Pulp fiction psychology

Wattsupwiththat.com had a discussion on an article in SOCIETY FOR PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY.   Matthew Hornsey (University of Queensland) described behaviour of skeptics as “thinking like a lawyer,” in that people cherry-pick which pieces of information to pay attention to “in order to reach conclusions that they want to be true.”  Right after he says skeptics are just as smart or smarter than warmists.  Interesting that he completely ignores that reality and dives into “you’re wrong, we’re right and  you must be defective if you disagree”.

Of all the areas of science, global warming has devolved the quickest into pulp fiction psychology.  Unable to present a cogent, scientific argument, but allowing no possibility the theory might be wrong, only that people “don’t understand” or they would agree, believers have dived into “it’s your politics or your religion or your mood today”.  Anything but that the theory is just not proven.

Since skeptics are at least as smart as global warming believers, this argument is not going to change the mind of any skeptic.  They will immediately see projection or desperation, anything but a real reason to not believe the theory, say like lack of open discussion, all data “adjusted” or “lost” in many cases, all the normal things science has a basis.  Believers go so far as to say they won’t release data because skeptics will only try to prove them wrong.  Neon sign “WE MIGHT BE WRONG AND WE AREN’T GOING TO LET YOU FIND OUT”.  Come on, we’re smart people.  We see the desperation.

Some commenters will refer to “cognitive dissonance” (on both sides) but cognitive dissonance is a very specific psychological term.  It applies to people who pretend to believe or not believe based on those around them.  If the entire family believes except one, the one will often go along, which can create cognitive dissonance if the person feels guilt for lying about what they believe.  Often, the person will end up changing sides to stop the guilty feelings.  It’s a response to bullying and group-think in some cases.

Then there’s double-think, which is holding two contradictory ideas both to be true.  There is NO dissonance.  The person simply believes both.  An example is climate skeptics are “deniers of science” but anti-vaxxers are enlightened people.  In one case, the science is followed, in the other, denied.  Based on who knows what?  The ideas are contradictory because one says science is always right and the other says science is wrong.

Another example is something I ran into on Facebook:  You teach a child not to be violent, not to harm animals and small children, by beating the hell out of him for throwing a kitten against the wall.  That level of double-think boarders on psychotic.

Pulp psychology techniques have become the trademark of global warming.  The science FAILED and failed miserably.  So intimidation, bullying, psyching people out are all that’s left.  Honestly, it’s like the last remnant of the Flat Earth Society trying to pass laws and/or bribe people into saying the earth is flat lest they be proven wrong.  After all, global warming CANNOT be wrong.  EVER.

Sure.

dscn3694

They’re just trying to scare us.

scan0015

Told you they were just kidding.  Wind had nothing to do with this.  Really.

If only the warning had been worded to match the politics, religion and so forth of the driver, he would not have ignored the sign.  Or maybe the driver is just oblivious to reality?

 

Just when you thought there was hope, out comes the rediculous.

 

Skeptics_v_Realists

Realistics, no.  True believers, yes.  Maybe if it didn’t fit their politics so well…..

Not that Certain

A new paper (A probabilistic analysis of human influence on recent record global mean temperature changes–Kokic, Crimp, Howden) states a 99.999% certainty humans are causing the warming on the planet, IF the model contains all factors with significant (ie measurable and large enough to affect the outcome) influence on climate.

The model only has four factors: CO2 (GHG as measured by Kyoto Protocol), ENSO, TSI, and volcanoes. It’s highly unlikely that there are not more factors–for example oceans storing heat, albedo of arctic and antarctic ice, back radiation, convection currents, etc, just to name a few I have read about on various sites. If any of these have a large effect, the model does not match reality and any outcome or prediction may be useful by chance but most probably useless other than to grab headlines.

Also, if the measurements of any of the factors is not accurate, the conclusion is void. That does not mean the conclusion is not true–it means the models and statistics used to create the model and certainty are invalid. In other words, the model is back to an unproven hypothesis. It is possible for an incomplete model might be useful in some ways, but the 99.999% certainty is most certainly exaggerated and should be scrapped. A four factor model of climate that shows this kind of “certainty” is very unlikely to be accurate or even useful.

The modeler’s use a bootstrap calculation, something that seems to be used more and more in the studies I have been reading. In theory, the bootstrap yields multiple data sets to increase the likelihood that the model cover all data. (Correct me if my explanation of this is poorly stated. I am sometimes not very good at explaining statistics so it makes sense to readers.) They ran the bootstrap 100,000 times both leaving in and leaving out GHG. From this, they reached the incredible (or perhaps not-so-credible) 99.999% number.

There is no information on whether or not the model was run eliminating other factors one at a time in the same fashion as GHG. This is vital to gauge whether something else may have just as strong an effect.

The model B also indicated only an approximate 25% of 304 months of continuous record breaking temperatures, but that was one of the original questions in the model–how likely are 304 months of record breaking temperatures without human influence? That would seem to indicate the model missed the mark. Model E also showed only about a 53% chance of this temperature streak happening. Why can’t the model reproduce the 304 months of record setting temperatures? With 99.999 % certainty, one would expect nothing less.

An interesting thing that did show up in the study was the prediction of periods of flat or colling temperatures and the number of periods of cooling was closer to observed in the runs with GHG left in than those without. The number was still not matching actual recoded data but was closer with GHG.

What does this tell us about humans, GHG and certainty? IF the models are sufficiently accurate, there could be a strong case for humans causing warming. However, the small number of variable in the model call into question whether all significant factors have been included. Without a 99.999% certainty that these are the only factors needed the conclusion is not valid. If any measurements of input variables are even slightly off, the conclusion does not hold.

All in all, the study, while it addressed some interesting points fell far short of being definitive proof of humans causing climate change. The certainty is far over stated when one compares reality to the model and its conclusions.

IPCC psychic predictions

The IPCC psychic predictions:

1. Risk of death, injury, ill-health, or disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones and small island developing states and other small islands, due to storm surges, coastal flooding, and sea-level rise.

Sea level is rising about 3 mm per year. In 100 years, you get 300mm of rise. The IPCC reportedly put a range of 28 to 98 cm by 2100. So 3 feet in 80 years. Don’t see people fleeing like refugees from that rate. Plus, there is a lot of uncertainty in the prediction.  Not to be a killjoy, but coastal zones are always hit with storms and flooding. Humans have lived near coasts and dealt with this for 100’s of years. With better technology and resources, it should be at least as doable as any other time in history.

2. Risk of severe ill-health and disrupted livelihoods for large urban populations due to inland flooding in some regions.

First, “in some areas” is just exactly what a psychic would use. Totally lacking in detail and will positively happen. With or without the AGW theory being correct. Note it does not say “increased risk”.

3. Systemic risks due to extreme weather events leading to breakdown of infrastructure networks and critical services such as electricity, water supply, and health and emergency services.

Again, not statement of an “increase”, just “risks”. Humans have to deal with extreme weather all the time. If there’s more extreme weather, humans have dealt with it. We have managed even though more people are affected. Critical services and infrastructure are lost frequently. People cope. Should we make improvements to our infrastructure and homes–sure. Warming or no, the storms will keep coming.

4. Risk of mortality and morbidity during periods of extreme heat, particularly for vulnerable urban populations and those working outdoors in urban or rural areas.

Interesting they say “working outdoors in urban or rural areas”. Climate change believers tend to be nitpickers on language and you would have thought they would have realized this actually reads that people in semi-rural or semi-urban areas are not included. How did that one get past the editor? Why not just say “outdoors”?
Extreme hot and extreme cold can kill, now and in the future. Cold kills fewer people in the US in part due to “snowbirds”–people who move from one climate to another, kind of like migratory birds, only the migration occurs in cars, rather than walking or flying. Perhaps people will improve on that system. Also, people who like hot gravitate to hot, same for people who like cold.
For centuries, people have worked outside in extreme heat and extreme cold.

5. Risk of food insecurity and the breakdown of food systems linked to warming, drought, flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes, particularly for poorer populations in urban and rural settings.

Again, nothing new. Drought and famine have existed for the entirety of human history. It has alway s been harder on the poor. They failed to mention cooling causes famine also–the Irish potato famine comes to mind. There is absolute certainty that some of these things will happen. No real predictions short of what has always happened will continue to happen.

6. Risk of loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient access to drinking and irrigation water and reduced agricultural productivity, particularly for farmers and pastoralists with minimal capital in semi-arid regions.

I believe this describes the dust bowl–that pre-global warming disaster that changed the way we farm. Same old thing humans have always contended with. Only now we have more advanced technology and better ways to deal with this. Poorer nations will catch up as they always have.

7. Risk of loss of marine and coastal ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for coastal livelihoods, especially for fishing communities in the tropics and the Arctic.

The “risk” is that systems will change, not be lost. That is exactly what nature has always done–change, adapt. Is is fascinating that the same scientists who may heartily espouse evolution can be the same one shouting loudest that nothing should change or that the change can be “too fast”. As for livelihoods, buggy whip manufacturers were displaced by cars, furriers put out of much business by the PC animal rights crowds, machinery replaced humans in many areas. The world went on.

8. Risk of loss of terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for livelihoods.
Loss and movement of water systems is nothing new. The ecosystems will change, not be lost (unless you argue that every time there is an evolutionary change, it’s bad because something is lost–that evolution is bad). Yes, some species will be lost, no matter if the planet warms or not. It’s call survival of the adequately fit. Nothing new.

The IPCC report reads like what a carnival psychic would say–vague predictions many of which are going to happen with or without AGW. It’s sad that pseudoscientific vague predictions have been called science when discussing the climate.

Several places I read on the report said:
“there is no new science in this report, which assesses recent science since the previous IPCC report in 2007”
No new science but an increase in likelihood that humans are causing climate change? How does that work? Same way a psychic does–by saying whatever you think someone wants to hear and hoping no one asks about the details.

Another interesting statement in the report:
“Attribution of observed impacts in the WGII AR5 generally links responses of natural and human systems to observed climate change, regardless of its cause.”
Translation: Nature or human caused, it matters not so far as what we try to scare you with. If we separated them, you might see that nature really is a lot more dominate than we admit. No need for those pesky details.

There is talk of adaptation in the document, but not in many of the press releases. It’s fascinating how science gets trampled all to death in the name of saving the planet, which we have little evidence needs saving. Perhaps they changed to the psychic method because actual predictions of melting glaciers, hotspots and Arctic ice were so problematic in the past. It appears there’s much, much more to learn about natural climate change, CO2 and modeling before we can move past the psychic predictions.

 

Scientific badger

Scientific badger

 

 

 

 

It’s a Conspiracy

“Conspiracy”–as part of the climate debate

Accusations of conspiracy, conspiracy ideation and so forth are often leveled at questioners (aka skeptics). Just what is a conspiracy? By broadest definition, virtually any group: “any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result.” (dictionary.com, fifth definition)

More common definitions are:
The free dictionary–
4. A joining or acting together, as if by sinister design

Oxford–
“a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event”

Wiki
A conspiracy theory is an explanatory proposition that accuses two or more people, a group or an organization of having caused or covered up, through deliberate collusion, an event or phenomenon of great social, political or economic impact.

Wiki and several other sources indicated that until the mid-60’s the term was mostly neutral. Now, it is used to dismiss claims—it implies the claim is ridiculous, irrational, etc and should not even be considered. It is this usage one finds in climate science debate.

I became curious just how many claims of conspiracy are present in the debate. Lewendoski did a paper examining conspiracy ideation on skeptic blogs. The paper had multiple problems, to say the least (and at least nine lives, it seems—it keeps coming back). In order to avoid the 100% author-subjective characterizations of Lewendoski, my research started with sites that identify themselves as conspiracy sites. I basically Googled “conspiracies” and “conspiracy sites” to get a list. I make no claim that this is a representative sample. I went with whichever sites looked promising. These are my results:
1. UFO digest—has articles from both views
2. Above Top Secret—against solutions but not science/has both sides
3. Prison Planet—does not believe
4. Jesse Ventura—does not believe
5. Godlike Productions—has both views
6. Zetatalk—could not tell
7. Cassiopaea.org—couldn’t tell
8. Alex Jones (infowars)—does not believe
9. Disinfo.com—seems to have both views
10. Illumanti Conspiracy Archive—seems not to believe
11. Homestead (CA)– chemtrails are bioremediation
12. David Icke—Does not believe (once did)
13. Flat Earth Society—president believes, not all may agree with him
14. Conspiracy Planet—does not believe
15. Escape the Illusion—pro climate change

In the spirit of full disclosure, there were several websites that caused me headaches when trying to understand their positions (four total). These were eliminated. Others had no commentary I could find using the web sites’s search box. These, too, were eliminated. So the actual totals are for those that presented an opinion that was easily discernible.

My results:
Pro 3
Both 4
Con 6
Unknown 2

What have we learned from this?
More conspiracy sites chosen (6/12) state skeptical positions.
Some conspiracy sites chosen (4/12) allow more open discussion than climate change advocate sites
Googling and reading conspiracy websites may result in bad things creeping onto your computer (update than malware/virus software frequently) and you may suffer some mental fatigue in attempting to decipher the sites (maybe why Lewendosky just assigned values?)

So can we conclude questioners are just a bunch of conspiracy nuts? Well, no.
First, I noted the complete lack of scientific method here. Second, we would need to know if advocates who believe in conspiracies just don’t use websites (if some of these people live off the grid, to save the planet and/or hide from the government, they probably avoid electronic media) and third, much time can be spent developing and researching something that in the end is pretty much useless.

What if we look at some comments from advocates to be sure they’re not into conspiracy theories:

“Distrust of the climate experts was encouraged by corporations and political interests that opposed any government influence in the economy. “ AIP

“Hartmut Grabl, a climate researcher and the former director at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, says there is a political component to climate skepticism.
‘Some of them even get paid, by big oil companies for example, to undermine climate change,’ he says. Grable believes small groups, financed by big interest, are often sent to climate conferences to listen to the arguments at hand and find ways to dispute them.” (This used to be called science—questioning the theory and it’s proofs. Also, the same tactics are seen by advocate bloggers that the skeptics are accused of here—tag team the “skeptic” blogs and see if you can stir up hate and discontent among skeptics.)

“A secret funding organization in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate “counter movement” to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has learnt.”

“Climate skeptics, or deniers as they are often called, are presented as all-powerful forces bankrolled by rich corporations who have wielded their awesome power to block efforts to deal with the threat of human caused climate change. How do we know that climate skeptics have such power? As Martin Wolf explains, it is the “world’s inaction” on climate policy which reveals their power.”
http://theenergycollective.com/roger-pielke-jr/230251/irrelevance-climate-skeptics

“I would like to see what (alien) technology there might be that could eliminate the burning of fossil fuels within a generation … that could be a way to save our planet,” Paul Hellyer, 83, told the Ottawa Citizen.”
http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/ufos-can-solve-climate-change-says-ex-defense-minister.html

Seems at least some believers subscribe to conspiracy theories. The continual claims of oil company payouts, etc, certainly lean toward, if not fall into, conspiracy territory. Whether or not persons expressing these views subscribe to other conspiracy theories was not studied.

In the end, it comes down to many people believe in one or more conspiracy theories on both the advocate side and questioner side. Belief in conspiracies outside of climate change (e.g. 9/11, moon walk hoax, etc) has no bearing on a person’s climate change views. A person can believe in the moon walk “hoax” and still be correct in their climate change views.

Climate change is not right or wrong because Koch’s gave money to Heartland, because socialists believe in it, because industry may or may not be out to get environmentalists, and so forth. It is right or wrong on how well the theory fits the real data (not models). Right now, the fit is becoming less and less. That is why one should question the theory.

Scientific Badger

Scientific Badger

Antiscience? Not.

Scientific Badger

Scientific Badger

WtD currently (as of 10 AM today) has an article on anti-science and some psychobabble about “stages of denial”. Again, it’s based on the 97% of scientists with the appropriate degree who publish in the proper peer-reviewed journals agreeing AGW is real. As I have noted, the qualifications can be waived if scientists agree with AGW and write an article that will help the cause (as in Cook, Lewendoski and Marcott). This appears to be central to the entire theory—the “in” crowd agrees and so should you.

First, psychology and consensus have NOTHING to do with the truth or falsity of a scientific hypothesis/theory. Psychology and consensus are employed to “sell” something. For example—4 out of 5 dentists recommend “Brand X” toothpaste. Unless the dentists are doing this based on scientific evidence that brand X is best (and can produce the research to prove it), it’s nothing more than a toothpaste popularity contest.

There used to be commercials stating more hospitals used Tylenol than any other pain reliever. There was also a report that Tylenol was cutting the hospitals a great deal on the cost of the Tylenol. Today, Tylenol no longer advertises this way—it turned out the “safe” painkiller used by more hospitals was actually toxic in large doses. The medication was added to narcotic painkillers and combination medications, resulting in unintentional overdosing. It was not the “safe, trusted” painkiller that was endorsed by hospitals. Hospitals agreed—consensus existed. Tylenol was safe….but then it wasn’t.

Had someone actually questioned why there was agreement, perhaps the reality of the lack of safety in Tylenol would have come out sooner. Research and experience had always shown acetaminophen was toxic in large doses, due to liver damage. If there had been inquiries into the research and hospitals were asked to prove the safety and usefulness of the product, perhaps fewer overdoses would have occurred. The manufacturer of Tylenol later had commercials saying it was safe IF used as directed, a much more honest statement. At least safety was conditional.

Scientific truth is not determined by endorsement or consensus. It is determined by data, how well any models used predict and match reality, how much data exists versus how much is modeling (hint: the word “model” is prevalent in most AGW research.) A computer model is not a FACT. It’s not real. It’s at best an hypothesis, at worst, a fantasy. So not believing AGW is actually not putting faith in computer models and statistical probability. It is recognition of the limits of statistics and the use of modeling in trying to predict complex phenomena. It is the recognition of the validity of research based on its actual content and not who wrote. It is not a denial of science, scientific method or actual facts in evidence.

This may explain the shift from science in AGW to psychobabble and non-scientific terms like “extreme weather” (There was a study that tried to quantify this without a lot of success—I do give them credit for at least trying.)  If you can’t prove something with actual data, dazzle ’em with psychobabble and scare ’em with “extreme”.