Free Markets, Free People


So much for the myth that only the uninformed and ignorant are skeptical of AGW

Powerline’s Steven Hayward brings us the results of a revealing  paper by Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University.  It attacks one of the popular myths that only dummies reject the “consensus” because they are ignorant of the science.  Not so says the CCP:

The conventional explanation for controversy over climate change emphasizes impediments to public understanding: limited popular knowledge of science, the inability of ordinary citizens to assess technical information, and the resulting widespread use of unreliable cognitive heuristics to assess risk. A large survey of U.S. adults (N = 1540) found little support for this account. On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones.

Hayward points out that these results validate an earlier finding from the journal Risk Analysis (2008):

By examining the results of a survey on an original and representative sample of Americans, we find that these three forces—informedness, confidence in scientists, and personal efficacy—are related in interesting and unexpected ways, and exert significant influence on risk assessments of global warming and climate change. In particular, more informed respondents both feel less personally responsible for global warming, and also show less concern for global warming. We also find that confidence in scientists has unexpected effects: respondents with high confidence in scientists feel less responsible for global warming, and also show less concern for global warming.

Now one could conclude that it is actually the least informed who buy into the AGW because they’re less likely to seek out explanations to the underlying “science” that supports the theory.  Instead they accept it whole cloth and defend it instead of taking a skeptical point of view – a view which science demands.  Questioning the theory would also indicate intellectual curiosity instead of the rote acceptance of what is presented.

There’s a bit of irony to had here.  Hayward:

Whoa there: The more science you know about climate change, the less likely you are to think it is a crisis?  This suggest that all the money environmentalists have spent (I think the Environmental Defense Fund has spent $300 million alone on climate change) has had a negative effect on public opinion, and it offers the ironic possibility that the best thing Al Gore could do to advance his cause is shut up and grow his beard back in a Tibetan monastery.

It makes the case that a) the public isn’t stupid, b) propaganda is still mostly recognized as propaganda and c) the intellectually curious are more likely to be “skeptical” than the less intellectually curious.

Not a particularly flattering portrait of the AGW crowd, is it?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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24 Responses to So much for the myth that only the uninformed and ignorant are skeptical of AGW

  • AGW is the biggest conspiracy that has ever existed in the clear sunlight of day.
    It uses every technique used by the Church in the 12th century to project it’s message and punish it’s detractors.
    It is simply an international political project wrapped in the robes of science using the techniques of religion.

  • You can see it in blog discussions too. The skeptics are more than holding their own.

    In response the orthodox try to paint skeptics as holocaust deniers, creationists, or shills for big oil or conservatism. Or the orthodox simply censor or ban or threaten skeptics.

    Here’s an example so blatant that it’s funny: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2011/06/13/my-new-feature-story-in-the-american-prospect-the-reality-gap/

    Chris Mooney, the “Republican War on Science” guy now covering AGW, puffs up an MIT meteorologist who goes on about a slam-dunk “back of an envelope” calculation demonstrating the AGW threat. One regular commenter, Nullius in Verba, simply asked for that “back of an envelope” calculation, and Mooney accused him of hectoring, then shut the comment section off.

    • huxleyOne regular commenter, Nullius in Verba, simply asked for that “back of an envelope” calculation, and Mooney accused him of hectoring, then shut the comment section off.

      I think that there have been enough of such instances that people, even those whose knowledge of science begins and ends with reruns of “Star Trek”, are starting to catch on.  If the science is sooo settled and sooo incontrovertible, then why don’t the gorebots just trot it out instead of trying to convince us by claiming that sooo many other people believe it so it MUST be true?

      • “trying to convince us by claiming that sooo many other people believe it so it MUST be true?”

        I’ve heard this line of reasoning before…where was it?

        oh yes, I remember now, I used it just prior to my dad asking me if I’d jump off a bridge because everyone else was.

      • Exactly. The orthodox try to spin it that debating skeptics lends them PR and legitimacy. But the fact is that they generally lose the debates even when the audience is predisposed in the AGW’s favor.

        I’ve been interested in AGW for a while and more or less accepted the arguments, but after I tried asking questions or making contrary points on AGW websites, I was abused and censored so quickly that I now consider myself a skeptic.

        That’s not how rational people who know their material and are confident behave, especially not those advocating science.
         

        • Hell, if you’re Erb you accuse people who are skeptical of AGW of consciously wanting to harm your children.

          • Well of course you do – because that’s about the best comeback they have. Emotional arguments based in caca.

          • If I wanted to harm children, and future generations in general, I’d (1) subvert economic productivity (a) driving up debt, (b) redistributing wealth to punish success, (c) creating labor incentives to move operations overseas, (d) hamstring business with excessive, unnecessary regulations, (e) deprive Americans of cheap, domestic energy sources; (2) weaken the intellect of the average American with government schools which (a) indoctrinate students to be obedient peasants, (b) squash critical thinking skills, and (c) fail to prepare students for adult employment; (3) undermine the power of the US by (a) invading countries and involving troops in quagmires against asymmetrical tactics, (b) making US dependent upon foreign energy sources, and (c) putting the US at the mercy of foreign investors.

        • huxley[A]fter I tried asking questions or making contrary points on AGW websites, I was abused and censored so quickly that I now consider myself a skeptic.
          That’s not how rational people who know their material and are confident behave, especially not those advocating science.

          Exactly.  I’d wager that most skeptics felt the same way when AGW first reared its head years ago: “Wow.  Some scientists claim that they’ve determined that too much CO2 in the atmosphere traps heat like a greenhouse, and if this gets out of hand, the earth will get too hot to sustain human life as we know it (and perhaps too hot to sustain life at all).  Holy sh*t.  Maybe we’d better look into this some more.”

          But we didn’t “look into it some more”; the hucksters and politicians (BIRM) behaved as if they KNEW that too much inquiry would expose them, so they did everything they could to drown out, discredit and shut out inquiries and debate.

          As you say, that’s not how real scientists operate.  I suspect that this is what’s back of the survey data discussed by McQ: people who know something about how science is supposed to work know that the AGW crowd isn’t doing science.  They recognize a con job when they see it.

          • Quite a lot of the skeptics I see on the blogs are engineers, programmers and scientists, many retired, who took an interest in climate because they were curious then became outraged at the way the science was conducted and the PR campaign was waged. They don’t take kindly when told to shut up and listen to their betters.

    • “Shut up!”  They explained.  QED.

  • Data supporting what has been demonstrated to many times…
    The Collective is STOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooopid, ignorant, deluded, and HATES good science.
    Erp…???

    • There is a simple solution to test the science.  I read about the technique in an article about a military strategy imployed by Iraqis called the “death phalanx”.  The strategy says …

      when attacked shoot your weapons in all directions … Allah will protect the innocent.

  • Unfortunately children don’t have any critical thinking skills against being filled with garbage.  Even if AGW is exposed by widespread confession and countless smoking guns, many people who were children raised over the past 10-15 years will cling to AGW beliefs until they die.

    When their generation reaches maturity, the forces that be will take another run at AGW or other Human Caused Impending Doom Scenario since they have a generation trained to accept it.

    • well, except, what almost always happens is that in their twenties, young people are more likely to reject the beliefs that they grew up with.

    • “Unfortunately children don’t have any critical thinking skills against being filled with garbage. ”

      You should have been there the day I asked my then 9 year old where the deed was for the property his school was buying (courtesy of my cash contribution) in South America to protect the rain forests.  Or who was keeping track of the property for them and protecting their deeded rights.

      I had to explain deeds too, but he understood protecting the property and I could see the light go on over his head when I pointed out there was nothing to really stop the ‘bad people’ from cutting down the trees he thought they were buying.

      I have to admit, perhaps I shouldn’t have done that, he’s a skeptical bastard now that he’s older.

    • Eventually those kids will note that lack of rising temps. AGW as a scam has a limited shelf life.

      Now, I do believe that AGW started out as science. I think that the politics derailed the legitimate science that was looking into a potential problem.

      • DonEventually those kids will note that lack of rising temps.

        “In an alarming report released today by the Department of Global Environmental Protection, it was reported that the global mean temperature showed the largest increase in history last year, making 2015 the hottest year on record.”

        New York Times, August 9, 2016

        See how that works?  No numbers, just scary language.  Even if some of the dimwits currently being churned out of the public schools* think to wonder about actual numbers, there are none given for them to make a judgement on their own.  And if you report that the earth is “hotter” in the middle of summer when (gee whiz!) it’s hot outside… well, it’s not hard to fool the ignorant.  Let’s face it: the AGW crowd was beating the drum in WINTER, when there were record snowfalls in the US and Great Britain, and SUCCEEDING.

        —-

        (*) Speaking of the public schools, I wish to draw your attention to the cheating scandal in the Atlanta system.

        A state investigation has found that teachers and principals in dozens of Atlanta public schools doctored students’ test papers — the latest scandal involving the high-stakes world of standardized testing in the nation’s school systems.
        The investigation, detailed this week in a report issued by Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, showed that Atlanta school administrators emphasized test results “to the exclusion of integrity and ethics.” The pressure even prompted one frightened third-grade teacher to tell investigators that “there are ways that APS (Atlanta Public Schools) can get back at you” if teachers don’t go along with cheating.
        http://www.freep.com/article/20110707/NEWS07/107070562/Atlanta-cheating-scandal-tied-pressure-high-stakes-standardized-tests?odyssey=mod|newswell|img|FRONTPAGE|p

        How many of these kids have the mental equipment to even be skeptical of “scientific” claims, much less know how to go about testing their veracity?

  • I would love to post that study to a lefty friend of mine who goes on and on about AGW. Dude says there won’t be a world for his children in 10 years and that sort of stuff. The problem is that he and some flunkies immediately start back-slapping each other and it never enters their minds what’s going on.
    He is claiming that we could use renewable energy for everything if we just spent $500 billion on research, instead of wars, but we could use nukes while the tech is being done. LOL. And we’d have to really conserve energy…this from a guy who flew to Malaysia to ride his bike around for vacation.
    He also supports political parties that want to shut down all nuke plants in Taiwan and the Democrats, who killed Yucca Mountain, again.
    I think it truly is religion for these people.

    • Dude says there won’t be a world for his children in 10 years and that sort of stuff.

      Tell him, “Yes, I heard that, too…about 30 years ago!”
      Of course, Malthus said it, too, oh…over 100 years ago. :-)

  • Do the math. Whether the controversy is global cooling (1976), global warming (1995) or Climate change (present), the solution seems to remain the same formula: Tax. Regulate. Draconian societal control via scare tactics. Speaking as a major university based research scientist, red flags go up when the equation keeps changing, but the proposed solution doesn’t. Finally whenever the infamous “Scientific Consensus” is blurted, it’s a desperate attempt to silence critics of an unsound theory that can’t stand on it’s own merits.