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Feb122016

Will people who are culturally predisposed to reject human-caused climate change *believe* "97% consensus" social marketing campaign messages? Nope.

I’ve done a couple of posts recently on the latest CCP/APPC study on climate-science literacy. 

The goal of the study was to contribute to development of a successor to “OCSI_1.0,” the “Ordinary Climate Science Intelligence” assessment (Kahan 2015). Like OCSI_1.0, OCSI_2.0 is intended to disentangle what ordinary members of the public “know” about climate science from their identity-expressive cultural predispositions, which is what items relating to “belief” in human-caused climate change measure.

In previous posts, I shared data, first, on the relationship between perceptions of scientific consensus, partisanship, and science comprehension; and second on the specific beliefs that members of the public, regardless of partisanship, hold about what climate scientists have established.

click me to see public consensus on what climate scientists believe: viz., we're in deep shitWell, another thing we did was see how individuals with opposing cultural predispositions toward climate change react when “messaged” on “97% scientific consensus.”

As pointed out in the last post, people with opposing cultural outlooks overwhelmingly agree about what “climate scientists think” on numerous specific propositions relating to the causes and consequences of human-caused climate change. 

E.g., ordinary Americans—“liberal” and “conservative”—overwhelmingly agree that “climate scientists” have concluded that “human-caused global warming will result in flooding of many coastal regions.” True enough.

But they also agree, overwhelmingly, that climate scientists have concluded that “the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide associated with the burning of fossil fuels will increase the risk of skin cancer in human beings” and stifle “photosynthesis by plants.” Um, no.

These responses suggest that ordinary members of the public (again, regardless of their political orientation and regardless of whether they “believe” in climate change) get the basic gist of the weight of the evidence on human-caused global warming—viz., that our situation is dire—but have a pretty weak grasp of the details.

These items are patterned on science-literacy ones used to unconfound knowledge of evolutionary science from the identity-expressive answers people give to survey items on “belief” in human evolution. By attributing propositions to “climate scientists,” these questions don’t connote the sort of personal assent or Here's how to unconfound identity & knowledge in measuring evolutionagreement implied by “climate change belief items.”

Such questions thus avoid forcing respondents to choose between revealing what they “know” and expressing “who they are” as members of cultural groups whose identity is associated with pro- or con- attitudes toward assertions that human-caused climate change is putting society at risk. 

The question “is there scientific consensus on climate change,” in contrast, doesn’t avoid forcing respondents to choose between revealing what they know and expressing who they are.

Whatever their more particular group affinities, Americans are overwhelmingly pro-science.

Accordingly, being perceived to hold beliefs at odds with the best available scientific evidence marks one out as an idiot. A familiar idiom in the discourse of contempt, the accusation that one’s cultural group (definite in terms of political outlooks, religiosity, etc.) is “anti-science” is a profound insult.

Thus, for someone who holds a cultural identity expressed by climate skepticism, a survey item equivalent to “true or false—there’s expert scientific consensus that human beings are causing global warming” is tantamount to the statement “well, you and everyone you respect are genuine morons—isn’t that so?”

People with that identity predictably answer no, there isn’t scientific consensus on global warming—because that question, unlike more particular ones relating to what “climate scientists believe,” measures who they are, not what they know (or think they know) about science’s understanding of the impact of human activity on climate change. 

Messaging "scientific consensus" actually reinforces the partisan branding of positions on climate change, and thus frustrates efforts to promote public engagement with the best available evidence on how climate change is threatening their well-being.

Or that’s how I understood the best available evidence before conducting this study. 

But maybe I’m wrong.  If I am, I’d want to know that; and I’d want others to know it, too, particularly insofar as I’ve made my findings in the past known and have reason to think that people making practical decisions—important ones—might well be relying on them.

So in addition to collecting data on what people “believe” about human-caused global warming and on what they perceive climate scientists to believe, we showed study subjects (members of a large, nationally representative sample) an example of the kind materials featured in “97% consensus” social-marketing campaigns.

Specifically, we showed them this graphic, which was prepared for the AAAS by researchers who advised them that disseminating it would help to “increase acceptance of human caused climate change.”

We then simply asked those who had been shown the AAAS message “do you believe the statement '97% of climate scientists have concluded that human activity is causing global climate change' ”?

Overall, only 55% of the subjects said “yes.” 

That would be a great showing for a candidate in the New Hampshire presidential primary.  But my guess is that AAAS, the nation’s premier membership association for scientists, would not be very happy to learn that 45% of those who were told what the organization has to say about the weight of scientific opinion on one of the most consequential science issues of our day indicated that they thought AAAS wasn't giving them the straight facts.

What’s more, we know that the percentage of people who already believe in human-caused climate change is about 55%, and that the issue is one characterized by extreme political polarization.

So it's pretty obvious that if one is genuinely trying to gauge the potential effectiveness of this “messaging strategy,” one should assess what impact it will have on people whose political outlooks predispose them not to believe in human-caused climate change.

Here’s the answer:

Basically, the more conservative a person is, the less likely that individual is to believe the AAAS's magical "science communication" pie chart.

Unsurprisingly, this resistance to accepting the AAAS “message” is most intense among white male conservatives, the group in which denial of climate change is strongest (McCright & Dunlap 2012).

Or really just to make things simple, the only people inclined to believe the science communication being "socially marketed" in this way are those who are already inclined to believe (and almost certainly already do believe) in human-caused climate change.

Could this really be a surprise? By now, nearly a decade after the first $300 million "consensus" marketing campaign, those who reject climate change are surely very experienced at discounting the credibility of those who are "marketing" this "message."

Now, remember, these are the same respondents who, regardless of their political outlooks, overwhelmingly agree with propositions attributing to “climate scientists” all manner of dire prediction, true or false, about the impact of human-caused climate change.

There's a straightforward explanation for these opposing reactions.

People understand agreeing with fine-grained, particular test items to convey their familiarity with what climate scientists are saying.

Huh. Why doesn't this "message" bring skeptics around? I don't get it!They understand accepting “97% consensus messaging” as assenting to the charge that they and others who share their cultural identity are cretins, morons—socially incompetent actors worthy of ridicule.

Far from promoting acceptance of scientific consensus by persons with this identity, the contempt exuded by this form of "messaging" reinforces the resonances that make climate skepticism such a potent symbol of commitment to their group.

It’s patently ridiculous to think that “97% messaging” will change the minds of rather than antagonize these individuals, who make up the bulk of the climate-skeptical population.

Indeed, the probability that a conservative Republican who rejects human-caused climate change will believe the AAAS message is lower than the probability that he or she will already believe  that there’s scientific consensus on climate change. 

So even in the unlikely (very unlikely!) event that such a person credited the AAAS statement, the chance that he or she will profess “belief in” human-caused global warming is even less likely.

This “message” was one designed by social marketers who produced research that they characterize as showing that 97% consensus messaging “increased belief in climate change” in a U.S. general population sample.

Except that’s not what the researchers’ studies found.  The "97% message" increased  study subjects' estimates of the precise numerical percentage of climate scientists who subscribe to the consensus position. But the researchers did not find an increase in the proportion of study subjects who said they themselves "believe" human activity is causing climate change.

Empirical research is indeed essential to promoting constructive public engagement with scientific consensus on climate change. 

But studies can do that only if researchers report all of their findings, and describe their results in a straightforward and non-misleading way.

When, in contrast, science communication researchers treat their own studies as a form of “messaging,” they only mislead and confuse people who need their help.

References


McCright, A.M. & Dunlap, R.E. Bringing ideology in: the conservative white male effect on worry about environmental problems in the USA. J Risk Res, 1-16 (2012).


 

 

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Reader Comments (66)

@Dan

>>"...people with opposing cultural outlooks overwhelmingly agree about what “climate scientists think” on numerous specific propositions..."

No. 'Agree' implies they all poll in the same direction *for the same reasons*, which is your unlikely interpretation. A much more likely interpretation is that they poll in the same direction for *different* reasons (no other data implies anything universal about attitudes to climate change, and much other data tells you *why* different groups are polling in the same direction). Reason 1 (Rep / Con majority and a slice of the Dem / Libs released from identity challenge): they think the climate scientists believe all these [plausible or implausible] stories, but they *don't* believe any of these stories themselves. Reason 2 (Dem / Libs emotively commited to calamitous AGW): their unquestioning belief.

>>These responses suggest that ordinary members of the public (again, regardless of their political orientation and regardless of whether they “believe” in climate change) get the basic gist of the weight of the evidence on human-caused global warming—viz., that our situation is dire—but have a pretty weak grasp of the details.

This further conclusion relies on your above interpretation. But per mine if most of the public (Rep / Cons and some Dem / Libs) basically don't beleive a word of it, whatever the details, then we can't be sure of their grasp on said details. Their reaction is a distrust of anything climate scienctists say, whether or not they personally happen to know that some of these stories match the current consensus framing, while some do not. For the Dem / Libs emotively committed to calamitous climate change, their emotional state may override their logic, which is not quite the same as saying their grasp is poor, or at least further test would be needed to distinguish.

>>These items are patterned on science-literacy ones used to unconfound knowledge of evolutionary science from the identity-expressive answers people give to survey items on “belief” in human evolution.

This is excellent work imho, and does successfully decouple comprehension from cultural identity. I use your graphs from both domains to show, in 3 simple steps without reference to any domain detail, that Creationsim is a cultural phenomenon, and that belief in calamitous climate change is likewise a cultural phenomenon.
https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/who-is-who-aux-file.docx

The problem with your analysis in the climate domain is that you *do* inject domain detail, i.e. a hard prior that the climate consensus output must be 'true'. If instead you let the analysis *tell you* where cultural bias resides, you would find that it is mostly the blue side engaging in cultural defence, not the red side. If you switch the identity challenge on and off like a torch, it is (a significamt proprotion of) the Dem / Libs you see moving; the Rep / Cons largely stay still. Your arbitrary assignment of bias to the red side without measuring this, is what blinds you to that movement and leads to your 'weird problems'.

The climate debate is not about the temperature (despite endless circling), nor even about whether that actually causes significant (global) danger (though this the more relevant physical criteria). As you can see at Climate Etc for instance, where half the content is now about the social aspects, the real debate is about whether the climate consensus is a scientific one, or a social one. If the latter, it's output is just a story, and whatever the climate is doing (good, bad, or indifferent), that story can't be right, or at least the consensus would be the first in an endless series of historic cultural entities to have a story that turned out to be right. So my challenge to you is; set aside your hard prior. Assume you do not know what the climate consensus is. Turn your super insight and your fantastic data onto showing whether or not the climate consensus and the wider support around it, *is* scientific, or social. If you are so supremely confident that consensus science is not the result of a socially enforced consensus, and that there isn't a wider cultural entity based on the narrative of imminent (decades) calamity, then it should be easy for you to demonstrate this.

>>Whatever their more particular group affinities, Americans are overwhelmingly pro-science.

Yet as you discover at this link, for any actual science within a particular domain, the cultural values in that domain reinforce or dimish that support. And the innate skepticism of the public is sharp; they can often detect when the name of science is being inappropriately used to push policy or worldview. That detection ability has been honed over millennia. At that point they don't think it's science anymore, so their support is withdrawn. The interesting thing about innate skepticism is that it works without requiring domain knowledge, detecting motive from the style of the misinformation / cultural overdosing being applied. Innate skepticism explains why the bulk of the public in most countries still don't buy the calamitous AGW story, despite decades of pushing by authority.

>>Thus, for someone who holds a cultural identity expressed by climate skepticism, a survey item equivalent to “true or false—there’s expert scientific consensus that human beings are causing global warming” is tantamount to the statement “well, you and everyone you respect are genuine morons—isn’t that so?”

This is not so. All those skeptics with medium to strong domain knowledge will know as an absolute fact of life that they've been facing a consensus more or less forever. However, they don't for one moment think that consensus is a product of science. They think it's a product of social process, even though some think the trivial and ridiculous end of social process (e.g. a hoax). Though it's anecdotal, I'd say that the most common topic of discussion at skeptic or cross-over blogs is 'the consensus', even over global temperature or artic ice or whatever. It's simply a fact of life, which they've got no problem acknowledging. They've long since got used to the fact that the consensus self advertises as 'the' voice of science, and that much of the world believes this. I see no reason why they wouldn't answer 'yes'. Perhaps they'd have been insulted twenty+ years ago, but not now,'resigned to it' maybe. Some may be tempted to 'no' because, being domain knowledgable they clearly know a lot of scientists who don't belong to the consensus. But I recall a straw poll over at Climate Etc where both skeptics and orthodox overwhelmingly acknowledged the consensus, though together estimating it at significantly less than 97% (can't remember the figure now, maybe 75% to 85% ish). Skeptics have no problem with this whatsoever.

It's more difficult to make a call for the skeptics who aren't domain knowledgable. And these surely outnumber the above very significantly. It would be hard for anyone to avoid having heard of the 97% though, it's on global news regularly. So given that innate skepticism withdraws the badge of 'science' from this consensus which they hear about along with all the other immense cultural overdosing on climate issues, I'd guess that a few at least will be okay to say 'yes', simply acknowledging the fact of what they've heard on the news for many years now (but thinking inside, so what?). Yet many may as you say react emotively and deny the consensus, especially if they've actually heard of some skeptic scientific challenge, and in their minds amplify this challenge to a 50:50 level instead of the 80:20 or whatever that it actually is.

Overall, my guess would be a mixed reaction, but certainly a significant block of 'yes' votes at the minimum, heavily weighted to the higher OCSI scores, which I think is more or less what your graphic yesterday showed. Hence I don't understand in the previous thread why you think my interpretation of overall events doesn't accomodate a conditional 'yes' anser here.

>>...measures who they are, not what they know...

Very clearly demonstrated (and expected) for direct questioning on 'do you believe in dangerous AGW'? (Heh... and it is mostly Lib / Dems who shift, defensively claiming belief in CAGW when identity challenged, yet letting go of this belief when not so challenged). But per above the Consensus question is much more subtle and doesn't neccessarily conform so simply, especially for the domain knowledgeable (admittedly a minority that may not impact the bulk figures so much).

>>...Messaging "scientific consensus" actually reinforces the partisan branding of positions on climate change

Yet I do agree with this. The more that message is hammered, the more innate skepticism is triggered in the public. They are not stupid, they sense this is a narrative, they sense we can't be that certain of such a complex system, and they have seen over decades now the wild inconsistency of so much that is promoted in the name of CC, which itself suggests a much looser range of views at the very least.

For the domain knowledgable on the orthodox side, the 97% becomes an article of faith many have to stand by even if in their hearts they know it cannot be wholly true. For the domain knowledgable on the skeptic side, it reinforces that this is not aboyt science, it is about cultural messaging.

Hence via not the same path, I agree with the end part of your post that the 97% messaging is a bad thing from the PoV of the orthodox position, because it is hardening boundaries at the least, and from your charts, possibly even backfiring. One could argue that maybe this a good thing from the skeptic PoV, as it is likely to seriously damage climate orthodoxy in the long run, emphasizing that it is not science but cultural messaging that is happening.

February 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

@Andy West--


All those skeptics with medium to strong domain knowledge will know as an absolute fact of life that they've been facing a consensus more or less forever.... I see no reason why they wouldn't answer 'yes'.

This is very helpful.

I have repeated approximate 4x10^4 times that I'm analyzing public opinion, *not* the mindsets or views of the very very very very small portion of the US population, on either "side," that spends more than 5 seconds a day thinking about climate change. Those whom you are describing are *not* representative of general population -- in US or UK or anywhere else.

I have no reason to dispute your account of the strawpoll results or the understandings that prevail generally in fora like Climate Etc. or Judith Curry's blog or Wattsupw/that. To extent you are disputing my inferences from public opinion data based on your understanding of how those highly engaged & interested people reason, then we aren't connecting!

It's remarkable & important that the "According to climate scientists" assessment items feature so much less disagreement (& such uniformly low knowledge) than does the item on whether there is a "consensus" among "expert climate scientists" that "human activity has caused the temperature of the earth to become warmer over the past few decades."

I have an account of this, one that necessarily reflects a theory about what we'd expect to see if a certain account of the cultural meaning of discourse about climate change -- or better meaning*s*, since the critical point is that there are 2 "climate change" discussions-- or just two "climate changes"-- in the US: the one that features the question "who are you, whose side are you on?" & the one that features the question "what do we know; what more do we need to find out; what do we do?"

That's my view.

It's provisional, as everything is for me always.

Show me evidence that supports a different account. But it has to be an account of the phenomenon *I"m* trying to make sense of.

Again, it's very gratifying to me know that you get value out of the data & disagree w/ everything I say.

The possibility that people w/ diverse outlooks will be able to share observations that enlarge their common knowledge about how the world works is a precondition of human reason; that they will then, inevitably, form competing views about the practical significance of what they see is a necessary consequence of the free exercise of it.

February 13, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@Dan

>>I have repeated approximate 4x10^4 times that

Of course. That's why I made it very clear when referencing Climate Etc that I was talking only about the small minority who score high on your OCSI chart, who will all have similar reactions whether or not they've ever heard of that blog. The bulk of the puclic I clearly made a separate case for, but they are not climate savvy and will be down the bottom of your chart.

I agree with your assessment that the issue of 'whose side are we are on' is absolutely critical, as I've said 10,014 times. But you fail to accomodate the possiblity that those who exercise the most identity defence are (a section of) Dem / Libs, not the Rep / Cons. You 'define' that the former can't be doing this by accepting the climate consensus position as unquestioned 'truth', hence allocating all the cultural bias / identity defense to the Rep / Cons. Yet there is overwhelming evidence that the output of the consensus and the wider support it garners, is the product of a socially enforced consensus and not of unbiased science. I challenge to to refute, without merely quoting their authority about the calamity we apparently face, this evidence, and show that the climate consensus is only about science, and is not a cultural edifice. If you are so sure, this should be a very easy exercise! And if you permanently shy away from this task, the issue will always remain as an open sore via which everyone and his dog (including me), can hobble you on, because your whole interpretation of what is fantastic data (and well-collected), rests upon your hard-baked prior which you have not demonstrated to be true.

Meanwhile, I can show evidence that your interpretation does not stand, for instance your theory of 'a latent fear that we're all screwed.' This is countered by pretty much every survey in the US placing CC as a priority for government or the president, which score CC dead last or very low. This is consistently the case for years. Where political breakdown is available, even dem / Libs *only*, score low or very low. Released from identity defense by virtue of the priority list format, they basically drop their concern. None of these folks are expressing fear of any kind! This is also true for polls in other countries and globally, for instance the 8 milllion people UN poll that placed CC dead last. What kind of latent fear is one that never expresses itself in a priority for action?

February 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Dan -

Seen this?:

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10113-015-0914-y

February 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

More specifically:

This:

https://i0.wp.com/img.photobucket.com/albums/v224/Chiloe/Climate/ESAS_Fig0.png

And this:


http://smg.photobucket.com/user/Chiloe/media/Climate/WF6_Figure5.png.html

February 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@Joshua--

Yes-- very instructive! @LarryHamilton does lots of great work.

He is also one of the select 14 billion subscribers to this blog, & posted some great comments too in the thread on science comprehension & consensus.

Maybe he'll agree to do a guest post (understandably, he might be a bit worried about how the celebrity status would affect his life)

February 14, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Here is a paper claiming that 97% consensus messaging works. It's in PLOS One, which means that anyone can post a comment on it there.

Dan has criticised it before (link?) for claiming in the text that "In turn, changes in these key beliefs lead to increased support for public action" when in fact their own table shows that the increased support that they claim to have found is only 1%.

February 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Matthews

Dan -

I have struggled for a long time with your assertion that "consensus-messaging" has a significant (negative in balance) differential impact on public opinion w/r/t climate change and related policies.

But although I've tried to engage with you about how I see that issue differently than you, I don't feel that I've gotten very far in having my doubts about your argument resolved. I have thought of another way to frame my perspective.

When you speak of the "toxic" effect of "consensus-messaging," it seems to me that you might be doing what I frequently see "skeptics" doing here in the comment threads of your blog: treating the outlier group of highly active online "skeptics" as being representative of the larger group of Americans who ideologically align in opposition to those Americans who express concern about ongoing and increased aCO2 emissions.

While I don't doubt that "consensus-messaging' plays into a dynamic that looks like the "augment[ation] of toxic idioms of contempt" (I question whether it really augments toxicity as opposed to presents a readily available vehicle for mutual channeling preexisting contempt on both sides, respectively) with the outlier group of engaged "skeptics," I think that applies much more to the outlier group and not with the public more generally.

What, specific, evidence do you use to conclude that "consensus-messaging" increases the toxicity of the climate change issue for the larger public? Pointing to a relatively large segment of the public that remains "skeptical" does not seem to me to be sufficient.

February 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@PaulMathews--

My criticism is that the researchers selectively reported results & mischaracterized the outcome measure.

They claim that the experiment "increased belief in climate change." It didn't. They dsecribe as a measure of "belief in climate change" an item that asked rspts "how confident are you on scale 1-100 that *if* climate change is happening it is caused by humans..." That item expressly solicits responses from subjects who said they *didn't* believe in AGW. The authors did not acknowledge this in paper or even in the "on-line supplemental" material, which was another paper the suppelemntal material for which had item wording.

In fact, they didn't find any impact of msg on pct of subjects who accept AGW.

February 15, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@Joshua--

If you conclude simply that "consensus messaging" is a useless waste of time that diverts science communicators from the real problem (the antagonostic socisl meanings that attach to positions on climate change), I'll happily settle for that.

But the evidence that it is worse than that is right before your eyes.

Notice what I said to @Andywest: He ssays, "we climate sckeptics don't deny there is consensus! We just don't accept it."

I said, "I'm not measuring you. Ordinary members of the public--particularly ones who aren't 95th percentile in science comrehension -- respond to the statement 'there is scientific consensus on climate change -- true or false' in the same way the respond to the statement 'human beings are causing global warming--true or false'": in a manner that expresses their identity.

"But you see, they *don't* respond that way when one measures what they 'know' about the conclusions climate scienitsts have reached. ON those, tehre is not partisan disagreement."

SE Fla Climate Political Science says: don't engage in the "who are you, whose side are you on" climate change conversation; engage only in the "what do we know, what should we do" climate change conversation.

It's clear that assertions that "there is scientific consensus for our team's position" triggers the "who are you, whose side are you on," not the "what do you know" mindset, in the Kentucky Farmer.

Any mode of discourse that triggers this identity-protective responses is not just a waste of time; it is something that reinforces the toxic social meanings that make people use their reason for a purpose other than identifying what science knows.

The message the social marketing reserarchers are proposing-- "*your* team's view is contrary to scientific consensus; ours isn't!"--does that.

If you don't consider the evidence in these last 3 posts strong enough, fine.

There's more where this came from!

February 15, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@Dan

Agreed that it is counterproductive to reassert "97% consensus" ad nauseum, not to mention the pie chart, which is too obviously a PR ploy for simple minds. But I think you dismiss what Andy West is saying too quickly. Obviously he and I are on essentially opposite sides of the main issue.

You wrote, in response to Andy West


I have repeated approximate 4x10^4 times that I'm analyzing public opinion, *not* the mindsets or views of the very very very very small portion of the US population, on either "side," that spends more than 5 seconds a day thinking about climate change. Those whom you are describing are *not* representative of general population -- in US or UK or anywhere else.

I have no reason to dispute your account of the strawpoll results or the understandings that prevail generally in fora like Climate Etc. or Judith Curry's blog or Wattsupw/that. To extent you are disputing my inferences from public opinion data based on your understanding of how those highly engaged & interested people reason, then we aren't connecting!

But if you think the conversations in Climate, Etc., are irrelevant to the average unsophisticated climate change doubter, all my much less structured but more varied observation of the blogosphere tells me otherwise.

The spins that the anti-CAGW activists put on phrases and concepts, like "97% consensus" or simply "consensus" (==groupthink is the spin), or "denier", are spread far and wide. The typical "conservative" or libertarian logs into their favorite news and opinion blog, and they are at most 2 degrees of separation away from Climate, etc, or WUWT. Those that don't read anything online have friends, cousins, uncles, whatever who do. In any largely conservative group, everyone knows someone, or someone who knows someone, who "knows all about" the climate change hoax. To better understand, you might want to adopt some of Jonathan Haidt's methods from The Righteous Mind, of following up on the yes/no or multiple choice questionaires with questions about "why do you give this answer?" or see how they react to various response. Such work doesn't give you simple marketable assertions, but is a sort of taxonomical exploration that is sorely needed to inform your hypothesis-making. Haidt is brilliant when he's not going totally off the rails virtually advocating affirmative action for conservative sociologists (and coming to wrong conclusions about the trend in academia because he doesn't get how much the meanings and valences of "liberal" and "conservative" have changed in the past 3 decades or so).

You've also cited Theda Skocpol a few times as generally supporting some of your positions. I think she would be an excellent person to talk to, since she's spent quite a bit of time in Tea Party meetings, and might shed some light on where people get their ideas, namely from a highly dynamic and proactive if diffuse organization that will broadly spread "defeaters" to any new messaging within days of its appearance.

February 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHal Morris

@HalMorris-- Now you & @Andyest are in disagreement. He replied to the same quoted language:

Of course. That's why I made it very clear when referencing Climate Etc that I was talking only about the small minority who score high on your OCSI chart,

I have to say I didn't find his argument very satisfying on that point b/c it's manifestly not true that "skeptically" predisposed idividuals in 90th percentile or above in OSI are likely to accept that there is scientific consensus on climate; they are just *more* likely to do so than people w/ same cultural identities who are low to middling in OSI.

It's the reversal of the usual pattern -- higher science comprehension, more polariazation -- that needs to be explained w/r/t acceptence of "scientific consensus," not why anyone simultaneously accepts there is scientific consensus & rejects climate change (those people are still super outliers--& I'm happy to accept that they are congregating in online climate-change discussion fora, which is really super unusual thing to do! as is reading this blog-- there are only 14 billion subscribers, after all)

February 15, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Dan -

==> It's clear that assertions that "there is scientific consensus for our team's position" triggers the "who are you, whose side are you on," not the "what do you know" mindset, in the Kentucky Farmer.

Any mode of discourse that triggers this identity-protective responses is not just a waste of time; it is something that reinforces the toxic social meanings that make people use their reason for a purpose other than identifying what science knows.

What I don't see evidence of is what those who respond to "consensus-messaging" in the "who I am" not "what I know" mode would respond in some materially more beneficial or different way absent "consensus-messaging." I'm not arguing that "consensus-messaging" is effective, I'm asking for evidence that proves, in some concrete way, that it is counterproductive or that it produces toxic attitudes in those who would not otherwise be immersed in the toxic environment of the climate change wars."

It seems to me that the closest that you come to providing that evidence is by pointing to the existence of a large # of the American public that is not convinced to accept the task of developing policies to address the potential risk of continued aCO2 emissions. But that isn't sufficient evidence, IMO. It's entirely possible that the public who feels that way would be even larger absent "consensus-messaging." Making counter-factual arguments. - what would be true if things were different - which it seems to me that you're doing here (i.e., that there would be less antipathy among "skeptics" for scientists who think that continued aCO2 poses the risk of harmful climate change), requires a high bar of evidentiary proof.

Certainly, I might get the impression that "consensus-messaging" reinforces toxicity if I limit my observations to "skeptics" in the "skept-o-sphere." But if when I look more comprehensively at that outlier group, I see that while they claim that "consensus-messaging" is partially explanatory for their antipathy towards climate scientists, the impression I get is that what really lies behind their antipathy is a much farther-reaching identity-oriented antipathy.

And when I look at the larger group of "skeptics," not that outlier group I see no particular evidence to support the argument that they'd respond with some kind of strongly negative reaction to someone else saying to them that most climate scientists share an opinion that continued aCO2 emissions pose the risk of harmful climate change. I think that for the most part, those who aren't already wedded to a ideologically-influenced identity-protective cognition would pretty much respond with "Eh, maybe so" and get on with the rest of their lives.


Reinforcing toxic social meaning among people who already have antipathy for you and who are wedded to a toxic mechanism of identity-defense and identity-aggression does not necessarily have a real or significant differential impact, IMO. It's possible that you haven't really increased the level of antipathy, or even strengthened the existing antipathy...you've only provided one more of a long line of pathways (within the discussion of climate change and extending far beyond it into tons of other areas of discussion that display the exact same ideological polarization) for that antipathy to take form and/or be expressed. Tea Partiers, as an example, are not more likely to look favorably upon a scientist who says that there is evidence of risk from continued aCO2 emissions only because said scientist abstains from noting that there is a strong prevalence of shared opinion among climate science experts that such a risk exists.

I'll certainly buy an argument that there could be an "opportunity cost" from not pursing other communicative methods that help to build a non-politicized framework for discussion. I'm not defending "consensus-messaging" as I think it is not likely to be significantly productive.

I don't question that asking people about the "consensus" produces politicized responses that aren't reflected in the questions that you ask people about what they think climate scientists believe to be true about sea level rise, for example. I am not questioning whether or not the topic of the "consensus" reflects the existing polarization around the issue of climate change more generally. I'm just asking you for solid proof that someone who doesn't already feel identity-related aggression towards those who identify with "other" groups that have a different orientation on climate change, would start to feel that way because someone told them that most scientists share an opinion that aCO2 poses risk...or that someone who already feels that antipathy will feel it more strongly because someone says to them that most climate scientists share an opinion that aCO2 poses a risk.

And btw, some of Larry Hamilton's evidence seems to suggest a stronger association between ideology and beliefs about what climate scientists say about things like sea level rise. I've asked him to comment on the data that you've presented recently. I'll link his response when I get it.

February 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@Joshua--

did he use the words "According to climate scienitsts...."?

Stay tuned ...

February 15, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Hal -

--> But if you think the conversations in Climate, Etc., are irrelevant to the average unsophisticated climate change doubter, all my much less structured but more varied observation of the blogosphere tells me otherwise.

The vast majority of people who identify as "skeptics" in the American public do not base their skepticism on knowledge of what climate scientists say or what heavily engaged "skeptical" partisans say. The vast majority have no idea what "Climategate" is, or what "sensitivity" is, or who Judith Curry is or even who Michael Mann is. They only know that concern among scientists for continued aCO2 emissions is somehow associated with leftist capitalism haters. They don't need Climate Etc. to get that impression.

As an example, the same kind of politicization took place with Ebola. The same cohort of "conservatives" that is associated with climate "skepticism" were quite convinced that the CDC was wrong and that we should quarantine healthcare workers and restrict who could get into the country. No Ebola Etc. was necessary to engender such a widely share response among "conservatives." All that was needed was for the issue to become politicized, and for it to be clear how the political cleavage would separate "us" from "them."

I, too, read what "conservatives" who are not particularly knowledgeable about climate science and heavily engaged in political warfare say about climate change. And yes, they do repeat many of the same arguments that I read at someplace like Climate Etc....but (1), they are, also an outlier group and, (2) they don't need entities like Climate Etc. to gain access to the arguments they present. They can get access to those same arguments quite easily through mainstream Republican politicians and through mainstream rightwing media outlets.

February 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Dan -

At least in this one, pretty close:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v224/Chiloe/Climate/Warmsci_tracking_Tea2.png

What I find most interesting about his data is that they show that Republicans are generally closer to Independents than they are to Tea Partiers. Aggregating the data can hide that. There is a king of "dose-dependent" aspect to this that I think is pretty important.

February 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

He also posted this:

The partisan divide on consensus looks pretty wide in our surveys — about 60 points between Democrats and Tea Partiers, last time we asked the following question:

“Which of the following two statements do you think is more accurate? ROTATE 1–2
1 Most scientists agree that climate change is happening now, caused mainly by human activities.
2 There is little agreement among scientists whether climate change is happening now, caused mainly by human activities.”

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/consensus-messaging/#comment-72562

February 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@Joshua


The vast majority of people who identify as "skeptics" in the American public do not base their skepticism on knowledge of what climate scientists say or what heavily engaged "skeptical" partisans say. The vast majority have no idea what "Climategate" is, or what "sensitivity" is, or who Judith Curry is or even who Michael Mann is. They only know that concern among scientists for continued aCO2 emissions is somehow associated with leftist capitalism haters. They don't need Climate Etc. to get that impression.

True that they have no idea who Judith Curry or Michael Mann are, but w.r.t. "They only know that concern among scientists for continued aCO2 emissions is somehow associated with leftist capitalism haters. They don't need Climate Etc. to get that impression." that's quite an extraordinary notion, one that just didn't exist a decade ago. I say they're getting the general idea 2nd and 3rd hand, and also if they watch read or listen to any "mainstream" right wing sources such as Fox, they know what memes, such as "97%" are routinely treated with contempt, and have some vague idea what that contempt is (avowedly) based on - maybe just the vaguest, but enough to reinforce the notion that not just academic producers of sociological studies, but climate scientists are with leftist capitalism haters.

As an example, the same kind of politicization took place with Ebola. The same cohort of "conservatives" that is associated with climate "skepticism" were quite convinced that the CDC was wrong and that we should quarantine healthcare workers and restrict who could get into the country. No Ebola Etc. was necessary to engender such a widely share response among "conservatives." All that was needed was for the issue to become politicized, and for it to be clear how the political cleavage would separate "us" from "them."

Well, yes, and everything that has any potential for divisiveness is promptly pumped full of divisiveness, so that on Ebola, on responses to the BP spill, on Gabby Giffords' shooting, Obama and the Dem side of the congressional aisle can be seen to be wrong, wrong, wrong, and Obama seen to be the most catastrophically, consistently wrong president anyone has ever heard of. The fact that <B>everyone</B> repeats the phrase "Climategate" has incalculable value for the anti-AGW cause

A short piece from Mother Jones, relates how that phrase appeared suddenly out of nowhere.

How Climategate Got Its Name

—By Kate Sheppard
| Mon Jul. 25, 2011 4:40 PM EDT

When the uproar over a trove of stolen emails from the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University started back in November 2009, I resisted calling the incident "Climategate." Yet it appeared in almost every post we wrote about it at Mother Jones, because it very quickly became the shorthand that everyone seemed to be using to refer to theft and release of a number of emails between notable climate scientists. When I wrote a feature on the episode a few months ago, it was back in the headline because my editors and I agreed that this would be the name most readily identifiable to readers.

But there were always misgivings. Anything with the suffix "-gate" automatically implies scandal, of course, and the term is overused, to say the least. It seemed, however, we were stuck with it, and in rather short order after the emails were released. Our valiant fact-checker Jaeah Lee and I tried to figure out who exactly was responsible for coining it in this particular case. We didn't really figure it out conclusively, but now David Norton, recent graduate of American University's master's program in Public Communication, has devoted considerable time and attention to it. Norton put together a detailed timeline, via AU communication Professor Matt Nisbet writing over at Big Think.

Norton pretty much concludes that the term started in a comment thread on the skeptic blog Watt's Up With That a few days after the emails were first posted online. Within hours, it spread to other blogs and Twitter. Interestingly, Norton notes that environmentally-minded folks who thought it was a non-scandal were also inadvertently instrumental in helping the term "Climategate" catch on:
ADVERTISING

Over the next several hours, the term "climategate" propagated through blogs and on Twitter, and began to supplant the proper noun “east anglia” as an indexical and referable moniker. With the early, near-ubiquitous adoption of such a straightforward snowclone, the incident became implicitly controversial and scandalous by its very name. Environmentalists challenging the nascent meme could do little to stop its spread, and in fact, may have inadvertently solidified its name as a framing device.

The paper is an interesting read. Of course, calling the incident "Climategate" was a lot more simple than calling it "that time when some unknown person procured and released a number of emails between climate scientists, potentially via illegal means." But it's a helpful reminder that what we call things matters, particularly when a meme can take on a life of its own online.


The referenced paper is at http://www.cmsimpact.org/sites/default/files/documents/pages/david_norton_climategate.pdf - quite readable - and I happened to have a front-row seat as right wing activists on Twitter were working out the "spin" minutes after Gabby Giffords was shot because I have my own ultra-Tea Partier wife to give me a different perspective on these matters.

Per Joshua: And when I look at the larger group of "skeptics," not that outlier group I see no particular evidence to support the argument that they'd respond with some kind of strongly negative reaction to someone else saying to them that most climate scientists share an opinion that continued aCO2 emissions pose the risk of harmful climate change. I think that for the most part, those who aren't already wedded to a ideologically-influenced identity-protective cognition would pretty much respond with "Eh, maybe so" and get on with the rest of their lives.

It seems to me we're very much aligned, and I'm reading what you have to say for useful insight.

February 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHal Morris

@Joshua--

The data I have on whether there is consensus is huge.Take a look at the figures. That's my point: the survey item on "scientific consensus" meausures something different from what people *know* climate scientists actually have concluded. If I'm being read to say there isn't a big gap on "scientific consensus," I'm being read by people who are skipping 70% of the what I say.

Similarly on impact of science comprehension. The consensus-acceptance gap is huge even when one looks only at highest in OCI, even though it's less there-- the reaction to the post on that reads the data as if they indicated that there wasn't any gap in those rspts.

I can check tea party. I know that that's about *half* as many big a group as 18 mos. ago.


@LarryHalmilton's data is for one state, unless it's a different dataset. It's still interesting. But it's not a good idea to ignore that!

Last point: I just don't know what to say to people who can't understand the argument that it's a bad idea to use a "message" (the survey item measures reaction to it) that provokes identity-protective, polarizing responses on facts (what climate scientists know) that otherwise don't divide people on partisan grounds. That's the evidence; that's the point. What's not to get?

February 16, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan


I just don't know what to say to people who can't understand the argument that it's a bad idea to use a "message" (the survey item measures reaction to it) that provokes identity-protective, polarizing responses on facts (what climate scientists know) that otherwise don't divide people on partisan grounds. That's the evidence; that's the point. What's not to get?

I can only talk for myself, but I'm very uncomfortable with the idea that we should avoid presenting something that is true simply because of the response it might provoke. That's not to say that I think consensus messaging is the be all and end of all of how science should be communicated in this context, but I dislike the idea of explicitly avoiding it because it might produce a negative reaction in some.

I will say, though, that my interpretation of the consensus with respect to climate change is simply the scientific position; we are warming, it is mostly us (or some suitable variant of that). Adding words like peril/danger, is not - in my view - a correct interpretation of the scientific consensus. I realise that some people do add such terms and do claim that this is the consensus, but it's not strictly correct. In most cases, however, I suspect such people are not actually engaging in science communication; at least not what I would regard as science communication.

I'll add a more general comment. It seems to me that a great deal of the public debate about climate change ends up revolving around what is acceptable and what isn't. We mustn't use "denier". We mustn't use consensus messaging, it's toxic and damaging. A lot of it feels, to me at least, like an attempt to control the narrative, with - ultimately - the goal of discouraging some ideas from being presented. I certainly have no great expertise in the social sciences, but - it seems to me - that this is itself quite interesting.

February 16, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

@Then...You just aren't trying to understand the argument.

"Social marketing" of scientific consensus is not communicating science; it's communicating an attitude to people who *already know* what scientists are saying.

The attitude creates an enviroment-- a political one -- in which people have an incentive to take expressive positions unrelated to science.

If you want to promote collective action consistent with scientific consensus, stop engaging in culturally assaultive forms of advocacy.

I've said this clearly. 1000 times.

If you just can't comprehend this position, that's okay.

I'll present the evidence & the argument to the many many people who *can*, so that they can reflect on why a course of action that has been engaged in for over a decade hasn't worked & is in fact counterprodutive.

February 16, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan


You just aren't trying to understand the argument.

Really? You haven't considered the possibility that I do understand the argument, but happen to disagree, or think the situation might be a little more complex than you seem to be suggesting, or that maybe your data doesn't quite support your claim that consensus messaging is toxic?


If you want to promote collective action consistent with scientific consensus, stop engaging in culturally assaultive forms of advocacy.

Ahhh, it might seem that you didn't actually read my comment? This may in fact be the key point. You seem to be assuming that "consensus messaging" is only related to promoting collective action. I realise that this is indeed often how it is used. However, this is not necessarily the motivation behind science communication. To me, science communication is about presenting - to the public and policy makers - scientific information. What they choose to do with that information, or whether or not they choose to accept it, is up to them. As I said, that there is a strong consensus is essentially true. There are cases when trying to explain science to people requires that they appreciate the level of consensus. Hence consensus messaging, in my view, can play an important in getting people to appreciate the perceived strength of the scientific evidence.

So, it seems that your argument doesn't really relate to science communication; it relates to activism. You seem to be suggesting that people who are promoting collective action would be more successful if they avoided consensus messaging as it can be counter-productive/toxic/damaging. Well fine, but that's not necessarily the same as science communication and it might be useful if you were to be clear about the distinction.


If you just can't comprehend this position, that's okay.

Based on this I have to assume that the only point at which you'd accept that I do comprehend this position is when I also agree with the argument you're making? In my, possibly limited, experience, I find that suggesting that the reason someone doesn't agree with me is because they just don't comprehend the position, tends to put their back up. You're the expert at this, though.

February 16, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

If someone doesn't have sufficient scientific background to assess the scientific argument for themselves, then they need to form an opinion based on the advice or recommendation of others. In this case, a sensible approach is to align yourself with the mainstream scientific position. In order to do this, we need to be able to tell what the mainstream scientific position actually is. This is made more difficult if there are those spreading incorrect information, such as that there is no scientific consensus on climate change. The natural thing to do is to provide evidence for the existence of a consensus. As ATTP suggests, discussing the consensus is not necessarily even advocacy, and it certainly isn't in itself "culturally assaultive" (although it is possible to be rude when communicating anything).

"If you just can't comprehend this position, that's okay. "

Whenever I get papers rejected, I assume it is because I didn't explain myself clearly, and I use the reviewers comments to understand how I failed to communicate my intended meaning, even if it is blindingly obvious to me. I would suggest that telling someone (especially an academic) that they can't comprehend your position might itself be "culturally assaultive" ;o)

February 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDikran Marsupial

Well, I suppose I'm somewhat in the middle.

The causality behind public opinion on climate change seems very complex to me. It's multi-factorial and involves the complicated dynamics of how people engage with risk assessment and uncertainty with low probability/high impact outcomes. It involves the complicated nature of identity-cognition (meaning identity-aggression and identity defense), motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, cultural cognition.

As such, it seems quite implausible to me that "consensus-messaging," a rather minute component of the overall dynamic in play, has much explanatory power for understanding public opinions on climate change. And that implausibility runs in two directions: Just as it is implausible to me that very many "skeptics" have have their opinions significantly altered by "consensus-messaging," it also seems implausible that many people will have their level of concern about aCO2 emissions significantly increased as the result of "consensus-messaging."

I get (1) Dan's argument that asking questions about whether there is a "consensus" shows a level of polarization that isn't apparent when if you simply ask about climate scientists' opinions about sea level change, say and, (2) there is a certain common sense logic behind speculating that "consensus-messaging" is likely to some to seem as identity-assaultive rhetoric...but I still feel that Dan has not presented solid evidence of any significant "toxic" impact from "consensus-messaging" (IMO, most of those not already ideologically aligned on the issue of climate change are not likely to respond strongly to "consensus-messaging," and those who are likely to respond strongly to "consensus-messaging" are already strongly ideologically aligned.

On the other hand, I remained unconvinced by the evidence I've seen presented by those who argue that "consensus-messaging" will will have the potential to significantly move the needle on public opinion on climate change. Again, MO, the dynamic of opinion formation on this issue is far to complex to be materially changed by that methodology, particularly since the use of that methodology in the real world will inevitably be viewed within a politicized framework.

February 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Dan -

==> If you just can't comprehend this position, that's okay.


What is the purpose of that kind of rhetoric? FWIW, IMO, it seems gratuitous and condescending.

February 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua


it seems gratuitous and condescending.

I assumed that was the intent ;-)

February 16, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Is "97% consensus" inherently offensive? I doubt it, and think it is heavily mediated. A much more thoughtful approach is needed. Getting rid of references to "97% consensus" won't be any silver bullet. If the new messaging is again something harped upon repetitiously, the Right Wing Rapid Response Spin Team is likely to make that as odious to people of a certain POV as "97% consensus" was.

Partly, it's the internet effect. Try for yourself Google "97%" consensus

On the first 10 response page, I get 8 refuting/trashing/demolishing the consensus claim, including one with the inevitable Al Gore holding his head as if he has a headache, and only this: theconsensusproject.com and Wikipedia article "Surveys of scientists' views on climate change" in the other column.

February 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHal Morris

@Dan

>>It's the reversal of the usual pattern

partial reversal.

>> -- higher science comprehension, more polarization --

classic cultural bias, the orthodox have one knowledge branch, the skeptics have another.

>>that needs to be explained w/r/t acceptence of "scientific consensus," not why anyone simultaneously accepts there is scientific consensus & rejects climate change

because some folks on the skeptic knowledge branch have discovered enough genuine dissension to believe this invalidates the consensus, whereas others (increasingly with higher knowledge) realize that quantitatively speaking it does not. I'd guess that with very many more respondents, you might have picked up a hockey stick at the very very end of your graph where, as I noted above, this realization will be much greater for the blog readers :)

>>He says 'we climate sckeptics'

I did not say this anywhere. I think it's important to report what people actually said.

>>If you want to promote collective action consistent with scientific consensus, stop engaging in culturally assaultive forms of advocacy.

This is dead right.

The fact that authorities and agencies world-wide are doing this though, might just be an eentsy weensty clue that their position is a cultural one, not a scientific one. The scientists and policy makers are embedded in the orgs that emotively engage in this manner, and are not magically isolated from them.

http://judithcurry.com/2015/04/24/contradiction-on-emotional-bias-in-the-climate-domain/

February 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

@Dan - hold onto your sense of humor and don't get all John McWhorter on us. McWhorter innocently got ambushed by academic fashion, when he described in detail how Pidgin and Creole languages go through a simplification process contra the holy precept that (in response to the sins of 19c anthropologists) there are no simpler or more primitive language. He ran into a buzzsaw and ended up working for the Manhattan Institute.

If I may caricature what you're doing somewhat, it seems to be trying to get arrogant elitists to use some tact in dealing with an already defensive public, but you seem to be running out of tact yourself. Also things you say that suggest they are arrogant elitists make for good context-free soundbites for the right.

IMO, we need to provide ammunition for the opinion makers on the correct (yes I have that "hard prior" too) side of the issue, which is what the right has gotten so adept at doing.

One proposal:
I’ve been thinking about this. Suppose you take a pistol grip infrared thermometer — the kind you can point at a wall in you house to see how well the insulation works and the like — Easily under $20 at Amazon or Banggood.com, and a plastic bag full of air, and a plastic bag full of C02 – doable with a $1 C02 cartridge and a little cleverness to snip the end off with scissors inside a sealed mostly empty bag or let some dry ice evaporate. I tested and found thin clear plastic is pretty transparent to infrared rays; not so with glass. Measure the temperature of a warm object via infrared rays passing through each bag in turn. Will there be an observable difference? I really don’t know; might be dramatic, or it might be miniscule. If dramatic, the contrast to transparency to sunlight is obvious; otherwise one may have to work harder and bring in more measuring artifacts.

Consider the atmosphere with around 400 ppm Co2 — very little, but the infrared radiation has to travel through miles of atmosphere. Should a mile of 400 ppm Co2 produce as much light trapping as 2 feet of pure Co2?

If the basic principle can be vividly established, the onus is on the deniers (those who deny – not the true skeptics) to argue that the effect is reversed by some combination of water vapor, albedo, etc., and unless it’s reversed *uniformly* across the planet, the basic Co2 + reversal mechanisms will redistribute heat and cold around the planet, and we can observe that it’s happening non-uniformly, which the history of drastic climate changes for which we have little or no explanation suggest can destabilize important systems like the Monsoon or the Gulf Stream.

I really wonder that changes over the last decades to temperature at various high latitudes is rarely mentioned in trying to educate the public, though we show animations of changes to arctic ice area — those animations come out of a long sequence of black boxes as far as the public is concerned and might lead to reactions of “I’m really not all that clear what the phenomena being animated are, much less how it is turned into animation, much less what the implications would be”.

February 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHal Morris

@HalMorris--

I performed your thought experiment. But my subject turned out to be Kentucky Farmer. He nodded & wrote down something in a notebook that he keeps on his desk (right next to his new Monsanto "Fieldview Pro" climate change forecaster).

I then asked him, "so believe in human caused climate change now?" And he said, "Nope. Fuck Al Gore"

February 16, 2016 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@Dan

You still haven't addressed Kentucky farmer Ethan's cousin, Jacob. He represents the slightly less than half of farmers who despite *belief* in human caused climate change, are doing nothing in their business to accommodate its effects wrt the above mitigations, which things they think are not necessary. Nor do they think farmers are going to go bust. Say what? They believe in the ultimate threat to the environment, the engine of rapidly increasing extreme weather that some in climate orthodoxy claim is already upon us, and yet they’re fine with doing nothing to face the future?

You state regarding Ethen:
You can’t explain him by saying “he knows what climate scientists say but doesn’t believe it ….”
I could equally state regarding Jacob:
You can’t explain him by saying “he believes what climate scientists say but knows it doesn’t apply to him ….”

The case of Jacob makes it more obvious that *both* the Ethan (Kentucky Farmer) and Jacob paradigms are falsely framed. (For new readers see my 6th Feb comment at below for why):
http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2015/1/7/so-you-want-to-meet-the-pakistani-dr-just-pay-a-visit-to-the.html?currentPage=2#comments

February 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

I'll make one final comment. There appear to be a number of associated conclusions, not all of which are obvious. Firstly there's the claim that consensus messaging makes certain groups feel, or seem, like idiots. Let's say I accept this (I don't necessarily, but for this exercise, let's say I do). The next conclusion seems to be that, therefore, if one wants to promote collective action consistent with scientific consensus, that one shouldn't use consensus messaging because it's divisive/counter-productive/damaging.

Why is the latter obvious? If I were an activist trying to promote some kind of action and I had two possible strategies, one of which had the potential to make those who would likely oppose action seem - and feel - like idiots, and the other was be more conciliatory and senstive to their cultural positions; which one would I choose? It might be nice to think that we live in a world where we'd typically choose the latter, but that seems a bit idealistic and naive. It's probably easier to promote action if you make those who would likely oppose it seem like idiots, than if you act in a way that makes it appear that the ideas of those who would likely oppose action appear more credible than they actually are.

So, even if consensus messaging has this potentially damaging consequence, it's still not obvious to me why this implies that it shouldn't be used by those who are promoting climate action. To be clear, I'm not suggesting that it wouldn't be nice to live in a world where we were more sensitive to how some might respond to information that challenges their cultural norms, but that doesn't mean that avoiding promoting this information is the most effective way to promote one's policy preferences.

February 17, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

@attp

"So, even if consensus messaging has this potentially damaging consequence, it's still not obvious to me why this implies that it shouldn't be used by those who are promoting climate action."

Because the 'damage' is sufficient to stop this strategy from ever working. As Dan notes, your target audience (skeptics), will simply entrench more against this cultural assault. You'll make your problem worse. If there were merely 5 or even 10% of the population who were skeptical, then you could choose to live with the damage and just drive over them (as you suggest). But if the figure was that small, you probably wouldn't need messaging in the first place; your preferred policies would already be voted in by large majority. In reality there may be close to half the population who are skeptical (depends how you measure, but on any measure it's way way bigger than 10%, and on some measures it's over half). You can't simply drive over this many people, and the more you culturally attack them, the less chance you'll have of ever removing their mass resistance to your preferred policies.

February 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Andy -

==> As Dan notes, your target audience (skeptics),...

Not to speak for Anders, but my impression is that you have misinterpreted his "target audience."

Part of the problem here is a matter of definitions. What is the actual definition of "skeptic?"

Along those lines, Dan doesn't have evidence that the impact seen in the politicization of questions like ones about whether there is a "consensus" (as opposed to questions that are less resonant, such as "Do you think that most climate scientists agree that sea levels will change with continued aC02 emissions"), isn't primarily reflective of hardened "skeptics" who are ideologically attached to "skepticism" (perhaps you would say emotively engaged?)

Look at this graph:

https://i1.wp.com/img.photobucket.com/albums/v224/Chiloe/Climate/Warmsci_tracking_Tea2.png

From that graph, there is good reason to believe that the "politicization" that shows in questions about whether there is a "consensus" on climate change is almost completely due to ideologically hardened rightwingers, people who are so ideologically wedded to climate "skeptic" ideology that in fact it would make no sense for "activists" to "target" them.

So your comment skips right over your lack of definition of what is meant by "skeptic."

Do you mean someone who doesn't claim to have much knowledge about climate change but isn't inclined to completely re-arrange his/her life so as to use less energy because of relatively less immediate concern about aCO2 emissions,...

... or do you mean a hardliner Tea Partier, who is completely aligned with hardcore political activism based on a belief that climate scientists are trying to impose a "statist," authoritarian big government scheme to deprive him/her of their hard-earned money through onerous taxes in service of establishing a one-world government?

(Keep in mind that polling shows that (1) the difference in level of "skepticism" between Tea Partiers and Republicans is greater than the difference in level of "skepticism" between Republicans and Independents and, (2) Polling shows that Tea Partiers are far more certain than other segments of the ideological spectrum that they have all the knowledge they need to decide what the implications of aCO2 emissions might be (even though testing of their factual knowledge shows that their confidence in their understanding is misplaced). In fact, you might say that the confidence of Tea Partiers w.r.t their views on climate changes suggests an "emotive" or "religious" faith-based attachment to their views.

My guess is that Anders might not be particularly concerned about the reaction of a "skeptic" of the first type if a "skeptic" of second type thought that he/she was being called an idiot because someone told him/her that the vast majority of expert scientists think that continued aCO2 emissions pose a risk of harmful climate change.

February 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Andy -

==> . If there were merely 5 or even 10% of the population who were skeptical, then you could choose to live with the damage and just drive over them (as you suggest).

To underline my point, that sentence of yours shows a big problem in your analysis: it lacks any differentiation of belief among those who might be called "skeptics."

In fact, for all you know, the % of "skeptics" who would take serious offense (feel that they're being "driven over") at being told that there is a strong prevalence of shared view among expert climate scientists may be less than 5 or 10%.

Importantly, your general analyses similarly lack any differentiation between different kind of "skeptics." That problem is what leads Dan's comments about you generalizing about all "skeptics" from an unrepresentative sampling of the hardcore extremists to be found in the "skept-o-sphere."

February 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Andy -

==> In reality there may be close to half the population who are skeptical (depends how you measure, but on any measure it's way way bigger than 10%, and on some measures it's over half).

See comments above. Total lack of differentiation of what it means to be a "skeptic."

February 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua


Because the 'damage' is sufficient to stop this strategy from ever working.
>
If this is true, and obvious, why - from what I've seen - are most of those who seem to promote Dan's anti-consensus-messaging claims people who have a reputation for not wanting climate action, while those who seem critical of it are those with a reputation for wanting climate action? Am I simply missing lots of other examples? Are people just stupid; do those who promote this, but don't want climate action, not realise that they're promoting a strategy that would work against them? Are those who oppose this, but do want climate action, not realise that they're passing up a great opportunity?

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

@Joshua, yes there's an enormous range of what it means to be a skeptic. If it means those who do not place climate change policies as their top priority, it can get over 80% of the US population. If it means those who would not pay significant extra tax to solve the 'climate problem', it could be even higher. If it means those who say they don't believe that AGW is mostly man-made, then we're now down below half. If it means those who (according to Dan's theory, which I dispute) do not share a latent fear that we're all screwed, then it's around a quarter. If it's those who explicitly say there's been no warming in recent decades, then its a few percent. If it's raving swivel eyed right wing bigots, then it's sub 1%. But Dan's right that folks tend to protect their cultural identity against a perceived attack, and this shows in various topics that express on the tribal left-right political axis in the US (and other axes). I happen to disagree with Dan about where most of the identity protection is coming from in the CC domain, don't think his conclusion matches his data. But I agree that a promotion of the 97% as a bludgeon will almost certainly stiffen resistance, and given that identity defense can be a mass effect, I think from the above scale as a guide you'll be fairly deep into it, much more than the 10% line.

@attp

I've no idea who does or doesn't promote Dan's idea. Why should that matter? He has an insight; you either have a good argument to counter it, or you don't. Until legitimately countered, it is what it is.

My own observation is that wielding cultural aggression is itself a cultural act, but that's a different story anyhow.

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Andy, as I pointed out, not everyone is a "skeptic" (I don't think that someone who requires a justification for a change in their lifestyle is a skeptic, that is just being rational) or "warmist", I suspect that most are uncommitted either way and are somewhere in the middle and just want to know what the mainstream scientific position actually is (so they can rationally align themselves with it, rather than commit time and energy to understanding the science for themselves). If we don't find out what the mainstream scientific position is and tell others about it, how will the public find out (especially if the "skeptics" continue to suggest there is no widespread scientific agreement). If we are not allowed to talk about the consensus, exactly how should the public find out about the scientific consensus?

I actually think there is a place for "cultural aggression"; in the U.K. there is a long history of political satire, where politicians that say stupid things have this pointed out very bluntly (but usually with some humour). This is a pretty good way of keeping politicians accountable for what they say. Now of course some of the followers of those politicians may feel stupid for supporting a politician that says stupid things, but what they ought to do is to persuade the politician to stop saying stupid things (perhaps by moderating or withdrawing their support), rather than identifying themselves even more strongly with the politician making stupid statements. Maybe I am being a bit too rational about it?

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDikran Marsupial

Anders -

==> Are people just stupid;

Surely, we can't assume that the only reason why people might employ ineffective strategies is because they're stupid. Let's work your logic backwards; should we assume that because Dan argues that "climate-messaging" exacerbates a polluted environment that he therefore is against doing something to address climate change?

Certainly you can conceive of a situation where people aren't stupid, but nonetheless employ a strategy because they think that there's a common sense logic to it, because the logic fits with their own thinking and dovetails with their own biases, but who aren't really considering how the strategy might not be effective with people who have different biases or who have a different way of thinking about the issue?

To be more specific. Certainly, people might engage in "consensus-messaging" because for them, the fact that there is a high prevalence of shared opinion among climate experts that aCO2 poses risks reinforces their existing beliefs on the issue, even as they fail to fully understand that for those who don't share their beliefs, "consensus-messaging" might have a different effect.

I can't go with the notion that the reason why highly-engaged activist "skeptics" argue against "consensus-messaging" is because in their heart of heart they know that it works. Too simplistic an explanation, IMO, based on too caricaturish a notion of how "skeptics" reason.

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Andy -

==> If it means those who do not place climate change policies as their top priority, it can get over 80% of the US population.

So it might mean that I'm a "skeptic" then, even though I have a strong level of confidence that the GHE is real, and I consider it important that a high prevalence of climate scientist experts share the opinion that continuing to increase aCO2 emissions poses a risk of dangerous climate change, a risk that merits consideration of policies in response?

==> If it means those who would not pay significant extra tax to solve the 'climate problem', it could be even higher.

Again, you employ ambiguous language in your taxonomy. What does "significant' mean? And what does "extra" mean? There is some pretty solid evidence that unless your definition of "significant" is something akin to "huge," your numbers are off. As just one example from the first hit of my first Google search:

http://www.globescan.com/news_archives/bbc_climate2/backgrounder.html

And consider how the numbers shift if the proposal for "significant extra tax" meant a revenue neutral tax - again, look at the link I provided.

Such ambiguity in your language makes it more difficult to discuss these issues.


==> If it means those who say they don't believe that AGW is mostly man-made, then we're now down below half.

So is that the group who would respond with antipathy if they were told that there is a high prevalence of shared opinion among expert climate scientists that aCO2 emissions pose a risk for dangerous climate change on a fairly long time-horizon, whereas prior to being told such, they have no particularly "toxic" views on the issue? Or, would the number who would respond in that way to that information be significantly lower? Do you have any idea?

==> If it means those who (according to Dan's theory, which I dispute) do not share a latent fear that we're all screwed, then it's around a quarter.

See comment immediately above. Can we say with confidence that all of that 1/4 (assuming for the sake of argument, your number) would materially increase their toxicity on the issue if they are told that there is a strong prevalence of shared view among expert climate scientists that continued and increased aCO2 emissions pose a risk of dangerous climate change on a fairly long time-horizon?

==> If it's those who explicitly say there's been no warming in recent decades, then its a few percent.

???? Where do you get that number? Dan provides numbers that suggest otherwise. And I have seen a great deal of evidence that suggests otherwise. There are many, many mainstream and notable "skeptics" who argue that there has been no warming (some even say that there's been cooling> in recent decades. I'm afraid that your number is waaaaay off there. But even if your number were correct, what about those who argue that there has been warming in recent decades but the present further beliefs that are inconsistent with that belief (i.e., that they don't doubt the reality of the GHE but that we've been adding aCO2 to the atmosphere but "global warming" has "paused" or "stopped" nonetheless?)

==> If it's raving swivel eyed right wing bigots, then it's sub 1%.

First, are you equating Tea Partiers, let alone strong conservatives who don't identify as Tea Partiers, to "raving swivel-eyed right wing bigots?"

Again, your taxonomy breaks down to the point where, I dare say, it is not very useful. There are a lot of data that show that those who identify as Tea Partiers - which makes up significantly more than 1% of the U.S. population identify very strongly, politically, to a variety of issues of which climate change is but one. That cohort have very strong opinions about climate change. Consider:

https://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/q74.jpg

and

https://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/q54.jpg

and

https://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/q47.jpg

==> But Dan's right that folks tend to protect their cultural identity against a perceived attack, and this shows in various topics that express on the tribal left-right political axis in the US (and other axes).

On this point we are in agreement.

==> I happen to disagree with Dan about where most of the identity protection is coming from in the CC domain,

I agree with Dan there, and have been asking your for a long time to present data that show otherwise. I also find that your reasoning, which excludes "skeptics" from the underlying mechanism of how cultural identity plays out in the CC arena to be a bit too convenient, given your own identification, to be taken at face value (hence, the reason why I ask you to present evidence).

==> But I agree that a promotion of the 97% as a bludgeon will almost certainly stiffen resistance,

Once again, your assertion lacks any of the specificity necessary to judge its veracity. With whom? How much? What comprises "as a bludgeon?" Without quantifying and specifying your assertions, they seem to me to be, essentially, an exercise in confirmation bias.

==> and given that identity defense can be a mass effect, I think from the above scale as a guide you'll be fairly deep into it, much more than the 10% line.

Again, your assertions are based on vague and completely specified language. What does "mass effect" mean? What does "identity defense" mean in this context (does it mean mild defensive reaction, does it mean a drastically toxic reaction?) What does "fairly deep" mean? And on what actual numbers do you derive your "line" of 10%.

Once again, Andy, I'll just tell you (not that you should care) that I'd find your arguments more persuasive if they were backed by data. Propose a hypothesis and a test for that hypotheses. Collect the data needed to comprise that test, and then present your results. And define your terms in the process. While Dan's efforts are not, IMO, perfect in those aspects, they are certainly far better in those aspects far better than most of what I've seen from people trying to theorize about what's going on in the climate wars.

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua, isn't that just the strategy outlined in the Luntz memo?

from the Grauniad:

" Mr Luntz writes in the memo, obtained by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based campaigning organisation.

"Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly.

"Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate."

I don't know if this was later discredited, but if not, it seems to me that it directly supports the contention that at least some skeptics know that "consensus messaging" is effective and that they need to oppose it.

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDikran Marsupial

Dikran -

==> at least some skeptics...

Sure, perhaps some, in essence, employ that strategy in a deliberate fashion that actually stands in contrast to their beliefs about the importance of "consensus" or the likely impact of knowledge that there is a "consensus" among the American public. But my guess is that the % is probably pretty low...and I question how that % might be measured. Without direct measurement methodologies, it seems to me to be an area that is ripe with potential for motive-impugning.

Here's my thinking. Most "skeptics" who argue that aCO2 doesn't pose a risk for harmful climate change don't need to have internally consistent beliefs. They can fully believe that "consensus-messaging" is counterproductive for "realists" to employ, because it amounts to an "own goal" by increasing resistance to the "realists" goals even as they, themselves, use a "prevalence of shared expert opinion" as a useful rule of thumb in their own lives very day. Consider how many "skeptics" spend a great deal of time arguing about the precise % of the "consensus" even as they argue that the very notion of considering whether there is a "consensus" is antithetical to the practice of the scientific method. IMO, that doesn't mean that they really think that considering the "consensus" is anti-science, nor does it mean that they blindly make all determinations of what is the best scientific evidence on the basis of prevalence of shared expert opinion. It means that they employ their reasoning conditionally, depending on how they can best confirm their beliefs and reinforce their identity-orientation. A conditionally contingent employment of reasoning doesn't have to be deliberate in a conscious effort to produces specific results. It can be an unconscious result of underlying drives.

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

I think this is rather getting away from the point that "consensus messaging" is not intended for a skeptical audience, at least not the sort of "skeptic" that is comfortable with not having a need for internally consistent beliefs, but for the general public, who I would hope mostly regard themselves as (and actually are) essentially rational, but perhaps apathetic or uninformed (or both)

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDikran Marsupial

Joshua,
Sure, but, from what I've seen, Dan's suggestion about consensus messaging is more commonly promoted by those who oppose climate action, than by those who support it. Of course, I may be wrong, but - if not - this seems like an interesting result.

Andy,


I've no idea who does or doesn't promote Dan's idea. Why should that matter?

It may not matter, but if it is the case that Dan's suggestion about consensus messaging is more commonly promoted by those who oppose climate action, than by those who support it, that seems interesting.


He has an insight; you either have a good argument to counter it, or you don't. Until legitimately countered, it is what it is.

As I understand it, he has a claim that consensus messaging is toxic. Even if true, that does not necessarily mean that using is is a poor strategy.


My own observation is that wielding cultural aggression is itself a cultural act

Okay, but in a strict sense that there is a consensus is essentially true. Why would promoting something true be cultural?

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

==> Of course, I may be wrong, but - if not - this seems like an interesting result.

Ironic, perhaps, but I'm not sure what it's interesting other than in that sense. Surely, we should expect "skeptics" to promote anything that furthers their identity-aggression towards "realists" and "realists" to engage in "identity-defense" of what "realists" do. When you can mix in personality politics, such as arguing about anything Cook might say or do, so much the better.

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Dikran -

==> I think this is rather getting away from the point that "consensus messaging" is not intended for a skeptical audience,


I'm not sure that is uniformly true. Certainly, the stated rationale for "consensus-messaging" by many is that it targets the general public who are apathetic or uniformed. And to the extent that we're looking at the effect on that target audience, I remain unconvinced that Dan's evidence provides concrete support for his conclusion that the messaging results in a significant increase in toxicity.

But that said, I do think that there are more indirect aspects to "consensus-messaging" in that it is, at least to some extent, an extension of the identity-aggression and identity-defense that characterize so much of the environment surrounding discussion of climate change. I consider "denier" to be an identity group-related label, and "consensus-messaging" to be, to some degree, a means of leveraging that label as a means of distinguishing "us" from "them."

I don't reject Dan's evidence that asking people about the existence of a "consensus" reveals that the question of whether there is a "consensus" has become polarized. I'm 'not inclined to dismiss the discrepancy he points to between the answers to questions about what most climate scientists believe and the answers to questions about whether there is a consensus among climate scientists. I think that discrepancy needs to be accounted for in some way. However, I also think that it's easy to over-generalize from the existence of that discrepancy, and I think the conclusion that talking about the "consensus" therefore increases toxicity significantly (and more specifically, does so who don't already adopt a toxic stance w/r/t climate change) is drawing too much inference from the data available (or at least the data Dan has presented)...

Again, I think that Larry Hamilton's data that show what happens when extreme rightwingers are disaggregated from the data also needs to be accounted for.

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua,
Indeed, but that would seem to suggest that the whole consensus-messaging is toxic/damaging claim is a minor player in a much more complex "game". If it wasn't consensus-messaging, it would be something else.

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

==> If it wasn't consensus-messaging, it would be something else.

That is certainly my perspective on it. I don't think that Dan has shown that "consensus-messaging" has any real world, differential impact on much of anything. IMO, the same level of polarization would be pretty much the same without it.. Those who claim to take meaningful offense at "consensus-messaging" are already aligned as hardcore "skeptics" As such, "consensus-messaging" is just one in a long line of issues they can use to confirm their biases and engage in identity-aggressive/defensive behaviors. Those who think it's important to promote the existence of a "consensus" will likewise use it as a means of engaging in identity-based cognition. And most people will hear about it an think "Meh."

My guess is that while asking questions about the "consensus" reflects the polarization seen with the issue more generally, "consensus-messaging" doesn't plausibly create reactions that wouldn't likely be taking place for any variety of other reasons .

Pretty much a tempest in a teapot, IMO. The amount of time wasted in the blogosphere arguing about whether a consensus exists, how big it might be, how to prove its existence and size, whether various efforts to quantify it are valid, whether its existence is meaningful, and whether talking about it is effective,, counterproductive, anti-science, toxic, or effective at influencing public opinion is really quite remarkable.

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@attp

>>Okay, but in a strict sense that there is a consensus is essentially true.

Yes, it is true there is a consensus.

>>Why would promoting something true be cultural?

Except in special circumstances such as taunting, it isn't. But 'truth' requires the whole truth, or it isn't true. So for instance the 97% (or as sometimes reported 95%, or even 99% [see below] or 'all climate scientists'), is not honestly supportable. And likewise honesty is required about what the consensus means and hence underwrites. I'm not sure that's even known entirely by anyone, but taking it to mean that there's a consensus on the cause of warming being anthro, would not be an over-reach, would be an honest assessment. Wielding the consensus to imply it underwrites climate calamity, is over-reach, no-one knows that, and further it seems unlikely as you get into the high figure end [so again this is partly about reporting a more honest figure]. Likewise, implying that anyone who raises questions challenging the consensus is 'denying' the basic physics of CO2, would also be dishonest. Most skeptics are happy with the physics of CO2, that is not their bone on contention.

So in the worst case, beating folks over the head with the 97%, implying that this is a consensus on calamity too, and saying anyone who questions this is 'denying' physics, would be a triple wrong whammy. This is aggression that will backfire, and it's also a cultural act. The example below has 99.9%, the 'deniers' word, and a strong implication that this consensus underwrites 'unprecedented destruction', so is well over the boundary.
http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/how-climate-change-deniers-got-it-very-wrong
As Dikran notes there are many members of the public who are not committed, but above will not only entrench existing skeptics, it will likely turn off more of these folks than it will convince. Folks are not stupid, they know when they're being culturally beaten over the head.

Saying something like: 'a large majority of climate scientists believe warming in the last few decades is dominated by anthro factors' (or anthro CO2 emissions), would be an honest act based on the climate domain's current self-knowledge.

Some studies and commentaries in recent years (sponsored from consensus side, e.g. Nicholas Smith and Anthony Leiserowitz, 2014, The Breakthrough Institute, etc ) acknowledged that messaging based on fear memes over prior years was backfiring. Since then some attempts to reign that in. Yet of course it is out of control on the periphery of the consensus, especially via the green NGOs etc. and can't be stopped. I think it likely that warnings such as Dan's here will likewise be only partially heeded at best, possibly ignored, so backfire from aggressive consensus messaging will also continue.

From my PoV the consensus is cultural anyhow, so I expect the above, it is cultural behavior. From Dan's PoV the consensus at heart is science not culture, yet despite this he can detect aggressive messaging and it's effects, correctly pointing out that this behavior will diminish not profit science communication. I'll merely add that it most certainly is the kind of thing that profits a culture.

February 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

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