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Tuesday
May302017

Generalized trust in science: nukes vs. climate

Here’s another helping of “trust in science” data, this time compliments of Pew Research Center.

Yesterday's data“Yesterday”tm  I posted some data from the General Social Survey that showed that liberals but not conservatives become more inclined to worry about climate change as their trust in science increases. That’s a pattern that goes against one popular narrative, which attributes climate skepticism to an anti-science disposition on the part of right-leaning individuals.

But at least one commentator was understandably dissatisfied with the GSS outcome variable, which solicits on a five-point scale respondents’ assessments of how dangerous they  “think that a rise in the world's temperature caused by the `greenhouse effect', is for the environment.” As the commenter pointed out, this item presupposes that climate change is occurring, a proposition rejected by around 25% of the U.S. population.

Well, the Pew data (which, like the GSS, can download for free) contains a more conventional “belief in climate change” measure in which respondents can indicate whether there believe there is “solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades,” and if so, whether that change is “mostly because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels or mostly because of natural patterns in the earth’s environment?”

When one regresses on belief in human caused climate change on respondents’ political outlooks, their score on a trust in science scale, and the interaction of those variables, one sees pretty much the same pattern as in the GSS data.  That is, it looks like more left-leaning respondents are influenced by their level of trust in science but more right-leaning ones aren’t (in fact, the difference in how much the trust scale affected respondents conditional on their political outlooks was “significant” at only p = 0.10, but if are interested in what the analysis adds to the weight of the evidence, we shouldn’t get too hung up on that; maybe “tomorrow”tm I’ll elaborate on that).

That we got the same answer from two different data sets, which used different measures, should make us more inclined to reject a generalized “science trust deficit” theory of why conservatives are more climate skeptical. (Conservatives might be more “distrustful” of climate scientists, but that response would best be viewed as just an indicator, not an explanation, of the latent disposition toward skepticism on climate change ([Poortinga & Pidgeon 2005]).

Another commenter wondered what would happen if we substituted nuclear power for climate change in the GSS item, and in particular how liberals would respond.

Well, the GSS dataset contains such an item. It asks respondents to indicate, on the same 5-point scale, how dangerous they regard “nuclear power stations” to be for the environment.

Here at least, we see the “science trust deficit” doing what it is often advertised as doing—namely, predicting less concern among individuals as their trust level (measured as it was “yesterday”tm) increases.  It does so, moreover, for both liberals and conservatives:

 

What to make of this?  Well, you can tell me.

But I would say that, for myself, I was a bit surprised.  I was expecting to discover  that high levels of trust in science in general have no impact on disputed applications of particular forms of decision-relevant science.  Because more trust was associated with less concern for both liberals and conservatives, I have less confidence than I did that a generalized trust measure is of little use.

BTW, you can find the 7 items I used to form the Pew “trust in science” scale here.  The dataset had more candidate trust items in it, but this combination of items displayed the highest reliability score (α = 0.69).

Reference

Poortinga, W. & Pidgeon, N.F. Trust in Risk Regulation: Cause or Consequence of the Acceptability of GM Food? Risk Analysis 25, 199-209 (2005).

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (45)

This seems straightforward to me. Anthropologically and historically speaking, there have been cultures that place more value on continuity and others that placed more value on change, often accompanied by aggressive expansionism against neighboring groups. Taos Pueblo existed in place for over 1000 years without messing anything up. Until they met the Spanish. Western Europeans developed philosophies like the Doctrine of Discovery and Manifest Destiny and used their technological expertise and increasing understanding of the world to set off and colonize as much of the rest of the globe as they could.

Ever since the Industrial Revolution, the lure of the new technologies fueled by advances in science has attracted entrepreneurs who were positioned to take advantage of them. Often long before anybody else had time to sort out the long term social and environmental consequences. So we've lurched forward, with opportunities for individual advancement only later followed by increasing pressure for taking greater considerations for the social and ecological good. If we operated totally on a "first do no harm" basis, economic advancement would be much more difficult. But we pay the price of the environmental and social costs of waiting until things have clearly gone wrong, before installing mechanisms for attempting to mitigate those harms.

Our political process, with its embedded two party system tries to build voter constituencies and to protect campaign funding sources leading to victory by balancing between forces for various possible changes and desires for assorted forms of continuity. In our system, these forces change with the times much faster than parties themselves. New ideas have to find their way into one block or the other. As opposed to a parliamentary system, as recently demonstrated by the French, in which a new party can spring forward.

A full analysis here would again require something more nuanced than a linear x-y scale lumping liberals with Democrats and conservative with Republicans and also ignoring the large numbers of people who are registered as independents and those that are generally not registered to vote at all.

May 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

In my opinion the question asking poll takers "how dangerous they regard nuclear power stations” is not phrased in the same manner as the one on climate change.

The overall question might involve how one weighs long term consequences of present actions against the shorter term benefits. And whether or not one is willing to anticipate that technological advancements will come along in an appropriately timely that mitigate harms done in the present time. (That is the basis behind the changes in responses seen on climate change if geo-engineering is proposed as a potential solution). Another aspect of concern is that that protections from harms recognized now (like radioactive nuclear waste) would be appropriately handled for the long term future. It is also true that harms and benefits are spread very unequally.

The operation of a conventional nuclear power station is a different matter than the overall energy and ecological balance of mining, building, operating and disposing of the waste. Just as the impacts of operating a coal fired plant ought to consider similar metrics. As should any renewable source.

There is a big correction to the article quoted by Ecoute Savage in the last post.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste/

*Editor's Note (12/30/08): In response to some concerns raised by readers, a change has been made to this story. The sentence marked with an asterisk was changed from "In fact, fly ash—a by-product from burning coal for power—and other coal waste contains up to 100 times more radiation than nuclear waste" to "In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy." Our source for this statistic is Dana Christensen, an associate lab director for energy and engineering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as well as 1978 paper in Science authored by J. P. McBride and colleagues, also of ORNL.

This compares operation of a coal fired plant, which obviously has combustion gas byproducts, with operation of a correctly;y operating nuclear plant. It does not take into account accidents such as Fukushima nor does it refer to radioactive waste disposal issues.

In my opinion, all of these discussions need to maintain a clearer line between what is the best available science, and the possible futures that might be obtained by effectively using that science to formulate various policies.

May 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

Dan,

Does this increase your belief in the backfire effect even more than Wood & Porter did? ;)

Also, does hi sci trust supplant your sci-curious theory? I'm assuming that pretty much all sci-curious have hi sci trust, but not vice versa.

I agree with Gaythia Weis that the particular focus on "nuclear power stations" instead of the overall nuclear power industry (including mining, oversight, waste disposal and long term waste management) might weaken this comparison a bit.

I also think that the "strong evidence" in the climate change question is also potentially confounding, as obviously there is no way to conduct a double-blind clinical trial on such matters. Some will have interpreted this under the assumption that the questioner is asking about strong evidence under that condition but others might consider strong evidence as independent of condition.

Do I think either of these caveats amount to very much? Probably not, but that is just a guess.

I noticed the differences in variance in those curves - especially the very peaky lefty high sci trust climate change one. Is that significantly different from the others, and if so, any clue what it implies?

May 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

"What to make of this? Well, you can tell me."

One possibility that occurs to me is that people might be considering whether they trust scientists to tell them about the risks of nuclear power accurately, or they might be considering whether they trust scientists to design/build nuclear power stations right. Unlike climate change, scientist have a role not only in pure theoretical research nuclear power, but also in implementing it.

--

"So we've lurched forward, with opportunities for individual advancement only later followed by increasing pressure for taking greater considerations for the social and ecological good. If we operated totally on a "first do no harm" basis, economic advancement would be much more difficult."

The problem is that's it's a trade-off between different forms of harm. There's the harm done through poverty and the lack of the goods and services that industry makes possible, and there's the harm done by industry. There is no point that reduces the risk of both to zero - as one risk decreases, the other increases.

A "first do no harm" basis for social policy decisions is logically impossible.

--

"I also think that the "strong evidence" in the climate change question is also potentially confounding, as obviously there is no way to conduct a double-blind clinical trial on such matters."

That reminds me of this bit in the IPCC's AR4...

"As noted in the SAR (IPCC, 1996) and the TAR (IPCC, 2001), unequivocal attribution would require
controlled experimentation with the climate system. Since that is not possible, in practice attribution of anthropogenic climate change is understood to mean demonstration that a detected change is ‘consistent with the estimated responses to the given combination of anthropogenic and natural forcing’ and ‘not consistent with alternative, physically plausible explanations of recent climate change that exclude important elements of the given combination of forcings’ (IPCC, 2001)."

... and ...

"The approaches used in detection and attribution research described above cannot fully account for all uncertainties, and thus ultimately expert judgement is required to give a calibrated assessment of whether a specific cause is responsible for a given climate change."

It's interesting to speculate, given this, how the IPCC themselves would answer the question. :-)

Perhaps like this...?

"It's unfortunate that many people read the media hype before they read the chapter. I think the caveats are there. We say quite clearly that few scientists would say the attribution issue was a done deal." :- Ben Santer, IPCC lead author on detection/attribution (for the earlier but similar AR2).

May 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

"I noticed the differences in variance in those curves - especially the very peaky lefty high sci trust climate change one. Is that significantly different from the others, and if so, any clue what it implies?"

It's because of differences in sample size, I think.

May 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

@Jonathan--

As NiV surmises, a negative skew in the "science trust" scale would mean a more concentrated level of observations at higher levels of that disposition.

Another possibility for greater variance for right-of-center observations has to do with the link function. A multinomial regression posits a nonlinear relationship. So at some point along the x-axis, the slope will become steeper. If one samples from values that are very near that point, the precision of the estimate will be lower--b/c some of the values will be at the "bottom" of the curve, others on the sigmoidal curve, and others over the top of the curve--than it would be if one sampled at points remote from that point.

The predicted values for left of center observations (-1 on the political outlook scale) are all "over the hump" w/r/t that curve. The ones for right-of-center observations (+1 on the outlook scale) are likely closer to it. So when ones runs a monte carlo simulation for predicted probabilities w/ those two values on the political outlook scale, there will be greater variance for the right-of-center estimates than the left-of-center ones.

May 31, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Dan - there is nothing surprising in the high-science group moving towards the less risk metric regardless of political orientation. Everybody has some implicit calculus - risky, compared to what?! - on nuclear power generation, and nobody (excluding believers in magic, generally overlapping with the low-science leftists) wants to see this grim reality materialize:
http://www.art.com/products/p15063670419-sa-i6854980/frank-cotham-and-then-one-day-the-grid-went-down-and-never-came-back-up-new-yorker-cartoon.htm?RFID=118799

At least the people in the cartoon have fire - an early form of energy which presents some risks itself.

May 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

@Ecoute-- sure. what's surprising, though, is that Rs don't meaningfully change view on climate change as their trust levels go up.

May 31, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Gaythia - additions, corrections, amplifications are posted by Scientific American on the same day the article is placed online without a paywall. That's what links are for - anybody interested will read the complete text. Now I think I understand your comments on anthropology, so wonder if you would kindly contemplate the caption in that cartoon>

>>>>>> "And then one day the grid went down and never came back up." <<<<<<

> and come up with an estimate of how many people, given a choice, would pick this energy environment.

May 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Ecoute, IMHO, only those smaller, or coal oriented fossil fuel corporations drowning in debt, and those people who can't envision a future without those jobs are tied to this energy environment. Even the big time operators are ready to move on: https://www.ft.com/content/1a2fea0c-3b82-11e7-821a-6027b8a20f23.

IMHO, people in general would not be thinking much at all about climate change if the issue hadn't been brought to them. It doesn't affect many on a directly personal short term basis. And of course, they are likely to have heard about it first and most often from their already biased news sources. The main impediment to progress isn't so much a lack of faith in the science as it is a lack of an economic plan that gives fossil fuel job dependent people a path forward.

May 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

Gaythia,

"The main impediment to progress isn't so much a lack of faith in the science as it is a lack of an economic plan that gives fossil fuel job dependent people a path forward."

My own view on this aspect is similar, with a slight rewording to generalize: The main impediment to progress isn't so much a lack of faith in the science as it is a lack of an economic plan that gives progress-displaced job dependent people a path forward.

But, regardless of the generalization - what is the difference to those people whether their fossil fuel dependent jobs were displaced by climate change regulation vs. increase in dependence on nuclear power? Or even if a particular locale of fossil fuel jobs were displaced due to competition from a less expensive fossil fuel alternative not from that locale?

May 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Comparing Gaythia's

=={ "The main impediment to progress isn't so much a lack of faith in the science as it is a lack of an economic plan that gives fossil fuel job dependent people a path forward." }==

to Jonathan's

=={ The main impediment to progress isn't so much a lack of faith in the science as it is a lack of an economic plan that gives progress-displaced job dependent people a path forward. }==

I would modify it further:

The main impediment to progress isn't so much a lack of faith in science or a lack of an economic plan that gives progress-displaced job dependent people a path forward, but the perception that "progress" will be associated with progress for "them" and stagnation for "us."

As a parallel, from what I've seen if you look at the Brexit vote it wasn't that the areas with a strong leave vote were those areas where people lost jobs to immigrants, or even those areas which had suffered economic hardship relative to other areas, but those areas where there was a perception that "others" were gaining at "our" expense.


For example here
and more here and more and perhaps better links here:

Low skills, lack of education... and associated ideological orientation, and the associated perceptions and emotions about economics probably explains explains a lot, and perhaps even more than the actualities of economics and employment and even economic plans. Let us not forget about identity-protective and cultural cognition. IMO, it is likely that similar dynamics play out w/r/t public opinions on climate-related policies in the U.S.

May 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua,

There's an excellent word I learned recently: precarity. So, to generalize your generalization of my generalization further:

"The main impediment to progress... is the precarity it creates."

But, my real point wasn't so much hot to increase the reach of this generalization even further, it was whether the precise causal nature of the precarity was important when assessing its impact on those most affected, as well as what should be done to reduce this impact.

One way it could is if the precarity is merely imagined vs. real. However, assuming it is real, what then?

May 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

typo "hot" should be "not".

May 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

I think that it should be emphasized that even those who do profess concern for the impacts of climate change have not by and large acted on that concern in any truly meaningful way. Although additionally I think that it is true that many who do not yet feel the precarity of their position are fooling themselves on that also. AI and automated systems can take out a heck of a lot of STEM jobs.

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech who also does climate consulting: http://www.atmos-research.com/. In an article here: http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/05/31/everyone-believes-in-global-warming-they-just-dont-realize-it/. "Yeah, the Weather Has Been Weird People already care about climate change – the trick is getting them to realize it. " she also makes this important point:

"Even for many of us who acknowledge that global warming is happening — and we should, because it is — chances are we still see it as just one more item on our overflowing list of priorities. News headlines are full of urgent problems: refugees, immigration, and the threat of war; the economy, energy, and finite resources. As individuals our daily attention goes to our health, our safety, our jobs, and our families."

May 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

I just came across an interesting online headline share that "explains" why Dan Kahan is concerned about anti-vaxxers.

(Ok, way down in the middle of the actual article it does say "metaphorically inoculate")

But with an added line by the person who posted this of:
"And it Doesn't Even Cause Autism!"

And a drawing showing a lab with test tubes and microscopes and a scientist with a giant needle and a face obscured by face mask and googles.

The headline reads:
Scientists are testing a “vaccine” against climate change denial
“Inoculating” people against misinformation may give scientific facts a shot at survival.

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/5/31/15713838/inoculation-climate-change-denial

Catchy. What are the statistics for how many people click through to read the actual article?


More seriously:
In answer to a question from Jonathan above: what is the difference to those people whether their fossil fuel dependent jobs were displaced by climate change regulation vs. increase in dependence on nuclear power? Or even if a particular locale of fossil fuel jobs were displaced due to competition from a less expensive fossil fuel alternative not from that locale?

I think this is where more attention needs to be paid to the use, by those in power, of knowledge of peoples tendencies to group identity for or against them. Take West Virginia. Always an area of rugged individualists outside the establishment. Split off from the Plantation owners of Virginia at the time of the Civil War. At one point organized into strong unions that fought for the working man against the coal mine owners. Later, even favored environmental regulations that cleaned up area air and water. And OSHA regulation that made mines safer. But the EPA made an easy scapegoat as Appalachian high sulfur coal was displaced by western strip mined coal. As jobs grew scarcer, the unions could be broken. Need for a job could be vital enough that the love for the West Virginia mountains (which kept people in their communities as opposed to leaving for jobs elsewhere) could lead to support for drastic changes to that local environment as exemplified by mountaintop coal removal. And left bad operators like Massey Coal: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/11/14/ex-massey-ceo-don-blankenship-indicted-for-coal-mine-disaster-than-killed-29/ People could potentially see that these jobs were going to be lost anyway, that coal is simply not the future. But clever exploitation by politicians can turn people towards scapegoats; Immigration is not really an issue in West Virginia although being suspicious of outsiders fits. And not being part of the Confederacy was not about belief in racial social justice. The EPA killed high sulfur coal. Climate change denial is an easy fit since nearly anyone who is concerned about the effects of climate change targets coal. Other than leaving the area, nobody is offering any real alternative economic solutions. A few do leave. The fact that it is the traditionally male coal jobs that are hit and not so much the female service jobs leads to an interesting gender divide: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/features/trump-west-virginia/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=pbsofficial&utm_campaign=newshour. Creating new job opportunities could create new affiliations too.

To a large extent this wouldn't matter so much except that under our political system West Virginia gets two Senators just like California. I don't think we can't have an economic system that has most of the jobs of the future wedged into coastal areas like LA, San Francisco/Silicon Valley, New York and Boston, without electing someone like Trump.

IMHO, what Dan needs to come up with in that metaphorical lab of his is an inoculation against the cleverness of Cambridge Analytics and the media empires exemplified by that set up by Roger Ailes of Fox. Or those of Google, Twitter and Facebook. It isn't enough, in my opinion, to think of this as something that can be simply approached by examining the responses of individuals.

June 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

Gaythia, above: "...Ecoute, IMHO, only those smaller, or coal oriented fossil fuel corporations drowning in debt, and those people who can't envision a future without those jobs are tied to this energy environment. ...."

Your source for that particular economic datum has obvious reasons for humility of opinion, but instead of turning humble yourself - it's really not contagious - you can keep looking until you find a reliable source.

These numbers are broadly accurate (+/-10%):
http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21717371-thats-no-reason-governments-stop-supporting-them-wind-and-solar-power-are-disrupting

"Today only about 6% of electricity users get their power from monopolies. Yet everywhere the pressure to decarbonise power supply has brought the state creeping back into markets. This is disruptive for three reasons. The first is the subsidy system itself. The other two are inherent to the nature of wind and solar: their intermittency and their very low running costs. All three help explain why power prices are low and public subsidies are addictive."

Key point here is: >>>>>>>>>> public subsidies are addictive.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
A total of $200 billion have been sunk into renewables in the US - only Elon Musk's assorted enterprises taken as a group have received well in excess of $10 billion - Europe, Canada, Australia have collectively wasted almost twice as much. Now what the article actually says - given the disinformation you've been subjected to main points have to be clearly outlined - is that if we want to continue on this course we'll have to spend between $20 trillion and $30 trillion. If you wish to bet on such an outcome, kindly do so on a betting exchange, not on the public purse.

June 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

>>>>>> @Ecoute-- sure. what's surprising, though, is that Rs don't meaningfully change view on climate change as their trust levels go up.

May 31, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan <<<<<<<

Principles of aerodynamics are doubted by nobody - scientist or not - because people can SEE planes take off and land. Same goes for nuclear fusion and fission - even if it takes a big bomb going ka-boom, at least everyone understands the stuff works.

The very vagueness of the term "climate change" doesn't help to convince anybody that you're not talking about smoke-and-mirrors. And any number of people - starting with our president, whom I unreservedly support on that topic - have called the concept a hoax and a scam. If you read the article I just linked for Gaythia, you'll see the costs of de-carbonizing the world economy START at close to the world annual GNP, have totaled close to a trillion already (worldwide) and if this idiotic Paris accord were ever to be honored, these costs would continue increasing exponentially. It may be that something or other in our universe increases exponentially forever - but it is not an economic variable.

June 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Just watched Bob Inglis on the TV. He spoke about the political rhetoric of Trump, and how it comprises an emotional appeal to his supporters' sense of aggreivement justified by the amusing economic "plan" to make America great again by opening more coal mines.

IMO, there isn't anything terribly complicated about the mechanism behind right wing views about what "progress" is in dealing with climate change: "Progress" = vindication of their sense of victimhood at the hands of tyrannical oppressors like Obama and Europeans and globalists, and that their enemies will be vanquished.

Plain vanilla identity-protective cognition.

June 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Re: Explaining right wing opinions on climate change mitigation policy:

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/06/01/the-craziest-reactions-to-trump-pulling-out-of-the-parisagreement/

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/06/01/hollywood-suffers-melt-down-over-paris-climate-accord.html

http://www.breitbart.com/radio/2017/06/02/wilbur-ross-europeans-angry-losing-free-ride-climate-accord-terrible-deal-america/

Just a drop in the bucket...

and on the micro-scale

Of course, it's not a good idea to try to generalize from online climate change fanatics or those heavily invested such as Breitbart and Fox News fans....

But on the other hand, it's possible that Breitbart and Fox News at least are fairly representative of Trump's "base."

June 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Is there similar data for other countries?

My guess is that there is a bigger difference between high science trust and low science trust conservatives' views on climate change in other countries than in the US, because the GOP is the only major political party on the planet that routinely denies climate change (it's part of party identity). And it's because not supporting climate change is so fundamental to the GOP that many of its members (even the ones who trust science) generally don't believe in climate change. It'd also be interesting to look at other views closely tied to political parties, like views on guns and abortion - those should also not change much depending upon trust in science.

Views on nuclear energy are not as tied to political party, so there is a difference between high and low science trust. So I'd expect vaccines and other issues not as closely tied to political party identity to see bigger differences between high and low science trust.

June 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNicholas T

"Re: Explaining right wing opinions on climate change mitigation policy:"

What, actually, is your point, here? Are you saying that statements like "Trump just declared war on the very idea of life on earth" is a sensible, science-based opinion that the right wing only disagree with because of their "Plain vanilla identity-protective cognition"?

"And it's because not supporting climate change is so fundamental to the GOP that many of its members (even the ones who trust science) generally don't believe in climate change."

And it's because supporting climate change is so fundamental to the Democrats that many of its members (even the ones who trust science) generally do believe in climate change!

From the point of view of defending science's role in society, what's the difference?

June 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

@Nicholas-- for sure there is a literature on "trust in/of science" & climate attitudes in other countries. But I'm not aware of anyone measuring attitudes of partisans or others who are in conflict over climate change *conditional* on their level of trust. Usually people just look at correlation between trust & attitude/belief--on its own or in a multivariate regression -- & leave it at that.

But maybe one of our 14 billion regular readers knows of a study that examines the interactions I've been featuring.

June 3, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

What jolly interesting data. Perhaps what you are seeing here is another manifestation of identity defence. As I recall you've discussed at this blog on occasion, cultural groups do not disbelieve science in general. Rather, they tend to believe more in the science aligned to their values, and less in the science that challenges their values. So it's plausible that people with a high *generic* trust in science, will leap much more to the defence of a *particular* scientific consensus that they're culturally aligned to (i.e. one that is already very socially contentious), than people from the same group who have less trust in science (albeit the latter are also aligned). Thus, a large distance between High and Low trust peaks would indicate a strong *cultural* alignment of the group with the stated consensus view, and a small distance would indicate a weak cultural alignment (i.e. less need to defend it culturally rather than objectively, less identity defence), and smaller still an attenuation due to cultural resistance to the consensus. And trust is itself in part a cultural feature even when invested in the authority of science, hence two cultural values may be reinforcing each other here for the Democrats, and negating for the Republicans.

This proposition would be consistent with below regarding Reps / Dems for the climate change domain...
https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/who-is-who-aux-file.docx

...which shows that in this domain there are three main cultures. Red (Reps), Blue (Dems), and Green (climate culture). BOTH Red and Blue have some alliance with climate culture, but this is much more prevalent for the Blue-Green alliance. My above proposition for your science trust result agrees with this, in that the Blue High Trust peak is quite some distance right of Low Trust, while the Red High Trust peak is only a little way offset right, so each is reflecting the net effect of their own alliance with Green. The greater the distance between High and Low trust peaks, in this case, the stronger is that alliance and the greater the identity defence of the consensus views.

Graphs like your polarization with OSI / OCSI, though great insights, tend to visually de-emphasize that both Red and Blue have some investment in climate culture, albeit asymmetrically. This means that not everything can be boiled down to a simple Red v Blue dimension. Also, while such 'polarization with knowledge' graphs indicate that a strong cultural influence is present on one or both sides, they don't indicate which side is which (if indeed only one side is swayed *much more* by a cultural influence). Further data is needed for that identification, in the above link this is provided by public surveys.

In your own analysis of the polarization with OSI / OCSI graphs, you essentially 'define' the culturally influenced side to be red, by arbitrarily assigning an absolute (the climate consensus view) to the blue side (who, pinned to this, cannot then be culturally influenced above zero). Hence you are led to the presumption that 'knowing disbelief' must be a mass effect, which you then search for elsewhere. You don't instead let data confirm to you whether or not such an assignment is valid; it turns out not to be. There are identity defence effects on both sides, but the biggest net effect is on the blue side.

The core narrative of climate culture is the *certainty* of imminent climate calamity. Neither mainstream (e.g. IPCC technical papers) or skeptic science supports this assertion, it is a cultural one not an evidential one. Because this core narrative has been transmitted for many years by virtually the entire Western authority matrix (in the US up until the Trump administration), and in the most emotive and critically urgent manner, it has contaminated the entire social space regarding this topic. Hence reactions (+ve or -ve) to more nuanced questions such as evidence on GHGs etc are overwhelmingly cultural in nature. This occurs both in countries like the US where the reactions are heavily weighted to the Rep / Dem split, or in countries like the UK where the reactions are much less aligned to political parties. I'll post samples of this core narrative from Western authority sources below. Incidentally this cultural narrative is also the prime driver of policy.

Regarding nuclear power stations, notwithstanding significant partisan differences in the US, both in that country and globally the level of cultural contamination is not in the same league as for the climate change domain. Hence it appears that trust in science largely wins out over other factors for both red and blue. However, having said all this, it is way easier to make propositions after seeing the charts, than before. So thinking about GMOs for instance, the cultural contamination here is maybe at a similar level to the nuclear power domain. Hence one would expect a GMO chart looking much more like the nuclear one than the climate one. An intermediate is possible, however in this domain the Dems are somewhat more resistant to the scientific consensus (of safety), hence their gap between trust / non-trust peaks would be shortened this time, not stretched. Identity defence is working against science trust, not amplifying it. So the Reps would have a 'normal'ish movement towards increased belief of safety with scientific trust (i.e. similar to the nuclear case), and the Dems may have an attenuated movement (the 2 peaks closer). However, all the peaks should be more clustered in the manner of the nuclear case. For a second chart example where an overwhelming cultural contamination is the case, the juxtaposition of science trust with belief in evolution might be an option.

June 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Adjunct to above. Snippets of the cultural narrative of the *certainty* of imminent climate calamity, as promoted for many years by almost the entire Western authority matrix from presidents and prime ministers on down, in the most critically urgent and emotive manner. This certainty is not founded in either mainstream science or skeptic science, despite frequent invocation of science to underwrite the narrative as seen in the samples. Given the authority levels, volume, and sustained period of transmission, this narrative has contaminated the entire social domain regarding the issue of climate change. Whether ACO2 turns out to be good, bad, or indifferent, this is still a cultural narrative, not one founded upon evidence.

GRO HARLEM BRUNDTLAND] to 15th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development : “So what is it that is new today? What is new is that doubt has been eliminated. The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear. And so is the Stern report. It is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation. The time for diagnosis is over. Now it is time to act.” [OBAMA] Energy Independence and the Safety of Our Planet (2006) : “All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it’s here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.” Speech in Berlin (2008) : “This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.” George town speech (2013) : “Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.” State of the Union (2015) : “The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.” [FRANCOIS HOLLANDE] Paris climate summit Nov 2015 : “To resolve the climate crisis, good will, statements of intent are not enough. We are at breaking point.” [GORDON BROWN] Copenhagen climate plan (2009) : “If we miss this opportunity, there will be no second chance sometime in the future, no later way to undo the catastrophic damage to the environment we will cause…As scientists spell out the mounting evidence both of the climate change already occurring and of the threat it poses in the future, we cannot allow the negotiations to run out of time simply for lack of attention. Failure would be unforgivable.” [ANGELA MERKEL] to UN summit on Climate Change (2009) : “After all, scientific findings leave us in no doubt that climate change is accelerating. It threatens our well being, our security, and our economic development. It will lead to uncontrollable risks and dramatic damage if we do not take resolute countermeasures.” Same speech : “we will need to reach an understanding on central issues in the weeks ahead before Copenhagen, ensuring, among other things, that global emissions reach their peak in the year 2020 at the latest.” And while president of the EU, on German TV in a wake-up call for climate action prior to 26 leader EU climate meeting (2007) : “It is not five minutes to midnight. It’s five minutes after midnight.” [POPE FRANCIS] Asked if the U.N. climate summit in Paris (2015) would mark a turning point in the fight against global warming, the pope said: “I am not sure, but I can say to you ‘now or never’. Every year the problems are getting worse. We are at the limits. If I may use a strong word I would say that we are at the limits of suicide.” [MARK CARNEY] governor of the bank of England, speech ‘Resolving the Climate Paradox’, September 2016: “…climate change is a tragedy of the horizon which imposes a cost on future generations that the current one has no direct incentive to fix. The catastrophic impacts of climate change will be felt beyond the traditional horizons of most actors including businesses and central banks. Once climate change becomes a clear and present danger to financial stability it may already be too late to stabilise the atmosphere at two degrees.”

[PRINCE CHARLES] speech to business leaders in Brazil (2009): “The best projections tell us that we have less than 100 months to alter our behaviour before we risk catastrophic climate change.” [AL GORE] speech to NY University School of Law (Sept 2006): “Each passing day brings yet more evidence that we are now facing a planetary emergency — a climate crisis that demands immediate action to sharply reduce carbon dioxide emissions worldwide in order to turn down the earth’s thermostat and avert catastrophe.” [JOHN KERRY] as US Secretary of State, responding to UN report (2014): “Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy… …There are those who say we can’t afford to act. But waiting is truly unaffordable. The costs of inaction are catastrophic.” [HILLARY CLINTON] time.com (Nov 2015): “I won’t let anyone to take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.” [BERNIE SANDERS] US presidential candidate (2016), feelthebern.com : Bernie Sanders strongly believes climate change is real, catastrophic, and largely caused by human activities.

[M. LAURENT FABIUS] French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, in the National Assembly (May 2014): “We have 500 days – not a day more – to avoid a climate disaster. People often talk about climate change or global warming. I attach great importance to words, and as far as the French language is concerned I don’t think those words are very appropriate, because – without alluding to this or that political programme – change is seen as rather a positive thing, but in the case of climate, it isn’t at all. Some French people say: why not, since they might think Lille, for example, is going to join the Côte d’Azur? That’s absolutely not it. We must face up to climate disruption, climate chaos. The scientists, several of whom are present here, have said it: ‘you’d have to be blind not to see it’.” [FRANCOIS HOLLANDE] as French President, at 150 nation climate summit in Le Bourget, France (Nov 2015): “Never have the stakes of an international meeting been so high, because it concerns the future of the planet, the future of life.” [MERKEL] as German chancellor, at the Lowy Institute in Sydney (Nov 2014): “If we do not put a brake on climate change, it will have devastating consequences for all of us – there will be more storms, there will be more heat and catastrophes more droughts, there will be a rising sea levels an increasing floods.”

June 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Andy -

Interesting that you would show up on this thread. What do you think of many "skeptics" reaction to Trump's PA withdrawal, which is framed in apocalyptic thinking about avoiding catastrophic outcomes from the PA.

Consider the notable F ocus on tribal identity in the links I provided above.

June 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@NiV -
The point I was trying to make is one which has been made before by others - as an issue becomes more political, the people in that political party tend to hold the view more strongly.

Also, I'd argue that, at least based on the data, since there is a bigger difference in beliefs about climate change for liberals between high and low trust in science than for conservatives, dismissing climate change risk is a bigger part of the GOP's identity than believing climate change is extremely risky is part of the Democrat's party identity (and that not believing in climate change is a bigger part of GOP identity than believing in climate change is for Democrats party identity).

To put it another way, most Democrats believe climate change is real and a risk, but it's a not a front and center issue for most Democrats; they rank other issues like the economy, gun policies, and healthcare as more important. And the more Democrats have trust in science, the bigger a risk they think climate change is.

But for Republicans, denial of climate change is a bigger part of the identity, partially because of what believing in climate change would mean. David Roberts had a good thread about this yesterday He argues that believing in climate change means:
a) Countries that generated emissions have a moral culpability and responsibility to solve the problem
b) Our lifestyle is part of the problem, and we need to change our lifestyle and eliminate fossil fuel usage to solve it
c) Government policy will be needed to reduce emissions and help vulnerable areas
d) International co-operation will be needed to solve the problem
and because all of these things go directly against core GOP beliefs, Republicans (with both low and high trust in science) reject it.

So from the point of view of defending science's role in society, it seems to me that not much headway will be made with the GOP on the issue of climate change until the GOP undergoes a large transformation on the issue (which may not happen). On other issues that are not as politicized though, members of the GOP who have more trust in science have different views, and so members of the GOP might be more open to the science on those issues. It also shows that if Democrats make an effort to build trust in the scientific community, more Democrats might view climate change more seriously.

June 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNicholas T

J:

>'Interesting that you would show up on this thread.'

What's different about this thread / visit than a bunch of others?

>'What do you think of many "skeptics" reaction to Trump's PA withdrawal, which is framed in apocalyptic thinking about avoiding catastrophic outcomes from the PA.'
>'Consider the notable F ocus on tribal identity in the links I provided above'

As noted at various guest posts including my last at Climate Etc, which you grossly mis-represented there, everyone participates in social thinking and therefore will exhibit behavior such as identity defense (section 7), and via alliances cultural groups will be pulled into both sides of socially contentious issues (section 11 and footnote 35). Plus plus footnote 6 of the previous post 'the denialism frame', details the latter specifically for Reps and Dems in the CC domain. So indeed tribal behavior is expected on both sides. However, there is no coherent cultural group 'skeptics' to date, unless you can detect their consensus. For sure they can't, and neither can their orthodox opposition, in fact both sides have complained that they can't.

There is much crowing, well obviously. Haven't trawled comments much but exaggerations of economic damage to US don't appear to reach apocalyptic / catastrophic framing as far as I can see - not that I'd be surprised from the far end of the spectrum. Indeed more crowing at your links, but the framing of major global disaster here is that of dismayed PA supporters, whose comments are being related for the purpose of ridicule.

We should return to the topic of Science Trust here.

June 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

"Also, I'd argue that, at least based on the data, since there is a bigger difference in beliefs about climate change for liberals between high and low trust in science than for conservatives, dismissing climate change risk is a bigger part of the GOP's identity than believing climate change is extremely risky is part of the Democrat's party identity"

It might be now, I'm not sure. But back at the start of it, opinions were about 50:50 among Republicans, and more like 80:20 among Democrats. It was the Democrat support for it that made it anathema to a lot of Republicans.

"To put it another way, most Democrats believe climate change is real and a risk, but it's a not a front and center issue for most Democrats; they rank other issues like the economy, gun policies, and healthcare as more important."

So do Republicans.

Republicans consider it a waste of money and resources, and a scheme to grab political control outside the framework of democracy, but the US has never been at much risk of taking it seriously since the Byrd-Hagel resolution. It's an easy target for cuts, but not a real threat.

"But for Republicans, denial of climate change is a bigger part of the identity, partially because of what believing in climate change would mean. David Roberts had a good thread about this yesterday He argues that believing in climate change means:"

The Republicans have their own set of solutions - the question has sometimes been discussed as a hypothetical thought experiment, as to what should we do if it *was* true?

Believing in climate change means:
1. Going nuclear - in a big way. Like building a thousand new power stations in the middle of every big city, and dump the regulations and planning enquiries and over-the-top safety measures that make it so expensive.
2. *Every* country being subject to the same emission constraints, irrespective of development status. (And without having to be bribed by the developed economies to do it.) The climate doesn't care which country the CO2 comes from - and if you ban emission selectively, the emissions won't reduce, they'll just move.
3. Start geo-engineering - there are already ways known to extract CO2 from the atmosphere. One of the simplest is to dump iron in iron-poor parts of the sea to trigger algal blooms, which sink and take carbon out of the system. The iron is a waste product from mining, and people will actually *pay you* to take it away for them, so it's not expensive.
4. Genetically engineer crops that tolerate a wider range of climate conditions. (Most of the issue would be dealt with by moving agricultural choices a couple of hundred miles north or south, but there could be some use for it at the margins).
5. Funding action by introducing a 'climate futures market' which trade bonds that pay out variable amounts according to future climate outcomes. They're a free-market mechanism for bringing future costs and risks into the present day, and would have the effect that whoever turns out to be wrong on climate change would wind up paying for it. Because each side assigns a different value to the bonds, they can be used to pay for policies where the two sides disagree on the proper amount to pay.
6. People who believe in climate change should take the 'vegetarian option' and pledge to immediately stop using all fossil fuels and anything made or transported with them. The price of fossil fuels would crash, leaving no profit in them, and the price of renewables would skyrocket with increased demand. Oil companies would leap on the new bandwagon with alacrity, because massive profits would be available to the first able to deliver a solution.

... and so on. There's no fundamental conflict between conservative principles and acting on climate change. But as the response to the Byrd-Hagel resolution has shown, for the climate campaigners and negotiators, responding to climate change itself was never the point. The reason for supporting it is being able to introduce the "Climate Justice" policies that "urgent action on climate change" justifies, which basically come down to crippling the West's economy and transferring its wealth to the poorer nations without actually having any significant effect on the climate.

Conservatives don't bother to campaign for these conservative solutions to climate change because they don't believe in it. And yes, they object to climate change largely because of the policies usually proposed to address it. But they're not disagreeing with the science because of it's implications for policy - since they disagree that those policies are implied by the science, too.

Certainly, no headway will be made until the climate campaigners drop their demands for wealth redistribution and selective emissions controls. For the past 20 years or so that might have been possible - the Byrd-Hagel resolution promised it, had bipartisan support, and has been the policy of Presidents from both sides of the house ever since. I think now it would be a lot more difficult, because in the process of the the fight we found out too much about the flaws in the science, and it would now first take a thorough audit of the science to confirm whether there really was a problem.

But it's not going to happen that way. It will go the same way the very similar overpopulation scare of the 1970s went. Awareness of climate change will gradually fade as the predictions fail to occur and the political deadlock continues, and in another couple of decades it will be a completely different scare being used to justify the same policy proposals.

That's the conservative view, anyway. Democrats would surely disagree. But in the interests of understanding the roots of the problem, we should at least understand one another's viewpoints, and why we believe what we do. I'm not asking anyone to agree with me; just to understand why we disagree.

June 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Andy -

=={ However, there is no coherent cultural group 'skeptics' to date... }==

It mirrors the other side. It is interesting that you
cling to your asymmetry theories despite the ascendance of "skeptics" and "skeptical" rhetoric to the seat of power in the US.

=={ Haven't trawled comments much but exaggerations of economic damage to US don't appear to reach apocalyptic / catastrophic framing as far as I can see. }==

Nearly uniform agreement, including from the most powerful politicians in the world, with complete certainty that Trump saved us from losses in trillions of dollars and hundreds of millions of jobs. I guess that's why they hold horse races.

June 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

J:

I do not have an 'asymmetry theory'. If you think so, find the exact quotes from my guest posts at Climate Etc. and present them, in context. The main tribal culture opposing PA and similar in the US is conservative, not 'skeptic'. In the US Dems are allied with climate culture, which pulls in Reps as opposition. This does not of course mean there are not skeptics who behave for instance with stridency or rhetoric or exaggeration, or who are not challenged by orthodoxy. But per the note above if you think skeptics are a coherent cultural group, then demonstrate their socially enforced consensus, and that this is different to conservative principles. Can you?

June 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Andy -

I think they are no more or less a coherent cultural group than are their counterparts in the climate wars, and that is just one of the many asymmetries that are arbitrarily deigned and embedded in your theories for which you provide no actual scientifically validated evidence.

Saving us from librul's catastrophic economic ruin, "courageously" protecting America's sovereignty against assault from European interlopers, defending us against money-grubbing developing countries trying to bring us down, exposing and freedom-fighting against liberal hypocrisy and moral depravity, all play out the same way in the comments at WUWT as they do any variety of issues at Breitbart or Pajamas Media - as they have for years. The are different flavors of identity - protective cognition. And it isn't any different on the other side.

Extrapolating from online media or other entities at the extreme ends of the spectrum is always a bad idea (another of your asymmetries as you cherry pick extremism). But your "socially-enforced consensus" is what we see all over "conservatives" views on climate change as just one of many similar issues. Look at what happened to Bob Inglis for dating to challenge that consensus. Follow the trajectory of mainstream and powerful Republicans like john McCain on CC as they fall in line with the Tea Party political litmus test.

June 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"Saving us from librul's catastrophic economic ruin, "courageously" protecting America's sovereignty against assault from European interlopers, defending us against money-grubbing developing countries trying to bring us down, exposing and freedom-fighting against liberal hypocrisy and moral depravity, all play out the same way in the comments at WUWT as they do any variety of issues at Breitbart or Pajamas Media - as they have for years."

All of that is straight out of Byrd-Hagel, which has been US policy on *both* sides of the aisle for 20 years. Democrats voted for it. Obama followed it. Given that the origins of the policy were in a bipartisan consensus - I don't think you can ascribe the Byrd-Hagel viewpoint itself as the result of any sort of politically motivated cultural cognition. On the question of who still publicly supports it, maybe you can, but it wasn't the conservatives who shifted as a result.

"Look at what happened to Bob Inglis for dating to challenge that consensus."

Did that happen because he "dared to challenge the conservative consensus"? Or because he was "wrong"?

Your seem to see cultural values in *every* opinion you don't agree with. What's the empirical evidence that it is *culture* rather than rational arguments/facts that decided people's opinions here?

If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

June 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

>’I think they are no more or less a coherent cultural group than are their counterparts in the climate wars…’

Then you should be able demonstrate their socially enforced consensus, just as the orthodox climate consensus can be demonstrated.

>’… just one of the many asymmetries that are arbitrarily deigned and embedded in your theories…’

So here is what happened at the link below. You so believed that your own assumption of ‘asymmetry’ *must* be in my theories, you grossly misrepresented my last guest post, despite by your own admission not reading most of it. You simply invented what you thought ought to be in it that matches your preconception. Not only were your inventions completely incorrect, the post explicitly stated the opposite of some of your imposed assumptions. This is clear for all to see at the link below. So why don’t you try the approach of actually reading it and understanding the content, and then if you still have any beefs providing a coherent argument, with exact quotes in context, of the parts that are needed to support your structured critique regarding what you think is going wrong and where, and why. You have never provided any kind of argument like this to support your claims of 'asymmetry' or anything else, and latterly seem to be rather bizzarrely criticising the posts you think I *ought* to have written if I was conforming to your view of me, but not in any way the posts I *actually* wrote.

https://judithcurry.com/2017/02/20/innate-skepticism/#comment-839724

‘…your theories for which you provide no actual scientifically validated evidence.’

The posts carrying my theories are supported by a raft of evidential references from a wide range of sources, for example from papers and / or academic surveys and some articles by (mainly consensus) social scientists / pyschologists (Ecker, Leiserowitz, Hulme, Kahan and more, and Lewandwosky too - of his several for support and some critiqued, other more minor folks in this vein too), plus a wider range of papers from many other disciplines (anthropology, neuroscience, cultural evolution, etc.) and public surveys from various reputable organizations too. I think the issue here is that you don’t like the evidence. So challenge it, rather than saying it doesn’t exist or isn’t scientific. A bunch of Kahan’s super work here forms a great thread of evidence I use in several of these posts; are you saying this evidence is not scientific? There's about 75 or so references in the above linked post, mostly in the footnotes and a few in the main post. While these include articles and popular science books, and for simple history or whatever Britannica / Stanford web and similar, there’s also a raft of academic papers and some academic books.

‘Saving us from librul's catastrophic economic ruin…’

Exactly! This is *conservative* tribalism! Hence the stab at liberals / the left. The cultural alliance effect that causes this alignment is noted above, but occurs only weakly in some countries. The US (and latterly Oz) are exceptional in the strength of this alignment. In the UK all 4 main political parties: left, center, right and scottish nationals, all support mainstream climate change, yet there is a similar proportion of populational split on the issue, but not strongly left - right aligned. In Germany the centre *right* carries the main CC flag and Merkel is dubbed “the climate chancellor” for her diplomatic efforts on the issue, while some challenge is begining to form from both the left and the far right after many years of no real challenge to climate policy across the board.

>’Extrapolating from online media or other entities at the extreme ends of the spectrum is always a bad idea (another of your asymmetries as you cherry pick extremism).’

Say what? I don’t ‘extrapolate’ from extreme online media, whatever ‘extrapolation’ from these might even mean. You mention Briebart and Pajamas but from recall I don't think I’ve ever even quoted anything from these or any other similar conservative sources in any of my guest posts. Added to which I don’t even recall ever reading Pajamas direct, although I’ve certainly seen the name associated with sound-bite releases at various other sites. I recall referring to the NYT and WSJ now and again and no doubt some other mainstream rags too both US and UK. You claim to have read my earlier stuff at least, how come you seem to be so completely ignorant of the support and references I incorporate, and just as importantly the kind of stuff I *don't* use? Where on Earth did this assumption about extreme / extrapolation and RW press come from?? Why make stuff up when people can just go and view the body of my work and see that this is entirely untrue!

>’But your "socially-enforced consensus" is what we see all over "conservatives" views on climate change as just one of many similar issues.’

Con / Reps in the US indeed have a socially enforced consensus based (unsurprisingly), on *conservative* principles. Yes the Dems are aligned to climate culture and fire one way and the Reps fire back on this topic with all that they have - this is red on blue and blue on red. Of course the Reps use skeptic ammunition and the Dems use orthodox ammunition. But climate orthodoxy can stand both alone with its huge reach and infra-structure built on the cultural consensus of calamity, and also in alliance with parties both left and right across the world, and does so. CC skepticism is still just a reaction to this stance; one day a coherent culture may spring from that reaction, but that day is not today. The *same* behavioural rules apply to everyone in such social systems. And as NiV notes rejection of Kyoto and hence the climate change narrative, was once bi-partisan. Yet in an already tribal political environment when a new culture muscles into the ring, alliance, and hence opposition too, is more likely to develop along existing lines.

June 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Andy -

As far as I'm concerned...


You subjectively collect and categorize information. You define terms such as "consensus enforcement" in a self-sealing fashion. You do nothing by way of applying the scientific method in your process. But more than that, you convince yourself of the objectivity of your process and fence yourself off from applying standards of objectivity to your own work.

You could choose to collect data in a manner such as Dan does. You could publish your work in venues where approval and agreement are not foregone conclusions by virtue of the partisan orientation of your audience (predictable by how they orient on the evidence of climate change and the social context of the climate wars). If your methology is good enough for you and arguing by assertion satisfies your evaluative criteria, then more power to you.

June 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

My work is published at Climate Etc for all to see, and this is by no means a venue where approval is a foregone conclusion. Or have you not noticed the very robust debate on pretty much everything appearing there, including my stuff, and also from various points on the spectrum (i.e. not just opposite poles). Incidentally I have also provided links to this work from here, of course strictly where appropriate. I use Dan's data and that from various other sources too. Why on Earth collect all this twice? Dan's data particularly is most excellent, and I do not have his expertise regarding collection methodology and statistical sifting (nor indeed time for such from the day job). My work follows a consistent train of logic and has many references in support. In contrast you critique only by arbitrary assertion. As noted above not only do you fail to provide any quotes or specifics following the logic train to show where you think there are breaks in the line, or where alternate references known to you may highlight potential contradictions, latterly you are claiming attributes and assumptions of the work that either don't exist or are even in direct contradiction to that which does exist. Your claimed characteristics appear to fulfill some kind of preconceived view you have formed. Whatever, this is misrepresentation.

June 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

From NiV post above on this page:

>>>>>>>>>> 5. Funding action by introducing a 'climate futures market' which trade bonds that pay out variable amounts according to future climate outcomes. They're a free-market mechanism for bringing future costs and risks into the present day, and would have the effect that whoever turns out to be wrong on climate change would wind up paying for it. Because each side assigns a different value to the bonds, they can be used to pay for policies where the two sides disagree on the proper amount to pay.<<<<<<<<<<<

Such bonds exist - catastrophe bonds issued by reinsurers specifically to address climate change risks - and nobody is interested in them because, no matter what reinsurers are claiming on climate dangers in order to sell those bonds, no climate disasters are occurring so the bonds can't serve as a hedge.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/gurufocus/2015/10/07/why-warren-buffett-sold-munich-re/#2d3c12ad7ca2

From Andy West, also in above posts:

1. You cite the Stern report, which has been widely ridiculed not least by Nordhaus (his response to Stern, being academic, takes several pages, but in the interest of brevity the plain English summary consists of calling Stern an illiterate, innumerate, illogical, cheap lady-of-ill-repute or equivalent). Nordhaus as I've posted here before is the best mathematical modeler for economic variables relating to climate but he also and unfortunately uses CO2 as a measure of pollution.

2. You also write:
>>>>>>>>>>>>..... you are claiming attributes and assumptions of the work that either don't exist or are even in direct contradiction to that which does exist. Your claimed characteristics appear to fulfill some kind of preconceived view you have formed. Whatever, this is misrepresentation.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Not so. This is not misrepresentation, it is shameless fraud, and whatever Nordhaus said about Stern applies to this case a fortiori.

June 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Andy -

Andy -

You tell me that you don't assert an asymmetry and then make statements about a coherent "culture" and "consensus enforcement" on one side of the climate wars relative to the other. I don't accept your definition of terms and that given, there is no point in me providing quotes because you have already indicated that you are pointing out facts and realities and that what I see as asymmetries aren't asymmetries but objective observations of the state of the world of two independent phenomena (and thus don't state directly that they are asymmetries).

I think that the "skeptic" culture is an intractable subset of a larger ideological and identity associated grouping and you argue that it is something that isn't coherent and associated with a less emotive approach to reasoning (among other differential features). Wading through your dense material would be an exercise in futility because the difference of view is definitional and thus it is inevitable that we will circle back to the same point that I think you are applying standards unevenly and you think you are describing a reality of independent phenomena.

If you used a data approach as Dan does, and identified groups of "skeptics" and non - skeptics (and ideally some kind of control) and actually demonstrated real respective differences in their approach or thinking style in various contexts then we might have something concrete to ground the discussion. As you don't do that, and merely (IMO) overlay a subjectively determined matrix onto the data of others, I am content to know that the difference in perspective is unresolvable and foundational in nature, and that you think I am reading claims of asymmetry into your work that you don't make (and that others think I am being fraudulent - nothing emotive there, of course, since Ecoute is a "skeptic":-) )


Your belief that you would get a "robust" and comprehensive critique from Climate Etc. audience, IMO, falls into the same category of irreconcilable differences of perspective (even if, at a far more extraordinary, or I might actually say absurd, IMO, level).

June 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

sorry... inextricable...not intractable.

June 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

J:

The view is not definitional; cultures are emergent and have characteristics that can be shown. While as with all social data there is not black and white, even very basic analysis can show some presence. E.g. as below. And likewise absence of. Dan's great data on identity defence is one super resource and means of doing so (included below). If you don't want to work through my stuff generally and demonstrate specific challenges, with relevant quotes etc. this is your loss. But this means that your claims are indeed arbitrary assertions, or at least cannot ever be distinguished from arbitrary assertions whatever inner truth you personally believe they hold or indeed may actuallly hold (except when your claims have been blatant misrepresentations, when everyone knows for sure they are arbitrary, because they do not even relate to the work!) For cultural evolution just as in biological evolution, perfectly constant rules produce all sorts of asymmetries. That is a property of emergence and not an underlying asymmetry within the rules. Look at red / green / blue in *both* cases. Only a rough equivalence yet the situation is not symmetrical in the creationism case either, but where both sides are pulled into a tribal red / blue conflict it *seems* more symmetrical (and similarly in the UK the red / blue inflammation of this domain is very much weaker). I do use a data approach, like Dan, because in fact I use much of his data and some of his charts as produced from same, lock stock and barrel. They are highly suited. And likewise from other researchers, and from public surveys too. Like Dan, like anyone, I make propositions about what these data mean in clearly laid out steps with cross referential support. Those steps are available for you to challenge, as folks would normally do, in context and with quotes. You choose not to. I don't know what Ecoute is referring to. Fraud is another kettle of fish. But you have misrepresented my work, and nor do you seem to be one iota concillatory or apologetic for same. This does not speak well. Perhaps you are a bit biassed regarding Climate Etc. You were a very regular visitor with robust opinions until your poor behavior meant got you some moderation and hence time delays for posts.

https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/who-is-who-aux-file.docx

um... choppy sentences, am in haste.

June 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Ecoute:

1) I don't cite the Stern report. It happens to be in one of the direct quotes which are all examples of the narrative of *certainty* of imminent calamitous climate change, which is a cultural narrative and not based on science.

2) I have no idea what you are talking about. The 'work' has nothing to do with Stern or any other of those quotes. This sentence refers to the fact of Joshua misrepresenting my posts at Climate Etc.

June 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Andy - thank you, and to clarify, in re your (1) yes, you are quoting one of the many fools who actually believed the Stern report, and in re your (2) exactly! In my view, "misrepresentation" is too mild a term to apply to Joshua's postings and "outright fraud" is accurate.

For those unfamiliar with the Nordhaus v. Stern argument, here is the full text:
http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/fichiers/Nordhaus2007b.pdf
It is very much worth reading, including footnotes and bibliography, and most of all for its conclusion, which applies just as well to the inanity of the US staying in the Paris accord. Inter alia, Nordhaus writes of the Stern report "......approach is inefficient
is that it invests too much in low-yield
abatement strategies too early. After fifty
years, conventional capital is much
reduced, while “climate capital” is only
slightly increased. The efficient strategy has
more investment in conventional capital at
the beginning and can use those additional
resources to invest heavily in climate capital
later on......"

Even the most elementary grasp of physics and economics will show why the above is true. Anyone unable to see the truth of it is either irredeemably ignorant, expecting some taxpayer-generated bounty from governments foreign or domestic, or aping someone else's behavior and pronouncements for reasons of political or social expediency.

June 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Link (that works) to Andy West's article on Climate etc of November 2015
https://judithcurry.com/2015/11/20/climate-culture/

June 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Ecoute:

okay, thanks for clarification.

June 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

And this for Dan - on whose data I also rely for modeling - Andy's comment to his own article at the above link:

andywest2012 | November 20, 2015 at 5:24 pm |
NOTE: The ‘Aux’ file contains a 3 step basic social analysis showing the cultural nature of the climate consensus, using public survey and Kahan’s data. The 3 steps are first executed for the creationism / evolution domain, and then in exactly the same manner for the climate change domain. The paragraph in the head post referring to this appears to have gotten lost in the editing process; hopefully Judith will restore when she has some time.

June 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

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