We met our favorite headline the other day: Climate Change Destroys World, Pregnant People Hardest Hit.
A version of that headline rolls off the science press about weekly, now. They are all, of course, scientific lunacy. Our questions are: why is it happening? Why the acceleration?
Maybe the peer-reviewed “Temperature impacts on hate speech online: evidence from 4 billion geolocated tweets from the USA” in The Lancet: Planetary Health, by Annika Stechemesser, MSc, and others, will give us clues.
Incidentally, notice that “MSc”? Putting letters after your name is de rigueur in medical journals, all of which are in the love with the Appeal to Authority. You can’t not do it. Skip that.
According to a press article, our Annika said, “If temperatures go too hot or too cold, we found that there’s an increase in online hate speech, no matter the socioeconomic differences, religion or political beliefs.”
It follows that there is an ideal, and likely narrow, range of temperatures in which on-line people can remain in the Love Zone. A fraction of a degree either side, and we all become hateful monsters. At least, on line.
Before we come to that, one last quote from the news source.
And aggressive behavior online has been linked to violence offline too. Incensed posts have led to more violence toward minorities, including mass shootings, lynchings and ethnic cleansing, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based think tank.
Yes, there is is again: Online Hate Surges, Minorities Hardest Hit. Never mind.
Now this temperature-controlled “hate speech” idea is preposterous. There is no way it is true, or even worthy of thought. It is asinine. At best, we can say if people spend more time indoors during extreme weather, they likely go online more, and have fun insulting others.
Here’s the paper’s methods:
In this quantitative empirical study, we used a supervised machine learning approach to identify hate speech in a dataset containing around 4 billion geolocated tweets from 773 cities across the USA between May 1, 2014 and May 1, 2020. We statistically evaluated the changes in daily hate tweets against changes in local temperature, isolating the temperature influence from confounding factors using binned panel-regression models.
Oh, well, machine learning. Has to be right, then, eh?
Before the meat, they acknowledge limitations: “For example, in a city with predominantly Democratic voters as of 2016, all racist tweets could originate from a Republican minority or vice versa.” All. “Racist” tweets.
Now the “findings”:
The prevalence of hate tweets was lowest at moderate temperatures (12 to 21 C) and marked increases in the number of hate tweets were observed at hotter and colder temperatures, reaching up to 12.5% (95% CI 8.0–16.5) for cold temperature extremes (–6 to –3 C) and up to 22.0% (95% CI 20.5–23.5) for hot temperature extremes (42 to 45 C).
That “42” in those foreign units are about 108 on the civilized Fahrenheit scale.
Please to notice the advertising phrase “up to.” As in “You could lose up to 20 pounds!” Gaining 5 pounds is logically consistent with losing “up to” 20 pounds. Why do they use this phrase?
Now if heat makes men mad, then Las Vegas, which is often above 110 F, must be teeming with fury. At least, online. Same thing up in northern Michigan, which is where Yours Truly lurks. In winter, a day that reached 12 C, or 54 F, would be greeted with pleased amazement. As it is, it’s usually below freezing. Which causes people’s hearts to freeze, turning to black icy hate.
At least, online.
I can’t resist quoting the opening sentence, a typical academic sentence, combining unnecessary throat-clearing with ridiculous exaggeration: “In the context of rapid anthropogenic climate change, the question of how the climate influences human aggression, which dates back to the ancient world, is more prominent than ever.” (You could cut the Introductions of almost all papers and lose nothing.)
Human aggression “dates back to the ancient world”. Even before they could tweet? Who knew.
The editor of a journal subtitled Planetary Health could scarcely have done less than wet his pants with glee when he saw this idiotic paper. Its very purpose is to publish silliness meant to justify the existence of the Expertocracy.
That, then, is our key. That this journal, and even more certainly that this paper, exists is because a class of people think far, far too well of themselves, and of their importance to the world. They constantly and increasingly devise theories to explain why they are needed, and why they should rule.
This is why the more ludicrous and arcane the theory the better. The more the theory can only be penetrated by Experts, the more valuable it is to them. Hence “climate change” causing mean tweets.
Buy my new book and learn to argue against the regime: Everything You Believe Is Wrong.