Republican(?) brain

by Judith Curry

Multiple choice test: Republicans are more skeptical than Democrats about climate change because:

a)  A defensive ideology is hardwired into their brain

b)  A growing distrust of scientific institutions because of the politicization of science

Chris Mooney on the Republican Brain

I haven’t read Chris Mooney’s new book The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality, but I have read a number of essays that Mooney has written about the book.  From an essay in the Huffington Post:

In my last piece here, I commented on the growing body of research suggesting that the difference between liberals and conservatives is not merely ideological in nature. Rather, it seems more deeply rooted in psychology and the brain — with ideology itself emerging as a kind of by-product of fundamentally different patterns of perceiving and responding to the world that spill over into many aspects of life, not just the political.

As the new research suggests, conservatism is largely a defensive ideology — and therefore, much more appealing to people who go through life sensitive and highly attuned to aversive or threatening aspects of their environments. By contrast, liberalism can be thought of as an exploratory ideology — much more appealing to people who go through life trying things out and seeking the new.

Chris Mooney further writes at A Gentleman’s View:

Well, I think we need to understand three points in order to understand why conservatives act this way. And I will list them here, before going into them in more detail:

  • Conservatism is a Defensive Ideology, and Appeals to People Who Want Certainty and Resist Change.
  • Conservative “Morality” Impels Climate Denial — and in particular, conservative Individualism.
  • Fox News is the Key “Feedback Mechanism” — whereby people already inclined to believe false things get all the license and affirmation they need.

So let’s go into more detail:

1: Conservatism is a Defensive Ideology, and Appeals to People Who Want Certainty and Resist Change.

There’s now a staggering amount of research on the psychological and even the physiological traits of people who opt for conservative ideologies. And on average, you see people who are more wedded to certainty, and to having fixed beliefs. You also see people who are more sensitive to fear and threat — in a way that can be measured in their bodily responses to certain types of stimuli.

At the extreme of these traits, you see a group called authoritarians – those who are characterized by cognitive rigidity, seeing things in black and white ways — “in group/out group,” my way or the highway.

So in this case, if someone high on such traits latches on to a particular belief — in this case, “global warming is a hoax” — then more knowledge about it is not necessarily going to open their minds. More knowledge is just going to be used to argue what they already think.

And we see this in the Tea Party, where we have both the highest levels of global warming denial, but also this incredibly strong confidence that they know all they need to know about the issue, and they don’t want any more information, thank you very much.

2. Conservative “Morality” Impels Climate Denial — in particular, Conservative Individualism.

So, conservatives tend to be “individualists”– meaning, essentially, that they prize a system in which government leaves you alone — and “hierarchs,” meaning, they are supportive of various types of inequality.

The individualist is threatened by global warming, deeply threatened, because it means that markets have failed and governments — including global governments — have to step in to fix the problem. And some individualists are so threatened by this reality that they even spin out conspiracy theories, arguing that all the world’s scientists are in a cabal with, like, the UN, to make up phony science so they can crash economies.


Massimo Pigliucci has post at Rationally Speaking, entitled Republican brains, Republican genes.  Some excerpts:

I have recently touched on the problem with correlative analyses of brain and behavioral activity here at Rationally Speaking. Of course we will find, always, a neural correlate of any human behavior. That’s how humans behave, through actions that are rooted in the functioning of the brain. That said, it certainly is interesting to discover that the brains of liberals and conservatives look different in an fMRI scan, but to go from that observation to building a solid causal scenario isn’t that easy. Brains are things that grow and change in response to myriad environmental stimuli, from before we are born to pretty much the end of our lives. It is very difficult — and certainly hasn’t been done by the recent flurry of studies — to disentangle genetic, environmental, and developmental effects for any human behavior, let alone for something as complex and context dependent as being conservative or liberal in 21st century United States. It’s not just that we don’t know whether having a certain brain predisposes someone to be a Republican or whether being a Republican molds our brain responses in a certain way. It’s that the very question doesn’t make much sense because the causal pathways are complex, interrelated, and full of feedbacks.

Similarly with the issue of genetics. Genes don’t make us think or vote. They just make proteins. There are huge layers of complex causality separating a given strand of DNA and your decision to watch Bill O’Reilly or Jon Stewart, so that discovering genes influencing a given behavior (many, many other things being equal) is interesting, but constitutes only a tiny fraction of the puzzle, and one that is particularly apt to be misunderstood by the public and exploited by demagogues.

The risk we face in the case of this new trend of biologizing politics is that — regardless of Chris’ and others’ careful disclaimers — many people will conclude that there is no point in engaging “the other side” because, you know, they can’t help themselves, they are the way they are because of their brains, their genes, and their evolution. Chris ends one of his pieces (on the alleged evolutionary roots of the political divide) by saying: “the lesson for conservatives? Well, here it is tougher. You see, first we’d have to get them to accept something they often view as aversive and threatening: The theory of evolution.” Nice quip, but as it turns out plenty of conservatives accept evolution (and global warming, etc.), and there is a good number of progressives who believe in coocoo notions about vaccines causing autism, 9/11 being the result of a government conspiracy, and of course the perennial favorite, quantum mysticism.

The reality is that we are the product of both biological and cultural evolution, that we are constrained by our genetic makeup, and that everything we think and do is mediated by our brains. But our political opinions do change, both over our lifespan and sometimes from an election to the next, and they change because we can be persuaded through a variety of means, some of which even include rational discourse! So, let us certainly look at the science of politics, but let us also not neglect to engage each other on the issues whenever possible, and as reasonably as we can manage.


Hank Campbell at Science2.0 is quite critical of Mooney’s thesis. Some excerpts:

Chris Mooney, writing in Rolling Stone, is in a tough spot.  He historically has wanted to talk about actual science, which should make it hard for him not to smirk at a social psychology ‘study’ conducted outside a bar, but he hates Republicans far more than he loves science, in a way it is difficult to describe to a more moderate, mainstream audience.

He hates Republicans so much so he refuses to ask any awkward questions of any crazy study, including one in which a group of social psychologists stand outside a bar and ask questions designed to gauge the political beliefs of patrons, after which they conduct a breathalyzer test. Then they map the left-right skew to how drunk people are. Total woo, right?  Without pseudoscience, there is no book on how Republicans have ‘different brains’ so we have to give him a break on embracing that stuff, because he isn’t writing the book for a science audience, he is writing it for people who want to make fun of their political opposition. Yet he is no cynical opportunist. He believes the stuff he says, just like Ann Coulter does.

If you read Science 2.0, you are chuckling at that ‘body of research’ claim – if this same level of research rigor were being issued about the left wing he would not be giving it a free pass but this is inRolling Stone.  To them, it probably is research, because they assume anything with the term ‘science’ in it is actually science.  It’s a tremendous disservice to the public to have that colloquial confusion and a large reason why the public increasingly distrusts science; liberal, welcoming scientists have not protected their brand and are letting economists and political scientists and social scientists and progressively ideological whatnots lay claim to having the same rigorous methodology.

I would note for him that the conservative public may feel under assault by ‘academics’ but the only ones who feel under assault by science academics have been confused by the intentional efforts of cultural pundits to try and conflate social goofiness with real science like biology or physics and whatnot.  In just asking general questions of people when I get an idea of their political slant (and so, just as legitimate a method as asking questions outside a bar, though not showing up in any ‘journal’) I find very few who distrust science.   They distrust the humanities – and social psychology belongs more there than it does in the same buildings as science which is why, if you visit more campuses, they are actually over with the humanities. They also distrust climate scientists, because there is a lot of politicking in that field, but I can’t find anyone on the right who distrusts biologists or physicists even if I quote numbers about the political participation of those disciplines.

At the end, he even finds a way to rationalize why liberals get drunk a lot more; they are so darn smart they just have to get away from their super smart brains on occasion. In other words, they drink because they need to be more like conservatives – dumber – and stop solving all of the world’s problems. 

So, yes, in answer to my original question, it is apparently entirely possible that getting drunk makes you more conservative – if by that we mean you are able to stop overthinking topics and working them through a framework of social justice issues and just have an honest reaction to the world around you.

Pielke Jr

Roger Pielke  Jr. has a good post entitled A loss of trust in institutions of science among US conservatives.  Excerpts:

A new paper is out today in the American Sociological Review by Gordon Gauchat titled “Politicization of Science in the Public Sphere: A Study of Public Trust in the United States, 1974 to 2010.” Here is the abstract:

This study explores time trends in public trust in science in the United States from 1974 to 2010. More precisely, I test Mooney’s (2005) claim that conservatives in the United States have become increasingly distrustful of science. Using data from the 1974 to 2010 General Social Survey, I examine group differences in trust in science and group-specific change in these attitudes over time. Results show that group differences in trust in science are largely stable over the period, except for respondents identifying as conservative. Conservatives began the period with the highest trust in science, relative to liberals and moderates, and ended the period with the lowest. The patterns for science are also unique when compared to public trust in other secular institutions. Results show enduring differences in trust in science by social class, ethnicity, gender, church attendance, and region. I explore the implications of these findings, specifically, the potential for political divisions to emerge over the cultural authority of science and the social role of experts in the formation of public policy.

These conclusions mirror more broadly the dynamics that I discuss in The Climate Fix that have occurred in the case of climate change :

…conservatives’ unfavorable attitudes are most acute in relation to government funding of science and the use of scientific knowledge to influence social policy (see Gauchat 2010). Conservatives thus appear especially averse to regulatory science, defined here as the mutual dependence of organized science and government policy. . .

Paradoxically, it is possible that science’s cultural authority engendered politicization, particularly its role in policy formation and regulation of private interests. This assumes that science’s cultural authority has grown—especially among legal, political, and economic institutions —to the point that the scientific community inevitably becomes entangled in polarized conflicts .

The paper provides a nice set of empirical evidence to support the arguments that have been made by Dan Sarewitz (and others) about the consequences of the politicization of the scientific community.  Writing in Slate last year, Sarewitz explained the basic dynamics at play here using the case of climate change:

Think about it: The results of climate science, delivered by scientists who are overwhelmingly Democratic, are used over a period of decades to advance a political agenda that happens to align precisely with the ideological preferences of Democrats. Coincidence—or causation?
During the Bush administration, Democrats discovered that they could score political points by accusing Bush of being anti-science. In the process, they seem to have convinced themselves that they are the keepers of the Enlightenment spirit, and that those who disagree with them on issues like climate change are fundamentally irrational. Meanwhile, many Republicans have come to believe that mainstream science is corrupted by ideology and amounts to no more than politics by another name. Attracted to fringe scientists like the small and vocal group of climate skeptics,Republicans appear to be alienated from a mainstream scientific community that by and large doesn’t share their political beliefs. The climate debacle is only the most conspicuous example of these debilitating tendencies, which play out in issues as diverse as nuclear waste disposal, protection of endangered species, and regulation of pharmaceuticals.
What also seems clear is that continued efforts to use science as a “wedge issue” (by scientists, advocates and politicians alike) will not further the restoration of trust in scientific institutions among conservatives, and likely will have the opposite effect. And without trust from across the political spectrum, science will continue to be politicized as politics by other means, diminishing its ability to serve as an important input to policy debates.
JC comment:  Back to the multiple choice test — which do you find most convincing?

484 responses to “Republican(?) brain

  1. I think most peole are too stupid to realize they are not Liberal.

    • I was, and still am, an environmentalist with a strong personal commitment to social justice and civil rights.

      I also supported the left wing of the Democratic party, until I belatedly realized they were replacing basic freedoms guaranteed by the “Bill of Right” – the first ten amendments to the US Constitution:

      With a totalitarian government, not unlike that described in the futuristic novel written in 1948 and banned in other totalitarian regimes – “1984” by George Orwell:

      I do not object to globalization, nor to the corruption of almost every field of science – astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, climatology, nuclear, particle, planetary and solar physics – nearly so much as I object to the establishment of a tyrannical government and loss of the “Bill of Rights.”

      Oliver K. Manuel

      • I regret that I have come to a very similar conclusion.

      • Daniel Suggs

        Oliver- This is the most well written, correct, concise and to the point I have seen you post here. Thank you, and I agree with you completely. .

      • Thanks, anon and Daniel Suggs.

        In 1960 I started research with the scientist who, fifteen years earlier, had been sent from the Imperial University of Tokyo to investigate the nuclear blast that consumed Hiroshima on 6 Aug 1945.

        Our combined experiences suggest the possibility that:
        Fear and the instinct of survival
        persuaded world leaders to hide the
        energy that vaporized Hiroshima
        in 1945: They thus became rulers
        rather than servants of the public.
        The 2009 result: Climategate !

        Here is an ongoing project to decipher the sixty-four mystery (2009-1945 = 64 yrs) that produced Climategate and society’s current demise.

  2. As a mostly Republican conservative with a BS in Chemistry, I’m not taking Chris very seriously.

    • As a mostly Democrat liberal with a BS in Civil Engineering, I don’t take him very seriously either.

      • As a non-academician, of neither party, I do not take him seriously as well.

      • billc said:

        “As a mostly Democrat liberal with a BS in Civil Engineering, I don’t take him very seriously either.”

        No wonder elsewhere in this thread you said:

        “But as an engineering graduate of liberal bent with mostly conservative colleagues I can tell you that 1) it didn’t take much to graduate”

        The sad fact is that civil engineering programs (and geology) is the dumping ground for many of the undegrads that couldn’t cut it in other engineering disciplines. I don’t know if this bursts your bubble or not. That is why once the civil engineers graduate, they are usually forced to pass a Professional Engineering program if they want to do projects with safety-critical aspects. And of course that means more socialist (i.e. liberal) elements in the loop.

        Chris Mooney is probably all for certification of engineers and good academic institutions. Where do you side on this issue?

      • WHT,
        No the real dumping ground is wherever Ehrlich ended up, both intellectually and georgraphically.

      • Chris Mooney probably knows nothing at all about the abuse of statistical methods in the neurosciences. Nothing about the reasons you can’t blithely pass estimates from one estimation to the next without correcting standard errors. Nothing about why the correlations between two measures cannot exceed the reliabilities of the two measures (which routinely crops up in neuroscience publications).

        Really, Web, don’t lecture us on how swell Mooney is. He has no idea what he is looking at. He probably just looks at the introductions and conclusions of the things he reads; if he looks at anything else, it is probably meaningless downward-biased p-values that he looks at like a 4-year-old looks at the pictures. I’m sure he wouldn’t know what an effect size was if it bit him in the ass, and that he couldn’t tell you what an F-test is.

      • As someone who jokes about myself as being to the left of Karl Marx, I must say that I have trouble taking Chris Mooney and much of the Liberal establishment seriously. His thesis is a crock and his hype for his book is somewhat nauseating when it isn’t tendentious. Karl Marx would be ashamed of Chris Mooney. On the other hand, more practical political practitioners of leftist political organizations would be proud of Mooney–but if I name them it would really seem over the top.

        This all, of course, is just the latest chapter in medicalizing dissent, which Lenin introduced and Stalin honed to an odious art form. Hey, alla you conservatives! If you ain’t crazy, you’re sick. And if you ain’t sick, you’re criminals.

        Speaking as a committed leftist, I am often ashamed of the company I keep. I take little solace in the fact that there are similar strands of folly on the other side of the spectrum.

      • Ted Carmichael

        Well said, Thomas.

      • thomaswfuller2,

        Re what you said: ” I must say that I have trouble taking Chris Mooney and much of the Liberal establishment seriously.”

        I don’t think that Mooney is seriously liberal or leftist. I think that the problem is that he and the AGW interventionists have been co-opted by the industrial rent seekers.

        Mooney and the interventionists are useful tools for the multinationals and aerospace defense contractors to ‘sell’ us subsidized, guaranteed-profit, solar cells and giant wind turbines.

        Who would have thought that environmentalists would shill for gas interests against coal interests?

      • Tom,
        Next time I am in the Bay area, I hope we can meet and discuss these issues in person.

      • billc said:

        “As a non-academician, of neither party, I do not take him seriously as well.”

        Thanks for saying that. I think that Mooney’s opinions are simplistic and dismissive of all of the thinking people, on both sides of the issue.

      • I’m sorry, billc, that I miss quoted you! A slip of the cut-and-paste…

        billc said: “As a mostly Democrat liberal with a BS in Civil Engineering, I don’t take him very seriously either.”

        My apologies!

    • David Bailey

      I wish scientists generally would stand up against the politicisation of science – it is a disaster.

      Climate ‘science’ has made me hugely more skeptical of science in general, because we have seen people from other disciplines – people of the stature of Paul Nurse – defend the scientific mess of climate science.

      Are they getting evidence for a Higgs boson – probably, but you have to wonder if they would have manufactured the evidence anyway, to justify the cost of the LHC!

  3. I’m neither a Republican nor in the USA, but it seems to me there is a pretty big difference between trusting science (which I do) and trusting scientific institutions. The first is about actual science. The second is about politics.

  4. Conservationists depend heavily on the Precautionary Principle to justify their protection of the environment, but that principle is conservative (don’t allow change). So, how are liberals wired that they so strongly support this conservative principle?

    • And then there is the environmentalists mis-trust of pharmaceuticals, and agro-chemicals and food and any other manifestation of the modern, industrial society. There isn’t a species on earth that isn’t more irrational and conservative than the modern environmentalist.

    • There is a whole side topic of how liberals really are retrogrades and luddites. AGW is essentially a statist orthodox solution very similar to worshipping failed New Deal economics (it failed in the 30’s as well).

      Keynes died depressed by his policy failures and the state of English debt ratio in what 1946? Has western economic dogma “progressed” since that time in the hand of these people who worship IPCC central planning?

      They’re banking on windmills and rationing as a policy solution? They can call this “progressive” with a straight face? It’s a nostalgia movement as a rule. Has-beens.

      • “They’re banking on windmills and rationing as a policy solution?”

        Yes, there are some concerns that are going to the bank with with windmill in-feed tariffs….

    • “At the extreme of these traits, you see a group called authoritarians – those who are characterized by cognitive rigidity, seeing things in black and white ways — “in group/out group,” my way or the highway.

      So in this case, if someone high on such traits latches on to a particular belief — in this case, “global warming is a hoax” — then more knowledge about it is not necessarily going to open their minds. More knowledge is just going to be used to argue what they already think.”

      Just change “global warming is a hoax” to “global warming is a catastrophe” and doesn’t that pretty much describe a left-wing climate alarmist? Isn’t the “precautionary principle” a “defensive ideology”? Seems like Chris Mooney may have a “conservative” brain himself.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        The question I would ask is how nuanced are the views of those who say “global warming is a hoax”. My impression is that the views of many in that group are not that nuanced. The belief in a hoax is about institutions but also extends to any individuals who make scientific claims that can be used to support the “alarmist” side, even if they are not alarmist.

        On the other side, though, there isn’t such a high proportion dogmatically fixed to the belief in catastrophe. Indeed the “precautionary principle” is all about being unsure that catastrophe will come about and only being concerned about the balance of risk (the risk of climate change from warming caused by more CO2 emissions versus the economic risk of a change in energy policy.)

  5. As an American conservative, I think I trust “science,” but I don’t trust people not to act like people, whether or not they call themselves scientists.

    • +1

      The issue isn’t whether you trust science or not, as science is an inanimate tool used to describe the world around us. The issue is whether you trust the people doing the science.

      Most scientists are very good at spotting bias (intentional and unintentional) but even the most rational, cold and logical scientist is STILL a human being prone to error.

      Being a scientist doesn’t automatically make you superhuman and stop you making errors or getting things wrong, it just makes you exceptionally good at spotting these errors. What you do once you’ve spotted them however is down to the character of the individual.

      • +1 to labmonkey

        Palaeoclimatology is ‘ipso facto’ selection bias. Only certain special sedimentology or dendrochronology contains palaeo-temperature signal. Only certain special experts know where those hens teeth are found…

  6. In an entirely guttural reaction to the accusations of “anti-climate” flying again over at BH, by an influx of sycophants following their embarrassing secret forum curtain-lift recently, I had again been pondering the purely anecdotal but seemingly clear correlation between left-leaning grass-root environmentalists and a tree-huggy, hippy-type pre-disposition to embrace, for example, pseudo-scientific alternative medicines, homeopathy, healing crystals, rune stones, Stone Henge solstices, morris dancing.. the list goes on.

    I’m somewhat entertained, therefore, that it is those who are not supportive of notions of climate alarmism who are repeatedly framed as “anti-science”. Really?

    Mooney’s willing embrace of pseudo-science rather seems to underline the apparent correlation. It’s unsurprising and, I dunno, just seems to fit the pattern.

  7. Eh … it’s Mooney. Enough said.

    The punch line is that this joker wants to lecture others about ideology.

    • It’s a joke, you’re right. It will still likely end up in the NY Times magazine section with full billing. This meme (liberals smart, conservatives stupid) never goes out of fashion in liberal circles.

      “JC comment: Back to the multiple choice test — which do you find most convincing?”

      She can claim she is being ironic and funny right?

      • You’re both right! It’s a punch line and it’s a joke!

        “It’s a floor wax.
        No, it’s a dessert topping.
        It’s a floor wax!
        It’s a dessert topping!!
        No! You’re both right! It’s a dessert topping… and it’s a floor wax!
        It’s new and improved blah blah”

      • ruined it… should say “You’re both right. He’s a punch line and he’s a joke!”

        drat, drat

  8. I always have a problem with social science analysis like this. First of all, they remind me of some of the pop-psychology fads of the 70’s and 80’s. I remember taking a class on team building and personnal interactions that looked into what were the best characteristics in people and how to draw those characteristics out. The final conclusion at the end of the seminar was that we all should strive to be like the boss. So what seemed dubious from the start instantly became an exercise in sucking up. I was never very good at managing up and I suspect I burned a few bridges when the boss asked for feedback. Chris Mooney’s book is written to cater to an insecure audience. It’s not so much a source of enlightenment as it is support.

    As far as the multiple choice question goes, I don’t think all science is politicized but climate science certainly is. I’ve watched science fads come and go but most seem to have about a 5 years boom bust cycle. I am really surprised how long climate alarmism has persisted and I suspect that’s because there was so much revenue involved along with a potential policy outcome that suited certain points of view. But just like a boom cycle in a market that has much longer legs than the underlying fundamentals will support, the inevitable crash down to earth will look obvious on the other side of the abyss. This is science. Mother nature has the only vote and she’s not shy about serving humble pie.

    • If you think the Mooney and AGW advocacy audience is insecure now wait and see when and if the “Chosen One” is shown the door in November. Of course I don’t think the likely alternative is to deliver the deserved justice at once but we will see how everything will change in the debate. Right now we are seeing a real esculation in bitter defeat talking points which is what Mooney and many bloggers here and elsewhere represent.

      The whining about being “the smartest in the room” is usually invoked by traditional left-wing members when they are losing. It’s as old as the hills.

  9. Oh dear. I have been embarrassed by crappy social science like Mooney’s for fifty years. Nature and nurture both play a role in all of us, as does ageing, environment, sibling order, sex, occupation and friendship network. Which is the independent variable?

    What I think to be worth pursuing further is the notion of group culture. I came across this many year ago when studying farmers and their politics. Farmers are intelligent and savvy about a lot of things, but in Australia they tend to socialise with other farmers, and with people who service farmers’ needs; they tend to marry from within the farming community, and the towns that they go to have a strongly supportive perspective too, for good reason. It is not hard to understand that they develop a world-view which many city folk find odd.

    City folk, you might think, are involved on a daily basis in the clash of opinions, but my guess is that they too tend to cluster in groups where a certain group-think is adopted because it helps to cement friendship and assistance.

    I can see this group-think in AGW, on both sides, though on the sceptical side there are many more reasons for being sceptical than there on the AGW side for being supportive. (Now I think about it, maybe not, too.)

    My suggestion: pass all this by, and concentrate on observations and science.

    • “Farmers are intelligent and savvy about a lot of things, but in Australia they tend to socialise with other farmers, and with people who service farmers’ needs; they tend to marry from within the farming community, and the towns that they go to have a strongly supportive perspective too, for good reason”

      There is an intriguing hypothesis that many autism cases are caused by like-minded people having children; a process called “assortative mating”..

      Steven Levitt also did an analysis of teacher quality. In the 40′ and 50’s most professions were mostly closed to women, either by male dominated networks or social pressure. Nursing and Teaching were open to smart ‘good girls’, so very many highly educated women went into these professions.
      After the 60’s more and more intelligent women were able to study medicine, law or other professions; this ‘may’ have led to a drop in teaching quality.

      When I went to school in the 70’s, the boys outperformed the girls in the UK. Teaching methods were changed, competition and competitive sports were eliminated, the core curriculum was altered, assessment was changed, all aimed towards eliminating ‘sexism’. Now girls out perform boys by a hefty margin, indeed, the male/female difference is much larger that any pairing of ethnic background and the majority population.

      • Lou,
        As someone who takes >4000 units vit. d per day, I call bunk on that assertion.

      • Hunter, think about it very carefully..

        Vitamin D converted into a powerful hormone which is in the same class as estrogen and testosterone and your body uses it for a lot of things like proper brain development in the womb, etc. Ask your self… why do autistic kids have very low vitamin D level? Same for their mothers.. Also, Dr. Cannell have observed that ausutuic kids have improved when receiving vittamin D treatment (no different than treating vitamin D deficiency). Don’t be so quick to dismiss it… In a few years, there should be more RCTs or clinical studies over it. Harvard is looking into it. More and more scientists are looking into it…

      • Lou, has Harvard, come to their final determination on the effects of coffee, upon the human body?

    • donaitkin,

      “City folk, you might think, are involved on a daily basis in the clash of opinions, but my guess is that they too tend to cluster in groups where a certain group-think is adopted because it helps to cement friendship and assistance.”

      Yes. +1

      “…and concentrate on observations and science.”

      Yes. +10

  10. Doug Badgero

    The problem is less science and more academic science and advocacy. Here is an example that has nothing to do with climate science.

  11. Dr. Curry –

    To answer your final question, I would like to vote for a third option:

    C) A great distrust of climate science because of its hijacking by the left to further the ends of the left

  12. Ironically people afraid of climate change are by definition afraid of change.

    I’ve seen zero evidence that humans would not be able to adapt to even the most absurd predictions of climate catastrophe, so one has to conclude they are just afraid of the change itself. Not very liberal of them if that is their politics.

  13. Dr. Curry, I’m going to think about this and read others’ responses before I emit a response. In the meantime, I was wondering whether you have permission from your IRB to conduct this strange experiment on your denizens? ;)

  14. I would trust ‘alarmist’ climate science a lot more if the researchers concluded that this is a problem too big for government but one best addressed by the incredible bread machine called capitalism. Adaptation instead of (government-failure) mitigation, in other words.

    With the saturation effect of atmospheric CO2 concentrations, there is still time for a public policy reorientation, which might make folks consider the ‘alarm’ more seriously.

    One other point: the Malthusian/neo-Malthusian track record is pretty dismal with resource alarms. The excesses of Paul Ehrlich (and John Holdren) since the 1960s/1970s is a ball-and-chain on current ‘alarmists’ such as James Hansen.

  15. Willis Eschenbach

    My conservative friends think I’m secretly a liberal, and my liberal friends and family are convinced I’m a closet conservative.

    I disagree that politicization of climate science is the problem. When’s the last time someone railed against physicist for their work. When do you hear somebody ragging on chemists for interfering in politics?

    I’d say that the politicization of two particular areas of science is the problem—climate science and environmental science. Most of that politicization has been done by Democrat / liberal / environmental / governmental / UN / NGO organizations and individuals. Not that they set out to do it. The cards just fell that way, and they got caught and enslaved by Noble Cause Corruption. Carbon simply provided the perfect enemy for both climate science and then for environmental science.

    The attack on carbon fitted everyone’s philosophy perfectly, liberals, environmentalists, rainforest protectors, ant-capitalists, everybody could hate on carbon for their own and often very different purposes.

    For example, the folks that think humans are a disease love to hate carbon. Environmentalists have agreed that carbon is teh eeevil. People who think bikes are more moral than cars hate on carbon. Gentry who have some kind of grudge with Big Oil or Big Coal or Big Anything don’t like carbon. Anyone who doesn’t like capitalism can hate carbon like poison. Heck, even people with vague, unfocused guilt can expiate it by acts of carbonic contrition. It’s the perfect storm of elements, everybody can hate carbon.

    That widespread but most unscientific agreement got mixed in with an idea of a climate Eden, a marvelous and mystical Paradise where once it never rained ’til after sundown, as exemplified by the shaft on Mann’s hockey stick.

    … then thirty years passes from the publication of the Charney Report, and CO2 continues to rise, and none of the dreaded outcomes has actually occurred, the seas haven’t overflowed, and while we still have storms and tornadoes and cyclones and the like, not one of those has increased, none of the alarmist claims have come true … and despite that the cries for money, money, feed my research, feed Agenda 21, feed the unborn solar plants, those cries for money grow more and more shrill …

    … and the energy prices go through the roof …

    … and the wheels fall off of much of the “science” that was claimed for things like the Hockey Stick …

    … and the globe stops warming and the temperature neither rises nor falls for ten years, fifteen years …

    So yes, the Republicans feel shafted by Mann’s hockeystick and the AGW climate establishment. They feel betrayed by Climategate, betrayed by the boys who have called wolf over and over. They stop believing the climate scientists, and reasonably so. Once you’ve been lied to, trust is extremely difficult to re-establish. And at the end you never believe that person in the same way.

    Meanwhile, many liberals (and far too many AGW supporting scientists) are all on about how Climategate was just boys being boys talking trash about each other, no harm, no foul … and the same thing has happened with Gleick’s wire fraud. There are lots of folks who think he’s a hero, he’ll be the lion of the party …

    Whatever the cause, what you have is one side of the political divide signed onto a policy of “Because scientists like Peter Gleick and Michael Mann say so, we must spend billions, and re-wire the global economy with advances in UN-mediated global governance, and tax the energy that saves the poor and gets us to work, and use Agenda 21 to send money to corrupt dictators in third-world countries, and force our coal producers to have all their coal burned overseas in power plants without pollution controls, all in order to avoid a most scientifically and wondrously foretold Thermageddon”

    … a Thermageddon that mysteriously shows absolutely no sign of materializing..

    And the other political side is signed on to a policy of “Stuff your climate science and your climate scientists and your global governance up your Agenda 21”.


    PS—Because this is a climate blog, I’ve left out the hypocrisy of what has become of the EPA and what they call their “enviornmental scientists”. Suffice it to say that they are every bit as politically driven and as involved in Noble Cause Corruption as the activist climate scientists, and they love to hate on carbon …

    • Willis Eschenbach

      “ant-capitalists” … ah, well, at least it’s funny … should read “anti-capitalists”


    • every. word. true.

    • Willis,
      Nice summary and accurate! The scientists making the best arguments with concern for the observables deserve respect.

      You were pretty good the other day “I am a pretty smart guy”.

    • I’m glad you posted it, agree with much of it but your minimalist reaction to what it represents is just terrible. Your rights and freedoms are under direct attack, “science” has been prostituted, billions wasted (if not over a trillion) on malinvestment and false research. Climate science is touchstone of vast social aggression and domination of leftist interests. In the 60’s they would spit on returning Vietnam veterans and essentially now they work at Greenpeace and the IPCC. Same values, same culture.

      It’s an essential driver of the AGW movement, you should be more forceful and forget the “middling”. Clearly one side is far more evil than another. There really isn’t anything Nobel in being anti-carbon, it’s compounded leftist dogma and a good amount of ignorance at best.

    • “For example, the folks that think humans are a disease love to hate carbon. Environmentalists have agreed that carbon is teh eeevil. People who think bikes are more moral than cars hate on carbon. Gentry who have some kind of grudge with Big Oil or Big Coal or Big Anything don’t like carbon. Anyone who doesn’t like capitalism can hate carbon like poison. Heck, even people with vague, unfocused guilt can expiate it by acts of carbonic contrition. It’s the perfect storm of elements, everybody can hate carbon.”

      I love carbon. I have a carbon-fiber road bike. I have carbon fiber cross-country skis, with carbon fiber poles, and in the boots. Oh yeah, carbon in my biking shoes too, nice and stiff to get good pedaling efficiency. I even have carbon fiber downhill skis, which is most advantageous for carrying them around more than for the slopes, but carbon fiber downhill poles are nice. Amazing stuff that carbon, including diamonds, and now maybe graphene too. Column IV elements have wonderful properties.

      As far as hydrocarbons are concerned, we don’t really hate the stuff, because how can you hate anything that is being depleted at such a high rate that less than half of the quality grades of hydrocarbons are left to extract? I don’t carry any animosity as much as feel sad that future generations will only be able to experience the days when oil flowed like water by reading the history books or watching movies from the 60’s.

      I also love the environment and being able to experience its wonders, and as a hobby trying to understand it. To bad that the commenting hatriarchy on this blog is skeptical about people like me. They’re all “what’s up with that?” and what’s his agenda? When people don’t understand something, they tend to hate as a knee-jerk reaction. As Monbiot once said:

      “Tell people something they know already and they will thank you for it. Tell them something new and they will hate you for it.”

      • Carbon-fiber bike? That’s expensive.

        By the way, your body is ~20% carbon.

      • “Carbon-fiber bike? That’s expensive.”

        Not really. By comparison, a car is expensive.

        I always like to say that a carbon-fiber bike fits like a second-skin. Being light-weight and the frame having a sufficient give makes it hard to beat for a feeling of exhilaration. Carbon XC skis are like that as well in that they feel like they are permanently attached to your feet. Get some crust snow and I’m off. That said, I realize that this kind of lifestyle is not for everyone though.

        Enjoy your own carbon-based life-form and lifestyle.

      • ‘When people don’t understand something, they tend to hate as a knee-jerk reaction.’

        Well, get you. Thanks for explaining that to us simple folk.
        Are you as lightweight as your Carbon XC skis?

      • “Well, get you. Thanks for explaining that to us simple folk.
        Are you as lightweight as your Carbon XC skis?”

        What a bonehead. Put a weight at the end of a long lever arm, i.e. your legs, and then lift that up and down for 30 miles. You will be glad that it is as light as it is.

        You are right that you are a simple folk.

    • And you left out the socialization of electricity – the “smart” grid (dumb idea).

      • The smart grid.

        Years ago, in the seventies, I bought a GE toaster. An Automatic Toaster! GE adverted it as a “Toaster with a Brain”. My wife cajoled me for lo the next many years, “Toaster with a brain? We got one with a low IQ!” It burnt every bit of bread it tried to toast.

        When I hear ‘smart grid’, I think ‘smart toaster’. And I have a stand-by generator.

    • Willis

      The attack on carbon fitted everyone’s philosophy perfectly, liberals, environmentalists, rainforest protectors, ant-capitalists, everybody could hate on carbon for their own and often very different purposes.


      For it lifting us from the following misery?

      We must all venerate carbon.

    • “My conservative friends think I’m secretly a liberal, and my liberal friends and family are convinced I’m a closet conservative”

      My guess is that you are socially liberal, but economically conservative. You like light law/regulation, but you want strict adherence and enforcement to laws/regulations.
      There are a huge number of such people, a modern day version of the ‘Reagan Democrat’. For some reason the media love the Liberal:Conservative split even though it describes <40% of the adult population in the US.
      I have lived for 4 years in Michigan and 4 years in Houston. The Democrats and Republicans are quite different in both places. I was a little shocked how don't-give-a-damn the Texan Conservatives are, quite unlike the redneck image portrayed in the press.

      • “I was a little shocked how don’t-give-a-damn the Texan Conservatives are, quite unlike the redneck image portrayed in the press.”

        There’s a strong libertarian strain in the south half of TX. The German 48ers (1848 that is) who settled in the hill country have a lot to do with that, I suspect.

    • Nice work Willis.

      PS – I have never seen you as a closet anything.

    • Willis Eschenbach | March 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm |

      You’re kidding, right?

      “When’s the last time someone railed against physicist for their work. When do you hear somebody ragging on chemists for interfering in politics?”

      From Galilleo to Thatcher, physicists and chemists, and every branch of science between have been targets of religion and politics (Thatcher’s treatment of artificial water-ice provoking intense complaints from socialists in the UK, before she switched careers from food chemistry).

      Political crackpots and religious wingnuts have attacked pretty much all of science through history, from Hypatia to Hansen.

      Climate and environmental sciences are not a special case, but representative. A good Republican would say, if he knew what Republican meant, that we ought be judged by how we treat each component of our nation, not how we tell ourselves we treat the majority.

      An attack on any scientist for practicing any science is an attack on all science, all reason, and all freedom.

      • Wow, you had to dig deep into history for that one.
        Scientists attack the work of other scientists all the time. Just read the leaked emails. Beyond that, that is just how science works – there is an adversarial aspect to it.
        And it is perfectly OK for any tax payer to attack the work of scientists payed by their hard earned taxes if those scientists are doing sloppy work and wasting said dollars.
        Scientists aren’t sacrosanct. I mean, they aren’t gods – are they?

      • Dig deep?

        You can’t go anywhere in history without stumbling over the corpses of martyrs to science at the hands of religious or political leaders. History, it’s a bit like Texas.

        Name the scientist who’s held another scientist in a dungeon for the sake of science?

        The one who’s organized boycotts of another scientist’s employer over science?

        Which scientist has led a mob to ambush another scientist, strip them, beat them, drag them through the streets and stone them for science?

        I didn’t find any of those in the leaked emails. Eight inquiries into the leaked emails found all of what? One single act of FOI wrongdoing worth taking action over: and guess what? Scientists took care of that one themselves.

        Over and above that, scientists zeroed in on the acts not in the spirit of science in the emails almost immediately upon their release, expressed their dismay, went over the implications for the work of science, and moved on, long before these slow-moving boards and committees.

        Because scientists are the first to disparage the bad science of others.

        I’m all for ordinary adversarial scientific search for knowledge, rivalries that sharpen the focus and hone the advancement of research. That’s cool.

        It is perfectly ok for a taxpayer to decide for themself what is or isn’t sloppy science, and use deception, hacking, and abusing the power of the law to vilify and victimize their target? That’s so far from ok as to be vile. It demeans the justified work of taxpayers to use deception, hacking and abusing power of the law to vilify and victimize sloppy journalists and incompetent, corrupt politicians who waste tax dollars.

        What’s sacrosanct about asking for scientists not to be subject to witch hunts out of ignorance? I mean, they aren’t demons, are they?

      • Bart – History is replete with mayhem – it wasn’t just scientists who were on the receiving end. You are being dramatic.
        hat we found in the leaked emails were scientists trying to stifle other scientists. That’s not part of science.
        And those were probably leaked by someone on the inside – someone with a conscience.
        Those emails may not have been the final nail in the coffin of the bad behavior of certain scientists – but it was one hell of a nail gun.

      • Bart R,

        Yr, “You can’t go anywhere in science without stumbling over the corpses of martyrs to science…”

        I thought surely you were exaggerating, BR, in your comment, but just to be sure I took a stroll down history-lane. And sure enough, I mean, like, I didn’t get two steps before I ’bout fell flat on my face over the pitiful remains of Professor Lysenko–I mean, all that post-mortem savagery, and all!. Now there’s a true science-martyr for “the cause.”

        So good point, BR.

      • Jim2 | April 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm |

        Probably someone on the inside with a conscience.

        Because we all know how well-read and expert in the skills it takes to move files around the Internet without being tracked and caught most insiders to climate science are?

        Puhleeze. The few people who know what really happened aren’t especially talking about their own actions, and people with a legitimate conscience come forward and tell the truth, so the whole story can be heard. That’s one of the qualities of conscience.

        I guess that someone who advocates demonizing, dungeons and stoning by the mob for scientists ought not be expected to realize these things.

        So let’s stick to this “scientists are fair game” theme, and leave the overdramatized Climategate aside.

        Are you saying it’s okay for scientists to be hunted down for their views?

        Please, clear that up, because as dramatic as it sounds, that’s what unambiguously you appear to be saying.

      • You do have a flair for the dramatic, Bart. Maybe you could cut and paste my writing some of those things.

  16. The oversimplification of motives and sterotyping of any one group gives rise to all sorts of nasty and unuseful kinds of proclamations about that group. “Conservative” and “Liberal” are erroneous generalizations in and of themselves, and so how much worse to try and find some kind of difference in brain wiring or psychological profile to fit these artificial categories. Such branding and search for differences can only serve to further expand the great divide that has grown in these United States over the past few decades, and sadly infused Washington to the point of complete paralysis. Our country and politics are broke, and the only way to fix them is to begin to look for similarities and reasons for unity rather than differences. The mantra of “Join or Die” from the days of the early republic continue to be quite on point today.

    • agree

    • Wishful thinking and false middling of political participation of actors in the AGW drama. You might have good intensions but it’s false. AGW advocacy is a very partisan agenda with a large cast of side players who have all sorts of special interests and can be distraction of the essential truth of the debate.

      There are always nuances but AGW is a leftist tool of choice. Your posture in enabling to those interests and should be rejected.

      A post from James Delingpole would have been very balanced to this topic, of course that’s why it would never be included. Peilke makes some good points but just isn’t balance to Mooney who let’s face it is a blind hatred actor in the play.

  17. Not once did I see the word catastrophic, although I must say I only scanned Mooney’s stuff. I am quite certain most reasonably well educated, conservatives who have spent time reading about the issue believe in anthropogenic climate warming but what they do not believe in is catastrophic anthropogenic climate warming. The Left and climate scientists on the left taken pains to conflate the two to justify draconian state intervention in the economy. I would say that conservatives have an innate distrust of big and powerful government, so when Obama, who is in favor of big powerful government solving all of society’s problems, says he believes in anthropogenic warming, conservatives will instinctively disbelieve, more because they don’t trust Liberals, with, I might add, some justification, since big powerful governments down thru the ages have consistently caused catastrophe for the ruled.

  18. None of the above. First, the choice between ‘a’ and ‘b’ is a false dichotomy. Choice ‘a’ is as Mooney defines it:

    Conservatism is a Defensive Ideology, and Appeals to People Who Want Certainty and Resist Change.

    At 56 years old one of the things I have learned is that people of all political stripes “want certainty and resist change”. When people want change it is usually to insure (in their mind) certainty and generally resist change due to uncertainty. I have also learned that in life certainty doesn’t exist and change is inevitable.
    Second, Mooney conflates science, scientific institutions, and scientists to make his simplistic arguments.

    A growing distrust of scientific institutions because of the politicization of science.

    Institutions don’t necessarily represent the members of the institution. Institutions are hierarchal. More often than not an institution’s views are those of the people in charge which may or may not be representative of the members as a whole. Scientist are people who are subject to the same human failings as the rest of us are. For me trust is something that is earned on an individual basis. If I trust someone it is because they have placed a high value on their integrity. It has nothing to do with what their occupation is. There is no such thing as the “politicization of science”. If it has been politicized it is no longer science, it is a con.

    • Theo Goodwin

      Very well said. I salute your 56 years.

    • Hank Zentgraf

      Good post! Research into organizational behavior shows repeatedly that about 70% of the people will automatically resist change, 20% will just “go along” and 10% will jump at the chance to make the change (early adopters). It has nothing to do with politics.

  19. I’d be curious to see a real political scientist weigh in on Chris’s musings.

    One immediate thing that crosses my mind is the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. By Cris’s criteria, those wild and exploratory liberals should have been happy to experiment with a couple new conflicts half way around the world. And, those risk-averse conservatives should have frantically opposed such risky entanglements.

    Of course, it did not turn out that way. (As a risk-averse person who actually does fit Chris’s psychobabble definition of “conservative,” I myself did in fact oppose both wars.)

    Which seems to me to point to the main problem, which should be obvious to any competent historian or political scientist: political alignments and convictions are highly dependent on contingent historical events. When Clinton went into Somalia, many Republicans *did* criticize him. But, when it was the Republican G. W. Bush who was trying out :”nation-building,” few Republicans were willing to be critical (with a few exceptions such as Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan).

    Group loyalty, family tradition, and historical contingencies generally matter much more than any sort of consistency in political and ideological commitments.

    In short, “conservative” vs. “liberal” is more like “Dodgers’ fan” vs. “Yankees’ fan.”

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

    • While the point of your example does have some merit, your example regarding Somalia does not hold up.
      Clinton did not go into Somalia. Bush41 did. Climton managed the US role and narrowed the rules of engagement so much that he left our troops vulnerable and the mission in failure.
      Could Somalia have been a successful excercise? We will never know.

      • Yes, sorry. I should have said when Clinton attempted nation building in Somalia (and Haiti). George W. Bush actually criticized Clinton’s attempts at nation building during the 2000 campaign. But, of course, he did the same thing that he himself had criticized once he was in office.

        Anyway, my point is that political views are commonly less a matter of consistency of principle than of team loyalty. Rick Santorum made that very clear in one of the later debates when he admitted that he had voted against his principles in order, in his words, to “take one for the team,” and he was quite unapologetic about it. And, Santorum is widely considered to be the “principled conservative” in the race!


      • (Captain Renault bursts into the congressional chambers): “I am shocked, yes shocked to find logrolling here!”

        You know, I have no love for Santorum, but it’s sad that politicians can’t speak obvious truths without taking a hit.

      • And you know Mike Kinsley’s definition of a “political gaffe”? It’s when a politician accidentally tells the truth.

        I’m not singling out Santorum as particularly bad: it’s just that his recent admission makes explicit the point that politics tends to be more about group loyalty than abstract principles.


    • Agree. I also think that to some degree, historical contingencies themselves are the reason that the US republicans are more likely to be AGW-skeptical. In other words, a coincidence. For example in Japan, it’s the other way round – the leftist/liberals are more skeptical of AGW, or so I’ve heard.

  20. dennis adams

    The generalizations dont seem to cover those, like myself, who in younger days was a liberal and after having a few decades of experience became a conservative a la the famous Churchill quote. Nor does it cover those like myself who was at one time a believer in AGW without having scanned the literature and after having done so became a skeptic. Mooney is an amateur who is out of his league.

  21. Mann/IPCC-style AGW seems to me to be a lot like Keynesian economics. Whatever science is in either, the fact remains that both are easily used by those who simply want money and power. In the economic sense, turtle crossings and digging ditches (only to fill them) become “investments. In the AGW sense, anything and everything that needs funding and requires unpopular laws can be said to “prevent global warming.”

    And in both cases, neither those who want money and power, nor those who make the laws, understand the science that is being bastardized.

    • Excellent point, I’ve discussed this before but you’re not going to find much curiosity. Expect to be flamed or ignored but you are 100% correct.

  22. peterdavies252

    Pop psychology similar to Myers Briggs personality test interests me ..NOT! Generalisations about any group leads to stereotyping and that is wrong thinking that can lead to polarisation and even violence.

    Questionnaires and multiple choice tests invariably reflect the inherent bias of the researcher and rarely provide valid results that stand up to proper scientific processes of validation and verification.

  23. H. J. Eysenck in the 1950s and 1960s used to administer multiple choice tests designed to elicit poltical orientation, and found that the far right fascists and the far left communists converged in the same quadrant of his mapping of all replies. Replace either fascists or communists by Greens, and you will find the same outcome, extreme dirigisme, with us liberal/socialist JSMillians in the other 75% of the spectrum.

    • that’s because “far right fascists” are in fact far left fascists. there is nothing remotely rightwing about fascism.

  24. Well, at least we’re getting closer to the partisan hatred that drives so much of AGW and Green advocacy. Drives much of this blog as well.

    Of course “science” confidence is declining, when it becomes a partisan enclave of leftist interests it’s natural and correct. Are we going to go through the usual idiocy of debating Enviornmental and Climate studies aren’t left of center enclaves as a rule?? The NY Times is middle of the road?

    We really are at the angry reactionary period of the current administration and the total rejection of the “smartest person in the room” persona that is so directly related to the AGW subculture.

    We should put up a topic relating to the Peoples Temple/Jim Jones and extreme radical leftist movements. Do you think many of the AGW supporters here would be offended??

    • Cwon,

      I for one have no hatred. I don’t let someone’s politics get in the way of relationships. I may disagree with people vehemently on topics, but hate never comes into it. It is wasted emotion and not healthy.

  25. Conservative: “If your argument can not stand on its own merits, then it’s crap”
    Liberal: “I feel like it makes sense.” That would be Mooney. His article is pure B.S.

  26. John Kannarr

    “The individualist is threatened by global warming, deeply threatened, because it means that markets have failed and governments — including global governments — have to step in to fix the problem. And some individualists are so threatened by this reality that they even spin out conspiracy theories, arguing that all the world’s scientists are in a cabal with, like, the UN, to make up phony science so they can crash economies.”

    Wow! So you have to be a liberal (at least, not a conservative) to accept that totalitarianism is the answer to every problem, especially big ones, like “climate change.” But if you can overcome your predisposition towards individual autonomy, and willingly submit to someone who is “superior” to you, like Chris Mooney, then maybe there is hope for your brain.

    What self-serving claptrap!

  27. Hearing from Chris Mooney about the problems of science is like listening to a press secretary of of some diocese as to why pedophile priests are not really to blame for the problems of the Church, but rather those sinful wicked children.
    Chris Mooney is simply projecting his bigotry and reactionary world view onto those whom he despises. One of the few things the AGU has done well of late is to get rid of Mooney. Romm, Mooney and Gleick offer a nice view into the corrupt spittle flecked world of the AGW true believer.

    • 2+ Hunter.

      Pielke does a good job;

      “Think about it: The results of climate science, delivered by scientists who are overwhelmingly Democratic, are used over a period of decades to advance a political agenda that happens to align precisely with the ideological preferences of Democrats. Coincidence—or causation?”

      Yes, causation and there is no point in being rhetorical with the troll nature of the AGW advocate community proper.

      Was there ever a topic here that screamed for a James Delingpole or Inholf contributution? Pielke is rational but is that a fair balance to the sort of socially bigotted presentation of Mooney?

    • You hit the key word: reactionary. The environmental movement in general, and the climate movement in particular are reactionary.

  28. ANSWER: Very close to “b” — Judeo/Christian ethics and the principles that underlie American idealism are more open to the scientific approach concerning things that can be quantified and qualified (i.e., also subject to a critical review for ethical abuse and scientific fraud)–than anything we can ever hope to expect from superstitious and secular liberal utopians.

  29. A nice book that might actually offer something original would be
    “The Leftist Brain(?)”.

    • Yes, the topic framing is insulting. You’re not going to dis our liberal blog host are you Hunter? Think of all its done for me of late.

      Why not lobby for a Delingpole article and see how the “advocates” here would handle that?

      • Steven Mosher

        but cwon, you are just a liberal posing as a conservative. nice try

      • SM,

        Post ot the subject or go away. I’m not following your usual empty content and harrassing you am I? Be a good little troll-insect and find another delusional fantasy to promote away from me. It’s a reasonable request as longs as I’m not smeared I’m likely not to bother with your drivel.

  30. Well I did my poll at a screening of Team America – not only did they think it was funny but I have never seen such collection of smart young people.

    I think they are not at the right venue at all – the right are a hell of a lot smarter and funnier.

    Don’t believe me? I suggest you try the interactive quiz at the ‘people’s cube’ – don’t forget to pack warm clothes.

  31. Judith

    Why bother with a completely discredited twit like Mooney? Would you take anything coming from climate activist “scientists” like David Suzuki in Canada or Tim Flannery in Australia seriously? Or for that matter, at face value anything produced in future by Mann as lead author?

    We all know that once credibility is shot, it’s pretty much impossible to re-establish it, and once trust is broken whatever you say or do will never be taken a face value again.

    That said, it’s the environmentalists/climate alarmists who are the most conservative of the lot, quintessentially anti-progress. In fact these groups are reactionaries because their anti-humanist “man is a cancer on the earth” delusions about returning the earth to a somehow unblemished state that of course never existed.

    During the 19th and most of the 20th century, it was the Left that portrayed itself and was seen as the vanguard of progress, and the conservatives were the ones seen as holding back. Few on the left today can or want to acknowledge that since probably the 1980s a complete and profound role reversal has taken place across the board, and that today the Left are the actual “conservatives” and the Right are the voice of progress.

    • I get the irony as well. Perhaps the reason for the role reversal was the institutionalization of the New Deal and post WWII orthodox which is of course in decline and decay. While it morfed for the Romans in the final stages what was left became a very similar nostalgia political culture of maintaining past authority. It’s about bitter clinging to authority, they haven’t has a new idea in a century.

      These are waning days for academic authority and central planning credit funding. It’s the next shoe to be dropped and the anger and rage is obvious in areas of special excess like climate funding. Mooney tells them what they want to hear, similar to the NY Times. They are very close to the unsustainable tipping point and the next election is very much on their minds. This is very much like 1980 and they are facing 20 years + of social rejection ahead of them if it goes wrong in November. It might happen even if Obama squeeks by. In fact, it’s inevitable because it’s a culture of failure that is in charge at the moment. They needed the cap and tax money and they failed to get it, it’s just a matter of time. 2:28, Sollotzo “I missed my chance”;

      They know how the scene ends as well. The AGW movement is close to done and so are the Obama years. Both will be remembered as social digression born of fear, decline and social insecurity.

  32. It would seem then that the precautionary principle is a genetic red flag as it is practiced far more by climate alarmists than climate skeptics. That is not what Mooney’s hard hitting analysis would have predicted. I am so disappointed in him.

    ‘k – I’m over it.

  33. To everyone praising conservatives and bashing liberals:

    In the last dozen years, there have been two major developments in the US that involve a massive expansion of central governmental power:

    From the Left: Obamacare. Which, it now seems, is almost certain to be struck down, at least in part, by the Supremes. (Whereas the significant expansion of the welfare state under Dubya, the prescription drug addition to Medicare, still stands.)

    From the Right: the new National Security State. The Patriot Act, the TSA, body scanners and shoe removal in the airports and all the rest of it. Which the Supremes have allowed to stand.

    The conservative self-image of being brave defenders of the individual against the power of the central state does not seem to agree with reality.

    (In fairness, I realize that there are some grass-roots conservatives who object to the impositions of the new National Security State. But they have not succeeded in transmitting their concerns to conservative leaders, whether to GOP representatives in the Congress or to such prominent purveyors of conservatism as Fox News.)


  34. The only thing scientists understand less than they do the climate, is the working of the human brain. In both cases, we know more than we ever have before. And in both, we don’t even have a clue how they really work.

    Progressive pseudo scientists do a study to determine why conservatives aren’t progressive, and they shockingly find that progressives like themselves are more intelligent, more open minded, less risk adverse, and just generally better people.

    I’ll alert the media.

  35. I do think ideology has effects on people’s beliefs about the way the world works, but I think Mooney’s view of the mechanics is pretty outrageous and silly. It’s fairly simple to give both game-theoretic and cognitive accounts of why ideology and belief are linked, without indulging in the kind of trash-talk explanation Mooney gives.

    I have a paper about this kind of thing:

    That version is paywalled. Here is a link to an older version in working paper form:

    Andrew and I would have also liked to do this in a “mirror image ideological relationship” situation. Say for instance, doing a classroom experimental demonstration of market failure in sociology classrooms, with sociologists conducting the in-class demonstrations, since sociologists have the opposite ideological reputation of economists (at least in the US). It would be helpful for better sorting out the various potential explanations we talk about at the end of the paper.

    This was an unusual project for me–not my usual area of research.

  36. I’m afraid this discussion is US centred as many are (Your Presidents wait until they are elected before realising that the world does not begin at the coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans). Your posters need to look at the rest of the English-speaking world before pontificating. Maggie Thatcher, a ‘Conservative’ made many overdue changes in the UK. In Australia John Howard did likewise. However, Downunder it is true that far more Coalition i.e. Lberal/National voters (which are our ‘conservatives’) are strongly and more numerously opposed to the Carbon Tax than are the left leaning voters of the Labor Party which more or less runs our Federal government.
    Cheers from a slowly drying out sydney, but still very wet inland.

  37. According to the wikipedia, Chris Mooney has absolutely no college level education in science, including writing a scientific paper, including any laboratory or experimental science, nothing.

    His post college experience is 100% as a journalist.

    I am certain that journalists can receive excellent on the job training, and he is certainly in a rarefied atmosphere that enables him to literally speak to our best and brightest.

    But really?

    How does this guy advance so far as to become AGU board member while being employed at one partisan liberal journal after another?

    Those of you that read him, when he writes on science, not on political topics, does he seem as though he understands the underlying science?

    Anyway, I like to believe I am a progressive guy with college and post graduate work in science and engineering.

    I think Mooney is loony.

    • Chris Mooney is a pretty average and mainstream AGW advocate in the AGW community.

      Not far form the center of political gravity of many here.

    • anon,
      Sadly cwon14 describes the problem well. Mooney is a typical highly respected AGW true believer. That he, like Gleick, does not give a hoot for truth or integrity simply endears him more to the AGW community.

  38. There is an asymmetry in the political dichotomy that that most leftists, like Mooney, will never understand. It is the fact that many, maybe even most, Republicans (Mooney’s america-speak for conservatives) were born as, and inculcated in youth as, and grew-up as leftists. This majority of the presently conservative believers, drifted from leftist utilitarianism to conservationism as they learned lessons from the real life. What Mooney can’t see is that most of the people that he despises once had the same utopian, authoritarian ideas as he presently has, but they repudiated those ideas as they matured. That these conservatives do not accept Mooney’s ideas is not that they’re too ignorant to understand Mooney’s arguments; it is that they understand much too well the bad consequence that result from the well intentioned totalitarianism that Mooney argues for.

    This is an intellectual asymmetry; it is much harder for a leftest to comprehend an argument for idea he never believed in than it is for a rightest to comprehend an argument for an idea he once believed in but rejected after experience.

    • jim, I agree. I am one of the people you are talking about. Actually I think I am moderate but my oldest friends assure me I have become a running dog imperialist child-murderer. Still, I know the old saw that the very worst sort of dogmatist is a convert, and hope it isn’t true.

    • In my twenties, I was a member of Friends of the Earth and thought the Ehrlichs were god-like. I was very, very wrong.

  39. “How does this guy advance so far as to become AGU board member while being employed at one partisan liberal journal after another?”

    By toeing the party line. More toe, more “advancement”.

  40. Mooney seems to be a very good example of the damage ideology can do to the brain. But I guess when someone doesn’t get the basics of reason by himself, or doesn’t care at all, any explanation is worthless. I mean it in case his argument is really as shown in the post.

    Any case, I think there are more choices in the multiple test. For example,

    c) Republicans are more skeptical than Democrats about climate change for the same reason Democrats buy so easily CAGW. It fits their preconceptions.

  41. Hank Campbell: At the end, he even finds a way to rationalize why liberals get drunk a lot more; they are so darn smart they just have to get away from their super smart brains on occasion. In other words, they drink because they need to be more like conservatives – dumber – and stop solving all of the world’s problems.
    This phenomenon is known as the “Wildebeest Principle”, well known through out the African Continent. I keep the explanation it simple ;)

    Each year the wild animals of the plains of Africa have their migratory march for feed and water and the biggest herds numbering tens of thousands are the wildebeest … an African adaptation of the moose. Behind these great herds of wildebeest follows the carnivorous species, the big cats, hyena, etc., picking off and eating the weak, old and injured. This ensures that the quality of the gene pool in the wildebeest species is improved as only the fittest survive and consequently get to mate. And so it is with the liberals of the world and their excessive drinking habits … the alcohol kills off the weak and damaged brain cells leaving only the best cells to carry out the thinking work. This is none so more apparent when one or more of these liberals is drunk, you will have noticed how they all seem to think that they are oh so very smart … and funny!

  42. This whole thing, to someone from the UKm smacks a lot of ‘their genetically inferior to us, therefore we can ignore them’.

    Eugenics anyone?

    • No. It smacks of ‘they’re intellectually and morally inferior to us…’

      No eugenics is presently necessary.

      For “Population Bomb” eugenics, reference Ehrlich.

  43. Not that I want to bring down the very wise insight of Bruce Hoult | March 29, 2012 at 9:08 pm | by agreeing with him, but I agree with him.

    Psychology.. isn’t that something to do with human nature? US political parties.. isn’t that something to do with voting in the USA?

    A conservative in China, Afganistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Germany.. is like a Republican in the USA? When even any two Republicans may be as different as Mitt Romney (yes, he’s really a Republican, officially; I checked his birth certificate) and Joe Santorum and Rick Perry?

    Reminds me of a joke I heard from someone who tells out of date jokes. You see, this psychologist and Rick Perry met and got to talking, and Rick Perry wondered, “Say, Doc, how do you tell if someone’s not right in the head?” The psychologist explained, “Governor, we generally ask a series of questions meant to probe the workings of the mind. For example, we might say, ‘Magellan sailed around the world three times and died on a voyage, then ask, ‘on which voyage did Magellan die?'” The governor nodded his head sagely, looked thoughtful, then admitted, “Doc, I didn’t especially study history. Which voyage was it?”

    Tell me, did a Republican, or a Democrat tell this joke?

    A Liberal? Libertarian? Lefty? Righty? Was he in favor of tax-and-spendism? The death penalty? France?

    Pollsters may find in times when polemicists spout doggerel and politicians seek advantage by their power to manipulate their predisposed followings, some signal suggesting real psychological differences in basic human brain activity. But clearly, they’re wrong. We know this because we know the USA is not the whole world, and the world did not spring into being in 1776. Only the part that matters.

    And we know politicians, for all their power to manipulate polls, are not ready for Policy.

    Guess the party of the man who said this: “I talked to a member of Congress once who said: Do you know how important this is? I’ve been on so many committee hearings where the members of Congress would be lined up at a table, sitting at a table.

    On the other side of the table was a panel of scientists, and the members of Congress would be passing notes to one another. They’d say: Do you know what this guy’s talking – I don’t know what he’s talking – do you know what he’s talking – no, I don’t know. That’s not right. But I mean, we should be able to talk back and forth and know because things will get turned down that don’t deserve to be turned down.”

    Science. It’s too important to forget where it ends, and politics begins.

  44. Having a quick check of your denizens page (and there is no cwon14 in there) it seems that many of the skeptics are engineering types and the warmists are academics. If this correlation is correct, then it may be a very plausible explanation the superficial analysis in Mr Mooney’s paper. Without too much generalisation, engineers are by nature conservative. They also tend to be in relatively well paying jobs. It isn’t any surprise that they would generally vote for right wing parties.

    Factors of safety, levels of confidence, he difference between accuracy and resolution, error calculations and the like are drummed into engineers all the way through their careers. The easiest way to rile one is an argument from authority where they can see the data doesn’t support the conclusion.

    It would be interesting to know if there was a similar conservative liberal split on another science issue like say vaccinations. There I suspect, it would be the liberals who were anti-science. A good example to support this analysis is look at the anti-fraccing activists.

    Overall Mr Mooney’s ideas looks more like a pub argument that anything else. It can be characterised as just a prejudiced opinion rather than anything substantive.

    • Latimer Alder

      @chris m

      Another way to look at it is that if academics cock something up, there might be a politely phrased rebuttal in an academic paper about a year later. Which three people would read.

      If engineers cock it up people die and lawsuits fly.

      I know which I trust more. Purely on the basis that they have more skin in the game.

      • I have told the same many, many times to a friend who had a degree in Economics and a PhD in Sociology (in a nutshell, he’s that kind of academic who uses the math economists are fond of to explain social phenomena):

        If an economist screws up the math, somebody eventually will refute him and nothing happens. If an engineer does the same, a plane crashes. One can’t get fooled by the distinct perspectives.

      • Latimer,
        I think what you say may be the root of my discomfort with scientist involvement in policy. At the same time, I wonder if there are actually any engineers involved in the various geo-engineering schemes.

        There’s nothing like standing out there looking at something expensive that’s screwed up to give one religion (maybe wrong choice, there).

  45. a) A defensive ideology is hardwired into their brain

    b) A growing distrust of scientific institutions because of the politicization of science

    I don’t think a) provides a particularly useful explanation. There are varied socio-political and economic reasons for people having differing viewpoints on the science of climate change. What appears to be happening in some quarters of the US is that it’s becoming socially unacceptable not to be ‘skeptical’ of climate change. Nothing to do with ideology, simply a social taboo.

    b) doesn’t quite capture things since Republicans appear happy with what Roy Spencer, Pat Michaels and Richard Lindzen have to say. It’s really a matter of what scientific institutions are saying, and whether that fits with an individual’s present views and social situation, than a question of process.

    About a year ago I was talking to someone who was arguing that there was growing distrust in science. As evidence he pointed to this article by two members of Greenpeace (Presumably he hadn’t noticed that since he’d previously argued Greenpeace were the problem and you can’t trust anything they say). It’s interesting how their points about approval of GM crops by scientific institutions mirror many of the ‘process’ concerns regarding climate science. However, clearly Greenpeace aren’t too unhappy with scientific conclusions in this field so they’re being selective about which science is and isn’t ‘trustworthy’.

    While checking out that article I also found this report (It appears to be a draft version) investigating the claim made in the Greenpeace article that science was losing trust. They found no evidence to suggest this was the case. In answering the question ‘Why, then does [sic] all newspapers and journals talk about the decline in trust?’ they propose a few possible answers and I’ll reproduce two of them here:

    – ‘A number of groups have a vested interest in depicting the situation as moving from bad to worse. This could be groups such as environmental groups, which in order to be taken seriously portray the opponent (mostly government and industry) as not to be trusted. It this is the case it can be concluded that they have been successful, since they are part of the segment most trusted by the public.’

    – ‘Finally an explanation could be that a well educated public in an open society makes informed decisions and based on experience tend to trust some groups “under their control” more than other groups.’

  46. David Springer

    c. They’re rational.

    Fixed that for ya, Dr. Curry!

  47. David Springer

    With an as yet undetermined appendage Mooney writes:

    “By contrast, liberalism can be thought of as an exploratory ideology…”

    Really. Our explorers have historically been military men. Even our astronauts today. Military men are not usually considered ‘liberal’. Where on earth does Mooney get this crap from?

  48. David Springer

    d. Liberals are insecure crybabies who substitute government for mommy when mommy cuts the apron strings while conservatives embrace becoming independent adults.

  49. David Springer

    e. Conservatives are better at math.

  50. Liberals have been attempting to slime conservatives with the idea that conservatives somehow have a defective intellect. But I say to them, “Look in the mirror.” They commonly espouse solutions by governmental fiat. They blithely ignore the fact that the most egregious mass murders of government’s own citizens have been carried out by those that feature a large degree of centralized control: Communist Russia, Communist China, the Nazis – these all are communist/socialist in nature. They literally whistle past the grave yard. If anyone needs their cranial oil checked, it’s liberals.

  51. “Fox News is the Key “Feedback Mechanism” — whereby people already inclined to believe false things get all the license and affirmation they need.”

    The juvenility of the entire thesis is in this money bullet above. So conservatism is less than a generation old. All of Mooney’s explanation seem as accurate as GCMs,.

    • Latimer Alder

      A fine and growing band of climate sceptics in UK and some other European countries.

      We do not have Republicans/Democrats, nor Fox News. How then are we to be explained?

      • Shsssssh! If you disturb their fantasy, they might do something stupid out of desperation … oh, wait … that’s already happened.

  52. David Springer

    ChrisM | March 30, 2012 at 4:03 am | Reply

    “It would be interesting to know if there was a similar conservative liberal split on another science issue like say vaccinations.”

    Yes but not like vaccinations. Mud-to-man evolution via a random dance of atoms. Everywhere we look in the universe from the smallest scale to the largest the so-called ‘illusion’ of design doesn’t just persist it becomes more compelling. Perhaps it takes an engineer to recognize products of design. Global warming theory sure looks like a product of design to me. A fabrication in other words.

  53. David Springer

    Bart R | March 30, 2012 at 3:19 am | Reply
    “Reminds me of a joke I heard from someone who tells out of date jokes. You see, this psychologist and Rick Perry met and got to talking, and Rick Perry wondered, “Say, Doc, how do you tell if someone’s not right in the head?” The psychologist explained, “Governor, we generally ask a series of questions meant to probe the workings of the mind. For example, we might say, ‘Magellan sailed around the world three times and died on a voyage, then ask, ‘on which voyage did Magellan die?’” The governor nodded his head sagely, looked thoughtful, then admitted, “Doc, I didn’t especially study history. Which voyage was it?””

    That reminds me of an engineering manager I once knew. He was an extremely bright guy when it came to math and engineering but unlike any others I knew he was a greasy long haired grossly overweight biker who loved guns and spent his weekends looking for trouble. One Monday I asked how his weekend went and he said great. He showed me a knife and said “Ask me how I got that.” So I did. He says well when the bar closed Saturday I went out to my Harley parked on the street outside and had to piss so I ducked into a nearby alley. Then someone comes out of nowhere with a knife and says hand over your wallet. So I pulled out my handgun and put a round through the trash can next to him and said “I like your knife”.

    So I asked him (he was my boss) you’re a really bright guy how can you be such a lunatic at the same time? And he says “Springer, you don’t have to be stupid to be crazy but I’m sure it helps.”

    • DS,
      I might have queried the doc the same question Perry asked, just to see if the doc knew Magellan died while on his only circumnavigation.

  54. John Costigane


    Republicans are of the dark side to climate alarmists and their skewed morality. Come November, and loosely based on the falsifiable predictions essential to good science, I see a meltdown for the alarmist side (Democrats). Good for the USA and good for the world!

  55. In the UK, the Conservatives have historically been known as the ‘stupid party’ (JS Mill: “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives”).

    Partly this was a collective ‘ad hom’, but also partly it was because conservatives were suspicious of the latest intellectual fads (many were suspicious of Thatcher, with her economic radicalism).

    They saw all these fads as the passing whims and fears of academia, which government should ignore lest it lurch all over the place with every will-o’-the-wisp fanciful bit of intellectual groupthink.

    So the shriller, louder and more alarmist the warmists have become, the more suspicious conservatives are bound to be.

    Fads have always cited ‘science’ in their favour – usually social ‘science’, but now climate ‘science’. Marxism was ‘scientific’ and therefore ‘inevitable’. And now we have the likes of Hansen and Mann spouting utter nonsense from their academically privileged positions.

    Imagine if, in the West in the 1970s, we had acted upon ‘coolist’ climate fears, or instituted ‘one child per family’ policies based on ZPG propoganda, or halted economic growth as the neo-Malthusians wanted.

    Mooney may have no doubts about AGW ‘science’, but if it all looks pretty stupid in 20 years, he should be as thankful as anyone else that faddishness is not a general basis of government in the US. Sadly, in Europe, our useless wind farms will stand as monuments to our failure to be sufficently “stupid”.

    • You hit the nail on the head concerning Marxism. CAWG proponent conveniently ignore the unknowns in their models. If they were modeling a V-8 engine with a carburetor and didn’t understand the carburetor, then they couldn’t produce a useful model. Climate scientists don’t have a full understanding of the climate system, and therefore can’t model something they don’t understand; just as in the case of the engine, although it is easier to see why the engine model wouldn’t be any good. Likewise, Marxism ignores the human element. It ignores the fact that sociopathic power-mongers exist, it ignores the fact that even a roomful of the smartest people in the world can’t understand the world well enough to orchestrate it, and it ignores the fact that socialism disrupts natural economic incentives and signals. Look at Europe. China experienced a growth spurt when they opened the spigot of economic freedom, but now they are subsidizing failing businesses instead of letting the free market weed out the losers. The Chinese rulers aren’t smart enough to understand all the elements of their economy and control it effectively.

    • I think hubris infects many of the academics who push CAWG and centralized government solutions. Are the academics smart? Of course they are. Are the smart enough to plan our lives? No.

      • “Are the academics smart? Of course they are. Are the smart enough to plan our lives? No.”

        They plan your life more than you know. If you graduated from college and didn’t flunk out, the academics were the gatekeepers who decided whether you got a diploma.

        And it is easy to find the relative proportion, a comprehensive poll done by a conservative statistics guy, Robert Lichter, around 7 years ago:

        “The most liberal faculties are those devoted to the humanities (81 percent) and social sciences (75 percent), according to the study. But liberals outnumbered conservatives even among engineering faculty (51 percent to 19 percent) and business faculty (49 percent to 39 percent). “

        Even if you are an engineer, it’s the statistical case that by and large, liberals decide whether you will pass or fail.

        Most of the Klimate Klowns who present their crackpot theories as comments to this blog obviously flunked out of school. Angry that the liberal professors prevented them from infesting the engineering and scientific labor force, they get back by complaining about academia. Nothing stops them from spewing forth, because a professor isn’t there to swat them down, and flunk them out again.

        See how this works?
        It’s a big case of sour grapes, that you can only change by getting a large number of conservatives to change their mindset and actually joining academia in sufficient numbers to change the balance. And even if this happens, I doubt that they will let the crackpots pass through the system with a diploma.

        So bottomline, academics do plan out your life if you have a professional career, however much you may deny it.

      • Web – I disagree on a number of points. Overall, you are right that academics determine who graduates etc.

        But as an engineering graduate of liberal bent with mostly conservative colleagues I can tell you that 1) it didn’t take much to graduate, so most people did and 2) success in professional endeavours wasn’t much tied to grades in academia. Liberals like me may have benefitted slightly gradewise from being of like mind with professors, but it didn’t benefit me in professional advancement. I did that just fine however, based on skill.

        Re: your point about Klimate Klowns, aren’t a few of them PhDs or ex-NASA scientists?

      • “But as an engineering graduate of liberal bent with mostly conservative colleagues I can tell you that 1) it didn’t take much to graduate, so most people did and 2) success in professional endeavours wasn’t much tied to grades in academia. “

        I don’t know what school you went to, in that the majority of good public engineering programs will flunk out half of the entering class. That is the number that I have heard through the years and this link verifies the number for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors:
        The biggest factor is the required “throttle valve” classes that every engineering major has to go through. This class varies from one program to the next, but is the class that about 1/2 the class flunks out of.

        On the other hand, if you went to a private school, they put more effort into choosing wisely and making sure that most will get through, as it is in their best interests not to lose that initial investment.

        In personal anecdotal terms, of course it didn’t take much for me to graduate — it took more effort to graduate with honors and then get into a decent graduate program.

        “Re: your point about Klimate Klowns, aren’t a few of them PhDs or ex-NASA scientists?”

        More the reason to flunk those guys out, as they should know better. The sad fact is, these guys are long-in-the-tooth and sometimes their minds tend to go first. It is understandable that given that there are potentially thousands and thousands of retired scientists with time on their hands, that a few will drift here and screw with our minds. Treat them sternly, like we treat the undergraduates who can’t cope with the technical content, and things should work itself out. Unfortunately, no one has that kind of resolve on this site.

      • Wed – got my undergrad at Pitt. Not a top tier school and also somewhere between public and private. Sure lots of people failed out freshman year because of chemistry, calculus and physics. Once we got past the freshman year throttle valve classes it wasn’t hard for most people. I swear political orientation didn’t matter until it came time to decide who went to graduate school and who went into industry. Sure I think academia has a self reinforcing liberal bent and I think the corporate world has a self reinforcing conservative bent. People flock together and the motivations and applications self reinforce. Positive feedbacks abound. Shit I went to industry and came back to graduate school, probably because of my “i want to do more good for the world” sort of liberal philosophy, at least compared to my equally intelligent conservative counterparts who didn’t see the point.

      • The fact that liberals dominate academia doesn’t make them smart enough to run the world. Nice try, though. (Remember, Web, I’m a zombie run by Big Tobacco and the Koch brothers!)

      • “The fact that liberals dominate academia doesn’t make them smart enough to run the world.”

        Running the world is not the same as maintaining a foundation of knowledge. The world runs open-loop while knowledge (both documented and tacit) is inherently closed-loop. Knowledge has to be maintained and that requires somebody to update the information.

        The ones that maintain the feedback loop are either academics or researchers, who obviously keep the knowledge in the open, or in the case of the corporate world, they are in the closed backroom who decide how to protect their intellectual property from escaping to the outside world.

        That is the odd thing about this open/closed dichotomy. I couldn’t tell if you are a corporate zombie or not, because that information is not in the open.

        Look at Wikipedia (take it or leave it) and note how that knowledgebase is maintained. It could be a joke, but some conservatives are so annoyed at the supposedly liberal bent to its contents, that they had to create an alternative universe called The Encyclopedia Brittanica officially stopped publishing printed copies with the last few weeks, and people will have to make a choice as to which sources to use for knowledge in the future.

      • The web wikis are OK for a quick scan, but other than that, I’m not a fan. Knowledge is subject to manipulation, and governments featuring central control are more successful at ‘disappearing’ or modifying history, as well as their political foes, than their open society counterparts. The internet currently is a wide conduit for information and exposes many views, but it does not ensure quality.
        I am a big fan of the scientific method and reductionism, but I realize they are limited. We have pushed the boundaries of knowledge to the edge of the very big and very small. We may never be able to figure out all of it. Kind of rambling, but as long as the academics maintain focus on expanding knowledge and ensuring its quality as well, they bring a lot to the table. The problems begin when their livelihood depends on grant money from the government. It pays to have an urgent issue that appears to be a threat to society, whether is issue is truly problematic or not.

      • web,
        “They plan your life more than you know. If you graduated from college and didn’t flunk out, the academics were the gatekeepers who decided whether you got a diploma.”

        No. You are describing an archaic guild.

        Academics are only as good as their ideas are. Let us look critically at how good their ideas are.

      • jim said:

        “No. You are describing an archaic guild. “

        I gather that if you had your way that anyone could get a PhD via homeschooling?

      • “homeschooling.” ??

        And you mean what??

      • Emphasis! Added! Academics are only as good as their ideas are. Let us look critically at how good their ideas are. Emphasis! Ended!

      • Get it? web

      • web, a throw-away; “I gather” – ing doesn’t do you no good…

  56. This TED is relevant and enlightening: Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives

    I like this a lot, although I’m not sure his analysis, which is based on what moral values liberals and conservatives claim to believe in, is accurate when it comes to describing what values they actually practice.

  57. Chris’s analysis synthesizes many streams of research and raises social questions – as all good thinking does.

    Unfortunately, he doesn’t clarify the cultural context, which is that liberalism in the U.S. has also become an authoritarian ideology with many unexamined assumptions about the nature of power (which is essentially what ‘ideological’ refers to)… and obviously there are ‘personality’ features attached to it, too.

    Basically, Fromm’s observations were correct. And libertarians used to have this kind of insight.

    However, in general, American libertarians (and the coalition of neoconservatives that have come to dominate the Republican party) often demonstrate remarkably authoritarian thinking. Chris is attempting to explore this contradiction, and that’s good.

    I would only add that the liberal tradition in America is only slightly more self-reflective.

    So… not so fast. :-)

    • Martha,
      Mooney is simply trotting out a eugenics argument because he is losing the political battle.

      That you confuse his disgusting bigotry with “good thinking” really sums you up rather well.

      • So you disagree that he raises the question about authoritarianism in the current Republican movement? You disagree that anyone raises the question of authoritarianism in this post? You disagree that there is such a problem, at all? Or is it that you disagree with my criticism (or agreement, depending on one’s perspective) that the question of authoritarianism also needs to be raised regarding liberal ideology in the U.S.?

      • John Carpenter

        Martha, I think in general liberalism tends to be more authoritarian than conservatism. So where you say ‘in the U.S.’ liberalism has become an authoritarian ideology, I say it always has been. Not only in the U.S. but on the whole everywhere. There are people who give to others in exchange for power, such people exploit true liberalism to their advantage to become power authorities. These people take up a cause as a means to gain authoritative power. Worst case example; you end up with absolute power governments like the Eastern European communist bloc regimes following WWII. This is one type of authoritarianism.

        To your point about discussing conservatism and authoritarian trends, the difference I see Mooney make is what he is calling an ‘conservative’ authoritarian is someone I would label as a self authoritarian, i.e. he/she knows enough about subject X to be an authority on it… in order to keep a certain ideology in place and give some certainty to him/herself that the ideology will remain true to his/her beliefs despite additional contrary information suggesting otherwise.

        I have to agree with you this is an interesting area to explore as I struggle with this same problem myself as I read, learn, and participate in understanding the ‘climate change problem’. I have to periodically re-evaluate my understanding so as not to fall into that trap….. or maybe i’m already in too deep and can’t get out. :)

      • Martha,
        Yes, I do. Mooney and you and your ilk are the true authoritarians, blinded by your bigoted reactionary world view.

  58. Martha dear, neo-cons like yourself are currently working on their humility. How are you doing, by the way?

  59. Where’s the fair and balanced Climate(?) Etc posting on the Democrat(?) Brain, Dr(?). Curry?


    • ‘How to remove brain stain from a collar.’

      The TV show will be out next Spring.)

    • Glad to see someone complain Andrew, it leads nowhere but I’m reminded of the story of Stonewall Jackson being told of a young subordinate being killed in the heat battle while he was calling for him. When informed he simply replied “Commendable, commendable”.

      Commendable Andrew, commendable.

      • cwon14,

        Isn’t it amazing that someone so educated as to claim the title “Dr.”, doesn’t know how to respond to some simple direct questions?


      • Andrew, I don’t get the whole respecting the moderator abuse I take when I challenge our host. I would think the conversation and topics involved would be the most important issue. Many people here seem to like to be treated like lab mice who shouldn’t or don’t have a right to ask questions of the moderator. Our host is someone very Joshua like in that she will always go for an expanded complication rather than admit a simple truth before her that is politically unacceptable to her self-image and inner value system is my conclusion. It’s that or silence. This topic was just some red meat that she will just ignore herself. The Greenhouse Regs thread was a similar travesty, effectively saying;

        “No comment on radical green agenda setting of the EPA and this administration, I’m trying to stay impartial and don’t care much for politics.”

        That’s the effective message and skeptics here say nothing but curse me for noting it.

  60. We conservatives are more knowedgable in science than leftists and communists and green/red watermelons. This is my personal 60 year life experience. I am an engineering science graduate who after graduating went out working in the field where I met all sorts, from labourers to PhD’s.

    Whenever the (anthropogenic) global warming subject came up during lunch breaks and social occasions, the more scientifically inclined one was, the more he was skeptical about it. That was the norm.
    1. If a scientifically knowledgable person who had never discussed the subject but all he had done was listen to the news, watch Discovery Channel and read the (alarmist) newspapers, the first time he hears someone (me) explaining the real climate science/facts, his eyes would bright up and instantly becomes a happy man, realising that his yet unexpressed personal skepticism is not unique. He finds out that there’s a whole lot of people who thinks like him.

    2. If a scientifically kowedgeable person who still believed in AGW, when confronted with the skeptical science, climate history and field records,would immediately become skeptical and jions the ‘club’.

    And those who were scientifically challenged just stuck their head in the sand and kept believing in Al Gore.

    This is my own personal experience.

    • It’s a defendable argument, most hard science and private sector job related fields like engineering are far more conservative than the government funded research domains like climate science. In the 70’s you could already see the growing divide between the academic left and the cross over to the private sectors as they touched each other on campus life and beyond.

      Massive credit excess, government funding in education and research tipped the scales the past 40+ years and AGW belief is a symptom of that shift. You see AGW is a direct reflection of Keynesian credit excess, Socialism and malinvestment. Try getting Dr. Curry to own up to that.

      The other part of it is the partisan left media filters controlling the message delivery and supporting the partisan left science association cultures that are deeply invested in AGW agenda science. The trouble with the counter argument that liberals struggle in math and real hard sciences is that it mimics the “we are smarter” meme of the left itself. This isn’t a logical argument from any side, vast population samples aren’t going to produce
      such a “smarter” stat. People are smart and stupid in different ways as you look along social groups. Most people at welfare offices, methadone clinics and in prison are going to be disprortionately democrats and liberals. So will people living in elite wealthy communities like Hollywood, The Hamptons or elite college campus life. I draw no conclusions about over all intelligence based on such trends or for that matter winning and losing groups. I’ve know people of of pure intellectual genius who end up in prison, methadone clinics and/or the Hamptons. The “we smart” meme is dumb from anyside being the broad point. Liberalism and AGW are largely emotionally driven movements that rhyme with “hating big oil” and standing up for the abstraction of being on the side of “fairness” etc. Not wanting to be personally accountable plays in the liberal culture, “I give in the voting booth” but it’s really about authority and demanding others validate their views by force. “I think we should do this and you must help pay for it, I especially enjoy it makes you unhappy because I really don’t like you or your values.”

      If we wanted to consider something else in the sociology it would be to study the rise of the non-religious that grow ever more angry/aggressive and are attached to AGW and academia in relation to promoting social Darwinism and attacking traditional religion and values. AGW in many sectors (found all over these boards for example) is a secular religion and belief system that replaces and emulates some of the worst religous excesses of intolerance you can find in a history book. It is cult like in that regard and not a harmless cult at that. Chris Mooney, Michael Mann and Joe Romm are really very hate driven characters and not much of an exception to many others. You can find other segments of the left with very similar structures to the greater AGW movement but the New Age religion topic of AGW is worth a discussion. Not likely we will see a post here on the topic.

  61. Dr. Curry,
    Exposing Mooney to the light of day is very cleansing.

  62. Republicans are more skeptical than Democrats about climate change because: Neither A nor B.

    First, these political categories are not symmetrical with the liberal/conservative ideological categories referenced in the rest of the post. Nonetheless, Reps are more skeptical than Dems because the Dems have latched on to the issue and Reps find they use it for political gain. It has nothing to do with Science. It’s pure competition for power. As for the liberal/conservative divide it’s more about the philosophical question of governing — should there be more or less personal freedom. Liberals say the collective outweighs the individual; conservatives say the opposite. Since liberals use sciency-sounding claims to support their position conservatives are skeptical of the claims. It’s an argument over the boundaries of property rights.

    • Precisely. Environmentalism at it’s core is reactionary. What makes it appeal to the left is the potential for acquisition of power. Ideologically, it’s quite the opposite of the progressive faith in humanity. It’s a tool. No more.

      With that in mind, the acceptance of the narratives follows. Here’s a question that shines a lot of light in this: how many Democrats v.s. Republicans think the Treyvon Martin case is about race? Perception of facts is absolutely about supporting narratives, which in turn are about supporting the respective teams. Somewhere in this case are some absolute facts, and you an I both know that the public will always be split on what the facts are, no matter how the Grand Jury rules.

      Was OJ Simpson guilty? Depends on your politics, doesn’t it?

      • 5+

        Most people here are not going to bite at these observations. Regardless you are correct.

  63. It is ironic that with respect to climate change, progressives/liberals/Democrats are far more dogmatic and reactionary than their conservative/Republican opponents.

  64. b

    Regarding the statement “Conservatism is a Defensive Ideology, and Appeals to People Who Want Certainty and Resist Change,” what would happen if liberals had all of their ideas passed and implemented and then conservatives tried to undo them? Liberals would resist this change. The current fight over Obamacare is one such example. Here is another:

    There was a time, years ago in the Warren Court era, when liberal justices like Stevens’s predecessor William O. Douglas saw themselves as on a mission to recreate American society along boldly egalitarian lines by discovering newly minted constitutional rights. But for better or worse, this ambitious conception of judicial liberalism has been replaced, like much of political liberalism in America, by a more modest, conciliatory and technocratic sensibility. Even the most liberal justices today have little appetite for the old approach.

    Judicial liberalism, in other words, has largely become a conservative project: an effort to preserve the legal status quo in the face of efforts by a younger generation of conservatives to uproot the precedents of the past 40 years.

    As you can see, liberals can look like conservatives when it comes to resisting changes to their institutions.

  65. As Rush Limbbow says, ‘Money talks’.
    Who knew?

  66. Going back to the work Pielke cited, if you look at what was actually measured it isn’t Conservatives trust in science.

    Here’s the question asked.

    “The GSS asked respondents the following question: “I am going to name some institutions in this country. As far as the PEOPLE RUNNING THESE INSTITUTIONS ARE CONCERNED, would you say you have a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, or hardly any confidence at all in them [the Scientific Community]?”(page 172)

    The confidence in “people running these institutions” was being measured, not “Science” itself. There is a huge difference between those two and quite frankly the conclusions of the people citing the article certainly seems to prove that the people who are skeptical are correct.

    • Good point. You really have to read these questions, and you have to ask yourself how respondents might interpret them as well. I have a feeling in my gut that, a lot of the time, the variance in answers due to differing interpretations can be as big (or bigger) than that due to genuine differences of opinion.

    • Agree. Basically, if the science is the belief in the ignorance of experts, those who have less confidence in the institutions, have more confidence in science.

    • The GSS asked about attitudes to specific scientific questions, on which Republicans fared better than Democrats (just saying – from this side of the pond I don’t have a horse in the race!)

      From the first of the questions, one might get the idea that liberals are just more credulous, and thus more likely to believe in astrology, pet rocks, healing crystals, anthropogenic global warming, psychic spoonbending, flying saucers, ghosts, telekinesis, anthropogenic global warming, ancient astronauts, governments that can fund things indefinitely without having any money, poltergeists, banshees and not forgetting to mention anthropogenic global warming,

  67. I feel better now. Hope, you do too.

  68. “Samuel Vimes…had a jaundiced view of Clues. He instinctively distrusted them. They got in the way

    And he distrusted the kind of person who’d take one look at another man and say in a lordly voice to his companion, ‘Ah, my dear sir, I can tell you nothing except that he is a left-handed stonemason who has spent some years in the merchant navy and has recently fallen on hard times,’ and the unroll a lot of supercilious commentary and calluses and stance and the state of a man’s boots, when exact the same comments could apply to a man who was wearing his old clothes because he’d been doing a spot of home bricklaying for a new barbecue pit, and had been tattooed once when he was drunk and seventeen* and in fact got seasick on a wet pavement. What arrogance! What an insult to the rich and chaotic variety of the human experience!

    It was the same with more static evidence. The footprints in the flowerbed were probably in the real world left by the window-cleaner. The scream in the night was quite likely a man getting out of bed and stepping sharply on an upturned hairbrush.

    The real world was far too real to leave neat little hints. It was full of too many things. It wasn’t by eliminating the impossible that you got at the truth, however improbable; it was by the much harder process of eliminating the possibilities. You worked away, patiently asking questions and looking hard at things. You walked and talked, and in your heart you just hoped like hell that some bugger’s nerve’d crack and he’d give himself up.

    Feet of Clay, Terry Pratchett, pp. 205-206”

  69. Building 7, 9/11.

  70. Three years or more ago I asked Chris Mooney when he was going to write ‘Calm World’, given Ryan Maue’s graph of Accumulated Cyclone Energy. Also, given the blitzkrieg of ‘Global Warming’, I expected ‘The Democrats War on Science’.

    Crickets? Naw, abuse and censorship.

  71. Tom Choularton

    This is a curious thing about US politics and very different to the UK. Perhaps it’s because this side of the pond there is a broad consensus on what are clearly divisive issues in the US. Over here no politician left or right would argue against free medical care for all at the point of need paid for by taxation and no credible political party would oppose measures to mitigate climate change indeed the parties are competing to be the ‘greenest’
    Can it really be that conservatives in the US uniformly oppose legislation on climate change and free medical care for all ? In my work as a university atmospheric scientist I have colleagues of all political persuasions. I suppose there is a slight centre-left majority in UK universities but there are many conservatives here at the forefront of mainstream climate science.

    • With all due respect, that’s what the War of Independence was all about.

    • There is no such thing as a free lunch.

    • Tom,
      Free medical care exists in the same world as the Easter Bunny.
      Your living in a culture that has devolved into magical thinking, and your unquesitoned acceptance of magical thinking, does not make it less magical.

      • Tom didn’t say “free medical care”, he said “free medical care for all at the point of need paid for by taxation”. Do you see the difference?

      • Actually, he said both. “Can it really be that conservatives in the US uniformly oppose legislation on climate change and free medical care for all?”

        Which demonstrates not ignorance, but cognitive dissonance. It’s free, but paid for by taxes. And those taxes are paid by…?

        There is nothing free about socialized medicine. And like all socialized programs, it is doomed to ultimate failure. The fact that it can live like a tape worm off an otherwise free market system does not change that. The centralization of control over the healthcare economy leads inevitably to more centralization of the rest. Europe being a case in point. (Heck, the first real socialist economy was formed in the USSR. And it lasted for almost 80 years, despite being built on the dying carcass of Czarist Russia.)

        That is why U.S. progressives have been trying to enact it in some form in the U.S. for decades. That is why they couldn’t have cared less what was actually in Obamacare. They just wanted to establish the precedent of government control over that aspect of the economy.

        Progressive activists know all this. Default progressives like Louise, and apparently Tom Choularton, think it’s just about “fairness” and “for the children.” And they don’t even notice the explicit contradiction between “free” and “paid for by taxes.”

      • Louise,
        Paying for medical care by taxation is a really stupid idea. As you prove.

    • Tom,

      For better or worse, the USA really is a *very* different country.

      There truly are tens of millions of people over here on the west side of the pond who sincerely believe that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born. I take it that opinion s rare in Britain. (I find it quite loony, but it is very widespread in the USA.)

      And, politically, something like half of the USA sincerely believes that government itself, of any sort, is necessarily an inherent threat to human liberty, at best a necessary evil, and perhaps not so necessary at all. This is not just a fringe view of illiterate rednecks or right-wing Christians. It is expressed in the nation’s founding documents. Its most eloquent expression is by the highly literate Henry David Thoreau in his essay “Civil Disobedience”:

      > I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — “That government is best which governs least”;(1) and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government.

      I’ll have to admit that, based on the actions of governments during the last hundred years, I am with my countrymen on that question: politically, I am a Thoreauist. Again, I doubt there are many Thoreauists on your side of the pond. I take it that most Europeans are simply mystified at the fact that a very large number of us Yanks sincerely do believe in the right to keep and bear arms, the right to refuse to participate in a government-run health-care system, etc. But quite a few of us, possibly a majority, really do.

      The American Revolution truly did make a difference.

      Dave Miller in Sacramento

      • Dave Miller,

        I;m also a Californian, so I witness loonyism too. And I’m an atheist. But don’t bash the jesuisists. Thoreau, like Mills, Gandhi , Jefferson, etc wasn’t a pleasant person. Many of the jesuasists have been much better neighbors than the Greats.

      • Indeed. Half the time I almost feel like strangling the religious true believers. But, the other half of the time, I remind myself that very often the craziest of the true believers are more consistent defenders of human freedom than most non-believers. Historical figures such as Roger Williams (founder of Rhode Island), the great John Lilburne, and the noble Anne Hutchinson were, in my view, absolutely bonkers in their religious beliefs. But, they were also truly heroic pioneers in the fight for freedom of thought and expression. And, I have numerous relatives and friends who are admirable people even though I find their religious beliefs bizarre. Human beings are complicated.


      • Dave,

        “Human beings are complicated.”

        Agreed. And, as you say, humans are often very good for reasons and ideas that don’t resonate in our neurons.

      • Abolition movement started with evangelicals, Wilberforce, etc.

  72. Theo Goodwin

    “Multiple choice test: Republicans are more skeptical than Democrats about climate change because:

    a) A defensive ideology is hardwired into their brain

    b) A growing distrust of scientific institutions because of the politicization of science”

    c) Republicans focus on the weakness of the so-called science and, unlike Democrats, are not swayed in their evaluations of scientific claims by the policy outcomes promised by poor science.

  73. “That said, it certainly is interesting to discover that the brains of liberals and conservatives look different in an fMRI scan, but to go from that observation to building a solid causal scenario isn’t that easy”

    Human neurons fire at about 20-30/sec at rest, at about 300-500/sec when stimulated and up to about 1000/sec when hyper stimulated.
    Image processing, followed global patterning, followed by response is about 100-500 ms. So if you are driving along a road and see a football bouncing between two parked cars you will slow, based on the observation, ball, followed by the analysis, ball = child =child following ball = kinetic energy weapon.
    The best temporal resolution, at a voxel size of 1mm^3, of fMRI is about 1-2 seconds; even then is relies on multiple stimulation and a LOT of signal:noise imaging ‘tricks’.
    One cannot observe actual thinking using fMRI; if thinking is a rock thrown into a pool, then fMRI records the ripples from the event. Another major problem is the assumption that all brains use oxygen in the same way.
    Blood-oxygen-level–dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging monitors local changes in the ratio of deoxygenated to oxygenated hemoglobin. Demanding tasks that require complex reasoning typically result in greater neural activity for those individuals with higher IQ, an observation that is quite inconsistent with the neural efficiency hypothesis of intelligence.
    Indeed, the whole fMRI/IQ/personality area is a minefield. We have large numbers of ‘IQ’, memory and personality tests. You can run many individuals through theses tests, classify them, then look at fMRI cross-correlations.

    “Intellect as Distinct From Openness: Differences Revealed by fMRI of
    Working Memory” (2009). DeYoung et al.,

    Ignore the huge differences between men and women, and you can find individuals of the same sex, with very similar scores for personality/’IQ’, with quite different brain blood flow responses.

    The rule seems to be, that there is more than one way to skin a cat.

    • There’s also a frightening amount of “MacGyver statistics” going on in neuroscience.

    • Theo Goodwin

      Very wise.

    • “They are consistent with findings that liberalism, as a political orientation, is associated with higher IQ, relative to conservatism” (p890).

      Duh, doc, dose pretty picture things on page 887, dum, is, like, ‘A’ librals thinking and ‘B’ conserves thinking, ‘cos librals do much more red stuff. Or is men and phwooor women thinking? My brain hurts now thinking like.

  74. The Medium is the Message: when the Left finally arrives at the point that it celebrates a crucifix in a glass of pee as art it means more than the Left believes American idealism based on the Bible and Liberty are dead, it also means the Left cares a lot less about the quaint notions of truth and honor that are foundational to science.

    • Progressives feel a need to build their ‘better world’, upon the piles of rubble from the last world. Labor is always cheap in their New World,
      of Great things.

      • This thread recognizes global warming is not science it is political science. That is why we are discussing—e.g., a ‘Republican(?) brain.’

        The dilemma for the Left (e.g., a Democrat(?) brain) is basic: no one trusts them. Without trust claims have no moral standing and that is of crucial importance in science.

        Additionally, the Left has zero credibility. If the Left actually had the power to enforce their insane delusions on the rest of the world, misery and poverty and death in the 100s of million would ensue.

  75. Paul Milligan

    I feel it is important to point out the argument that ‘Republicans are irrational and prone to confirmation bias’, was also used by Greg Craven durring the 2010 American Geophysical Union Meeting.

  76. John from CA

    The answer is B; well documented and all one needs to do is chat with a Democrat to be convinced <– "Stupid is as stupid does".

    "Perhaps a smarter take on ignorant voters would have focused on the fact that they’re more educated than ever"…

    • John from CA

      “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed — if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ ” — George Orwell, 1984

      Any moron inclined to vote for another 4 years of the BO administration needs a medical leave for a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome examination.

      Enough is enough of this ignorant nonsense.

  77. Certainly the article is political and very partisan, Im somewhat surprised to see it on Dr Curry’s site.

    • Scott
      Not if you know that curry gave BHO 2000 for his election in 2008.

      • Dan,

        That’s actually ok, she’s free to do so. That she steers the board to avoid humiliation and distorts what the AGW debate is really about is my peeve.

      • cwon,
        Of course it is ok to give money to any political party or person.
        Scott didn’t understand that Dr. Curry is political and partisan and
        I just wanted to point out his error in thinking that she wasn’t.

      • A lot of people voted for and supported BHO. He was a masterful chameleon. His true colors have manifested themselves now, and there is no doubt he is a socialist. I wouldn’t fault someone for falling for his act. But now, if you are still going to vote for him again, there is no hope for you.

    • What planet are visiting from today Scott?? Dr. Curry is a consensus player despite all claims to the contrary. She’s an establishment academic liberal despite all efforts to gloss it over. I’m o.k. with that, it’s just the selective obfuscations that impact almost every topic that should be questioned.

      If she lets the cat out of the bag it confirms what James Delingpole, Inholf, Jo Nova and Marc Morano have said all along. They are in fact correct about the core debate of AGW and it must be tragic people trying to focus on climate as a serious field of study. Like being a hedge fund manager and knowing Bernie Madoff was claiming to do the same thing you are doing. Privately humiliating for many in the securities industry.

      As for Mooney, it’s way more than partisan. Could you imagine (or remember) how similar arguments have been made regarding people race, gender, sexual preferences etc.??? Double standards anyone? Call me on the Godwin violation but it’s neo-Darwinism and Nazi like in nature;

  78. c) Conservatives are by definition ‘skeptical’ of new ideas and resistant to change.

    ‘Change’ in and of itself doesn’t imply that the change will be an improvement. Humanity has a mechanism to ‘hold in reserve’ some portion of it’s population to guard against ‘bad changes’.

    If everyone runs out and eats the berries from a newly discovered berry bush then we would have either discovered a new source of good eats…or a quick way to extinguish the species.

    Somebody says…Hey…those berries look good and I’m going to have some…someone else says those berries look poisonous and I will wait and see. Either way…humanity survives.

    Most new scientific hypothesis’s end up being wrong…some never make it past peer review…some take decades to disprove.

    • “c) Conservatives are by definition ‘skeptical’ of new ideas and resistant to change.”

      Which political culture hangs on every word ever spoken by an economist who dies in the mid-1940’s and worships a New Deal economic model that failed to end the great depression of the 1930’s?

      Who do you think are really the closed minded orthodox in the world today?

      Your premise is refuted. AGW is a has-been political orthodox rooted in 60’s counter culture day dreaming and lust for regulatory Utopia. These are the people who couldn’t handle the message of Reagan and the individual right revolution. AGW supporters are in fact counter revolutionaries and reactionaries at this point. Their orthodox can’t survive, it runs out of other peoples money and leaves a rotting society in it’s path.

      • Considering I am ‘conservative’ I don’t find my premise inaccurate.

        There is nothing at all wrong with taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to ‘new theories’. Most of them end being up wrong.

        As far as ‘new deal’ economics I don’t see a lot of conservative opposition to ‘Social Security’ for the elderly. Some conservatives will argue that it shouldn’t be ‘means tested’, even fewer will argue that it shouldn’t exist at all.

        The vast majority of conservatives have accepted ‘some portion’ of ‘New Deal’ economics as necessary. The discussion has moves from ‘should we have a social safety net’ to ‘the size and shape’ of the social safety net.

        Too generous a safety net produces a lot of free loaders and a resulting loss of productivity which makes us all poorer…too small produces a lot of unnecessary suffering.

  79. “Republican Brain”


    The issue is not the brain.

    It is the eyes.

    The eyes that see acceleration instead of oscillation =>

    The real issue is the eyes of the advocates of man made global warming.

  80. Theo Goodwin

    Mooney is performing one public service. He is popularizing the “world view” that dominates academia. If you are off to college and you want to know how to fit in with the professors, then Mooney’s work can give you a leg up.

    Does this mean that one’s interactions with professors must follow Mooney’s script? Of course not. However, if you are writing a dissertation that can be understood as critical of this “world view” then make sure that your thesis adviser has sufficient authority. He/she will have to ram it through for you.

    One of the charming things about Mooney’s work, charming because innocent, is that he buys the ultimate Leftist premise that Leftist science and policy are superior because Leftist culture is superior. His claims about psychology amount to nothing more than that claim.

  81. just to say that in france it seems different.
    conservative people trust the state and thus the research and the consensus.
    leftish, trust less the authorities, the official research.
    however environmentalist became the new reference truth holders…

    maybe in us the religious scientific conflicts (darwin..) prepare the hard conservatives to oppose leftish science…

    what is proved by brain study is tha conservatives follow the leader.

    another is that if a problem is not important, you vote for the most beautiful candidate. otherwise you vote for your interests.

    the last theory is about rational denial and Roland Benabou (google him at princeton), is that if a change in your belief result in reduction of your perceived wealth (real or moral), then you deny the facts…

    in climate the question is thus who is the (moral/cash) loser if climate is warming or not.

  82. Speaking of the AGW brain, here’s a link to cousin movement; aggressive atheists;

    Note how many times the science card gets played.

    Some more thought on the culture link of the left to AGW and atheism;

    What it leads to? Mooney is a symptom but try this;

  83. As a political conservative, I am willing to acknowledge that some political conservatives are dumb. It is does not follow, however, that all political conservatives are dumb. A great many are extremely bright and are able to advance sophisticated arguments to support their positions.
    Likewise, as a sceptic/lukewarmer on AGW, I am willing to acknowledge that sceptics/lukewarmers arrive at their position without a good understanding of the scientific issues. Again, it does not follow that all sceptics/lukewarmers arrive at their positions without a good understanding of the scientific issues. Many sceptics/lukewarmers have a sophisicated understanding of the scientific issues.
    It seems to me that Mooney’s observations combine the ad homien fallacy with the strawmen fallacy. If he wants to advance his position he needs to ignore all the noise and engage his serious critics whether they be political conservatives or sceptics/lukewarmers. I can assure Mr. Mooney that such people exist.

  84. oops. The sentence above that reads, “Likewise, as a sceptic/lukewarmer on AGW, I am willing to acknowledge that sceptics/lukewarmers arrive at their position without a good understanding of the scientific issues” should have included the word “some” as in “I am willing to acknowledge that some sceptics/lukewarmers arrive at their position without a good understanding of the scientific issues.”

  85. Analyzing ones political-opponents pschologically is always an exercise in unconcious bias.

    The best writing on the subject of political-psychology connection is Erich Fromm’s “Escape from Freedom” and more so “Man for Himself”. Since they were written in the 60’s, it lacks applicability to the exact camps targetted by the Big Two American political parties today, but the insights on the nature of man…timeless.

  86. Sad that the climate debate degenerated into name calling by scientists of deniers or skeptics positions instead of logical cool discussions. Thanks to JCurry for working to express a rational discussion of the complex issue and providing a forum and links to information. Complex models that truncate data use years ago (1980 or 1998) and can’t model actual measurements over the last 10 years don’t prove the issues settled. Settled is not a scientific term anyway. Einstein theory was not voted in 1905 but was pretty much accepted in the 1930’s.

  87. FWIW the question is backwards. It’s not that being Republican in the US makes people stupid, it’s that stupid people are attracted to the Republican party

    (OK, this is a troll, but think about the principle)

  88. Here I go again. Now I am confused. I can’t remember if I am a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Trotsky-ite… I guess I’ll need a functional MRI to figure that one out.

    Its bad enough that I have multiple voices having unrelated conversations going on in my head all day; these voices don’t seem to be talking with one another. I have to go to sleep at night to shut out the outside world for a while allowing these voices a chance to take turns and complete a thought. Having read the tread last night, I have slept on it. I find that my opinions on climate change are not only not my own, but belong to a subgroup of can’t change fanatics. How devastating.

    Once upon a time I understood that labels such as Conservative (husbanding ideals of the past) and Liberal (free from restraint) were self-described narratives, agenda driven, and carried as placards in a war to influence public opinion. These labels filled the print and electronic media and used as insults, hurled as if paving blocks across a divide.

    There does seem to be some distinction between Social Conservatism and Political Conservatism as there is Social Liberalism and Political Liberalism. Individually, one might self label as any combination of the four: Socially conservative and politically liberal: etc.

    I tend to think that Social conservatism usually became a function of human aging. Men/Women with white hair are revered and speak as elders: viewed as one’s with lots of experience and dispensers of wisdom. Political conservatism seems to be imbued with fiscal issues.

    Social Liberalism has a certain expedience quality to it; plow ahead for the cause is good, just, etc. Political Liberalism: not strictly literal nor exact; relativism.

    Now here’s the rub. We have Political Conservatives saying that the government should stay out of people’s business. Social Conservatives saying that government needs to intervene in people’s bedrooms. Social Liberals charging ahead risking not only their own, but will to risk other’s well-being for “the” cause. And Political Liberals restraining people’s behavior.

    We’re mixing and matching labels and behaviors until nothing makes sense to me.

    I vote for doing away with canned labels; set down the metaphoric paving blocks, and go off on a tangent: investigate how nature works; bring technical expertise to energy collection, extraction, distribution, efficient utilization, and forego noble cause tirades. Here! Here! (another voice)

    • Good point. The nomenclature has been corrupted.

      I prefer the identification of ‘Liberal’ nomen with liberty, and libertarian. I don’t like the use of ‘liberal’ to describe utilitarian and authoritarian ideology.

  89. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    So who is an authoritarian, someone who accedes to EPA regulations or one who does not? Who is authoritarian, one who accepts the claims of “climate consensus” or one who points to the limitations in the knowledge?

    A subset of liberal social scientists can be counted on to define words the way they want, unthinkingly, and then to deduce a negative trait of some kind in their political opponents. This looks like an example, where “authoritarian” has been redefined to mean reluctance to obey self-appointed (or politically appointed) “authorities”.

  90. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    Eli Rabbitt: It’s not that being Republican in the US makes people stupid, it’s that stupid people are attracted to the Republican party

    There are plenty of stupid people in both parties. If you have not noticed that the people who vote with you include a lot of stupid people, then you have not been paying attention.

    • “If you have not noticed that the people who vote with you include a lot of stupid people, then you have not been paying attention.”

      Or, you might also be stupid.

      At any rate, +1 Matt

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        NW: Or, you might also be stupid.

        Oh, how true! I like to emphasize the word might.

    • It is not that there are enough stupid people to go around evenly, it’s that there are so too many stupid people as to over whelm both sides?

      Maybe the ‘stupid people’ are actually smart enough for their own lives. Me being smart, I don’t enjoy half the comforts that my stupid friends do enjoy.

  91. I am really confused.

    Say you are a conservative and/or evangelical like Dr. Kerry Emanuel or Dr. Katarine Hayhoe that believes wholeheartedly in the AGW policy proscriptions. How do we explain their arrival at the so-called truth?

    I am trying to envision the Venn Diagram of believers/non-believers and where liberal/conservative intersect. I need to appropriately lump scientists in their respective bloc or constituency so I can effectively pander.

    • Which brings up a critical point: the dispute over climate science is a political yawner. The real fight is over policy. There’s a whole other body of facts that come into play when trying to decide whether the AGW movement’s policy prescriptions are brilliant or catastrophic. This body of facts is independent of the question of how fast the world is warming and whodunnit.

      The fact that Mooney is fixated on the former question is revealing, when the real argument is, and always was, over the latter.

  92. The crap Mooney is spouting is nothing more or less than the Horoscope Effect (e.g. ambiguous and flattering commentary about Libras is judged by Libras to be unexpectedly insightful) expanded into an elaborate ad hominem argument.

    That we reject pseudoscience propped up by ad hominem is also why we dismiss “global warming” catastrophism. Maybe Mooney should spend some time figuring out what brain defect makes liberals prone to fear mongering and name calling.

    • Actually there is a large and well know Horoscope Effect; if you are born 1 day after the start of school date, Sept. 1st in most of the Western World, you have a huge advantage on children born 1 day before the start of the school year. Such children, Virgo’s, essentially have a years worth of physical and mental development on the Cancerians.

  93. Boy that Moonie is a barking idiot….

  94. The answer is

    c) because climate science is in its infancy, has essentially zero predictive capability, and because Republicans are typically not gullible morons who believe anything because of the “authority” of anybody (Nullius in verba).


    d) because Republicans have a broader historical point of view and are aware that science has been wrong a large number of times throughout history, particularly when studying a system as complex and chaotic as the climate


    e) because Republicans have a better understanding of human nature, and when a “scientist” specialized in a field such as climate science which is in its infancy and deals with a chaotic system says “the world is ending, only i can save it….. but you have to give me trillions of dollars”, our bullsh1t meter explodes.

  95. A curious post on the topic of climate, . . . but perhaps relevant.

    When it comes to ideology, I don’t see that much to choose from between the Liberals and the Conservatives. As a general perspective, it seems that those of the Liberal flavor tend to be well-meaning, but are sometimes stupid (e.g., all the Ralph Naderites who voted against Al Gore in the 2000 Florida election, only to make George Bush president), while on the other hand, those of the Conservative flavor tend to be stupid, but occasionally pretend to be well-meaning (pick any topic from the George Bush administration, you can’t miss).

    Or, perhaps it is that those of the Conservative flavor have allowed their minds to get too pre-occupied with religious matters to the point that there is not enough brain power left to address the rational and scientific problems that need to be dealt with. I would appear that Conservative-type thinking might well be a debilitating handicap in dealing effectively with all the problems that arise in a rapidly evolving world. As for the Republican mind, the more conservative seems to correlate well with being stupider and less rational.

    • Andy,
      Your characterization of conservatives as stupid deomonstrates that on this topic, like the topic of ethics, you know very little.
      Perhaps when you do some remnedial reading and thought on ethics, so you can sort out Peter Gleick, you can add to that some demographics on just who conservatives are.
      Your writing and ignorant ideological extremism hidden behind your education is a reason academics are earning the disrepute more and more people hold you in.

    • David Wojick

      Andy, this foolish diatribe really helps me understand both you and GISS. Many thanks.

    • Steven Mosher

      hmm. your comment is neither well meaning or smart.
      So lets see if I get this straight
      1. liberals are well meaning and sometimes stupid
      2. conservatives are stupid and sometimes pretend to be well meaning.

      Your not well meaning and stupid. Is there a party affiliation for that?

    • Andy here would be a great place to start to investigate to correlation between vanity and reflexive progressivism.

      Here’s a question for you. If progressives are so smart, and conservatives so stupid, why is it that conservatives can understand and articulate progressive positions on issues, and progressives are almost uniformly incapable of doing so?

      Progressives can’t, for various reasons. It’s not necessarily lack of intelligence, but because they only hear the side they already agree with. Everyone they learned from, work with and socialize with agrees with them. I think it was Pauline Kael after the Nixon landslide in 1972 (winning 49 states) who said: “I don’t know how he won. I don’t know anyone who voted for him.”

      It was hilarious reading the reactions in progressive media to conservative arguments on the Obamacare debate before the Supreme Court. Those arguments have been made, and widely publicized, for over two years. But the progressive journalists were astounded that they even existed, and shocked that the Solicitor General could not counter them for the government.

      Conservatives aren’t conservative because they are stupid, have different brain structures, are blinded by religion, or any other hoary myth progressives and moderates like to regurgitate. Conservatives for the most part have come to understand both progressivism and conservatism, and made an informed, intellectual choice.

      Those of you who live in your isolated little tribal bubbles will never get that. But that’s OK. You don’t really matter in the real debate where it matters. We don’t have to convince you of a damned thing, as long as we can educate the voters.

      • Gary M,
        It is interesting to see how even with government suported media, oligarchic legacy media, the NYT, daily Kos, etc. etc. etc. lefties have been unable to understand the basics of Obamacare and its non-constitutional basis. Maybe this is why they seek to shut down the media venues not under their control: they have a comprehension defecit issue and unless all messages are carefully crafted to support the lefty consensus, they are unable to follow the discussion effectively.

    • There are extremely important differences between Science, Scientist, and Scientific Organizations.

      The former is correctly characterized as a search for truth. The latter two, not necessarily so much.

      Proof: See comment by A Lacis. ::

      Those who focus solely on the Science are on the true path, no matter what other circumstances might obtain.

    • Andy as the economic problem, and the climate problem are inseperable.Namely that solving emissions by significant changes will create economic instability eg IMF 2012.

      That the simplest solution is to export intensive industries to less environmental altrusic developing nations ,seems to be the standard response negating any gains by redistributing the emission problem.This is also an untenable solution as it also creates economic imbalanceeg reduced payroll etc.

      As there seems to be no obvious tenable solution without intruding on idelogical dogma (read sponsers) is it not resonable to infer that the Republicans have thrown the game (the 2012 election),by a selection of candidates that seem to be shallow.

    • Andy,

      Hey, guy, that was some provocative comment about everyone being stupid and all–except you and your hive-mates, of course. I mean, Andy, ol’ sport, reading your comment, I can really see why you consider it your right to be one of our philosopher kings and cull-masters. At the very least, let me say that your comment certainly made me re-think all my hard-wired, conservative motivational biases and all.

      You know, Andy, before I read your comment, I had always thought “liberals”–or “lefties” as I like to call them–were just a bunch of useless-eater, creep-out, nerd-ball weirdos who cling to the protection of their collectivist hives because they can’t make it on their own.

      Or, to put it another way, Andy, I had previously thought of post-pupal lefties as nothing more than the grown-up version of those socially inept, smarty-pants, can’t-get-a-date, whiny little snots with zits and B. O., we all used to know in high school, who no one wanted on their side when teams were chosen-up but that the teacher forced one or another team to take anyway.

      And, I had also previously thought of lefties as the conditioned-reflex product of an unrelieved, childhood total-immersion in unearned praise and reward by over-indulgent, over-protective moms who applauded and stroked their junior’s every spoiled-brat antic.

      And, I had also previously thought of lefties, as those who preferred employment in institutions, like universities, where they are free to exploit the coercive, professorial powers of the lecture hall to intellectually bully and humiliate the captive-audience, smart young men and women who might challenge their self-serving lefty orthodoxy while coddling and warping the minds of those not-too-bright kids vulnerable to youth-master brainwashing.

      And, I had also previously thought of lefties as tenure-addicted, research grant-sloths preposterously over-paid for their patently phoney-baloney, boondoggle, accountability-free, low-stress, hobbyist-on-the-taxpayer-dime “science”.

      And, I had also previously thought of lefties as repugnant, repellent, gross-out eco-hypocrites who spout their I’m-smart-and-you’re-dumb, imperious, for-the-kids demands that the hoi-polloi sacrifice their lifestyles in the name of carbon-reduction while the “smart” lefties get a pass for their carbon-piggy, fun-in-the-sun, party-animal, blow-out eco-conferences. Conferences, it might be remarked in passing, that are most often held in locales noted for their sex-tourism amenities. And with never a moment’s thought that all that OINK!-OINK! carbon-consumption could be easily avoided by the lefties through video broadcasts of their eco-bashes.

      And, then, Andy, I had also previously thought that “conservatives” were, generally, those whose life’s labors had been spent in pursuits where there were genuine consequences for failure; those who saw the motivation of people for causes requiring sacrifice, not in terms of a “communication” problem, but as a leadership challenge requiring leadership from the front and by personal example; and those whose daily work efforts, despite their modest recompense, provided goods and services of genuine worth to their fellow man.

      But despite all that above “baggage”, Andy, your trenchant comment forced me to take a step back and re-examine the very foundations of my painfully-constructed Weltanschauung. And you know what, Andy? When I finished with my back-to-the-basics ponderings, I couldn’t find the slightest jot or tittle worth a change in my prior view of you weenie-muffin, parasite lefties or the nobility and superiority of conservatism as the model for a humanity worthy of the name.

      But the mental work-out your comment prompted, Andy, was still of value and, let me add, it’s always nice to objectively review one’s notions and find they emerge from that review wonderfully intact. So, thanks, Andy.

      • +10, mike. Excellent.
        It appears more and more that Andy’s inability to comprehend that what Gleick did was wrong, and his delusion that Mooney is offering something that is based on reality, is becuase he is part of the same spectrum of disorder that Gleick, Mooney, Romm, etc. etc. etc. are also a part of.

    • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

      A Lacis,

      It’s not too late to revise that into something sensible.

    • Doug Badgero

      “I would appear that Conservative-type thinking might well be a debilitating handicap in dealing effectively with all the problems that arise in a rapidly evolving world.”

      It is a curious trait of the liberal mind that change must lead to problems that only the intelligentsia can solve.

    • John Carpenter

      Andy, this is a fairly disappointing post by you. It never ceases to amaze me how some people with above average intelligence can so carelessly rip off a comment like this without more forethought. Perhaps it was intended to be more tongue and cheek…. if so, it missed the mark.

      Personally, I tend to lean to the conservative side and vote that direction as well, yet I am not a religious person…. spiritual perhaps, but not religious. So my mind is not pre-occupied with those matters. Like it or not, a lot of both liberals and conservatives are religious and will continue to be religious in the future. Belief systems involving a God or other deities are not going away anytime soon and are a part of all cultures. If you know that, and Andy your smart enough to know that, you should then understand that any solution to problems arising in our ‘rapidly evolving world’ are going to have to take into consideration and account for those who have religious beliefs. To some degree large social problems (like the affects of what climate change might bring) will have a religious component. You can’t just pretend it doesn’t exist and forge a solution to a problem without making such considerations. Now maybe you don’t see a connection between religion, religious beliefs and the science of climate change… but there is one. If you want to get cooperation from those with such beliefs to endorse any solutions to ‘the problem’, then you might not want to insult that portion of a fairly large population. Science is facts… religion is personal, know the difference.


      Stupid republicans must have invaded worldfest.

      Andy, how’s that mid-trop temperature working out for ya? I got a question, if perchance, the Earth experienced an abnormal cooling circa 1400AD with another abnormal cooling in 1816 AD with another little abby normal cooling in 1902 AD, Would 500 years of below average temperatures reduce ocean heat content? It seems that ocean sea surface temperature reconstructions tend to agree with southern hemisphere land reconstructions fairly well. In the northern hemisphere where over 2 percent of the surface of the Earth was modified for human habitation and sustenance, temperatures and reconstructions tend to show greater warming than the under utilized southern hemisphere and sea surface temperature data.

      That would mean that average “global mean temperature” is about 0.4 degrees greater than the 1890 to 1910 mean.

      Of course that is just me playing with some southern hemisphere proxies that actually extend past 1970. I never could figure out why anyone would throw perfectly good data away.

    • A Lacis,

      It’s a question of your singular superiority compared to the large plural inferiority of the others?

    • …all the Ralph Naderites who voted against Al Gore in the 2000 Florida election, only to make George Bush president

      Perhaps they considered Bush to be the lesser of the two evils

      • Much lesser.

        And don’t forget all those really smart lefties who were confused by that mind bending, brain teaser, the butterfly ballot. You see there was a name and next to the name box and they were told to check the second one down but that isn’t the one they wanted but they did it anyhow, how could it happen to such an enlightened group?

  96. cwon,

    I read just about every post you put up, not because I agree with your Manichean view of the climate debate, or your ongoing J.C. harangue. But because I respect your intelligence and passion. Mosher should be ashamed of himself. You’re no troll, though he might be.

    As a liberal democrat I must own up to some of my own prejudices. A few years ago I might have read Chris Mooney’s ideas without batting much of an eye. I’ve come a long way since then thanks to Agw, but I generally still do have a sense that rank and file conservatives have a tendency toward fundamentalism and anti-intellectualism. That scares me, especially as a Jew only a generation removed from Nazi Germany. When I listen to people like Michelle Bachmann talk about how she’d like to conduct an inquiry into what she sees as “anti-Americanism” in congress, or Sarah Palin who after all could easily have been vice-president show herself unable to to name a single newspaper or magazine she reads, what’s a pointy headed liberal like myself to think? How about Rick Santorum? Could you honestly imagine him as president and think that’s a pretty good thing?

    • Not that any of the Republican candidates are stellar, but Santorum would be better than a 2nd Obama term.

      As for your fear of National Socialists, you should perhaps reconsider who their ideological brethren really are. There’s absolutely nothing in common between a liberty-loving, tax-cutting, small government conservative and a National Socialist. There’s plenty in common with big government authoritarian socialist liberals though.

      Conservatives are generally far more pro-Israel than liberals, the latter welcoming their new muslim overlords with open arms.

      • You hit the nail on the head with the National Socialist bit. Read the 25 points of the Nazi party. Our Constitution is diametrically opposed to most of them. If I were a minority, Jewish or otherwise, I would be rooting for the Constitution, as conservatives tend to do, rather than a nanny, socialist state.

      • There’s really no sense in arguing about politics. People never change their beliefs. You see what you wish to see and I do the same, despite my struggle to do otherwise.

      • “People never change their beliefs.”

        Yeah that would be why the same party wins every national election.

        The fact is, that there is a significant movement over time from progressivism to conservatism. As people age, or become less dependent on government, they tend to vote more conservative. Until they return to government dependency, whereupon they again begin to vote progressive.

        Have you heard the old saw – If you are not a liberal when you are young, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative when you grow up, you have no brain. The truth is that most conservatives at one time embraced progressivism in some form. And as they look at reality, as they gain experience, they begin to see that both the heart and the brain lead to conservatism.

        I myself, as an immature political philosopher, for a time believed in alternating between Democrat and Republican control of the government – thinking Republicans were better at creating wealth, and liberals were better at spreading it around. Then I applied what I had actuially seen in life, and came to know and work politically with some real progressive activists, and that ended my delusion.

        When you see that state sponsored welfare makes people poorer and more dependent, by destroying the work ethic, even the muddle headed moderates begin to favor welfare reform and – presto – you get welfare reform and a Republican majority in Congress.

        Or when people begin to see that CAGW is a trojan horse for progressive control over the entire energy economy – voila – Copenhagen dies a miserable death, and again Republicans gain considerable ground in Congress.

        Now we are facing a government take over of the health care economy, already bweing used to bludgeon religion into submission, and we shall see what happens in November.

        Those who claim that people never change thjeir political views (virtually all of whom are progressives or moderates) are just looking for an excuse to explain why they never really reconsider their own political beliefs. Why should they when no one else does?

        Pokerguy, you shouldn’t struggle th change your beliefs, you should struggle to genuinely understand what the people who disagree with you really think.

        If think you already do this, there is a simple test. Pick a position on which you hold a firm progressive/liberal view. Then, without doing any research, googling or reading of Wikipedia, try to write out fairly and accurately the conservative position on the matter. You will likely find you are incapable of doing it. Then, and only then, do some research from conservative sources and find out what those crazy aborigines really think.

        Don’t try to learn about conservatism from the Huffington Post, MSNBC or New York Times. They don’t understand it either anyway. Or if they do, it is against their phoiilosophy to represent it fairly or accurartely.

    • Says a lot about the current ‘selection process’, if that is the proper term today.

    • Steven Mosher

      cwon’s passion is fake. He doesnt believe a single word of any of his rants.
      He’s a cartoon of the conservative perspective that only serves to make them look bad. Of course you would “like” him.

      • You have absolutely no basis for this. I find it rather shocking. What’s your evidence?

      • It’s shocking when moshe’s wrong. But, hey, shivvaree happens.

      • I just don’t understand the animus. I don’t like cwon’s ceaseless crits of Dr. C either, but unless Mosher has access to information the rest of us don’t, I find his easy willingness to call the man a fake and a fraud disturbing.

      • osher first tried to convince cwon to stop. When that didn’t work he switched tactic and started calling cwon a fake. Again to try and get him to stop.

      • John Carpenter

        The evidence is cwon won’t use his real name… anonymous trash talking is a fake passion. If you don’t tag your own name to your beliefs on a public forum, what meaning does it really carry? Where’s the credibility? I guess I shouldn’t answer for Mosher, but I would bet this is the main reason based on other comments he has made.

      • Many of my clients are liberals, I’m practical in being anonymous. Essentially this should be an abstract topic and isn’t personal for me.

        It’s about ideas, we could delete the handles it wouldn’t change my views at all. Dr. Curry has impact, she uses or misuses the public forum and the anonymous have the right here to question the process.

    • Although Santorum has the most rational climate policy view he is niether conservative or likely the choice coming. He supported “No-Child” for example while he would later apologize. Plenty of ear-mark pork on the resume, expanded medicare which reflected the appeasment policy of “compassionate conservatisim” that washed out the best ideas of the Reagan domestic view on individual rights. Both choices reflect the kind of post Reagan hell on legacy matters of the GOP.

      Romney looks like the only choice in practice but will likely fail for the very same reasons Obama fails, they reflect the divide rather than offer a solution. There might be a relief rally in the private sector and economy but there is nothing about Romney that supports broad change and leadership. Certainly the tired Socialist, New Deal dogma of Obama has to go but we need something exciting to replace it.

      I’ve resolved there will be no truely exciting leadership from the current pool of minos. It’s in fact the current status quo that is “anti-intellectualism” as both parties are depending on producing more credit to maintain current imbalances (status quo) and each enclave (like climate science) seeks to be protected in the face of this uncertainty. It’s the fall of the fiat system that is marking our age, what comes next?

      Do you really want to compare the raw brainpower of Palin/Bachmann to say Al Gore or Joe Biden??? That’s a pretty slippery slope and misses the point of what people clearly look for in leadership to begin with. Aside from being a false fact narrative it’s a classic liberal cultural misnommer, you’re better than this.

  97. Steve Milesworthy

    Eloquent article from a Republican meteorologist who doesn’t follow the “party line”.

    • Everyone in Minnesota knows who Paul Douglas is. He is legendary in being a weather nerd, and when he started he was affectionately referred to as “weather boy”. He has always been involved up with weather forecasting startups and a few weather visualization software firms. He is kind of like a Jeff Masters in that regard.
      I did not know that he is a moderate republican, but that editorial he wrote nailed it in terms of taking a forward-looking approach.

      • web,

        What is the ‘weather boy’ insinuation? He’s white, so it’s not a Jim Crow ‘boy’ insinuation. What do you mean? Please enplane.

        Thanks, jim

      • enplane -> explain

      • web,

        What is the ‘weather boy’ insinuation? He’s white, so it’s not a Jim Crow ‘boy’ insinuation. What do you mean? Please enplane.

        Thanks, jim

        Are you joking? It took me a minute to Google, and he explains it himself:

        “Management was terrified of my age, I looked REALLY young. I was 23, but looked 17. I remember the good old days, when Star Tribune New/Media columnist Nick Coleman gleefully referred to me as “weather-boy.” That stung (at the time) but I promised him I’d age, and not necessarily gracefully.”

        He started out as a boy-wonder genius at weather and is still going strong.

      • web,

        No. I’m not joking. I asked why the “weather boy” quote mark emphasis. That he is 17 or 70 years old is a fact. That you call him a “boy” is an insinuation. I asked you what is the insinuation that you intended.

        And it is what?

      • web,

        Your proffered quote says Paul Douglas was “stung” by the weather b** moniker.

      • “web,

        No. I’m not joking. I asked why the “weather boy” quote mark emphasis. That he is 17 or 70 years old is a fact. That you call him a “boy” is an insinuation. I asked you what is the insinuation that you intended.

        And it is what?”

        I used the quote marks to indicate I was quoting what was said at the time. Do you understand what quote marks are used for?

        The insinuation was that he started fresh out of school, and he could because he had the talent.

      • As a Minnesotan, I can tell you that WHTis correct, calling Paul Douglas weather boy is very common in MN and not an insult. Although now he looks more like Pee-Wee Herman. And as far as him being a moderate republican, I wouldn’t have guessed it in a million years.

        We need top notch weatherpersons here, because of our climate and I much prefer Dave Dahl to Paul Douglas.

      • Yes, I understand the use of quote marks when no one is being quoted. I question the basis for your dismissive remark.

        He is wrong because he looks like a boy?

      • “I question the basis for your dismissive remark.

        He is wrong because he looks like a boy?”

        I didn’t say he was wrong. Actually, I don’t think you read the piece. Douglas is concerned about AGW.

      • web,

        I apologize. The inner Mooney in me took the liberal half of my brain out for a spin. I’d forgotten how fun it is to be a liberal! But it won’t happen again, I promise!

        Seriously, I don’t like the dismissal of people and their ideas because of their morphology, age, race, etc.

        I think that you’ll join me in outrage at this: Morano and Motl make fun of a scientist because of his/her facial appearance. They are malicious and stupid/wrong!

        My sensitivity to your boy-isms was a prediction of far worse to come… ;-)

  98. Test yourself against this definition:

    A “liberal” is a person who, on a controversial issue, will either refuse to debate the facts or merely deny them, instead declaring that the detractors are stupid, racist, or in need of “treatment”.

    If you don’t fall into this category I’m not talking about you.

    • A liberal is a person who wouldn’t make insinuations of stereotypical inferiority. No, a liberal would never do such an awful thing…

  99. If, in some alternate universe, the science really did support CAGW, there would probably be similar lines of support. IE: most democrats support CAGW for the wrong reasons; likewise most republicans are critical for the wrong reasons. It has little to do with clear, disinterested, penetrating thought.

  100. I wonder if we’ll ever get a post here about the progressive brain, or the moderate brain? Some medico-anthropological analysis of why progressives think they are qualified to plan an economy of 300,000,000+ people. Or why moderates and independents always seek a “middle” solution on virtually everything.

    How about a poll testing the correlation of personal vanity and progressive/moderate positions? Maybe a Margaret Mead style investigation into the tribal workings of leftists and middle of the roaders?

    Or how about brain scans to determine why conservatives prefer to keep the Constitution, and progressives and moderates think it is a nuisance?

    The possibilities are endless. Now if only we could convince a couple of conservatives to waste their time, apply for a government grant, and engage in some serious pseudo-science, rather than building things and employing people.

  101. Excellent article here
    “For Katharine Hayhoe, Climate Change Not a Leap of Faith”

    OK it’s about faith rather than politics but still interesting.

    • Latimer Alder


      What, in particular, did you find interesting about his lady? Somebody who has faith in climatology also believes in a sky pixie And is going to save teh world? This is not news, this is just the latest doomsday cult. They crop up every now and then…remember Heaven’s Gate?

      We had our very own example here a few weeks ago of an ex-evangelical who was going to single-handedly end denialism in general and Richard Lindzen’s career in particular..Now he really was interesting a watching a car crash in slow motion sort of way…….strangely he has disappeared back to obscurity after finding both tasks beyond his abilities.

  102. Where do we Libertarians-with-Anarchist-tendencies fit into this discussion?

    • Latimer Alder

      Libertarians with Anarchist Tendencies?

      The Good Guys :-)

    • In the same corner as Thomas Jefferson and Henry David Thoreau. As American as apple pie. I feel comfortable being put into a box labeled “Jeffersonian Thoreauist.”


  103. My take away from this post and the associated comments is that there are a good many very bright people who don’t read past the title or perhaps opening quotation Judith posts. Here, JCurry posts a number of points covering a spectrum of discussion on predispositions toward climate science, not just looney Mooney.

    I wish I could remember the name of the social scientist I heard on NPR a couple days ago who’d researched this subject at length. His take is that conservatives generally have a more defined view of “sacred” than do liberals. Interestingly, he described himself as liberal. He also stated that liberals are horrible at respecting the conservative understanding of the sacred and in doing so, essentially lose any possibility of convincing them of anything.

    I can’t really say from this post or from others here what Judith’s political persuasion might be. I can say though that regardless of whatever that is, she’s quite even handed in presenting evidence without placing it in the context of her own values. It could be that she holds the dynamic tension between opposing interpretations of data that is the part and parcel of modern science as being sacred. That would be consistent with my experience in this space to date. And regardless of the accuracy of my guess, it is the only hope for credible science.

    • jbmckim…
      I wish I could remember the name…
      I can’t really say from this post or from others…
      It could be that she holds…
      And regardless of the accuracy of my guess, it is the only, hope…

      Finish reading your Bible, if we have the time & …

      • Nastiness is not a substitute for intelligence although you implicitly propose it as such above. Your projection of my point (I do not mention bible and you incorrectly project it from my use of the word “sacred”) is inaccurate. Projection is not a legitimate substitute for conversation…unless you very much enjoy reveling in your self-perceived cleverness.

        Also, please note my correct usage of the ellipsis vs. your incorrect usage.

  104. Daniel Suggs

    Dr Curry-
    How about this for a third reason:
    Trust you once, shame on you,
    Trust you twice, shame on me!
    I give everyone a first chance. Second time around I am extremely skeptical. These clowns have all blown their first chance by lying and falsifying data and their predictions have all failed. I recognize a false religion when I see it, and AGW has all the signs.

  105. Republicans distrust climate change science in greater numbers than Democrats in part because the solutions to the issue all result in a larger role for government and less freedom for individuals. We Republicans know Democrats will do anything honest or dishonest in order to grow the size and power of government.

    BTW, we distrust government in large part because ALL of the major acts of inhumanity to man have been perpetrated by governments – Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc. Government makes lots of promises but cannot keep them. The solution to the problem is almost always worse than the problem.

  106. ‘The brain?” Republican “brain?” “Democrat brain?”

    Jest another aspect of Plato’s essentialit theory of forms, an attempt to find the unchanging in all that damned flux. “Republican ” brain” is essentialist sociology, pseudoscience linked to historicism in history, Plato’s law of corruptibility. Plato saw history as social decay, a history of illness after the golden age, you know, the age before the flux set in, Inverted by Marx to a law of inevitable historical progress but reverted to by Green millenarian fear and guilt.

    • I was going to post something along the same lines, Beth.

      Each of the political parties (and both the conservative and liberal political movements) is a complicated, confused coalition created to win elections (i.e., fifty percent plus one).

      Republicans vs. Democrats, liberals vs. conservatives, have undergone wild gyrations and transformations within my own lifetime: It is hard to imagine Jack Kennedy, for example, getting all excited about global warming or gay marriage, and hard to imagine contemporary liberals endorsing the brinkmanship JFK engaged in during the Cuban Missile Crisis (I’m neither praising nor condemning JFK, but just pointing out that “liberalism” means something very different in in 2012 than in 1962).

      Perhaps an “essentialist” approach may work on some occasions, but is surely does not work here. The crude labels we use to describe shifting political coalitions are just not going to reveal much about the basis of human nature.


  107. ‘Essentialist’ :-(

  108. – STOP RIGHT NOW, and don’t be distracted from our path. Can’t you see this is another win for the activist PR machine ? They are again putting opposition on the back foot by attacking with smears. “Denier”, “Anti-Science” etc. etc. it all meaningless name calling & we shouldn’t waste our time defending smears.They are bullying us like a spoiled child & we shouldn’t put up with that.
    – Instead of being distracted we should seize back the agenda & concentrate on challenging them on their many flaws : Irrational laws, questionable practices etc. We should not be accepting policy that is driven by models that have been tweaked to replicate the past & haven’t proved themselves over time..
    – We should nurture science that really works that comes up with models that replicate real world evidence again again, & solutions that don’t rely on fantasy mathematics ( like & solar) so we can use them to drive policy. Good SCIENCE driving good POLICY.

    BTW : Do people who don’t believe in a a war on Climate Change have a duty to be conscientious objectors ? especially on Earth Hour

  109. Neither. I’d say both c and d.

    c) because they are skeptical of anything that means higher taxes.
    d) because they are not so pessimistic about humanity versus nature as their opponents.

    The right though are though just as ideologically blinkered as their opponents on a whole slew of other issues. However there should be a distinction made between soft science and hard science. The former relies mainly on spurious significance tests and everyone should be very skeptical of it. The other side of the coin is why are so many liberals not skeptical when there are so many compelling reasons to be so. I speak as a lifelong liberal who has been in favour of alternative energy research.

  110. When was the last time you were impressed with the efficiency of a bureaucrat? Who want’s to empower more bureaucrats? Who is brain damaged again?

  111. Cwon, say, you’ve been copping it as a ‘closet liberal’. Can’t see it myself. Remember though,Cwon, those who live by the sword die by the sword.
    Stay cool. I personally prefer the lasso. I’m getting quite proficient, progressed from stationary to moving targets, (very slow moving )

    Wore my message t shirt, ‘AGW is a Death Star.’ to one of those Green forums the other day, you know, cafe latte and mineral water. Saw some of the clientele reading the message but no one said anything. Bit of an anti climax, splashed coffee on the new t shirt and had to sponge it off with the mineral water. Not so cool :-(

  112. David Wojick

    The only fact of substance here is the dramatic decline in respect for science among conservatives over the last few decades. The growth of the climate change issue may well be enough to explain this negative trend. If so then conservative attitudes do not explain skepticism, rather skepticism explains conservative attitudes. Many skeptics, including me, have warned for decades that the hyperbolic science presented by the climate movement would damage the integrity of science. And so it has. Thus all is explained. QED

    Of course those who deny the deception cannot accept this explanation.

    • “David Wojick
      The only fact of substance here is the dramatic decline in respect for science among conservatives over the last few decades”

      I wonder if they asked a bunch of conservatives the amount of respect for different types of scientists if your postulate would be proven.

      I have found that conservatives have more respect for medical scientists than do liberals.
      Just because the climate scientists are treated with contempt by many, does not mean that researchers in other fields are thought of in the same manner.
      Take genetically modified foods, animal experimentation or nuclear physics; all these fields are viewed favorable by conservatives and treated with contempt by liberals, and the media.
      The great unwashed who attack brain researchers are not conservatives, but romantic left-wingers who worship Gaia and her furry children.
      The people who destroy GM food research fields are not Christian Fundamentalists enraged that mere mortals are usurping God, but water-melons who know that laws do not apply to those who have intrinsic moral superiority.
      However, David, many on the left don’t think Animal Rights Terrorists, of anti-GM Food activists or anti-Nuclear Power campaigners to be anti-science, because David, most journalists are half-blind and do not realize they know bugger all about science, society and the intersection of the two.
      Their right-on wrath is just a cover for their inability to understand why people will not buy this particular pig until, they have gazed into this particular poke. The ‘anti-climate’ people will take chemotherapy, buy an iPad, support nuclear power stations, oil drilling, and dam building, but they will not buy into the ‘Thermogeddon’ favorite scam, no matter how much the Manniac’s shout ‘it’s settled science!’.
      I wish they would just grow up and stop stealing my clothes, as they look fake in Labcoats.

  113. Judith, just want to say thx again for what you do. I won’t be posting for a while, have to do stuff, but thought I’d say how much I love your site. As an escapee from the humanities I ‘ve learn’t heaps, ( even have a handle on Rossby Waves ) So many diverse people with different expertise commenting, you get to respect the denizens and regard them as friends. Not a tribe, though, there’s no settled science. It’s an e-salon, full on debate, witty summaries … Kim!
    Thanks for being at the coal face Judith and letting it happen. :-)

  114. Ho-hum, another self-serving liberal utopian academic tries to pin an unflattering label on the political opposition. What else is new?

    Chris, do 97% of social scientists agree? Is this a consensus?

    God you people are so predictable and boring.

  115. Though Sarewitz seems a bit slow on the uptake – this is four years old:

    his argument has the ring of truth.

  116. Noticed Captain Kangaroo’s back on the site. Can’t say I’m sorry, what with ever new encroachments on liberty, government side kicks like the EPA with ever increasing pervasive powers. When justice and rule of law are threatened from within, time to bring in the freedom warriors, Robin Hood, Lone Ranger, Clark Kent, Captain Kangaroo, Harrison Ford…er no, not Harrison Ford.
    You take care of that blue pony, now, Chief Hydrologist.

  117. The study doesn’t even ask about faith in “science,” it asks about faith in “scientists.” Here is a completely different take on the study and the news stories about the study:

  118. The thought that the IPCC WG1 science is wholly or mostly wrong is irrational. All other major relevant scientific societies have endorsed the basic premises, but this is only viewed as conspiratorial in a doubling down of the skeptics, jumping seemingly easily from plain science skepticism to a full blown global conspiracy theory. I think Mooney was trying to get at how such irrational ideas spread in certain isolated parts of society. Certainly it is reinforced in the blogosphere and conservative echo chambers, and sustains itself (somewhat like a nuclear reaction) with a critical mass of people shooting inbred skeptical ideas (like neutrons) back and forth in this age of fast mass communication. In this analogy, the only moderator will be the truth of continued warming. This social phenomenon is an interesting thing to study in itself, and understandably social scientists are drawn to it.
    I don’t think it is fear of pain that drives this (as Mooney does), but more driven by the Kubler Ross stages when confronted with a world change. Denial and anger (of which we see plenty here) are followed by bargaining (warming isn’t so bad), then depression (quietness) and acceptance (where we don’t hear from them again).

    • Jim,

      This is a very broad plane of engagement; the as you named it ‘IPCC science’.

      Yes, there is some science there. Now the scientific questions: Do you count the simulated GSM modeling as science? Do you count the selection biased paleoclimate reconstructions as science? Are they falsifiable scientific hypothesis/conjecture? Have you rigorous answers to these questions?

      Mooney is a dilettante. Nothing he does is science. Maybe he is just a neutron, as you suggest.

      • ie neutrons bounce around like dilettantes bounce around…

      • GCM models support the science. They have been around for a while and have shown that they give a good enough representation of the major features. They are based on known properties of fluids, the surface energy balance, and radiation that can be tested against observations. Even without GCMs you can easily establish that things have to get warmer at the surface with more CO2.
        I have talked about paleoclimate before. Need I mention it has been at least 30 million years since we had such high CO2 levels, and it was warmer then. We are headed towards Cretaceous CO2 levels within this century, if not Jurassic.

      • Jim D,

        You know, Jim D, being a simple, Joe6Pak kinda guy, without all your G-2 kicking about my hard-wired, regular-guy brain, I use a simple, field-expedient test to determine if alarming comments about “demon carbon” are merely “alarmist” or truly warnings of a genuine peril to humanity’s future.

        Namely, I consider whether the individual sounding the alarm conducts his own life in a manner consistent with his professed concerns and, further, whether he takes to task all of those contributing to the carbon menace, even if it means biting the hand that feeds him or offending his pals.

        So to help me, Jim D, arrive at a sound judgement as to the worth and merit of your alarming warnings about CO2 in the 21st Century, could you please respond to the following little survey?:

        -Your residence consists of how many square ft of climate controlled living space?

        -Other than walking and biking, what other modes of travel did you employ over the last year and the miles/various modes of travel?

        -Calorie-wise, what percentage of the food you consumed over the last year was produced within a 25 mile radius of your residence?

        -Do you use air-conditioning/heating in your home and work-space and, if so, what are your thermostat settings?

        -If you have no control over your workplace thermostat settings and those settings add to the carbon peril, do you regularly and forcefully protest to your employer the risks his/her irresponsible climate-control settings impose on the future of humanity?

        -Do you regularly, forcefully, and publicly denounce conferences and their attendees, and most especially eco-conferences/eco-attendees, when those conferences are held in any form other than that of low-carbon video-conferencing?

        -Do you find Al Gore’s (and other luminaries in the astonishingly lucrative “sounding the alarm” business) palatial mansions, private-jet travel, jet-set life style, yacht-expeditions to the Antarctic, and the like to be contributing to the carbon peril you see menacing humanity’s future and, if so, do you denounce the same accordingly?

        That’s a start, Jim D. Come up with the “right” answers to the above questions and you’ll earn your “Chicken-Little-Worth-a-Listen” wings. And you’ll also take your first step on the long, hard road, requiring ever more “right” answers to ever more tricky, pointed questions, to the “big-prize!”–the “Savonarola-Worth-A-Bonfire-of-the-Vanities” decoder ring!

        But fail the first test, Jim D, and you’ll end up in the “B. S.-artist, eco-hypocrite, flunky agit-prop stooge, witting tool, carbon-piggie (OINK!-OINK!) sell-out to his Big-Green, carbon-swine, boss-hog, make-a-buck/make-a-gulag betters” categtory. Special demerits are also assessed for those preaching the perils of “demon carbon” and who are then caught with their own dripping snout conspicuously be-smeared with the high-carbon swill (OINK!-OINK! GRUNT!-GRUNT! SUCK!-SUCK!) of their good-deal, pay-off trough.

        Incidentally, JimD, most “alarmists” don’t pass the test. And that little factoid tells me all I know about the CAGW scam–including the “climate model” sub-hustle. Except to say, I keep an open mind and am willing to give your concerns a consideration–if you pass the test, that is.

      • mike, why is the pursuit scientific truth alarmist to you? I don’t think humanity is going to slow down CO2 emissions any time soon. Look at the developing population centers in Asia. I am a realist in that sense. Warming of 3 degrees is coming and we have to prepare for it. It could be costly so a carbon tax would be a suitable sin tax to start investing in the future now, and supporting ways of getting energy without fossil fuels, otherwise it will just come out of our income tax at the expense of other programs. Agriculture could benefit from warmth in some areas, but not others where it is already barely sustainable with irrigation. If continents get hotter and drier, this is not so good. How do we prepare? I don’t know, but it has to be planned for as a distinct possible outcome of 3 degrees warming. So I am for planning and adaptation, and only mitigation to the extent of weaning humanity from fossil fuels before all of that buried CO2 is in the atmosphere and oceans.

      • Jim D,

        Yr. “mike why is the pursuit [of] scientific truth alarmist to you?”

        Well, Jim D, the pursuit of “scientific truth” (though, as I learned the deal a while back there are no “facts” or “truths” in science–only corrigible estimates of the same) is not “alarmist” to me. And, of course, that was an adroit little move by you to try and assign such a view to me–thought you could sneak that one in–huh, JIm D.?

        On the other hand, scams that use bogus “scientific” claims to achieve their make-a-buck/make-a-gulag “scores” do rile me a bit. And I find the challenge in “climate science” matters is in sorting out the hucksters and their flim-flam science from the real thing.

        Further, since “climategate”, Jim D, we now know the word of some guy in a lab-coat; with a wall-full of handsomely framed degree, prize, and accreditation certificates; and a smarmy, professorial “Trust me!” line is no longer a reliable guarantee of ethical “climate science.” Not to mention that CAGW pronouncements, even from the loftiest, most snooty sources, almost always conflate “science” with the greenshirt agit-prop. And, then, there’s also the guys looking to make a quick-buck out of the whole CAGW business–makes no difference to them about the “science” or “pseudo-science” or, indeed, any kind of “science, at all, as long as there’s a pay-off for their troubles. Therefore, I’ve concluded, Jim D., that discussions of CAGW are seldom without their hidden or not-so-hidden agendas.

        So, as explained, in my original comment, Jim D., I’m pretty much left to my own devices to sort of the various CAGW claims. Hence my little survey in my original comment with its questions that you failed to answer. And, since my observations, to my limited ability to make such observations, have been that few, if any, of those sounding the CAGW alarm can provide the “right” answers to my survey, I’ve concluded that the whole CAGW-alarm rigamarole is “most likely” (greater than 95% confidence) not “science” but rather a bunch of noxious clap-trap in support of a scam with multiple moving parts.

        But you could convince me otherwise, Jim D.–but, first, you have to answer the questions in my little survey and with the “right” answers. Do that and I’ll give your CAGW “science” pitch a real attentive listen–promise!

      • mike, you were assigning an alarmist tag to me, which is not true when all I say is there will be 3 degrees warming and preparation is needed. “Alarming” is something you decided that was. I am not going to ride a bicycle to work, or turn off my winter heating, but I would pay a carbon tax which is something that would be effective. You seem to have trouble with them university types and people who pursue rational scientific thought in general which puts you at a disadvantage because then all your learning is coming from blog posts by random people. You might want to consider different ways of learning, such as books or blogs by actual university scientific professors. It seems this would be a whole new world to you, and you could impress your friends with actual knowledge rather than made-up things.

      • O. K. Jim D, “I got it!” You’re pushing a carbon tax (slap on the forehead–why didn’t I think of that in the first place?!). Hardly the first aspiring philosopher king with that little item up his sleeve. Glad to see your cards out on the table, Jim D.

        Oh, and you’re smart and everyone else is dumb and that’s why a carbon tax is a good idea–again, “I got it!” And, what else?–oh yeah, you and your greenshirt pals get to keep all your in-your-face, carbon-piggy good deals, many of them taxpayer provided, and enjoy them in good-conscience. Why? Because you’re not one of us “Republican brain” dummies who are designated by our betters to bear all the carbon-sacrifices. Once again–you’re not going to believe this Jim D.–“I got it!”

        But you got me wrong about one thing, Jim D., with your remark, “You [moi] seem to have trouble with them university types…” That’s not quite it, Jim D. Rather, I have trouble with lefty, wannabe commissar, eco-hypocrite slickos trying to slip their hustler’s hand into my pocket and purloin my hard-earned dough to fund their party-line, party-animal, good times. Though, of course, that also includes “them university types” that fit that profile.

      • Yes, mike, 3 degrees and carbon tax.That’s it for this part of the thread. I don’t want to give you too much of that there academicky sciency stuff.

      • “The thought that the IPCC WG1 science is wholly or mostly wrong is irrational. ”

        That is what you started with. I agree generally. My critique is that the confidence interval of WG1 work is much larger than proponents of the IPCC reports acknowledge.

        “Even without GCMs you can easily establish that things have to get warmer at the surface with more CO2.”

        Agreed. I have no specific knowledge about contemporary modelers. I have a projected idea from some years ago. One of many experiences. When Lorenz was first celebrated for ‘discovering chaos’, I heard a prior student of his lecture on the idea. He was asked a strange question; ‘Was the butterfly effect real? He answered that it is real, “…If the butterfly wing is big enough, bigger than a meter square.” He demonstrated the nonsense of thinking that a numeric model demonstrates causal relationship in the real world. I have seen this thinking many, many times.

        The only value of a model is successful prediction. Prediction of the future. The only test is prediction of the future. Hindcasting means nothing. My outsider assessment IPCC science rests on the future predictions that the WGs have made in the past.

        The probability distribution of IPCC model projections of carbon sensitivity is numerical fiction. It is an equational elephant. The superposition of many guesses has no real world meaning.

        I disappointed when first I looked at the GISS palaeoclimate reconstructions and data, at the GISS web site. The science may well be very good, but you wouldn’t think so from a look at the numbers there. Ice core inferential dating recorded with three, four, five, even seven significant figures. Historical dates recorded as “1.859 x 10exp3 years BP”. Etc.

        I’m an outsider. The closer I look at the IPCC science, the less I am confided by it. YMMV

      • The AUG, putting Mooney on the board, has spoken for themselves.

      • “The only value of a model is successful prediction. Prediction of the future. The only test is prediction of the future. Hindcasting means nothing”

        This jim evidently doesn’t believe in using models for forensics, insurance settlements, or any kind of test substantiation. Substantiation of tests is huge in that it helps one gain confidence that other tests that have been performed correctly. In the larger sense, models create an interlocking web of evidence that one’s understanding is correct.

      • “The only value of a model is successful prediction”

        Quite wrong. Many models are very good at showing you that a system is either more complex than you think or less complex than you think. I love models, never use them for prediction in the sense you mean, they are instead descriptions of the nature and degree of coupling between two or more things.

      • web, forensics are forensics, insurance is insurance, test substantiation is test substantiation, confidence is confidence.

        Science is science. Models *are*prediction. The definition I tossed up is the most irreducible one. Science is prediction, everything else is stamp collecting.

        Your best effort is?

      • sorry, too short in reply; question at end is not insult, is question(?) your best definition of models is? your best definition of science is? show your irreducible effort!

      • web,

        “…descriptions of the nature and degree of coupling between two or more things.”


      • I apologize to doc and web. I screwed up and mis-addressed my comments. I’m sorry.

        Hast makes mistakes.

        If you can tolerate any more of my philosophizing: What distinguishes science from pseudo-science and cargo-cult science is successful prediction. The rest of the practical trappings are common to all of them; eg models, understandings, hypothesis, couplings, lab coats, etc.

        Science stands on falsification. Falsification of what? Predictions. Implications, inferences, understandings, are meaningless without implicitly predicted outcomes.

      • “Science is science. Models *are*prediction.”

        OK, I get it, a model is a prediction that my scientific understanding is correct.
        So you win in this useless game of rhetoric, I don’t really care.

      • “OK, I get it, a model is a prediction that my scientific understanding is correct.
        So you win in this useless game of rhetoric, I don’t really care.”

        Not rhetoric, but reality.

        It is the qualification of your model. You’re not a pseudo-scientist!

      • web,

        Qualification of your model = unsuccessful falsification of your model. Your model is qualified until it is falsified. It is more qualified (maybe a theorem!) the more it is unsuccessful falsified.

        Models and understanding: the QED Theorem (a model) for a photon going thru two slits gives no understanding, but it gives perfect prediction.

      • Jim D, regarding your claim that “Even without GCMs you can easily establish that things have to get warmer at the surface with more CO2.”

        If this were true we would not be here. Your logic escapes me.

      • Arrehenius did it in 1895 without a GCM. The basic idea stands, but his numbers are refined with better data.

      • David Wojick

        Unbelieveable! You are not kidding either. The entire scientific debate must be lost on you. You are back in 1895 apparently, with no feedbacks and no natural variability, no climate really. Why then are you here? You can’t possibly understand what we are talking about.

      • Arrhenius already understood the water vapor feedback which is the main one. A lot of skeptics have not reached 1895 yet in their understanding. GCMs have helped put the details in, not changed the fundamentals. Paleoclimate too can be made sense of with the help of understanding the CO2 effect. It is only the skeptics who are left here arguing their various diverse cases. Most scientists don’t even bother unless they want some fun recreation (Lacis and Colose come to mind).

    • imagine jokes about neutron moderation…

    • Jim,

      I am a person who keeps saying that it heroic confidence to believe that carbon dioxide can increase without end – and I am far from alone in so called sceptic circles. The difference is that for me – like Lomberg and many others – the design of the solutions matter. It matters also that the principles of enlightenment civilisation are central to human progress. This includes perpetual and maximum growth of economies. Now there are many who would suggest that this is impossible. I suggest we do the experiment – because any other path leads to disaster. I don’t particularly care if you have some other idea – le’t vote on it I say.

      The problem with dweeb science is that it has no subtlety, no complexity, no abrupt change, no natural variability. There is a science that says otherwise and I keep pointing to it with very little – for instance –

      This natural variabiity has resulted in modest warming this cantury – and that seems more related to SW changes at TOA than otherwise. It is so not likely to warm for another decade or three.

      I know you don’t want to look at this – and instead create ever wilder post hoc rationales and invent well funded conspiracies. It is all dweeb science nonsense and irrational pop psychology..

      The anger jibe is odd – as it all commences with nasty little dweebs who feel justified to endlessly disparage and denigrate. Bart is notorious, Webby even has a list filled with lies and slander, Robert has a list but no-one cares, source watch has a list I am on – etc etc. Zombies run by big tobacco and oil. Anger and denial for God’sake – we know where it is all coming from. You have a choice – either more broadly consider the facts or become increasingly irrelevant.

      • Robert I Ellison | March 31, 2012 at 4:55 am |

        Comparing yourself to Lomborg, now?

        Oh how the mighty have fallen.

        Doesn’t Lomborg sometimes admit when he’s caught being wrong?

        You see a connection between yourself and Bjorn Lomborg so clearly, yet see no anger in your own writings? Seriously, your anger doesn’t come from someone outside you, Robert. I’m not taking the blame for it. WHT certainly didn’t make you an angry man. None of your list-makers created your habit of vitriol, and no creator nurtured your practice of nurturing imagined grievances. That’s all you, man. Good luck with that.

        Natural variability doesn’t begin to cut it as an explanation for the effects being seen, globally. Indeed, it would be astounding were it so. With the human race so relentlessly pushing at dominoes within every natural system it ever comes into contact with, it would be utterly unprecedented if not one of them started to fall.

        The inverted system of rewards that encourages pushing on the bigger, riskier dominoes is unnatural, based in decisions of government, and simply the result of corrupt and inept economic management.

        But be of good cheer; there’s no need for anger: I’m certainly not calling you corrupt.

      • Red Bart, (delicious)…

        “With the human race so relentlessly pushing at dominoes within every natural system it ever comes into contact with, it would be utterly unprecedented if not one of them started to fall.”

        gives us the New & Improved “Kissinger” model, that is now to be used by the AGW crowd. Forward-into-the-past-again, they tell us all & no one left behind either; this time. They promise. It will be different.

      • Bart – as usual the incomprehensible competing with trite arm waving. Surely I can endorse Lomberg as I have in the past with you without some odd distraction. There are ways to address the issue that include maximising both humanitarian outcomes and economic growth in the global economy. You choose instead dweeb science in the service of an obsessive and belligerent posturing. If you chose to denigrate and belittle, if you insult and abuse, why on Earth would you expect a civil reply.

        The vast extent of science on quite natural changes attests to one thing. The world is not warming. This is quite problematical – it risks derailing what could be alternative and effective approaches as the mooted warming fails to materialise decade after decade.

        If you choose despite the evidence to believe dweeb science and ignore the science of natural variability – then there is very little I can say to redress the deficiencies of your mind and soul. I, after all, expect very little of you and am as usual not disappointed.

      • Robert I Ellison | March 31, 2012 at 8:09 am |

        Economics is dweebie, I’ll own to that.

        Your unceasing claims, however, to be the omniscient sole source and arbiter of what is and isn’t humanitarian or global growth, the state of minds and souls, is far closer to obsessive and belligerent posturing than pretty much anything else posted at Climate Etc.

        What makes you think I’m so foolish as to expect civil anything on the Internet? Or that what I say is formed by some hoped-for reply at all?

        I report what observations, reason and study teach. If you’re insulted by CO2, that really can’t be helped. If logic denigrates you, how is anyone but yourself at fault? If study belittles you, that’s really your problem.

        The question of warming is not mine. Your denial of the stronger case for warming, unimportant. Warming or no, the world’s CO2 levels are increasing by human activity, and with CO2 levels, risks that do approach inevitability over time as CO2 levels rise to whatever limit they will one day hit, and as the levels remain above their historic levels. What that limit is, also immaterial to the principle of human action increasing personal risk.

        No case for natural variability of CO2 level being the sole or major cause of the modern rise bears close scrutiny. Small children and sage scholarly experts alike laugh at the suggestion, given the evidence.

        Feedbacks of human causes, not natural variability, and moreover the human causes themselves, are the patent source of CO2 rise.

        You’ve made a brave show of assembling some argument in the alternative. It’s to be applauded for its daring mental acrobatics and suspension of ordinaries of logic and credibility. But it fails.

        Move on.

      • ‘risks that do approach inevitability’ moves on to ‘benefits that do approach inevitability’.

      • Bart R Potamus,

        Dweeb science is once removed from reality. Your dweeb economics was conceived entirely without reference to reality. As for being the sole arbitrer of anything – it is just more belicose posturing. I offer to vote on it – you dimiss that on the basis that we will somehow skew the political debate with demagoguery designed to mislead the average punter. We can on no account persist with democracy in this dire emergency. You are of course unrepresentative swill and an agenda you dare not speak.

        I suggest that there are better approaches – and give examples – you continue to argue foolishly that I am somehow suggesting that increasing CO2 emissions endlessly is the optimal objective. As I quite clearly have said ad nauseum – although as usual you are not overly interested in showing good faith.

        As far as science is concerned. I suggest the world is cooling for another decade or three – as all of the science of natural variability suggests. I suggest that warming adds to CO2 in the atmosphere – again fairly obvious. I suggest that we have a small number (anthropogenic emissions) in the context of large numbers (natural fluxes) and opine that one would have to wonder whether the tail was wagging the dog. I suggest that warming is perhaps not entirely due to carbon dioxide. It seems again farirly obvious that clouds change and what the measured power fluxes show is that is the dominant mode of recent decadal variability. It is not even that the IPCC rejects this it is that they quibble with some flimsy land based cloud observation and suggest that, if real, it is low frequency natural variability. Duh. Classic dweeb science commentary. It is obvious that plants adapt to high carbon content by reducing stoma size and number. It is evident that the oceans contain a vast excess of calcium carbonate and can’t possibly become more acidic. It seems quite clearly that climate is dynamically complex and global warming doesn’t begin to encompass the reality. Models are by nature of the underlying mathematics an initil value problem and nothing can change that. Dweeb science insists that it is a boundary where the solutions converge on an average. Dweeb science obviously doesn’t understand the math.

        Nothing in dweeb science adds up to a hill of beans. But still on a policy level I suggest pragmatic – and moreover far more effective paths than the ones we have been blindly pursuing – to address many issues including black carbon and ozone emissions, education of women and girls, health services, water and sanitation, democracy and free markets and energy needs.

        I am sure this makes me a dangerous heretic acting out on the basis of being offended by CO2. On the other hand we have dweeb scientists insisting that warming continues when it quite obviously isn’t and this seems likely to lead to a widespread distrust in dweeb science. That can’t be a bad thing – it does however smack of throwing the baby out with the swill.

        Best Regards
        Captain Kangroo

      • kim | March 31, 2012 at 9:56 am |

        ‘risks that do approach inevitability’ moves on to ‘benefits that do approach inevitability’.

        I’m cool with that. Pay for the benefits you obtain, at the expense of the risks you impose on others without their consent, if you’re bound to expropriate without due process of law.

      • Natural variability is limited by the tendency for IR radiation to radiate away unbalanced warm anomalies. The ocean can’t just warm and stay warm for long. Natural variability is quantifiable from the temperature record, and has a standard deviation of 0.1 degrees mostly from ENSO. On top of that you see volcanoes and solar variations, and on top of that you see CO2 and other GHGs and aerosols.
        My point was that disbelief in the IPCC view as expressed by AR4 WG1, which is actually quite moderate, is an interesting phenomenon of this efficient communication age. You would never see such a thing if the public only had been communicating by phone and letter, as was more the case for the Montreal Protocol for ozone in the late 80’s. There it was left to the scientists and policymakers and it worked. Nowadays American politicians are using it in a dumbed down and distorted form for their own election campaigns, and it works within these new conservative communication bubbles, just because of critical mass. As I said, only continued warming will convince everyone, leaving just increasingly wacky hardcore deniers in the face of the growing evidence that is already enough for the scientists who see it and understand what they see.

      • Natural variability is limited to about 12 degrees C in glacials/interglacials. 1200 times your limit.

        ‘This paper gives an update on the observed decadal variability of the earth radiation budget (ERB) using the latest altitude-corrected Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE)/Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) Nonscanner Wide Field of View (WFOV) instrument Edition3 dataset. The effects of the altitude correction are to modify the original reported decadal changes in tropical mean (20°N to 20°S) longwave (LW), shortwave (SW), and net radiation between the 1980s and the 1990s from 3.1, −2.4, and −0.7 to 1.6, −3.0, and 1.4 W m−2, respectively. In addition, a small SW instrument drift over the 15-yr period was discovered during the validation of the WFOV Edition3 dataset. A correction was developed and applied to the Edition3 dataset at the data user level to produce the WFOV Edition3_Rev1 dataset. With this final correction, the ERBS Nonscanner-observed decadal changes in tropical mean LW, SW, and net radiation between the 1980s and the 1990s now stand at 0.7, −2.1, and 1.4 W m−2, respectively, which are similar to the observed decadal changes in the High-Resolution Infrared Radiometer Sounder (HIRS) Pathfinder OLR and the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) version FD record but disagree with the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Pathfinder ERB record. Furthermore, the observed interannual variability of near-global ERBS WFOV Edition3_Rev1 net radiation is found to be remarkably consistent with the latest ocean heat storage record for the overlapping time period of 1993 to 1999. Both datasets show variations of roughly 1.5 W m−2 in planetary net heat balance during the 1990s.’

        This is contained in AR4. There is a dumbed don version – I call it dweeb science. It consists of ignoring conflicting information. I can’t help you with that.

      • CK, you bring in Milankovitch as though you expect it is relevant. We are not due for an Ice Age according to that theory, but perhaps you know different. The descent of temperature from the Cretaceous was also natural variability due to a CO2 decrease. Is that relevant too? No, only in the sense that we are half way to completely reversing it. For the short term, we have a CO2 forcing increase near 2 W/m2 which unlike the noise you cite, is a sustained forcing. Sure, the noise makes the signal hard (for some) to see at the moment, but the mean temperature is already several standard deviations above the 0.1 K interannual variability due to ENSO, which is no small ocean perturbation. Current La Ninas are warmer than El Ninos were in the 1980’s. I think this is notable fact to consider.

      • There are a couple of points in there. Orbital eccentricities are not in themsleves sufficient to trigger glacials or recovery but rely on feedbacks of ice, snow, cloud and ocean circulation.

        It can happen rapidly – large cooling within a decade. Ya got any real data that it won’t or are you just arm waving?

        1 Did you not notice that all the warming was in the SW?
        2. ENSO needs to looked at in monthly surface temperature records.
        3. ENSO is non stationary and non-Guassian

        Ya just need to get past the dweeb science – and you might learn something instead of just replying with braod estimates in a narrow narrative of AGW.

      • CK, while it is encouraging that you understand that sustained albedo forcing can lead to climate change, it is disappointing that you have not yet made that connection with CO2. I would put it down to some kind of a mental block. This is also symptomatic of the Republican brain(?).

      • Jim D, you every played with MODTRAN?

        It is kinda neat. This first run is for subarctic with -20 surface temperature offset and water vapor scale set to 0.001. It’s cold in the Antarctic, not much water vapor. CO@ is set for 280 PPM, looking down from 4km, around the tropopause.

        This run is the same except for the CO@ is 28000PPM. A pretty substantial change. There is a change of 10Wm-2 about from 280 to 28000 ppm.
        CO2 is temperature dependent as well as concentration dependent. In order to warm the surface, it has to cool the tropopause or upper troposphere. All things remaining equal, a doubling would produce about 3.7 Wm-2 of additional forcing, but all things don’t remain equal, except for one thing, the Antarctic. There will be not measurable change in the Antarctic for a doubling or even a quadrupling. The Antarctic is a heat sink, so it is unlikely that globally there will be more than 1.5C of warming for a doubling. So some people are not really sold on the whole catastrophic thing because it looks physically unlikely.

        If you play with MODTRAN in the tropics, you will find that the tropics have a few issues with CO2 forcing also.

      • Captain, yes, I like MODTRAN. I was just using it to see the insignificance of a 10% change in ozone for another discussion here. If parts of the earth are not warming to balance the CO2 forcing, the others have to warm even more, mostly the northern latitudes. The oceans also don’t warm so fast, so the land has to take up the slack becoming both hotter and drier. It is not a good thing.

      • A Push-Me Pull-You.

      • Jim D said, “If parts of the earth are not warming to balance the CO2 forcing, the others have to warm even more, mostly the northern latitudes.”

        That is not entirely true. Warming or reduction in cooling, is mainly top down. Where water vapor is present, the warming starts with the water vapor and increases the rate of upper level convection. That is a negative feedback. This is the reason for the issue with mixed phase clouds in the Arctic and and accelerated convection in the tropics. The northern high latitudes can warm more, but that is partially due to land use changes. If the snow were left alone instead of preparing for new seasonal crops, there would be less warming because there would be more shortwave reflection. But people gots ta eat. A change in crops though to higher albedo foliage and shorter growing seasons would drop temperatures a bit, but I am not sure that the local would really like to see temperatures drop a bit. Especially since they spend so much time and money clearing snow and breaking ice. It is kind of a conundrum ain’t it?

      • Captain D, you with the crops again. It just doesn’t add up. Give up on it. How is the earth going to radiate more if not by getting warmer? You can’t count on the albedo to increase because Arctic sea-ice loss offsets anything you could imagine. Take away albedo, and there is nothing but warming left unless we get lucky with some big volcanoes or a major solar slump.

      • Jim D, Hey, I love my farmers :)

        Actually, the farming thing does add up pretty well. I saw a paper that said it didn’t, that one said the biggest crop impact would be in the mid-latitude deserts. That would have a big impact, but the upper mid-latitudes to the high sub-Arctic provides most of the heat for the Arctic warming. That is 1 to 2 percent of the surface of the Earth and it would only take 36Wm-2 change in albedo over the course of a season to produce 3Wm-2 annual albedo impact. That is close to a one degree annual change for that region or about half of the warming in that region.

        Most papers indicate that globally, land use is a net negative forcing. That is a bit misleading since land use also include water use. Water helps retain the energy. There is a definite “suburban effect” in the temperature records not considered in most of the papers.

      • The sea ice effect is small –

        The cloud effect is large as in the wong et al study I cited.

      • Jim D, I just skimmed this paper, ”
        * Early human agricultural activities and feedbacks account, by our estimation, for one third of the total anthropogenic-related change in GHG forcing, more than one third of the total anthropogenic, greenhouse-induced global temperature change and around half of the expanded area of permanent snow cover. Thus, contrary to the conventional view, humans appear to have exerted a substantial influence on global climate prior to the industrial era. ”

        Pretty close to my estimate.

        You see, the GHG amplify the land use changes. Small changes in the right spots can make big differences.

      • CK, OK, if the sea ice effect is small, why do you think the Ice Ages occurred? Aren’t you contradicting yourself when you are the one that raised Milankovitch in the first place? And I still don’t know why we are talking about the Ice Ages here. The main point that you tried to divert from was the sustained effect of 2 W/m2 so far for CO2 with at least 3 more coming. Would that affect climate, or should we just ignore it?

      • I linked to the paper on the modern effect of sea ice. Small. It doesn’t of course mean it is always small.

        Have you not understood where I have said that unlimited increase in CO2
        would be heroic?

      • CK, the optimistic guess at forcing by 2100 would be if CO2 emission growth stopped now and stayed steady at its current rate. This would reach just over double pre-industrial values for a forcing of 3.7 W/m2. Another scenario would extrapolate the growth rate of the last century (emissions doubling every 33 years) into the next. This would give 1000 ppm for a forcing of 6.8 W/m2 by 2100. The highest IPCC AR5 RCP scenario has a forcing of 8.5 W/m2 from CO2 equivalent. These are forcings that easily exceed natural variability when integrated over the period. I don’t think the RCP forcings include any reduction in albedo, so it could end up being more when the models are run.

      • Jim D, An Ice Age wasn’t built in a season. The shallower the frost line is in the soil the snow can stay on the ground. Sea ice doesn’t start the ice age rolling land ice does. Land use dramatically changes the heat contained in the soil.

        That is a pretty decent link for soil heat flows. You will noticed that the wheat field soil has much larger changes with solar radiation and that the depth of the heat flux is considerable deeper. Soil temperatures can change 50C during the day at higher latitudes. The wheat field in the link absorbs over 100Wm-2 at peak and releases 50Wm-2 at night. The deciduous forest soil absorbs around 20 Wm-2 in the day and releases little if any at night. That is about 25Wm-2 difference in stored energy and 50Wm-2 more released energy. That would increase the Tmin a touch.

        Soil composition varies, so any or all of your energy investment can be lost :)

      • capt. d., the soil properties are such that a diurnal signal doesn’t get as much as a foot into the ground. If you accumulated the amount of heat you say per day, your soil would heat up several degrees per day. Instead, the soil energy is balanced during a typical day, so it loses all it absorbs to a good approximation.

      • Jim D, it loses most of it as heat closer to the surface. That may or may not be a major climate impact, but it is likely an impact on measuring climate. I posted that below, but in case you missed it. The soil heat content does increase which leads to higher night time temperatures and energy to melt early season snows. So the impact is mainly in the high latitudes. The main impact is the latent portion of the flux. In a typically dry environment, high latitudes, it adds significantly to the radiant forcing.

        BTW, no till and limited till farming is catching on all over the globe, except for Russia, Africa and the rice belts. I am looking around for some of the larger no till regions, South America looks promising, where I may be able to show a correlation between temperature with farming practices. Normal till farming releases a lot of stuff into the atmosphere, so there may be other tracers to estimate impact.

        13,805,153 km² is a pretty big chunk of remodeled real estate. Don’t be surprised if, “It turns out that land-use changes, right up to about 1950 or even 1970, were as large a player as fossil-fuel emissions were,” he says. “And even today they are not trivial.”

        That will be an interesting paper.

      • I don’t think so Jim – – we have several W/m2 change in any period – but interestingly several watts/m2 trend between El Chichon effects lingering in 1983 – neglecting Mt Pinotubo in 1992 – to 1998 and then a couple of W/m2 adjustment in the 1998/2001 climate shift.

        We don’t know which way things will go at the next climate shift. Dweeb science assumes that we do – but the science of natural climate change suggests otherwise.

      • Not sure I understand. Are you saying those volcanoes have cooled us and yet we are still warming? If so, it is worse than we thought.

      • That’s OK Jim – I’m entirely confident you don’t understand.

  119. Since the British don’t have Republicans and Democrats, how does the political parties stack up over there? Would Lord Monckton, for example, be considered more closely related to a Republican or Democrat?

    I did notice that Lord Monckton has joined me in pointing out that Barack Obama’s birth certificate released by the White House as a pdf was created on a computer and not scanned from paper. Sheriff Joe Arpaio had a very interesting press conference. Anyone with computer and proper software can download the pdf and run the same tests he ran and prove to themselves the pdf was created on a computer. I challenge anyone to disprove this fact.

    • That’s a difficult question. Away up thread, some one noted that no British politician would nay say free health care. No politician of either stripe, or of the several stripes.

      We Americans like simplistic dichotomy; black or white, yes or no, Ford or Chevy, rich or poor, stupid or smart, us vs them, etc. And we haven’t a strong class distinction. So as to Monckton, we haven’t any Lords, of any sort… People here asserting Lordlyness end up in the Psych Ward.

      So far as birth certs are concerned, they are a treacle and feather. No one should want to touch them. Sheriff Joe clutches at it, but he is in a remote, distant fringe of the States. Do you British care what a Sheriff in the Falklands thinks?

      Hope that helps!

    • “I did notice that Lord Monckton has joined me in pointing out that Barack Obama’s birth certificate released by the White House as a pdf was created on a computer and not scanned from paper.”

      A PDF was created on a computer? Well you have that part right. The certificate was in black and white, scanned in and then it’s overlaid on a colored safety paper background. In the process “layers” are created.

      I am not suprised Monctkon is a birther. Fits his MO wrt climate change as a conspiracy theorists. His problem is not so much he wants to believe than he falls for arguments about things he wants to believe. If he had cause to look into the moon landings for some political reason I am sure he’d go away convinced they were faked and start preaching everywhere about how the shadows go in multiple directions etc.

      • Sheriff Joe’s Cold Case Posse actually did some pretty interesting tests, using a scanned paper birth certificate as a control. The difference between Obama’s pdf and the scanned paper birth certificate was striking. Perhaps the most conclusive evidence was when the signature and stamp layers were moved, the background moved with them. This did not happen with the rest of Obama’s birth certificate layers showing these were anomalous. You can watch the entire press conference on Youtube.

    • The man claims that who his parents were makes him better than everyone else but his fellow lords. That’s what ‘lord’ means.

      (Okay, technically it originally meant ‘keeper of the pantry’, or ‘Hlaffe Wearde’, but right now, it’s patent outdated class elitism.)

      So to any real Democrat or real Republican, Monckton would be a bit repulsive on that claim alone.

      Except the ones who believe who their parents were makes them better than everyone else, I guess.

      • So, Bart, you don’t abide or respect the cultural traditions of other countries? How do you feel about ‘civilizing’ Amazon tribe for their own good? I take it you would be all for it.

      • Jim2 | March 31, 2012 at 9:47 am |

        You read it backwards. What Monckton, or anyone, does in his own house is none of my business.

        It’s when he brings his backwards tribal attitude that he’s born above anyone else by virtue of class into my house that I won’t abide or respect.

        I’m all for learning from Amazon tribes. I’ve done that in their homes. Have you? But I certainly didn’t go there telling them they had to be Republican or Democrat, needed lords, or should live and think as do I. I didn’t call some of them watermelons, of that you can be certain.

        Do you want to know what I did learn from my visits the the Amazon? You do not know the jungle: do not wander from the safe path into the trees or you may never find your way back.

        See, America’s founders fought a war to throw off Monckton and his ilk; the founders marked the safe path with the Constitution. I have no desire to run off into the trees at Lord Monckton’s behest.

      • Oh, this is YOUR house. I see.

      • Jim2 | March 31, 2012 at 9:47 am |

        No, no. See, that’s your house where you are.

        Mine is my house where I am.

        Monckton’s is the House of Lo.. oh, wait. This just in. The Lords of the House of Lords say Monckton’s not one of theirs, whatever he claims.

        I can see how you’d be confused about houses, if you’ve been listening to Lord Monckton.

      • He’s welcomed in my house. He’s welcomed in the US as far as I’m concerned, and free also to engage in freedom of speech.

        Tell me more about your visit to the Amazon.

      • Jim2 | April 1, 2012 at 8:59 am |

        Visits, Jim2.

        Two of them. Both headed for Tepui El Diablo, as a tourist to see Angel’s Falls.

        You fly there when the clouds aren’t hanging so low as to obscure the top of the plateau, because missing the view is not the point of going there as a tourist.

        It’s not terribly expensive, but it is a bit risky: both planes and both crews with whom I made my trips went down within a few months of my visits; no survivors.

        You see wrecked airplanes at the airports near Canaima and Kavac.

        Being a tourist, shady and hackneyed though it is, does bring cash to the local economy, and guarantee a bit of attention to what goes on (though not a lot).

        My first flight, I saw the Amazon burning from horizon to horizon, a line of fire set by developers destroying hundreds of thousands of square miles of jungle to start ranches and plantations.

        My second flight, the plantations and ranches were in full operation, but there was still substantial jungle deeper in Amazonas.

        Near Kavac, there’s a river valley where the spiders are the size of chipmunks, or larger, and in season the orchids in bloom covered the land like snow.

        What else did you want to know?

      • I don’t know if that is what ‘lord’ means or not, but I do know that Monckton was willing to examine the evidence regarding Obama’s birth certificate – something the majority of climate alarmists are unwilling to do. Truth will out.

      • roncram | March 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm |

        Way to establish credibility.

        Thank you for elevating climate science to the level of .. what’s below gutter press, again?

    • Whatever they did with the birth certificate, faking the birth announcement in every known copy of two 1961 Honolulu newspapers must have been a remarkable feat, I think Monckton would agree.

      • Birth announcements for children born outside of Hawaii was common at the time, perhaps still is. Sheriff Joe’s press conference discusses this and has people and published announcements to prove it.

      • Were people doing that so their foreign-born children could become president of the US some day, or was there some other reason?

      • Birth announcements are nearly as old as the Gutenberg printing press. It is a way of saying “Hey, we had a kid! Send us presents!”

      • This feather may still stick to you, some years from now.

        Might or might not be a good thing.

        Obama was elected President of the United States. You never take that away.

      • I hate giant windmills. The electrical ones. They’re real.

        The political ones…?

    • Ignore and forget the french! Are there any here on this board?

      Survey us on the website, and the self selected responses will show that the Climate Etc posters have orders-of-magnitude more sex than any french has!

    • Alex Heyworth | March 31, 2012 at 2:50 am |

      Huh. According to the media, one would think it’s the politicians, not the voters, who .. wait, are the French talking about when the voters are alone in the polling booth?

      Those French.

  120. Alex Heyworth

    Political terminology is an area full of confusion. The simplest way to sort it out is via something like the political compass

    The weakness of this analysis IMHO is that it is difficult to see how one can be in favor of a collectivist, redistributive managed economy and yet be in favor of personal freedom. Nevertheless, it is valuable to distinguish ones views on personal liberty from ones views on economic issues.

  121. I’ve always been a fan of phrenology.

    In 1809 Gall began writing his greatest work “The Anatomy and Physiology of the Nervous System in General, and of the Brain in Particular, with Observations upon the possibility of ascertaining the several Intellectual and Moral Dispositions of Man and Animal, by the configuration of their Heads. It was not published until 1819. In the introduction to this main work, Gall makes the following statement in regard to his doctrinal principles, which comprise the intellectual basis of phrenology:

    That moral and intellectual faculties are innate


  122. Apologies if this has been posted already, but this is quite germane:

    What can explain liberals’ widespread failure to anticipate the Court’s wariness of the mandate? Research conducted by University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt suggests one possible answer: Liberals just aren’t as good as conservatives and libertarians at understanding how their opponents think. Haidt helped conduct research that asked respondents to fill out questionnaires about political narratives—first responding based on their own beliefs, but then responding as if trying to mimic the beliefs of their political opponents. “The results,” he writes in the May issue of Reason, “were clear and consistent.” Moderates and conservatives were the most able to think like their liberal political opponents. “Liberals,” he reports, “were the least accurate, especially those who describe themselves as ‘very liberal.’”

    • This comes down to inconsistency in conservative views. For the health-care debate they are protecting the freeloaders on the health care system, by supporting their right to access to a health care system that they haven’t paid into, while they normally abhor welfare state freeloading.

      • Which has absolutely nothing to do with the point of the article.

      • On the contrary, the conservative view is not self-consistent making it very hard to predict. They were for the insurance mandate, which helps the insurance industry, before they were against it. They were for pouring money into failing investment banks, and pouring money into the extended Medicare drug program to help drug industries, and for unpaid-for wars, and unpaid-for tax cuts, before they started to even care about deficit increases. I still don’t know where they stand on the auto industry bail-out. They have made a complete 180 in their role as opponents of Obama from where they stood under Bush. No wonder progressives are confused.

      • Homunculus of straw.

        “The conservative view is…”

        You now what it is??

      • Missing ‘k’ …Special K


      • The current (as of this term) Republican view is “don’t let Obama spend any money on recovery so that we can get elected on a failed recovery”. He has done his best without spending much. Also “make his health care plan unsustainable by allowing freeloaders in the system”. Obama may need the public (government-run) insurance option after all.

      • strawman,

        You speak “Republican?”

        Are you a R*********** ?

      • Show me the secret handshake!

      • When do I get to fill your mouth with the words I choose??

      • Of course the Republicans don’t come out and say these things that they secretly wish for. I am just guessing. Maybe I am wrong, and they do want a successful recovery and are against freeloaders, despite trying to support them with the Supreme Court.

      • “He has done his best without spending much.”

        This is April 2nd not 1st. This is among the most stupid meme’s imaginable.

        No budget in 1000 days +, more debt in 3 years than 8 prior over spending years, massive debt monitization (QE 1,2,3). 8%+ unemployment, really closer to 15% in real terms, 6 million net lost jobs. Massive over regulations, weak private confidence and all the wrong topics focused on like squeezing HC and Energy (AGW CAP AND TAX sham).

        It’s all someone elses fault right Jim D??

      • The Republicans didn’t like the stimulus package that created jobs. I think their plan was to give the rich more money to stimulate the economy, just like they did with the investment banks which worked so well (not), and maybe building a few pipelines and de-regulation allowing more pollution helps jobs too by increasing the profit margins. Yes, this is just a meme, but it is what it looks like.

      • Maybe you are wrong, or maybe you *are* guessing. ;-)

        Both of us want good outcomes for everyone, here and abroad.

        My point: You are generalizing about me, republican. Tell me your persuasion. Then I can generalize about you! ;-)


      • lost in queue, above refers to Jim D’s post

    • That mirrors closely with another study I saw several years back which showed that liberals were the worst debaters. Not due to any intelligence issue, but simply because they had never had to defende their ideas throughout their early years. With Academia being very liberal, conservatives are constantly challenged on their beliefs. Liberals just assume what they know to be true and no one questions them on it.

  123. – I did say it’s a just a meaningless distraction, but when I fact checked I noticed that a name closely associated with Gauchat constantly crops up Chris Mooney ….who has coincidentally a follow to his 2005 book coming out on April 3 titled “The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Don’t Believe in Science.”
    Well done to the activist PR people
    1. We are talking about this BS instead of talking about their faults (or more importantly about developing the economy & making a better world for all)
    2. In an election year someone would pay big money to see “Republicans” smeared
    3. Mooney gets heaps of free publicity for his book, which it turn displayed at the front of bookstores will propagate the meme “Republicans have no faith in science”
    ….indeed that was printed 1000 times in headlines.. BUT “faith in scienTISTS ?” was the actual question used
    are you feeling spun & manipulated ?
    – Don’t submit to being bullied by your teenagers… get on with doing what you know is right.

  124. David Springer

    WebHubTelescope | March 30, 2012 at 9:53 am | Reply

    “Are the academics smart? Of course they are. Are the smart enough to plan our lives? No.”
    They plan your life more than you know. If you graduated from college and didn’t flunk out, the academics were the gatekeepers who decided whether you got a diploma.
    The context is engineering. While there are some basic education requirements where there are no right or wrong answers and the professor has more leeway in grading there’s not much leeway for professors teaching hard sciences, math, and engineering.

    To the basic question “are academics smart” is a relative one. Relative to what? Relative to cab drivers? Yes. Relative to highly successful engineers in the commercial sector? No. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach become liberal arts professors.

  125. GaryM, mike,

    “ . . . after the Nixon landslide in 1972 (winning 49 states) who said: “I don’t know how he won. I don’t know anyone who voted for him.”

    Actually, I was one of those who voted for Nixon in 1972 (because the guy who was running against him was an idiot). I also voted for LBJ in 1964, and for George Bush in 1988 (same identical reason). Back in Nixon’s time, Republicans tended to be rational. Everett Dirksen was considered to be very conservative Republican back then. If he were around today, he would no doubt be laughed out of the current Republican hierarchy. It would appear that ideological purity is the only thing that matters to be a Republican these days. That is undoubtedly why Republican crazies like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Sharron Angle, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, etc. abound. When ideological purity rises to the level of paramount importance, there is little room left for rational thinking.

    I prefer to deal with facts and physics. And I therefore have little appreciation for ideological thinking whether it originates from the liberal or the conservative perspective. Global warming is a serious problem now, and it will continue to become more serious as time goes on.

    If you are really interested in learning what the global warming problem is all about, you should spend more time in studying some basic radiative transfer physics and in learning how the terrestrial greenhouse effect works. Just listening to your like-minded cronies on this blog who also don’t understand what the global warming problem is about may make you feel better temporarily, but it wont do anything constructive to improve your understanding, or give you a more accurate perspective on the ongoing global climate change.

    • Dr. Lacis,
      Do you think that Sen. Scoop Jackson would be considered an acceptable democrat today?
      Your bigotry seems energized by ignorance, frankly.
      And you keep confusing climate science with the AGW social mania, after all of this time, which would seem to be yet another manifestation of bigotry intersecting with ignorance.
      Your advice about like minded cronies is massively ironic, coming from you.
      How ya doing on that remedial ethics reading, by the way?

    • Andy,

      Let me say, Andy, your last comment, in my experience on this blog, tops out as the very most self-important, self-absorbed, and self-regarding in this blog’s distinguished history. Another hot-dog achievement you can add to your plumped-up CV–congratulations!

      But you still don’t get it, do you, Andy? You say: Global warming is a serious problem…” Your words, Andy, not mine. And how do you deliver your worry-wart, ominous warning?–from the comfort and lofty perch of your carbon-piggy, CO2 wallow, privileged-white-dork life-style. I mean, your whole comment has the quality of some arrogant, little, smarty-pants prick denouncing the perils of second-hand smoke while nursing a four-pak-a-day habit and blowing smoke rings in the reader’s face.

      No, Andy, I and others don’t need to “…spend more time studying some basic transfer physics…” What we need, Andy, is to see some actual leadership from the front and by example by high-profile, oh-so-sure-of-himself, lecturing, pompous asses like you. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about, Andy:

      Andy, please make a public pledge here on this blog that you genuinely believe that “global warming is a serious problem”. That is, your views on “global warming” do not represent those of a cynical opportunist (a “neo tobacco-scientist” one might say) providing the sell-out “right” answer required by his swill-provider, eco-hustler masters. And then, as a demonstration of your good-faith belief that “global warming is truly a serious problem”, further promise to never again attend any professional conference, formal or informal, in any fashion except through video-conferencing. And, then, for good measure, call out, by name, the worst offenders among your carbon-addicted, party-animal, boondoggle-conference-hound colleagues that annually pollute our planet with tons of CO2 emission as they flit from one enviro-bash, blow-out confab to another?

      Could you do that, Andy? Could you, for once, really do something that might have a genuine ameliorative impact on “global warming”? Or, to put it another way, Andy, could you please lift your snout from your good-deal trough just long enough to provide LEADERSHIP? LEADERSHIP FROM THE FRONT? AND LEADERSHIP BY EXAMPLE? Is that too much to ask, Andy?

    • A Lacis,

      The Perils of Pauline, a pearl, too. Like the travesty of Trenberth, the regret that keeps on remarking (the gift that keeps on giving, the remark that keeps on regretting)

      I’ll see your Dirkson and raise you a Robert Taft (a better conservative)

      I can democratically match your list of Republican “crazies” all day long, ideological purity has no home, it lives every where, even near you ;-)

  126. Funny – I still have this link ready to paste. There seem to be a few who have problems with simple radiative physics – it is by no means more than a weird minority. Doug is a bit embarrassing. But not at all more than the dweeb science that suggests climate begins and ends with radiative physics.

    Well it does – but there are at least a few other effects in there. Notice the warming in SW and cooling in IR. People keep suggesting that the datasets might be wrong. A bit of satellite drift seems to beat hell out of intrinsically mathematically unstable models. Dweeb science deosn’t understand the math and doesn’t accept the data because it doesn’t fit the meme.

    I keep suggesting that dweeb science is preventing pragmatic solutions. Dweeb science seems more code for an agenda that can’t be revealed – negative economic growth – than concerned with truth. There seems little doubt that the world is cooling for a decade or three more – they just keep wishin’ it ain’t so ’cause it’s doom for the green/socialist watermelon agenda.

    Best regards
    Captain Kangaroo

    • Doug is, but he was talking a money prize at one time that was interesting. It is the curse of the K&T DWLR arrow! If they had stuck with nets, most of this nonsense could have been avoided. Odd that Jim D seems so confident in his 0.1K ENSO variability. Wasn’t 1998 about 0.6 to 0.4 K depending on the data set of choice?

      • 0.1 is for annual average temperatures. Try it on detrended annual data. It is quite close.

      • If you are detrending in an ENSO neutral phase, that would be right. But we only have 30 plus years of satellite data which is the only reliable measurement of the magnitude of ENSO. The PDO index is not a true temperature series that you can just plug in to detrend. We really won’t know until after this PDO runs it course. Then we probably won’t be sure then because of the solar minimum and possible volcanic impacts. There is enough stuff going on I would not be confident in much of anything unless there was solid physics behind it. Statistics on short term series is not all that reliable.

  127. G’day Capt. Dallas,

    Monthly is best to see ENSO –

    Trenberth used 0.1 degrees as did Lean – but the variability is at least twice that
    as it is from La Nina to El Nino or vice versa. But that is fairly crude as well as ENSO is nonstationary and non-Gaussian. There are ongoing changes in intensity and frequency of ENSO. We are currently in a -ve PDO which corresponds with more frequent and intense La Nina. This is a major reason to expect a cooling influence for another decade or three.

    This study uses a model initialised with the PDO –

  128. I feel like a lone voice in the wilderness on this, but I highly recommend that everyone who takes behavioral, social and/or personality neuroscience seriously should read this:

    Vul et al. 2009. Puzzlingly High Correlations in fMRI Studies of Emotion, Personality, and Social Cognition. Perspectives on Psychological Science 4(3):274-290.

    That’s paywalled, but you can read it here:

    If you go into google scholar and search “voodoo correlation” and “neuroscience” you will find quite an uproar.

    This is not the only MacGyver statistics going on in that field.

    I am NOT implying that all of this variety of neuroscience is trash. There are some really great neuroscientists who are on the methodological vanguard, bravely cleaning up the statistical act.

    The point is, don’t trust anyone who doesn’t have a firm understanding of the methodological and statistical issues to review the neuroscience literature for you. Whether you want to assume someone like Mooney fits the bill is your business.

  129. Jim D,

    Just a little story about why agricultural impact is under estimated.

  130. Science is based on using the scientific method to advance knowledge. Scientific method involves 1) asking a question, 2) doing research, 3) coming up with a hypothesis, 4) testing your hypothesis through experimentation, 5) analyzing your data and coming to conclusion, and 6) communicating your results.

    There is a problem however, with large complex systems like the climate. You have to skip step 4. There is no way to test the hypothesis. Instead ever changing computer models are used… models which fail to predict anything, and so are “modified” continuously to try to fit observed data. It is not science at all, but a complete waste of human potential and societal resources.

    • Re: “4) testing your hypothesis through experimentation” and “There is no way to test the hypothesis.”
      Try “observation”.

  131. On Liberal brains

    Research conducted by University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt suggests one possible answer: Liberals just aren’t as good as conservatives and libertarians at understanding how their opponents think. Haidt helped conduct research that asked respondents to fill out questionnaires about political narratives—first responding based on their own beliefs, but then responding as if trying to mimic the beliefs of their political opponents. “The results,” he writes in the May issue of Reason, “were clear and consistent.” Moderates and conservatives were the most able to think like their liberal political opponents. “Liberals,” he reports, “were the least accurate, especially those who describe themselves as ‘very liberal.’”

    • DocMartyn | April 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm |

      Comes across more as a case of those with poor self-knowledge also having poor empathy.

      If you don’t know what you are, you’re likier to think you’re something you naturally admire, a cynic might say.

      People in America who know little admire liberals; those who know extremely little admire extreme liberals; who know themselves for the frail and imperfect beings they are know they’re conservatives, in America.

      Human behavior is universal; politics is local.

  132. April first. Marc Morano and Lubos Motl make fun of a scientist because of his/her facial appearance.

    It’s time for good people to call them out.

    • Jim,

      You’re correct, it’s tacky at best. Then again you’re on a thread where largely leftist interests talk openly about how skeptics (conservatives) brains work and on other links they are discussing “what to do about it”.

      The debate is nasty on a day to day basis. I’m not making excuses but logic and reason left the room long ago. “Good people” should realize Dr. Curry’s omissions are even more harmful than the clown actors involved in the debate such as Morano or Joe Romm although in a broader sense they serve a purpose to the debate. This topic was a disgrace based on how Dr. Curry postured herself.

    • jim,
      After you condemn Lacis, Glecik, Romm, Hansen, etc. etc. etc. etc.

      • hunter,

        intellect vs morphology. I make fun of ideas, all of our ideas stand on their own merit.

        What we each look like is irrelevant.

        And: No condemnation on my part. Eminent domain or otherwise. I don’t Kelo.

      • what we each look like is irrelevant, and ridicule of appearances is much more hurtful than any joust of ideas.

      • pointlessly hurtful

  133. Seriously???!!!

    I mean…speechless…

  134. Kitty Lapin Agile

    I’m a life long Republican, live in a conservative state (some say the most conservative as we are the most welcoming to Libertarians) and also am not an atheist. However, I never, ever review a book without reading it. Period. Because thinking people, be they Republicans or Democrats believe in fair play and respect. Blaise Pascal said that respect means “Putting yourself out”. That means that to respect someone, you must take the time and effort needed to show respect. I wish you would have read the book, talked with the author, considered, and then if you had come to the same conclusions at least you would have shown the same respect that one hope others will show your work. We lead by example and the science community really needs to be a good example in a world gone a little too internet crazy with the ease of expressing an opinion. Thank you.

    • The debate continues to live in the green fringe meme on their terms, they’re offended for modest dissent (links to others) while you almost said nothing directly (Observing their core sensitivity and PC protocal). Where would they be if you directly condemned Mooney whose argument borders on Eugenic? (Why not do that and give them something to really write about?) You need to read and suffer through the book itself to do this?

      We wonder why calls for self-policing among conservatives (Morano for example) are ignored and hypocritical by those demanding it? The collective left’s response to this drivel is beyond the pale weak. It is what is for reasons very much found here before our eyes.

    • After re-reading the post (and all the links) he seems a little overly defensive.
      And a little bit egotistical–he seems to think the post is all about him and his book!

      • The Eugenics card (by coded logic) has been played. Imagine if this came from the right and was embraced by the pundit class?

        It’s all about double standards and a wimpy minimalist reaction (including here).

    • Pooh, Dixie

      Dr. Curry, you have been honored. (Inadvertently):
      “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
      – Alinski (Rules for Radicals?)

    • Judith,

      I hope you need me to ask this, but; would you ever care what they think?

      so nothing squared equals nothing

  135. HockeySticksDontScareMe

    This difference in thinking is defined most accurately in the bible. 2000 years ago it was written they would become confused fools and earth worshiping environmentalists and here it is straight from the source:

    Rom 1:21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.
    Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.
    Rom 1:25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

  136. Mickey Reno

    If people want to read an excellent, honest discussion of the differences between the minds of the political left and the political right, I’d highly recommend Thomas Sowell’s “A Conflict of Visions.”

  137. The cousin argument of eugenic inferiority of deniers and conservatives. This is where it starts;

    It’s found in the NY Times every day for the past 75 years+.

  138. An interesting perspective:


    The more highly educated a conservative, the better able to decide what nuances and details to pick and choose to support preconceived beliefs, an inversion of the usual argument increasing scientific literacy increases acceptance of science.

    So, ‘conservative’ more and more appears to mean, ‘prefers beliefs over observations’.

  139. Not being a “Republican” (or a “Democrat”) I cannot comment on “why” Republicans should be more skeptical of climate science (as being spun by IPCC) than Democrats.

    But I believe it is NOT a “growing mistrust of SCIENCE” that drives most skeptics, but rather the concern that SCIENCE is being misused for political reasons.

    I personally have a very high regard and trust of SCIENCE and scientists in general, but I see how the consensus process of the IPCC has corrupted SCIENCE in the climate field.

    Maybe this would fit answer “b” best (“a growing distrust of scientific institutions because of the politicization of science”) – if “scientific institutions” are defined as IPCC and those bodies which have eagerly embraced the IPCC “consensus” view.


  140. I’m an independent with a conservative lean. My reasons; I believe in myself and others. I simply do not need the government to make choices for me. I absolutely want our social system to work well for those who find themselves in a place where they need it, without getting conned into believing it’s the only way they will survive. I want a balanced budget so that we can provide the social programs that encourage the belief in neighbor, in a bright future for our children; education and innovative ideas. I hate that we are teaching the next generation that it’s okay to borrow and be in great debt, as long as you’re getting what you want, its self-serving and contrary to the good of the country as a whole. The biggest reason I am not a democrat is due to the double talk the party spurts. They say they care about the social concerns of the people and in the next breath keep them from discovering what they are capable of; using racism, hate and lies to keep them believing that only the government can save them. That is the biggest lie of all! It’s a party of openness as long as the openness supports their agenda, there is no patience for those who have differing beliefs or ideas. Once again a self-serving attitude that seems to be infecting our society. If your hope for our country as a whole rather than you and yours alone, I have no clue how you can be a democrat.

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