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Monday
Apr162018

Interesting talk coming up today -- populist modes of presidential nomination & ascension of fascist populism

Rick Pildes, visiting Yale from NYU this semester, will give this paper at Law School's weekly, Monday faculty-workshop:

The storyline, not so surprisingly, is that advent of democratization of presidential nomination process has resulted in a growing number of inexperienced, ideologically extreme general election candidates like, oh, D. Trump.

Makes sense.  But in my view, so do other impressionistic accounts.

One is that the incidence of genuinely populist, anti-establishment candidates (for sure Generalissimo Trump) is still not the norm--but rather something that happens every 4 general elections or so, in between which we still see more elite-approved candidates (from GHW Bush to Romney, from Mondale to H. Clinton). It's unclear too whether this rate of "populist" presidential nominations is all that different from what we saw in period before both parties adopted rules that "electorize" the  nomination process. 

Another explantation is that any trend toward more and more populist, anti-elite candiates tracks growing value-factionalizzation in electorae as a whole.

I'm sure Pildes will be presenting a very persuasive argument, but I still worry about crediting narrative, underdetermined accounts (of this issue & zillions of others) in absence of empirical proofs that fit the proposed account & that furnish more evidence for believing it rather than plausible rival(s).

Maybe, in my capacity as "workshop chair," for which I am handsomely paid iwith the right to ask first question, I'll ask Pildes about this. (Or maybe I'll just keep my mouth filled with cookies, also my prerogative as faculty-workshop Generalissimo.)

 

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Reader Comments (28)

Dan - you are quoted in new article today in MIT Technology review by their energy reporter, James Temple
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610719/how-the-science-of-persuasion-could-change-the-politics-of-climate-change/

>> "Positions on climate change have become symbols of whose side you are on in a cultural conflict divorced from science,” Dan Kahan, a Yale professor of law and psychology who has closely studied this issue, has said." <<

Temple has been so massively ridiculed by readers (mostly Tech graduates) in comments to his past articles that this time the editor disabled comments altogether. But the ridicule to which Temple has been subjected is nothing compared to that heaped on a homosexual lawyer who committed suicide in a New York park before dawn yesterday by dousing himself with what he called "fossil fuels" (the fire department later determined it was gasoline) and set himself on fire in order to protest climate change. Comments on 4chan were particularly brutal - starting with new meme, "LGBTBBQ".
https://boards.4chan.org/pol/thread/168171631

Attempts to equate populism - by definition democratic - with fascism are likely to be met with a comparable satirical backlash. Perhaps participants in your discussion should be warned.

April 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Ecoute -


But the ridicule to which Temple has been subjected is nothing compared to that heaped on a homosexual lawyer who committed suicide...

Like I said in the thread downstairs, even if "the left" did have a sense of humor (obviously they don't, obviously only the alt-right has a sense of humor), they could never come up with any humor that could compete with the rapier-like wit of the alt-right. What comic genius - using a suicide as fodder for jokes!

Man, I wish the victory in the culture wars wasn't such a slam dunk for you guys and gals, but when you so dominate in the ability to use political satire as a weapon, I'm afraid only an act of God could prevent your victory.

April 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Nowhere in prof. Pildes's article is there insinuation of "ascension of fascist populism", so I wonder how Dan came up with that wording in his headline here.

"Wir sind das Volk" is populism. "L'Etat - c'est nous" is fascism. Conflating the two is the guaranteed path to totalitarianism.

April 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

@Ecoute-- fair enough. I was reading between the lines.

April 16, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

A relevant long read from Yahoo:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/power-party-political-reforms-can-bad-democracy-090049295.html

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

link drop (trigger warning: van der Linden involvement):

http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/experimental-effects-climate-messages-vary-geographically/

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Van der Linden's link is interesting. But note that the metric here is "Difference in change in belief". The data shows that the coal, oil and gas producing states of West Virginia, Wyoming and North Dakota, who have the most to lose economically in a turn away from fossil fuels, are now coming around to accepting the science. The fact that they were so much slower is a result of the economic dependency. By a "Difference in change in belief" metric, of course places like California can't show a big change, they never felt as much pull of fossil fuels on jobs and were there with the science already.

In a similar "it's the economic, stupid" vein, the above post on populism needs an historian. Populist movements arise at times of economic disparity. At such times the elites lose touch with the masses. It is the opposite of "too much democracy". Right now, our Presidential and Congressional leaders differ with the positions of the public in significant ways. The government is acting to re-enforce the dominance of those with wealth and power. Both political parties are beholden to big money. Unfortunately, at such times of discontent, demagogues can arise to harness that anger and send it in an unproductive direction. Scapegoating of a minority group is common ploy. The solution lies in moving towards greater economic equity.

Obama really was elected on a mandate for change. He was unable to produce that in many significant ways, although certainly not all his fault. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision further enhanced the power of the oligarchy. Who now control much of the media and who have controlled the national narrative at this point in time. Making it about building walls and exiling immigrants rather than helping with transitions away from a fossil fuel dependent economy.

What we need is more democracy, not less.

Van der Linden's work is hopeful. Basic, factual information does have an impact, albeit not at as rapid a speed as desirable.

I think that we need to tune the voice of reason and come up with engagement platforms that can reach people with basic messages through the distractions of our current White House as reality TV show noise.

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis

Dan,

Do you really think comparisons to fascism enhances the image of the academic field?

Jonathan,

What I want to know is, why, apparently, don't reviewers and journals ever point out the blatant error being used in conclusions like: "Experimental subjects’ perception of the degree of scientific consensus about climate change increased by about 16 percentage points nationally when presented with a simple, clear message: “97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening.”"

I mean, if some paper came along and casually noted that Pi = 4 or that the speed of light was 4.5x10^8 m/s, they'd say something, surely? Query whether that was worth a word of clarification?

"We told 6301 members of the general public that Pi was equal to four, and 16% more of them believed us..." I mean, isn't the fact that you're practicing deception on experimental subjects something worthy of mention, if only to report that you got ethics board clearance for it? I thought there were rules about that in psychology/social sciences?

What I also want to know is, what would happen to public opinions if you told people that only 22% of climate scientists believed people needed to reduce carbon emissions to prevent human-caused climate change? Why do you never see anyone doing the experiment? Or any other number? (For example, are people more persuaded by claims closer to their prior estimate, on the grounds they're more credible?) From a psychological point of view, surely the question is equally valid and interesting? Might make an interesting WSMD? JA.

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Gaythia -

Van der Linden's work is hopeful. Basic, factual information does have an impact, albeit not at as rapid a speed as desirable.

Not owning a subscription to Nature Climate Change I can't know for sure, but my guess is that the experimental condition lies a fair distance apart from the real world communicative environment related to climate change and the prevalence of shared opinion among scientists with related expertise. I think that the question of the "hopefulness" of the paper's conclusions about the efficacy of the intervention is further exacerbated when you consider the areas where they report observing the "strongest positive response." Seems to me that folks in those areas are very likely to be exposed, post-study, to a very different kind of messaging post study. Particularly in the era when information sources on issues like climate change has become to markedly siloed.

I wish that one of these days, people who are investigating the efficacy of "consensus-messaging" to "change in beliefs" would:

(1) Most importantly, start with a baseline measure of, to what extent, the study participants have already heard "consensus messaging" and whether it (examining frequency and type) is associated with existing beliefs.

(2) Research longitudinally, whether the effect that they find is sustained over time - in the real world given that it is not very likely that ongoing exposure to "consensus messaging" is likely to be of a type that is consistent with the type introduced in the experimental intervention.

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

.Academic researchers are among the highest emitters, primarily as a result of emissions from flying to conferences, project meetings, and fieldwork.

Rather remarkable if a research endeavor would be conceptually grounded in a tu quoque. OR, perhaps, they have convincing evidence that the likelihood of ACO2 mitigation policy development is directly correlated to the carbon footprint of climate scientists?

Lemme see.

Integrity in this context may be defined as a coherence between a person’s statements of belief on the one hand and their personal choices on the other, including in the domain of emissions reduction (Hourdequin, 2010). A lack of coherence, conversely, may be construed as evidence of hypocrisy in terms of not ‘practicing what you preach’(Monin, 2010; Nevins, 2013). This was indeed a charge levelled by some in the media against delegates to COP15, who were characterised as having been ‘flagrantly hypocritical’ for taking flights to the Copenhagen conference (Gavin and Marshall, 2011). Steve Schneider also raised the question whether the accumulation of large numbers of air miles in his position as Professor of Climatology constituted ‘hypocrisy’ for being far above the US average (Schneider, 2009). Climate scientists are in an unusual position because their private choices cannot be viewed in isolation from their professional expertise (Nordhagen, 2014). Although any one scientist’s emissions will have a negligible effect upon the climate system, it is nevertheless critical to science communication whether or not their actions are perceived to be consistent with the message that real and urgent action is needed on emissions (Thompson, 2011). Particularly in the context of advocacy for changes in lifestyles and patterns of consumption, there is a pertinence, therefore, not just in what climate scientists say, but also in what they do. And yet, such research as there is has indicated that the work-related carbon footprints of climate researchers are substantial in comparative terms, particularly as they are comprised in large part by air travel (Stohl, 2008).

Well, I'm not going to chase down the references, and I doubt that I could, but...

We find no clear obstacles to justify an exemption for the research community from the emission reduction targets applied elsewhere

Seems to me that there's a space between "justify the exemption" and (what seems to me) their implied thesis: that climate scientists lowering their carbon footprints would have a measurable impact in increasing mitigation policies.

From reading that passage I'd say that their evidence is extremely speculative. I'm glad to see that they use conditionals, appropriately, about the state of the evidence. But their remark about the "pertinence' of the association seems to outstrip the evidence they provide. Too bad they don't explore that issue a bit deeper. My guess is that climate scientists reducing their carbon footprint would have little meaningful impact on mitigation policy development. It might get "skeptics" to alter the hierarchy of the "skeptical" arguments the present just a bit - but I doubt even that. My guess is that no change in climate scientists' carbon footprint would have that effect, as they would be "skeptical" about any evidence presented to that effect anyway.

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

van der Linden provides online access to the Nature article through this link

which I found on his web site https://www.psychol.cam.ac.uk/people/sander-van-der-linden

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

@NiV-- I don't understand your question--"Do you really think comparisons to fascism enhances the image of the academic field?" There was a workshop presentation that was expected to (& did) link "populist" modes of presidential normination to political extremism & disrespect for liberal democratic values. Perfectly legitimate hypothesis to investgate by scholarly methods.

April 18, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@JOshual-- there is a "longitudinal" study of effect of
scientific consensus messaging. It's been featured in this blog already. IN a post in which you were among the commenters

April 18, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Doh!

(linky no worky, but I found it.: http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2016/4/19/new-strongest-evidence-yet-on-consensus-messaging.html)

April 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Ecoute -

Since I know you are so deeply concerned about stamping out the scourge of political correctness wherever it exists, I offer this link so you and your buds at 4chan can get working on this example ASAP.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/04/18/outrage-as-california-prof-calls-barbara-bush-amazing-racist-and-says-shes-happy-witch-is-dead.html

April 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

NiV - I do wish you would explain, as I also am curious to know the answer to your question. Dan knows he, and not Pildes, introduced the idea of fascism here, as is evident from his reply to me:

"@Ecoute-- fair enough. I was reading between the lines.

April 16, 2018 | Registered Commenter Dan Kahan"

-------------------
This is a pioneer of VR who understands why the alt-right not only got used to getting called "deplorables" but has actually embraced the term:

"...what happens is, every time there’s some positive motion in these networks, the negative reaction is actually more powerful. So when you have a Black Lives Matter, the result of that is the empowerment of the worst racists and neo-Nazis in a way that hasn’t been seen in generations..."
http://nymag.com/selectall/2018/04/jaron-lanier-interview-on-what-went-wrong-with-the-internet.html

Throwing terms like "fascist" around with abandon does work to strengthen my friends - they've obviously been called worse things - so I don't object to it on tactical grounds. I just wonder if anything can be saved from language as communication and not as polemic.

April 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

De mortuis etc no longer applies to either the extreme left or the extreme right. The Daily Stormer concluded its obituary on Barbara Bush with the words "And so I say, with all gatherable emotion: Rot in hell, bitch." You can find it via Google link - direct links are blocked by Dan's website's software.

The current edition also includes a translation of the latest PC initiative of Starbucks into alt-right English. Excerpt:

Starbucks PC
"The curriculum will be developed with guidance from several national and local experts confronting racial bias, including Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Heather McGhee, president of Demos; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; and Jonathan Greenblatt, ceo of the Anti-Defamation League."

Alt-right English
"The curriculum will be developed with guidance from several national and local experts confronting porch monkey antics, including Andrew “weev” Aurenheimer, developer of nigger-killing robots; Tom Metzger, president and director-counsel of the White Aryan Resistance; David Duke, former Louisiana State Senator and prominent white nationalist; and Kevin MacDonald, academic, white advocate and author of Culture of Critique."

April 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

"@NiV-- I don't understand your question--"Do you really think comparisons to fascism enhances the image of the academic field?" There was a workshop presentation that was expected to (& did) link "populist" modes of presidential normination to political extremism & disrespect for liberal democratic values. Perfectly legitimate hypothesis to investgate by scholarly methods."

"Populist" would be fine. It's the use of "fascist" in the post title that I'm arguing with. Ecoute already made much the same point, so feel free to skip the rest of the explanation if her point is taken.

--

Fascism was a specific ideology that arose in early 20th century Italy, France, and Spain - a nationalist variation on revolutionary syndicalism, that aimed for the workers to take ownership of the means of production by forming worker-controlled guilds or syndicates. They rejected democracy, advocating a one-party totalitarian state with total control of industry, a militarised society that could fight united against internal and external threats. No significant political party or political figure has advocated it since 1945, and it is nowadays maily used as a pejorative against political opponents. When used outside of early 20th century European historical studies, it's widely seen as an instance of Godwin's law.

"The storyline, not so surprisingly, is that advent of democratization of presidential nomination process has resulted in a growing number of inexperienced, ideologically extreme general election candidates like, oh, D. Trump."

Donald Trump is *not* a fascist. He doesn't advocate industry being taken over by worker-owned syndicates. He doesn't advocate it being controlled by the state. (If anything, he wants to free industry from state control!) He doesn't reject democracy, or advocate one-party rule. He's not a totalitarian.

He's not even "ideologically extreme"! He got voted in, implying that a lot of people agree with him, implying that his position is not on the extremes of the distribution but close to the median/mode of views in society.

So clearly here the term is being used in its pejorative sense. People of an opposing ideology that has little tolerance for dissenting political views, and little respect for the result of the democratic election, find his policies unacceptable and many consider themselves morally obliged to resist him by any means, despite him being the elected president expressing the democratically expressed will of the people. This opposing ideology is elitist as opposed to populist - considering rule to rightly belong in the hands of the ideologically enlightened experts. Just because his views are popular carries no weight! He doesn't have the right "experience"; he's not part of the established bipartisan Washington political elite.

In this case, "extreme" simply means outside the Overton Window of acceptable discourse among that Washington political elite, rather than outside the range of political views among the people. That the two are so radically different is the basic reason for the shocking series of election results.

It has been noted before that academia has a highly significant political imbalance, with far more left-wing academics than would be expected by random chance. So when people start announcing workshops with "fascist" in the announcement title in reference to their own democratically elected president, there's naturally going to be a suspicion that this isn't going to be an impartial scholarly treatment! Whether that's what you intended or not, using such a word is going to make what follows *look* like ideologically partisan politics rather than a scholarly study.

Or to put it in a way you might be more familiar with - this may be polluting the scholarly science with ideological identity-triggering symbols, forcing people to choose sides on the basis of who they are rather than what they know. Any Trump-supporter is going to see the word "fascist" and reject whatever you say out of hand, without even considering whether you or the speaker have a valid point. And any Trump-hater is going to support whatever you say, likewise. Neither outcome, I'm sure, is what you hoped for or intended.

"Populist" is fine. "Nationalist" is fine. "Protectionist" is fine. All are academically accurate terms for his political platform. "Fascist" simply isn't accurate.

---

"Rather remarkable if a research endeavor would be conceptually grounded in a tu quoque."

Is that any more remarkable than one grounded in a statistical falsehood?

My main point was simply to ask why academic journals persistently failed to point out the 97% falsehood. If the idea is simply to see what effect giving false information has on public opinion, then all sorts of false opinions ought to be tested. It's just as interesting to see what effect saying 22% has as 97%. I gave a link to indicate that it was perfectly possible to give a sort of half-assed semi-plausible argument-from-authority justification for saying 22%, that you could use to make the claim seem more scientific to one's survey subjects. I don't personally think it's any more true that 22% of climate scientists think this than that 97% do.

If anyone can effect a major public opinion change by simply presenting false information to the public, then anyone else can do the same. Climate sceptics can easily counter the effect of the false 97% claims simply by making false 22% claims. And thus, from the point of view of figuring out effective ways to get the public to believe in climate change, the method proposed by the study is a complete dud.

April 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Is that any more remarkable than one grounded in a statistical falsehood?

Not sure I understand why a comparison of two theses grounded in fallacies (assuming they both are) becomes relevant. The validity of the one argument is determined completely independently from the validity of the other.

That said....

My main point was simply to ask why academic journals persistently failed to point out the 97% falsehood.

I think, rather obviously, they don't agree with your assessment. I suppose either because they rely on the assessment of scientists whose views they trust (in keeping with what we know takes place, ubiquitously, on both sides of the great climate divide), or because they've looked into it and think that your determination is inaccurate (and, of course, "falsehood" - depending on which definition you're using - becomes a rather difficult assessment to make unless you have mind reading skills that I don't know about).

I've see tons o' arguments in the blogosphere about the validity of the 97% number. While I don't have the interest or really the skills necessary to investigate those arguments thoroughly, for what it's worth, my guess is that except for concepts that are either quite vague, or if your subject is prevalence of shared opinions about specific concepts among a rather tightly conscribed group, you'd be hard-pressed to find 97% agreement on just about anything.

That said, from what I can tell, Richard Tol seems sufficiently accurate when he says that:

“Published papers that seek to test what caused the climate change over the last century and half, almost unanimously find that humans played a dominant role. ”

So, then, arguing the precise number seems rather to me like angels and pin-heads - but sure, I think that even if one were to have a strong opinion as to the precise number, they should also acknowledge the diversity of opinion.


Climate sceptics can easily counter the effect of the false 97% claims simply by making false 22% claims.

Yup. Which is why I constantly complain that studies of the effect of "consensus-messaging" (including studies of a putative blowback effect) are (usually?) relatively useless when conducted in contrived experimental circumstances.

April 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Ecoute -

Another target for your noble anti-PC crusade:

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2018/04/19/late-show-with-stephen-colbert-writer-slammed-for-insensitive-barbara-bush-tweet.html

April 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

NiV - I'm beginning to think not only that we will never hear back from Dan on your question, but, worse, that he's acting under duress. And that the editors of all those climate journals peddling the 97% consensus have no more choice in the matter than Dan does. Consider this Notice of Withdrawal from a new journal:

>>>>>>>>>>>>
WITHDRAWAL NOTICE

This Viewpoint essay has been withdrawn at the request of the academic journal editor, and in agreement with the author of the essay. Following a number of complaints, Taylor & Francis conducted a thorough investigation into the peer review process on this article. Whilst this clearly demonstrated the essay had undergone double-blind peer review, in line with the journal's editorial policy, the journal editor has subsequently received serious and credible threats of personal violence. These threats are linked to the publication of this essay. As the publisher, we must take this seriously. Taylor & Francis has a strong and supportive duty of care to all our academic editorial teams, and this is why we are withdrawing this essay.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01436597.2017.1369037

I have no reason to doubt that this " journal editor .. received serious and credible threats of personal violence..". Not the first, not the last. The banned article is incidentally still available in the internet archive >
http://www.web.pdx.edu/~gilleyb/2_The%20case%20for%20colonialism_at2Oct2017.pdf
> and well worth reading, being by far the best article on the topic.

Thank you. And good-bye.

April 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

"I think, rather obviously, they don't agree with your assessment. I suppose either because they rely on the assessment of scientists whose views they trust (in keeping with what we know takes place, ubiquitously, on both sides of the great climate divide), or because they've looked into it and think that your determination is inaccurate (and, of course, "falsehood" - depending on which definition you're using - becomes a rather difficult assessment to make unless you have mind reading skills that I don't know about)."

It's not particularly complicated. One of the most cited papers on the subject, and one of the few to actually study the question, is Doran and Zimmerman 2009. They asked 10,257 scientists their opinion on two questions (1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant? 2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?) and got 3146 answers. 90% of scientists said "risen" to the first, and 82% said "yes" to the second. The figure for climatologists was 88%, that for meteorologists 64%. (Possibly, anyone interested in weather who doesn't believe knows they'll not have a successful career in climatology). They got 97% (75 out of 77) for climatologists who had published more than 50% of their recent papers on climate. It's a different group, with a significantly different proportion.

Their assumption (with no evidence offered) was that a strong publication record in climate science denoted expertise. Sceptics, of course, argue that it's because of journal gatekeepers setting a higher bar for publishing sceptical papers, or papers by known sceptics. ("It won't be easy to dismiss out of hand as the math appears to be correct theoretically.")

And all the subsequent papers producing a 97% answer do it the same way - they collect statistics on the publication record in the journals, rather than simply asking scientists what their opinion is.

The ratio for climate science journals is indeed something like 97%. The ratio for climate scientists - the claim actually being made here - is 88%. And the ratio for bare "scientists", which is a 97% claim often seen elsewhere, is actually 82%.

There are other surveys of scientists' opinions around, but all the ones that actually address the claim being made here give numbers around 80-85%. The 97% number underestimates the number of sceptic climatologists fourfold. And the number of sceptic scientists nearly sixfold.

It doesn't require any deep knowledge or contentious interpretation. All it requires is to read the references cited.

April 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Sceptics, of course, argue that it's because of journal gatekeepers


Of course they do, which is interestingly in contrast with their "appeals to authority" when they selectively highlght those relatively fewer peer-reviewed studies thst reach conclusions they prefer. Or when they reference the "consensus" for the purpose of "political correctness" such as when they throw sky-dragons under the bus.

Just all sameosameo. Easily predictable, and banal, IMO.

To the extent it that I find estimates of prevalence of shared views relevant (and of course, not dispositive), descriptions like Tol's seem consistent with my observation. I find the bickering about exact prevalence boring, not to mention inherently dubious - particularly when offered by partisans such as Cook et al., and yourself.

IMO, regardless of their own methodology behind their estimation process, scientists should reference the full body of literature - because I think that all the methodologies I've seen employed are problematic. Your strategically described, "simply asking scientists what their opinion is" likewise seems to me to fit right in. (The casual notion of that process being simple, let alone successfully overcoming the problematic aspects of self-report as a process of data collection - even self-report of opinions- seems no better to me than the authors casual treatment of prevalence estimation.

I find the whole debate effectively a symptom of a communicative format that is "polluted" by identity protective reasoning and polarization. Just another excuse for elevating one's own group and demonizing otters, IMO.

April 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

What makes it all that much more Godotian, IMO, is that as near as I can tell, the question of whether "consensus messaging" moves the bar of public opinion, in either direction, is just more Rorschach inkblot testing. "Realists" see consensus-messaging as a way to promote mitigation policies and "skeptics" see a significant blowback effect creating more "skeptics.". Easily predictable sameosameo, IMO. Theater of the absurd.

Too bad that instead, people don't spend that wasted time in constructive engagement.

April 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"Your strategically described, "simply asking scientists what their opinion is" likewise seems to me to fit right in. (The casual notion of that process being simple, let alone successfully overcoming the problematic aspects of self-report as a process of data collection - even self-report of opinions- seems no better to me than the authors casual treatment of prevalence estimation."

Interesting. How would you propose scientists measure the prevalence of opinions on any topic, given the non-existence of mind-readers, if asking their opinion is not good enough? And does this not mean that you agree with me - that all the 97% claims are inherently unsupportable? Why, then, do journals continue to publish them, and papers assuming them? Don't they know what we know?

April 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

How would you propose scientists measure the prevalence of opinions on any topic, given the non-existence of mind-readers, if asking their opinion is not good enough?

It's not either/or. Self-report data are data. But interpreting those data so as to reach conclusions isn't "simple." Either in methodology, or in validity (in the sense of measuring what it purports to measure). That is one reason why you measure the output of experts - also problematic, as per your description (e.g., gate-keeping effect).

that all the 97% claims are inherently unsupportable

I'm not that categorical. But I am dubious.

Why, then, do journals continue to publish them, and papers assuming them?

I don't have expectations that journal articles are perfect. They're information.and in this issue, I consider the exact number mostly irrelevant anyway. Seems to me that the exact number only gains importance for partisans who use it as a proxy for identity protective cognition. For example, some "skeptics" can focus on the precise number so they can attack peer review to deflect the inconvenience of peer-reviewed evidence, and some "realists" focus on the precise number because they think if it's 97% it provides a rhetorical hammer.

April 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua,

OK, I think I agree with that.

April 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Is that a first?

April 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

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