The Milgram Experiment. Image Wikimedia.
The chilling Milgram experiments have been replicated, and yet again, 9 out of 10 are willing to inflict electric shocks and pain on another person. In these infamous experiments the power of a white lab coat was enough to get more than half the participants (26 out of 40) to deliver a fatal shock (the participants didn’t realize the shock was faked, and the victim an actor).
This willingness to obey authority is both a great strength of humanity when authority is worthy and yet leads to the darkest abyss when it is not.
By nature, we are largely empathetic creatures: most people really don’t want to cause pain, they get quite upset themselves in the process. Yet many people will override this inbuilt ethical wiring if a person in a position of authority insist they do. It’s time we talked about ways to train people to resist. There is hope as outlined below in a different study from last year.
Conducting the Milgram experiment in Poland, psychologists show people still obey
Press Release: The title is direct, “Would you deliver an electric shock in 2015?” and the answer, according to the [...]
A new MIT report suggests a better way to use coal in power-stations and potentially cut CO2 emissions by 50%. The process involves gasifying coal and producing electricity in one process at the same site. The coal only has to be heated once, and the electricity comes from a fuel cell, not a fire — it’s a chemical reaction across a membrane. The output is potentially much more efficient, and makes no ash. The researchers argue we could get twice as much electricity for each ton of coal burned. Currently coal fired power pulls out 30% of the chemical energy in coal, but coupling these two processes might increase it to 55-60%.
This report is based on simulations, but the separate processes are already well developed and running. The next step would be a fully functioning pilot plant to put the two together and test the idea. If there was the political will it could be done in a few years. There probably won’t be.
The Greens of course will hate the idea because the Evil-Factor of coal is near 100%.
In the eco-collectivist-world, cutting “carbon” is important, but apparently not as important as propping up a dependent lobby group [...]
Across the West, there is a layer of smart-but-busy intellects who have not been involved in the climate debate. For one reason or another they’ve been too busy setting up IPO’s, doing research projects, or directing companies in perhaps technology, mining or banking, and generally being productive. It is excellent to see some of this caliber adding their brain-power and resources to the public arena. Especially so in Australia, where the debate is almost entirely bare-bones-volunteers versus billion-dollar-institutions, and where the culture of philanthropy is not well developed compared to the US.
This unusual advert was placed in The Australian today. In a normal world, investigative journalists would have already interviewed and discussed views like these, but in the hyperbolic, politicized and religious world of climate-alarm it was simpler for productive people to just get on with it, talk to their peers and make it happen.
Click to enlarge, or read the text below.
Psychology and The New Climate Alarm
Lowell Ponte’s 1975 book warns:
“Global cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for 110,000 years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is [...]
UPDATE Dan Kahan has replied in Comment #54.
So much for the theory that skeptics are dumb or uninformed. Fox News reports that a new study shows that when people are quizzed about climate science, the skeptics outscored the believers.
Dan Kahan at Yale did the study on 2,000 people, but with only nine questions, so there is limited insight here, but it fits with his previous study which found people who knew more about maths and science were more likely to be skeptical. Readers of skeptical blogs (who chose to respond to surveys and list their qualifications in comments) are likely to have hard science degrees. The world is slowly waking up to the fact that the skeptics are more knowledgeable about science.
In a proper science quiz, the gap would probably be even larger. On two of the nine questions, skeptics got the science right. But believers “outscored” skeptics at repeating the propaganda (which shouldn’t be a question in a survey about scientific knowledge). I’d like to see all nine questions (can anyone find a preprint or the paper?)
Skeptics get science right:
One question, for instance, asked if scientists believe that warming would [...]
So much for the consensus. In 2012 The Geological Society of Australia (GSA) was one of the few associations to make a slightly skeptical position on climate. For poking their heads above the parapet they’ve had years of headache and debate, and finally have issued a statement saying they have given up entirely on putting out any statement. The debate is so furious and divisive that no position could be agreed on. (I wonder exactly how many of their members are fans of climate models? Was this the work of just a few zealous believers?) I think I’ve hardly ever met a geologist who wasn’t somewhat skeptical.
The back story is that, like most science associations, in 2009 the GSA chanted the litany. (Their 2009 statement is here). They wrote that governments should take strong action to reduce CO2 and that meant paying geologists more to do research and sit on plum advisory committees. How predictable…
1. That strong action be taken at all levels, including government, industry, and individuals to substantially reduce the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions and to mitigate the likely social and environmental effects of increasing atmospheric CO2.
2. That Earth Scientists with appropriate expertise [...]
Look out, Australia might trim a tiny slice from the Tithe to the Gods of Weather (protest coming)
The Australian budget is in dire straits after the Rudd-Gillard years of promised surpluses but exploding arithmetic. The Commission of Audit is here to test public reaction to all the possible ways of paying off the Labor debt. Somehow, it missed the biggest cherry waiting to be plucked. We could save billions if the the Abbott Government become more rigorously scientific. Abbott should cut funding to any scientists who are using models that don’t work, and only fund ones that do.
“Abbott should cut funding to any scientists who are using models that don’t work, and only fund ones that do.”
I expect the Greens will join me in declaring that if the Abbott government cared about the environment it would immediately launch a royal commission, a real audit, or an independent investigation into the effect of carbon dioxide. Only the best science for the planet, right? All funding to environmental programs dependent on unverified research should be frozen until the audit is finished. Easy eh? Let me be PM for a day. :- )
But apparently the sacred carbon cow must not [...]
Agnotology is the study of how ignorance grows through repetition of misleading misinformation. You might never have heard of it, but it’s the perfect term for the climate science “debate”. Predictably its use began when those convinced of man-man global warming claimed fossil fuel groups were funding misinformation. But as per usual, unskeptical scientists opened a promising new front only to got burned by the evidence.
In the latest volley, from Legates et al 2013, John Cook’s “97% consensus” survey has become the case study in agnotology. Based on incorrect results, a flawed method, and a logical fallacy, it kept key facts hidden while sloppily blending vague language into a form that is easily and actively misinterpreted. That it passed peer-review is another damning indictment of peer review.
Cook still refuses to provide about half the data, but the data that has been made public shows (after some digging) that a mere 41 papers out of 12,000 was called a 97% consensus. The trick is that Cook et al interchangeably use different definitions of consensus.
The Bait and Switch
The Bait: In the introduction Cook states that the reason for the paper is “to determine the level of scientific consensus that human [...]
We know the answer is always that they are smart, and that if we don’t “get their vision” they just need to explain it better.
“Australians have limited understanding of climate change, Climate Institute finds”
A new survey by the Climate Institute on attitudes to climate change shows the majority are concerned for the environment, but confusion reigns supreme.
After years of vigorous and at times toxic debate, more than 1000 people surveyed gave an amazing array of answers …. Sixty-nine per cent thought humans were causing it. But when asked to explain the Gillard Government’s carbon pricing scheme, focus groups returned blank stares.
The reality is of course that climate scientists have a limited understanding of our climate, and that most Australians are suspicious that a tax can change the weather.
Try not to throw up reading the actual report: Climate of The Nation. For starters, the low contrast colors in baby blue and penitentiary-grey-brown are designed not to be read, but to be absorbed. The layout and feel is very much the style of a baby formula brochure. Bask in the “atmosphere” as you scan, but bring out your magnifying glass if you [...]
UPDATE: Dr Paul Bain has replied to say that pressing work commitments mean he cannot respond to this until next week. We look forward to that, and I will make sure it is available for readers here (should Dr Bain permit). – Jo
Dear Dr Paul Bain,
Thank you for replying (and so promptly). I do sincerely appreciate it. Apologies for my tardiness.
I do still think I can help you with your research. Indeed, in more ways than you realize.
You describe in your Bain et al letter in Nature, that the number of deniers is growing despite “enormous effort”. There is a policy problem. I absolutely agree. No one is having any success getting deniers to believe in anthropogenic climate change. Could it be that they don’t understand deniers at all?
Let’s go through the points in your email reply to me, then the bigger implications.
First and foremost – obviously you did not provide evidence to back up your assumption that the “existence” of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change is real. That doesn’t mean it does not exist, but I’ll get back to this. It is the key and only real point.
Secondly, you may regret the [...]
Bottom line: On Q&A Nick Minchin said the IPCC predictions were wrong. Matthew England said “Not true” their 1990 prediction was “very accurate”. But the IPCC predicted 0.3C per decade, and we got at most 0.18C per decade. (Forster and Rahmsdorf 2011 ) How is is “very accurate” when the result is below their lowest estimate?
[See our one-page version of this whole issue.]
Oceanographer Matthew England owes Nick Minchin an apology. Will Tony Jones correct the record on Monday?
How strange is this debate where politicians know the science better than the “scientists”?
The ABC Q&A program shows they have no interest in pursing the truth on climate change. The panel was, as always designed to push an agenda. Five believers, with a sixth in the audience, faced two skeptics. No skeptical scientists were invited to attend, let alone sit in the front row with a mike, like England who was called in so the warmists could get the last word on the science without fear that a skeptic might disputing their version of events. We can’t allow people to damage the faith of those duped [...]
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