/ [skepticalscience.com]

A lot of the anti-globalwarming movement rely on classic FUD, throwing enough shit on the wall and counting on that something will stick.

Re:This website is very good (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#42229977)

A lot of the anti-globalwarming movement rely on classic FUD, throwing enough shit on the wall and counting on that something will stick.

Just like creationists. There aren't any "creation scientists" trying to build a coherent theory of creationism. They're all just busy nit-picking something that they hope will cast doubt on some tiny aspect of the huge pile of evidence that supports a conclusion that they don't want to accept.

And just like the anti-globalwarming movement, there are crowds of people standing by to gobble up any claim they make.

Re:This website is very good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42230079)

You got it backwards: the global warming movement spreads FUD against every form of energy generation, except photovoltaic. Unsurprisingly, photovoltaic ranks as the poorest option to generate energy after tidal, so the only way for them to survive is to promote political actions based on fear rather than logical, engineering, or economic reasons, as photovoltaic loses in ALL of them (even durability, reliability and ecology).

You only see topics about global warming on forums that also talk about the latest solar panel efficiency record every week.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229873)

Its still too cold for me to ride my motorcycle!

The most entrenched know the most (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229913)

The people on both sides with the most entrenched views tend to know more than everyone else. They have studied the subject and are used to having their beliefs challenged. They can always find facts to refute whatever argument is flung at them.

Contrary to what most people think, there are facts that back up both opinions. What we can say is that the people with the most strident opinions in both camps are way too confident in their own rectitude.

Handful of climate scientists. Everybody else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42229923)

There are a handful of climate scientists. Everybody else is a believer.

...a fortiori... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42230011)

...from strong beliefs about anything being self reinforcing.

Wait a tic... (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#42230049)

"But second, that tack is unlikely to get anywhere with the 17 percent or so of highly-engaged Americans who reject the idea of a *naturally* warming planet, and are highly motivated to disregard anything that says otherwise."

There, fixed. Both sides apparently have highly motivated reasoning going on, no reason you can't turn the sentence around the other way.

I'd suggest the way to discern between the motivated reasoning and the scientific truth requires ye good old falsifiable hypothesis statement as per Karl Popper.

Re:Wait a tic... (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about a year ago | (#42230127)

"But second, that tack is unlikely to get anywhere with the 17 percent or so of highly-engaged Americans who reject the idea of a *naturally* warming planet, and are highly motivated to disregard anything that says otherwise."

There, fixed. Both sides apparently have highly motivated reasoning going on, no reason you can't turn the sentence around the other way

No, there is a difference: one of them is actually true.

Or maybe... (0)

jimmydigital (267697) | about a year ago | (#42230179)

Or maybe it's because the politicos who are pushing the idea of global warming tend to lie with every fiber of their being... and with every breath they take. All their proposed solutions do little more than give GovCo more money and more power at the expense of the US economy. It could be that too...

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