JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Infamous Milgram experiments repeated: Only a few will stand up against authority

The Milgram Experiment. Image Wikimedia.

The chilling Milgram experiments have been replicated, and yet again, 9 out of 10 are willing to inflict electric shocks and pain on another person. In these infamous experiments the power of a white lab coat was enough to get more than half the participants (26 out of 40) to deliver a fatal shock (the participants didn’t realize the shock was faked, and the victim an actor).

This willingness to obey authority is both a great strength of humanity when authority is worthy and yet leads to the darkest abyss when it is not.

By nature, we are largely empathetic creatures: most people really don’t want to cause pain, they get quite upset themselves in the process. Yet many people will override this inbuilt ethical wiring if a person in a position of authority insist they do. It’s time we talked about ways to train people to resist. There is hope as outlined below in a different study from last year.

Conducting the Milgram experiment in Poland, psychologists show people still obey

Press Release: The title is direct, “Would you deliver an electric shock in 2015?” and the answer, according to the […]

NY Times makes out climate change believers are forced to speak in hidden codes

More Fake News from the NY Times

Here’s a creative effort to sell the story that the people with billion dollar industries, all the academic positions and a sympathetic media entourage are going underground, forced to disguise their belief about “climate change”.

This is a death-throes type article, clutching for ways to pretend Global Worriers are still relevant, and to feed a fantasy that they might be the underdog.

In America’s Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying ‘Climate Change’

So while climate change is part of daily conversation, it gets disguised as something else.

“People are all talking about it, without talking about it,” said Miriam Horn, the author of a recent book on conservative Americans and the environment, “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman.” “It’s become such a charged topic that there’s a navigation people do.”

What really happened is that climate change is overused agitprop and people are tired of being beaten over the head with it. The first most compelling example the NY Times can find is a farmer called Doug Palen who talks about “carbon sequestration” in his soil (and what crop farmer wouldn’t?) Palen is painted as a “believer”:

Psychoterratica — environmentally induced mental distress

With every baseless scare come the inevitable victims: those who are gullible, through no fault of their own, like children, graduates of eco-science degrees, and people who think the ABC gives them impartial information.

Psychoterratica: or earth related (terra) mental health (psyche) states or conditions.

© 2013 Glenn Albrecht.

GlennAlbrect did a Ted talk, if you can bear to watch it, tell us the best quotes: I spot a “Tipping point of the brain”. He’s a philosopher. If only he understood the philosophy called science, he might be useful.

We live in the richest, safest era of human life on Earth. For a hundred thousand years everyone was afraid of dysentry, snakes, and the marauding tribe next door. They all starved periodically and buried their children often. They said prayers to pagan gods they hoped would save them. Now 1 – 2 billion lucky sods have escaped that dreadful fear, and live a life rich beyond the wildest dreams of the neolithic grinder. Some that won the lottery worry instead that burning coal in Queensland will melt arctic ice and create homeless polar bears. Or they think there are climate death squads.

Apparently the ABC is […]

Dismal: The polarization of climate debate depresses believers: The solution they all miss

It’s “depressing”, “hopeless” and “dismal”

The climate debate is more polarised than ever. David Roberts at Vox is very honest about the challenges believers face to solve the deep partisan political divide. But despite all the grants and funding to solve this problem, the experts miss the obvious. I explain below why polarization will solve itself. Indeed, all their best efforts to reduce polarization in the climate debate are creating the polarization. It takes a sustained effort and millions of dollars to keep a false belief alive.

Now Dunlap and McCright (along with Oklahoma State’s Jerrod Yarosh) have updated their study, giving us a fresh look at public opinion on climate change at the end of the Obama era.

The findings are dismal, if not very surprising: Polarization only accelerated after 2008, the gap between the parties is wider than ever, and the trend shows no sign of stopping.

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) scores politicians. It tracks the voting records of members of Congress. Way back in 1970 both sides of politics wanted to approve environmental legislation about equally.

(Dunlap et al, Environment)

Public opinion has a similar trend. Here are Gallup poll […]

Psychoanalysis shows Nuclear Power stops countries meeting climate targets

Only higher education could produce something this silly.

The University of Sussex gets the credit for a paper that argues that countries that are committed to nuclear energy are progressing slower towards the holy grail of meeting “climate targets”. This discovery coincidentally comes exactly as the UK Hinkley Point “hangs in the balance”. What were the odds?

The Newspeak starts in the headline — what’s a “climate target”. My personal climate target is to move into the tropics each winter, but the EU climate target is not about reducing temperatures over Spain, but about “more windmills”. The climate target of the EU has apparently got nothing much to do with the climate:

…the EU’s 2020 Strategy — to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, increase the share of renewable energy to at least 20% of consumption, and achieve energy savings of 20% or more by 2020…

They cluster countries in to 3 groups and discover that the countries that plan to maintain or expand nuclear energy (eg Bulgaria, Hungary and the UK) are not cutting emissions as fast as countries that have no nukes (Denmark, Ireland, and Norway).

Could it be, I wonder, because […]

What you don’t know about the climate (Half page advert in The Australian)

Here’s the full copy of a half page advert in The Australian. In a normal world, this would be discussed at conferences, and reported by science reporters in magazines like New Scientist or Scientific American, or on shows like Catalyst. Instead, private citizens have to fork out thousands to pay for an advert. — Jo

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT CLIMATE

The climate cooled for 37 years during the period 1940 to 1976. Books were written expressing alarm. Lowell Ponte’s 1975 book warns: “Global cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for 110,000 years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance: the survival of ourselves, our children, our species.”

We now have a new climate alarm and similar statements are being made. Climate models used by authorities forecast that CO2 emissions will cause dangerous global warming, now referred to as Climate Change.

Sources: Various, as described in the “State of the Climate in 2012” in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society1, August 2013.

PSYCHOLOGY, BIAS ERRORS AND CLIMATE

Recent findings in the area of psychology, “Psychology and Economics” by […]

How many children died because peer reviewed data was buried and results cherry-picked?

This example below shows the dangers of cherry picked and buried data. It shows how great news and joy can be reported from rancid results, and the only protection against this is open access. When the taxpayer funds research that is not fully and transparently public, and immediately available, the people are funding PR rather than science. “Peer review” does little to stop this, little to clean up the mess after it happens, and the truth can take years to be set free.

Ten percent of teenagers taking an anti-depressant harmed themselves or attempted suicide. This was ten times the rate of the teens on the placebo. The results of this clinical trial were published in 2001, but those alarming statistics were not reported. The drug went on to be widely used. A new reanalysis of the data, reported in the BMJ, revealed the dark and hidden dangers. The company that funded the research, Glaxo Smith Kline, has already faced record fines of $4.2 billion. The Journal of the Ameri­can Academy of Child and Adoles­cent Psychiatry won’t retract the paper.

There are many ways to hide data. In this case, the results of the trial include 80,000 records which were […]

Australian Psychology Society uses biases and fallacies to accuse skeptics of bias and fallacies

If psychologists want to be taken seriously, and want psychology to be called “a science”, they need to elect a director who knows what science is.

Executive Director: Professor Lyn Littlefield OAM FAPS

The Climate Study group in Australia published a half page advert in The Australian last week – Psychology and Climate Alarm: how fear and anxiety trump evidence. In reply, Prof Lyn Littlefield, Executive Director of the Australian Psychology Society wrote a letter to The Australian protesting — claiming that the Climate Study Group are the ones suffering from the confirmation bias they accuse climate scientists of.

“The advertisement, ‘Psychology and the New Climate Storm’ misuses psychology-based arguments to add credibility to myths and misinformation about climate change. In doing so, the authors illustrate aptly the very error bias (confirmation bias) they are erroneously attributing to the climate science community.”

It’s the “the pot calling the kettle black”, exclaims Littlefield. But since her arguments are entirely fallacies, this is the kettle calling the pot calling the kettle black. The Climate Study Group mentioned many scientific observations, and in reply Lyn Littlefield can’t find an error in any of them, she can only cite “the consensus”. […]

Psychology and Climate Alarm: how fear and anxiety trump evidence

Across the West, there is a layer of smart-but-busy intellects who have not been involved in the climate debate. For one reason or another they’ve been too busy setting up IPO’s, doing research projects, or directing companies in perhaps technology, mining or banking, and generally being productive. It is excellent to see some of this caliber adding their brain-power and resources to the public arena. Especially so in Australia, where the debate is almost entirely bare-bones-volunteers versus billion-dollar-institutions, and where the culture of philanthropy is not well developed compared to the US.

This unusual advert was placed in The Australian today. In a normal world, investigative journalists would have already interviewed and discussed views like these, but in the hyperbolic, politicized and religious world of climate-alarm it was simpler for productive people to just get on with it, talk to their peers and make it happen.

Click to enlarge, or read the text below.

Psychology and The New Climate Alarm

Lowell Ponte’s 1975 book warns:

“Global cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for 110,000 years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is […]

Climate Death Squads funded by Big Oil strike people with lightning! How’s that for an ideated conspiracy?

Big Oil knows no bounds. Not only can it derail governments, and thwart the UN, World Bank, and IMF but now it may be sending out climate death squads to assassinate Arctic Ice Experts. These expert hit squads apparently push people down stairs, run them off the road, and strike them down with lightning. Lightning! (That is one mother of aTesla Coil.) James Bond could learn something. Q, where are you?

Prof Wadhams at Cambridge has been the go-to man for Arctic scare stories across the UK (h/t Delingpole). In 2012, Wadhams predicted Arctic Sea Ice was set to collapse in just four years. Last year, after years of a relentlessly surviving Arctic, even some alarmists threw Wadham under the bus, (so to speak) as being too “extremist”. But now he’s topped that.

You see, in January 2013 there were four leading Arctic experts in the UK, now there is one, and he is very very worried.

No, seriously, you can’t make this up. Let’s try to imagine how much more profitable Big Oil would be if every single Arctic climate expert in the World was dead. (Count the zeros…)

The utter futility of it all escapes Wadhams. After a […]