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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Conservative voters are blind, with deficient mental software, says psychologists

The implications are staggering, half the population fail at blink tests, and can’t see newspaper headlines about “climate change”. If only we could make them see by using rhetorical and psychological trickery to get past their faulty filters, the world would be saved. Please send us another grant!

The research you’ve been waiting for:

Why some conservatives are blind to climate change

Naturally, this self-serving, circular, and poorly researched piece is brought to you by The Conversation. Where else?

The big insight looks like pattern seeking and confirmation bias to me:

When we modified the test to measure people’s attention to climate change, we found people who are concerned about climate change are better at seeing climate-related words, such as carbon, right after the first target than those who are less concerned.

When we analyzed the data, we found a pattern: Conservatives who were less concerned about climate change were less likely to see climate-related words than liberals who were worried about the issue.

In short, conservatives showed climate change blindness.

Or in another hypothesis, conservatives had better filters for pointless news stories with a prediction success rate lower than random chance. From experience, conservatives have [...]

More afraid of Climate Change Yeti than going to jail

“Valve Turners” in action. The Hi-vis vest will help a lot if that gas leaks.

The Five “Valve Turners” broke in and turned off valves on the Keystone Pipeline and four other cross-border pipelines — in Washington, Montana and Minnesota. They are in their fifties and sixties and brave enough to risk jail, but not apparently brave enough to read skeptical material that might show that the actions they think are noble are really misguided, illegal, narcissistic, risky stunts as well as being pointless and inconvenient to thousands.

Foster, who is 53, was charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief, conspiracy to commit criminal mischief and reckless endangerment. At his bond hearing in Cavalier, N.D., he learned that he faced a maximum sentence of more than 26 years.

The NY Times gives them hero treatment. Scott of the Antarctic could not get a write up this nice:

What Foster didn’t expect was that once he’d broken through the chain-link fence, he would be briefly overwhelmed by the magnitude of what he was about to do. He faced away from the biting wind, and allowed himself to cry. He then put a gloved hand on the [...]

60% of Australians are OK with dumping Paris if they can cut their Electricity Bill

Nearly half of Australians are already paying more than they want to for the Paris Agreement. Sixty percent of Australians wouldn’t mind us dumping it if it meant getting cheaper electricity. That fits with most other surveys for the last four years. It’s a stable slab of the population — despite the ABC and Fairfax running prime-time adverts for renewables constantly pushing the line that renewables are cheap, inevitable, and that only stupid “deniers” would want us out of Paris.

In Australia, no major party represents these voters. Instead, both sides of the establishment are competing on how to meet an agreement that, if the truth were known about the costs, at least 60% of Australians either oppose or couldn’t care less about.

When will the Liberals and Nationals figure this out?

Voters prefer cut in power prices to Paris climate accord

Simon BEnson, Michael McKenna

A Newspoll ­survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian, has revealed that 45 per cent of Australians would now ­support abandoning the non-binding target, which requires Australia to reduce emissions to 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, if it meant lower household electricity prices.

This compares to 40 [...]

The rise of fake skeptics who “change their minds” about climate change

Poor Nick Kilvert at the ABC again, finds climate yeti’s everywhere — that imaginary creature, the converted skeptic. This is an important missing link in the fictional narrative — obviously if The Evidence Is Over-bloody-Whelming, there will be a stream of people gradually awakening. Alas, Kilvert doesn’t realize the traffic is all the other way, an exodus,  and there is no single outspoken skeptic that has convincingly switched the other way. The best he can do is drag out the self-declared convert Richard Muller who got away with his skeptic facade for while,  until awkward quotes surfaced from during his skeptic days where he declared that fossil fuels were the “greatest pollutant of human history”.  He was outed five years ago, but alas, Kilvert apparently still hasn’t got an internet connection and didn’t think to look. If only Kilvert could have emailed me?

The headline:

“Once were sceptics: What convinced these scientists that climate change is real? “

To which I might say “Once were journalists: Why don’t these writers do any research any more?”

This is as good as it gets. Muller is the “star” convert. He and his whole team were doubting skeptics:

In 2010, Professor [...]

Matt Ridley: Never experienced anything like this — the climate debate “blackening”

Matt Ridley is about as gentlemanly, polite and sane a man as you’ve ever likely to meet — which is exactly why the mob are so afraid of letting him speak. Ridley even agrees that humans have caused most of the warming in the last fifty years (I shall have to talk to him about that). But this middle position is a potent threat. He’s walking the very ground that threatens the Green Blob — there are no subsidy trains in middle land. There’s no urgency, no gravy, and yet it’s so temptingly sensible, which is why the minions work hard to silence him. He can’t be ignored as “fringe”:

The National Review — Julie Kelly 

“I’ve written about many controversial issues during my career,” Ridley said. “Never, have I ever experienced anything like what happens when you write about climate, which is a systematic and organized attempt to blacken your name rather than your arguments, and to try to pressure any outlet that publishes me into not publishing me any more.” A group of activists and scientists is urging the Times (U.K.) to stop publishing a regular column authored by Ridley because his views often [...]

Our electricity crisis is “the cost of virtue signalling”

Let’s get “certainty” — dump the RET.

Chris Kenny in The Weekend Australian puts almost all the pieces together.  This is self-sacrificial, pointless, and the RET is the problem because the subsidies allow renewables to drive out true baseload generation. The so-called hunt for “certainty” is a hunt for high prices because no one will speak the obvious “Dump the Renewable Energy Target”.

Dumping green folly will secure energy future, reboot economy

We are an energy-rich nation. Last year we exported 388 million tonnes of coal (valued at $35 billion) to supply affordable and ­reliable energy to countries such as Japan, China, South Korea and India. Our liquefied natural gas exports are doubling from 30 million tonnes a couple of years ago to almost 80 million tonnes (valued at $42bn) by 2019.

Australia also remains one of the largest exporters of uranium…

While we happily export our energy advantage, we have deliberately sacrificed it at home.

Turnbull — doing exactly the wrong thing after Trump won:

Astonishingly, less than a day after Donald Trump won the US election promising to abandon Paris, Malcolm Turnbull announced Australia’s ratification. The Prime Minister thumbed his [...]

Infamous Milgram experiments repeated: Only a few will stand up against authority

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 [...]

Psychoterratica — environmentally induced mental distress

With every baseless scare come the inevitable victims:  those who are gullible, through no fault of their own, like children, graduates of eco-science degrees, and people who think the ABC gives them impartial information.

Psychoterratica:  or earth related (terra) mental health (psyche) states or conditions.

© 2013 Glenn Albrecht.

GlennAlbrect did a Ted talk, if you can bear to watch it, tell us the best quotes: I spot a “Tipping point of the brain”. He’s a philosopher. If only he understood the philosophy called science, he might be useful.

We live in the richest, safest era of human life on Earth. For a hundred thousand years everyone was afraid of dysentry, snakes, and the marauding tribe next door. They all starved periodically and buried their children often. They said prayers to pagan gods they hoped would save them. Now 1 – 2 billion lucky sods have escaped that dreadful fear, and live a life rich beyond the wildest dreams of the neolithic grinder. Some that won the lottery worry instead that burning coal in Queensland will melt arctic ice and create homeless polar bears. Or they think there are climate death squads.

Apparently the ABC is [...]

Despite record hottest year even a loaded vague climate survey shows 61% don’t agree with experts

After the hottest ever El Nino year with relentless propaganda on Australian media,  even a loaded survey finds that only 39% of Australians agree that humans are the major drivers of the climate. The survey is being painted as a success by obedient “journalists”. But this is not skyrocketing support, it’s more likely last gasp noise. The results will be down again next year (with the weather).

It is yet another meaningless motherhood survey that avoids asking real questions, offers unbalanced answers, and uses the same ambiguous language as most of these pointless surveys do. Would you like apple-pie?

Who doesn’t want nicer weather — and for free?

The questions climate fans are too scared to ask

Obviously The Climate Institute don’t want real answers, which they must know would be devastating. They won’t ask how much people want to pay out their own pocket to fix the climate. They won’t ask people to rank “climate change” against all the other issues they care about.  They won’t ask people if Climate Change is a scam, a con, or a scheme to make the green industry rich (a year ago a US poll showed 31% were happy to call climate change [...]

Dismal: The polarization of climate debate depresses believers: The solution they all miss

It’s “depressing”, “hopeless” and “dismal”

The climate debate is more polarised than ever. David Roberts at Vox is very honest about the challenges believers face to solve the deep partisan political divide. But despite all the grants and funding to solve this problem, the experts miss the obvious. I explain below why polarization will solve itself. Indeed, all their best efforts to reduce polarization in the climate debate are creating the polarization. It takes a sustained effort and millions of dollars to keep a false belief alive.

Now Dunlap and McCright (along with Oklahoma State’s Jerrod Yarosh) have updated their study, giving us a fresh look at public opinion on climate change at the end of the Obama era.

The findings are dismal, if not very surprising: Polarization only accelerated after 2008, the gap between the parties is wider than ever, and the trend shows no sign of stopping.

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) scores politicians. It tracks the voting records of members of Congress. Way back in 1970 both sides of politics wanted to approve environmental legislation about equally.

(Dunlap et al, Environment)

Public opinion has a similar trend. Here are Gallup poll results since 1997. (The [...]