Out of the lab and into the field?

This is probably going to be another of those rather confused posts, which doesn’t really say much and in which I illustrate my own confusion, more than anything else. I’ve been reading (a few times, now) a Nature article by Dan Kahan and Katherine Carpenter called Out of the lab and into the field. Dan Kahan also highlights it in this blog post.

I’ll state upfront that I still don’t quite get the significance Dan Kahan’s cultural cognition ideas, even though it does seem to be given quite a lot of credence by people whose views I do largely respect. I get that some people are culturally pre-dispossed to reject certain ideas and that, therefore, convincing such people of a certain position can be extremely difficult. What I don’t quite get is what one is meant to do, given this information, especially when it comes to semi-formal science communication, rather than advocacy. Of course, knowing something of the audience can help to tailor what you might say, but you’re still constrained by the actual scientific evidence; there are quite strong limits – in my view – as to how much you can tailor your message to account for people who might be culturally pre-dispossed to reject it.

However, in Kahan & Carpenter’s Nature article they say

Decision scientists have identified remedies for various cognitive biases that distort climate-change risk perceptions. Researchers must now use the same empirical methods to identify strategies for reproducing — in the tumult of the real world — results forged in the tranquillity of their labs.

I must admit that I haven’t come across the term decision scientists before, and am not entirely sure what they are. Also, I’m still not clear what these strategies – that have been forged in the tranquility of the theirs labs – actually are and who they’re aimed at. Are they aimed at traditional science communicators (which I would regard as those, often scientists, who communicate scientific information to the public and to policy makers) or at what I would regard as something like scientific advocates (those who are using scientific information to try and convince the public, and policy makers, that there is something that we should be doing, given that information).

Again, maybe I’m confused, by my understanding behind getting out of the lab and into the field is to actively get involved in helping organisations/science communicators that are trying to, for example, convince people of the significance of anthropogenically-driven climate change. The article also gives an example of the Cultural Cognition lab working with such an organisation. This is where I get a little confused/uncomfortable; is the underlying Cultural Cognition idea simply a clever marketing strategy, a way of getting people who won’t typically accept your views, to ultimately do so?

Of course, there is nothing necessarily wrong with this; those trying to adovate for something will want the most effective messaging strategy. But is this necessarily appropriate for what I would regard as science communication; people – often scientists – engaging in public discussions about science? It’s one thing to find effective ways to better communicate the information, but another to utilise strategies aimed at convincing people of your position. It seems, to me at least, that Cultural Cognition is focussed more on the latter, than the former. Again, nothing necessarily wrong with this, but it would nice if this were clearer.

I think I’m going to stop here (I told you it would be confused). I think I get the basics of the Cultural Cognition idea (some people are culturally pre-dispossed to reject certain scientific views) but I’ve never been quite sure what this implies with respect to how we should actually conduct scientific communication. It’s, of course, possible that I am confused about the fundamental idea, and that I’m missing something obvious about how this information can be utilised. If so, maybe someone can clarify things in the comments; it does seem that many people give quite a lot of credence to these ideas, so I would quite like to know what it is that I’m not getting.

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232 Responses to Out of the lab and into the field?

  1. This post is rather confused (probably because I am) but I’ll make a comment about a couple of things I couldn’t get into the post.

    1. Something we could do to take cultural coginition into account is for the scientific community to be more welcoming to those who might be culturally pre-dispossed to rejecting a particular scientific position. Maybe not easy, but worth considering.

    2. If the Cultural Cognition idea really is about finding strategies to get certain cultural groups to accept certain scientific positions, is this a reasonable thing for an academic research group to actually do? In the case of AGW, we might agree that there are certain groups who have a tendency to reject something that is regarded as true (in the sense of being strongly supported by the evidence). However, how would we feel if there was another research group trying to develop strategies to get people to accept some alternative (it’s mostly the Sun, for example)? Of course, understanding why some cultural groups might reject certain views seems something worth researching. Actually finding strategies to get them to accept this view, however, seems a bit more than simply understanding why they don’t accept it. of course, I may well be confused about the whole idea. If so, some clarification would be appreciated.

  2. > Dan Kahan also highlights it in this blog post.
    It’s a pretty shitty blog post, with no content other than lookitmeiminnature!

    > given quite a lot of credence by people whose views I do largely respect
    Who?

  3. WMC,

    It’s a pretty shitty blog post, with no content other than lookitmeiminnature!

    Indeed. I initially wrote writes about it and then realised he hadn’t written anything, so changed it.

    Who?

    I see it highlighted quite lot. You might have to give me some time to find some examples.

  4. Predictably enough, I think this is a load of toss, but since it’s paywalled toss (doesn’t he *want* people to know about his brilliant ideas?) I’ll keep my opinions to myself. Oh, wait…

  5. I agree with the central problem with Kahan’s cultural cognition theory. I think it’s right, but identifying it doesn’t tell us anything about how to break the logjam.

  6. Pingback: Out of the lab, down the stairs and into the bucket of jellied eels – Stoat

  7. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    =={ What I don’t quite get is what one is meant to do, given this information, especially when it comes to semi-formal science communication, rather than advocacy. }==

    I’m not sure Dan says that he knows the answer to that question. Certainly, there is a distinction between identifying how cultural cognition manifests in communicative contexts and knowing how to effectively mitigate its effects.

    Dan frequently refers to work being done in Florida as an example of work being done on communication about climate change that doesn’t result in the same polarizing, policy-undermining outcomes as what we typically see. But I’m not entirely sure how he outlines what is unique or specific to those efforts.

    Lately he has been focusing on what he calls “science curiosity” as a trait he thinks is associated with, and actually he seems to be arguing is causal for, reducing the polarizing impact of cultural cognition. My guess is that he attempts to move out of the lab will involve testing some ways of increasing “science curiosity.” FWIW, I remain skeptical about both his method for measuring “science curiosity” and his conclusion that its effects are causal. But I don’t really understand what he has presented all that well.

    =={ is the underlying Cultural Cognition idea simply a clever marketing strategy, a way of getting people who won’t typically accept your views, to ultimately do so? }==

    Hmm. It seems to me that the underlying initiative is to reduce what Dan sees as the polarizing impact of current communication efforts in “polluted” science communication environments such as the environment related to climate change.

    =={ But is this necessarily appropriate for what I would regard as science communication; people – often scientists – engaging in public discussions about science? }==

    Your standard critique of the “responsibility” (or blame) of science communicators notwithstanding, I don’t see any reason why anyone communicating in science wouldn’t seek to consider evidence related to the effectiveness of different communication practices.

    =={ It’s one thing to find effective ways to better communicate the information, but another to utilise strategies aimed at convincing people of your position. }==

    Hmmm. Given the current context of climate change, I would say that there is very little, if any, communication going on (with the public if not between scientists) that isn’t targeted towards “convincing” people at least to some significant extent. . That wouldn’t be nearly as true about other science communication contexts, but a similar situation exists with other topics such as GMOs, nuclear energy, vaccination, evolution, etc. It’s just the lay of the land.

  8. Everett F Sargent says:

    Well, I did try to explain DK’s basic concept in the previous post. 😦

    You test in the lab certain propositions (inoculation, gateway belief, consensus gap and whatever of several ideas that DK appears to prefer). Now in a field (or prototype) test you have public opinion polls as a function of time, but you also would wish to test a field population as a function of time primed with these various “gap bridges” in a more natural setting (that’s why it’s in the field).

    You really don’t know what works in the field based solely on your rather simplistic (IMHO) laboratory controls. You think you do so, so you promote your own favored approach(es).

    You have to demonstrate that your idea works in the field and is “sticky” (meaning that it is also retained in people’s memory over a long time-span (years)).

    I found it to be a very easy read as this is somewhat like my field of work over these past 40 or so years.

    But we are talking psychology here, so maybe easier said than done (as opposed to the applied sciences). Plus, if you haven’t guessed by now, I personally don’t have much respect for the soft sciences (where most of the problems lie with respect to problematic replications).

    BTW, I don’t have a 1st language, but I do try with my rather low level English language skills.

  9. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: As I said about another one of your fuzzy OPs, this one will garner a lot of comments. 🙂

  10. http://www.pnas.org/content/113/52/14953.abstract
    Past-focused environmental comparisons promote proenvironmental outcomes for conservatives
    Matthew Baldwin and Joris Lammers

    Significance

    Political polarization on important issues can have dire consequences for society, and divisions regarding the issue of climate change could be particularly catastrophic. Building on research in social cognition and psychology, we show that temporal comparison processes largely explain the political gap in respondents’ attitudes towards and behaviors regarding climate change. We found that conservatives’ proenvironmental attitudes and behaviors improved consistently and drastically when we presented messages that compared the environment today with that of the past. This research shows how ideological differences can arise from basic psychological processes, demonstrates how such differences can be overcome by framing a message consistent with these basic processes, and provides a way to market the science behind climate change more effectively.

    mike says: Ok, so the IPCC stuff and most of science communication is framed in terms of future heat rise and the consequences of that. Future consequences are not persuasive to conservatives. It’s the opposite of dog whistle politics, they hear facts presented clearly and think it’s bs, where standard dog whistle communication uses coded language to avoid presenting things clearly, and yet, conservatives hear abortion/gun rights/anti-immigrant coded messages very clearly through dog whistle communications.

    I keep sharing this Baldwin Lammers study, but I don’t hear responses from the scientific community that indicate this study is being read and understood. Over and over, we are back to the question of presentation, How do we explain disastrous future warming to conservatives? Baldwin says, don’t try. They don’t hear that frequency. You have to explain what has already been lost. You have to talk about stable weather patterns that are now broken. You have to talk about the old precipitation patterns that have been replaced by torrents and droughts. You have to talk about the loss of fisheries and shellfish that has already occurred and talk about how we reverse the losses.

    It’s kinda tragicomic that scientists keep saying why don’t “some” populations understand that what we are doing today has calamitous impacts for our children, but when I share this Baldwin study, it appears that the climate scientists can’t hear communication science reports from folks like Baldwin. I guess everybody’s ears have certain stuff they just can’t hear.

    Maybe climate scientists should just talk louder? That’s easier than reading stuff like Baldwin and trying to figure out how to translate all the future tense framing of IPCC and climate science.

  11. Susan Anderson says:

    To a certain extent, I do feel it’s an academic discussion that supports a rather prestigious job. Perhaps nothing wrong with that, and certainly the results are clear, but as aTTP says, what does one do with that?

    I did however, come across something that went a bit further (was it Yale? Mason?) and made what to me is a very important point:

    Curiosity seems to be the thing that is most likely to make change.

    I think getting people curious and finding out for themselves – not insisting they do their own science, which I think is silly, when there are plenty of good scientists who do the technical side way better than any amateur – is key. That’s why I love the graphical displays of weather phenomena. This one, for example was quite spectacular. This is the guy: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Leigh+Orf+Univeristy+of+wisconsin Lovely geeky guy, here’s a short one with just the visuatization:

    I first saw it here, and some friends got interested in Leigh Orf (great name and classic geek). http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/save-lives-supercomputers-dive-hearts-natures-worst-tornadoes/

    Once you get people wondering what that’s about, they’re on the road to thinking for themselves, especially if it connects with weather they experience directly.

  12. Willard says:

    And then our social cognitivist lawyerly rediscovers marketing.

    For a recent field experiment, here’s a short presentation of the tools that influenced teh Donald’s election:

    At the very least, please, watch the last minute.

  13. John Hartz says:

    Smallbluemike: Not to be trite, but how does a climate scientist prepare a presentation to an audience made up of Republicans, Democrats, and independents? .

  14. Willard – I’m unsure of your point. Cambridge Analytica worked first for Cruz, then for Carson.

  15. Steven Mosher says:

    Cultural cognition is pretty easy to understand. See it as a species of genus observer bias. The bias can work in all types of observation not just opinions about science.
    Think of your cultural identify as a theory about who you are and what the world is like. You tend to..All other things being equal. .interpret or even Perceive ( see bruner) evidence in terms that confirm your theory. Evidence to the contrary doesn’t necessarily force you to update your priors or modify your theory. The data can always be wrong. As with a strong scientific theory it may take large amounts of new data to force you to ditch the theory. If the theory is working ( your cultural identity is keeping you happy) you will quite rationally reject evidence that would force you to rethink retool replace your identity theory.

    So if you are observing the results of science that puts a threat to your identity you will quite naturally reject or re interpret or adjust those observations so you can keep your theory of self. You might even argue that the observations are hoaxes. Shown a picture of a crowd on inagu ration day you might even perceive more people when there were less. .again see Jerome bruner on perception.

    My sense. There are two ways to fight this. One get people to do science ( invest some identity) rather than just observe it.
    That worked for me. Two. Find ways the science connects with their existing identity. . Oh have people from their own tribe talk to them. .Your voice doesn’t count.

    Disaster will also change identities.

  16. Steven Mosher says:

    “And then our social cognitivist lawyerly rediscovers marketing.”

    Every field wants to rediscover , rename , and rebrand the world’s second oldest profession.
    We see it as a form of flattery.

  17. Steven Mosher says:

    Susan I’d like to think curiosity was a gateway characteristic. Not so sure.. but it couldn’t hurt.

    Also, the last thing you want is people trying to think for themselves. Basically we can’t. We can’t think for ourselves any more than we can have a private language.

  18. Everett F Sargent says:

    Willard,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_Analytica#Exaggerated_and_unproven_claims
    “In March 2017, the New York Times reported that Cambridge Analytica had exaggerated its capabilities: “Cambridge executives now concede that the company never used psychographics in the Trump campaign. The technology—prominently featured in the firm’s sales materials and in media reports that cast Cambridge as a master of the dark campaign arts—remains unproved, according to former employees and Republicans familiar with the firm’s work.”[10] Trump aides have also disputed Cambridge Analytica’s role in the campaign, describing it as “modest” and noting that none of the company’s efforts involved psychographics.[10]

    The New York Times also reported that the Ted Cruz presidential campaign stopped using Cambridge Analytics after its psychographic models had failed to identify likely Cruz supporters.[10]”
    Data Firm Says ‘Secret Sauce’ Aided Trump; Many Scoff

    Trumpkin won because he most represented the dumber half. He quacks like they do and he waddles like they do. Mad Men indeed!

  19. Kahan and Carpenter cite their work with the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact Compact. Yet these counties are among the most vulnerable to sea level rise and the effects are already being felt in these counties. Perhaps if they had similar success in Kansas I’d be more impressed.

  20. Willard says:

    > I’m unsure of your point. Cambridge Analytica worked first for Cruz, then for Carson.

    Nix said he was working for one of the two remaining candidates, O’Neill.

    Mercer is a major shareholder of Analytica:

    Cambridge Analytica (CA) is a privately held company that combines data mining and data analysis with strategic communication for the electoral process. It was created in 2013 as an offshoot of its British parent company SCL Group to participate in American politics. In 2014, CA was involved in 44 U.S. political races. The company is heavily funded by the family of Robert Mercer, an American hedge-fund billionaire. The firm maintains offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., and London.

    In 2015 it became known as the data analysis company working initially for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. In 2016, after Cruz’s campaign had faltered, Cambridge Analytica started to work for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The company also worked on behalf of the pro-Brexit campaign in 2016. The role and impact of the company’s data analysis on those campaigns has been disputed.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_Analytica

    Robert Mercer has been linked both with teh Donald and Brexit.

    ***

    Another field operation:

    Le Pen herself has connections to powerful and web-savvy foreigners. In 2015, a series of leaked text messages linked her to Konstantin Rykov, a former Kremlin propagandist who discussed a financial reward for her recognition of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. (Le Pen, who denies any quid pro quo, subsequently obtained a €9 million loan from a Russian-backed bank.)

    Maintaining a residence in France, where he tweets pro-Le Pen messages from French and Russian-language accounts, Rykov is known in Russia as a pioneer of social media activism. “There is a very direct connection with one of the key figures of Russian internet,” said Anton Nossik, a prominent Russian blogger. Rykov declined to comment for this article. Gaëtan Bertrand, the coordinator of Le Pen’s web campaign, and other Front officials said the party did not receive any advice or assistance from partners outside of France.

    “Unlike other parties, which have accounts only managed by officials… Marine Le Pen has a vast network of support from militants on social media,” said the manager of “Avec Marine,” a Twitter account with 15,400 followers. The 23-year-old professional who asked to remain anonymous said he had “formal and informal” links with National Front cadres but was not employed by the party.

    “When we prepare an operation, it’s in cooperation with many accounts,” he said. “We have grouped Twitter conversations where we get organized: what to do, when, what hashtags to put forward, what visuals to create.”

    http://www.politico.eu/article/marine-le-pens-internet-army-far-right-trolls-social-media/

    Those who are dismissing ClimateBall as “only a game” are oblivious to what may soon hit them.

  21. David Appell says:

    Sorry, this comment cannot be posted. Even though I wasted 15 minutes on it.

  22. Brilliant stuff david

  23. “Those who are dismissing ClimateBall as “only a game” are oblivious to what may soon hit them.”

    go long bitcoin

    http://mashable.com/2017/05/06/bitcoin-price-1500/#KC7zJoCv4aqm

  24. David B. Benson says:

    Decision Science used to mean, maybe still does, the study of how to make rational decisions in the face of uncertainty. For example, I need widgets in order to make gadgets; how many should I order today?

  25. David Appell says:

    Yes.

    So how many should you order???

  26. John Hartz says:

    Willard: If ClimateBall is not a game, you should change its name.

  27. David Appell says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    “go long bitcoin”

    Egh. Easy to hawk bitcoin when the price is up. That’s not what makes shareholders rich.

    And maybe even SMosher is trying to influence bitcoin to his own advantage — who can tell anymore?

  28. Susan Anderson says:

    Steven Mosher, that we can’t think sounds a bit like fancy dancing to me. I think I know the line of country, but that’s only one way of looking at it. It seems a bit cynical for my taste.

    My thoughts often run sideways to this forum, but I am interested in people outside the magic circle. I found the article I was talking about: Antidote for partisanship? In science, curiosity seems to work

    My rather peculiar illustration (not everyone is directly affected by tornadoes) seemed to me an example of something so extraordinary that it might change the subject.

    In the recent hoo-ha over Bret Stephens, for example, it jumps to the eye that he and his defenders, and most unskeptical “skeptics” are incurious to a degree. So I don’t think it can be called a baseline. OTOH, I come back to a parallel to aTTP’s question, how does one encourage curiosity in the incurious?

  29. Willard says:

    > Kahan and Carpenter cite their work with the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact Compact.

    Of course they do. Everett can correct if I’m wrong, but I don’t think DanK did any other field work.

    In contrast:

    http://theconsensusproject.com

    is still out there.

    ***

    > Trumpkin won because he most represented the dumber half.

    If only cognitive science was that easy.

    While it’s hard to validate Cambridge Analytica’s modulz – they’re more than stoopid, they’re proprietary – we know where they come from:

    Around this time, in early 2014, Kosinski was approached by a young assistant professor in the psychology department called Aleksandr Kogan. He said he was inquiring on behalf of a company that was interested in Kosinski’s method, and wanted to access the MyPersonality database. Kogan wasn’t at liberty to reveal for what purpose; he was bound to secrecy.

    At first, Kosinski and his team considered this offer, as it would mean a great deal of money for the institute, but then he hesitated. Finally, Kosinski remembers, Kogan revealed the name of the company: SCL, or Strategic Communication Laboratories. Kosinski Googled the company: “[We are] the premier election management agency,” says the company’s website. SCL provides marketing based on psychological modeling. One of its core focuses: Influencing elections. Influencing elections? Perturbed, Kosinski clicked through the pages. What kind of company was this? And what were these people planning?

    What Kosinski did not know at the time: SCL is the parent of a group of companies. Who exactly owns SCL and its diverse branches is unclear, thanks to a convoluted corporate structure, the type seen in the UK Companies House, the Panama Papers, and the Delaware company registry. Some of the SCL offshoots have been involved in elections from Ukraine to Nigeria, helped the Nepalese monarch against the rebels, whereas others have developed methods to influence Eastern European and Afghan citizens for NATO. And, in 2013, SCL spun off a new company to participate in US elections: Cambridge Analytica.

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/how-our-likes-helped-trump-win

    Good luck trying to invalidate OCEAN.

    We also know that teh Bannon was on CA’s board and that he made a fortune out of Breitbart’s, his consulting gig, and other right-wing mind framing endeavours.

    It’d be hard to endorse DanK’s cultural cognition thing and dismiss what teh Bannon does as ineffective.

  30. Willard says:

    > If ClimateBall is not a game, you should change its name.

    Of course I won’t, JH. I did not say it wasn’t a game – I said it could be more than one. Hockey is more than a game too, at least for Canadians and Russians.

    Do you realize that without the expression “hockey stick” I might not be here right now?

  31. Everett F Sargent says:

    Willard,

    I wasn’t calling CA the dumber half. I’m sure they are bright and probably on the right track. IMHO it does sound a bit creepy though.

    By now I’ve watched a few weeks of Trumpkin, his speech and knowledge fit a certain blue collar Joe “they took our jobs” 24Pack stereotype. Trumpkin says stuff that they would say if they were in his size 5 shoes.

  32. Joshua,

    I don’t see any reason why anyone communicating in science wouldn’t seek to consider evidence related to the effectiveness of different communication practices.

    I agree, but I don’t see – apart from in a general sense – how the Cultural Cognition can help (when it comes to actual science communication, rather than advocacy).

    I would say that there is very little, if any, communication going on (with the public if not between scientists) that isn’t targeted towards “convincing” people at least to some significant extent.

    Indeed, I don’t think people engage publicly in the hope that people dismiss what they say. I was more suggesting that there are limits to what most science communicators would be willing to do in order to convince people. If it ends up being more a marketing exercise, than a form of dialogue/communication, many would probably feel uncomfortable.

  33. Steven,

    Cultural cognition is pretty easy to understand.

    Yes, I think I understand it. I just don’t really see – as Andrew Dessler also says – how to apply it in a formal science communication setting, or how it can really be used to reduce the divisions.

  34. David Benson,

    Decision Science used to mean, maybe still does, the study of how to make rational decisions in the face of uncertainty.

    If so, then that wouldn’t seem to apply to Dan Kahan?

  35. Joshua,

    It seems to me that the underlying initiative is to reduce what Dan sees as the polarizing impact of current communication efforts in “polluted” science communication environments such as the environment related to climate change.

    Maybe Dan could test it out on the polarized science of science communication environment?

  36. “Yes, I think I understand it. I just don’t really see – as Andrew Dessler also says – how to apply it in a formal science communication setting, or how it can really be used to reduce the divisions.”

    Dont have liberals talk to us, and dont get near us, you smell .

  37. Dont have liberals talk to us, and dont get near us, you smell .

    As far as I can tell, one suggestion from Cultural Cognition is that a problem is that some people do not identify with those who are doing the communication. This may be true, but I’m still not sure what one can do about it – you could try to sound more and more like someone who they might identify with, but that seems somewhat disingenuous.

  38. angech says:

    Perhaps the idea is to make it seem as if there is a way to convince people with different views to adopt your way of thinking, if you pay them to do it for you.

    The really sad bit of this is that skeptics see AGW supporters as the ones who are culturally dissonant and unable to see the “truth”. Worse, since this is so it means one only needs to press the right buttons to make either side see the light.

    To quote the man Steven Mosher says
    “Cultural cognition is pretty easy to understand. See it as a species of genus observer bias. The bias can work in all types of observation not just opinions about science.
    Think of your cultural identify as a theory about who you are and what the world is like. You tend to.interpret or even Perceive ( see bruner) evidence in terms that confirm your theory. Evidence to the contrary doesn’t necessarily force you to update your priors or modify your theory. The data can always be wrong. As with a strong scientific theory it may take large amounts of new data to force you to ditch the theory. If the theory is working ( your cultural identity is keeping you happy) you will quite rationally reject evidence that would force you to rethink retool replace your identity theory.”

  39. John Hartz says:

    Willard. Fair enough.

    If this website had a Glossary of Terms, what would the entry for “ClimateBall” be?

  40. angech,

    Think of your cultural identify as a theory about who you are and what the world is like. You tend to.interpret or even Perceive ( see bruner) evidence in terms that confirm your theory.

    Indeed, but this seems to be a key point

    1. Who gets to decide if we should be actively trying to change what some people are willing to accept?

    2. If we do want to change what some people are willing to accept, how do we do so in a way that still allows science communication to be honest (i.e., prioritising the credibility of the information, over the marketing of the message).

  41. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    =={ As far as I can tell, one suggestion from Cultural Cognition is that a problem is that some people do not identify with those who are doing the communication. This may be true, but I’m still not sure what one can do about it – you could try to sound more and more like someone who they might identify with, but that seems somewhat disingenuous. }==

    I’m not sure that Dan suggest that people should go out of their way to sound like people who identify differently, so much as avoid communicating in ways that it can be anticipated will be antagonizing – “consensus-messaging” probably being them most prominent example on the issue of climate change. (As an example in another realm, he would probably suggest not having politicians be a focal point of messaging on vaccinations – particularly if those politicians focus on associating opposition to vaccinations with political affilation.)

    IMO, those who are antagonized by “consensus-messaging” aren’t likely to be receptive to any communication about the risk posed by ACO2 emissions, and thus “consensus-messaging” doesn’t significantly increase polarization (beyond where it is already)…. but that doesn’t mean that “consensus-messaging” is effective, either. It does seem to me that if you’re going to argue that “consensus-messaging” is definitely productive towards increasing support for mitigation policies, you should have solid evidence that it does more good than harm.

  42. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    =={ 2. If we do want to change what some people are willing to accept, how do we do so in a way that still allows science communication to be honest (i.e., prioritising the credibility of the information, over the marketing of the message). }==

    To go further with the example of “consensus-messaging,” it seems to me to be a bit less than comprehensive to think of the “consensus-messaging” efforts as simply honest communication. I’m not suggesting that it is dishonest…but it is more than that, at least at this point. It is a marketing tool as well, And I think it’s a legit question to ask whether or not it is an effective marketing tool.

  43. Joshua says:

    And that’s why I keep telling myself to give up on HTML tags! [Mod: fixed]

  44. Joshua,

    To go further with the example of “consensus-messaging,” it seems to me to be a bit less than comprehensive to think of the “consensus-messaging” efforts as simply honest communication. I’m not suggesting that it is dishonest…but it is more than that, at least at this point.

    I wondered if someone would bring this up. I largely agree, but I think there are two research strands to consensus messaging. One is simply addressing the issue of whether or not there is a consensus, and trying to quantify it. In a sense, it’s a consequence of a realisation that there are sectors of the public who think that there isn’t one, and the research is aimed at seeing if this is the case, or not (and the research indicates that there is a consensus and a strong one). The goal (as I understand it) of consensus messaging is to close the consensus gap (the gap between what people think the level of consensus is, and what it actually is), and this is done by regularly highlighting that it exists and is strong. The other strand of research is looking at whether or not consensus messaging actually does close the consensus gap, and this is where there seems to be some contention. Some (Kahan, for example) argue that it’s divisive, polarising and, consequently, ineffective. Others (Lewandowsky, Cook, van der Linden, Maibach, Hamilton,….) seem to suggest that it can play a role in closing the consensus gap.

    So, yes, I do agree that it’s not simply honest communication, but I think it is answering clear research questions (what is the consensus, and can we use this information to close the consensus gap). I think it is ultimately pretty clear what is being done. My point about Cultural Cognition, is that I don’t even really know what is being suggested should be done to aid in convincing people of AGW (for example) and my concern is that it is potentially more a marketing strategy than anything else. I may be wrong about the latter, but I’ve yet to hear a clear explanation of how science communicators can actually use Cultural Cognition to make their communications more effective.

  45. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    =={ So, yes, I do agree that it’s not simply honest communication, but I think it is answering clear research questions (what is the consensus, and can we use this information to close the consensus gap) }==

    I agree with your overall description, but IMO, the research question is a pretty trivial one – or at least it seems that the level of focus is not proportional to its level of importance. IMO, the precise degree of consensus is pretty irrelevant, and probably impossible to ever answer accurately short of in-depth interviews with every scientist with a breakdown/cross tabulation by category of expertise, level of expertise, etc. (i.e., even if efforts to engineer an answer from abstracts were 100% methodologically sound, there would still be some error because it is engineering from abstracts). And even then, it would be subjected to a never-ending audit into the details of how various methodological decisions were made. As much as I’m inclined to defend the social science against the (IMO, partisan attacks), measuring the consensus is basically a social science exercise and so, IMO, should be seen as being a somewhat useful if not entirely precise exercise.

    As far as I’m concerned, what Richard Tol has to say is enough, and trying to dig deeper to somehow convince people is likely a futile exercise – and rather obviously so, IMO. And so my conclusion is that if people are spending a lot of time on it, it isn’t only because they’re trying to close the “consensus gap” but in addition, because they are engaged in the climate wars as antagonists.

  46. Joshua,
    I missed your first comment

    “consensus-messaging” probably being them most prominent example on the issue of climate change.

    My, admittedly, simplistic view about consensus messaging is that the existence of a consensus about AGW is essentially true. If telling the truth is problematic, then that itself is problematic. Of course, consensus messaging is not (and should not) be the main messaging strategy and I always find it strange that rather than Dan trying to work with those who study the consensus and consensus messaging, he appears to behave in a way that makes the whole science of science communication environment rather polarised itself, which always seem rather ironic to me. I’ve always thought that consensus messaging and cultural congnition are miore complementary than being two strategies that are completely at odds with each other.

  47. Joshua,

    I agree with your overall description, but IMO, the research question is a pretty trivial one – or at least it seems that the level of focus is not proportional to its level of importance.

    Agreed, but for some reason it appears to be something that many seem to dispute and challenge. If everyone who recognised its existence simply acknowledged it, maybe we could move on?

    IMO, the precise degree of consensus is pretty irrelevant, and probably impossible to ever answer accurately short of in-depth interviews with every scientist with a breakdown/cross tabulation by category of expertise, level of expertise, etc.

    And it depends on what questions you’re actually asking. That’s why I quite like the key results in our consensus on consensus paper; if you consider relevant experts/relevant papers, it’s probably somewhere between 90% and 100%.

    it isn’t only because they’re trying to close the “consensus gap” but in addition, because they are engaged in the climate wars as antagonists.

    Possibly. It is, however, hard to leave something if someone publishes another paper challenging what your research suggests. It’s a never-ending audit 😉

  48. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    =={ I may be wrong about the latter, but I’ve yet to hear a clear explanation of how science communicators can actually use Cultural Cognition to make their communications more effective. }==

    I don’t want to repeat…but having read Kahan’s blog a lot, the best I get along those lines is, essentially,…use the available evidence to avoid doing harm ; try to avoid having messaging about climate change stimulate cultural antagonism. I realize that is probably a pretty unsatisfying answer. It would be hard to design a communication effort based merely on trying to avoid antagonizing people. How does that translate into action? I’m not sure. But I would say that there are some clear indications of things not to do. Perhaps calling people “deniers” would be an obvious example (again, I should note that I think that removing the term denier from the “realist” lexicon would have a very limited benefit, if any, even if I think the arguments I’ve seen in defense of the term hold no water).

  49. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    =={ I always find it strange that rather than Dan trying to work with those who study the consensus and consensus messaging, he appears to behave in a way that makes the whole science of science communication environment rather polarised itself, which always seem rather ironic to me. }==

    I agree with this. Of course, that is a two-way street (people are reflexively defensive about their own advocacy), and it would be nearly impossible to walk the line of examining consensus-messaging w/o antagonizing one side of the other, but I sometimes find his advocacy on the issue rather self-righteous and off-putting.

  50. Joshua,
    If only those poopyheads would stop calling us poopyheads?

    use the available evidence to avoid doing harm ; try to avoid having messaging about climate change stimulate cultural antagonism.

    Okay, but this seems – to me at least – to be expecting better behaviour from some, than from others. It’s almost as if it’s saying that there is one group who are unwilling to accept something that most regard as true, and that the other group (who accept this truth) must somehow behave in a way that does not antagonise the former group. Where’s the suggestion that maybe those who are unwilling to accept a “truth” start to take responsibility for themselves, rather than expecting another group to pander to them? Where’s the personal responsibility, in other words?

    Having said the above, I can see that if some are interested in trying to change other people’s views, then maybe they should be careful of not doing so in a way that stimulates cultural antagonism. In a sense, my problem is with a perception that what Kahan is doing is ultimately blaming people who have accepted a truth, and are willing to communicate that truth, for there being another group who are unwilling to accept that truth (and, to be clear, by “truth” I just mean something that is strongly supported by the scientific evidence). Of course, I am sufficiently confused about this that maybe the latter isn’t a fair interpretation.

  51. Steven Mosher says:

    As far as I can tell, one suggestion from Cultural Cognition is that a problem is that some people do not identify with those who are doing the communication. This may be true, but I’m still not sure what one can do about it – you could try to sound more and more like someone who they might identify with, but that seems somewhat disingenuous.”

    The purpose of communication is important.

    If your goal is mere instruction, teaching the science. Then any one will do.

    If your goal is changing minds, then there are classes of people you want to avoid and there are certain words you want to avoid.

    Lastly I see no difference between being disingenuous and clever….look if you want to borrow money from a friend you will ask in a way that is different from the way you would ask to borrow money from your mum.

    Write a letter asking your boss for a 1000 bucks.
    Now write a letter asking your mum.
    Now ask an old college buddy.
    Now ask a stranger.

    You would ask differently. You would connect in different ways.. being rhetorical is not being disingenuous.

  52. I sometimes find his advocacy on the issue rather self-righteous and off-putting.

    Indeed, and being told that the problem was that I simply wasn’t trying to understand the argument, didn’t help much either.

  53. Steven,

    If your goal is mere instruction, teaching the science. Then any one will do.

    If your goal is changing minds, then there are classes of people you want to avoid and there are certain words you want to avoid.

    Indeed, and I think this is a key point. I think we need to recognise that there are some people who mostly just communicate (teach/discuss the science) and others who are actively trying to change minds. The former may not change minds, but it is still important to have people willing to communicate the information. The latter may require an approach that is more sensitive to other people’s cultural identities. My view is that it would be good if people could be clearer as to who they’re talking about when they criticise the effectiveness (or not) of science communication.

  54. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    =={ If only those poopyheads would stop calling us poopyheads? }==

    Precisely. I wish I had thought of putting it that way.

    =={ Okay, but this seems – to me at least – to be expecting better behaviour from some, than from others. }==

    I do think there’s an element of that. But then again, both sides do respond to Kahan’s work in that fashion. It’s hard to extract personal bias in making the assessment. At some point, I’m not sure how relevant the question is, as in the end, the standard isn’t really a relative one.

    =={ It’s almost as if it’s saying that there is one group who are unwilling to accept something that most regard as true, and that the other group (who accept this truth) must somehow behave in a way that does not antagonise the former group. }==

    Yeah, there’s a bit of a conundrum there. But I would guess that Dan thinks that there is a non-antagonizing way to communicate about the truth, and that’s probably where I disagree in the sense that I don’t see anyway to effectively communicate with those who are looking to be victims and to justify their feeling antagonized. (IMO, you need to focus on a structured communicative environment rather than try to avoid antagonizing messages).

    =={ Where’s the suggestion that maybe those who are unwilling to accept a “truth” start to take responsibility for themselves, rather than expecting another group to pander to them? Where’s the personal responsibility, in other words? }==

    I agree. IMO, people who aren’t open to accepting responsibility are basically committed to justifying their lack of accountability.

    =={ In a sense, my problem is with a perception that what Kahan is doing is ultimately blaming people who have accepted a truth, and are willing to communicate that truth, for there being another group who are unwilling to accept that truth (and, to be clear, by “truth” I just mean something that is strongly supported by the scientific evidence). Of course, I am sufficiently confused about this that maybe the latter isn’t a fair interpretation. }==

    I think that some of that “perception” is justified…but not all of it.

  55. Joshua,

    But I would guess that Dan thinks that there is a non-antagonizing way to communicate about the truth, and that’s probably where I disagree in the sense that I don’t see anyway to effectively communicate with those who are looking to be victims and to justify their feeling antagonized.

    Indeed, that probably sums up my view too. It also doesn’t help that Dan doesn’t seem to regard it as important that he communicates in a non-antagonizing manner. I find it difficult to take advice from someone who doesn’t seem willing to practice what they preach.

  56. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    =={ It also doesn’t help that Dan doesn’t seem to regard it as important that he communicates in a non-antagonizing manner. I find it difficult to take advice from someone who doesn’t seem willing to practice what they preach. }==

    He doesn’t always communicate in that manner. My guess is that he has placed you into a category of those who are actively “polluting” the science communication environment. – by virtue of you seeming to defend methods he considers inherently antagonizing. It is interesting to read his manner of response on his blog and to consider how his responses might differ in relation to which kinds of antagonizing messages the commenters are defending/advocating.

    Of course, there also, people on either side have pretty much diametric but symmetrical interpretations.

    And so it goes in the climate wars.

  57. Joshua,

    My guess is that he has placed you into a category of those who are actively “polluting” the science communication environment.

    Possibly, but wouldn’t that make me one of the people he is trying to convince?

  58. Everett F Sargent says:

    I’d like to jump in,somewhere (?) but a lot of ground is being covered, so I’ll try the Cultural Cognition part.

    ‘Defined as the science and art of helping adults learn,[8][9] the practice of adult education is referred to as andragogy, to distinguish it from the traditional school-based education for children pedagogy. Unlike children, adults are seen as:

    More self-directed, rather than relying on others for help
    Mature and therefore experienced with the experience providing a rich source for learning
    An Adult’s readiness to learn is linked to what one needs to know
    Adult orientation to learn is problem centred rather than subject centered
    Adult motivation to learn is internal.[9]”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adult_education

    This part would appear to be a bit of a no-brainer.

    From the DK paper …

    Apprised of the landscape of findings from existing lab studies, the compact used a strategy that featured social proof — the tendency of people to conform their own behaviour to that of others whom they recognize as informed and socially competent[24]. We supplied the member governments with highly realistic simulations of how members of different opinion-formation communities would react to compact-supportive individuals from across the region’s multiple cultural communities. Such individuals help to breed public support by example rather than argument: their actions and deeds conveyed that they trusted the science that informed the compact’s ambitious agenda[10].

    Sounds a lot like adult education, team building, scenario building and trusted agents.

    In some sense a bit like grass root efforts (bottom up instead of top down), a hands on approach.

    Or not, as KO has stated above the four FL counties are flatlander heaven, the city of Miami has invested something like half a billion $ in pumped drainage systems (which only really works for post pump house pressurized systems (storm drains free fall to the pumping station and for flatlander conditions an open channel (free surface under gravity) needs sufficient hydraulic grade line (gradient/slope or conversely depth change)) and if you swamp the drain, oh boy, watch out, air must escape and your outflow basically almost stops) to combat nuisance flooding.

    The following is a bit off topic, but here’s an article about that area’s high ground and gentrification of that real estate.

    SEA-LEVEL RISE
    Gentrification fears grow as high ground becomes hot property
    https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060053793

  59. Steven Mosher says: “Cultural cognition is pretty easy to understand. See it as a species of genus observer bias. The bias can work in all types of observation not just opinions about science. Think of your cultural identify as a theory about who you are and what the world is like. You tend to..All other things being equal. .interpret or even Perceive ( see bruner) evidence in terms that confirm your theory. Evidence to the contrary doesn’t necessarily force you to update your priors or modify your theory.

    I think what Steve Mosher is describing is not “cultural cognition” but motivated reasoning, people looking for excuses not to have to change their world view. Cultural cognition seems to point more to the tribal nature of humans, which is absurdly excessive in the USA.

    The two are different. Conservatives used to be “pro-business”, but since Trump many are suddenly against free trade. During the campaign they were against corruption, after the election many no longer care at all as long as one of their tribe members gets the loot. Since Trump conservatives suddenly seen Putin and Russia in a much more positive light.

    Those are large changes in world view, which were apparently easy to make when the leader of the tribe advocates them. Not much motivated reasoning in these cases.

    It would be valuable to understand why America is so extremely tribal. That could give some ideas on what to do about it and how to Make America Think Again.

  60. As long as Dan Kahan does not give more concrete advice, I would say his cultural cognition theory is mostly a sophisticated way to say to liberals that they should bow their heads and shut up.

  61. Victor,
    I don’t have a problem with the fundamentals of Cultural Cognition, as they seem to be true (some people are culturally pre-disposed to reject certain views). My issue is more to do with how this is used, or what people claim should happen, given this information, than Cultural Cognition itself.

  62. If Cultural Cognition mean people are more willing to listen to their own it is trivially true. If it means that liberals should shut up and only the climate “sceptics” talk about climate change, I am not so sure that is an improvement.

    If you try to convince people on climate change, it is probably a good idea to start with adaptation. In The Netherlands and Germany there is quite a lot of activity to update norms and infrastructure. My impression is that is large parts of the world, especially in America where in some states civil servants are not even allowed to talk about climate change, there is a real and urgent need to adapt after decades of insufficient action. It shows you care and open the discussion on other climate matters. If I were in charge of a US climate group, that is where I would put the focus.

    An example for Canadian farmers:
    http://www.science20.com/kevin_m_folta/the_scicomm_challenge_communicating_concepts_in_climate_change-224865

  63. Where I can I try to amplify conservative voices that have the independence to have a realistic view of climate change. Recently tweeted this wonderful video:

    [Debbie ] Dooley is a conservative, gun-owning Trump supporter who also happens to be a co-founder of the Tea Party. Dooley runs Conservatives for Energy Freedom, where she advocates for the expansion of renewable energy and for cuts to government regulations she believes hinder that growth.

  64. Willard says:

    We need to hear more conservative voices.

    The voice of Richard Alley.

    The voice of Jim Hansen.

    The voice of Kerry Emanuel.

    The voice of Scott Denning.

    The voice of Jim Powell.

    Conservative voices ought to reboot the Contrarian Matrix.

    It’s as simple as that.

    Thank you.

    PS: More names are welcome.

  65. John Hartz says:

    For the “While Nero fiddles, Rome burns!” file…

    After 200,000 years of modern humans on a 4.5 billion-year-old Earth, we have arrived at new point in history: the Anthropocene. The change has come upon us with disorienting speed. It is the kind of shift that typically takes two or three or four generations to sink in.

    Our best scientists tell us insistently that a calamity is unfolding, that the life-support systems of the Earth are being damaged in ways that threaten our survival. Yet in the face of these facts we carry on as usual.

    Most citizens ignore or downplay the warnings; many of our intellectuals indulge in wishful thinking; and some influential voices declare that nothing at all is happening, that the scientists are deceiving us. Yet the evidence tells us that so powerful have humans become that we have entered this new and dangerous geological epoch, which is defined by the fact that the human imprint on the global environment has now become so large and active that it rivals some of the great forces of nature in its impact on the functioning of the Earth system.

    The great climate silence: we are on the edge of the abyss but we ignore it by Clive Hamilton, Guardian, May 4, 2017

    BTW, I posted a link to this article on the Skeptical Science Facebook page yesterday. It has ganered about five times the average number of “reaches” for our typical posts. In other words, Hamilton’s message has struck a chord with many people.

  66. VV writes: “Conservatives used to be “pro-business”, but since Trump many are suddenly against free trade. During the campaign they were against corruption, after the election many no longer care at all as long as one of their tribe members gets the loot. “

    Dr. Robert Altmeyer has studied this phenomena for decades and categorized these types of personalities as ‘authoritarian followers.” His 2006 book “The Authoritarians” is freely available for download. Altmeyer asks:

    How can they revere those who gave their lives defending freedom and then support moves to take that freedom away? How can they go on believing things that have been disproved over and over again, and disbelieve things that are well established? How can they think they are the best people in the world, when so much of what they do ought to show them they are not? Why do their leaders so often turn out to be crooks and hypocrites? Why are both the followers and the leaders so aggressive that hostility is practically their trademark? By the time you have finished this book, I think you will understand the reasons. All of this, and much more, fit into place once you see what research has uncovered going on in authoritarian minds.

    On page 237 he begins a section What’s To Be Done? He describes the circumstance that most of us have run into when trying to reason with deniers:

    You’re not likely to get anywhere arguing with authoritarians. If you won every round of a 15 round heavyweight debate with a Double High leader over history, logic, scientific evidence, the Constitution, you name it, in an auditorium filled with high RWAs, the audience probably would not change its beliefs one tiny bit. Authoritarian followers might even cling to their beliefs more tightly, the wronger they turned out to be. Trying to change highly dogmatic, evidence-immune, group-gripping people in such a setting is like pissing into the wind.

    I highly recommend it to anyone that wants to understand the psychology behind many of our deniers.

  67. Willard says:

    > Hamilton’s message has struck a chord with many people.

    Of course it does, JH. Contrarians ain’t peddling their “but CAGW” counterpoint for no reason. It’s still a strawman, but still.

    Try to cite anything by Clive Hamilton at Judy’s. See what happens. Report.

  68. JH asks: how does a climate scientist prepare a presentation to an audience made up of Republicans, Democrats, and independents? .

    The Baldwin study says you prepare the discussion in terms of impacts that have already occurred, changes that have already happened.

    For instance: you talk about rain patterns in the 20th century and how they changed, you show how CO2 went up during the same period. You show how temperatures rose during the same period. Discussion of future impact should be truncated to something almost as simple as: this situation is going to get worse, but we can stop it by reversing the buildup of GHG in the atmosphere.

    For any other audience, the discussion would be framed in the language of the IPCC, the FUTURE goal of preventing temp rise of 2 degrees (1.5 rise is already moot).

    Essentially, every climate science communicator should understand what the Baldwin study tells us and they should have a past-to-present loss presentation ready to pull out and switch to quickly when the deniers start to demonstrate their inability to process future-oriented presentation. It ain’t rocket surgery.

  69. Willard – early exit polling has Marcon averaging 64% of the vote. I’m not sure Cambridge Analytica will be touting Le Pen as one of their successes.

    French election exit poll average:- Emmanuel Macron 64%- Marine Le Pen 36%https://t.co/6aSX0XS5dJ pic.twitter.com/bn0GSZETrb— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) May 7, 2017

  70. but how does a climate scientist prepare a presentation to an audience made up of Republicans, Democrats, and independents?

    reading the question again, and I want to respond directly to the audience make-up question.

    First, I think it’s same to assume that the audiences coming out to hear a climate science presentation are mostly democrats and independents. Because we silo our info input, it is same to assume that most republicans/deniers will simply avoid being in the audience.

    Second, I think it is also safe to assume that some deniers enjoy the conflict or firmly believe climate change is not happening and that these folks who show up to argue at a climate science presentation are much more used to hearing and reacting to the future impact-based presentation that is inherent in the IPCC framing, in the ten year lag of ghg emissions to the warming that happens, etc. Most of the deniers’ ready arguments have been developed against the future impacts, they may want to deny that impacts have already occurred, but I think that makes them look silly because too many non-scientists have experienced global warming now and the ability to recognize global warming is enhanced by the first hand experience of global warming impacts like droughts, floods, strong tornadoes, breakdown of the polar vortex, etc.

    If it helped scientist organize for these presentations, it might be useful to frame the argument for the conservative/republican/denier audience as climate disruptions. To talk about what has already happened as climate disruption and to do the homework to have slides, graphs, etc. ready as soon as it becomes apparent that a significant part of the audience does not respond to the future framing of global warming.

  71. Willard says:

    That Le Pen got this far is already a win for the next wave of right-wing populism, O’Neill. Adequating success with win leads to a sad ClimateBall career. Having to elect Macron may not mean what you think it means. Obama endorsed the guy, reducing to absurdity any idea that our favorite Chicagoer is a leftist. This alone suffices to show how strong is the American conservative meme machine.

    I’ll write a post on Freedom Fighters in a few days. Your comment on authoritarism gave me an idea. More later.

  72. John Hartz says:

    smallbluemike: Your responses to my questions suggests to me that climate scientists would do well to take a course or two in effective communications.

    PS: I’ve heard of “rocket science”, but not “rocket surgery.” What is it?

  73. John Hartz says:

    Willard: I don’t do Judy’s, but thanks anyway. :).

  74. John Hartz says:

    Willard: Do the folk in Deniersville get more riled up at the mention of Clive Hamilton or George Monbiot?

  75. rocket surgery is even harder than brain surgery or rocket science. I like mashups: for example, does a bear wear a funny hat? or the Pope? defecating in the forest? Who knows?

    I think the mashup interest may be common among folks who think a lot about communication. The communication science is pretty clear that simply telling people that they are wrong does not usually work. Maybe even less so when they are dead-wrong and the error is linked to identity and values system.

    Mark Twain wrote about cornpone opinions, but I am thinking of something deeper even than cornpone (http://www.paulgraham.com/cornpone.html)

  76. Willard – electing Macron means not electing Le Pen. Imagine having Clinton instead of Trump??? Are Clinton or Macron my preferred candidates? No. But the lesser of an evil and a moderate conservative is still the moderate conservative. Has anyone doubted for the past 7 years that Obama was anything other than slightly left-centrist? Only the GOP.

  77. John Hartz says:

    oneillsinwisconsin: I firmly believe that the world would be in a much different place than it is now if Obama had given the House-passed Waxman-Markey Bill priority in the Senate over health care reform.

  78. Joshua says:

    willard –

    =={ That Le Pen got this far is already a win for the next wave of right-wing populism, }==

    Perhaps a bit fatalistic… Her father did reach the 2nd round….although she seems to have done a good bit better in that round.

  79. BBD says:

    John H

    Willard: Do the folk in Deniersville get more riled up at the mention of Clive Hamilton or George Monbiot?

    The British contrarian typically reacts more violently to mention of Monbiot than Hamilton because not so aware of him. Australians vice versa. Americans, well it depends. Some seem unfamiliar with both.

  80. BBD says:

    Joshua

    Perhaps a bit fatalistic…

    I tend to agree with Willard. It’s troubling. A ratcheting effect.

  81. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    Maybe. It’s just hard right now to look at La Pen’s loss w/o feeling a massive sense of relief. In such a state, I’m willing to hope that this election marks her apex.

  82. > Has anyone doubted for the past 7 years that Obama was anything other than slightly left-centrist?

    Everyone outside the anglosphere I’m afraid. I would argue that Obama is not far from the lowest limit of justified disingenuousness in the right field. It might be challenging to find a reasonable position that is more to the right than Obama’s.

    ***

    > Perhaps a bit fatalistic… Her father did reach the 2nd round […]

    That was quite a story:

    http://perspective.usherbrooke.ca/bilan/servlet/BMEve?codeEve=375

    Jacques Chirac who bested him was Obama’s favorite when Sarkozy won, and Emanuel Macron has more stylistic similarities with Sarkozy than differences:

    http://www.lepoint.fr/presidentielle/sarkozy-macron-le-jeu-des-ressemblances-03-05-2017-2124327_3121.php

    That said, I do not wish to sound fatalistic, but want to point out the possibility that what we witness as ClimateBall players could becoming quite serious. Right-wing populism is the biggest problem or our times. To tackle that problem, DanK’s proposal sounds jejeune, and pondering over science communication elides the fact that minds are getting framed as we speak.

  83. John Hartz says:

    Willard: Perhaps the current turmoil in Venezuela is a portend of things to come in Western democracies, eh?

  84. Willard,

    To tackle that problem, DanK’s proposal sounds jejeune

    What are you actually suggesting here? That suggesting (as Dan K seems to do) that some people (science communicators, for example) should try to avoid engaging in a manner that might anatagonise some goups is naive?

  85. > That suggesting (as Dan K seems to do) that some people (science communicators, for example) should try to avoid engaging in a manner that might anatagonise some goups is naive?

    I suppose it’s easier to displease than to please everyone, AT. Even for you.

    Nevertheless, DanK’s very theme of “poisoning” debates misrepresents how good ol’ well poisoning works. Cf. the cartoon above. Look how Judy is using Bill Nye.

    Need to go. More on that later.

  86. Steven Mosher says:

    Willard is correct.
    Alley has been on my list a long time.
    More names needed.

  87. Kahan suggests that better communication is what we need. Altmeyer says, good luck with that. Sometimes the fault is with the transmitter; sometimes it’s with the receiver. Altmeyer’s studies indicate that it’s the receiver and that increasing the volume, frequency and/or content being transmitted are all fruitless endeavors.

    So what’s to be done right now? The social dominators and high RWAs presently marshaling their forces for the next election in your county, state and country, are perfectly entitled to do what they’re doing. They have the right to organize, they have the right to proselytize, they have the right to select and work for candidates they like, they have the right to vote, they have the right to make sure folks who agree with them also vote. Jerry Falwell has already declared, “We absolutely are going to deliver this nation back to God in 2008!”

    If the people who are not social dominators and right-wing authoritarians want to have those same rights in the future, they, you, had better do those same things too, now. You do have the right to remain silent, but you’ll do so at everyone’s peril.

    In short, fight fire with fire. More advocacy by more people – not less. You’re not going to convince ‘them’ – you’re fighting for those whose minds aren’t already made up. The right is fighting education – guess why. It’s fighting science funding – guess why? The far right champions charter schools, homeschooling, and private schools – guess why?

    Unlike Willard I don’t believe they are the #1 problem we face (I reserve that for AGW – not that the two are unrelated). I do believe they are also fighting against the tide of history and in most cases demographics, but history isn’t one of smooth inexorable progress; it’s littered with eddy’s and periods of regress. We don’t want to find ourselves in one of those periods and unless we put the same or more effort into fighting for what we believe that’s where we’ll find ourselves

  88. John Hartz says:

    It would be interesting to survey a group of climate scientists who are acknowledged to be good communicators about how they acquired those skills.

    An alternative would be for ATTP to invite some of the group to join in this discussion.

  89. John Hartz: “…climate scientists who are acknowledged to be good communicators…”

    Judged by whom? In this context I don’t believe such an animal exists. Do you know of a single denier that’s ever said, “I didn’t believe in (or the seriousness of) AGW until I heard XXX speak? I would hope that if any of us had we would be touting those speakers to all and sundry. The typical denier is immune to fact-based persuasion. I think we’ve all spent enough time around them to recognize that.

  90. angech says:

    A 28% victory sounds good but 36% is a lot of people. 15% change puts the far right in. They have not been so close since Napoleon.
    Half of Macron’supporters only want to stay in the ECM because the British want out.

    “You’re not likely to get anywhere arguing with authoritarians. If you won every round of a 15 round heavyweight debate with a Double High leader over history, logic, scientific evidence, the Constitution, you name it, in an auditorium filled with high RWAs, the audience probably would not change its beliefs one tiny bit. Authoritarian followers might even cling to their beliefs more tightly, the wronger they turned out to be. ”

    Makes me think of homeopathy and religion, the less proof one has the stronger the belief gets.
    In fact the absence of proof makes the proof itself inviolable.
    Like looking for angels on te head of a pin . If you go looking to prove they are not there that itself must be proof that they are there.

  91. John Hartz says:

    oneillsinwisconsin: I have no desire to see scientists wate their time and enrgy trying to convice die-hard deniers of anything. Why and how you jumped to that erroneous conclusion is baffling to me.

    I do believe it would be fairly easy to identiy climate scientists who are good at communicating climate science to the average person. They are typically the ones who journalists contact for information and feedback when writing or producing a story for public consumption.

  92. David B. Benson says:

    Decision Science, in the traditional meaning, does not apply to DanK’s bafflegab.

  93. Roger Jones says:

    I’ve had my head down, so have missed this till now. Have been thinking about some of Kahan’s stuff during that time however.

    As befits my position as a serial pest of just about everything academic I have spent some time playing in the decision sciences (DS), most notably as CLA of the Working Group II IPCC chapter Foundations of Decision Making. Behavioural economics, the psychology of decision-making, decision support systems, psychometrics, institutional economics etc all sit in the decision sciences. DS essentially recognises the information gap communication strategy as being very limited and tries all sorts of ways to assist people to make better decisions (with better being their normative judgement – that doesn’t always work out, however). The US National Academy of Science developed pretty good guide for climate change a few years ago (Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate, 2009), but the field is moving very quickly.

    Kahan’s work needs to be considered in the broader light of cultural theory where the axes of hierarchy, egalitarianism, communitarianism and individualism are considered (and sometimes fatalism is added). His work in the cultural cognition project is particularly American. Different cultures and individuals will map very differently across these axes, as do ideologies and occupations. The problem with Kahan’s project is that globally, the US is an outlier, although being something of a cultural black hole is trying to drag the rest of the world into its maw. Northern Europe maps into this differently as does much of Asia and Africa.

    The professions also map across this, which is why most systems scientists tend to be fairly communitarian in their outlook (and why science sometimes looks political). Not all, though – if you’ve ever been privy to a debate between a hierarchical ecologist and a systems ecologist, one who believe nature should be studied within a rigid structure and the other who sees it as mutable and hard to classify, you’ll know what I mean. Some professions are hierarchical and will attract people who think that way.

    Individualism is stronger in the US than in most other places and rise in hierarchical individualism governs ridiculous ideas like trickle down economics. Since the election of Trump, the system is being broken. Kahan tends to think scientists have a duty to fit into these structures in order to communicate their science. This doesn’t quite take into account that there are many places in the world where you can explain science to people and they will say, “Oh, ok then”.

    I work in a small group in an economic research institute. I have a close colleague Celeste Young who works on the practice of decision making and I work on the theories and systems of knowledge feeding into that (like climate science, environmental economics etc). We work into people’s and organisation’s decision making systems – Celeste does most of the work digging into them – and then we build frameworks that build knowledge into decision making (I’m not going to say exactly how, people keep borrowing the concepts without acknowledging them). We do have a number of publications though that describe this, they are on Celeste’s and my Researchgate pages. Currently we are working in emergency services and urban environments.

    This is a very different strategy to making decision support systems in a lab then going out and trying to get people to use them. It’s part of a general area of research that calls itself transdisciplinary, because working across knowledge systems takes a different kind of approach to just trying to bolt them together.

    However, it’s also important to recognise that some ideologies are just toxic. In Australia we are working with people in policy who are a rung below the political decision makers. They are very keen to get on with things.

    Expecting scientists to walk out of their labs into organisations and do this at the drop of a hat is too much to expect. What is required is enough funding to support teams of people who respect each others’ knowledge and can work together – this includes the end users of the research who are as expert as anyone in what they know.

  94. Roger,
    Thanks, interesting comment. Almost a post in itself 🙂

  95. John Hartz says:

    Roger Jones: Tahnks for taking the time to participate in this discussion with a most informative post.

  96. Christians Against Climate Change
    Resources and information to the Glory of God and for the good of the world.
    https://www.christiansagainstclimatechange.com/

  97. Eli Rabett says:

    Part of fighting Trump is endlessly repeating the truth that Le Pen got smashed and it would have been worse if Melenchon had not tried to pull a Bernie. Part of fighting climate change is communicating the iron clad consensus and not allowing the Kahan’s and Currys any room. Audacity pays in these sort of things

  98. Joshua says:

    Really?

    Kahan and Curry in the same category?

    Not feelin’ that at all. Kind of depressing to see such an argument being made, actually. Seems rather like the kind visceral antipathy I expect from “skeptics.”

  99. Willard says:

    The reasons why Le Pen got this much votes may be subtler:

  100. Eli Rabett says:

    Le Pen got smashed. The Weasel: 52 to 48%. Oh wait that’s the Brexit vote. 46-48% Oh wait that’s Trump – Clinton. Le Pen got smashed.

  101. Eli Rabett says:

    You guys couldn’t close a sale for gold at $100 an ounce

  102. John Hartz says:

    Willard: Please post the official definition of ClimateBall or provide a link to it. Thanks.

  103. Eli Rabett says:

    Josh, part of the Climateball is to force your opponents off the field. Roger Jr. and Kahan play the Pros from Dover card, Curry is not certain but certainly does not think it a bad thing

    “Hawkeye would walk confidently into a pro shop, smile, comment upon the nice condition of the course, explain that he was just passing through and that he was Joe, Dave or Jack Somebody, the pro from Dover. This resulted, about eight times out of ten, in an invitation to play for free. If forced into conversation, he became the pro from Dover, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, England, Ohio, Delaware, Tennessee, or Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, whichever seemed safest.”

    Frankly, this ploy has been long used by social scientists (not all, but enough) and policy types (lots and lots) who have not the least idea about how to handle problems based on physical and biological reality but would like to cut themselves a piece of the pie, as large a piece as possible.

    It would, at least for Eli, not be a bad thing if the ones playing it actually knew what they were doing and might save the Congressman’s kid, but the Rabett is exceedingly unimpressed by the players of this ploy who at least to his jaundiced eyes are mostly trying to control the debate.

    More at http://rabett.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-pros-from-dover-once-more.html

  104. Joshua,

    Kahan and Curry in the same category?

    Yes, I don’t see them as similar.

    JH,

    Please post the official definition of ClimateBall or provide a link to it. Thanks.

    I’ve written a number of posts about Climateball. You could start there. A key point, in my view, is that you’re kind of playing it, whether you like it or not.

  105. John Hartz says:

    Victor Venema:

    Please don’t paint faith-based organizations in the US with the same brush. For example…

    Call To Action
    We are young evangelicals striving to live out what Jesus said was most important: loving God fully and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Climate change is already impacting our neighbors and God’s creation here in the United States and around the world. For the sake of “the least of these,” we believe God is calling us to faithful action and witness in the midst of the current climate crisis. Therefore, we commit ourselves to living faithfully as good stewards of creation, advocating on behalf of the poor and marginalized, supporting our faith and political leaders when they stand up for climate action, and mobilizing our generation to join in.

    Young Evangelicals for Climate Aciton (Y.E.C.A.)

  106. Joshua says:

    Eli –

    There is an obvious similarity in that both Judith and Dan are hostile towards “consensus-messaging” (or in Dan’s case, at least towards some of the strategies by which it is implemented and some of the implementers. Dan does seem to think that in most contexts, referencing the predominance of shared opinion among experts is a perfectly viable way for non-technically proficient people to assess complicated topics. Judith attacks the very idea that whether there is a “consensus” is important – except, of course, when referencing a “consensus” is convenient for her to advance her advocacy).

    Other than that… They are most obviously dissimilar in that Judith’s main schtick is to promote “skeptic” views on the science of climate change. Dan doesn’t have a great deal to say about the science itself, but to the extent that he does it seems to be only to question why there is so much resistance to the “consensus” view.

    That’s a huge difference…

    But w/r/t/ the topic of science communication in relation to the climate wars… Dan actually researches and collects evidence, publishes in the academic literature on the subject (at least sometimes peer reviewed) , seriously engages with other subject-area experts on the subject, serious engages with critiques of his work, and sometime revises his theories in light of evidence.

    Judith does no original research on the subject, selectively and superficially collects and engages with the work of other subject area experts only to the extent that she can advance her activism in doing so for the purpose of “stealth advocacy,” and steadfastly refuses to engage with critiques.
    Throw in the usual “skeptic” nonsense like the constant self-victimization, name-calling, exploitation of uncertainty, etc., of course.

    =={ Frankly, this ploy has been long used by social scientists (not all, but enough) and policy types (lots and lots) who have not the least idea about how to handle problems based on physical and biological reality but would like to cut themselves a piece of the pie, as large a piece as possible.
    Not sure what that means. }==

    I don’t entirely disagree there. As an educator, I think that Dan’s academic approach misses a lot that is in the educational literature bout communicating information to various audiences,. But that in itself doesn’t render his research valueless, just in need of the proper contextualization. Again, totally unlike Judith’s superficial and self-sealing approach to evidence provided by social science research.

    =={ Roger Jr. and Kahan play }==

    Again, Roger and Judith? Perhaps. RCPjr. and Kahan?…..maybe they are more closely related than Judith and Dan but I would still say different species.

  107. Everett F Sargent says:

    Not to be to pedagogical but …

    Processing political misinformation: comprehending the Trump phenomenon
    Briony Swire, Adam J. Berinsky, Stephan Lewandowsky, Ullrich K. H. Ecker
    http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/4/3/160802

    That one deserves a … D’oh! Hit me with dumb stick, non-stop even.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we have …

    “Message-framing studies that play well in the lab might fail or even backfire when confronted[21], as they predictably will be, by counter-messaging aimed at their target audiences.”

    Bold type the “by counter-messaging aimed at their target audiences.”

    Again, that one deserves a … D’oh! Hit me with dumb stick, non-stop even.

    IMHO, perhaps the most important single sentence in the DK paper. If DK wrote it, and you already know that, then … discount it with at significance level of p < 0.0001.

    Reference [21] leads to many interesting places.

    I see the 97% (or 99.94% Powell(2017)) as a tactical move not a strategic move. YMMV

  108. John Hartz: “Victor Venema: Please don’t paint faith-based organizations in the US with the same brush. For example…”

    Sounds like you did not click on my link to “Christians Against Climate Change”. They do not like it and want to solve it. Just like your Young Evangelicals for Climate Action.

    My post was intended as an example of a page that is worth amplifying. I will not let Kahan shut me up, but I am happy to amplify voices from other groups.

  109. John Hartz says:

    Victor Venema: Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea culpa!

    (Yes, I was raised in the Cahtolic faith and was an altar boy way back when the Mass was said in Latin.)

  110. Everett F Sargent says: “Processing political misinformation: comprehending the Trump phenomenon Briony Swire, Adam J. Berinsky, Stephan Lewandowsky, Ullrich K. H. Ecker
    http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/4/3/160802

    From the abstract:
    “the explanation’s source had relatively little impact, and belief updating was more influenced by perceived credibility of the individual initially purporting the information. These findings suggest that people use political figures as a heuristic to guide evaluation of what is true or false, yet do not necessarily insist on veracity as a prerequisite for supporting political candidates.”

    So this article disagrees with Kahan when it comes to correcting misinformation and says that also people from other groups can correct misinformation as long as they are perceived to have expertise?

  111. Everett F Sargent says:

    VV,

    4. General discussion
    4.1. Pre-explanation belief scores

    “This supports Kahan’s [4] stance that biases such as motivated cognition could occur at both ends of the political spectrum, while running counter to the notion that people who hold right-wing ideology are more susceptible to motivated cognition in general. Our paper therefore contributes to mounting literature that all individuals—regardless of partisanship—are biased by their own worldview, rather than there being fundamental differences in cognition between people with differing political values [29,30,33,47–49].”

    I have believed this for several decades now.

    The reference to [21] occurs in section ‘1.2. Motivated cognition’ section of said paper.

    Given that and IMHO; Lab != Field, Politics != Policy and one week != years

    I didn’t believe even a single word that Trumpkin said, fact checking, to date, would support my worldview (RE: Trumpkin lies 100% of the time). I also will never engage in polling or human lab experiments, another multi-decadal worldview belief. Trumpkins actions are also 100% real and detrimental to a fully functioning democracy IMHO.

    I”m quite sure that Kahan can change minds when the live at +3 feet above MHHW (another stoopit thing that homo sapiens do and that I have not advocated since 1983). Well, except for Trumpkin …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar-a-Lago

  112. Everett F Sargent, okay you make me read parts of the paper. Your quote was the part on “4.1. Pre-explanation belief scores”. The initial misinformation by a politician. There Republican tend to trust Trump and Democrats tend not to trust him.

    I would tend to trust the information of a European conservative, the presentation may be biased, the information may be cherry picked, but I would expect the fact itself to be normally correct. In case of Trump it would seem rational to expect that the truthfulness of a statement is completely and utterly irrelevant to Trump. In that respect I would argue that this was not a particularly good test for the question whether Democrats use political orientation as a heuristic. It could also simply be having experience with Trump.

    But climate science blogs are not the once producing the initial misinformation. The first experiment of the paper. We are explaining whether statements are wrong or right. The second experiment of the paper. Further down in the discussion, the paper mentions that there is a small effect, but it sounds as if also liberal scientists can convince a conservative audience and visa versa.

    4.3. Explanation source
    Different explanation sources did not have as large an impact as hypothesized. It is noteworthy in itself that the explanation source did not have as large an impact as the support of the person purporting the initial information. While Berinsky [3] found that corrections from an unlikely source aided belief updating, this was when the to-be-corrected information was specifically counter to the traditional stances of a political party, for example, when Republicans debunked rumours regarding health care. It is possible that our amalgamation of items was not sufficiently in opposition to the core values of the Republican party to replicate these results. While it seemed that Republican non-supporters reduced their misinformation belief most following a Republican correction, it is necessary to replicate these results due to the post hoc nature of the analysis.

    Thus is seems to matter whether a politician is talking about something he does not know much about and is trying to convince people to support him or whether an expert explains how it really works. This blog may thus not be completely futile.

  113. John Hartz says:

    Willard: Thanks, but that is not what I’m hoping you can provide. I would like a concise one or two paragraph description of ClimateBall to incorporate into the SkS Glossary of Terms.

  114. angech says:

    Eli Rabett says:
    “Part of fighting climate change is communicating the iron clad consensus and not allowing the Kahan’s and Currys any room”.
    The ends justify the means again?
    Deny discussion?
    So, are we fighting climate change or only anthropogenic climate change?
    Do we accept natural climate change even when it is adverse or do we fight natural climate change as well?
    Would it be OK to burn coal if the world was getting colder, Eli, or is there never a time for anthropogenic activity?

  115. John – Re:ClimateBall – You may not be aware of the pop culture reference: Calvinball

  116. John – Willard has answered the question elsewhere: About ClimateBall

    Some people asked me what was ClimateBall ™. The simple answer is the same as CalvinBall:

    People have asked how to play Calvinball. It’s pretty simple: you make up the rules as you go.

  117. John Hartz says:

    oneillsinwisconsin: If that’s all it is, it doesn’t need to be defined.

  118. Willard says:

    Concepts never really need to be defined, JH. Asking for definitions is itself a ClimateBall move. That move is as old as Socrates. It wasn’t possible to win against that scoundrel.

    We have yet to have a universal definition of what a game is. Yet my favorite characterization of humanity is homo ludens:

    Homo Ludens is a book written in 1938 by Dutch historian and cultural theorist Johan Huizinga. It discusses the importance of the play element of culture and society. Huizinga suggests that play is primary to and a necessary (though not sufficient) condition of the generation of culture. The Latin word Ludens is the present active participle of the verb ludere which itself is cognate with the noun ludus. Ludus has no direct equivalent in English, as it simultaneously refers to sport, play, school, and practice.

    One big difference between ClimateBall and Calvinball is that there’s no real Calvin role. We could argue that AT is our Calvin, but Calvin had much more control over the rules than any blog curator. After all, Calvin was only playing with his imaginary friend.

    One big difference between ClimateBall and ordinary conversations is that our exchanges are seldom conversations. That’s why I call them exchanges. Something is exchanged between us, be it resources, ideas, strokes or blows.

    The formal concept of debate covers both dialectic and eristic. That’s the difference between the ball and the man. But the “ball” in “ClimateBall” also refers to a dance. The scores are mostly choreographical. There’s no real way to tell when you score: your opponent seldom tells you you did, making touchdown dances make you look bad.

    I’ll think about a short way to say all this later.

  119. Willard says:

    Here would be a first try.

    ClimateBall (cf. Calvinball) is a term used either as (a) a metaphor to refer to the strange – and somewhat addictive – game people play an climate websites or social media, (b) an informal model to describe the pragmatics of climate-based exchanges, or (c) an art form that (ideally) channels online violence into an interactive pursuit of Good ways to address climate-related problems.

    I ought to write a book about that crap.

  120. Willard.

    Johan Huizinga

    we are officially friends

    weird.

  121. Susan
    ‘Steven Mosher, that we can’t think sounds a bit like fancy dancing to me.”

    I was more precise. you suggested people could or should learn to think for themselves.

    I’m suggesting that thinking is social. short version. thinking happens in language.

    I think you missed my allusion to Ludwig and private language

  122. “Willard: Perhaps the current turmoil in Venezuela is a portend of things to come in Western democracies, eh?”

    Like I said. go long bitcoin

  123. izen says:

    @-Willard

    I think (a) and (c) are unrealistic.
    (b)”an informal model to describe the pragmatics of climate-based exchanges”
    Probably best fits JH’s requirement of a short, simple and clear definition for a glossary.
    That would seem to match RJs description of a hierarchical ecologist, a reductionist, versus the systems (holistic?) ecologist!

    I have taken ClimateBall(TM) to be the meta-analysis of the blog and forum posts made on the issue of climate change. While it lists the zombie memes and scientific tropes used, it is primarily concerned with the patterns of rhetorical tactics (strategy?) that informs their deployment.
    It appears to be purely descriptive, with no attempt to construct any explanations for the patterns of use. However there may be an implicit valuation of good faith/bad faith arguments in the structural hierarchy of how different memes associate into separate usage sets.

    Kahan is making explicit claims about the relative efficiency of various tactics employed in climateball. Which inevitably become part of the contingent history, and new ammunition in climateball exchanges. RJ’s characterisation said it best;-
    ” The problem with Kahan’s project is that globally, the US is an outlier, although being something of a cultural black hole is trying to drag the rest of the world into its maw. Northern Europe maps into this differently as does much of Asia and Africa.”

  124. Eli Rabett says:

    Steve: Bitcoin is a bubble. One day somebunny will take a bite out of the tulip.
    Angech: Ends do sometimes justify means or don’t you believe in self defense?

  125. John Hartz says:

    Willard: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why we’ve had such a difficult time communicating with each other. You have a background steeped in philosophy and mine is in engineering.

    Having said that, thank you for brainstorming about how to craft a conscise definition of ClimateBall. Given the term’s widespread use in communications of all sorts, I believe it is very worthwhile to have a commonly accepted definition of it.

    I also believe you should write a book about ClimateBall.

    Peace!

  126. I’m suggesting that thinking is social. short version. thinking happens in language.

    Hmmmmm…. things are usually complex and complicated, but I’ll go the other route: thinking occurs only one brain at a time – thinking is individual – not social.

    To be sure, ideas spread, often in a social context. But the analysis of ideas can still only occur in one brain. And unfortunately, part (most?) of our analysis is not rational. So we accept ideas, not so much on their veracity, but because of emotional response ( peer pressure is an example ). This makes sense to me by thinking about human evolution. If you have a dog, you know how important the greeting is when you come home after an absence. This is reestablishing the pack. I think humans were similarly dependent on the pack. The group was vital for survival ( hunting, gathering, defense, shelter, breeding ). Any conflict which risked booting one from the group was a threat to one’s survival. So accepting the ideas of the group was more important than being right.

  127. Eli Rabett says:

  128. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    Asking for definitions is itself a ClimateBall move. That move is as old as Socrates. It wasn’t possible to win against that scoundrel.

    No. But one could always play for a draw. Bring your own hemlock.

    # # # # # #


    I ought to write a book about that crap.

    Books about crap are so 20th-century. Even Mosher wrote one already.

    And reading such a book would be like watching only one side of the board.

    ClimateBall = Climate-science-related rhetoric.

    As such, ClimateBall is the compulsive-obsessive child of Fourier and Empedocles.

  129. Good Ars Technica article on Christians and Republicans working to fix climate change. More voices to amplify.

    Also a good reason not to talk generally about “Republicans” and climate change, but to be specific and talk about “corrupt Republican Congressmen in Washington”.

  130. Also a good reason not to talk generally about “Republicans” and climate change, but to be specific and talk about “corrupt Republican Congressmen in Washington”.

    shorter: the deciders!

  131. What the heck! I will insert a little raw science that seems like it has a good news aspect!

    http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2017/05/02/1618926114.abstract.html?collection

    Significance

    Methane released from the seafloor and transported to the atmosphere has the potential to amplify global warming. At an arctic site characterized by high methane flux from the seafloor, we measured methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) exchange across the sea−air interface. We found that CO2 uptake in an area of elevated methane efflux was enhanced relative to surrounding waters, such that the negative radiative forcing effect (cooling) resulting from CO2 uptake overwhelmed the positive radiative forcing effect (warming) supported by methane output. Our work suggests physical mechanisms (e.g., upwelling) that transport methane to the surface may also transport nutrient-enriched water that supports enhanced primary production and CO2 drawdown. These areas of methane seepage may be net greenhouse gas sinks.

    Daily CO2

    May 8, 2017: 409.45 ppm
    May 8, 2016: 407.39 ppm

    April month average 409.01 – first monthly average over 409 I believe!

    Warm regards

    Mike

  132. John Hartz says:

    TE: It appears that you do not believe in the concept of collective consciousness. Correct?

    For the record, I do believe such exists.

  133. Eli Rabett says:

    You can add corrupt Republican state legislators (gerrymandering, vote caging and more) corrupt Republican local council members and more. Simpler just to say corrupt Republicans

  134. John Hartz says:

    Eli: You can add, “mostlly bankrolled by the Koch broathers and their partners in crime.”

  135. Willard says:

    > I think (a) [“it’s just a game”] and (c) [“no, it’s martial art] are unrealistic.

    I’d rather say that (a) minimizes ClimateBall, while (c) points toward its ideal. Here’s a recent example of (a):

    Don’t play willard’s game, people. He’s just having fun. He doesn’t care who’s right or wrong. This is Climate ball. It’s an open question whether willard even cares about climate change.

    Ignoring Grounskeeper’s signalling and keeping the eye on my own ball implements (c). That way, I don’t fall back on the defensive and keep going forward. I need to close that thread.

    ***

    > You have a background steeped in philosophy and mine is in engineering.

    True, but there’s also the fact that you often alluded to something like the quote above.

    Speaking of games, I invented this one that might interest you. It’s called Scientist-Engineer-Philosopher. The Scientist gets audited by the Engineer, the Engineer gets clarified by the Philosopher, and the Philosopher gets empiricized by the Scientist. One winning strategy is for a Scientist and a Philosopher to team up against the Engineer.

  136. John Hartz says:

    My initial ecriticisms of you and Climateball were ill-founded. I was seeing something that wasn’t there and shooting from the lip. Mea culpa..

  137. John Hartz says:

    For the “Words Matter” file…

    Rachel Martin talks to climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, who stresses how unproductive it is to label someone a “climate denier.”

    There Must Be More Productive Ways To Talk About Climate Change, NPR, May 9, 2017

  138. Willard says:

    No worries, JH.

    Here’s my response to Kid’s gambit, btw:

    > If I just relied on the link, I wouldn’t be able to point out that the OTA found that the increase in income for the 1% since 1960 was only one tenth or 10% of what the Piketty study found.

    And if Denizens only rely on Kid’s testimony, they wouldn’t be able to point out that he’s referring to a different concept than Piketty’s, which his sources calls the broad income. They wouldn’t be able to see how the authors also introduce a concept they self-servingly call consistent market income. They wouldn’t be able to see that pea and thimble game done with corporate retained earnings.

    Also, Denizens wouldn’t even be able to read the introduction where Keitho’s rhetorical question gets answered. They wouldn’t be able to read the caveat according to which the views expressed are those of the authors alone, and not the official Treasury position. They wouldn’t be able to read the notes, the figures, or the summary, where the authors candidly observe that:

    This overall difference of about 9 percentage points can be allocated among the adjustments as follows: about 2 percentage points from using C corporation retained earnings in place of realized capital gains, about 2 percentage points from including corporate taxes, about 2 percentage points from including government transfers, about 1 percentage point from including employer paid payroll taxes and health insurance, about 1 percentage point from controlling for falling marriage rates, and about 1 percentage point from correcting filer demographics and non-filer incomes.

    Denizens should be able to see what kind of game Kid’s playing right now.

    Sometimes, ClimateBall provides opportunities to explore fascinating stuff.

  139. angech says:

    Eli Rabett says:
    “Steve: Bitcoin is a bubble. One day somebunny will take a bite out of the tulip.”
    I thought the same thing about Microsoft.
    “: Ends do sometimes justify means or don’t you believe in self defense?”
    I hope you are being flippant but fear otherwise.
    There are countless examples of people trying to do good, which everyone here is guilty of, and justifying their actions by the outcome they hope to acheive.

    The problems are firstly that what one person sees as good is not what another perceives and when this “good act” is done it is perceived as something bad by others.
    The easy example for Americans would be Prohibition.
    Perhaps hiding the dog’s heart worm tablet in its food. Hard to argue with that.
    So sometimes tough decisions need to be made to achieve a desired outcome.
    But we are trying to debate an idea.
    Which is not fully clear in everyone’s mind.
    Destroying your world to save the purity of an idea like freedom, in Syria, was a bad move.
    Putting the primacy of your view over that of 48 million American voters and refusing to listen to their beliefs and concerns, even if wrong, is not a means justifying an end.

    Yes I believe you have a right to self defence in many situations. Nasty despicable actions may be necessary. Not here though.
    Do you really think that climate change is mortal combat.
    Sigh, rhetorical question?
    For the record I do not.

  140. “Steve: Bitcoin is a bubble. One day somebunny will take a bite out of the tulip.”

    The technology ( solves the byzantine generals problem) cannot be put back in the bottle.
    Imagine its 1992 and I told you there was this thing called the internet.

    That is where we are.

    I’m kicking myself for not seeing this in 2013.

  141. TE..

    I dont know what your best talent is. Understanding others is not it.

    Next time you want to argue that thinking happens outside of language, don’t use words.

  142. Eli Rabett says:

    Eli was on ARPANET, BITNET JANET and a bunch of others in the 1980s and writing websites at the latest by 1995 (ok only text), so no, BITCOIN is a bubble, if only because there is no governmental guarantee that they will be accepted for debts.

  143. Steven Mosher says:

    Eli government is not needed.
    That’s the point.

    As for government backing..see india. See cyprus. See greece.

    Money is not valuable because of guarantees

  144. izen says:

    @-SM
    “Money is not valuable because of guarantees”

    The ‘value’ is in the collective belief that it is.
    It has usually been necessary to link that belief to a belief in the authority of the nation state.

    Bitcoin provides a feature that currencies do not require. They only need to be an efficient way of rationing resources and have the collective faith of the users.

    @-“Next time you want to argue that thinking happens outside of language, don’t use words.”

  145. It appears that you do not believe in the concept of collective consciousness. Correct?

    I did have to look it up.
    “shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force within society.”

    I don’t think the sharing of ideas(consciousness) goes toward the testing of ideas(thinking).

    Rather, what happens is more:

    Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.”

  146. Everett F Sargent says:


    Over 20 years after the nuclear war that had been triggered by the invasion of the Moon Trumpkins, Earth has become an inhospitable place. The last survivors have rallied together on the former Trumpkin moon base, with many refugees from earth among them. Over the years a large human colony has formed, with its own fascist government and religions, including the Mosherists, a cult that formed around the teachings of Steven Mosher and their reptilian leader (Gordon Moore).

    But the aging base is deteriorating and due to the damage the moon received in the nuclear war, its time is running out. Andrew Jackson, the daughter of Omid Kordestani and Mark Zuckerberg, finds out that there may be other survivors hidden in an underground city at the center of the earth with the means to save the base and decides to travel to earth to seek help.

    But the survivors she and a ragtag band of explorers find at the center of the earth are not even human—they stumble upon a prehuman world of dinosaurs ruled by the Vril, a race of reptilians led by Trumpkin in his true reptilian form among other former human rulers, all of whom were Reptilians under their human skins all along. They had been controlling human governments for hundreds of years, waiting for the right moment to strike against the human surface dwellers to ensure the annihilation of the entire human race and secure the reptilian dominance over the planet.

  147. Willard says:

    > I don’t think the sharing of ideas(consciousness) goes toward the testing of ideas(thinking).

    Is that something you share(consciousness) or is it something you test(thinking)?

    Whatever both means, if anything.

    DanK’s very idea of cultural cognition rests on the observation that people think aloud ideas otters from their community think aloud. Hence why you’re rehashing most of the contrarian memes in just about every thread, dear TE. Even your “but groupthink” ain’t original.

    Hard for contrarians to escape their beloved Matrix.

    As far as meaning and beliefs are concerned, individualism is not far from being deprecated, The philosophy of libertarianism is in worse condition. By chance Freedom Fighters have the Internet to pretend otherwise. All of them entertaining the myth that they reached the very same conclusion by daring to think by themselves more or less a very similar immature doctrine with the very same memes.

    Sapere aude indeed.

  148. John Hartz says:

    Willard & TE: From my perppsective, “collective consciouisness” and “groupthink” are two distinct concpets and should not be used interchangeably. To me, “collective consciousness” is akin to group ESP. Since I accept the existence of ESP, I believe that thoughts can eminate from outside the the brain of a given individual.

  149. Everett F Sargent says:

    “I don’t think … ” 🙂

    I do think the sharing of ideas goes toward the testing of ideas.
    Testing scientific ideas
    http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/howscienceworks_06
    Tactics for testing ideas
    http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/howscienceworks_08

    “Experiments are one way to test some sorts of ideas, but science doesn’t live on experiment alone. There are many other ways to scientifically test ideas too … ”

    Nature abhors a vacuum.

  150. John Hartz says:

    Everett F Sargent: Re your movie script, which location is the “lab” and which is the :field”?

    (I beleive we should make an effort to tie our commets to the OP whenever we can.)

  151. Steven Mosher says:

    TE.

    If you think you have an original idea, one thought of by yourself, I’ll say that originality is only a mistake validated by others as interesting. The concept is pretty simple and tools like the contrarain matrix show how it operates. There are certain moves in the game. You didn’t invent those moves. They pre exist you. They are part of the very structure of thinking. You might view them as a form of the deep grammar of thought. You cant escape this grammar. It’s the very structure all your thought has to occur in. It’s not individual. So when you think you are thinking for yourself expressing an original thought..that thought itself is a part of the game. You are not free to think ( or create music izen) that behavior takes place in social system. The rules work through you. You cannot help but follow them. Now of course there are times you may create something that looks novel or original. To others these utterances are usually seen as performance errors. In rare cases your “novelties” Might be accepted by others..The same way a nonce term might be accepted by other speakers. .The same way a new artist might be accepted as a genius. In most cases what you think is individual new or unique is either a performance error or is not actually anything new. It’s all been thought before. And the system is designed to fool you into believing that you think for and by yourself.
    Welcome to the matrix. Language tells you what you can think and how you can think it.

  152. Everett F Sargent says:

    JH

    An attempt at prototyping satire (RE: bitcoin which is also OT IMHO). I stole it from …
    https://climatecrocks.com/2017/05/09/somehow-this-seems-appropriate/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Sky:_The_Coming_Race

  153. OT? there is always a question of what is germane.. ask any parlimentarian

    There should be some kind of kevin bacon test for how far separated a comment is from the original post

    http://www.coindesk.com/eu-parliament-blockchain-social-impact/

    hmm someday I will do a post on how science is a block chain of sorts and consensus rules

  154. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    It’s all been thought before. And the system is designed to fool you into believing that you think for and by yourself.
    Welcome to the matrix. Language tells you what you can think and how you can think it.

    Welcome to the Cave.
    Men already know the Forms because they were in the world of Forms before birth.
    They only recall these Forms to memory.

    This could be the ESP that John Hartz refers to above.

    It’s why the ancient Greeks liked to play ClimateBall so much, at least when they weren’t busy contemplating quantum chromodynamics, the 5th Assessment Report, and the efficacy of vaccines.

    Aristophanes even wrote (OK, he merely remembered it) a funny play on the topic.

    Also – Sci-fi goes at least as far back as 1634.

    But we all knew that already.

  155. Fiction versus Fantasy Reverend.
    The presence of a witch mother would make it FANTASY and not fiction. subtle difference

    So maybe the first science fantasy.. which is a odd combination. there are other wicked beasts of this form.

    Also casting the story as dream, makes it hard to classify as fiction.

    esoteric debate

  156. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Actually, that part about the witch-mother is non-fiction.


    Also casting the story as dream, makes it hard to classify as fiction.

    If dreams are hard to classify as fictional, then I would like to rule the world just like I did last night at 2:30 AM. I banished all esoteric debates in favour of scotch whisky and leg-pulling.

  157. Over 20 years after the nuclear war that had been triggered by the invasion of the Moon Trumpkins, Earth has become an inhospitable place.

    Our reptilian overlords would not create a nuclear winter. That is bad for them. They would create global warming.

    The aliens dominating humans may be legal fictions we call corporations, at least if we do not limit their size and make it illegal for them to wield political power. They are important for the efficient production of goods and services. We should make sure they do not do other things.

  158. You cannot do science all by yourself. Reality is too complicated. There is a reason we know more now that an ancient Green philosopher could have thought up.

    You get WUWT & Co. group-think if people only care about the answer being politically convenient. You get science if people care about the quality of the arguments and make themselves vulnerable by being very precise in describing their work.

  159. Willard says:

    Speaking of BitCoins, from the A files:

    The move was a delaying tactic aimed at increasing the attacker’s workload. The “honeypot” accounts were filled with large volumes of fake documents. “That forced them to waste time, by the quantity of the documents we put in and documents that might interest them,” Mahjoubi said. “Even if it made them lose one minute, we’re happy.”

    The bait documents may have caused the attackers to rush their efforts. […] Multiple documents were proven to be forgeries, including one which appeared to be an invoice for a Bitcoin payment for mephedrone (“bath salts”) to be sent to the French National Assembly. The Bitcoin wallet and blockchain transaction data was easily determined to be fake.

    WikiLeaks, which initially spread links to the documents posted by the attackers, responded to Ars’ previous coverage of the hack by tweeting, “It is unlikely that it could have been a mistake. Mostly likely it is a false flag or deliberate Russian signaling.”

    https://arstechnica.com/security/2017/05/macron-campaign-team-used-honeypot-accounts-to-fake-out-fancy-bear/

  160. “The Bitcoin wallet and blockchain transaction data was easily determined to be fake.”

    That’s the beauty. Imagine a ledger that can never be changed and never be forged.

  161. Reverend

    The distinction is fantasy versus fiction.

    Fiction is a specialized term. dont apply your ordinary meaning

    “If dreams are hard to classify as fictional, then I would like to rule the world just like I did last night at 2:30 AM. I banished all esoteric debates in favour of scotch whisky and leg-pulling.”

    In literature we refer to something as a fiction, if it could have happened, or if it might happen some day.

    Willard and Mosher played chess. It was a draw.
    This is a fiction. It never happened. It could happen.

    Willard and Mosher, travelled to mars at warp speed. They built a house using transparent
    aluminum.
    This is science fiction. it could happen and no laws of physics are broken.

    Willard was a warlock. He had magical powers. He created
    Unicorns. The unicorns pooped ice cream. Unicorns exceed the speed of light, blah blah
    Then he woke up.
    This is Fantasy.

    So folks used to classify fiction as things that could have happened, or that might happen in the future, in a naturalistic universe. No witches, no demons, no super natural. No Hogwarts.
    Fantasy on the other hand, broadly speaking includes some form of the super natural or non natural.

    Then guys wrote christian science fiction and our neat orderly genres were scrambled and destroyed.

    So what was the first “science fiction?” ah well now we have a definitional war.. and kibitzers dont get to talk

  162. SM: I would disagree. The common distinction was (and really still remains) fiction versus non-fiction. ‘Fiction’ is simply a work of the imagination; be it a work by Dostoevsky, Georgette Heyer, Louis L’Amour, Kim Stanley Robinson, or Anne McCaffrey. Works of fiction now often carry a genre label as well, but the fact we’ve added a genre or sub-genre label does not remove them from the overall category of fiction. ‘Fantastic fiction’ eventually became shortened to fantasy; i.e., fantastic fiction (fantasy) is a sub-genre of fiction – not distinct from fiction. Before the term ‘science fiction’ was coined sci-fi works were part of fantastic fiction (Jules Verne), but now we view science fiction and fantasy as two separate sub-genres. Another science fiction genre precursor was ‘science romance.’

    Wiki would also disagree with your distinction: Fantasy – “Fantasy is a fiction genre set in an imaginary universe, often but not always without any locations, events, or people from the real world.

  163. izen says:

    @-SM
    ” You are not free to think ( or create music izen) that behavior takes place in social system. The rules work through you. You cannot help but follow them.”

    I do not dispute that thinking occurs in a social context. The ‘rules’ are formed by that context, I doubt Humean supervenience works in ascribing the contingent form of those ‘rules’ to either society or its individual constituents.
    I find the idea that thinking is restricted by language is often promulgated by those who are hierarchical reductionist who think things work by following a fixed, rule-based process with clear definitions.(listed in the glossary!)

  164. Steven Mosher says:

    One.
    Yes I am aware of all of that.
    Doesn’t change a single thing I said.
    What kind of people do you think actually have these debates over cladistics in literature?

  165. Steven Mosher says:

    Izen.
    Genetic fallacy.
    Try again.

    So far you’ve pointed to a sounds To try to make an argument. Now you played the genetic fallacy card.

    When you decide to demonstrate thinking outside of language I’ll be here.

  166. BBD says:

    When you decide to demonstrate thinking outside of language I’ll be here.

    Look! A squirrel! (Sorry Steve, couldn’t help it 🙂 )

  167. izen says:

    @-SM
    “So far you’ve pointed to a sounds To try to make an argument. Now you played the genetic fallacy card.”

    I pointed to sound, actually Bach, because it is a solid example of thought that does not use a language. Unless you want to relabel music as a language.

    Not sure what aspect of the origins of social language rules you think is fallacious?

  168. Michael 2 says:

    My father was, and still is, an environmentalist who at the time lived in the United States in a place where environmentalists were held in contempt by nearly everyone. Despite that, citizens of this fine state loved its natural beauty, they just didn’t like environmentalists usually spoiled children of elite Californians that had long before destroyed much of their own environment and now wanted to create a playground for Californians among their neighbors.

    Rather than approach citizens with “pollution is bad” since at the time most citizens didn’t care or accepted it as a natural consequence of modern living, he would visit ranchers and citizens and make complementary remarks on how fine was the ranch, how clear the water for cattle, look at that fine view of the distant mountains where melting snow fills your streams.

    Instead of always being against something, his approach was for something, and it worked. He was instrumental in many initiatives.

    People dancing a jig, throwing tantrums and stamping their feet (figuratively, maybe literally in some cases) at “carbon dioxide” are seen by many as the antics of unemployed and probably unemployable spoiled children who bring their iPads to Occupy Wall Street protests; perhaps unaware or uncaring that Apple is THE poster child of a Wall Street company.

    Is there some goal you can work for that, as a side effect, achieves your goals without making your goal as conspicuous?

    While it is not universally agreed, I suspect there’s a lot more agreement that eventually coal and oil will run out, and you certainly cannot fly an airplane on coal; oil should preferentially be preserved for aviation and other petrochemical uses — “burning it” seems primitive. You went to all that work to get it out of the ground and all you are doing is burning it?.

    So what is to do. Well, the United States at least has a lot of sunshine; the problem being that where most people live there isn’t a lot of sunshine (Seattle comes to mind). So there’s a huge problem of energy transport.

    Another factor is change of lifestyle. Europe started down that road long ago; maybe never approached the per-capita consumption of energy as the United States. Americans will have to adopt a more efficient lifestyle, but that’s a thing that can be made attractive (as for instance the current trend in “micro-houses”). IKEA does brisk business in the United States which affirms a willingness by Americans for attractive efficiency.

    But in the end, the USA is geographically not well suited in most places for a European lifestyle, European government or anything else branded “European”. So don’t brand it that way (duh).

    I have an electric lawnmower. I love it. 60 volt lithium ion battery, brushless motors. Goes all winter and the first mowing in spring it’s ready to go. Back when I used a gasoline lawn mower that first mowing was an ordeal trying to get the engine started after six months or so idle. If you turn it over to clean the blades you just dumped the gasoline in the carburetor and now its really not going to start for an hour or two.

    The Judeo-Christian portion of the world might be persuaded by the story of the 7 fat years and 7 lean years in Egypt. Right now we have “fat years” of energy but after that comes “lean years”, and the lean years aren’t going to end.

  169. John Hartz says:

    For those of you opining about dreams, I highly recommend that you peruse…

    Why You Shouldn’t Tell People about Your Dreams

    They’re really meaningful to you, but not to anybody else

    by Jim Davies, Scientific American,

    Jim Davies is an associate professor in the Institute of Cognitive Science at Carleton University. He is the author of “Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make us Laugh, Movies Make us Cry, and Religion Makes us Feel One with the Universe.” Director of the Science of Imagination Laboratory, he explores processes of visualization in humans and machines and specializes in artificial intelligence, analogy, problem-solving, and the psychology of art, religion, and creativity.

  170. > Sapere aude indeed.

    Peer pressure: Hipsters aren’t doing it.

  171. What is in the fish brain

  172. izen I would not label music as thought. Any more than the smells of a seven course dinner are thought.

    But if you like we can discuss clever squirrels or artistic fish.

    BTW the music as thought is an old one. Keep trying.

  173. This code is thinking

  174. This robot is thinking like a clever squirrel

  175. Actually that robot is doing science. and has a self concept

  176. Opps what happened to an individual thinking for themselves?

  177. John Hartz says:

    This thread is what happens when ATTP doesn’t follow-up a post with a new post within a couple of days. One can drive big trucks through big windows of opportunity..

  178. The watts rule of posting is 4 new ones a day.

    But all threads will unravel.

  179. russellseitz says:

    Unraveled threads are soon recycled: Delingpole has discovered more climate sasquatch than xenobiologists can count- and podcast the nondescript Breitbart published in 2015

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2017/05/dellingpole-interviews-north-views.html

  180. Eli Rabett says:

    So Eli was reading his money and he saw

    “This note is legal tender for all debts public and private”

    which means Eli can pay Steve in US currency for debts in the US and if Steve wants Bitcoin tough titties

    OK Eli and Steve can arrange between them to accept Bitcoin, but that is a private contract and enforceable as such, Eli doesn’t need a private contract to pay Steve in dollars and if Eli gives Steve the dollars, the debt is paid. If Steve wants Eli to accept his Bitcoin and Eli doesn’t want to Eli can collect the debt in dollars in court.)

    This, of course, is why contracts between people in different countries specify the currency that is to be used to pay.

    It’s also why currency of such places as Cyprus trade at a discount.

  181. Willard says:

    > This thread is what happens when ATTP

    AT makes nobody do it, including playing the ref. I was supposed to write a post but got busy.

    Keep your pants on, the food in your plates, and all will be well.

    Thanks.

  182. izen says:

    @-SM
    “izen I would not label music as thought”

    Neither would I.
    But writing a 4 part fugue definitely requires it.

    There is an old musician’s ‘joke’ that if a supreme being asked mankind to justify its’ existence by showing our intelligence, we could point to Einstein, Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci… but if we cite Bach we are exaggerating.

  183. BBD says:

    Steven

    Watch the squirrel carefully. It climbs to vantage points to study the obstacles placed in its way. It thinks. It solves the problems.

    The squirrel is thinking (problem-solving) without language.

  184. BBD says:

    Music *is* a language, but a non-verbal one.

  185. izen says:

    Speech *is * music, but a non-harmonic/melodic one. (!)

  186. BBD says:

    I think you’ve gone outside the definition of ‘music’ there, Izen…

  187. @sm “izen I would not label music as thought. Any more than the smells of a seven course dinner are thought.”

    I have never detected any value in poetry (), I’ve always assumed it was because I was missing something, rather than that it wasn’t there. There would certainly be a difference in playing music, listening to music and hearing music.

    If music can be generated completely algorithmically and therefore it isn’t thinking, does that mean the fact that chess can be played completely algorithmically mean that I am not thinking when I am playing*?

    @izen Personally I prefer Douglass Adam’s explanation of J.S. Bach

    * My usual greeting when playing online is “Hello, may we neither blunder!”**, which implies I don’t think (sufficiently) all the time I am playing.
    ** I can’t bring myself to say “Hello, Good Luck” as I can’t say it sincerely.
    *** other than deliberate doggerel, which I rather like.

  188. cat previous post | sed “s/()/***/g” > correct version

  189. Going back a bit further “Next time you want to argue that thinking happens outside of language, don’t use words.”

    This is invalid because you need the words to argue, whether thinking can happen outside of language or not.

  190. Opps what happened to an individual thinking for themselves?

    Cool video and goes to the point.
    The robot tested the ideas in it’s own processor(brain).
    It determined whether theories were ‘true’ or not based on testing observations the robot made.

    Now, code and data are distributable across computational networks and maybe human brains are destined to be linked (shared irrationality). And theories with supporting observations are distributed, for example, in journals. But as happens, people argue about the significance, the context, and accuracy of both the theories and data. Presented data always depends on a level of trust if the observations are not directly made by the considering individual. The ‘unit of action’ of human thinking remains the individual brain. Belief in gravity is nearly universal by all those standing upright, not because they’re well read, but because they’ve tested the idea since they were infants first attempting to raise their heads.

  191. Joshua says:

    The language of music:

  192. izen says:

    @-Dikran Marsupial
    “izen Personally I prefer Douglass Adam’s explanation of J.S. Bach”

    Me too. I always assumed he got the idea from that musician’s meme of Bach’s music as beyond human.

  193. Ken Fabian says:

    Are dedicated climate science deniers really the audience good information most needs to reach? I suspect the greater majority of people, even if they have existing opinions about climate change, are not beyond reach and the means to reach them doesn’t have to reach the committed deniers. Which is why I’m not giving up on my ‘stupid idea’ of urging the most prestigious and trusted science bodies to team up with the world’s leading documentary makers and produce an in depth expose of climate science, combining the wide reach of an Attenborough quality nature documentary with the authority of linked peer review documentation.

    Whilst those in positions of public trust and responsibility ought to be well informed it’s clear they aren’t – but let’s be clear; it is by choice. A well publicised, widely viewed, authoritative reference work, that can be used by journalists, public and pro climate action politicians to back them into a corner with would be very useful. The politician side is susceptible to strong public opinion, enough to overcome their apparent greater loyalties to affected commercial interests. The greater part of commerce and industry have gone along with Doubt, Deny and Delay due to economic alarmist fears; the rapidly changing balance of costs for low emissions alternatives should become the wedge that splits it from those elements from those firmly committed to preventing acceptance of climate responsibility.

  194. “This is invalid because you need the words to argue, whether thinking can happen outside of language or not.”

    Not invalid … Ironic or unfair

    The first mistake people is they point to a sensation as if percieving and thinking are the same
    The next thing they do is point at music. They always point at music.
    Pointing at stuff .

    Some people think that things beyond language or outside language is like “god”

    Good to see your back Dikran.. Missed your insights

  195. izen says:

    @-SM
    “The next thing they do is point at music. They always point at music.”

    Probably because it is the most obvious and ubiquitous example of sentient creative thinking that is not dependent on word-language use.

    I am curious to know on what grounds you would dismiss music creation as thinking?

  196. dikranmarsupial says:

    @izen I am certainly thinking when I am playing Bach’s music (usually quite badly), for a start I am reading the tablature, and experimenting with the phrasing etc. I’m not particularly aware of words or language being involved when I am doing so. I listen to baroque music differently now that I know about continuo, and I am not using language when appreciating what the theorbo player is doing.

    I’m also not aware of words when I am thinking about what move to play next when I am playing chess, although when I try to think about my thought processes when playing chess, that does involve words.

    When I am playing cricket, I’m not aware of using language when deciding what shot to play, depending on the length and line of the delivery and the action of the bowler. When I am trying to take a catch, I am thinking “don’t drop it, don’t drop it, don’t drop it”, but that isn’t the thought process I am using to actually judge the trajectory of the ball so I can catch it.

    Of course we are only really aware of our conscious thought processes, which is possibly only the tip of the iceberg. I would have thought that we have thought processes that involve language and thought process that don’t, and that there is substantial variation in peoples perceptions of their own thought processes. At least that is how it appears to me.

  197. dikranmarsupial says:

    I should add while my playing of Bach’s music, my chess playing and my cricket, may be beyond or outside language, they are not particularly reminiscent of “god” (not even my cover drive ;o).

  198. BBD says:

    Thought created language, not the other way around. Cogito ergo sum. Expressing it came later 🙂

  199. Eli Rabett says:

    There are any number of signaling methods that signify actions but are neither words nor languages.

  200. Joshua says:

    Brain researcher describes her experiences when she lost language/thinking.

  201. Willard says:

    The notion of language deserves due diligence :

  202. Steven Mosher says:

    “I am curious to know on what grounds you would dismiss music creation as thinking”

    Music creation. Birds do it. Programs do it. If you want to say that following rules is thought..well then I suppose anything is thinking. It’s not rational thinking.
    Music listening. ? Ya your brain gets tickled. So does my dogs.

  203. I sometimes have trouble seeing all the weird stuff hiding in my blind spot. Does that ever happen to you, Steven?

  204. Steven Mosher says:

    When I am trying to take a catch, I am thinking “don’t drop it, don’t drop it, don’t drop it”, but that isn’t the thought process I am using to actually judge the trajectory of the ball so I can catch it.”

    Yes dikran. Learing many physical skills playing games, playing music very often involve moving the following of rules from a conscious process to an unconscious process
    You used to have to think about it…then the skill was moved from your brain to your spine. You don’t have to think any more. ..you just …As Nike would say… do it.

    I would say in the same way you have ghost pain when a limb is gone. ..you have ghost thoughts once you’ve learned a skill
    It might feel like you are thinking but it’s just ghost thinking

  205. Steven Mosher says:

    I sometimes have trouble seeing all the weird stuff hiding in my blind spot. Does that ever happen to you, Steven?”

    I hear stuff in my blind spot.

  206. izen says:

    @-SM
    “Music creation. Birds do it. Programs do it.”

    Birds make complex sound signals that can be analysed in musical terms. Not sure it really qualifies as music.
    Similarly the programs that ‘do’ it like the generator or jazz program can be initially engaging, but it quickly becomes apparent they are repeating back the input and adding from a vocabulary of stock phrases.

    Rather like the ELiza programs and later chat bots, they can can simulate the forms and structure of speech, but are ultimately unconvincing. People who work on natural language programs would probably recognise this qualitative distinction.

  207. This was great.. meet up in sunnyvale

  208. BBD says:

    So no hominin (or primate or squirrel was capable of thought until the advent of language. But how did language arise if there was no pre-existing thought to give form to it?

    Heavy, man.

  209. SM “Music creation. … Programs do it”

    As I pointed out, programs also play chess (rather well). I’m certainly thinking when I play. Likewise when a computer writes music, it may not be doing it in the same way that a human being creates it.

    SM ” You don’t have to think any more. ..you just …As Nike would say… do it [catching a cricket ball].”

    actually, yes you do (particularly if you are not a professional player with time to put in that sort of practice). I got a catch today, it involved thinking.

    SM “It’s not rational thinking.”

    Not all thinking is rational. Particularly as we are a mixture of “rule based logical thought” and low level neural network “knowing/pattern processing”, so quite a lot of our “rational thought” isn’t actually as rational as we present to ourselves in our conscious mind.

  210. Thank yu willard. That song influenced my thinking long ago.

    BBD makes the strongest argument. Interesting that he does “metaphysics”

  211. “Rather like the ELiza programs and later chat bots, they can can simulate the forms and structure of speech, but are ultimately unconvincing. People who work on natural language programs would probably recognise this qualitative distinction.”

    I got into programming in 1983 or so to do natural language generation. It was quite a challenge
    but since I was generating poetry ( posting them on my office door ) people would tend to interpret mistakes as artistic novelty. Think of picassso.. folks dont say.. oh he got perspective wrong!
    Think of John cage.
    WRT ELiza.. one of my favorites. for a while when I worked on TTS and speach recognition I was going to include a copy of eliza in the sound cards we shipped

    We’ve come a long way
    http://nautil.us/issue/33/attraction/your-next-new-best-friend-might-be-a-robot

    but have a ways to go
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601897/tougher-turing-test-exposes-chatbots-stupidity/

    The other day I argued with a chat bot. It refused to admit it was a robot. I asked it to misspell “robot” the discussion went in circles ( like with a denier) and finally the bot said
    ( Eliza like) “so I understand you want me to misspell robot, is that right” Roget would be proud

    its just a matter of time in some fields

    https://www.wired.com/2012/04/can-an-algorithm-write-a-better-news-story-than-a-human-reporter/

    So you can well imagine that facts determined by an IoT, rendered into a story by an algorithm,
    verfied by other algorithms would be entered into an immutable blockchain of truth.

    just the facts maam.

  212. “Similarly the programs that ‘do’ it like the generator or jazz program can be initially engaging, but it quickly becomes apparent they are repeating back the input and adding from a vocabulary of stock phrases.”

    I feel the same way when I listen to bach.

    Here is the clue. The jazz program needs an audience to give feedback thumbs up or down

    take your jazz program… and at some point introduce a “novelty”

    The audience will either re inforce that novelty ” Oh my that interesting” or they will say
    “ugg sour note” dont book that guy again.

    See Morse Peckham ; Mans rage for Chaos.
    or Explanation and Power

    On the surface.. there is no difference between a mistake an a novelty or between an outlier
    and an observation that will “overturn” your way of looking at things.

    Acceptance of the Novelty as a new direction or enhancement of course is a function of social approval and pragmatics. can other people get what you are up to and build on your performance or have you created an “orphan” chain.

  213. Dikran also makes strong points. I like this one

    “Not all thinking is rational. Particularly as we are a mixture of “rule based logical thought” and low level neural network “knowing/pattern processing”, so quite a lot of our “rational thought” isn’t actually as rational as we present to ourselves in our conscious mind.”

    And so now we return to the topic. of the post after a long diversion and folks who are stuck in climateball and the matrix

  214. Willard are you a burroughs fan as well? that would be really weird

  215. Everett F Sargent says:

    I SENSE that there is an inside and that there is an outside … you figure it out.

    We’ve Been Looking at Ant Intelligence the Wrong Way
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/weve-been-looking-at-ant-intelligence-the-wrong-way/

  216. “This idea has allowed scientists to avoid any idea of an anthropomorphic intelligence, by looking instead for the simplest solutions to explain complex behavior.
    Assume an animal is the simplest it can be, whilst looking for proof of a higher level of intelligence. ”

    Another favorite from long ago

    https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/vehicles

    If you look at a vehicle from the outside you will imagine a much more complex set of circuitry than is actually needed. more below

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braitenberg_vehicle

    http://www.ai.rug.nl/~gert/applets/braitenbergJRE/

    One project I worked on was creating AI for threat aircraft. At first I built experts systems, Symbolics machines– long ago. Lots of rules and conditions.. very difficult never worked.

    Then I came up with something super simple.. a simple control system that covered 90% of all air combat cases The other 10% was handled by a chess like program that explored the Move space
    ( change throttle, change stick) and then used a cost function (differential games) to pick a path. very compute intensive but it could find new tactics for new technology ( like super manueverability)

    A few years later one of my employees took the super simple function and put it into a video game
    ( falcon 4) .

  217. House Republican writes letter to constituent’s employer complaining about her progressive activism – Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s note culminated in a woman resigning from her job.
    https://thinkprogress.org/rodney-frelinghuysen-letter-nj-11th-for-change-c7de8d42cb79

    Wonder if the Freedom Fighters will complain. (Not really.)

    Steve Mosher, your boss thinks bitcoins are dead.

  218. M2 asks: Is there some goal you can work for that, as a side effect, achieves your goals without making your goal as conspicuous?

    “And no man, when he hath lighted a lamp, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but putteth it on a stand, that they that enter in may see the light. For nothing is hid, that shall not be made manifest; nor [anything] secret, that shall not be known and come to light. Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he thinketh he hath.”
    — Luke 8:16-18, American Standard Version

    I think you may be trolling, but maybe not. Fat cows, lean cows? In any case, do not hide your light under a basket.

    I track “carbon dioxide.” Also known as “CO2”. You can quote me on that. btw – I am retired and own no apple products at this moment. I guess I need to ask you if you can pose your questions in simple language without need for the quotes and without the bait about unemployed and unemployables, etc. I think when you use that kind of stuff you look like a hypocrite and I wonder if you can achieve your goals without the quote practice and/or projecting an insulting stereotype?

    Cheers,

    Mike

  219. Pete W says:

    Cormac McCarthy’s recent essay on language and sub-conscious thought.
    http://nautil.us/issue/47/consciousness/the-kekul-problem

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