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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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 [...]

Globally 91% of wars have nothing to do with climate change

Climate change causes war (maybe) and meaningless statistics (definitely)

One day when you grow up, children, you too can be a research scientist who writes papers that tells the world something banally obvious — like, say, that natural disasters make conflict more likely.

Who, exactly, thought natural disasters brought peace?

I don’t think the journalist who wrote this next paragraph asked himself what it means (if anything):

Globally, there was a nine per cent coincidence rate between the outbreak of armed conflicts and natural disasters like droughts and heatwaves. But, in countries that were deeply divided along ethnic lines, this rose to about 23 per cent.

I suspect it means not much (define “coincident”), but if it did, it implies that globally, 91% of wars don’t coincide with natural disasters.

If there is a real message here, it appears to be that ethnic divisions cause wars:

Dr Jonathan Donges, who co-wrote the paper about the study, said: “We’ve been surprised by the extent that results for ethnic fractionalised countries stick out, compared to other country features such as conflict history, poverty, or inequality.

[...]

Poll: Australians more skeptical. Climate change “dropped off” political radar

In Australia the latest (unpublished) opinion poll shows concern about tackling climate change has fallen from 55% in 2007 to 35%.

Groupthinking struggles to understand:

The aversion to talking about climate change during the election campaign reflects a wider problem: our concern for this issue has fallen even while it has become larger and more urgent, writes Mike Steketee.

Climate change dropped off the political radar – ABC Drum

It sure does reflect a wider problem: that democracies need real public debate, real choice, and we are not getting it. Skeptics want climate change to be a voter issue — bring on a plebiscite. Let the public decide how much they should spend to change the weather. But that’s exactly what the believer politicians fear. They know they have to hide the topic because it’s electoral death. Everyone wants to stop pollution and “save the planet” — it’s motherhood and apple pie, but no one wants to pay much to try to change the climate. Eighty percent might believe the climate changes, but only12% want to pay two dollars to offset their Jetstar flight (and it’s less for Qantas). Therein lies a diabolical dichotomy.

[...]

Here’s why women are more likely to care about the climate

Everything is a gender equity issue. Who knew the climate was sexist?

“…women have good reason to be worried, given that climate change will affect women around the world the most. Climate change is often framed as an ecological disaster, less frequently as a key crisis for global gender equality.”

In the current climate men have shorter lifespans and higher suicide rates. The very caring women at “Women’s Agenda” don’t seem to care about that. Nevermind.

Why do women care more? They’re more obedient, less willing to take risks

Even the writers and editors of a “liberated” emancipated women’s magazine reveal more than they realize about their own belief. They’ve been told last year was the hottest year on record, and parts of the Great Barrier Reef are bleached. These things would happen no matter what caused climate change, but Annika Blau is an obedient woman and she believes that our power stations and cars cause the bleaching. Indeed she is so well trained, she is even convinced her position is “logical” and says so, without providing any logical reason that events which probably occurred hundreds of times before are proof of anything. (It’s been hotter for thousands [...]

How many children died because peer reviewed data was buried and results cherry-picked?

This example below shows the dangers of cherry picked and buried data. It shows how great news and joy can be reported from rancid results, and the only protection against this is open access. When the taxpayer funds research that is not fully and transparently public, and immediately available, the people are funding PR rather than science. “Peer review” does little to stop this, little to clean up the mess after it happens, and the truth can take years to  be set free.

Ten percent of teenagers taking an anti-depressant harmed themselves or attempted suicide. This was ten times the rate of the teens on the placebo. The results of this clinical trial were published in 2001, but those alarming statistics were not reported. The drug went on to be widely used. A new reanalysis of the data, reported in the BMJ, revealed the dark and hidden dangers. The company that funded the research, Glaxo Smith Kline, has already faced record fines of $4.2 billion. The Journal of the Ameri­can Academy of Child and Adoles­cent Psychiatry won’t retract the paper.

There are many ways to hide data. In this case, the results of the trial include 80,000 records which were [...]

Australian Psychology Society uses biases and fallacies to accuse skeptics of bias and fallacies

If psychologists want to be taken seriously, and want psychology to be called “a science”, they need to elect a director who knows what science is.

Executive Director: Professor Lyn Littlefield OAM FAPS

The Climate Study group in Australia published a half page advert in The Australian last week – Psychology and Climate Alarm: how fear and anxiety trump evidence.  In reply, Prof Lyn Littlefield, Executive Director of the Australian Psychology Society wrote a letter to The Australian protesting — claiming that the Climate Study Group are the ones suffering from the confirmation bias they accuse climate scientists of.

“The advertisement, ‘Psychology and the New Climate Storm’  misuses psychology-based arguments to add credibility to myths and misinformation about climate change. In doing so, the authors illustrate aptly the very error bias (confirmation bias) they are erroneously attributing to the climate science community.”

It’s the “the pot calling the kettle black”, exclaims Littlefield. But since her arguments are entirely fallacies, this is the kettle calling the pot calling the kettle black.  The Climate Study Group mentioned many scientific observations, and in reply Lyn Littlefield can’t find an error in any of them, she can only cite “the consensus”. [...]

Psychology and Climate Alarm: how fear and anxiety trump evidence

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 [...]

Climate Death Squads funded by Big Oil strike people with lightning! How’s that for an ideated conspiracy?

Big Oil knows no bounds. Not only can it derail governments, and thwart the  UN, World Bank, and IMF but now it may be sending out climate death squads to assassinate Arctic Ice Experts. These expert hit squads apparently push people down stairs, run them off the road, and strike them down with lightning. Lightning! (That is one mother of aTesla Coil.) James Bond could learn something. Q, where are you?

Prof Wadhams at Cambridge has been the go-to man for Arctic scare stories across the UK (h/t Delingpole). In 2012, Wadhams predicted Arctic Sea Ice was set to collapse in just four years. Last year, after years of a relentlessly surviving Arctic, even some alarmists threw Wadham under the bus, (so to speak) as being too “extremist”. But now he’s topped that.

You see, in January 2013  there were four leading Arctic experts in the UK, now there is one, and he is very very worried.

No, seriously, you can’t make this up. Let’s try to imagine how much more profitable Big Oil would be if every single  Arctic climate expert in the World was dead. (Count the zeros…)

The utter futility of it all escapes Wadhams. After a [...]