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When questioning media elite about how they give strong voice toALUMINUM FOIL HAT_small anti-science global warming denialism, one of my (and others') favorite analogies has been with those who believe the moon landings were faked in the desert. As per a years-ago letter published in the Washington Post,

This brings to mind the fact that about 15 percent of Americans believe that the Apollo moon missions never occurred and were staged on movie sets in the desert. Would The Post, in reporting on the space program, seek to be fair and balanced by giving this 15 percent a voice equal to that of astronauts, astronomers and academic experts? Why, then, give prominent voice to global-warming deniers, who are similarly at odds with facts?
This morning, while reading the (near final editing) draft of another excellent peer-reviewed study from Stephen Lewandowsky, I was struck by how this line of questioning is so close to the truth.

Lewandowsky's paper, just accepted for publication in Psychological Science, is based on a survey of >1000 people active in the blogging world -- both climate science oriented and climate deniers and a range of people in between.

Why that blogger focus?

Although nearly all domain experts agree that human CO2 emissions are altering the world’s climate, segments of the public remain unconvinced by the scientific evidence. Internet blogs have become a vocal platform for climate denial, and bloggers have taken a prominent and influential role in questioning climate science.
As for what the survey found, the title might just suggest why I'd see a link between the study and my LTE:
NASA faked the moon landing—Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science
From the abstract:
Paralleling previous work, we find that endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science (~= .80 between latent constructs). Endorsement of the free market also predicted the rejection of other established scientific findings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer. We additionally show that endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the CIA killed Martin-Luther King or that NASA faked the moon landing) predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientific findings, above and beyond endorsement of laissez-faire free markets. This provides empirical confirmation of previous suggestions that conspiracist ideation contributes to the rejection of science.
Conspiracists are much more likely to reject the standards-based work from scientists and to reject the global scientific consensus as to climate science.

If being a hard-headed Ayn Rand libertarian aligns with being a climate denier and predicts embrace of tin-foil conspiracy theories, what makes one more likely to accept science?

Acceptance of science, by contrast, was strongly associated with the perception of a consensus among scientists.
Thanks to Lewandowsky and his colleagues for another excellent piece of work that I look forward to reading in Psychological Science.

Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Science Matters, DK GreenRoots, and Letters to the Editor.

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  •  Tip Jar (171+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bythesea, brainwave, Lorikeet, blueoasis, HoundDog, Naniboujou, 2laneIA, palantir, Crashing Vor, yet another liberal, teresab, kerflooey, dRefractor, pat bunny, Bob Love, thomask, wasatch, wilderness voice, ParkRanger, prettygirlxoxoxo, badger, Unit Zero, kevinpdx, markthshark, rogerdaddy, NJpeach, belinda ridgewood, blueoregon, rebel ga, greycat, LaFeminista, la urracca, ybruti, rjnerd, Bluesee, A Person, halef, citisven, Miss Jones, pgm 01, Bob Duck, kyril, defluxion10, radarlady, Statusquomustgo, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, kaliope, cordgrass, One Pissed Off Liberal, blueintheface, sodalis, stevenwag, marleycat, Temmoku, real world chick, bwintx, triv33, WhizKid331, possum, redrobin, kurious, basquebob, GeorgeXVIII, Albanius, Geenius at Wrok, Matt Z, mudslide, Trendar, Habitat Vic, merrily1000, nominalize, jnhobbs, DSC on the Plateau, JBL55, PeterHug, ladybug53, Lady Libertine, kharma, Candide08, blue aardvark, Carol in San Antonio, Only Needs a Beat, psnyder, WarrenS, J M F, banjolele, JTinDC, JayC, Grassroots Mom, dradams, OLinda, Rogneid, Marihilda, gooderservice, glitterscale, Joieau, highacidity, jfromga, p gorden lippy, billlaurelMD, doppler effect, madmsf, parsonsbeach, absdoggy, angry marmot, Tinfoil Hat, tonyahky, zerelda, cybersaur, david78209, PBen, Roadbed Guy, Gary Norton, sc kitty, DuzT, DefendOurConstitution, dzog, jhop7, mofembot, muddy boots, petesmom, Tara the Antisocial Social Worker, Lujane, bronte17, boatsie, reginahny, jazzizbest, pixxer, IndieGuy, confitesprit, dmhlt 66, BRog, greenbastard, Mother Mags, James Wells, mconvente, FutureNow, jcrit, enhydra lutris, sdf, mamamedusa, TX Freethinker, Mokurai, Azazello, MarketFarces, Robynhood too, RLMiller, democracy inaction, dwahzon, hlsmlane, petulans, YucatanMan, doingbusinessas, engine17, subtropolis, Amber6541, rmx2630, Nowhere Man, exNYinTX, ColoTim, RunawayRose, elengul, Nica24, Larsstephens, FarWestGirl, trumpeter, cocinero, beach babe in fl, Hastur, BYw, Calamity Jean

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:30:37 PM PDT

  •  so, we know what part of the brain focuses (16+ / 0-)

    on being empathic, what part is stimulated by being tin-foil crazy?

    •  We don't know that (8+ / 0-)

      These MRI's are overblown it seems to me.

      Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

      by yet another liberal on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:55:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A little known part of the brain (8+ / 0-)

      called "The Beck". It's little known because it's so small - two cells, and they don't rub together.

      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'y a aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il y a toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

      by blue aardvark on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:54:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The tinfoil part can't spell either (7+ / 0-)

      "Illegal ALLIENS"!
      "ACCORN"!
      "OBAMA: MUSLIN"!

      and so on. Hey! Git yer gubmit hands off my MEDECARE!

      Sometimes . . . I feel . . . like a redneck with chopsticks . . . Dreaming of squirrel while I'm sucking down squid . . .

      by Pale Jenova on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 06:15:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  blame the amygdala! (19+ / 0-)

      a recent episode of "Through the Wormhole" in SCI channel delved into this phenomenon, and did a good job (for a tv show).
      Building on the recent finding that conservatives have more active amygdalas (the part of the brain governing emotional responses), the show described how memory can be erased and rewritten by social pressure.
      Briefly;
      a group was shown a short film, then asked to answer questions about details on the screen. three days later, they were asked these questions again, with false "answers" supposedly given by the other subjects. In most cases, the subjects switched their answers from right to wrong to conform with the group.
      Not so surprising.
      What is surprising is when tested a third time, without the prompting, they continued to believe the wrong answers were correct; i.e. a false memory had been created by the association with one answer with the emotional satisfaction of fitting in with the group. The show described the role of the amygdala in assigning an emotional component to a memory, which gives it resonance (or endorphins) in the mind's hierarchy of importance.
      The truth was erased, the knowledge of the truth was erased and replaced with a falsehood. Some of the subjects were convinced, upon a second screening of the film, that the film itself had been changed (i.e. the facts are lying).

      This is how it is done on Fox every single day.
      They tell their audience (already presupposed to whatever Fox feels like spewing any given day) that Event X didn't really happen the way people remember, in fact it was this way, (where democrats etc are in a bad light). All  the friendly faces smile warmly and nod in agreement. People willoingly throw away their actual memories and replace them with Fox talking points.
      This is why they are the least informed of any major media audience.
      They're a damned science experiment in how to distrust science.

      boggles the mind.

      Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

      by kamarvt on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 06:40:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This must be why "evolution" is now controversial (7+ / 0-)

        It seems to me that it is quite a feat to take a scientific principle that is fact and was far more accepted as such 50 years ago - when scientists had less proof - than it is today.

        I suspect that it has been part of a more general effort to discredit those "intellectuals at universities" and their teaching b/c those intellectuals in EVERY discipline tend to be progressive.  It is impossible to discredit "liberals" without discrediting everything associated with us.

        "How can the United States be the Greatest Nation ever if it is the only modern nation where citizens hold bake sales to pay for life saving medical care?" Single payer is coming but how many people will die before it becomes the only solution?

        by 4CasandChlo on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 06:49:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of more interest to me ... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wenchacha, kamarvt, ColoTim, FarWestGirl

          How is evolution responsible? I assume that group conformation being prioritized over accurate observation of the facts is, or at least was, a useful trait for some humans or human societies. How did this come about? Is it a more recent trend, or a holdover from a past age? How is it useful and under what circumstances?

          This is really all very interesting to me. Conservatives may deny science, but that doesn't mean their behavior can't be analyzed and better understood by it.

          ---

          "The fundamental curse of the Republican party is its irrepressible disposition to meddle with other people's business, and impose its notions, and its will, on people who do not freely accept them." -- The New York Freeman's Journal, 1861

          by dzog on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:13:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was fascinated as well. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wenchacha, dzog, Nowhere Man, FarWestGirl

            the show (which is linked in my earlier comment) didn't go into the origins of this phenomenon, but I would guess it had a stronger value in hunter-gatherer societies. If a certain mushroom, say, tastes pretty good, but nobody else eats it, there might be a good reason.
            Also, we have a tendency to drive out nonconformists, and that has a history at least as long as history.

            so many science shows start with the question "where do I (we) fit in?" An arrogant, and telling first question, no?

            Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

            by kamarvt on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:28:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  In small groups (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            4CasandChlo

            (like the tribal groups we have evidence for before civilization) group agreement and action are necessary for survival.
            Alas, many of the survival traits bred for those days are easily subverted in today's cultures of large and larger groups.

            I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

            by trumpeter on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 02:07:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  "Darwinism" has been anathema in the (6+ / 0-)

          Bible Belt since Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859. It wasn't only Uncle Tom's Cabin that convinced the South that Abolition was coming unless they took desperate measures.

          Darwin did not come up with the idea of evolution, which was an evident fact at the time to anybody with any real acquaintance with the evidence. Millions of facts, in fact, since increased to trillions with genome sequencing. He came up with part of an explanation, specifically the operation of Natural Selection, which he later expanded with the idea of Sexual Selection.

          Darwin's most heinous crime is literally unspeakable among its opponents. It is the implication that the pinnacle of God's Creation, the Southern Aristocracy, are each and all n * * * * * s, according to the One Drop rule. We all are, in fact, of 100% Black African ancestry somewhere around 100,000 years ago.

          I am proud of my African ancestry, but for the Southern Aristocracy, this fact goes beyond shame. It means that their theory of slavery (the Curse of Ham) was wrong, that Blacks are not mentally and morally inferior. It means that Jim Crow was wrong, because we really are all brothers and sisters. (Well, maybe 99th cousins. Closer with every round of intermarriage. But family.) It means that the Republican Southern Strategy of racism and bigotry is wrong. It means that the wealth, status, and power that the Southern Aristocracy lives for are simply plunder and rapine.

          Sexual selection, in Darwin's next book, The Descent of Man, is even worse. It implies that White women who might choose Black men if permitted are acting according to the laws of Nature and (if you look at it that way) of Nature's God. Like Barack Obama's mom.

          But you will never hear a White Supremacist openly admit that his own Black African ancestry is the problem. No, the problem is that you cannot tell such people that they are descended from "monkeys". Which is well-known racist code.

          It is true that racist denial became much stronger in the 1960s, in the time of the Civil Right Movement. That was when the modern versions of Young Earth Creationism and Flood Geology took hold, when the narrative of science as a conspiracy against the truth of Christianity solidified. But it has nothing to do with the state of real research.

          For those who reject Evolution, and all of the many sciences that support it, who consider it all to be a deliberate conspiracy, it is no step at all to consider Global Warming to be part of the same conspiracy. To the point that we hear that "peer-reviewed science is the Kool-Aid of the Left wing Liberal conspiracy".

          Hands off my ObamaCare[TM] http://www.healthcare.gov

          by Mokurai on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:24:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  So FOX does believe science (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, kamarvt

        They depend on the phenomenon identified and described by scientists to brainwash their viewers.

        Sweet.

  •  The Age of Stupidity (20+ / 0-)

    (which is also a very good film on climate and denial) - you're soaking in it.

    In Soviet Russia, you rob bank. In America, bank robs you.

    by badger on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:50:41 PM PDT

  •  Is anyone who questions some aspect (0+ / 0-)

    of the consensus the moral equivalent of a holcaust denier? Are Curry and Pielke and Svensmark deniers?  After all, they agree that the earth is warming as a result of human activity.  Is Steve McIntyre a denier because he found flaws in the statistical methods used by Mike Mann?

    Scientific consensus is subject to revision; ask any earth scientist for examples.  Make sure you are emotionally prepared for change.

    “Consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually” – Abba Eban

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:03:42 PM PDT

    •  From "Recipes to Warm You Up" (12+ / 0-)

      http://frugalliving.about.com/...

      Crackpot Crockpot Cobbler

      This easy and delicious recipe for Crockpot Cobbler takes only a few minutes to prepare and tastes like apple crisp! Use your favorite brand of granola cereal in this recipe.
      Prep Time: 15 minutes
      Cook Time: 6 hours
      Total Time: 6 hours, 15 minutes
      Ingredients:

          2 cups peeled, sliced tart apples
          2 cups granola cereal
          1 tsp. cinnamon
          1/4 cup honey
          2 Tbsp. melted butter

      Preparation:
      Spray inside of 3-4 quart crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Combine apples, cereal and cinnamon in crockpot and mix well. Stir together honey and butter and drizzle over apple mixture. Mix gently. Cover crockpot and cook on LOW 5-7 hours OR until apples are tender. Serve this crockpot cobbler with fruit yogurt, if desired. 4 servings

      NOTE: If you have a crockpot that cooks hot (to test, see Crockpot 102) you need to reduce the cooking time in this recipe. Crockpots made in the last 5 years cook much hotter than the appliance used to develop this recipe and it may be done in 3-4 hours. Every recipe can't be developed with every crockpot in mind so keep an eye on your food while it is cooking.

    •  It depends (24+ / 0-)

      There are enough issues in the detailed mechanics to allow for disagreement, and research continues.
      However, want you're doing is the most insidious kind of science denial: under the guise of "just asking" and throwing out some buzzwords that are intended to prove to the gullible that you actually know what you're talking about, you suggest there is scientific dispute where there is in fact consensus.
      Such deception cannot be done innocently.

      γνωθι σεαυτόν

      by halef on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:12:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Makes me wonder when (16+ / 0-)

        climate denialism will join the Holocaust denialism as a reason for getting banned from the site.  As brutal as the Holocaust was, climate change is on track to kill far more humans.  The 1%ers, of course, having hoarded the most resources, will fare better than the rest of us, and will buy up the areas of the planet least ravaged by drought and famine.

        And to think we thought Mad Max was a tale of social breakdown causing societal collapse, rather than simply being a side effect of ecological collapse...

        •  Actually, I still think ... (6+ / 0-)

          ... the narrative intro to The Road Warrior is both prescient and very well done, especially considering how little dialog there is in the entire rest of the film.

          Without fuel, they were nothing. They'd built a house of straw. The thundering machine sputtered and stopped.

          Their leaders talked and talked and talked, but nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled ...

          ---

          "The fundamental curse of the Republican party is its irrepressible disposition to meddle with other people's business, and impose its notions, and its will, on people who do not freely accept them." -- The New York Freeman's Journal, 1861

          by dzog on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:28:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Your comment suggests an extraordinarily (0+ / 0-)

        naive understanding of the nature of scientific research and the use of consensus  as a means of suppressing dissent.  This topic is covered thoroughly in the history and philosophy of science literature, where you might spend a few productive hours.

        None of the credible skeptics of the IPCC consensus, assuming that is the consensus at issue, deny that anthropogenic CO2 (or methane) increases in the atmosphere are warming the climate.  Their arguments group in a few  general areas.  What do paleoclimate reconstructions tell us about past variability that can't be attributed to fossil fuel burning, what are the other external forcings or internal oscillations that might explain such variability, how do feedbacks and internal dynamics of the system behave, and how well do the GCMs capture the actual behavior of the system.

        These are all active research areas.  The consensus is designed to support a set of energy and environmental policy objectives, many of which I support in any case.  But the attempt to smear rational critics and intimidate researchers who stray from orthodoxy can have terrible consequences.

        Looking at the other comments in this thread, one might ask what sort of masochist would keep pounding his forehead on this particular wall.  When the old earth sciences consensus fell apart in the 1960s, I was an undergraduate physics major.  When the consensus concerning the cause of gastric ulcers disintegrated in the 1980s, I had friends fighting with internists to get antibiotics.

        The issue is not really whether a particular sensitivity estimate is correct or not.  It is the attempt to suggest that there is no serious disagreement about the future of earth's climate, and that those who raise questions are either stupid or evil.

        Where are we, now that we need us most?

        by Frank Knarf on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:28:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bull. (4+ / 0-)
          "But the attempt to smear rational critics and intimidate researchers who stray from orthodoxy can have terrible consequences."
          What would have terrible consequences would be to assume an 'under estimation' of the effects of climate change in order to offset the preception that to do things quickly and dramatically to address climate change MIGHT have a negative economic impact.

          In other words; it is better to over-estimate the potential effects and address them accordingly. To under estimate and be wrong would be suicidal.

          Besides, I don't think anywhere in paleoclimate records can any evidence be found of such a radical rise in CO2 in such short order. Can you take any sliver of ice taken from an ice core going back 400,000 years and with certainty say this is a 100 year sample that has the same dramatic level of CO2 rise?

          What humans have done was to take millions and millions of years of sequestered carbon and release it into the atmosphere in less then a century. I may be mistake, but I think paleoclimatologists would be hard pressed to find a natural event that can equal that. At least during a time when there was complex life forms.

          Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

          by Pescadero Bill on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:12:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, I have no problem with invoking the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel

            precautionary principle when advocating energy and environmental policies.  There is risk that AGW will cause huge problems for humanity so we should do x is a perfectly honest position.

            We know that the earth can warm or cool suddenly for a variety of reasons.  You are very likely correct that we have not seen such a sudden increase in CO2 before, with possible exceptions like major impacts or extensive vulcanism episodes.

            What is uncertain is how much  the climate will warm as a result of this forcing, and what the regional impacts will be.  

            Where are we, now that we need us most?

            by Frank Knarf on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:51:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It is true that all climate models are wrong. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nowhere Man, FarWestGirl

          The reality is always worse. The atmosphere is warming faster than projected. The oceans are warming (and becoming more acidic) faster than projected, and therefore rising faster than projected. The land is warming faster than projected. Ice and permafrost, from the poles to equatorial high-mountain glaciers, are melting faster than projected.

          Storms are more frequent and worse than projected—hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, all of them. Because of increased evaporation in the tropics, winter snowstorms are worse than projected, and spring melt is faster than projected, with worse flooding than projected, leaving little to melt later in summer. Droughts due to faster spring melting and to lack of rain in summer are more frequent and worse than projected. Fires are more frequent and worse than projected. Species are migrating to stay in the temperature range that suits them faster than projected. Summer heat waves are hotter and more frequent than projected. Winters are milder than projected, allowing more overwintering pests such as bark beetles to do more damage to forests than projected.

          Worst of all, stupidity and willful ignorance about all of this are worse than projected.

          It is Republicans, particularly those in the carbon fuels industries, who are out to stifle scientific investigation and even public discussion, not scientists. Scientists welcome challenges to theories based on real data and real alternative theories. But not pretended challenges based on pseudo-science that rises no higher than crank pursuit of perpetual-motion machines or Creation Science.

          It is Republicans who refuse to permit the use of correct terminology, such as "rising sea levels" and "anthropogenic global warming", in favor of "recurrent flooding" and "climate change". It is Republicans who pass laws forbidding the use of current data in evaluating the threat of rising sea levels caused by anthropogenic global warming. It is Republicans who reject all of the facts cited above, and insist that nitpicking the theories allows them to reject the theories, the models, and all of the facts.

          You have sipped the Kool-Aid. You know enough to be dangerous, but not enough to be helpful, and you are dangerous to yourself as well as to others.

          Hands off my ObamaCare[TM] http://www.healthcare.gov

          by Mokurai on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:49:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Even the core consensus group will call you on (0+ / 0-)

            the errors here.  I'd go round up the links for both the accurate and false claims, but I know it won't help.  Stop repeating what you've been told and do the work yourself to avoid embarrassment.

            Republicans make all kinds of crazy statements about lots of subjects.  Get your facts straight and don't be like them.

            Where are we, now that we need us most?

            by Frank Knarf on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:39:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  There is ... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FarWestGirl, trumpeter, billlaurelMD

          a difference -- as I have stated multiple times -- a difference between "skeptic" and "denier".

          I think, however, that you exaggerate "rational critics" and the path to "intimidate researchers".  Michael Mann, for example, receives explicit death threats and is lambasted by such intellectual powers as Glenn Beck.  Is this happening to Judith Curry or Pielke, Jr?

          There is a big difference between true skepticism and the frequent repeating of falsified material, raising already debunked arguments, (seriously) selective use of evidence, etc ... Some people "enjoy" the "skeptic" mantle to the point where they are skeptic to be skeptic and have little interest in how shallow their arguments can become and the potential consequences of their 'gamesmanship'.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 01:36:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with you, in general. And I have nothing (0+ / 0-)

            but contempt for Glenn Beck and other crazies.  But here is a case that is playing out in the national media right now.  Cliff Mass goes after one of the extreme weather attribution papers:

            http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/

            He links to the papers from his post; all are worth reading.

            Is he a legitimate critic or just playing games?  His home page is here:

            http://www.atmos.washington.edu/...

            Where are we, now that we need us most?

            by Frank Knarf on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 02:11:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  RE Cliff Mass's piece (0+ / 0-)

              1.  Far from my specialty.

              2. Examine the paper he critiques: many of his criticisms look, in fact, to be within the paper.

              3.  Looks like his critique would have been better placed remaining with discussion of the press reporting than the discussion of the paper which, on first glance, seems not to do justice to that paper's authors / their work.

              Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

              by A Siegel on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:43:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  ...sigh (30+ / 0-)

      No, they're not deniers, but you probably are.

      Let me break it down for you.

      Legitimate scientific skepticism: "I found a flaw in one of your statistical methods. Here's a better way to do it, and here are my results using the new method."

      Denialism: "I found a flaw in one of your statistical methods. Therefore, you're a liar liar pants on fire."

      Legitimate scientific skepticism: "I think one of your data sets is questionable. Here's an analysis of how that data set impacts your overall result."

      Denialism: "I think one of your data sets is questionable. Therefore, you're a liar liar pants on fire."

      Legitimate scientific skepticism: "I think your model fails to account for a factor that I believe is significant. Here's a modified model that accounts for the factor you left out, and here are my results with the new model."

      Denialism: "I think your model fails to account for a factor that I believe is significant. Therefore, you're a liar liar pants on fire."

      Get it yet?

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 01:05:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Are they deniers? (16+ / 0-)

      Are Curry, the Pielkes, and McIntyre deniers?
      I don't know about the climate scientist Pielke. I haven't read his scientific work.  Curry in her science seems to agree with the AGW consensus but she does allow herself to be exploited by the denialist media. (See her Daily Mail interview.)
      McIntyre is a rather cunning denialist. He attacked the 1999 Mann, Bradley, Hughes, study on the basis that MBH used a nonstandard PCA analysis. But Principal Component Analysis, like its cousin, Factor Analysis, is a flexible methodology and the method used by Mann did not alter the outcome of the study compared to "standard" methodology. And, McIntyre and McKitrick's critique of MBH 1999 had some methodological problems of its own, as revealed by deepclimate.org and tamino (in his Open Mind blog.). The robustness of Mann's study has been confirmed by a thorough analysis done by Ammon and Wahl 2006.
      But McIntyre pushed his critique into a Congressional investigation of Mann, and has continued to make MGH 1999 a target of denialists. As a result, Mann, personally is a hate figure among the raving denialist loonies.
      Meanwhile, MGH 1999 has been confirmed by what are now dozens of later climate reconstructions. But McIntyre keeps at it, and the denialist media still smears Michael Mann.
      So, Knarf, as to the answer to your question: McIntyre is a denialist and is, in fact, one of the touchstones of the industry.

    •  No. (13+ / 0-)

      But it's the hallmark of clown questions that they offer some hyperbolic extreme as defense of some barely related commonplace. So no, the extreme case of "anyone who questions some aspect of the consensus the moral equivalent of a Holocaust denier" doesn't tell us about the large number of people who reject most of the scientific climate change consensus projections, who are morally broken but still not equivalent to those who deny the holocaust that undeniably happened.

      Climate deniers aren't questioning anything. When they use sentences that end in a question mark, they're using a rhetorical trick, a rhetorical question. Because when the answer would shut down their premise, they ignore it and just yell louder.

      Like your question. You've already started to ramp up the yelling, by moving from your hyperbolic strawman opener to closing with an epigram from a famous Jewish diplomat challenging the validity of consensus itself, an even vaster hyperbole.

      Your frame is the hangman's scaffold for a strawman.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:03:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  When so much energy is expended denying... (9+ / 0-)

      the consensus--whether it's denying "some aspect" or the consensus in its entirety--that energy is being diverted from doing whatever can be done to solve what is an environmental situation where:  crops are frying and where people are dying.

      As Fires, winds, heat waves become the new normal but some people seem to be more concerned with spending their time and energy denying "some aspect" of the consensus, rather than in encouraging the development of resources to halt or even reverse whatever aspects of climate change that can be reversed--they are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

      •  more energy wasted arguing with denialists (9+ / 0-)

        Take Frank for example (not to say he's a denialist), but he seeks out diaries about global warming, and makes sure he challenges some aspect.  The same challenges we've all heard before, over and over.  Then, many people here waste their time to try to debunk his claims again, instead of informing the community with additional information they need, in order for them to see why we must address global warming, now!

        •  I agree... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pollwatcher, A Siegel, YucatanMan

          of course, but until Kos finally agrees to give us the "Smite" button--it's just oh-so tempting for all variations of red staters/ trolls/ devils' advocates/ etc to derail diary discussions--and just as tempting for diarists and commenters to give in to the temptation to administer a smack down.

          Sorry that I gave in to the temptation.  It is time to get back to the real discussion, which was actually my point, even though futilely addressed to deaf ears.

           

        •  he's a denialist/confusionist (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pollwatcher, YucatanMan, trumpeter

          whatever seems most appropriate for that day.

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:38:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  He does the same thing on other topics (0+ / 0-)

          but does seem very concerned about climate change.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:46:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The trick seems to be to debunk the nonsense (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pollwatcher, Nowhere Man

          by providing both the Denialist and the community with more information they need, not to rehash arguments previously made. I tried to do that with Frank Knarf above, on the point that the facts are worse, every year, than the models of the year before, because the Denialists are pushing the scientists to self-censor, to model too conservatively. What do you think?

          Hands off my ObamaCare[TM] http://www.healthcare.gov

          by Mokurai on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:55:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Forget about convincing the denialist (0+ / 0-)

            It just won't happen.  And at DailyKos, there probably aren't many people on the fence, but you make a very good point of adding more information so the few fence sitters can better understand.

    •  Is anyone who questions a consensus (5+ / 0-)

      without evidence to back themselves up the moral equivalent of a Holocaust denier? Maybe not moral, but intellectually, yes.

      Wishing away uncomfortable facts is wishing away uncomfortable facts.

      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'y a aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il y a toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

      by blue aardvark on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:56:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are (7+ / 0-)

      links in the diary that lay out what is "denial".

      Have to say that Curry and Pielke are both, tremendously, anti-science in their attitudes and approaches.  I liked Judith Curry's recent comment:

      So is this what global warming looks like?  Well, this is what the 1930′s and 1950′s looked like.  I have stated many times before that I think the 1950′s (warm AMO, cool PDO) are a good analogue for current weather patterns and extreme events.
      Right, we had hot temperature records falling at 10 times the rate of cold temperature records in those periods.  No.

      The 1950s? Kansas saw 115 in the 1950s? In June? Nashville saw 109 in June?

      Bending over backwards, so far, to create misunderstanding is not science -- the scientific method.

      In any event, the last link in the diary provides a path to much of the best discussion on differentiation between "denier" and "skeptic".

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 06:02:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's an Occam's Razor Catch-22 (7+ / 0-)

    If you apply Occam's Razor, then you reject most wacky conspiracy theories, including the conspiracy theory about global warming. If you are the type of person who believes in the conspiracy theory, then you reject the Occam's Razor principle along with most science.

  •  Is it any coincidence the word conspiracists (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mimi, Matt Z, nominalize, billlaurelMD

    contyains the word, racists, or is it just me?

    Obama wants your guns = Romney wants your Medicare Stop choosing your guns over your health You're shooting yourself

    by blueoregon on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:02:03 PM PDT

  •  Yep. (10+ / 0-)

    But the very same people go batshit crazy if you point all those characteristics out.

    Their rejection isn't just about Scientists. They see Scientists as being under the control of a shadow government run by Satanists or Jews or whatever the du-jour bogeyman is at that moment [--sekrit Kenyan Muslims anyone?]

    So in their minds It's really about the gub'mint and how it has it's claws or tentacles in everything that is deemed deviant by their standards, standards which can usually be found printed in various tracts and sold in specialized religious stores or on late night religious programming on the radio or television.

    Scientists get their money from the government. Therefore they are viewed as automatically corrupted by the government. Sometimes there is undue influence surely [rarely] but in their minds, the exception proves the rule.

    These people oversimplify everything. Sure the government is corrupt, any large ruling body will be. Corruption exists like the bacteria that colonize our skin. Only when the body is out of balance is that corruption a genuine threat, because it is able to grow unchecked. But the other side sees "Corruption" that's it, and it's all the same and it all has the same power and worth across the board.

    The moon landing--funded by the government. Government=corruption, therefore Moonlanding is not real.

    Equal Opportunity Programs--government

    For decades now, churches and evangelists have been preaching about how evil the government is, how it spies on people all the time for all sorts of spurious reasons; and how it lines up with various biblical prophecies, and then tells followers that they will be forced to take the number of the beast  [from revelations] and the signs of this will be when the government makes them as citizens or employees do things that go against their moral upbringing or religious morality.

    So whenever a new program comes along that allows other races or genders or sexual orientations to live as equal citizens, these groups loose their shit. OMG! It's the prophecy!

    In short there is very little we can do for these people. We cannot convince them of anything, it will only make them dig in deeper and circle the wagons.  They are determined to be afraid and pissed off.

    These people live in between the states of rage and terror most of the time. And they become addicted to that, conditioned to that existence. So that even when times are good, there is a destructive part of their psyche that will recreate their anger and/or their fear in order to make the world familiar again and therefore secure, much like abused people will recreate bad situations because it's what they know.

    Some folks will say, get rid of the churches. If you tried to do that, these people would really loose it violently. I think our best bet is to get them out of politics as soon as possible.

    There are various industries who opportunistically capitalize and feed on the fears of these people, because it helps said industries further an agenda.

    Which is why the Culture war is both a religious issue but also a corporate one, sadly enough.

    Their handlers convince them to vote against their [earthly] best interests because they are convinced they will receive a greater, heavenly reward.

    The commodification of religion is rarely discussed, because the symptoms of this are so glaring, it's hard to see past the climate denial and the misogyny, and the racism and bigotry.

    But this is the source of the crack, this is where the wedge issues are placed to divide and conquer what would normally be a community of neighbors.

    •  it is mildly encouraging that the Religious Right (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel, FarWestGirl, GreenMother

      is losing members at something like 2.5% annually, a rate that has been accelerating. Even among their members, certain issues are losing support. Nate Silver did an analysis that projected dates for every state, even Alabama, to tip on Gay Marriage by 2024. The Southern Baptist Convention, which remains disastrous on Evolution and women's rights, is now 20% minority and has just elected its first Black President. It still has to smack down some of its officials for racism, however.

      It is extremely difficult to do meaningful surveys on racism by asking people's opinions, but observable behavior is a different matter. The rates of intermarriage among different groups have been rising steadily. Hawai'i is way ahead of the rest of the country, but it can be seen everywhere.

      Similarly, children and grandchildren of Cubans in Florida don't care anything like as much about keeping the Cuban Embargo on.

      And now the public can compare the reality of the Affordable Care Act with Republican lies. Opinion is shifting, as Bill Kristol said it would in 1993, when he laid out the campaign against the Clinton health care plan. As he predicted, this is going to be a huge boost for Democrats for many years to come. In 2017, Vermont will implement Single Payer, as permitted under the ACA.

      Major changes in social policy, such as votes for women, take at least 50 years from initial public statements to laws or Constitutional amendments passed.

      Hands off my ObamaCare[TM] http://www.healthcare.gov

      by Mokurai on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 10:28:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stephan Lewandowsky (7+ / 0-)

    I knew him many years ago, in graduate school.   He's a very clever fellow and I am happy to see that he his applying his considerable analytic talents to these kind of issues.

    "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis

    by Bob Duck on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:58:14 AM PDT

  •  As for the Moon Landing Deniers there is (13+ / 0-)

    one thing to tell them that even they can't deny "The Soviet Union was watching the Moon and if there was no landing they would have been screaming and showing the proof to the whole world the next day and they would have sent their own crew to the very place on the Moon and showed that there was nothing there,but they didn't cause the USA did land on the Moon".

  •  Associative? Egoist? Still unsolved (5+ / 0-)

    I'm currently reading The Black Banners, and Ali Soufan talks about how the people of Yemen are conspiracy oriented. It's a commonplace observation. It has been used for "Arabs" and for "tribal societies" and "oppressed" and "uneducated," and yet all of those categories miss, somehow, explaining the commonness and independent existence of the phenomenon.

    It seems as if thinking conspiratorially, where dark forces are constructing Byzantine, Occam-defying plots is a human mode. We need to understand better, without value judgments, why and the function of it, I think, if we're going to be prepared.

    Only some Christian fundamentalists believe that all misfortunes are complex plots from Satan, but some do think that. Only some Arab societies traffic in conspiracy preferrentially, but some do. Are these people who reason associatively, by values rather than qualities and aspects, or do they reason by egoism, where the self's profit is first? I reckon we should know.

    Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

    by The Geogre on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:31:27 AM PDT

    •  In Yemen, the government is a conspiracy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Geogre, FarWestGirl

      from top to bottom. The US is way behind. We only have the Tuskegee syphilis experiments, the CIA LSD experiments, extraordinary rendition, Iran-Contra, Nixon's plumbers, voter suppression laws, the Koch brothers, ALEC, and the Tea Parties.

      Hands off my ObamaCare[TM] http://www.healthcare.gov

      by Mokurai on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 10:35:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  CIA Killed JFK (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    The CIA killed JFK. That's a "conspiracy theory", but it's true. The competing theory, "Oswald alone killed JFK", is the lie. But the lie is official. And not just some trivial lie; rather possibly the most important lie about our country.

    Yet climate change, HIV/AIDS, tobacco cancer are all also true.

    CTs might predict anti-science thinking overall. But there's a difference between real conspiracies, of which history and business are mostly made, and fake ones. Of course believing fake CTs correlates to anti-science. But refusing the lie goes well with alignment with science.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:55:16 AM PDT

  •  You chose to focus on the "conspiracists" (6+ / 0-)

    but I find the correlation with free-market ideology to be both far more interesting and far more significant.  After all, conspiracists are easily dismissed at all times.  Free market fundamentalism, on the other hand, is the hegemonic ideology of the US (and thus the world) in our times.

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:17:20 AM PDT

    •  I agree here. The free-market connection (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel, FarWestGirl

      is intriguing.

      Free marketeers deny the usefulness of govt regulation in keeping the capitalist system afloat.

      Indeed, they believe the capitalist system would soar and be wonderful for everyone, if only there was no government control at all!  

      Even though that exact scenario is pretty much what led to this enormous derivatives collapse, the housing market bubble and popping of the bubble, and near uniform global economic failure requiring....?   Massive government intervention to save the banks.

      So, reality played out before their eyes and they deny what happened?  Yes, they do.

      "Too much govt meddling," they'll say, even with low taxes and budget increases much lower than Bush's.

      Are they incapable of seeing reality?
      Do they not wish to see reality?  

      Is this why conservatives are "happier" than liberals - because they live in la-la land and don't care about real events?  They seem to believe everything will simply carry on as it has, but that's not going to be possible.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:58:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's combination of personal greed and (0+ / 0-)

        magical thinking. They need the chaos to continue for them to get 'their' share, or as much as possible, because unregulated, chaotic systems have the greatest potential for outrageous growth. But the downside is the same potential for busts and they all believe that they're going to be the ones who come out on top.

        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

        by FarWestGirl on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 02:31:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What about the free market correlation? (8+ / 0-)

    A belief in the free market is one that holds faith that leaving people to their own decisions in a competitive environment without restraint will (magically) lead to moral and good outcomes.  

    To accept climate change is to admit that the free market does not always lead to moral and good outcomes.  The existence of climate change shatters the conservative ideology.

    The key distinction of science and ideology occurs when one's belief/knowledge is proven wrong.  If you're doing science, and the facts prove your theory wrong, you change the theory.  If you're doing ideology, you change the facts.

    Of course, you can't literally change reality; you can merely refuse to accept it. That is, deny it.  

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:33:21 AM PDT

    •  Agree that this is very important (4+ / 0-)

      As per the diary's start, I was struck by the stark linkage in this peer-reviewed work with the very tag line that I (and many others) have used re the moon landings.

      Yet, I don't think that I left out the free-market correlation -- as per your comment. And, in fact, I think that I brought attention to it.

      If being a hard-headed Ayn Rand libertarian aligns with being a climate denier and predicts embrace of tin-foil conspiracy theories, what makes one more likely to accept science?
      Now, with the 'general public', linking global warming denialism to being a 'free-market libertarian' might actually increase some people's tendency for denialism.  Linking denialism, however, to other conspiracy theorist tendencies undermines the denialists with most 'undecided' people.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 06:13:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Is there a component here of not wanting to work (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel, FarWestGirl

      together with others?

      A "selfishness component?"   'A mule and 40 acres' mentality?  "I've got mine, now leave me alone?"

      If so, that means these people need to be taught their connectedness to others.

      While my gut instinct is to cut off their water and power until they see the need to cooperate in a modern society, that's not a recommendable policy.

      So, what is?  How do we get profoundly selfish people to come to the realization that they need to join together with others?

      Religion? Politics?  Public Relations?  How could it be done?

      It's pretty much this point that makes me crazy over climate change, and makes me quite pessimistic.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 10:04:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Forty acres and a mule does not mean what (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, YucatanMan, FarWestGirl

        you think it does. It was the hope of slaves that the government would acknowledge both their past contributions to the wealth of their White masters and society as a whole, and their need as penniless freedmen, and provide the means of production to all who needed it. The literal chains had been broken with the Emancipation Proclamation and the Fourteenth Amendment. The next step was to break the chains of dependency that the South used to create sharecropping and Jim Crow, that is, slavery by another name.

        In fact, many White settlers got to homestead all over the Midwest and West, but not Blacks. Where they tried it, they were driven off.

        Forty acres and a mule is not a libertarian notion. It is not a beggar-thy-neighbor notion or an I've-got-mine notion. It is not, above all, a notion of racist Southern Democrats until the 1960s and Southern Republicans thereafter.

        Hands off my ObamaCare[TM] http://www.healthcare.gov

        by Mokurai on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 10:45:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree completely on the history aspect. (0+ / 0-)

          However, there are many people today who believe that they've got their property and their house and everyone else needs to stay the hell away from them.

          It is not, above all, a notion of racist Southern Democrats until the 1960s and Southern Republicans thereafter.
          I agree.  The theme today has been misappropriated.  

          It is the misappropriators that I am talking about.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:08:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Kooks cannot or will not accept consensus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DuzT, YucatanMan

    The dissociation from convention is the value at risk.

    They're so losely attached to thought as identity that agreement with others is always a tension prone negotiation. And negotiations of that kind often come up empty.

  •  So free-market ideology, then, aligns (6+ / 0-)

    with a predisposition toward conspiracy theories?

    Like the CT that we'd all be rich but the government is giving our money to brown people?

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'y a aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il y a toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:53:41 AM PDT

  •  You're just part of the conspiracy! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, DuzT, YucatanMan, FarWestGirl

    Another question is, WHY do they believe this nonsense?

    I truly believe the Oligarchs are using sophisticated propaganda techniques to manipulate a large portion of the population to believe truly ridiculous things.  These techniques were pioneered in the marketing industry, and tested by the tobacco, oil, mining, and other industries that know full well the damage they are doing, but can make the public believe they are doing good.

    I never thought we would get to the point where the existence of our democracy would depend on the public adopting the rigors of science, but here we are.

  •  Keep the killing of King out of your argument! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DuzT

    I strongly agree that climate change denialism is nuts.  But do not equate it with a conspiracy to kill King.  The King family backed a lawsuit against Lloyd Jowers for a fine of just $100 to prove that a conspiracy of government agencies including the FBI, the Memphis police department, and the US Army engineered the killing of King.  It took a jury just one hour to unanimously find for the King family in agreement with that argument.  

    William F. Pepper, the King family lawyer who argued for them at that trial, has written a book about that trial and the conspiracy.  Before you dismiss the conspiracy as ravings of lunatics, I strongly urge you to read his book.  I opened the book with an open mind about who killed King.  It will demonstrate that James Earl Ray was a "fall guy" for the conspiracy.  

    But rather than listen to me,  go check out the book here.

    Here is a key quote from the top review from the Amazon page for the book which I link to above:

    Pepper's investigation determined that King was most likely killed by a hidden gunman who happened to be the Memphis police force's top marksman, and he in turn was backed up by Army Special Ops snipers posted on nearby buildings to "triangulate" the target. (Perhaps this sounds absurd --- please read the book.) A patsy, James Earl Ray, was framed to take the rap; the rifle he supposedly used was found to be woefully inaccurate, and bullets fired from it didn't match the one that killed King. Witnesses and peripheral participants in the crime were murdered. Evidence was lost or tampered with. Ray pleaded guilty on the advice of his lawyer, Percy Foreman, who had deep connections to the likely perpetrators of the assassination. A massive cover-up and disinfo campaign ensured that the public would discount any version of what happened in favor of the official myth.
    •  So ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS, boatsie, Nowhere Man

      What I have there is a quotation from the study's abstract -- not my words.

      Are all theories about conspiracies wrong? No.  

      Am I willing to get into discussions of various 'conspiracies'?  No.

      The point of the work was try to identify linkages -- and the King assassination was among their touchstones.  

      What, which is a point you could point out to them, is that they might have a problem where they are mixing "truth" and "denialism" within the questioning: that some of the cases of "conspiracy theory" might be (or simply are) correct, with the "advocates" engaged in truth-seeking discussion (and willing to take evidence that shows them to be wrong seriously and, if it is of high enough quality, to move them away from the 'conspiracy theory') while the global warming denialism is simply a rejection of rational discourse.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:14:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  From Lewandowsky (0+ / 0-)

      Stephan read through the commentary -- I specifically suggested several comments, including yours.  From his note to me:

       

      I largely agree with your comment in reply to the King theory: The issue is the linkage between conspiratorial thinking and rejection of science, plus the clustering of people’s beliefs (so that if they believe King was FBI-assassinated, they also believe that NASA faked the moon landing).

      There are, of course, true conspiracies, (viz. Bush-WMD-Iraq) which makes it difficult to dismiss all conspiracy theories out of hand. It’s possible, however, to identify the cognition underlying conspiracist ideation, which is what I’m interested in (e.g., the fact that absence of evidence is taken to be affirmative evidence; the fact that the presumed conspirators are simultaneously all-powerful but small in number, the fact that the conspiracy is extended to include all contrary pieces of evidence etc. etc.). So there is a ‘thinking style’ that leads to endorsement of lots of conspiracies combined with rejection of lots of scientific findings.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 05:40:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ayn rand said anti smoking science was a socialist (5+ / 0-)

    Conspiracy.

    One would could never guess her cause of death.

    Ask top al Qaeda leaders about Obama's foreign policy. Wait, you can't. They're dead. -Paul Begala

    by Fickle on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:28:26 AM PDT

    •  Wow ... honestly ... (4+ / 0-)

      I'd never heard that and it made me start searching.  From this interesting essay:

      The all-encompassing nature of the Randian line may be illustrated by an incident that occurred to a friend of mine who once asked a leading Randian if he disagreed with the movement’s position on any conceivable subject. After several minutes of hard thought, the Randian replied: "Well, I can’t quite understand their position on smoking." Astonished that the Rand cult had any position on smoking, my friend pressed on: "They have a position on smoking? What is it?" The Randian replied that smoking, according to the cult, was a moral obligation. In my own experience, a top Randian once asked me rather sharply, "How is it that you don’t smoke?" When I replied that I had discovered early that I was allergic to smoke, the Randian was mollified: "Oh, that’s OK, then." The official justification for making smoking a moral obligation was a sentence in Atlas where the heroine refers to a lit cigarette as symbolizing a fire in the mind, the fire of creative ideas. (One would think that simply holding up a lit match could do just as readily for this symbolic function.) One suspects that the actual reason, as in so many other parts of Randian theory, from Rachmaninoff to Victor Hugo to tap dancing, was that Rand simply liked smoking and had the need to cast about for a philosophical system that would make her personal whims not only moral but also a moral obligation incumbent upon everyone who desires to be rational.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:02:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow... That's simply incredible. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, FarWestGirl

        Thanks to both of you - A Siegel & Fickel - for that information.

        The things you learn on DailyKOS from day to day....

        The Randian replied that smoking, according to the cult, was a moral obligation.
        ...

        The official justification for making smoking a moral obligation was a sentence in Atlas where the heroine refers to a lit cigarette as symbolizing a fire in the mind, the fire of creative ideas.
        ...

        make her personal whims not only moral but also a moral obligation incumbent upon everyone who desires to be rational.

        One can wonder why they didn't just literally set their brains on fire!?  After all, Fire in the Mind is in the book - therefore, we must do likewise!

        Another cult of nuts.  Tragically for the world, powerful, influential people like Alan Greenspan are among them.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 10:13:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps we could ask whether thinking would do (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan, FarWestGirl

          as a symbol for Fire in the Mind. But these are Randians. Never mind.

          Atlas Shrugged is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. I should be thrown, with great force.
          Dorothy Parker
          The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.
          Plutarch, On Listening to Lectures
          If you build a man a fire you keep him warm for a night. If you set a man on fire you keep him warm for the rest of his life.
          Terry Pratchett, Jingo

          Hands off my ObamaCare[TM] http://www.healthcare.gov

          by Mokurai on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:02:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  On smoking and lung cancer (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, YucatanMan, Frank Knarf

    I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but it would be more accurate to say that smoking contributes to cause lung cancer than to say that smoking causes lung cancer.  This is because smokers who develop lung cancer (or throat cancer) generally have other factors co-extensive with the smoking that seem to be additive to the risk for development of the disease.  These include heavy drinking of alcohol and the presence of the HPV virus.  There may be a genetic susceptibility as well.  We know that most smokers never develop lung cancer.  (And many lung cancer patients never smoked, see Dana Reeve).  

    So it's not a simple equation whereby you add smoking to a sufficient level and get lung cancer.  We don't fully understand it, but more is required, which in my mind is not enough to say that smoking causes lung cancer.

    It is absolutely fair to say that smoking dramatically increases your risk of cancer, and since smoking is simply a voluntary habit, it unnecessarily increases that risk intolerably.  And maybe "smoking causes lung cancer" needs to be phrased that way for the majority of non-scientist Americans who won't otherwise get a life-saving message.  But in terms of scientific proof of causation, I have a problem with taking the shortcut to say that lungs + smoking = lung cancer, when it seems like you need to add other factors to that equation to reach the result.  You're not necessarily a conspiracy theorist if you reject "smoking causes cancer," per the quoted article.  Just nit-picking, I guess.

    Thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night, but the flash that means everything - Henri Poincaré

    by milton333 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:10:25 AM PDT

    •  Note that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan

      1.  I am quoting from abstract.  Would be interesting to look to see what actual study discussion says. I was one of the online respondents -- I cannot recall the actual poll question.

      2.  I've suggested to Stephen that he take a look at the comments -- yours is part of that need to look at the discussion here.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:45:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, Frank Knarf, FarWestGirl

        I actually think it might prompt an interesting dialogue.  We tend to assume that the vast majority of the population is, well, stupid.  So we talk down to them, oversimplify, and make sweeping statements like "smoking causes lung cancer."  But even without a knowledge of the high incidence of HPV in lung and throat cancer patients who also smoked, the "average Joe" has an anecdotal sense that smoking=lung cancer can't be completely right, because most smokers don't get lung cancer, including probably nearly all of the smokers he knows.  It sounds like a "line" being fed to you when it's inconsistent with your experiences.  I see a tension between trying to impress upon people the seriousness of the increased risk, played against making sweeping oversimplified statements that seem to be falsified by the common person's lived experience.

        Thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night, but the flash that means everything - Henri Poincaré

        by milton333 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 10:11:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Smoking is one of the causes of lung cancer (0+ / 0-)

      Thus, in ordinary English, smoking causes cancer.

      To say this is not to claim that smoking is the sole cause of lung cancer. You are overanalyzing.

      Hands off my ObamaCare[TM] http://www.healthcare.gov

      by Mokurai on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:04:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is some really fine work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, FarWestGirl

    Both your diary and the study, I mean.

    We're getting closer to understanding these irrational people, but how long is it going to take us to overcome their crazy rejection of science and factual history?

    There have always been conspiracy nuts.  They far predated the Internet and kept in touch via mail and newsletters and the occasional oddball radio interview (and far less common TV interview.)

    But they have a prominence today - an acceptance - that they used to not have.  Mainstream media formerly rejected and even ridiculed conspiracy nuts.  Today, they get prominent positioning.

    What I keep groping around about is how can we change the tide?  I feel like Mohamed trying to move the mountain.

    I understand, even better now, these are people who reject reality in many forms.

    I wish there were concrete steps to take to eliminate consideration of their position.  People who will not operate in the real world should not be listened to, let alone hold office or sway policy.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:26:10 AM PDT

    •  National epics and scriptural canons (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FarWestGirl, YucatanMan

      going back to the edge of prehistory are highly dependent on conspiracy theories. The Gods were conspiring. Our hereditary enemies were conspiring. The traitors in our midst were conspiring. Every single person who claimed the right to think for himself or herself was a conspiracy.

      The Bible is full of conspiracies against God, along with God urging the Israelites to genocidal mania. Jacob's sons conspired against Joseph. Saul believed David to be the head of a conspiracy. David's son Absalom did conspire against him. Haman conspired to kill all the Jews in Persia. The Maccabees rebelled against Syrian Greek rule, and there were two major Jewish rebellions against Rome. Judas Iscariot conspired with Jewish leaders and Romans to get Jesus executed.

      The iliad and Odyssey are full of conspiracies of Gods and Goddesses against each other and each other's human favorites, culminating in the conspiracy of Penelope's suitors, who would have killed Odysseus had they known his identity.

      In the Ring cycle, Wotan and Loge/Loki conspire against the Frost Giants, and then against the Nibelung Alberich. Siegfried dies from a conspiracy around a love potion to make him forget his plan to marry his aunt Brunnhilde. (I'm not making this up.)

      The Arthurian world comes apart due to the independent conspiracies of his son Mordred and Morgan le Fey, and his wife's affair with Lancelot.

      As far as one can tell, the only limiting factor on conspiracy theories in the human backstory was having enough language to put them over in.

      Hands off my ObamaCare[TM] http://www.healthcare.gov

      by Mokurai on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:26:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Part of the tide we're working against is that the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel, YucatanMan

      neocons/fundies, et al, have a much easier time with recruitment. All they need are convenient, widely available idiots to wind up and set loose to proselytize for their memes, we have to spread a more complicated and intellectually and labor intensive foundation on which to build. We need to get a visceral message that outcompetes the trash and vested interests.

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

      by FarWestGirl on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 02:47:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And education is getting harder and harder for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FarWestGirl

        anyone to afford, limiting people who understand science, logic, rational thinking. ....  

        We need better sound bites and come backs.  I think we tend not to be sarcastic, but sometimes a sarcastic remark to a lie kills the lie then and there.  Maybe we need more ferocity in the argument?  

        I dunno.... we need something.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:20:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful work as usual... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl

    ...I am sharing this widely.

    Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

    by WarrenS on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 10:47:50 AM PDT

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