Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The trouble with trusting complex science

Some new studies on an old problem: what St. Augustine called "incorrigible ignorance" and what explains why more than 2/3's of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.

The trouble with trusting complex science

There is one question that no one who denies manmade climate change wants to answer: what would it take to persuade you? In most cases the answer seems to be nothing. No level of evidence can shake the growing belief that climate science is a giant conspiracy codded up by boffins and governments to tax and control us. The new study by the Met Office, which paints an even grimmer picture than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will do nothing to change this view.

I'm particularly baffled by the finding that when such people are confronted with actual data that contradicts their beliefs, they tend to commit even more profoundly to their falsehoods.



Kevin Scheunemann said...

The trouble with global warming "science" the "science" part.

Its more faith and worship.

What time are global warming worship services?

Sarah said...

Being baffled is an appropriate response to such findings as opposed to blatantly denying what's right in front of you because the conclusions just don't fit your lifestyle.

This doesn't surprise me. I wish it did. But, in a world where many give the utmost faith and devotion to someone who has little to no evidence validating his existence in history, there has always been a tendency for conflicting evidence to push believers further away from the obvious.

Maybe this will help? (help convince people of the obvious or help push them even further away...I do not know)

Nate Bodensteiner said...

You know Mark,you said
'I'm particularly baffled by the finding that when such people are confronted with actual data that contradicts their beliefs, they tend to commit even more profoundly to their falsehoods."

oh but Mark,tsk tsk,certainly not the psychology professor:
this is really the classic archetypal signature of paranoid sky is falling peak oil see me and walk to the other side of the street PARANOID Fascism.
(let me add that this is often conflated with schizophrenia..)
but yeah, the idea of inverted faith overriding all reason, i think we can conclude that these bozos have gotten/are still on(inclusive disjunction) the blue bus.
BTW, John, I posted my real name.
honestly,it's my real name.(my employers will NOT be happy that.)
and I was invited to spend an afternoon when i was 13 at the American Film Institute, where a little-known Michael Moore and me
discussed film,politics,etc.and went for a walk together around the beautiful grounds there.
No,really,I am serious8>

DanBack said...


Not only do such people not change their mind when confronted with data, they more often than not do not even want to LOOK at the data.

How many times have I offered to send Kevin a free copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower? How many times have I offered to send him a DVD of Food, Inc.?

Free Lunch said...

Being baffled by discoveries out of your field that are beyond your comprehension is normal. Denying facts or holding an opinion that is contrary to reality is foolishness of the highest order.

Anyone who arrives at an opinion without using facts to get to that opinion is acting like a fool, no matter how smart they think they are.

Ordinary Jill said...

You're baffled because you used reason to arrive at your conclusions. The climate change deniers used faith to arrive at theirs. It's a waste of time to engage in faith versus reason arguments. Peter Abelard tried, a century before Thomas Aquinas, to inject reason into Catholic doctrine. The uneducated future saint Bernard of Clairvaux debated him with regard to his works and succeeded in having them banned. Clarence Darrow out-argued William Jennings Bryant in the Scopes Monkey Trial, but the jury ruled found for Bryant, who appealed to their emotions and religious faith. The only way to change the minds of the climate change deniers is to make them want to believe in climate change. Otherwise, they will stubbornly deny all the evidence. Someone needs to write a Left-Behind style novel in which global warming is a sign of the End Times.

Mpeterson said...

Jill, you managed to name almost all of my favorite people in a single paragraph! :^)

Kevin Scheunemann said...

The war on carbon dioxide is a war on humanity itself.

Since we all exhale the very "pollutant" the global warming religion preaches from the pulpit as evil, the natural assertion is: less humanity, less pollutant.

I will never embrace a religion that tries to make me sorry that I'm alive!

When it comes to religion, I like something a little more spiritual/pro humanity.

The global warming religion will never overcome that basic flaw in doctrine.

Free Lunch said...


You don't know what you are talking about. Since you are ignorant, your opinion is of no value to you or anyone else.

Kevin Scheunemann said...

Free Lunch,

It would have been even more funny if you would of said, "No one wants to listen to your colossal amount of carbon emissions."

Tie the humor, and the political issue/religion, into the personal attack...its much more entertaining. This way you can imply that less talk from Scheunemann will reduce greenhouse gases. Win-win.

Just a suggestion.

I'm off to help warm up the planet...

Kevin Scheunemann said...

more and more global "science" keeps getting knocked down...

Is there anything truthful about global warming worship?

John Jost said...

Kevin, if you're going to use Fox News as a scientific source... I mean:

"First, scientists in the United Kingdom were caught covering up data that showed global warming has not occurred for the last 15 years. More recently, U.N. researchers admitted that their forecasts of melting Himalayan glaciers, disappearing polar ice caps, and dwindling Amazon rainforests were based on shoddy evidence".

Those are nothing but outright lies, a regular feature of Fox News.

John Jost said...

All right, Fox News not all bad, but guilty. I mean, this must contribute to global warming since it contributes to MY warming ;)

Kevin Scheunemann said...


You perceive me from a wrong perspecitive.

I want the "science" about warming temperatures to be accurate.

I want to embrace warming, its cold outside.

But the "science" seems to be "pulling my leg" on this promise.

Its the religion that warming is a bad thing, and we have to make it colder, that I have a problem with. (and the God-like idea we can control the climate). The global warming religion has an insufferable arrogance about both these points: 1.) that we need to just "believe" man can control the climate. 2.) That it's better to shun warming than to embrace it!

I want to embrace the warming and help it along if I can. Unfortunately, it turns out that I'm being "teased" about the scale of the alleged warming...its much less or nonexistent from previous predictions.

DanBack said...

For you Kevin:

Why don't you want a copy of Food, Inc?

Kevin Scheunemann said...


Yes, Yes, corn syrup is the worst thing ever.

Pot smoking is also bad for you.

So we are now embracing pot smoking as healthy and corn syrup as evil?

I'm at least honest: choice for all. Let the people decide.

We all have vices, some its pot, some its gambling, some its cigarettes, some its table salt, for me its corn syrup.

Are you trying to tell me how to live my life?

I'm well versed on Food Inc. and its attempt to demonize the restaurant industry.

What happens when progressives run out of issues, industries, and "causes" to demonize?

Thats what scares the hell out of me.

DanBack said...

Holy shit Kevin are you paranoid. Jesus Christ. Do you have any hair left?

Amazing how you know all about books and movies without ever reading or watching them.

DanBack said...

Wizard Genius said: "I'm well versed on Food Inc. and its attempt to demonize the restaurant industry."

That's actually not what it's about. But how would you know?

Kevin Scheunemann said...


C'mon now...are you saying there is an implication in Food Inc. that the restaurant industry is not responsible (or to blame) for the state of the Food processing industry today?

DanBack said...

How can we have a conversation about a movie you haven't seen? Watch it and I'd love to have a conversation with you about it. Until then, what's the point?

DanBack said...

Kevin = pwned