the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Skeptics are the Educated

Posted by Jeff Id on June 29, 2011

An interesting post at Judith Curry’s blog links to a paper by Dan Kahan and an article at DeSmog blog.   Sadly, skeptics actually are rational people, who actually understand science.  What’s worse, the more people understand, the more likely they are to be skeptical!  Apparently the reader background link at the top of this blog where technical people left comments on their own backgrounds, is actually real!!  Who knew.

Abstract:      
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. More importantly, greater scientific literacy and numeracy were associated with greater cultural polarization: Respondents predisposed by their values to dismiss climate change evidence became more dismissive, and those predisposed by their values to credit such evidence more concerned, as science literacy and numeracy increased. We suggest that this evidence reflects a conflict between two levels of rationality: The individual level, which is characterized by citizens’ effective use of their knowledge and reasoning capacities to form risk perceptions that express their cultural commitments; and the collective level, which is characterized by citizens’ failure to converge on the best available scientific evidence on how to promote their common welfare. Dispelling this, “tragedy of the risk-perception commons,” we argue, should be understood as the central aim of the science of science communication.


The paper is not behind a paywall, thank god, and you are free to fill your minds.  It does seem to be another paper trying to figure out how to communicate the need for ‘action’ to those who think ‘action’ is not the correct act, but at least they go at it from a seemingly more rational viewpoint.

Here is an opening paragraph:

Controversy over climate change is commonly attributed to a deficit in public comprehension of scientific information. The most straightforward explanation is ignorance: the public knows too little science to understand the evidence or to avoid being misled by distortions of it. A subtler account puts the blame on widespread cognitive biases and related limitations on the capacity of citizens to assess informa-tion about risk. In short, because members of the public do not know what scientists know, or think the way scientists think, they predictably fail to take climate change as seriously as perfectly rational risk-evaluators would.

You would think the paper could be titled the amazing Schmidt or super Mann but the next sentence clears it up (my emphasis):

The goal of this paper is to challenge this critique of the rationality of public opinion on climate change. Our motivation is in part to show how poorly supported the conventional picture of public dissen-sus is by empirical evidence: scientific examination does not bear out the premise that deficiencies in science education or defects in individual reasoning explain conflict over climate change.

But an even more fundamental objective is to advance a more precise diagnosis of the kind of ir-rationality that afflicts public deliberations on climate change. “Irrationality” describes a state of antagon-ism between an agent’s goals and the decision-making capacities that the agent uses to attain them. Ac-cordingly, it is necessary to specify who the agent is and what good he or she or it is trying to attain; only then can one identify and assess the performance of the reasoning processes being employed (Gigenrenzer 2000). The dominant critique of public rationality, we submit, doesn’t pay sufficient attention to these issues.

In my opinion, those who dominantly critique our rationality need to open their ears.  Perhaps the reason that so many educated people who actually can read and comprehend end up disagreeing with both the result of IPCC pseudoscience and the pseudosolution to the human disease, is because we have a point.

Naw, can’t be it.

Apparently what is needed is better communication and understanding of the positions of the science minded skeptics, it is understanding their ‘cultural biases’ that can help those who know the truth, teach us the way to Gaia’s favor.

5. Conclusion: The science of science communication as a public good
Our study results belie the conventional view that controversy over policy-relevant science is rooted in the public’s lack of scientific knowledge and its inability to engage in technical reasoning. As ordinary people learn more science and become more proficient in modes of reasoning characteristic of scientific inquiry, they do not reliably converge on assessments of climate change risks supported by scientific evidence. Instead they more form beliefs that are even more reliably characteristic of persons who hold their particular cultural worldviews. Indeed, far from a symptom of how poorly equipped ordi-nary individuals are to reach rational conclusions on the basis of complex scientific data, disputes over issues like climate change, we’ve argued, are evidence of how remarkably well equipped they are to dis-cern what stances toward such information satisfy their expressive interests. The high degree of rationality individuals display in forming risk perceptions that express their cultural values can itself inhibit collective welfare rationality by blocking citizens from converging on the best available scientific evidence on how to secure their common interests in health, safety, and prosperity.  [gotta love that statement ‘collective welfare rationality’ – my Id]

Resolving controversies over climate change and like risk issues requires dispelling this tragedy of the risk-perception commons (Hardin 1968). A strategy that focuses only on improving transmission of sound scientific information, it should be clear, is highly unlikely to achieve this objective. The principal reason people disagree about climate change science is not that it has been communicated to them in forms they cannot understand. Rather, it is that positions on climate change convey values—communal concern versus individual self-reliance; prudent self-abnegation versus the heroic pursuit of reward; hu-mility versus ingenuity; harmony with nature versus mastery over it—that divide them along cultural lines. Merely amplifying or improving the clarity of information on climate change science won’t gener-ate public consensus if risk communicators fail to take heed of the cues that determine what climate-change risk perceptions express about the cultural commitments of those who form them.

In fact, such inattention can deepen polarization. Citizens who hold hierarchical and individualistic values discount scientific information about climate change in part because they associate the issue with antagonism to commerce and industry. That association is aggravated when a communication identifies carbon emission limits as the exclusive policy remedy for climate change (Kahan in press). Individu-als are prone to interpret challenges to beliefs that predominate with their cultural community as assaults on the competence of those whom they trust and look to for guidance (Kahan, Braman, Cohen, Gastil & Slovic 2010). That implication—which naturally provokes resistance is likely to be strengthened when communicators with a recognizable cultural identity stridently accuse those who disagree with them of lacking intelligence or integrity.

Public controversy over climate change science cannot be pinned entirely on mistakes in science communication. But it would be a mistake not to recognize that communicators’ disregard of citizens’ cultural outlooks has made things worse.

It would also be a mistake, at this point, for information communicators not to take care to avoid accentuating the cues that sustain cultural factionalization. It isn’t the case, of course, that carbon-emission controls are the only policy response to climate change risks; technologies that furnish a substi-tute for and that offset the effects of greenhouse-gas-producing energy sources can contribute, too. Many of these alternatives, such as nuclear power and geo-engineering, are likely to convey cultural resonances that affirm rather than threaten hierarchical and individualist confidence in the power of human ingenuity to overcome environmental constraints on economic production. There are also many hierarchical and individualistic people who believe in the need to take action, of one form or another, to address climate change risks, and who can be counted on to make the case for doing so in terms that appeal to rather than alienate members of the public who share their outlooks (Kahan 2010). The cultural richness of the full range of potential policy responses and available advocates are narrative resources for opening minds (Jones & McBeth 2010; Verwij et al. 2006). It would be irrational for actors committed to disseminating sound scientific information not to make use of them.
Finally, it would be a mistake not to learn lessons from the misadventures that have beset efforts to communicate the science of climate change. Scientists are among the most trusted groups in the United States, which is a singularly pro-science society (Pew Research Center 2009). Bitter public disputes over science are in fact the exception rather than the rule. But those exceptions can be very damaging, to both the physical environment and the deliberative environment. Experience with the issue of climate change has shown that; but it has also furnished us data from which the science of science communication has derived important insights.

Citizens are most likely to be driven off the path of convergence on the best available science, this research shows, when issues of environmental and technological risk become freighted with cultural meanings that motivate diverse groups to form opposing positions. This state is by no means inevitable  with respect to any particular issue. What’s more, how such a state comes about does not defy empirical explanation, which can in turn be used to predict such controversies and to formulate strategies aimed at forestalling their occurrence or ameliorating their consequences should they occur.

Development of these forecasting and management tools is the task of the science of science communication. Establishing the institutions and procedures necessary for promoting their reliable use in policymaking is a public good of singular importance to the wellbeing of modern, culturally pluralistic democracies (Nisbet & Mooney 2007).

I have bolded two sentences above which touch some of the papers unspecified motivation.  Rather than stating that citizens with communal leanings tend to bias toward institutionalized solutions and anti-industrial solutions, it is stated that those who resist them, are biased to do so.  It also states that the skeptical view is to discount climate change information, but I see very little of that being done at the main science based blogs.   Instead, the blogs have become the only public outlets for information which refute the institutionally and anti-industry biased groups.

It should be completely uncontroversial to state that climate science solutions presented by the climate science community are anti-industry,anti-capitalist and economically reducing by design.  On the whole, they flatly state such things in their conferences, publications and in the organizations which provide much of their funding.  Yes they also put out lies about green jobs and prosperity, but in the layers of dirt which make up climate alarmism, green job creation is the media/leftist political line sold to the public rather than something regularly spouted by scientists.  Not that the scientists aren’t also selling the same dirt on occasion.

After all that long winded noise, I’ll get to the real problem with climate science which is no news here.

Climate science is biased by bad papers being passed easily through peer review because of the money, fame, leftist politics and government power which have corrupted the balance of the science.  The fact that climategate didn’t result in any heads rolling whatsoever, even though the corruption was flatly exposed, should be proof to anyone that the corruption is endemic to world governments and the climate community.  Therefore, it is my firm opinion that it is BAD science which gives cliamate science a BAD rap in the minds of scientists working in other fields.  Skepticism itself as a cultural phenomena has nothing to do with BAD skeptics who need to be negotiated with in a different manner.  Skeptics exist because of bad scientific practice and blatantly exaggerated result being regularly passed off as reasonable science.  

Maybe we should make a list of ‘consensus’ papers verified to be false on climate blogs.


33 Responses to “Skeptics are the Educated”

  1. Thanks, Jeff, for the message.

    Unfortunately the message I obtained from careful study of isotopes and elements in various parts of the solar system is not at all reassuring to mankind or his inflated sense of self-importance.

    The Sun’s violently unstable neutron core gave birth to the Solar System five billion (5 Gyr) ago, including all of the material that comprises us and planet Earth.

    Continued emissions from the solar core now bathes us with the photons, particles and fields (sunlight, heat and energy) that sustains us as intelligent, living creatures.

    Despite all of his knowledge, mankind appears to be totally dependent on the forces of Nature.

    That is the unpalatable truth as I now see it.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  2. Borrow a technique from epidemiology: look at a number of key papers as “index cases” (e.g. MBH98/9) and examine them carefully to be sure they’re really wrong. Then trace the memetic epidemic — which is easy because of academic referencing — to find all the literature that uncritically accepts their findings. Throw them out. Only the remaining publications can be considered “healthy,” in the sense of based on evidence not known to be false. Only that, and not the infected set, can be considered the real scientific case for AGW.

  3. Craig Loehle said

    Why does this result apply less to “believers”? Because since it fits their existing world view, they don’t bother to learn much about it and therefore don’t encounter the errors and handwaving. This shows up clearly in every debate, where the alarmists no shockingly little about the science and even less about the problems (hockey stick, himalayan non-melt, lack of hot spot…)

  4. Jeremy said

    I used to hang out in a physics department at a CSU that was quite liberal. When I brought up the subject of climate change (this was several years ago), The responses ALL went along the lines of, “They don’t know anything for certain. Their claims are exaggerated.” One even went so far as to call their computer models complete garbage for emphasizing results over method.

    In fact the only professor I managed to find who was a true CAGW believer was a very young chemist (~30 yrs old). I haven’t spoken to him in a long time, I’m genuinely curious if he still believes.

    It’s the media the propagates the myth that smart people do not disagree, real people know there’s disagreement.

  5. gallopingcamel said

    J. Storrs Hall,

    Great to see you hanging out here. I would like to offer my belated thanks for your really eye opening article based on ice core data:

    http://www.foresight.org/nanodot/?p=3553

    Somehow “Climate Scientists” can cling to the idea that CO2 drives climate when the evidence says climate drives CO2. Richard Alley is a fun guy but how is it that he can’t see the obvious?

    You web persona (http://www.autogeny.org/) suggests that you are a fun guy too! It seems that you do the “Josh” cartoons; totally awesome, you have a wicked sense of humor!

  6. stan said

    Anyone with any sense understands Tetlock’s research, even if they aren’t familiar with it. Experts are no better at predictions than chimps throwing darts. In a similar vein, Michael Crichton has some fun with the pundit class in his speech, “Why Speculate?” Skeptics of left-wing politics are skeptical of left-wing CAGW experts for the same general reasons. They realize that the so-called experts are no better at understanding CO2 than they are at stimulating the economy or finding shovel ready projects or controlling medical costs or managing national parks.

    Politically, libertarians and conservatives are often said to be liberals who’ve been mugged. ACGW skeptics are often former believers who got mugged. It’s all the same process. Lefties overwelmed with hubris proclaim their ability to foresee the future and design a better world (if only they are given control of the government so that they can use force against the people). Intelligent people with the ability to observe and learn from experience eventually figure out that the lefties are full of it. The evidence doesn’t support their claims of expertise.

    As we mature, we learn (or should) that when someone tells you he knows the future, protect your wallet. Either, the supposed expert is an idiot or he thinks you are. Those of us with higher IQs, better observational skills, or more experience are more likely to have reached that stage of understanding a little quicker.

    It’s the arrogance of experts. The hubris of the over-educated fool. The absence of wisdom. Encounter it often enough and a skeptic is created.

  7. kim said

    Stan, a blog I frequent uses the term ‘credentialed moron’. Perhaps I should H/t Rick B. for it.
    ================

  8. RB said

    The corollary to Craig Loehle #3 – and I see that elsewhere too, such as in the financial markets – is that you also have well-informed people who choose experts that conform to their pre-existing opinions. For many in the climate blogosphere, that means Lindzen, Pielke, Spencer: good; Trenberth, Gavin Schmidt: bad.

  9. davidjay said

    I’M IN on the Gavin Schmidt: bad
    ;)

  10. Gary said

    This paper seems surprised that world-view/cultural-values would have more influence on risk evaluation than the level of scientific knowledge. Seems obvious to me. WV/CV integrates so much more than book-learning that it has to hold greater sway. Economic experience, charitable impulses, failures of political leadership, family history, personality & temperment, etc. all contribute to it. Scientific knowledge is sparse by comparison.

  11. 8-Your statement assumes that people come to the discussion with pre formed opinions. At least in my case, this was not true of the science. Not to mention the fact that if I or other skeptics have the opinion that athropogenic climate forcing is unimportant, why on earth would we consider Pielke (Sr) to be good, and if we are ideologically biased, why consider his son good, since he (Pielke Jr) is a liberal Democrat (despite claiming to be a moderate-there is no such thing as a moderate Democrat)? Because under examination their science and arguments stand up to scrutiny. In the case of Trenberth, he has done little science that is truly contributory to the discussion in any controversial way, but his public statements going back a long time show a definite willingness to spin and distort the truth to play up alarm. Gavin Schmidt is a confirmed partisan, and besides that his contribution to the science is principly in modeling, which is not even close to the best way to seek out the truth on climate. I personally don’t regard any of the arbiters to be proven “good guys” whether they agree with my later formed opinions or not, but I do know I’ve figured out who definitely constitutes the “bad guys”, and coincidentally or not the people with the poorest records are invariably the advocates.

  12. Gallopingcamel: Thanks! .. I am the autogeny Josh; but the cartoon Josh is a different Josh.

  13. RB said

    TTCA,
    There is a spectrum of opinions. While you may not have had a pre-formed opinion, many do.

    Because under examination their science and arguments stand up to scrutiny. .

    Broadly speaking regarding sceptic scientists, and in light of scrutiny through peer reviews, let’s just say that this is a contentious statement.

  14. Brian Hall said

    12.
    You’re not joshing us, are you? Oh, well.

    _____________
    11.
    Confirmation bias certainly exists, but beware the dedication of the disconfirmed ex-Believer. Like so many, I was on-board with the whole lib/lukewarmist/Gore-fan thing — till a few major holes got blown in my world-view about the turn of the century. I now despise those who (clearly knowingly) promoted proven falsehoods as verity and claimed unlimited warrants for shaping everyone’s futures on that basis. And continue to do so, and will evidently continue to do so no matter their evident failure at every step.

    “Noble cause” corruption does not begin to excuse them.

  15. stan said

    RB,

    Trying to use the peer review process to win an argument is a non-starter. Your use of the word “scrutiny” in the context of peer review is ridiculous.

    And no one need resort to sceptic scientists to demonstrate that CAGW science is a joke. The failures are everywhere one looks: instruments flunk basic standards, databases lack quality control, studies are never audited or replicated and those that get checked are often shown to have butchered their stats, IPCC assessments have been contaminated by special interests, computer models (critical to the claim of catastrophe) fail basic forecasting standards.

    The alarmists couldn’t make a case for the science even if there were no sceptical scientists at all.

  16. 13-My comments specifically regarded the Pielkes. I don’t think it is contentious to say that they are well regarded by most reasonable people, and I haven’t seen much criticism of either of their general findings that doesn’t just say “we wish you would try to make your statements conform to the narrative” and “stop helping the skeptics [by doing good science]!”

    With regard to say, Roy Spencer and Richard Lindzen, there may well be much more contention. That may be worth discussing, but I wrongly created the impression I was unaware of any criticisms of them. Still, at least some of the criticisms of them are themselves wrong.

  17. Chris Law said

    I agree with Craig – where’s the balance in the paper? Why are the skeptics the only ones with the bias problem? Or rather non skeptics have bias’ also but since they buy into CAGW they are biased in the right way?

    And I just looove this statement …

    “Rather, it is that positions on climate change convey values—communal concern versus individual self-reliance; prudent self-abnegation versus the heroic pursuit of reward; hu-mility versus ingenuity; harmony with nature versus mastery over it—that divide them along cultural lines.”

    Gotta love the comparisons

  18. gallopingcamel said

    One of the most obnoxious traits of the CAGW bunch was their arrogant confidence that they were the brightest and the best while the skeptics were knuckle dragging Neanderthals.

    Studies like this one paint a different picture.

    CAGW zealots used to be certain that temperatures were going to rise by 2 to 6 Kelvin by 2100. Now they are backing off their wild predictions while real scientists admit that they do not know whether temperatures will go up or down.

  19. […] Jeff Id posted an interesting discussion of “The Tragedy of the Risk-Perception Commons: Culture Conflict, Rationality Conflict, and Climate Change”. One of the interesting findings is that based on the authors research, individuals perceived risk of climate change is inversely proportional to their score on a numeracy and science literacy test. I reproduced their graphical illustration of the relationship below: […]

  20. Tom Fuller said

    Gee, you think the researchers walked into this with a set of fully formed assumptions maybe?

  21. lucia said

    Tom–
    Reading, I do get the impression the scientists has a set of fully formed assumption. I do think they were surprised somewhat by the empirical findings, but they don’t seem to consider a range of possible alternate hypotheses.

    I, for one, am not very surprised that people who don’t know the earth travels around the sun (in 1 year), might tend to accept appeals to authority for scientific knowledge. In my experience, the scientifically illiterate and innumerate often know they are both illiterate and innumerate. So if an authoritative body says “X” on science, they tend to accept that. Their method of testing whether expert A is right is to ask expert B for a second opinion. If the two agree: Proof!

    These people try to check on their own because, they don’t know that if a bat and ball costs $1.10 and the bat costs $1.00 more than the ball, that the ball must cost $0.05. They will even be amazed when you show them: “Look (0.05 + 1.05)=1.10 and 1.05-0.05=1.” Not only that, they know they don’t know how to do that math problem. So they obviously aren’t going to try to figure out if Phil Jones actually knows how to compute whether or not the trend since 1995 is statistically significant. Also, you can’t really know whether his being unable to do this suggests lack of expertise as a climate scientists whose main claim to fame is…. well… doing something fundamentally statistical.

    Meanwhile, the more literate and numerate are more likely to down load papers and data, evaluate the critically and form their own opinions. Having invested some time and thought and drawn their own conclusions, they will tend to have stronger opinions. These may align with “the” scientists or it may not.

    Are some of of the literate and numerate going to have confirmation bias? Yes. On all issues. So will the scientists working the the field!

    But the authors seemed surprised that in two cases where science is not convincing the broad public, the divergence is largest among the numerati. This should not be all that surprising. the potential for holding a diverging view from that of scientists ought to be greater for people who can do 7th grade pre-algebra than for people who don’t even know the earth travels around the sun. The latter don’t know enough to even have an opinion and the often know they don’t know enough to have a strong opinion.

  22. slimething said

    There is also what may be referred to as professional courtesy, aka group-think.

  23. JayAlt said

    The abstract does not support the title you choose for this thread.

  24. Jeff Id said

    JayAlt,

    Sorry, the editor is a pain in the arse to get working considering that I flatly refuse to pay for such nonsensical punctuation. Perhaps you could take time to elaborate an improved title such that we can negotiate a more sustainable solution?

  25. intiflying said

    Tne bloggers likes this post.

  26. Kenneth Fritsch said

    “I have bolded two sentences above which touch some of the papers unspecified motivation. Rather than stating that citizens with communal leanings tend to bias toward institutionalized solutions and anti-industrial solutions, it is stated that those who resist them, are biased to do so. It also states that the skeptical view is to discount climate change information, but I see very little of that being done at the main science based blogs. Instead, the blogs have become the only public outlets for information which refute the institutionally and anti-industry biased groups.”

    Jeff ID, I almost agree with your comment above. The underlying and unstated theme (the article authors appeared to be intentionally vague) and reference point appears to be as you stated that the skeptical view “discounts” climate change information.

    I would whole heartedly agree that all sides of the AGW issues are influenced by their predispositions on matters of policy and politics. I have stated this many times before, but if one were predisposed to accepting that government involvement in matters such as AGW mitigation are always good and even more emphatically that government should be involved in these matters regardless of what the consequences of AGW might hold, then why would such a predisposed person desire or need much evidence (and/or certainty of that evidence) of the future consequences of AGW or have reason to be skeptical of evidence that favors that position. On the other hand, those in my camp, who would be very suspicious of government mitigation and consider that that mitigation and its unintended consequences might well be worse than the problem it is aimed at, could very rationally need much more certainty of consequences, and here I mean severe consequences, given that the mitigation would be carried out in the expected current political mode.

    The consensus on AGW, in my view is very much in the realm of predispositions on policy. Most scientists in the consensus only know well that part of the AGW spectrum that they deal with on daily basis. They, like other relatively well informed people, will measure their need for a level of certainty in these matters based on their own predispositions on government regulations or conflicting needs that government, as they see it, must address.

    Others less suspicious of government actions and its unintended consequences in these matters might be skeptical of AGW evidence of consequences because they would rather see those resources and government powers devoted to other problems that they see as more pressing.

    I think if one is able to accept these predispositions in policy matters in their own thinking, it is much easier to the judge the evidence for AGW consequences with a clearer mind.

  27. stan said

    re: 26

    It’s isn’t just predispositions about active government. It’s predispositions toward “experts” and expertise in general. Liberals (Democrats in the US) are for more likely to work for the govt and/or work in education. The more degrees they get, the more ‘expert’ they are and the higher up the ladder they move. Conservatives/Republicans are far more likely to work in the private sector where degrees may help get someone started, but performance is the ultimate measuring stick. They are generally less likely to defer to someone simply because he has a degree and far more likely to demand to see the evidence of performance.

  28. Bad Andrew said

    “The alarmists couldn’t make a case for the science even if there were no sceptical scientists at all.”

    And people like to point to the significance of Climategate, but anyone who had been paying attention saw that climate science sucked before, during and after.

    Andrew

  29. Alan D McIntire said

    I thought the question in the paper, “How much risk do you believe climate change poses to human health, safety, or prosperity”, was poorly worded. The Greenland Vikings were killed off by cold temperatures, the Anasazi culture of the American Southwest was destroyed by centuries long drought,
    and a prolonged cold snap in the sixth century led to mass starvation in Europe, Obviously climate change has had devastating effects in the past, and a cooling world could have devastating effects on agriculture and human safety and prosperity in the future. If I were disinterested in the politics of CAGW, I’d say that; climate change is a MAJOR risk factor in human history. Knowing that the question is implicitly referring to CAGW, I’d have to reply that the risk is negligible.

  30. You indeed isolated the unfounded assumptions in that paper, Jeff:

    “The high degree of rationality individuals display in forming risk perceptions that express their cultural values can itself inhibit collective welfare rationality by blocking citizens from converging on the best available scientific evidence on how to secure their common interests in health, safety, and prosperity.”

    That phrase, “collective welfare rationality,” is a vacuous phrase that denotes nothing. Societies are not collectives, there is no collective welfare, and therefore no “collective welfare rationality.” There is, therefore, nothing to “converge upon.” The authors have clearly bought into the myth of the “group mind” investigators of “social choice” have been scrambling to validate since Kenneth Arrow’s “Impossibility Theorem” suggested it didn’t exist.

  31. You indeed isolated the unfounded assumptions in that paper, Jeff:

    “The high degree of rationality individuals display in forming risk perceptions that express their cultural values can itself inhibit collective welfare rationality by blocking citizens from converging on the best available scientific evidence on how to secure their common interests in health, safety, and prosperity.”

    That phrase, “collective welfare rationality,” is unfortunate, and reveals the authors’ own positions on the “Individualist/Communitarian” scale. It is a vacuous phrase that denotes nothing. Societies are not collectives, there is no collective welfare, and thus no “collective welfare rationality.” The authors have clearly bought into the myth of the “collective consciousness” which investigators of “social choice” have been scrambling to
    validate and elucidate since Kenneth Arrow’s “Impossibility Theorem” suggested it didn’t exist.

    To be sure, as the quoted paragraph suggests, there are interests which are widely shared within any society, one of which is a hospitable climate. Like the atmosphere and sources of fresh water, the climate is a “natural common” upon which everyone depends to one degree or another. That fact does not make interests in those commons “collective,” however — they remain the interests of individuals, and will differ somewhat from individual to
    individual. Those differences will inform the weights attached by different individuals to any proclaimed risks to the climate and suggested remedies.

    The real questions, which the authors beg, are, To what extent is the climate threatened, and By what? Given their own obvious “cultural values” and group affinities, they naturally assume that the “best available scientific evidence” is that proffered for the CAGW theory.

    You pointed out, “Rather than stating that citizens with communal leanings tend to bias toward institutionalized solutions and anti-industrial solutions, it is stated that those who resist them, are biased to do so.”

    Yes indeed. The authors state, “Given how much they [members of the public] depend on others for support—material and emotional—and how little impact their beliefs have on what society does to protect the physical environment, they are better off when they form perceptions of climate change risk that minimize this danger of community estrangement . . . A long-standing body of work in social psychology suggests that individuals are
    motivated to fit their beliefs to those of people with whom they are intimately connected (Sherman & Cohen 2002; Chen, Duckworth & Chaiken 1999; Kunda 1990). Both to avoid dissonance and to secure their standing within such groups, they predictably seek out and credit information supportive of ‘[s]elf-defining … values [and] attitudes’ . . . .”

    Amazing how Kahan *et al* fail to preceive the relevance of those observations to themselves and the scientists whose work they accept as definitive.

    Of course, another approach to resolving the cultural divide on the climate controversy would be to examine the soundness of the “individualist” v. the “communitarian” conceptions of the structure of modern societies. Once adherents to the latter are disabused of the “organic fallacy” from which their communitarian view derives no doubt they, too, would become more skeptical of the claims of climate alarmists.

  32. Maurice J said

    Warmists are either….Liers or Useful Idiots….Period.

    When all the Watermelon Warmers admit their Lie
    We will raise a Monument into the Sky
    A monument of solid Carbon
    To commemorate their Bogus Bargain

    No empirical scientific proof….only Bureaucratic Scientific Spoof

    BS Science will never replace Real Science for people of intelligence….Period.

  33. samricky57 said

    I thought the question in the paper, “How much risk do you believe climate change poses to human health, safety, or prosperity”, was poorly worded.
    If I were disinterested in the politics of CAGW, I’d say that; climate change is a MAJOR risk factor in human history. Knowing that the question is implicitly referring to CAGW, I’d have to reply that the risk is negligible.
    watch weeds online
    weeds streaming

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