Climate Change II:

Originally Posted by Penosity View Post
I disagree. I think this is about money from start to finish. It’s a marriage of taxpayer funded research with a government hungry for more tax dollars. Therein corruption lies.

The conflict of interest is too prevalent for me to just overlook it. Doesn’t pass my smell test.

Originally Posted by Vince View Post
I really hate to be considered lazy by anyone, yet I don’t want to put a bunch of work into trying to intellectualize a theory that my not-so-scientific mind tells me may be hooey for whatever reason. Can you recommend perhaps one good book that would expand and support the points you’ve made above, and can you please explain your credentials in this area and specifically, what study you have completed that have helped you to reach you conclusions and garner the information you have and the strong position you take?

Vince, my point was not that any lay individuals are the “intellectually lazy ideologues”, but a larger statement about how these debates are framed, and by whom. It is more the idea that those presenting the more detailed talking points are often presenting their information in a less than honest fashion, more for personal behavioral reasons than as part of a larger conspiracy, or for the money, or what have you – as Napoleon said (and I paraphrase), man does not fight for gold alone. Indeed, the point of many of these sites are SUPPOSED to be information aggregates. However, many of them just aggregate information that confirms their own bias, one borne of ego and contrarianism.

As lay people then scour for information, they are presented with arguments that may sound valid, presented as “the other side of the story”, but are in fact intellectually dishonest, leaving out critical information or skewing results to fit an agenda – not just those who profit, mind you, they’re just presenting their own propaganda, but bloggers, media writers, and other “information gatekeepers”, who’s reasons for siding with one side or the other is purely an arbitrary assignation of their own biases. Sure, there are shills and paid flunkies. But at some point, the True Believers step up and start disseminating flawed information for no reason other than they have self identified with that position.

PAC X or Industry Shill X writes a position paper on subject X. Sends to a website that shares it’s ideology. Website presents it to piss off the other side. People go to website because they are True Believers, and then go off and influence well intentioned lay people, via social media, forums, etc. The actual ideology doesn’t matter, btw. I’m not presenting this as a referendum that one ideological bent is superior to another in this specific case. Just to present how such an imbalance in evidence such as in Climate Change science can be so muddled.

In this way, tho, lay people themselves are influenced not by the actual information, but by the manipulative actions of these fallacious arguments. Contrarian views with far less evidence than the affirmative are presented as being of equal validity. This is intellectually disingenuous.

And often, in our current climate (no pun intended), the goal of ANY viewpoint is to get people emotionally attached to the ideas and position presented BEFORE they can research the other side. Studies show that most people, once emotionally or intellectually attached to a position, viewpoint, or ideology, are not likely to let go, regardless of the evidence against them – indeed, a recent study purports that being presented with contrary facts makes people dig their heels in HARDER, supporting their failed viewpoint directly in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Again, view the “anti-vax” movement. Despite studies done again and again, NONE of which successfully link vaccines to increased Autism rates, the AV movement was based on ONE study, later completely discredited. Proponents demanded a level of academic rigor from science that their one study couldn’t survive. Yet the movement still exists, living off information provided by… whom? Who makes money off unvaccinated kids? No one really makes money off of vaccinated kids, either. 3 months of Viagra profits could vaccinate all of Africa. So where’s the money? The most vocal proponent of this “theory” was a celebrity Mom looking for answers. How many parents in the tragic position of caring for an Autistic child grabbed the anti-vax movement simply becuase they wanted someone to blame, someone to hold accountable? And who the f*** would blame them? To admit they were wrong is to admit that that they have no control against a cruelty of fate.

How cruel is it in turn to dash those hopes in search of intellectual truth? But it must be done.

Same with this “debate”. I’m not saying that there aren’t reasons to be skeptical, or critical. But there is a fundamental difference between a scientific debate and a policy debate. Should we not teach evolution in schools because a perfect, unbroken genetic line from swamp water to humans hasn’t been found? One of the hallmarks of a flawed debate is when one side demands an evidence load it cannot provide for it’s own cause. And this has that is spades.

These ideas are not limited to this debate. My current field of study is actually economics and public policy.

For example, what economists actually hold as being evidentially supported and what we actually make policy on is frighteningly different. Economists from ALL viewpoints have been HORRIFIED at both sides of the debt limit debacle. As lawmakers posture and spout ideological purity rhetoric, economists from all around the world – Conservative, Liberal, Keynesian, Hayekian, New School, Chicago School, pretty much a broad spectrum of actual economists, both practical and academic have been pointing at graphs and data points and screaming their heads off, dismayed at ALL the “solutions” that have been placed on the table. Jeez, John McCain retweeted a Paul Krugman OP ED saying he agreed with it, The Economist quoted Jared Berstein, Kevin Drum, and Matt Yglesias as voices they agreed with.

WHAT. THE. F***. It clearly shows, however, the complete disconnect between policy and actual scientific consensus.

But this is how these things work. Somehow, 1500 economists for = 3 economists against. 5000 climate scientists on the side of “we should do something about this whole killing the planet thing” = 20 “It’s nothing to worry about”.

As late at Fall of 2007, Wall Street was assuring us that the end of the housing bubble was merely going to be a small plateau in housing prices. In fact, it was REGULATION that they said would cause a horrible collapse, contracting capital and restricting investment. Fo reals, dawg. These ideological standoffs, much like the totally manufactured debt ceiling crisis, are a zero sum game. If you guys are wrong, I’ll get no real satisfaction is saying “I told you so” while we swim to our beachfront houses in Colorado.

Part of what has occurred here is a moving goalpost, obfuscating the debate. At first, there were the people denying that the planet was heating at all. Then, climate science showed pretty conclusively that it was. Did this silence the critics and move us forward to sensible climate policy? Uh, no. Then came those who said that man was not responsible. The deadly correlary to this is the idea that man can also not stop it. That NOTHING WE DO will have any effect. And THIS is what is not only totally not supported, but is clearly debunked by the myriad ways we HAVE affected the planet, and the actions we’ve ALREADY TAKEN that have affected it. Again, remember the hole in the ozone layer and CFCs?

In the end, what we as lay people should REALLY be debating is “what should we do about this problem”, not whether or not there is a problem.

From a Science Magazine 2004 article:

Others agree. The American Meteorological Society (6), the American Geophysical Union (7), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) all have issued statements in recent years concluding that the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling (8).
The drafting of such reports and statements involves many opportunities for comment, criticism, and revision, and it is not likely that they would diverge greatly from the opinions of the societies’ members. Nevertheless, they might downplay legitimate dissenting opinions. That hypothesis was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords “climate change” (9).
The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

In all aspects of rigorous testing, the negative side of this debate fails any test of intellectual or evidentiary merit. NO major National or International group or organization has come out as disagreeing with the general consunsus on Climate Change. Again, not saying there isn’t room for criticism, nor that science should simply accept Climate Change as being set in unchallengable stone – point is well taken that consensus can be wrong.


What this boils down to is the underlying theme across our social and political spectrum of a narcissistic need to cling to an adopted ideology over practical policy. This debate – like every single “debate” nowadays, it seems – is framed NOT by the evidence, but by linking personal identity with a position. If this were NOT the case, our public policy debates would be VERY different. People simply do not change their positions based on evidence – it’s too linked to self esteem and personal identity. They merely reframe the argument, move the goalposts, or fight the smaller, ancillary battles they think they can win. And that’s what we see here – and in politics, and in economics, and in World of Warcraft forums, and whether a pancake bodied Norlin is better than a chambered Standard. This really isn’t news.

But these are also not the results of shadowy cabals and hidden Illuminati, either. The irony of this True Believer mentality is that these positions against collected evidence and shared self interest are driven by people who REALLY BELIEVE they are doing the right thing. Alan Greenspan STILL believes to this day that he was doing the best thing for America. Of course, so did the Norway shooter. There are those who FIRMLY BELIEVE they are “saving” America from Al Gore. As face-palmy as that sounds, their intentions are the best, fighting a war of critical importance against an intractable enemy…without any basis in reality. And it’s that “not based in reality” thing we need to deal with, to understand WHY people hold these views.

Too often, to challenge a mindset like this is to sound like you are challenging the people holding said views, and that makes this sort of criticism difficult. It sounds personal, and that sucks. However, I’m weighing in on this debate because the evidence IS so clearly supported on one side, that it really highlights the basic communication problems we have as an open, self governing nation, and part of a larger global construct. But I challenge people to look at their own motivations for choosing a side that no credible, accredited scientist body has endorsed a study supporting, and examine why they would oppose sane preventative measures when the consequences of being wrong is so disastrous… and WHY we keep doing this.

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