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Science communication, micro & macro

Okay, here is something fun, because illustrating how it works, and evaluating whether it does what it’s supposed to do, could go on for multiple posts (cf. the creation of the CC dictionary/glossary/whatever).

So what is it supposed to do?

Well, as I see it, this diagram furnishes a heuristic for overcoming the “Second Fallacy” of science communication. 

The first “Fallacy” is res ipsa loquitur—the “thing speaks for itself,” which, in this context, means that there’s no need for a science of science communication because the truth of valid science is manifest for all to see (Popper 1960).

The “Second Fallacy” is ab uno disce omnes, or “from one comes all.” This is the position (implicit or explicit in much writing) that only a single set of scientifically validated mechanisms matter for effective communication across all the settings in which science is being communicated—from the Dr.’s office to the legislative chamber, from the newspaper opinion page to the secondary-school classroom.

Obviously, to say that science communication consists of just two forms—“micro” and “macro”—won’t do the trick either.  Nevertheless the “m&M” framework could in many instances still prove to have heuristic value for promoting reflection on, and grounding exposition of, different communication approaches and dynamics.

E.g., the conflation of micro & macro helps to expose the underpinnings of the “knowledge deficit” thesis (KDT), which holds that conflicts between public beliefs and scientific ones originate in the public’s ignorance of what science knows.

There are settings in which KDT is a sensible starting point for communication.  They are ones in which individuals are pursuing goals that can’t be realized without the use of scientific insights.

Consider someone, e.g., who is suffering from a disease and who must make a decision among several medical treatment options.  Typically, he or she won’t be able to make the best decision unless someone with scientific knowledge (most likely a physician) furnishes information about the costs and benefits of those options. 

Even, then, however, the truth is not manifest. That is, the physician or other science communicator will need to understand how to navigate various heuristics and biases that can impede science comprehension among people who lack the habits of mind of a scientist (Peters et al. 2010).

But it would be a fallacy to infer that because KDT, and how to overcome it, are essential to enabling sound decisionmaking in this “micro” setting, overcoming KDT is therefore essential to dispelling public-science rifts in all settings.

In macro ones, individuals typically have goals that don’t depend on making use of the best available scientific evidence.  A principal objective they are likely to have is to affirm their cultural identity.  In the settings and roles pertinent to that objective, the knowledge individuals need is not what science thinks of the risks and benefits of various courses of action; it is knowledge of what her affinity-group peers understand positions on culturally disputed fact to express about membership in, and loyalty to, that group.  Such knowledge, moreover, isn’t ordinarily conveyed by argument-wheeling “messengers,” scientific or otherwise.  Rather it is transmitted by and absorbed through interactions that evince, often tacitly, the social meaning of various positions (Lessig 1995).

Controversy over climate change, nuclear power, and gun control, among others, are all dominated by these macro science communication dynamics. 

Science communication is not, by any means, impossible in relation to such matters. 

But the medium of communication in this situation is not one that features what scientists say. It is one that operates on the myriad everyday cues and processes by which individuals discern (again, usually tacitly or unconsciously) the stance on a policy-relevant fact that is appropriate for individuals with their cultural commitments (Kahan et al. 2015).  Indeed, it is the disconnection between these cues and processes and what scientists have to say that creates the pathology of persistent public conflict over what science knows (Kahan 2017).

Well, there you go: the first installment in how the m&M framework can be used to improve science communication.  Tune in "tomorrow™" for the next one.

In the meantime, what do you think about this example and the utility of m&M generally?


Kahan, D.M. On the Sources of Ordinary Science Knowledge and Extraordinary Science Ignorance. in Oxford Handbook of the Science of Science Communication (ed. K.H. Jamieson, D.M. Kahan & D. Scheufele) (O.U.P., Oxford, 2017).

Kahan, D.M., Hank, J.-S., Tarantola, T., Silva, C. & Braman, D. Geoengineering and Climate Change Polarization: Testing a Two-Channel Model of Science Communication. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 658, 192-222 (2015).

Lessig, L. The Regulation of Social Meaning. U. Chi. L. Rev. 62, 943-1045 (1995).

Peters, Ellen., Hart, P.S. & Liana, F. Informing Patients: The Influence of Numeracy, Framing, and Format of Side Effect Information on Risk Perceptions. Medical Decision Making 31, 432-436 (2010).

Popper, K.R. On the Sources of Knowledge and of Ignorance. in Conjectures and Refutations 3-40 (Oxford University Press London, 1960).

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Reader Comments (58)


I think individual/relational or intra/inter would have captured the idea better than micro/macro. After all, we don't expect that the relational drive varies much with group size, do we? Isn't a group of two enough for the effect?

A thought about KDT - what you and the many other scientists that study and write about actual vs. ideal cognitive processes are doing at one level is decreasing the public's knowledge deficit on this very important subject. Even the recent tidal wave of communication about fake news fits into this arena. What expectation do you have that encouraging meta-cognition by explicitly targeting the public's knowledge deficit about its own cognition can overcome some of the macro issue?

March 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

@Jonathan-- I am less convinced than you are that Science of Science Communicatoin has done anything to reduce knowledge deficit, in part b/c the means that it uses to do reflect ... knowledge deficit theory.

March 20, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Dan, I think this is a great starting point for something (and was thinking about something along these lines myself recently). Do you see any connection to concepts such as abstractness vs. concreteness here (e.g., individuals responding to micro-level information because it is concrete to their lives, vs. broader abstract ideological positions), or is this really mainly a group identity thing? Or, are those really distinct? My thoughts aren't hashed out on this at all, but really curious to see where this heads. Agreed it is may be a nice starting point for a more productive dialogue on issues of motivated reasoning and science communication.

March 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDan Chapman

Ok then - how is the meta-cognition issue further addressed beyond merely the knowledge deficit? For instance, it seems that a common macro issue with meta-cognition is that it's the other group's problem, not ours. But this defense seems to arise organically - no poisoning of the commons is necessary. It doesn't even seem relational - it could be a micro issue of system 1 bias: one's own cognition always seems right from the inside. If so, what non-KDT-oriented but also non-commons-correcting communication is needed?

March 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan


I think I'd put material on abstraction/concretess in boxes (g) & (i). But I'm not really sure. One of the points of the graphic is flush out issues like that & try to figure out the optimal (in terms of explanation, prediction & prescription) approach. Indeed, I['m sure the scheme will break down in many ways; but those breakdowns should be, one hopes, constructive, in order for this scheme to be a useful heuristic.

March 20, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@DanK: agreed. From my view, it seems pretty readily generative. I'm curious to think more about the process of how individuals switch between these 'modes' of micro and macro in their decision making, as well as where these lines might be more blurred (and what that might generate in terms of important insights). But, that part of theorizing is for another day!

March 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDan Chapman

Any bets how this will turn out?:

March 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Social media science communication - the jumbo shrimp of oxymorons:

March 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Science communication on (not in) social media:

Social Media, Political Polarization, and Political Disinformation: A Review of the Scientific Literature

featuring this timely request:

Further, there are serious privacy concerns that are driving Facebook’s current policies on sharing data with academic researchers. Nevertheless, a great deal more could be learned about many of the topics contained in this report if a system for sharing Facebook data with scientific researchers could be developed and implemented.

March 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan
March 21, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Jonathan - stop chsing that latest leftist outrage mirage.

Data on Obama 2012 campaign
"...Consciously or otherwise, the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page – home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends – directly into the central Obama database.."
"..By 2008, however, the microtargeting advantage had shifted to the Democrats, who had developed their own enormous, dissectable database of voters called VoteBuilder, run by the Democratic National Committee, and others run by for-profit companies that had been created to support the party’s candidates. One of these, Catalist, boasts a national database of 240 million people of voting age, with information on each one drawn from voting rolls, the census, and other public records, as well as commercial data covering “hundreds of fields, including household attributes, purchasing and investment profiles, donation behavior, occupational information, recreational interests, and engagement with civic and community groups.”..."

There's a lot more obviously

Data on all your internet-connected devices

Reminder, the top hackers are on the alt-right. We're staying out of this for now, as it's the left, presumably believing their own propaganda, that's going after Facebook - never interfere in enemy internecine disputes! But Dan has shown great courtesy in telling me I can post here (even after I announced my colors upon arrival) so I didn't want to see this group sidetracked.

And I like the m v M notation, it's analogous to the g v G for gravity.

March 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Dan - switching is binary. Motion is possible only along a single dimension, so all the other dimensions have to be stuffed into the size of the move, which in your model seems to take only a single value. Nature is always more complex than models, but this is too Procrustean - as in fact you note in your introduction. Related, recent article on open borders etc in The Economist:

March 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

@DanK yes indeed, that is a great post. It actually reflects much of my own experience growing up...& I also have a parent with a masters in parasitology that doesn't 'believe' in evolution. The mental gymnastics are more complex than what comes out of many of the quant studies (or, are just totally ignored altogether). Great to read good qual work on this. I could see similar work at the intersection of the micro-macro divide being a really useful contribution.

March 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDan Chapman

Ecoute for the Tu Quoque yet again!

March 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Oh wait. In case there might be a capitalization nanny running about...

Ecoute for the tu quoque yet again!

March 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Switching along hundreds of dimensions is deployed by countless platforms. The good ones have bot-spotting capabilities, so if you want to deploy bots on them you have to program them to imitate some human:

"..McKinlay watched with satisfaction as his bots purred along. Then, after about a thousand profiles were collected, he hit his first roadblock. OkCupid has a system in place to prevent exactly this kind of data harvesting: It can spot rapid-fire use easily. One by one, his bots started getting banned...."

Then there are the security services, which spot bots even faster than the commercial apps, but generally let them run in order to trace their origin:

But proposed solutions are potentially a whole lot worse than the bots - especially if their offering documents come in both English and Russian, requiring you to transfer to them your entire web activity so they can "protect" you from scammers. This one sounds like the new Chinese Trust Rating:
"...Recall those bizarre situations of murder, drug dealing, and prostitution that happened to AirBnB service users. Or consider even dating apps – how would you know if that random guy who is inviting you out for coffee in the second line of correspondence is not lying about their age, not posting fake photos or old photos taken 10 years ago that look nothing like what the person looks like now? Pew Research Center found that more than half of online daters (54%) say dates have “seriously misrepresented” themselves in their profiles."

The baseless hysteria over Cambridge Analytica will not abate soon, however, for reasons so obvious they are freely acknowledged by the left - at least the part of the left that has not yet completely lost its mind. At least CA is a step up from previous versions of the same hysteria, involving Russians, porn stars, or both:
"... Had the same data been used to sell people refrigerators or send them email spam, the story would not be playing out on such a big stage. In other words: Almost any significant role Facebook played in the success of the Donald Trump would be a momentous one, because his victory altered the course of history. Many of those who opposed Trump are still furious and still searching for people to blame...."

March 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Jonathan - no, you don't cross from m to M by setting n=2. I don't know how many humans you need to get critical mass, but they must also be connected in specific ways (which Dan would be best able to explain). The closest visual I can come up with is plutonium: an untamped mass of Pu239 in a sphere of diameter 4in will reach criticality - that's why the metal itself is stored in doughnut shapes.

Marketers whose continued existence depends on the m-M distinction figured this out long ago:
"We tell ourselves stories about our potential to be amazing because if we’re realistic about how common failure and pain is, we’d never get off the couch.
There’s a flip side to this.
If ego-driven optimism is common at the individual level, stories about pessimism are always more popular when describing groups.
Pessimism always sounds smarter than optimism because when we’re dealing with groups of people whose behaviors and incentives we’re not crystal clear about, avoiding threats should be taken more seriously than achieving gains. Pessimism also sounds like someone trying to help you, while optimism -- when describing unknown groups of outsiders -- tends to be interpreted as a sales pitch."
John Stuart Mill wrote 150 years ago: “I have observed that not the man who hopes when others despair, but the man who despairs when others hope, is admired by a large class of persons as a sage.”

March 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

The Economist, repeating the obvious:
"Although nobody knows how much CA benefited Mr Trump’s campaign, the fuss has been amplified by the left’s disbelief that he could have won the election fairly."

March 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Dan - more data to support your CC theory on failure to sell climate change. Wonder if this could work in reverse, observing lower intensity of interest in climate change and inferring increasing support for the right?

"..In fact, Hersh spent a week trying to create a microtargeting model to find people who were interested in climate change and, he says, “you can’t do better than party affiliation.” If you don’t have access to that information, it’s very hard to figure out who’s interested. If you do, nothing else matters..."

March 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

More supporting evidence for Dan's It ain't the stupid, Stupid!™ hypothesis:

Scientific reasoning ability does not predict scientific views on evolution among religious individuals

March 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan - I loked at the study you cite, and see no proof of what the authors claim their "structural equation modeling" has in fact demonstrated. What would constitute proof? Run the data again, this time to predict agreement with the PC tenet that "race is a social construct". And I suspect the apparent support for "It ain't the stupid, Stupid!™" will crumble, separating the stupid PC adherents, from the rest.

ALL PC is poisonous precisely BECAUSE it promotes wilful blind spots. See also:
"...Arguing that no substantial differences among human populations are possible will only invite the racist misuse of genetics that we wish to avoid...."

Full disclosure - I don't know the subset of political affiliations included in prof. Reich's "we", but it certainly excludes the alt-right. That he is scientifically correct strikes me as blindingly obvious, but I don't propose to support him in his battle against PC on tactical principles. Let the creationists fight the DNA sequencers until ALL PC crumbles under the weight of facts. This is just one battle in a much larger war.

March 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

In choosing between those who argue that there are no genetic criteria that associate with race, and those who exaggerate the potential value or meaning of information conveyed by genetic differences in association with race, as a window through which to evaluate the "much larger war," I'll take the former.

With the exception, of course, of those who point out the strong genetic associations between being Jewish, intelligent, charming, handsome, and witty.

March 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Dan Chapman -

Do you see any connection to concepts such as abstractness vs. concreteness here (e.g., individuals responding to micro-level information because it is concrete to their lives, vs. broader abstract ideological positions), or is this really mainly a group identity thing?

I made some comments downstairs with reference to how and why I think that some of the discussion about the "science of science communication" is limited by a lack of connection to the science of how people learn (e.g., epistemology, and developmental and educational psychology). I made specific reference to PIaget, and his work on assimilation and accommodation - but indeed, I very much agree with you that the general pattern in learning from the concrete to the abstract (of course, with exceptions) is a key component for understanding of the why and how for the split in how people formulate their opinions on scientifically complex concepts such as climate change.

March 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Uh oh. In case there are any syntax/grammar nannies running about:

With the exception, of course, of those who point out the strong genetic associations among being Jewish, intelligent, charming, handsome, and witty.

March 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua & Ecoute,

Your tu quoque battle in the news:

March 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Joshua & Ecoute,

March 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan - how can you suspect me of engaging in any kind of battle with unarmed snowflakes? A careful reading here will show I ignore them completely. It will also show I linked David Reichh's article, whence also the quote I posted above:

"...Arguing that no substantial differences among human populations are possible will only invite the racist misuse of genetics that we wish to avoid...."

How effective do you think Reich is in his science communication? Obviously not much - Dan's whole body of work demonstrates the ineffectiveness of stating the truth politely and hoping listeners will agree with it..

Whether the alt-right's approach to achieving the exact same goal will result in a triumph of science - a goal we obviously share with Reich - can't be known in advance. But I firmly believe it's the only way forward, given the abject failure of his alternative. Admittedly our approach consists of marshalling precisely that "racist misuse of genetics" Reich warns about. The point of a war is to win.

March 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Compare and contrast:

Jonathan - how can you suspect me of engaging in any kind of battle with unarmed snowflakes? A careful reading here will show I ignore them completely.


Clearly some posters here cannot now, and probably never will, grasp these basic epistemological concepts. Or that "whistling while walking past graveyards" is not applicable - there is not enough available topsoil on the planet to satisfy E.O. Wilson's requirements, let alone Auernheimer's plan quoted above on this thread.



There is such a thing as more evidence, but proof is binary - there is no such thing as "more proof". Of course, you couldn't be expected to know this

This is a pattern I have often seen in these online exchanges - where people consistently engage with interlocuters and then claim they haven't done so. It's as if somehow they totally lack accountability and won't accept responsibility for their own behavior, or think that they can convince other people of something that is obviously wrong because don't want to believe it themselves (presumably because of a deep sense of shame about their own behavior).

It's a particularly interesting form of "motivated reasoning" that not only displays the power of biases to lead someone to a lack of insight into their own reasoning, but also a complete lack of insight into other people's reasoning (in this case, a belief that simply by stating an obvious untruth confidently, one can convince others that the obvious untruth is, in fact, true).

Thanks for another example, Ecoute. You can never have too many useful idiots.

March 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

LOL - I don't know when I last had anyone read me so thoroughly!
The accurate statement would have been:
" I have come to ignore them completely" A pedant might continue: "..though I have not always done so in the past"
I regret the omission - attributable to an interest in brevity. Apologies.

March 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

" I have come to ignore them completely"

Which you demonstrated by..... responding to my latest comment... again?

I love your special brand of logic, Ecoute.

And I will point out that offering a lame excuse for illogic, by trying to hide it under a cover of "brevity, " is pathetically transparent.

March 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Going through the comments on Reich's article I came across this logical masterpiece:
Ignatius J. Reilly N.C. 18 hours ago

The argument that just because different cultures view and construct themselves around race differently, flat out debunks the fact that there is such a thing as "Race" altogether, is deeply misguided.
Take the example of a COW.
In Western societies our "construct" of a Cow (from infancy/cartoons onward ) is in a field or tethered, fenced in, with a bell perhaps, then slaughtered/ milked and eaten. This construct is influenced by/influences the way we relate to a Cow.
In India the "construct" of a Cow is free, loose, fed by all, painted colors and revered as a God. This construct is influenced by/influences the way they relate to a Cow.
NEITHER construct negates the fact that there really is such a thing as a COW!

This would have been the top comment if only computers were voting. But for living creatures, emotions are a part of communication. An elegant proof elicits a sense of awe at its beauty. There's a collection of those:

"..To do these short and surprising proofs, you need a lot of confidence. And one way to get the confidence is if you know the thing is true. If you know that something is true because so-and-so proved it, then you might also dare to say, “What would be the really nice and short and elegant way to establish this?” So, I think, in that sense, the ugly proofs have their role...."

We can be confident of many things in the sciences, but moving from m (one person is convinced) to M (large group) involves attaching a sensory element to our communication, if it is to be effective. Look - and listen - at the timpani in the first few seconds:
Very low, very deep - almost subsonic. Subsonics induce a sense of dread - almost of impending doom. And that is the intended effect here - the hero Siegfried is dead, and this is his funeral procession.

I really don't know why this basic concept is not better understood in all the work done by Dan and others on the science of science communication.

March 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Could someone please explain to the socially inept among us that in online communication, never addressing someone is functionally equivalent to ignoring him? Thank you.

March 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

A gift for you, Ecoute, because I appreciate you (unintentional) humor so much:

March 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Ecoute -

Could someone please explain to the socially inept among us that in online communication, never addressing someone is functionally equivalent to ignoring him? Thank you.

Let me see if I got this right. So, in direct reaction to a comment I wrote, writing a response and then requesting that other people deliver your response to me, in your brand of logic, is the functional equivalent of ignoring me?


Could you also explain how starting a comment with my name is the functional equivalents if ignoring me? (Feel free to provide me that explanation by writing it in a comment here and then asking for someone else to explain it to me as if I wouldn't just read it myself, if somehow you can convince yourself that doing so is the "functional equivalent" of ignoring me in order to make yourself feel better - and presumably feel that you are better than me).

March 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Time Sequences MATTER. Something true at T=t-1 may no longer be true at T=t+1.

Besides - I'm a lady. If any boorish Dummkopf around wishes to address me I am certainly free to continue ignoring him. Also, that I am a superb shot - have won several prizes,( rapid fire, .22s, clip of 10 with only 5 loaded). Also, that my patience is limited.

March 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

And Ecoute -

If you could explain where you got this whole "to the high manner born" shtick from, I'd really appreciate it. I've been wondering about that for a while now. Is it really that you were high born and you come by it naturally, or is it just a pompous affectation that you acquired later in life?

Again, you could just write the explanation in a comment and ask for someone to explain it to me, if that works for you. I know that direct interaction with the simple minded is beneath you, and wouldn't want you to have to stoop so low.

March 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Ecoute -

Time Sequences MATTER. Something true at T=t-1 may no longer be true at T=t+1.

Besides - I'm a lady. If any boorish Dummkopf around wishes to address me I am certainly free to continue ignoring him. Also, that I am a superb shot - have won several prizes,( rapid fire, .22s, clip of 10 with only 5 loaded). Also, that my patience is limited.

I might point out that in that comment that you wrote in response to my comment (as you were ignoring me), you forgot to ask someone else to provide an explanation to me about what you wrote. How am I going to understand your response to me (more evidence that you are ignoring me, or course) if someone doesn't explain it to me?

I know that you're concerned with brevity, but that does seem like a rather key detail!

March 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

The Chinese didn't get the PC memo on race and continue to do things the old-fashioned way:

"ethnic identifications inferred by the researcher by just looking at the people"

March 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Americans polarized on climate change despite decreasing uncertainty in climate science. Explanations focused on organized climate skeptics and ideologically driven motivated reasoning are likely insufficient. Instead, Americans may have formed their attitudes by using party elite cues. We analyze the content of over 8,000 print, broadcast, and cable news stories. We find that coverage became increasingly partisan as climate change rose in salience, but climate skeptics received scant attention. Democratic messages were more voluminous and consistently pro–climate science, while Republican messages have been scarcer and ambiguous until recently. This suggests Republican voters took cues from Democratic elites to reject climate science.

March 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

For my friend Jonathan - a link to the preprint:

March 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

This is interesting - from the article I just linked:

Finally, Tesler (2017) shows with an experimental manipulation that Republican attitudes to climate science would soften if their elites changed course, but that this did not apply in the case of attitudes towards evolution.

From the article cited:

This article examines the sources of ideological skepticism about two issues where there is a scientific consensus: climate change and evolution. The results indicate that self-identified conservatives doubt global warming in large part because of elite rhetoric, but that evolution beliefs are unrelated to reception of political discourse. News reception is perhaps the strongest predictor of conservatives’ climate change skepticism, but has no influence on their aversion to evolution. Moreover, the article leverages three sources of variation in elite discourse on climate change—temporal, cross-national, and experimental—to show that changes in the prevalence of ideological cues strongly affect public opinion about global warming. Politically attentive conservatives, in fact, were more likely to believe scientists about global warming than liberals were in the 1990s before the media depicted climate change as a partisan issue. The United States is also the only nation where political interest significantly predicts both conservatives’ skepticism about, and liberals’ belief in, climate change. Finally, evidence from a national survey experiment suggests that Americans would be less skeptical of manmade global warming if more Republicans in Congress believed in it, but a growing Congressional consensus about evolution would not diminish doubts about its existence.

Very cool.

March 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua


A rich literature in political science has drawn our attention to the importance of party elites in shaping public opinion from the top, down (Berinsky, 2009; Cohen, 2003; Conover & Feldman, 1989; Kam, 2006; Lupia, 1994; Lupia & McCubbins, 1998; Nicholson, 2012; Popkin, 1991; Zaller, 1992), and the availability of cues from these actors has steadily risen over time through a combination of the increasingly partisan nature of coverage and rising issue salience. People learn about what positions they “should” hold as a Democrat or a Republican from the cues that are present in their information environment. This might help explain why highly educated and politically attentive Republicans are most skeptical about climate change, even when controlling for ideology – they are most attuned the elite debate in the media.

This speculation about a causal mechanism behind an apparent correlation is in line with one I've been offering in these here threads for years - with, apparently, little impact.

Dan - what do you think about their speculation?

March 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

I gotta say, (before NiV beats me to it)....

If the United States is to mobilize the cross-partisan societal consensus necessary to effectively tackle climate change, it is essential that we fully understand the factors that caused Americans to polarize on climate science. Much popular and scholarly attention has been focused on highlighting the role of organized climate skeptics and discrediting these actors in the public eye. More recently, there has been an effort to Merkley & Stecula 22 reframe scientific debates or advance policy solutions in ways conducive to conservative ideology. However, both of these efforts may, to a degree, miss the mark. We may only depolarize climate change by finding ways to bridge the divide between Republican and Democratic elites, as hopeless as that might sound in this hyper-partisan era. In short, scholars and science communicators need to take the role of party elites seriously.

Given their in that excerpt, combined with speculation about the mechanisms of cause-and-effect as I mentioned above, it is interesting that they use the "denier" phraseology so frequently in their paper. (There's other, related stuff too, such as there attribution to Fox News, specifically, the attribute of being an "echo chamber.")

I don't happen to be convinced that the use of such terminology has any material impact....but I would think that given their views on the issue, they would be more circumspect.

March 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Regarding the intersection of identity, "motivations, " and "values" in lending insight into the phenomenon that is The Donald.

Data from a national probability sample of Americans surveyed soon after the 2016 election shows that greater adherence to Christian nationalist ideology was a robust predictor of voting for Trump, even after controlling for economic dissatisfaction, sexism, anti-black prejudice, anti-Muslim refugee attitudes, and anti-immigrant sentiment, as well as measures of religion, sociodemographics, and political identity more generally. These findings indicate that Christian nationalist ideology—although correlated with a variety of class-based, sexist, racist, and ethnocentric views—is not synonymous with, reducible to, or strictly epiphenomenal of such views. Rather, Christian nationalism operates as a unique and independent ideology that can influence political actions by calling forth a defense of mythological narratives about America’s distinctively Christian heritage and future.

Prolly helps explain why evangelicals seem to believe that Trump shouldn't suffer political consequences for shtupping a porn star while his wife was at home taking care of his toddler son.

March 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Somewhere between their article in the Oxford University Press and their synopsis in the Washington Post the 3 authors inserted "white" in front of Christian - without explaining their reasons, or that they are not supported by their own statistical analysis. Meanwhile, over at The Forward, some artistic lady objects not to "white", but to "Christian":

To complete the trilogy of this theater of the absurd:
last weekend I took some of my guns for maintenance to an excellent shop I've been going to for years. Somewhat diffidently the owner asked me if I would object to his shop moving its ads and other notices to a website called PornHub. I asked if this was what it sounded like, so he explained that YouTube is now banning all gun-related videos, some gun manufacturers were considering moving to PornHub which has no such ban, and he was asking all lady clients if they would object.

Is that where Ms Stormy Daniels is plying her wares, I asked. Probably, he said, but he wasn't sure. At which point I said I would definitely object, on grounds the lady is suing both the president and his lawyer for defamation. He said every single lady client he had asked so far had also objected to such a move, but the reason I gave was original.

March 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Posting this without comment:

March 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Ecoute -

A gift for you:

Of course, the article is obviously wrong, as it attacks the science behind conclusions that Askenazi jews are inherently more intelligent than WASPS. What next, articles claiming that it likewise isn't true that Askenazis are also more witty, more handsome, and more charming?

March 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"...This isn’t about race [...]. It’s about political correctness and the dangers it poses. Harris wants to defend Murray’s arguments on race and IQ because he doesn’t want the social justice warriors to win.
But if donning his [Murray's] perspective becomes a form of bravery, if it becomes a way for young white men to rebel against protest culture and prominent pundits to declare independence from groupthink, it will become much more appealing. From my read of the alt-right, it already has."

That's what David Reich was warning about - and if, as I hope, Ezra Klein is correct in his "read of the alt-right", our plan is working.

March 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

More evidence our plan is working - on the general population - from article in today's Daily Stormer. (NB publication available via Google search, direct links blocked).

It looks as though we might be entering a Golden Age of racist advertising, folks.

First, Dove aired a commercial in which a negress removed her top to reveal a white human underneath.

Next, H&M featured an image of a negro child wearing a “coolest monkey in the jungle” hoodie.

This time, Heineken has climbed aboard the Hate Wagon with a brutal “sometimes, lighter is better” commercial [..]

The advert has since been pulled from Heineken USA’s YouTube page.

Spokesman Bjorn Trowery said: ‘For decades, Heineken has developed diverse marketing that shows there’s more that unites us than divides us.

‘While we feel the ad is referencing our Heineken Light beer – we missed the mark, are taking the feedback to heart and will use this to influence future campaigns.’
Sorry, Bjorn, but there’s no way that this commercial “missed the mark.”

These multi-million dollar companies hire the most ingenious and perceptive marketers in the industry, and the number of professional screenings that a new commercial goes through – from outline to actualization, then from actualization to submission – is immense. If a commercial with even the subtlest racial undertones passes through, it was deliberate.

Why? To hurt black people’s feelings?

No – that’s just a bonus.

... I suspect advertisers have realized that creating racist ads – albeit ones that provide enough room for reasonable doubt when called out on them – is a fast track to free publicity in today’s ultra PC climate. I mean, the pattern is always the same: company produces a racist ad, blacks chimp out about it, the international press reports on it, and the company gains free publicity for days or even weeks.

March 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

More positive signs of alt-right ideas spreading to the broader population. This is an online post from an anonymous (but imo opinion convincing) philosophy professor:

" the past few months internet outrage merchants have made my job much harder. The very idea that someone could even propose the idea that there is a conceptual difference between sex and gender leads to angry denunciations entirely based on the irresponsible misrepresentations of these online anger-mongers. Some students in their exams write that these ideas are "entitled liberal bullshit," actual quote, rather than simply describe an idea they disagree with in neutral terms.
They come in with the most bizarre idea of what 'post-modernism' is, and to even get to a real discussion of actual texts it takes half the time to just deprogram some of them. It's a minority of students, but it's affected my teaching style, because now I feel defensive about presenting ideas that I've taught without controversy for years.

Peterson is on the record saying Women's Studies departments and the Neo-Marxists are out to literally destroy western civilization and I have to patiently explain to them that, no, these people are my friends and colleagues [...]

I just want to do my week on Foucault/Baudrillard/de Beauvoir without having to figure out how to get these kids out of what is basically a cult based on stupid youtube videos.

Honestly, the hostility and derailment makes me miss my young-earth creationist students."


March 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

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