JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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The hypocrisy of the annointed

This is too rich. Baa Humbug has found scientific peer reviewed research that skeptics are more attuned to reality and better able to discount misinformation (!) but, oh the irony, which researcher makes this claim? The man with the fairy dust logic, Stephan Lewandowsky. It’s just a shame he wouldn’t know a skeptic if one sat on him.

He presented his research conclusions in Nov 2007 in Online Opinion and The Canberra Times as A Sceptics Guide to Politics. One week later with a completely straight face, he implored everyone to act to save the climate, because it was obvious. Of course.

In his world, if you question officialdom and you’re “right”, you’re a skeptic, but if you question officials and you’re “wrong”, then you’re a denier. Got it? It all makes sense, but only if Lewandowsky is God. Somehow He knows when to trust the news-media and politicians: John Howard and George Bush couldn’t be trusted over Iraq, but obviously Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong are entirely correct on Climate Change. (After all, most of the world’s bankers agree with them.)

I recently conducted research with colleagues abroad in which we investigated how people processed information about Iraq. We identified scepticism as the key variable that predicted whether or not people mistakenly believed that weapons of mass destruction had been found. People who were sceptical about the motives underlying the invasion tended to be more attuned to the reality on the ground than people who were less sceptical.

Similarly, after it was corrected, sceptics were able to discount the misinformation, whereas those who were less sceptical failed to discount the discredited versions of events. Importantly, scepticism did not interfere with people’s ability to remember true events, identifying it as a sharp and incisive tool to differentiate between truth and falsehood.

Get ready, Lewandowsky has written the Guide to being a Skeptic and it has all the value of any guide written by The Gullible.

How to protect yourself from “Misinformation”?

First is confidence - an essential ingredient of scepticism. You cannot doubt a politician’s statement, especially one based on unspecified intelligence, unless you have sufficient confidence to know that you may know better.

Why not take your confidence to an extreme? Gift yourself the power to know without doubt which politicians are telling the Truth (other people call this arrogance). Pour scorn on those who disagree. You are the holy one with the Vision for Truth. (Does Lewandowsky really think the rest of the population are so underconfident that they believe politicians? Hasn’t he seen the polls, people rate the honesty and ethics of politicians just above news-readers, insurance brokers and car salesman, and below most other professions.)


Second,
being sceptical means avoiding what George Orwell called the memory hole. Simply put: don’t forget what actually happened.

Exactly, since you are gifted, and know What Actually Happened (because you were there, in Iraq, right?), this isn’t so hard. Keep repeating the same lines to yourself. Don’t seek out information that might confuse you. Isn’t this the very anti-thesis of skepticism? There is an inbuilt assumption in the phrase “knows what actually happened”.

(*Just for comparison, a real skeptic, like myself, says I have NFI whether there were once WMDs in Iraq. I know that officials didn’t find any, but I also know Saddam didn’t let anyone romp in to any site at random with candid cameras. Since I haven’t done serious research into it, I don’t spout my opinion either way, and I certainly don’t ask for grants to do scientific research and write peer reviewed papers using official press releases as if they are a Definitive Statement of The Truth.)

Third, being sceptical means to consider the track record of politicians and specific media outlets. If their record turns out to be patchy, should you continue to trust them?

The first rule in the Good Guide to Get Confused is to mix up the message with the messenger. You can spend hours going through someone’s CV, or their “track record” on unrelated topics, and never learn anything about the actual topic that matters. (This is the point that blows him away as a fake skeptic. This is Argument  from Authority — judge the person not the particulars. The first requirement of any skeptic is surely to look at the evidence, not the character of the messenger.)

Fourth, being sceptical means that you need to focus on the information. We know from much laboratory research that it takes time and effort to process negation; hence, if a report says that weapons of mass destruction were not found in Iraq, chances are you will mistakenly remember this in the affirmative if you are distracted while processing the information. Do not let the dog and the kids get between you and the news if you really want to know and remember what is happening.

Yes, the Good Guide to being Gullible says you should listen intently to everything they tell you on TV. Pay attention! Don’t go hunting on the Internet for the other side of the story, and then weigh up the answers. (Lewandowsky presumably recommends you listen carefully to government funded news broadcasters telling you about government funded research that supports government policies that provide excuses for governments to expand their powers. Why be skeptical about that?)

The Peer Reviewed paper: Memory for fact, fiction and misinformation (2005)

Lewandowsky assumes that all the government reporting on the Iraq War is accurate and that the media reportage of it is unbiased, then fashions a study of people’s attitudes, recollection, and ability to recall the PR (he calls it “truth”) accurately.

Can anyone spot any problems with doing research based on the assumption that you know The Truth about a complex phenomenon involving hundreds of thousands of people in a fight to the death? (It’s known as the Fog of War for a reason, and recall the cliche: The first casualty in war is The Truth.) But Lewandowsky thinks our news reporters and government officials are so honest, unbiased, and omnipresent that he can use something like this as a definitive basis for research.

We draw three pragmatic conclusions: First, the repetition of tentative news stories, even if they are subsequently disconfirmed, can assist in the creation of false memories in a substantial proportion of people. Second, once information is published, its subsequent correction does not alter people’s beliefs unless they are suspicious about the motives underlying the events the news stories are about. Third, when people ignore corrections, they do so irrespective of how certain they are that the corrections occurred.

How do we know what a false memory is, when the event is highly complex and there are different versions? To make it worse, the “event” we refer to (no-WMDs) is a “non-event” which requires evidence of absence (which is essentially unprovable). How could anyone really “know” that something didn’t exist? We can know that there were no reports on TV of anyone finding WMDs. We can know they searched high and low. We can know that some people would have liked to have uncovered any WMDs. We can (maybe) estimate the probability that there were none. But we can’t “know”.

His third conclusion, that people ignore “corrections”, is a non-starter if we don’t know which version was correct. The people ignoring “official corrections” might just be the die hard skeptics who are still discounting the press releases and government reports and putting more weight in other sources. I have no strong opinion about the topic of Iraq. Maybe the news reports are the “Truth”, but given the half-truths promoted about the climate, I’m not willing to assume I get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about any topic any more. With such flawed assumptions underlying the study I doubt anything conclusive could be drawn from it. (So much for the rigor of “peer review”.)

After all the Climate propaganda, how many “false memories” have been formed?

How many people believe:

Remember the repetition of tentative news stories, even if they are subsequently disconfirmed, can assist in the creation of false memories.

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70 comments to The hypocrisy of the annointed

  • #
    GaryL

    This is so ironic and truely serves to underscore the delusional hypocrisy of so many of these experts.

    After reading Joanne’s post I wanted to pass on a link to an interesting tidbit which seems apropos to the subject at hand of being a skeptic. Entitled “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection” by Carl Sagan of all people, the missive appears to be addressing “religion” as a dogma to be skeptically viewed.

    http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/W/Jonathan.D.Wren-1/The%20Fine%20Art%20of%20Baloney%20Detection.htm

    I have to chuckle because somehow I can not imagine that Carl Sagan, the father of “Nuclear Winter” which helped set the stage for AGW theory, wouldn’t be wholeheartedly on the AGW bandwagen. Ironically, this little piece is an excellent distillation of the tools we all use daily (or should be using) to question the religion of AGW.


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  • #

    Taking advice from Lewandowsky on being an effective skeptic is like asking the Pope for tips on improving your bedroom technique.


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    Dagfinn

    Also: How many believe tropical cyclones have increased due to global warming (even though the WMO says otherwise)? How many believe that the arctic will have ice-free summers before 2020? How many believe that sea level might rise 25 meters or more, as Mark Lynas claims? And oh, didn’t the IPCC prove that the himalayan glaciers will disappear by 2035? Or was that some kind of mistake? ;-)

    Even more important, how many believe that the IPCC projections imply the end of civilization or some such apocalyptic outcome, even though they do no such thing?


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    Binny

    It seems that Saddam created the impression that he had WMD’s thinking it would act as a deterrent from invasion. Instead the exact opposite happened. It could be said that Iraq is a good example of what happens when you go with the precautionary principle instead of making absolutely sure of your facts.


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  • #
    Binny

    Of course all Lewandowsky is really saying. Is that the left is right and the right is wrong.


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    Ken Stewart

    Dagfinn:
    And how many think that grazing cattle and sheep creates methane creates global warming, and we should switch to farming kangaroos? Especially as this argument was in a compulsory reading passage for 12 year olds in this week’s NAPLAN tests.
    This fight won’t be over for a while yet.
    Ken


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    Rereke Whaakaro

    It is interesting that Lewandowsky uses the Iraqi WMD scenario as an example.

    Two back-stories to this:

    1. In the book “Vice”, Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein claim that the CIA consistently reported that there was no credible evidence of the existence of WMD in Iraq.

    The evidence only indicated that rumours of WMD “most probably” originated from Saddam himself, as a way of bolstering his “popularity” with the Iraqi people.

    The intelligence assessments were over-ridden, it is claimed, by Dick Cheney who took the unprecedented step of actually visiting the staffers at Langley, to point out the errors in their assessment. It seems that if you squint at a satellite photograph of petrol (gas) truck, at just the right angle, in in exactly the right light, you can see that it is, in fact, a rocket on a launch vehicle!

    2. In the build up to the invasion, there were lots of reports of tanker ships leaving Iraq, and just cruising around at sea – the implication being that the WMD had been moved off-shore. Thus the inability to find evidence of WMD on the ground did not disprove their existence, only the cunning of Saddam in being able to sneak them away.

    None of these so-called tankers were ever intercepted, or for that matter ever seen again. It continues to be one of life’s great maritime mysteries, on a par with the Marie Celeste.


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  • #
    Brian G Valentine

    Well, look at the bright side.

    At least Lewandowsky has promoted SOMETHING worthwhile


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  • #
    Frank Brown

    I got lost at “disconfirmed”, it just discombuliated me. I going to bed and unthink yellow cake.


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    A C

    It is one of the great mysteries of mankind that supposedly rational “man” is capable of rationalising any position after they have accepted it as true. It is amazing that even psychologists who have identified the syndrome are not alert enough to be able to spot it in themselves. It is about projecting ones inner desires onto reality. If you really want to believe something badly enough, you will always manage to find sufficient evidence to support it, and mentally reject any conflicting data, be it religion Iraq wars or AGW. This devaluing of half the data is called sceptisism. Both AGW supporters and AGW sceptics should always keep this in mind and look openly at all data.

    To my mind, AGW is a product of the projection of western guilt over environmental degradation onto rising anthropogenic CO2 levels. The guilt is driving a need to believe in the link between rising CO2 and environmental degradation so that redemption can come by reversing the trend. Sceptics are standing in the way of redemption and therefore are “deniers” or sinners for doing so. I think underneath it all is a need for “man” to feel in control of events in a big empty universe and so, rather than accept the helplessness of climate change, there is a need to effectively big-note ourselves into believing we are responsible. All this religious fevor over whales and extinction of species is an attempt to write ourselves a bigger role in the new godless universe.


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    Bulldust

    I would ponder the question of whether with friends like Lewandowsky, does AGW actually need skeptics? Perhaps the poor chap has spent too much time wrapped up in his field and too little in the outside world… he really seems to have a very loose grip on reality.

    Speaking of loose grips on reality, New Scientist really seems to have taken a step off into the deep end lately:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/14/climate-craziness-of-the-week-new-scientist-the-denial-depot-edition/

    I think they should up their credibility by including a page 3 girl or centrefold…


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  • #
    Bulldust

    A C @ 10:
    We see this behaviour in the market place all the time. People buy on impulse and then rationalise their purchases afterwards. It would be too embarrassing to admit that one made a rash purchasing decision, so we reject that reality and substitute our rationalised one. It’s just human behaviour and emotion-driven. This is why the best scientists have to have an aloofness about them… that detachment from emotions that clears the way for objective analysis.


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  • #
    Mark D.

    Rereke,
    I read that Saddam may or may not have kept WMD and Bio. weapons but he manipulated and controlled the various factions within Iraq by suggesting that each had these weapons.

    It is almost like manipulating and controlling various countries by suggesting AGW isn’t it?


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  • #
    Tel

    A good fraction of Americans still believe that the invasion of Iraq was legitimate retaliation for Saddam Husein’s attack on the Word Trade Center.


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    Richard S Courtney

    Friends:

    It seems that Lewandowsky does not understand the simple principle that is proper scepticism. It is a very simple principle.

    True scepticism consists of always keeping in mind that anybody – including oneself – may be wrong, so all information should be assessed on the basis of its accuracy, reliability and precision with a view to determining the full range of its possible indications.

    But, according to his writings, Lewandowsky seems to think that scepticism consists of only trusting information that supports his world view (i.e. his opinions). But that is not scepticism: it is merely the behaviour of a bigot.

    Richard


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  • #
    Ronnell

    Maybe the No Scientist Magazine (new “scientist”) can publish Rajendra Pachauri’s next pornographic novel!


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    A C

    Further to my point above at 9:08, how amusing to read Melanie Philips piece in the Australian today


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  • #
    Ross

    It always pays to look back real history. Here is a fastinating account by Nigel Calder as he remembers what was being discussed in the 60′and 70′s by the experts.

    http://calderup.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/next-ice-age/#more-782

    Note : the final paragragh and the closing comment from Kukla


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    Louis Hissink

    Ronnell @ #18

    No, the workers aren’t that dumb, just the trade union aparatchiks making the policy announcements.


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    Louis Hissink

    Rereke Whaakaro: @ #7

    I had family in General Frank’s Centcom in Qatar when Iraq was invaded. The WMD’s were spirited to Syria and other places you suggest, and the role of the UN, Hans Blix, etc, was also problematical – but I won’t say why.

    Yes the WMD’s did exist, but the game in play is not what most think. Just work out who the paymasters are.


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    El Sledgo

    All this talk about “belief” leads me to think of a blog I read about the types of belief. Jeffrey Ellis posted last year and summarised it nicely about “a faith-based belief is a belief in something for which there is no good evidence either for or against (e.g., the existence of God), whereas a delusional belief is a belief that is maintained in spite of evidence to the contrary (e.g., the efficacy of astrology). It is usually a delusional belief that requires an “appeal to other ways of knowing,” since a faith-based belief (strictly as I’ve defined it) can’t be challenged on scientific grounds.”

    It remains without doubt that Lewandowsky is deluded.


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  • #

    Well in the future people are going to look back as they research all this and shake their heads.

    Sun activity is all over the place again with spotless streaks happening. El nino has ended and potentially we have a strong La Nina coming. Japans meteorological association says a wet winter and very wet spring for Australia


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    Graeme Bird

    “A good fraction of Americans still believe that the invasion of Iraq was legitimate retaliation for Saddam Husein’s attack on the Word Trade Center.”

    Not a bad or disproven theory by the way. Although there appears to be many more culprits than just him. Did you imagine Saddam had some sort of alibi? What was that alibi if so?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Phantom-alibis aside for the moment, what is a “Winthrop Professor?” You hear that phrase all the time. Its hard, even with google, to sort out its origins. So far it seems to be associated with someone called Robert Winthrop. With a sample size of only one you’d have to wonder if Winthrop Professors weren’t all dopes.

    Its hard to respond to arguments that Stephen makes at Unleashed. Because he makes none relevant to his claims. He just starts “psychologizing” people he disagrees with. Certainly he’s the most irrational person that ABC Unleashed has ever dredged up.

    He posted two videos about 9/11. One of them where he claimed that an item that people were saying was an “appendage” on the underside of one of the planes. Stephen didn’t think it was any sort of appendage. Rather he KNEW it was a shadow. He cast aspersions on these people assuring everyone that the supposed appendage was only a shadow.

    So I looked at his video, there was a clear shot 98 seconds in, and it didn’t look like a shadow at all. There is no way to assess his claim that it was only a shadow, except negatively, by the evidence that he himself presents. Stephen is a real odd fish.

    Some people decide what their view is of a matter. And then that determines what they can and cannot see. “See” here in the literal sense. I’m sure I’d have a hard time getting Stephen to admit that what he is claiming is a shadow, at least doesn’t look even a bit like a shadow, quite irrespective of whether its a shadow or not. I’ve seen people like this before. And its as though they would need extensive therapy before they could admit what was and wasn’t evidence, and what photographs did, and did not, look like.

    You can make up your own mind whether this is a shadow or not. Thats not the point I’m making. What I’m saying is that Stephen seems incapable of making any valid argument at all. And using this video, that at least APPEARED to contradict what he was saying……… well in my book that was quite an odd-ball thing to do.

    I’ve seen the underside of planes before. It would be one thing for Stephen to suggest that the photographs were misleading or doctored. But thats not what he suggested. He suggested that we ought to not trust our lying eyes. Or if thats not what he suggested, it was pretty hard to figure out what his argument was at all.

    I think you are supposed to work forwards from whatever evidence you have. Not work backwards from the conclusion, doctoring all evidence mentally as you go. Stephen seems to think differently if we look at his actions, rather than any implied self-assessment. Here is the video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huK0MAb0Xa4&feature=player_embedded#!

    98 seconds in. Starboard side (left from underneath). Eye-Witness testimony backing the oddness of it. Well Stephen its a shadow if you say so. But how did you find this out when the rest of us cannot determine this from the video or photo?

    I guess Stephen has the gift of second-sight. In fact this implication is in all his writings. Everything he writes seems to imply that he needs no reason or evidence. He just knows stuff. He’s got the gift of second sight. Lucky for him but he ought to take pity on the rest of us and cast about for secondary evidence and clearly superfluous valid reasoning.


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  • #
    Waylander

    Nothing unusual about Stephan Lewandowsky`s double standards , it`s the sort of behaviour that one would expect from one of the self proclaimed high priests of the cult of CAGW . After all , their Grand High Poobah Himself , Al Gore , Has a standard of living that most of Us can only dream about and a “Carbon Footprint” the size of a small town . I could have a rant about how AGW is a cult like religion rather than a scientific hypothesis but it`s been done before and much more eloquently than I could ever do by Professor John Brignell.

    Here`s the link to his essay ” Global Warming as Religion not Science”

    http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/religion.htm

    P.S. ( Like Jo , He`s still waiting on those dollars to come in for being an “oil company shill” so He has to run his site off personal funds and donations}


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  • #
    A C Osborn

    Jo, sorry for this Off Topic, but I do not know how to contact you to bring something to your attention.
    This write up of how the New Zealand Temperature Series has been manipluated over the last 25 years is very enlightening on how Officialdom works and turns a blind eye to complete wrong doing when it duits their cause.
    See http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/15/niwas-kiwi-kaper/#more-19528


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  • #
    A C Osborn

    Sorry , should say “suits their cause”


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  • #
    BobC

    In Stephan’s defense: It is hard to be logically consistent if you have no competence in logic.

    The fact that he is able to repeatedly publish, however, is an indication that his logic disability is common among his peers.

    OT (somewhat):

    …I have NFI whether there were once WMDs in Iraq

    Let’s not let this go down the “memory hole”:

    We know Iraq had WMD because the Iraqi government used them to wipe out a Kurdish town.


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  • #
    Henry chance

    Haughtiness. It will be around for a long time.


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  • #
    Otter

    ‘We know Iraq had WMD because the Iraqi government used them to wipe out a Kurdish town.’

    I’m glad someone remembers, BobC. The weapons. The Supercannon. The hundreds of thousands buring in mass graves…


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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    What’s new?

    I just finished watching the video of a congressional hearing on global warming where 5 of our supposedly top climate scientists handed the committee exactly what they wanted to hear. Lord Monkton on the other hand, blew apart the IPCC’s case with 4 slides in about 5 minutes. But no one cared. Those scientists could have read the Gettysburg Address and been as informative. Every Democrat had, “My mind’s made up,” written all over them. Not a single question with any substance was asked except by the two Republicans on the panel. Some were rude to Monkton as well. My government is disgraceful!

    My God, one witness even asserted that the IPCC was conservative. And of course the CRU scandal didn’t show anything wrong with the science. But they all know who their masters are don’t they.

    When this stuff goes on in the halls of government why be surprised at it elsewhere?


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  • #
    Bob Malloy

    Further to A C Osborn: @ 26

    Crisis in New Zealand climatology.

    Full article at Quadrant online:
    http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2010/05/crisis-in-new-zealand-climatology

    The official archivist of New Zealand’s climate records, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), offers top billing to its 147-year-old national mean temperature series (the “NIWA Seven-station Series” or NSS). This series shows that New Zealand experienced a twentieth-century warming trend of 0.92°C.

    The official temperature record is wrong. The instrumental raw data correctly show that New Zealand average temperatures have remained remarkably steady at 12.6°C +/- 0.5°C for a century and a half. NIWA’s doctoring of that data is indefensible.

    But their going to do something about it.

    The Minister of Research Science and Technology, the Hon Dr Wayne Mapp, has finally become alarmed at the murky provenance of the NSS. The Government has directed and funded a 6-month project to produce a new national temperature record, with published data and transparent processes. The replacement record is to be the subject of a scientific paper, which is to be peer-reviewed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

    Now I admit I’m as much a cynic as I am a sceptic but as I’m sure all sceptical Australians have as little faith in our own BOA as NZers have in theirs I would hope it would go elsewhere for Peer review other than the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

    Thanks A C for the link.


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    Bruce of Newcastle

    I love ironies like this, Lewandowsky teaching people how to be sceptical, who’d a thunk it.

    A fave irony of mine is the leftist fad for outcomes education which has held sway in Oz schools the last few decades. A sub-fad in this is ‘deconstruction’, where Dickens etc is deconstructed for his subliminal bourgeoisie-evilness or something. I think now reams of people are cheerfully and sceptically deconstructing Wong-speak and coming to the logical conclusion.


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  • #

    BoN #32
    subliminal bourgeoisie-evilness or something
    If I’d gone into the world thirty years ago with a degree in that my life would have taken a very different course.
    Knowing Monty Python sketches by heart hasn’t got me far…


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  • #
    janama

    I’m even worse – I know Goon shows by heart :)


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    Graeme Bird

    “But no one cared. Those scientists could have read the Gettysburg Address and been as informative. Every Democrat had, “My mind’s made up,” written all over them.”

    Roy in my time I’ve been pro-American to a fault. When I read Paul Johnsons claim that the American experiment was the noblest of all human undertakings, I agreed without resistance as if it was something that I’d known before I was born.

    But seeing the guys at the top do this frantic massive damage to the good people of the United States is about the saddest thing I’ve seen. I find it quite traumatic. Traumatic like the realisation of the murder of Cordelia, and its aftermath in King Lear, made worse by by the fact that it isn’t fiction, and that this current tragedy is on a much larger scale.

    And when the US is on its back then its the rest of us who have to worry.


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    Rereke Whaakaro

    Louis Hissink: #21

    You are quite correct. Please note the artful use of equivocation in my #7. :-)

    Also you need to consider the inability of the US Seventh Fleet to intercept a few tankers (if indeed they existed). ;-)


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    Waylander

    This is another example of the hypocrisy of the cult of CAGW , Previous articles by Jo have pointed out the large amount of unsubstantiated opinion ( i.e. bullcrap )that was passed of as science in the IPCC report . In this article

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/7725266/Climate-body-chief-defends-use-of-grey-literature.html

    Pachauri tries to justify His use of what is described as “Grey Literature” by claiming that it was neccesary because of the “peril to generations to come”

    Do any of these people listen to the nonsense they come out with ? It seems what is being said is thus :

    He had to use unsubstantiated opinion instead of actual research because of the peril from the unsubstantiated opinion that isn`t supported by the research

    Aaaaargh ! And these people have the cheek to suggest sceptics “don`t understand the science” . !!!!


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    Roy Hogue

    Waylander @37,

    Pachauri is in good company there at the Telegraph. Did you notice that they called the WWF a charity? There’s more charity in a rattlesnake than in the WWF. At least the rattlesnake will leave you alone if you don’t bother it. The WWF wants to ruin — oh, excuse my typo — run your life.


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    Roy Hogue

    And when the US is on its back then its the rest of us who have to worry.

    Graeme,

    Here we’re fighting back. More and more people are getting angry as they find out what’s really going on. I don’t know how it will turn out but elections in November will be very interesting.


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  • #
    DougS

    Ronnell at No 18

    Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas!


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    Rod Smith

    A bit OT, but It ties loosely to several comments here: I’ve always found it curious how the “truthers” in the US can posit the theory that 9/11 was a giant government (read Bush) plot, but that this same man was unable to find, by either hook or crook, WMD (beyond a few poison gas shells) in Iraq in order to justify his actions. Regardless of what I thought of George Bush, this kind of logic just doesn’t make any sense to me.


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    Richard S Courtney

    Rod Smith:

    I have to agree with your comment at #41.

    The failure to find WMD in Iraq is clear proof that Bush, Blair and etc. were certain that the WMD existed.

    If they had suspected that there were no such WMD in Iraq then it would have been a simple matter for them to have arranged for some WMD to be planted in Iraq during the hostilities. And if their fear of WMD in Iraq was a fraud then they would have have arranged for some to be planted there. But no WMD were found in Iraq so none were planted there.

    Hence, it can be concluded that Bush, Blair, etc. expected a store – or stores – of WMD to be found in Iraq.

    Of course, this does not prove if the fear of WMD in Iraq was well-founded or not: there may have been no WMD in Iraq immediately prior to the invasion of Iraq (as Saddam repeatedly asserted)or, alternatively, the WMD may have been sneaked out of the country when it became clear that the invasion was to occur.

    Richard


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    MattB

    what is a “Winthrop Professor?”

    The University was established due largely to the efforts of Sir John Winthrop Hackett, who had a long-standing vision and passion to provide Western Australia with a university. Proprietor and editor of The West Australian newspaper, he chaired a Royal Commission which recommended the establishment of a university. Later he was the founding Chancellor and bequeathed more than £425,000 (the equivalent of more than $32 million today) to The University.

    http://www.uwa.edu.au/university/history

    As for them all being dolts Graeme… you may have heard of Winthrop Professor Fiona Wood – 2005 Australian of the Year… maybe not.


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    Ronnell

    Barbara Hollingsworth: Fannie Mae owns patent on residential ‘cap and trade’ exchange | Washington Examiner:-

    This is interesting.
    When he wasn’t busy helping create a $127 billion mess for taxpayers to clean up, former Fannie Mae Chief Executive Officer Franklin Raines, two of his top underlings and select individuals in the “green” movement were inventing a patented system to trade residential carbon credits.
    Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Fannie-Mae-owns-patent-on-residential-_cap-and-trade_-exchange-91532109.html?source=patrick.net#ixzz0mP05KGjl

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Fannie-Mae-owns-patent-on-residential-_cap-and-trade_-exchange-91532109.html?source=patrick.net


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    Ronnell

    SUBJECT: British Council spending millions recruiting 100,000 “international climate champions”

    HAVE A READ ABOUT THIS BRAINWASHING………

    A big WTF is the only proper response to this revelation by Chris Booker at the Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7231466/British-Council-gets-in-on-the-climate-act.html).

    In recent years, however, on the initiative of Lord Kinnock when he was its chairman, the British Council has been hijacked to promote the need for action on climate change. In answer to a Freedom of Information request, we can now see some of the curious ways in which the British Council has been spending our money.

    More than £3.5 million has gone on recruiting a worldwide network of young “climate activists” in over 70 countries to engage in climate change propaganda – what Marxists used to call agitprop – and to pressure their politicians to join the worldwide struggle. Under a programme called Challenge Europe, £1.1 million has been paid out to fund young “climate advocates” in 17 countries across Europe, including Britain itself. But £2.5 million has been spent on a more ambitious project to recruit a global network of 100,000 activists in 60 countries across the world, led by 1,300 young “International Climate Champions”, to participate in “international peer networks, both in person and online, to share ideas, projects and experiences”.

    Of this sum, £303,093.24 went to China; £71,262.91 to Brazil; £53,006.25 to Japan; £70,132.88 to India (including £11,000 to Dr Pachauri’s Teri institute); £77,507.89 to oil-rich Qatar; and £50,000 to the US. There was £120,000 for a dozen different countries in Africa, including £14,000 to fund climate champions in starving Zimbabwe.

    As we said, WTF?


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    Jim Reedy

    Gas attacks on the Kurds definately demonstrated he and his
    party would use them WMD.

    the 500 tons of yellow cake that was quietly shipped to
    Canada after the completion of the war certainly suggested he was very interested in developing nukes of some sort…

    cheers

    Jim


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    Graeme From Melbourne

    Confidence? I’m gobsmacked, now there’s a quantifiable variable. This guy is totally delusional.


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    Baa Humbug

    I’m sure commenters on this thread will be very interested in this piece at pajamas media. by Art Horn.

    [Correct link here: ED]
    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/wounded-warmists-attack-its-what-happens-when-prophecy-fails/?singlepage=true

    Wounded Warmists Attack: It’s What Happens ‘When Prophecy Fails’
    Many global warming alarmists follow a pattern outlined by Leon Festinger in his book When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the World. Festinger points out that those who believe strongly about an issue share common threads:

    * The belief must be held with deep conviction and it must have some relevance to action.
    * The person holding the belief must have committed himself to it, that is for the sake of his belief he must have taken some important action. The more important those actions are the greater the individuals commitment to the belief.
    * The belief must be sufficiently specific and sufficiently concerned with the real world so that events may unequivocally refute the belief.
    * The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of disconfirming evidence that has been specified.
    * If, however the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support each other, the belief can be maintained and the believers may attempt to persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct.

    Art Horn concludes..

    The global warming “science” community is feeling threatened by evidence and revealing emails — their funding, and therefore their careers, may be in peril. In reaction to this, they will mount an even more alarmist campaign to convince the world — and themselves — that humans cause global warming and that it must be stopped. As global temperature fails to rise in the future, we will be bombarded by increasingly shrill cries of global warming catastrophe. All forms of weather — cold, hot, record snow, record heat, floods, droughts, or anything else — will be considered proof of global warming. A more than willing media desperate for spectacular headlines will give them the front page.

    A creature or group that is damaged psychically will respond like a wounded animal. The ensuing attack will be more aggressive and prolonged — an attempt to convince their “enemies” that they are correct, just as Leon Festinger predicted long ago.

    Any thoughts?


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    Tel

    There was £120,000 for a dozen different countries in Africa, including £14,000 to fund climate champions in starving Zimbabwe.

    From Africa’s point of view it does make sense. They have every reason to accept foreign money regardless of the pretenses under which it is offered (and in the case of “climate champions” there is no tangible deliverable they need to sign up to in return for the money). If a climate change agenda does get momentum at the UN the Africans will hold their hand out for compensation money from the West and demand free solar cells, water pumps, and so on… delivered to their door.

    The scammers have been careful to offer underdeveloped third world nations a share of the loot in return for a propaganda boost, and hard to see how they will lose out of the deal.


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    MattB

    Humbug all that could equally be applied to the skeptical movement. Also have you used the wrong link?


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    MattB

    These two are in particular relevant to AGW skeptics:
    “* The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of disconfirming evidence that has been specified.
    * If, however the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support each other, the belief can be maintained and the believers may attempt to persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct. ”

    This website, WUWT etc… they are your social support. This whole website is about safety in numbers.


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    Baa Humbug

    Yeah I did MattB thx Correct link here


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    Baa Humbug

    fairnuff Matt. So now you can list the Disconfirming Evidence to support your claim.


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    Baa Humbug:
    May 17th, 2010 at 7:10 pm
    fairnuff Matt. So now you can list the Disconfirming Evidence to support your claim.

    Baa Humbug,
    Your funny!


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    Richard S Courtney

    MattB:

    At #52 you assert:

    These two are in particular relevant to AGW skeptics:
    “* The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of disconfirming evidence that has been specified.
    * If, however the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support each other, the belief can be maintained and the believers may attempt to persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct. ”

    This website, WUWT etc… they are your social support. This whole website is about safety in numbers.

    Say what?!

    For many years before there were any blogs of any kind I was pointing out the faults in the AGW hypothesis, the total lack of any evidence that supports it, and the ridiculous nature of the assertions made by its advocates.

    You are spouting nonsense. But what do advocates of AGW spout that is other than nonsense?

    Richard


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    Reed Coray

    According to my RANDOM HOUSE Webster’s College Dictionary 1991 the definition of psychology is: “Psychology 1. the science of the mind or of mental states and processes. 2. the science of human or animal behavior. 3. the sum of the mental states and processes characteristic of a person or class of persons. 4. mental ploys or strategies: He used psychology to get a promotion.

    Applying the principles of “psychology” to the real-world problem of determining the existence/absence of global warming and if it exists, man’s contribution makes as much sense as applying the principles of tap dancing to the problem of maintaining your automobile.


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    Reed Coray

    MattB: May 17th, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Although not true for all skeptics, MattB’s arguments may have merit for many skeptics. However, MattB’s arguments are related to the mental state of skeptics, not to the validity or lack thereof of AGW. It appears that MattB is a Lewandowsky wannabe–i.e., use psychology principles to argue the validity of AGW. Those tap dancing lessons aren’t maintaining my car, and MattB’s arguments do nothing to convince me of AGW.


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    Richard S Courtney

    Reed Cory:

    At #60 you say:

    Although not true for all skeptics, MattB’s arguments may have merit for many skeptics.

    Perhaps and perhaps not. But his “arguments” are demonstrably untrue for many “skeptics”.

    ‘Guilt by association’ is an unsound principle and especially unsound when it is not known if any of the associates exist (similar to the imagined oil funding of skeptics).

    AGW advocates never debate the science of AGW because all – yes, all – the empirical evidence refutes their assertions. However, they throw generalised mud concerning motivations of “skeptics”, and I object to that.

    Richard


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    Graeme Bird

    “As for them all being dolts Graeme… you may have heard of Winthrop Professor Fiona Wood – 2005 Australian of the Year… maybe not.”

    Tell me about Fiona Wood?


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    MattB

    Richard in 58 you demonstrate my point. Of course some people have been skeptics for the long haul… but the increasing number as web-based communities sprout up is a clear demonstration of my point.

    Graeme – can;t you Google? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiona_Wood


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    Mark D.

    Err, MattB I’m here for all the social benefits……………..


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    val majkus

    this is not on topic but it’s an excellent read http://spectator.org/archives/2010/05/19/liberals-gone-wild

    (quoting a couple of paras:)
    These world-class scientists (attending the Fourth International Conference on Climate Change at the Heartland Institute) are at least as good as any of the staunch advocates of the theory of man-caused global warming. Those who foolishly succumb to the political propaganda to just ignore them are now woefully behind the curve of the actual global warming debate. These scientists are not challenging the principle that greenhouse gases can cause a greenhouse warming effect, and so those who pontificate on how well established such an effect is in theory are not getting the argument.

    The real argument is over how big the greenhouse effect is, most importantly from the carbon dioxide resulting from the burning of fossil fuels. As the intellectually dominating Lindzen indicates, there doesn’t seem to be much real dispute that CO2 by itself doesn’t have much effect, with even the UN models indicating a doubling of CO2 on its own would produce only an increase in global temperatures of a mere 1 degree centigrade. That should be expected, given that greenhouse gases produced by humans account for only 0.12% of the atmosphere. But the UN modelers reach potentially catastrophic warming by presuming “positive feedbacks” due to atmospheric water vapor and clouds that greatly increase the warming ultimately resulting from increasing CO2.

    But what the work of Lindzen and the other top scientists at the Heartland conference has been increasingly demonstrating is that instead of positive feedback effects increasing warming, the impact of water vapor and clouds is more likely to produce “negative feedbacks” offsetting the small original increase caused by CO2. They argue that the greenhouse warming causes an increase in cloud cover and water vapor at altitudes that would reflect solar radiation back out to space before it gets trapped within the earth’s atmosphere, leaving little or no effect on global temperatures.

    The rest of the body of scientific evidence is increasingly consistent with this Lindzen/Singer led view rather than the man-caused global warming view. The temperature record even as we have it (revealed as faulty by Climategate) does not show temperatures rising with rising CO2, but rather a pattern of periodically rising and falling temperatures consistent with the natural causes emphasized by the prevailing refuseniks at the Heartland Conference. That record shows an increase in temperatures from the 1920s to the 1940s, with a roughly reversing decline from the 1940s to the late 1970s. Temperatures then rose from the late 1970s to the late 1990s, giving rise to the global warming scare, but since then they have been declining with perhaps accelerating force.

    Rather than following consistently rising CO2 emissions and accumulations, this temperature pattern follows the variations of natural causes
    (end of quote)
    Now are you feeling warmer yet?


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    Roy Hogue

    MattB @52

    This whole website is about safety in numbers.

    If what you say is true for us then I would think that this web site represents just the opposite to you. It keeps me wondering why you’re butting heads here continually. Maybe you can enlighten us all?

    Roy


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    MattB

    Masochistic tendencies?


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    Roy Hogue

    MattB,

    Masochistic tendencies?

    I would hope not. But remember, you said it, not me.

    Roy


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    Mike S.

    MattB

    Of course some people have been skeptics for the long haul… but the increasing number as web-based communities sprout up is a clear demonstration of my point.

    Not really. It’s just a demonstration that the continuing collapse of the AGW/CC narrative is sending newly-minted skeptics in search of alternatives to their old (but no longer trusted) sources of information. Yes, there is a social aspect to sites like this, but the informational aspect is even more important. I’ve probably visited about 200 websites that comment on AGW/CC issues, but I only have 6 that I re-visit regularly (including this one), and another dozen or so I drop in on occasionally. It’s more of a matter of consumer benefit than social psychology – I’ve determined that I get more informational value for my expenditure of time at those sites than at others.

    Also, do note that, for the two Festiger points you highlighted to be relevant to skeptical sites like this, there would have to be “disconfirming evidence” that would “unequivocally refute the belief” that we aren’t in danger of frying the planet in the next century or so with our CO2 emissions – otherwise, there would be nothing to seek “safety in numbers” from. But of all the “evidence” I’ve seen which purports to “disconfirm” the position(s) of skeptics, none comes anywhere close to “unequivocal”, and the vast majority can be categorized as either “thoroughly debunked” or “non sequitur”.


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    Roy Hogue

    I’ve been trying to figure out MattB for a long time. I’m only one guy and I can’t put words in anyone else’s mouth. But if anything stands out to me it’s a lack of intellectual rigor applied to whatever he’s thinking about at the moment. Otherwise I don’t think he would say some of the things he does. Witness his statement at 52 that utterly fails to understand the world of AGW skeptics.

    PS:

    Matt, we love ya! But are you really content to answer my question at 66 as you did?

    Masochistic tendencies?

    Stand back and take a good look at the person, MattB that you portray on this site. You absolutely begged to have the question asked. Did you not realize that at 52 you were drawing a very vivid contrast between joannenova for the rest of us and joannenova for you? The follow-up question was obvious. But then a flip answer is all you would do.


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