Expert Calls To Experts Yet Still Fail To See Why Not All Believe In “Climate Change”
I looked up one Lasse S. Stoetzer. Soy-faced economics degree holder. Sketchy beard. Keeps Funko-Pop-like toys on his bookshelf. He looks like a living meme.
I also looked up a fellow named Florian Zimmermann. Florian is a great name. Similar background as Stoetzer. Does “research on memory and belief formation”. Has a decent head of hair. Clean shaven. Inexplicably wears flannel while being an academic.
Neither man appears to have had any training in thermodynamics or physics of any kind. Of course, I’m only going by the public record, comprised of an earnest, backbreaking, 30-second internet search. Which, as you will see, both men could very well agree is sufficient.
Why investigate these two? Easy. They are co-authors of the peer-reviewed paper “A representative survey experiment of motivated climate change denial” in Nature Climate Change.
A title like that leads you believe these guys must know something about the flow of a differentially heated fluid on a rotating sphere. Or at least about orbital mechanics and fluctuating solar insolation. In not those, then at the absolute bare minimum they must be aware of how bad climate models are and the problem of the multiplication of uncertainties.
Yet, strange as it seems, and I welcome correction, these guys seem to know about none of these things. Even though they write authoritatively on them.
How to explain this paradox? Easy. Experts in our Expertocracy.
Opening Abstract sentence: “Climate change is arguably one of the greatest challenges today.”
They do not mean that “arguably”. Arguably in that sentence means that the question of “climate change” is up for argument. Which, in their minds, it is not. We know this because they authoritatively open the paper with these words: “Human activities caused the recent warming of the Earth.” No “arguably” here. Well, let’s not go too far with that. The sentence is, not arguably, a cliche, and they used it unthinkingly. Here’s the remainder of the Abstract:
Although the scientific consensus is that human activities caused climate change, a substantial part of the population downplays or denies human responsibility. In this registered report, we present causal evidence on a potential explanation for this discrepancy: motivated reasoning. We conducted a tailored survey experiment on a broadly representative sample of 4,000 US adults to provide causal evidence on how motivated cognition shapes beliefs about climate change and influences the demand for slanted information. We further explore the role of motives on environmentally harmful behaviour. Contrary to our hypotheses, we find no evidence that motivated cognition can help to explain widespread climate change denial and environmentally harmful behaviour.
Registered report. Tailored survey experiment. Slanted information. Reeks of self importance. Skip it.
Here’s the funny part. After swearing man caused (all?) recent warming, and expressing wonder that “Despite the near-unanimous scientific consensus on this matter” some people still doubt The Science, our authors say this:
For this project, we focus on the potential explanation that climate change denial stems from motivated reasoning patterns. The literature of motivated beliefs posits that the belief formation process is often guided by the desire to maintain certain convictions or to hold a positive self-view, rather than by a desire for belief accuracy.
Now tell me, Messieurs Stoetzer and Zimmermann, given your lack of basic understanding of atmospheric physics, and thus your complete reliance on third party sources to tell you what to think about the subject, how you yourselves avoid the motivated beliefs process?
What makes you immune from confirmation bias? How do we know you are not falling pray to propaganda that preaches every conceivable thing will go bad when “climate change” hits? Aren’t you motivated, at least professionally, to think this? After all, you’ve written this and other works that take this for granted. Be embarrassing to admit you were wrong at this late date, would it not?
In other words, what makes you right and your critics, like myself, wrong? Mere consensus? Granted, in ignorance of anything else, that is the way to bet. For instance, suppose none of us know anything about optical coating of tempered glass. Our best bet is to ask the Optical Coating Society of America, or some such place, and trust them. We may still suffer from our decision, but it’s better than guessing.
But you in writing this paper cannot claim ignorance. Nor do I. You guys believe, I think, because your fellow Experts believe.
Anyway, “climate change” has no fixed meaning. For a handful it means thermodynamics. For others it can mean just about anything. Including the myriad Expert “solutions”, which to most are plainly ridiculous, if not apocalyptically stupid. Like “Let’s block the sun!” Nobody can, or should, believe in “climate change” unless it is first rigorously defined, to include the “solutions”.
I won’t pester readers with the methods (which involve playing money games; sheesh) and, yes, regressions the authors used, because these are so dull they might cause coma. Instead, I give you their conclusion: “Contrary to our hypotheses, we find no evidence that motivated cognition can help to explain widespread climate change denial and environmentally harmful behaviour.”
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