Posts Tagged ‘Opposing Views’

2013 report card – the year some alarmist bubbles burst

December 31, 2013
  • The global warming fantasy is falling apart
  • Fossil fuels have no significant part to play in climate
  • There is no over-population crisis as fertility rates decrease globally (but there may be a population decline by 2100)
  • There is no food crisis 
  • Poverty levels have decreased globally and are continuing to decrease
  • Infant mortality rates have decreased globally and are continuing to decrease
  • Nuclear power policy is beginning to recognise that fears about safety (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima not withstanding) are grossly exaggerated
  • Shale gas and methane hydrates have delayed any energy crisis by about 1,000 years
  • Fossil fuels and nuclear power are recognised as being critical in withstanding a Little Ice Age or a new glaciation
  • There is no resource crisis (whether for fuels or rare earths or trace metals), and finding new sources or alternatives responds to need and demand
  • There is no crisis of culture as Occidental decadence and Oriental thrift are combining to rejuvenate a global culture
  • Longevity is increasing
  • The crisis of religious fanaticism continues and will remain till religion becomes obsolete
  • The days of the nation states and their tensions are not yet over
  • The conflict between individuals and authoritarian societies continues (irrespective of type of political system they exist in)
  • Parents are increasingly abdicating their responsibilities for their children and passing them on to society
  • “Fact” is being increasingly determined by majority opinion
  • “Consensus” of belief rather than evidence is being taken as proof of scientific hypotheses
  • Aging is increasing but the elderly are underused
  • Democracies are getting less democratic
  • “Democracy” is over-rated
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The “Backfire Effect” and why Global Warmists ignore facts which contradict their opinions

October 21, 2013

This is about a study on how facts – especially corrective facts – are ignored when some opinion or perception is deeply held. The study is about political perceptions and it strikes me that it is very relevant to the IPCC and the alarmists for whom the Global Warming hypothesis (that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of Global warming) is a deeply held political belief.

Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler, When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions

Abstract: We conducted four experiments in which subjects read mock news articles that included either a misleading claim from a politician, or a misleading claim and a correction. Results indicate that corrections frequently fail to reduce misperceptions among the targeted ideological group. We also document several instances of a “backfire effect” in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question.

The behaviour of the IPCC and the Global Warming coterie in ignoring or explaining away real observations in favour of their computer models has always smacked of religious fanaticism rather than scientific objectivity. They have shown a preference for coming up with ever more fanciful explanations about why their predictions are not panning out rather than accept that the basis of their predictions may be mistaken. The heat lurking in the deep oceans or Chinese pollution blocking out the sun or “old ice” declining invisibly while “new ice” increases have all been suggested as explanations for

  1. the recent lack of warming,
  2. the broken link between global temperature and carbon dioxide concentration, and
  3. increasing global ice extent.

It would seem that the global warming brigade are an “ideological sub-group” suffering from the “backfire effect”.

In this paper, we report the results of two rounds of experiments investigating the extent to which corrective information embedded in realistic news reports succeeds in reducing prominent misperceptions about contemporary politics. In each of the four experiments, which were conducted in fall 2005 and spring 2006, ideological subgroups failed to update their beliefs when presented with corrective information that runs counter to their predispositions. Indeed, in several cases, we find that corrections actually strengthened misperceptions among the most strongly committed subjects.

…. Political beliefs about controversial factual questions in politics are often closely linked with one’s ideological preferences or partisan beliefs. As such, we expect that the reactions we observe to corrective information will be influenced by those preferences. ……… Specifically, people tend to display bias in evaluating political arguments and evidence, favoring those that reinforce their existing views and disparaging those that contradict their views.

However, individuals who receive unwelcome information may not simply resist challenges to their views. Instead, they may come to support their original opinion even more strongly – what we call a “backfire effect.”

……

The backfire effects that we found seem to provide further support for the growing literature showing that citizens engage in “motivated reasoning.” While our experiments focused on assessing the effectiveness of corrections, the results show that direct factual contradictions can actually strengthen ideologically grounded factual beliefs – an empirical finding with important theoretical implications.

It is a little depressing that  just using facts (science) may not be of much use in getting people to correct their misperceptions when these take the form of religious belief.

Many citizens seem unwilling to revise their beliefs in the face of corrective information, and attempts to correct those mistaken beliefs may only make matters worse.

It is the sobering – and depressing – reality that facts (read science) are always subservient to even completely irrational religious beliefs.


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