follow CCP

Recent blog entries
popular papers

Science Curiosity and Political Information Processing

What Is the "Science of Science Communication"?

Climate-Science Communication and the Measurement Problem

Ideology, Motivated Cognition, and Cognitive Reflection: An Experimental Study

'Ideology' or 'Situation Sense'? An Experimental Investigation of Motivated Reasoning and Professional Judgment

A Risky Science Communication Environment for Vaccines

Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government

Ideology, Motivated Cognition, and Cognitive Reflection: An Experimental Study

Making Climate Science Communication Evidence-based—All the Way Down 

Neutral Principles, Motivated Cognition, and Some Problems for Constitutional Law 

Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus
 

The Tragedy of the Risk-Perception Commons: Science Literacy and Climate Change

"They Saw a Protest": Cognitive Illiberalism and the Speech-Conduct Distinction 

Geoengineering and the Science Communication Environment: a Cross-Cultural Experiment

Fixing the Communications Failure

Why We Are Poles Apart on Climate Change

The Cognitively Illiberal State 

Who Fears the HPV Vaccine, Who Doesn't, and Why? An Experimental Study

Cultural Cognition of the Risks and Benefits of Nanotechnology

Whose Eyes Are You Going to Believe? An Empirical Examination of Scott v. Harris

Cultural Cognition and Public Policy

Culture, Cognition, and Consent: Who Perceives What, and Why, in "Acquaintance Rape" Cases

Culture and Identity-Protective Cognition: Explaining the White Male Effect

Fear of Democracy: A Cultural Evaluation of Sunstein on Risk

Cultural Cognition as a Conception of the Cultural Theory of Risk

« More on "Krugman's symmetry proof": it's not whether one gets the answer right or wrong but how one reasons that counts | Main | Are Ludwicks more common in the UK?! »
Tuesday
Apr082014

Finally: decisive, knock-down, irrefutable proof of the ideological symmetry of motivated reasoning

Sometimes something so amazingly funny happens that you have to pinch yourself to make sure you aren't really just a celluar automaton in a computer-simulated comedy world.

 

 

 

N = 800 Krugmans. from Kahan, Judgment & Decision Making, 8, 427-34 (2013)

 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (21)

The abstract says in part " the study suggests that this form of bias is not a consequence of overreliance on heuristic or intuitive forms of reasoning; on the contrary, subjects who scored highest in cognitive reflection were the most likely to display ideologically motivated cognition."

I have trouble seeing anything more here than confirmation of the absolutely astonishing notion that smart people are better at arguing than dumb people. Striking though is that the authors use the phrase "ideologically motivated cognition" instead of "formulating arguments."

The same mental bug shows up in the next part, "These findings corroborated the hypotheses of a third theory, which identifies motivated cognition as a form of information processing that rationally promotes individuals’ interests in forming and maintaining beliefs that signify their loyalty to important affinity groups."

Here we need to use a bit of Occam's razor. By that standard which of the following is a better explanation for why this skill set would exist?

- The ability to signify loyalty to affinity groups is evolutionarily advantageous

- Loyalty to affinity groups is evolutionarily advantageous

The last part is very interesting. "The paper discusses the normative significance of these findings, including the need to develop science communication strategies that shield policy-relevant facts from the influences that turn them into divisive symbols of identity."

So they identify a problem. The smartest people are highly loyal and very skilled at formulating arguments. Their proposed solution is to somehow trick these exceptional people into not reckoning the political implications of "policy-relevant" facts.

Trying to find a way to put this, settled on the following:

Pinky and the Brain had plans for taking over the world which were more likely to work.

April 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

Dan,

Joshua would get a kick out of your title—isn't that symmetry one of his hobby-horses?

I'm trying to track Joshua down to admit I was wrong & he was right about another symmetry: the humorlessness of both sides. I should have believed him when he said the problem was universal. I hate leaving debates like that in a state of error! I lie awake wondering how stupid he must think I am.

Do you know where he is lately?

Sorry for losing track—I've been too busy maintaining my own site, Climate Nuremberg. I started it the morning after a long, long night in which I was won over by the science—I immediately knew I had to do something to apologise to the atmosphere for my years of wilfully pretending not to see it. Just when I was hating myself for being tricked, and hating the disinformers who'd kept me in the dark for so long, I came across a great quote by David Roberts: "We should have some sort of Climate Nuremberg [for these b____s]."

Et voilà—a title for my climate hateblog!

Please visit sometime and tell me what you think, as a climate-science-communication scientist, Dan! I'd so value your opinion.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

Hey Brad - I never thought you were stupid. Just very motivated. What convinced you of the symmetry of the humorlessness?

April 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Hi Joshua,

thank you—now, with luck, I can sleep at night. At least a little.

Great to hear from you. You're one of the few people in this debate I've had to apologise to after belatedly realising you understood something better than I did—I respect that. I'll have to pay more attention to your analyses of the debate in future.

:-)

I never thought you were stupid. Just very motivated.
How did you know it was bias, rather than a rational conclusion from incomplete information—in other words, how did you choose a motivated-reasoning model over a 'deficit' model? Was it because my belief in the asymmetry of humourlessness was a priori implausible, essentially requiring a statistical miracle? Ah, but I had an explanation for the "miracle"! Climate alarmists are cultists, and cultists are known to be humorless! (LOL.)
What convinced you of the symmetry of the humorlessness?
1. I found a hilarious warmist site called DenialDepot.
2. At ClimateNuremberg we unwittingly reported on the results of a fake study and for a whole week, not one of our "skeptical" readers was humorful, perceptive and considerate enough to warn us that The Onion is meant to be a satirical blog. (I look at it and still see what it clearly a large, serious media corporation—I can't quite believe it's a spoof, especially because most of its stories are both realistic and sad. Apparently there's a whole cohort of college-aged Americans who find it funny for some reason. I think it would be much funnier if it warned you at the top of each story. There's nothing funny about being tricked.)

April 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

Brad -

"How did you know it was bias, rather than a rational conclusion from incomplete information—in other words, how did you choose a motivated-reasoning model over a 'deficit' model? Was it because my belief in the asymmetry of humourlessness was a priori implausible, essentially requiring a statistical miracle?"

I didn't "know." I had an opinion...

Accordingly, as I recall, I asked you for evidence and found what you provided (and the manner in which you provided it) unconvincing.

Yes, I find attributing negative characteristics, disproportionately, on one side of the climate wars as opposed to the other, to be a priori implausible. Certainly, there is variability in any number of attributes from individual to individual, but there is far more in-group variability than across-group variability, in my experience. So for me, there is a high bar of evidence required to justify characterizations such as the one that you made about differences in basic human qualities across the great climate divide.

Fully confident observations about how negative characteristics are disproportionately manifest on the "other side" of the debate are ubiquitous in the climate wars. Both sides are completely convinced that the other (but not their own) are driven by a political agenda, lacking in basic values, sheeple, liars, stupid, pawns of powerful vested interests, lacking in humor, blah, blah, blah,.... (We have both experienced a form of that phenomenon in the arbitrariness of how "troll" is defined).

IMO, the phenomenon of motivated reasoning would predict just exactly that kind of identity-protective and identity-aggressive behavior. When there is a confident declaration of asymmetry, whether it be from you or from Krugman, I tend to think it implausible, but I do recognize that it's within the realm of possibility. So it's a matter of evidence.

Along those lines, I'd say that your rapid reversal based on what seems to me to be fairly limited evidence could be problematic. I would suggest, instead, that you consider the abundant evidence that although there may indeed be some broader inter-group differences between (I believe largely arbitrarily) drawn lines such as the one that divides "skeptic" from "realist" or "conservative" from "liberal," those differences are dwarfed in magnitude by intra-group diversity.

April 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua,

Thanks for writing back... but I'm going to be honest: I'm a bit hurt.

I thought I'd get some kind of award for being the first person to admit he was wrong about something on the Internet.

:-(

Now you're criticising me for it?!

Along those lines, I'd say that your rapid reversal based on what seems to me to be fairly limited evidence could be problematic.
It wasn't an inversion though—I just learned the truth of the null hypothesis and abandoned my positive (asymmetric) prejudice. And the reason "limited evidence" is enough is this: I had even LESS data to support my view in the first place. abandoned. And in retrospect, yes, the adamancy with which I used such weak evidence to make such an a priori eyebrow-raising theory my pet bespeaks the interference of motivation in my reasoning.

Still, now you're criticising me for changing my mind? I can't win!

Looking back on our first encounter, it's obvious how strongly filtered my vision was, and how unjust my image of you was. When you opined that motivated reasoning was symmetrically distributed I didn't buy your whole "sane commentator" act; so I explained to everyone what you were REALLY getting at, behind your facade of reasonableness! LOL. People do that to me all the time, and I suppose I should laugh just as hard at myself as I do at them.

Yes, you've cut right to the tragedy of it:

Both sides are completely convinced that the other (but not their own) are driven by a political agenda, lacking in basic values, sheeple, liars, stupid, pawns of powerful vested interests, lacking in humor, blah, blah, blah,....
The other insights in your response are also really wise, and verbalised better than I could have.

For what it's worth, I think there are rational, intelligent, moral people not only on both sides but on both extremes: climate activists and climate apathists.

But did you know this, Joshua:

Not only can rational, intelligent, moral, well-informed persons be in either an impatiently activist OR a serenely bored state about climate change, they can be highly certain they're in the right state, and justifiably. In other words, they can "know" the human race is locking in a world of pain by emitting carbon dioxide; or they can "know" such a threat is make-believe; and neither belief requires irrationality, unintelligence, immorality or ignorance of the climate issue.

Not only that, but people in opposite states can have the same politics, the same religion, the same social circle and the same ethical values.

Paradoxical as it may sound, this is all humanly possible. (My friend and I are proof of this.)

1. Do you believe it's possible?
2. Can you account for the position opposite yours without positing irrationality, unintelligence, immorality or ignorance of the climate issue? Can you see how someone could get the "wrong" answer despite having nothing wrong with them?

What do you think of my hateblog, by the way? :-)
—BK

April 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

Brad -

Perhaps I was too harsh.

"And the reason "limited evidence" is enough is this: I had even LESS data to support my view in the first place. abandoned. And in retrospect, yes, the adamancy with which I used such weak evidence to make such an a priori eyebrow-raising theory my pet bespeaks the interference of motivation in my reasoning."

I was caught up in that you pivoted your position on such a context-specific experience, but sure, if you came around to thinking that your previous position was weakly grounded, then it really isn't so much that you are using limited evidence to support your current view, but the realization that there isn't other evidence to support an alternative view.

"1. Do you believe it's possible?
2. Can you account for the position opposite yours without positing irrationality, unintelligence, immorality or ignorance of the climate issue? Can you see how someone could get the "wrong" answer despite having nothing wrong with them?"

Of course, yes to both. I have no basis to judge the rationality, intelligence, morality, or knowledge of people I don't know personally. I find that people making such assessments of others to be one of the most common "tells" for motivated reasoning. There was a thread not long ago where I said it was "motivated reasoning" when a few "realists" at andthentheresphysics, felt that they could determine that Tisdale is basically ignorant about ENSO (or some similar topic). Another recent thread I made the same point to "realists" who decided they could assess Curry's honesty and/or intelligence or "scientific-ness".


Sure, people can be extremists (which is a problematic term as it carries a pejorative connotation) and entirely rational in their thinking - because where we wind up in our conclusions depends on which premises we start with. For example, if you start with the premise that the bible is the word of god, then you can be entirely rational in believing that Noah put pairs of each species of fauna on his ark to save them from the floods.

I see what seems to me to be many rational and intelligent and moral and knowledgeable people who have a wide range of views related to climate change. But what I find interesting is that so many of them, despite what seems to be their rationality and intelligence, form certain conclusions about cause-and-effect (for example, that I am a liar or that I want children to starve as we destroy capitalism, or that mitigating ACO2 emissions will be an economic disaster) without enough evidence to base scientific analysis. I'm talking about people who have spent decades engaged in careful scientific analysis.. A failure to control for basic principles such as distinguishing between correlation and causation does not make someone stupid or irrational - it may simply be a product of being very "motivated" (in the sense of motivated reasoning).

April 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

What do you think of my hateblog, by the way? :-)

Joshua

then it really isn't so much that you are using limited evidence to support your current view, but the realization that there isn't other evidence to support an alternative view.
I don't need evidence.
I've simply returned to where I (or any rational person) started (or should have started): the null hypothesis.
No correlation between humorfulness and climate views.
What I mistook for evidence of asymmetry was a spurious signal/wishful thinking that was cancelled out by a little more information.
I have no reason to think humor favors one side or the other.

"Of course, yes to both. I have no basis to judge the rationality, intelligence, morality, or knowledge of people I don't know personally."

Isn't that strange though? That a scientific argument could lead 2 equally rational people to draw diametrically opposite conclusions with confidence—so much confidence they feel conscientiously forced to go to the mats over it, and are willing to stake their reputations on being right?

Science isn't supposed to work like that, is it? If science worked like that on a regular basis it would be worse than useless, wouldn't it? It would cause nothing but wars.

There's no other question in science where the same thing happens, to rational people, is there?

Sure, science is sometimes ambivalent, but when it is, neither side has any right to be almost certain they picked the right side. High confidence would be irrational.

"Sure, people can be extremists (which is a problematic term as it carries a pejorative connotation)"

If "extremists" refers to the polarised people in my example, let me clarify I only meant what 6 Americas would call "Dismissive" and "Alarmed", respectively.

This is true:

"because where we wind up in our conclusions depends on which premises we start with. For example, if you start with the premise that the bible is the word of god, then you can be entirely rational in believing that Noah put pairs of each species of fauna on his ark to save them from the floods.

...but you're taking an easy way out. ;-D What next, a spaceship cult? :-)

Any "rational conclusion" can be justified if you start with sufficiently wacky premises!

So let me be even clearer:

I'm talking about 2 people of the same age in the same social circle; with the same religious views (there is no god); both believing in "science" (up to at least 1988! LOL—until the climate disagreement, that is), neither of them believing in any supernatual stuff like ghosts or Xenu; having similar politics; similar high level of education and access to all the same information (if they want it) online; both familiar with the big climate-science papers; and yet:

— one of them thinks there is very convincing evidence of an imminent climate crisis, and
— one of them is dismissive of the idea.

Yet they both got to their conclusions as rationally as can be expected of human beings. There's nothing wrong with either of them.

I presume you can put yourself in one of their shoes and satisfy yourself that you scan see why they'd think what they think; but what about the other guy?

That's my challenge to you, Joshua.

April 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

Brad -

Why does the null hypothesis = symmetry (or no correlation between level of humor and views on climate change)? Couldn't it just as easily be asymmetry?

"Isn't that strange though?"

I don't think so. I think it is predicted by human cognitive (pattern recognition) and psychological (identity-protection and identity aggression) characteristics.

"Science isn't supposed to work like that, is it?"

Science is the product of human beings. Human beings have cognitive and psychological attributes. Sometimes they lead to productive results (pattern recognition enables us to make sense of the world, identity protection and aggression serve self-preservative ends), and sometimes less productive. The notion of science as "supposed" to be some abstracted form of human endeavor seems unrealistic to me.

You do realize that the diad you describe in your example would be an outlier. No doubt, it might sometimes play out that way, but far more often the oppositional frames on climate change are associated with oppositional political orientations.

I have no problem seeing the rationality in "skeptical" conclusions about climate change. I don't think that people who end up there are irrational or immoral or ignorant, etc. I see people on both sides of the great climate divide engaging in what I consider to be biased reasoning. I see it outside of the climate wars as well. It is a part of everyday life. I see it in my relationships and those of others.

I'm not sure I understand what the challenge is that you're offering me.

And as for your blog - I'm starting to get really bored with the climate wars. It's about freakin' time, as I am embarrassed at how much of my life I've wasted on the climate battlefield. There are so many much more productive things to do. So I'm not inclined to give your blog an in-depth look. I did peruse it briefly - in fact, I left a comment on your Oct. 31, 2013 post. I felt my comment pretty much sums up my reaction to your blog more generally. I imagine that I would have similar responses to your other posts.

April 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua

Why does the null hypothesis = symmetry (or no correlation between level of humor and views on climate change)?
Because that's the convention you have to follow in psychology, or any other branch of science that uses statistics. You have no a priori reason for thinking the 2 variables are correlated, so you assume "randomness" until you find empirical evidence to the contrary.
Couldn't it just as easily be asymmetry?
Yes it could, and theoretically there’s bound to be some imbalance—it would be a miracle if nature were contrived so as to endow both sides with precisely as much of a sense of humor. That would suggest Divine involvement. But we’re not allowed to presume an imbalance (and we wouldn’t know in which direction to presume it anyway). Innocent until proven guilty; null hypothesis until proven positive; noise until proven signal. Unintuitive as it may sound, this is how we have to do things if we want to be scientific about it.
I think it is predicted by human cognitive (pattern recognition) and psychological (identity-protection and identity aggression) characteristics.
You don't think it's strange?

Can you name any other question about the material world on which a bunch of rational, high-information people interpret the scientific evidence as emphatically supporting a particular view, while another bunch of equally rational and high-information interpret it precisely the opposite way?

(Plus, for what it's worth, both groups contain people of all imaginable political, religious and socioeconomic identities—statistical stereotypes notwithstanding.)

As far as I know, none of the other controversies Dan has studied meet this challenge. (I've heard it argued that a previous outbreak of this pathology occurred in the form of the eugenics controversy last century, and for similar reasons, but I don't know enough about it to comment.)

Bear in mind that the polarised camps on GMO food are NOT both "high-information" when it comes to agricultural genetics.

Bear in mind that the polarised camps on abortion are NOT fighting over a physical but a moral question. That's why no amount of embryological education will ever settle it.

Bear in mind that the polarised camps on gun control are NOT fighting over a purely physical question but a fiendishly complex one informed by such diverse fields as criminology, history, economics and ethics, and [as far as I know—without having studied this very closely, I admit] "science" doesn't even pretend to have come up with a clean "answer." [Does it?] Therefore two reasonable people might disagree on gun control, but they cannot both honestly claim their positions are a matter of scientific "knowledge."

The notion of science as "supposed" to be some abstracted form of human endeavor seems unrealistic to me.
I'll rephrase:

"Empirically, historically, contingently, science doesn't normally work like that, does it?"

Forget "supposed to.” Just consider the data. It's objectively abnormal for science to polarise people the way it does on climate change, isn't it? If science normally had this effect, we'd have to abandon science just to avoid genocide and war.

You do realize that the dyad you describe in your example would be an outlier.
Firstly, so what? That's no excuse for incuriosity. You should be more, not less, intrigued by the people who defy statistics. If you can't explain outliers, anomalies and paradoxes then that's a sign that you haven't understood things as well as you think—if at all.

Secondly, these aren't just any outliers. I was describing myself and a good friend. Any theory that puts me and my friend in the Too Hard basket is a lame and boring one.

Thirdly, the dyad I describe are disproportionately important. My friend and I are articulate champions of our respective views. Because we've studied our shit, we have the confidence to contradict each other. We're the [kind of] people who cause public binarisation in the first place. We stand for the opinion-leading class. If he and I could reconcile our disagreement, then the rest of the world's population—the servile zombies who get their opinions from us—would also be reconciled. Without "outliers" like us, there'd be no problem.

No doubt, it might sometimes play out that way, but far more often the oppositional frames on climate change are associated with oppositional political orientations.
Firstly, to clarify: our positions are not defined in opposition to each other—they just happen to as different as possible.

(That’s not actually true—I don’t believe in catastrophic man-made COOLING.)

We didn't each set out to contradict everything the other stood for. I’d have exactly the same views about the climate even if the other “side” of the debate didn’t exist. (How do I know? Because my climate views haven’t changed one bit since the whole thing began. My take on climate change is pretty much identical to what yours would have been twenty years ago.)

Secondly, "associations" explain nothing unless they're reliable. That's what's so unsatisfying intellectually about the cultural cognition thesis—or it should be unsatisfying, to those who think it explains something: the thesis makes false predictions. My friend and I should agree on climate change, because we both want to "fit in" to the same group and "protect" the same identity. But we don't agree.

(So what went wrong? Alas, the thesis only applies to sheeple. It doesn't work for the shepherds. And the shepherds are the key to reconciliation.)

I don't think that people who end up [on the "skeptical" side] are irrational or immoral or ignorant, etc.
Great! But this just raises more questions! Or it should. For you. Questions like:

why are you and Dan Kahan the only two believers in the world who are willing and able to admit out loud that deniers aren't crazy? Why is the median believer incapable of understanding disbelief except as a function of mental illness, ignorance, religiosity, being "in denial," conspiracist ideation, ulterior motives, fossil-fuel addiction, ideological obstinacy, hatred of other people's children, or some other unflattering and patronising hypothesis?

(And the converse question is incumbent upon me, of course: why do so many people on my "side" dismiss half the population as illogical, gullible or politically disingenuous leftists? Why don't they understand how my good friend became a believer, without being any of those things?)

I see people on both sides of the great climate divide engaging in what I consider to be biased reasoning. I see it outside of the climate wars as well. It is a part of everyday life.
But you never see it on a SCIENTIFIC topic, do you?
I'm not sure I understand what the challenge is that you're offering me.
To put it in different words:

Can you explain why two equally reasonable, equally intelligent, equally Internet-accessing, equally climate-interested people with the same religious, cultural and political biases, like my friend and I, arrived at positions on climate change that fail to agree in any way? Why is one of us sure that BAU emissions represent zero net risk to the planet, while the other is sure they're an existential danger?

Hint: you were on the right track earlier, when you said there has to be a difference between our premises. I'm glad you don't think everything comes down to biases. There really is such a thing as unbiased reasoning, as you seem to be acknowledging. And to the extent neurologically possible, both my friend and I reached our conclusions without falling victim to bias. I can't fault my friend's reasoning.

In terms of the information we've been exposed to over the course of our lives, I have little doubt that "there but for the grace of God go I." My friend's position on climate makes complete, rational, unbiased sense to me.... given his biography. But he wasn't raised in a cult, by wolves, among the Amish, or anything like that. To repeat: we've been friends since kindergarten. We've both led profoundly normal, middle-class but well-educated lives.

I did peruse it briefly - in fact, I left a comment on your Oct. 31, 2013 post. I felt my comment pretty much sums up my reaction to your blog more generally. I imagine that I would have similar responses to your other posts.
That was you? Anyway, you shouldn't judge my entire blog by those early posts. I've changed my approach quite a lot and I think (and hope) you'll find the current style more interesting and less polemical, so please give it another chance Joshua.

April 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

Joshua,

to expand on this theme: "I presume you can put yourself in one of their shoes and satisfy yourself that you scan see why they'd think what they think; but what about the other guy?"

An irony unfolded yesterday, in the Greek theatrical sense. An empathy malfunction.

Remember you were passionately telling me, and at great length, about how "censorship" at blogs was much ado about nothing and how Los Desaparecidos should quit whining?

Couple of things:

1. Every single time I reply to you at that absurd site, my comment is quarantined for your protection. You don't KNOW this—you can't know it, because you've never blogged a day in my shoes!—but I'll send you a screenshot it you don't believe me: everything I say goes straight to premoderation.

Sometimes the comment won't even make it out of that purgatory. But if you're lucky you'll eventually get to read it, an hour later—or at least the parts Rachel isn't too paranoid to let you see. Everything else gets redacted, either without a trace or accompanied by an imaginative pretext Rachel comes up with. She's creative, I'll give her that! I don't think she's ever cited the same "rule" twice in all the time I've been there, and she's careful never to simply base her excuses on the "Moderation Policy" of the site.

Someone on my "side" of the climate debate is not to be trusted, you see.

(Professor Kahan is just being naive if he thinks our denier words are harmless. But I'm only too happy to exploit Dan's unawareness of our fundamentally Nefarious Intent [NI]!)

My comments, you see, might be bad for the narrative. (And frequently are.) As a science communicator, it's Anders' job to control the narrative.

2. You tell us, "That’s not what I see happening. What I see happening is that..."

I know you don't see it happening, Joshua.

That's how climate deletionism WORKS. You, the intended audience, don't KNOW what's being censored. If you knew what was being censored it wouldn't be censorship, would it?

To repeat: it's all being done for your protection.

3. At Anders' place I don't "insult" the host. I'm not that stupid, Joshua.

(Not that "insulting the host" is even a proper excuse for the censor-hammer to be wielded anyway, Joshua. You seem to have taken it as axiomatic that it's only human for a blogger to delete "insults" against him. It's not. It's a sign of insecurity. For instance, I'm a psychologically healthy grownup so I'm able to coexist with derogatory feedback on my blog. There are death threats against me that I haven't bothered deleting, Joshua! They're still intact. And guess what? I'm still alive.)

4. Yesterday's post was about free speech, the obligation to speak the TRUTH (which, as I pointed out to Anders, should probably be amended to "speak honestly"), and the right of readers NOT to be misled.

So you'd think Anders might welcome discussion of those questions in his comments thread.

Instead of, you know, "off topic jousting" about extreme weather events.

Right?

Then it's strange, isn't it, that Anders suppresses without a trace my comment (below) every time I submit it, and no matter how politely and open-mindedly I rephrase it:
—————————————————————————
(Anders:)

Secondly, I don’t know the specifics of the situation you mention so don’t know if what you claim to be objectively true, is actually objectively true. You haven’t provided any evidence.
Oops, I did try to post the evidence earlier—my comment got lost somewhere. Sorry about that.

In this tobacco-themed polemic by Dana Nuccitelli, Richard Lindzen is accused of denying the link between smoking and lung cancer.

Unfortunately Dana has never ‘provided any evidence’ for this.

But this isn’t the first time Lindzen has been charged with tobacco denialism.

James Hansen made the same allegation, against which Lindzen defended himself forcefully:

…I have always noted, having read the literature on the matter, that there was a reasonable case for the role of cigarette smoking in lung cancer, but that the case was not so strong that one should rule that any questions were out of order. I think that the precedent of establishing a complex statistical finding as dogma is a bad one. Among other things, it has led to the much, much weaker case against second hand smoke also being treated as dogma. … “
(Note that if Lindzen is being sincere here, then his view on the epistemology of cause & correlation is perfectly in line with what you, and izen, have argued on this very page.)

(Anders:)

it would be great if everyone who did libel someone else would simply apologise and retract what they say. Sadly, that doesn’t often happen and is why we have the legal systems that we do.

Lindzen continued:
In his book, Hansen goes so far as to claim that I testified on behalf of the tobacco industry. This claim is absurd… I might add that I looked into the possibility of legal redress after Hansen published his book, and learned that I had neither the money nor the time to pursue such a remedy...

(Anders:)
What you say has to be true and defensible, especially if what you’re saying reflects on someone else.
Dana’s claim appears to fail this standard. Which is a shame, if it’s true. So I invite, and hope, and encourage, Dana to clear this up by showing that he does, in fact, have some evidence of Lindzen denying the carcinogenicity of tobacco (despite denying denying it).

Your blog would be the perfect place for Dana to repair the impression that he’s mistakenly maligning a highly respected scientist.

Over to you, Dana.

(Anders:)

Objectively false libel is, however, intolerable.
Finally! Something we can all agree on, on both "sides."

April 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

Sorry Joshua,

the link isn't coming through, but just google

"The Weekly Standard's Lindzen puff piece exemplifies the conservative media's climate failures"
or
"The Weekly Standard's Lindzen article was puffier than a drag from a cigarette – which Lindzen also denies cause cancer"
or
"Lindzen is an outlier whose arguments have been disproved time and time again, including about the link between smoking and lung cancer"

to see Dana's masterpiece of character assassination science communication.

April 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

Joshua:

I think that Brad actually thinks he’s making validly strong arguments, and that people are afraid of the strength of his arguments. Of course, if that is what he’s thinking, I think that he’s wrong and that people just find his insistence that he’s right to be obnoxious and/or just boring.
I disagree with every aspect of your theory, including the nice bit at the beginning. :-) I would be happy to tell you why.

But in the meantime STOP CRITICISING ME AT ANDERS' BLOG, WHERE I AM NOT ALLOWED TO RESPOND.

It is lazy, cowardly and nasty.

I know you're better than that, Joshua. You don't need a sheltered workshop to make your case, surely?

PS What inference do YOU draw from the fact that Anders refuses to let you read my responses, if not "he is afraid of the strength of my argument"? Seriously, Joshua, give me a plausible explanation for the fact that Anders and Rachel are happy to allow an entire thread to devolve into a hatefest on the question of what motivates skeptical "trolls" but won't let you hear my answer.

What are they afraid of, Joshua? The weakeness of my reasoning? Is that what you imagine they're protecting you from: a completely unconvincing argument?

LOL...

Use your goddamned brain.

April 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

UPDATE
Joshua,

a new problem has arisen for your theory that "trolls" like me are blocked not out of fear but out of boredom with our supposedly bad arguments.

It would seem someone is afraid of someone, because sometime in the last 24 hours Dana has scrambled to save his fur by quietly "revising" his libelous attack on Lindzen:

"The above figure caption has been revised to reflect that Lindzen doesn't necessarily deny smoking causes cancer, but he is 'skeptical' about the strength of the link.
The decent thing to do, of course, would be to publicly apologise to Lindzen and to make the correction as conspicuous as the original article—after all, the orignal ugly lie remained in the story for months, and very few readers are likely to come across the "correction" at this point, are they?

But I predict Dana won't do that, because Dana is NOT decent. Dana is morally bankrupt. Remember, this is the "scientist" who scathingly reviewed The Hockey Stick Illusion on Amazon without reading a single page of it, and when caught out refused to apologise. He's a sociopathic, mendacious piece of shit and a disgrace to "science."

April 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

Hey Brad

"It is lazy, cowardly and nasty....you don't need a sheltered workshop to make your case, surely?"

Consider recalibrating towards an open and good-faith discussion, and we'll have something to talk about.

April 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua,

> Consider recalibrating towards an open and good-faith discussion, and we'll have something to talk about.

What did you hope that sentence would mean?

Are you accusing me—without actually accusing me—of speaking in bad faith?

I'm disappointed in you, Joshua. This is a long step backwards. It's sad because you were the only person on the Affirmative at ATTP who showed any grasp of what makes the Negative team debate in the first place, or what makes us tick in general.

We have no intent of “diverting” anyone from a stated purpose, and if they choose to be “diverted,” that’s on them and not us. I am not “intending” to “disrupt,”—and I find the rather constant assertions that my intent is such to be laughable and based in an inflated sense of self-worth among the “denizens.”

This is an indefensible opinion and it’s unbecoming of you:

> Of course, if that is what [Brad]’s thinking, I think that he’s wrong and that people just find his insistence that he’s right to be obnoxious and/or just boring.

But perhaps your memory is simply playing tricks on you. If you think I tediously and wrongly insist I’m right you’ve got me mixed up with someone else. (This isn’t about our humor debate still, is it? The one in which I admit I was wrong?) Take off your Motivision glasses and look at the ‘Free Speech’ thread again. Read my first 3 comments:

1. I correctly correct perhaps the most brainless “thought” contained in Anders’ entire sophomoric whine on the problem of Free Speech and what to do about it: namely, his idiotic demand that “what you say has to be true.” I politely suggest that Anders may have meant “honest” rather than “true” … and he admits I was right.

2. I point out that if “what you say has to be true,” then regular commenter Dana might be in a difficult situation vis-a-vis his remarks about Richard Lindzen. This comment is mutilated to hide the names and details from you. However, some time within the next 24 hours, Dana’s article at The Guardian miraculously changes “to reflect that Lindzen does not necessarily deny…” blah blah blah. Why has he finally revised his allegations against Lindzen, 3 months after publication? Because I was right: Dana has been libelling Lindzen for the last 3 months.

3. I ask izen a question about extreme weather. izen replies, “Good question, I think yes because ‘extreme weather events’ in this context is…” blah blah blah.

So: empirical truth time, Joshua.

In my first 3 comments I made 1 correct correction, exposed 1 false defamation and asked 1 good question.

That’s not just my opinion. My correction was acknowledged by Anders; Dana’s falsehood was acknowledged by the Guardian; the goodness of my question was acknowledged by izen.

Are you really going to tell me the reason I’m now blocked from commenting at ATTP—along with most deniers who’ve made the mistake of going there—is that “people just find his insistence that he’s right to be obnoxious and/or just boring”?

Really, Joshua? Are you that motivated?

> I have had comments disappeared when, in my assessment of her stated criteria, my comment should not be moderated whereas comments that I was responding to where the ones that should have been. But I know full well, even in those situations, that Judith could well delete my comments.

It sounds like you’ve resigned yourself to the existence of unethical, hypocritical moderation.

That’s sad.

> But still, It just can’t equal censorship because it’s her blog.

The thousands of people who are no longer able to read your comment might beg to differ.

> In fact, I’ve never seen what you describe happen.

Now you’re just contradicting yourself. Didn’t you submit your doomed comments in good faith? Didn’t you craft the best argument of which your finite intellect was capable? And didn’t Judith delete it anyway?

In which case, you’ve not only seen it happen—it’s happened to you.

Is your memory playing tricks again, I wonder?

> Consider recalibrating towards an open and good-faith discussion, and we'll have something to talk about.

Seriously, what the hell, Joshua? Anders' blog post, “Free Speech,” was about the myth of free speech and how only correct views have any right to be expressed:

"One is that it seems that some are arguing that they should be allowed to say whatever they like. Sure, but your right to free speech doesn’t override my right to not be adversely and unfairly influenced by what you say. What you say has to be true and defensible, especially if what you’re saying reflects on someone else."

So the relevance of Dana Nuccitelli’s false and undefended claim that Richard Lindzen denies the carcinogenicity of smoking—which would gravely and insultingly "reflect on" Lindzen's character and scientific literacy—ought to be self-explanatory.

It is self-explanatory, isn’t it, Joshua? It’s perfectly obvious to you, isn’t it, that if anyone "diverted" the group from its "stated purpose" it was izen, by bringing up his faith-based doctrine that carbon-dioxide concentrations and extreme weather frequency are quasi-causally linked.

You know that that has nothing to do with "Free Speech," except insofar as izen had taken advantage of his supposed free-speech rights to evangelise a belief whose “truth,” when pressed, he was at a complete loss to "defend" without assistance from Tom and Anders. As you can see by reading the thread, izen didn't even know the meaning of “extreme weather event”! Though, in his defence, there appear to be several different definitions floating around, at least three of which are proffered in that thread alone!

So you’re easily able to understand that I raised the issue of Dana’s defamatory claims in good faith; that my purpose was honest, moral and pro-social. Indeed, that purpose has now been vindicated by the watering-down of The Guardian’s libel—never mind that Dana left the original falsehood intact for 3 months, despite having had it drawn to his attention within days of publication and despite being challenged repeatedly to show evidence for it—a challenge he either ignored or deleted every single time it was put to him.

And it is therefore immediately obvious to you that whoever deleted my comment at ATTP was acting in bad faith—that their purpose was dishonest, immoral and anti-social. They were trying—ultimately in vain—to protect a liar from criticism and correction. They failed, because you found out about Dana’s libellous attack on a proper scientist in spite of their efforts to keep you ignorant.

It is equally obvious to you that whoever deleted my comment routinely deletes comments without even letting you know they’re being deleted. Rachel was “provoked” into admitting it! Consider what she’s confessing here:

”Mod: Brad, please [respond to what we’re saying about you] elsewhere, thanks. This comment is only here to avoid accusations that comments have been deleted without other commenters knowing.

That’s right: if she wasn’t trying to allay your suspicion that she deletes comments without even telling you, she’d have deleted my comment without even telling you.

You were perceptive to guess that my intent is usually to “provoke” others and myself into careful analysis. You were perceptive to doubt, highly, that I have an “intent” to “divert” or “disrupt.” If you were to speculate about my “intent,” there are quite a few other answers that would be more probable.

“Trolling” is a fundamentally confused concept, despite its popularity in the language of the silly. A troll is a troll because I say that he’s a troll, and the fact that he’s trolling is the proof.

> Consider recalibrating towards an open and good-faith discussion, and we'll have something to talk about.

Wait, wait… because I make fun of the cowardice of climate deleters I’m ...against open discussion? ROFL! That amazes me, to the extent that I can guess what you’re trying to say.

How is it possible to get concepts so precisely backwards, Joshua? “Open discussion” is only possible when both sides can be heard.

How many times do I have to explain this simple concept: Anders and Rachel will not let you read my comments. Get it? They will not let you see anything that might interrupt your mutual-admiration society’s orgy of self-congratulation and troll-hate. They are control freaks and implacable enemies of “open discussion,” unless “open discussion” is a term of art defined as “tree house; echo chamber; closed discussion.”

But hey–feel free to run away from our actual open discussion here, Joshua—where I notice you still haven’t acknowledged the challenge/problem/mystery.

(That is, can you name any other question about the material world, i.e. a so-called scientific question, on which a bunch of rational, high-information people interpret the totality of the scientific evidence as emphatically supporting a particular view, while another bunch of equally rational and high-information interpret the totality of the scientific evidence as providing no support for that view whatsoever? [Note: the disagreement has to be about nature. The morality of abortion and the merits of concealed-carry laws would not be examples.] Can you explain why two equally reasonable, equally intelligent, equally Internet-accessing, equally climate-interested people with the same religious, cultural and political biases, like my friend and I, arrived at positions on climate change that fail to agree in any way? Why is one of us sure that BAU emissions represent zero net risk to the planet, while the other is sure they're an existential danger?)

Run back to your sheltered workshop where you can all enjoy some circular backslapping without having to live in constant fear of challenge by outsiders. Er, I’m sorry, “trolls.”

> That’s quite a thread, willard, although I gave up reading after maybe 100 comments or so…

You missed the best bits!

> That thread will be in psychology text books.

Indeed. It established, among other things, that just because BBD's paranoid it doesn't mean deniers aren’t out to get him.

GSW and Stu2 and I identified several of BBD’s comments as suggesting (to us) “conspiracist ideation” on BBD's part, according to every known diagnostic criterion and dictionary definition. (Interested readers can go to Eli's "The Mysterious M Revkin" thread and judge for themselves whether we were right).

BBD strenuously tried to deny this diagnosis by pointing out that the conspiracies he believed in had factual data suggestive of their actual, real existence. A number of commenters then tried to explain to BBD that

1. every conspiracy theorist in the world says their theory is based on actual, factual clues—that doesn't mean they're not ideating conspiracistically!

2. No definition of conspiracist ideation, including the one used by Lewandowsky, depends on whether you have some factual data backing up your "ideation"

3. contrary to BBD's stated understanding of the word "ideation," it does NOT entail delusion or hallucination—as is easily demonstrated by opening a dictionary

But instead of thanking us for clearing up his misconception about the meaning of 'conspiracist ideation' and moving on, BBD spent 2 (two) entire days:

— calling us (and I quote) deniers and conspiracy theorists who have no idea what ‘conspiracist ideation’ actually means despite being enmired in it ourselves, you cannot therefore claim that I am indulging in conspiracist ideation, it is a lie, lying is wrong GSW, your incessant accusations are false, are you denying this matter of fact?, are you mad?, you are simply flailing around with your pig’s bladder on a stick because you don’t know what else to do, careful you don’t trip over it and end up on your arse, avoid making a grotesque prat out of yourself in public, why does Donors Trust exist?, f__k but I loathe “Brad Keyes,” one of the very, very vilest people I have ever encountered, although most voluble deniers are vermin, eg Foxgoose, off you f__k, there’s a good chap, whenever we meet Brad gets his nose gets metaphorically broken, why won't the GWPF disclose even its seed donor?, but why the secrecy?, you’re delightedly rolling around in dishonesty like a dog in fox s__t, your commentary about me is mostly vicious lies, your activity here nothing more than a smear campaign, I am a little surprised that you have been permitted to carry on for so long, sociopathic liars who will not admit their errors should be shut out, watch Brad try and bury this yet again in another spew of nonsense and lies, the misrepresentation upon which his "argument" rests, GSW isn't very bright, Brad has no such excuse and can be presumed to be acting in bad faith, as usual, a sustained attempt at delegitimisation, the usual Brad s__t in other word, wasting time again with silly evasions, you screwed up, I did warn you that you were confused, right at the outset, but on you went anyway, reduced to risible evasions, Yes. Sociopath. Manipulator. Own worst enemy: The frog and the scorpion, you were wrong, you have misrepresented me as a conspiracy theorist, please explain your intransigence, your blog post is defamatory, you remain stuffed, Brad has inserted a misleading non-definition, he is defaming me on his blog, do you understand this definition now?, you have made an arse of yourself, the problem arises with your bizarre warping of the language

— refusing to budge

And lo, on the third day, Stu 2 did say unto BBD that with respect to his “questions and aggressive assertions and personal definition,” it was very likely that BBD was wrong.

At which point BBD quietly admitted, “Yup. I misread Lewandowsky.”

[He made this concession not at Eli's, where the argument had actually taken place, but at Deltoid—where of course I and most of my denialist friends are banned from commenting, for the protection of the more fragile congregants. So it's lucky I actually spotted BBD’s humiliating climbdown. (It can be found in the April open thread.)]

Anyway, now that you know the historical context you mustn't blame BBD for thinking we enjoy “f____ with his head.”

He and Tom Curtis are wrong about one thing, though: we denialists don't goad, provoke or trick climate believalists into error.

No need to.

April 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

Brad -

You wrote a long comment. As I told you, I've grown weary of spending significant chunks of time engaged in the climate wars. So I'm going to stop after the following sentence of yours, make a point in response, and see how you respond to that before reading further:

"If you think I tediously and wrongly insist I’m right you’ve got me mixed up with someone else. "

As for what I think - what I said was that I think that you're wrong in your belief that they are simply afraid of your arguments. I don't think they are afraid of your arguments. I think that they think that you are obnoxious in insisting that you are correct (when they believe that you are obviously wrong), and or find it boring that you insist that you are correct (when they believe that you are obviously wrong). The point being - I did not say that I think that you tediously and wrongly insist that you are right. I did not offer an opinion of my own w/r/t that issue.

I have the same belief about when people call me a "troll." I don't think that they're afraid of my arguments. I think they are absolutely convinced that my arguments are wrong. They are fully convinced that my opinions are those of an idiot. I think that they are absolutely convinced that their view is not an opinion, but an objective interpretation of fact - and that my opinions are counter to the facts. Why would they be "afraid" of arguments, from an idiot, that they think are absolutely, unequivocally, and obviously wrong? It doesn't add up, IMO.

Here, again, is what I said about my opinion.

"> Of course, if that is what [Brad]’s thinking, I think that he’s wrong and that people just find his insistence that he’s right to be obnoxious and/or just boring."

The "that" refers to you thinking that others are afraid of your arguments.

I was describing what "people" think in the second clause. I think that "people" just find your insistence that you are right to be obnoxious or boring. I think that you are wrong in your assertion that others are "afraid" of your arguments.

Here, again:

"I think that Brad actually thinks he’s making validly strong arguments, and that people are afraid of the strength of his arguments."

I was not saying that I think that you're wrong w/r/t making validly strong arguments. I didn't weigh-in as to whether you're right or wrong about that. Where I said that I think that you are wrong is w/r/t the second clause "...and that people are afraid of the strength of his arguments...."

If you noticed my follow-on dust-up with BBD - I overtly ridiculed the assertion (which may have been a straw man on my part) that you don't actually believe that you are making validly strong arguments, and that you are only trying to goad people into making mistakes. I argued strongly that such an assertion is ridiculous - which should serve to underline what I said - merely that you believe, strongly that you make strongly valid arguments.

So maybe you can see why, in response, you weigh-in and start calling me cowardly and the rest of the stuff that you said, I consider that to be in bad faith. That is why I asked you to recalibrate.

April 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua—

your sentence could be read in two different ways, so naturally I read it in the worst and least accurate way (because I was in a bad mood).

Sorry. :-(

I also want to apologise to you for the imputation (inherent in my own ambiguous sentence) that you, personally, have acted in a "lazy, cowardly and nasty" way, a description that can only justly be applied to the practice—de rigueur at ATTP—of insulting a commenter who is not allowed to insult you back. If you refrained from that activity—as it appears you did, on a more open-minded reading of your comments—then it is to your credit and you deserved to be congratulated, not lectured.

Sorry x 2. :-(

Can I assume you accept my apology and are happy for us to move on?

You reason that climate deletionism cannot possibly be motivated by fear since,

Why would they be "afraid" of arguments, from an idiot, that they think are absolutely, unequivocally, and obviously wrong? It doesn't add up, IMO.
My answer would be that,

1. The people who do the deleting don't necessarily, or even likely, view your arguments the way their "denizens" do—for one thing, censors actually read your comments, whereas "denizens" only get to read what the censors want them to read.

[I'm unapologetically using Tom Curtis' definition of "censorship" here. I know full well that we're not talking about a global suppression of speech and that there's nothing to stop you "commenting elsewhere." Therefore censorship is not being practiced in any legally strict sense.]

What the deletionists are presumably "afraid of" is that the narrative they've invested so much energy into crafting—viz. that your arguments are the arguments of an idiot, and are absolutely, unequivocally, and obviously wrong—would fall into a heap if "denizens" were allowed to hear what you actually had to say.

This postulate would not only explain but also predict the observation—which has been noted and deplored by many of my denier friends—that it is invariably one's "best" (politest, most on-topic, fact-centric and conclusive) comments, not one's "worst" (angriest, most policy-violating, most subjective and least dispositive/decisive) comments, which get deleted or blocked, disappearing either without a trace or accompanied by an imaginative rationalisation that either has nothing to do with any known Moderation Policy or relies on a "Policy" so elastically subjective as to be indistinguishable from pure caprice. (Infractions such as "sloganeering" and "thread bombing" are so ill-defined, anyone could be accused of them—which is why they're ideal for a partisan moderator's purposes.)

It could well be, however, that in your experience it's your "worst" comments which get blocked. You have, I believe, indicated that you're often censored for insulting or antagonising the host unnecessarily (when you could have made the same point more politely).

In that case I'd suggest we've identified an asymmetry between denialist and believalist propaganda, and I'd invite you to consider the possible reasons and implications.

2. Even if the censors themselves consider your arguments "absolutely, unequivocally, and obviously wrong," it doesn't necessarily follow that they're not afraid of them simultaneously.

Sure, you're quite right to say this "doesn't add up."

But so what? Human psychology doesn't have to "add up."

People are perfectly capable of doublethink, hypocrisy and compartmentalisation. To be specific: it's perfectly possible for your climate opponents to adamantly tell themselves (in the front of their minds) that your arguments are absurd and couldn't convince a fly, all the while knowing (in the back of their minds) that you've raised a disturbingly good point—a point which they'd rather nobody was allowed to see, lest it convince the local fly population. (I often think of the scene in The People vs Larry Flynt where Woody Harrelson points out this very contradiction: Jerry Falwell was simultaneously arguing that the Hustler joke would damage his reputation, and that its premise was so absurd and obscene nobody could seriously think it was true.) That's how intellectual insecurity works: it's perfectly compatible with adamant certainty in one's own position. Indeed the two are often noticed to cohabit the same mind.

Remember: from my point of view, my arguments are deleted for your protection.

Changing the topic:

which should serve to underline what I said - merely that you believe, strongly that you make strongly valid arguments
While I appreciate your awareness of my good faith, what you describe here is is not always the case. Frequently I'm not sure, and I don't even pretend to know for sure, that I'm correct—I might just be raising a possibility, or just a question.

Nor am I raising it in bad faith, however. That is, I would never raise an objection I knew was invalid, just for the sake of raising it or to be an advocatus diaboli or anything like that.

Nor will I ever demand evidence for someone's assertion if I think they actually have evidence for it, and if I myself know what the evidence is. This vexatious evidence-requesting tactic may slow my "opponent" down, but it is a dishonest, disrespectful and (for what it's worth) stupid and counterproductive manoeuvre.

(Note that Willard admits, apparently without embarrassment, that this is a tactic BBD employs "all the time.")

Why—one might ask—would a disputant like me, who prides himself on honesty, raise objections in whose validity he isn't completely confident?

One motivation is, admittedly, exploratory.

If my objection is swotted away effortlessly and with easily-located evidence, fair enough—I needn't raise it again.

If, however, it's met with disproportionate anger, speculations about my intentions, and all manner of other replies that avoid answering the question, this increases my confidence that there might just be something to it.

Case in point: look how defensive the denizenry turn as soon as I ask for the data that justify the "extreme weather increases as CO2 increases" claim (a claim for which I genuinely wasn't aware of the existence of any physical evidence backing it up).

Note that I didn't deny it might be true. And for all I know, it might be.

But I'm rather less convinced that it is true now that I've seen the angst and paranoia provoked by the mere question!

When a self-appointed science communicator like Anders is reduced to complaining that "my role isn’t to provide evidence to convince others of something"; when a group of people who appear consensually to endorse a link between CO2 and extreme weather can't even agree on what an "extreme weather event" is; and when apparently the only graphical illustration of scientific data responsive to my original (perfectly reasonable) request for scientific evidence is a plot produced by a German reinsurance company, then any reader with a healthy endowment of skepticism will surely form the provisional impression that a real weakness has been exposed in the group's belief system.

No? Can you seriously imagine anyone reading that thread and being satisfied, reassured or impressed by the collective ability of the group to substantiate one of its core teachings? And won't this lead to another disturbing question: if not for the skepticism of the "troll," would any of the billygoats have even stopped to interrogate their own beliefs in that way? How many other blissfully-unexamined articles of faith do they all take for granted without even agreeing on their meaning, let alone knowing why they're "right"? And these people say they're on the "science" side of the debate??

Is it any wonder Anders has now blocked me, Joshua?

(That makes ShapingTomorrowsWorld, Deltoid, SkepticalScience, HotWhopper and a couple of other blogs I can't think of right now where none of my comments are permitted to show up. For your protection, of course.)

By contrast, Judith Curry hasn't actually banned you, has she? Somehow she seems to have the ability to assess and handle your arguments (fairly or otherwise) on a case-by-case basis, doesn't she?

How do you account for the apparently much greater ability of the deniosphere to withstand criticism, and the comparatively exquisite fragility of the believosphere?

Finally, the questions I've posed for you above, on this page, are (in my humble opinion) even more important than any raised by the self-sealing defense mechanism of Anders' sad little blog. So I will highly value your thoughts on my "challenge". If it's still not quite clear why it's a challenge, and why you don't seem (to me) to have said anything that answers it, just say so and I will be happy to elaborate.

Thanks for the conversation,

Brad

PS if you would rather not do this on Dan's blog, then gmail me or leave your address at my blog. A very interesting thing is that so far only two "believers" in the history of the debate have been willing to chat with me one-on-one, outside the Climateball arena. I assure you there's nothing to worry about! In both cases we've become more friendly and understood each other even better than we did "in public." So, worth considering.

April 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

Joshua,
just to be explicit: all the disappointment and recrimination I vented in my long [ante]penultimate message ("Really, Joshua? Are you that motivated?...What the hell, Joshua?" etc. etc.) is subsidiary to my original sin of misreading your comments, for which I apologise, so I hope you'll be kind enough to ignore the negative tone running through the whole thing. Again, I'm sorry for assuming the worst; the only excuse I can plead is that, as you once observed, "people who might be interested in good faith exchanges are very conditioned and habituated to poor-faith exchange..."
Must try harder. :-(
BK

April 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

No problem, Brad. I misread comments sometimes also, obviously. And yes, there was some ambiguity in what I wrote (including the word "actually" could be read to imply derisive incredulity), so your misreading was understandable.

I'll try to find time later to read you comments in some detail. A quick perusal leaves me unpersuaded. My assessment of Anders is different than yours, and I will not easily be convinced that the reasons for (his or others') deleting and/or banning are motivated by fear.

April 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua,

thanks for understanding my...misunderstanding.

You may never be won over to my theory of censorship, given that you have no way of knowing what calibre of comments gets blocked and therefore no means to evaluate my claim that they're generally "better" than the ones that are allowed through. So it may just come down to who you believe: me, when I say it's an act of cowardice for a moderator to deprive you of access to outside voices, or Rachel, when she says it takes courage to do so! LOL—maybe that's not a bad, Orwellian joke after all; maybe I've got it all backwards! (Could it also be the case, I wonder, that the "mainstream" scientists' studious avoidance of public debate with "denier" scientists is also an act of bravery—not insecurity and disngenuity, as is generally assumed? Has folk psychology got it all wrong?)

Surely, though, when you say

I will not easily be convinced that the reasons for (his or others') deleting and/or banning are motivated by fear
...you don't mean to dispute that any censorship/"censorship" is motivated by fear, do you? You would accept, for example, that when the North Korean government denies its citizens the ability to hear outside voices, it's because it fears an open contest of ideas, knowing full well it would probably lose—right? In fact wouldn't it be reasonable to say that fear is the leading reason for any person or regime in human history to actively keep parishioners, citizens or "denizens" in the dark about something, especially about alien opinions?

By the way, what response—if any—would you predict I'll receive to the following tweet, and why?

.@dana1981 To quote .@theresphysics, "it would be great if everyone who did libel someone would apologise"—Will you say sorry to Dr Lindzen?
(Note that the tweet has been seen by hundreds of people, not just the recipients—so there is inevitably some cost [i.e. in face] associated with failing to answer it.)

In any case, this is all less important that The Challenge™, which is what I really would like your thoughts on, so it's no big deal if you don't have time to read the various later messages, which are admittedly prolix!

April 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>