Refute Reality — Lie/Deny the Obvious

May 23, 2016

220px-PinocchioSurprisingly-bright sunshine this Monday morning on California’s north coast, and warm, too. Supposedly, fairly-clear for the next week-to-10-days with a ‘Chance‘ of rain showers every-now-and-again — typical weather for our environs.

Outstanding weather here, but not so in many, many places — and since climate in your wherever-area controls the weather, the warmth is only going to get weirder.
And even becoming obvious, global warming is here. However, beyond the time, an incredible, boneheaded reason mankind will have trouble getting a handle on climate change (via CBS): ‘Donald Trump has said he doesn’t believe in man-made climate change and has called global warming a “hoax,” but he’s trying to protect a golf course he owns on the coast of Ireland from its effects.’

Denial is not a river in you-know-where…

(Illustration: ‘Pinocchio,’ by Enrico Mazzanti, found here).

In whatever future is ahead, people like The Donald might be considered immoral, having committed crimes against humanity — assholes like Jim Inhofe, or any of the countless others who deny reality, and even ExxonMobil, for instance.
And the media don’t help, trying to stay ‘neutral’ in a way-unneutral situation, creating a ho-hum attitude with the general public.

A new study, published in Global Environmental Changes, reports when the political and emotional attributes of climate change are stripped from the data, denialist rhetoric does not pass an expert test.
From the abstract found at ScienceDirect:

In that blind test, contrarian claims were found to be misleading.
By contrast, mainstream scientific interpretations of the data were judged to be accurate and policy relevant.
The results imply that media inclusion of contrarian statements may increase bias rather than balance.

In an article by one of the study’s authors, Stephan Lewandowsky, a professor at School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol, found at ShapingTomorrowsWorld, people would understand the threat if bullshit was eliminated — key points:

At one level, our results are entirely unsurprising: In light of the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change, most dissenting opinions are merely political and rhetorical tools aimed at trying to forestall mitigative action.
The efficacy of those talking points is measured in political not scientific terms, and no measurable positive scientific contribution has ever arisen out of denial.
Indeed, the few peer-reviewed articles that are authored by contrarians are by and large flawed.
Our data do add some important novelty, however: Previous judgments about contrarian attempts to create a parallel interpretation of reality were mainly made by climate scientists, who could be perceived as biased in favor of the dominant view of their discipline.
In our present study, in contrast, the same negative judgments were made by experts who were unaware of what data they were considering.
This rules out the possibility that the experts participating in our study may have been driven by any extraneous considerations in their adjudication.

Further details at the Guardian this morning:

In a similar previous study, Lewandowsky found that economists thought the notion of a “pause” in global surface warming was “misleading and ill-informed” when the temperature data were instead labeled as agricultural output.
This was a particularly important test, because the pause myth has become the basis of most arguments against taking action to curb global warming, despite the fact that any temporary slowdown in global surface warming is now over.
In short, economists and statisticians find climate contrarians’ interpretations of data and associated arguments to be misleading and wrong.

Unfortunately, social science research has found that misinformation and myths are quite effective at reducing public support for climate policies, and media sources are often guilty of false balance in climate reporting, exposing their audiences to these myths in order to give equal time to “the other side.”
As this study shows, on the subject of climate change, the favored arguments of “the other side” tend to be inaccurate, misleading, and misinform people who are exposed to them.
By repeating these scientifically and statistically unfounded denial arguments, the media are essentially making us stupider about climate change.
This false balance has severe consequences, undermining public support to solve the urgent global problem of climate change.

The words, ‘severe consequences,’ is an understatement.
Climate reality off this Tweeter feed of disaster by Eleanor Saitta on climate change at Storify should make you a little frightened.

Bury head in way-hot quicksand — Not!

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