Statistics

Expert Calls To Experts Yet Still Fail To See Why Not All Believe In “Climate Change”

I looked up one Lasse S. Stoetzer. Soy-faced economics degree holder. Sketchy beard. Keeps Funko-Pop-like toys on his bookshelf. He looks like a living meme.

I also looked up a fellow named Florian Zimmermann. Florian is a great name. Similar background as Stoetzer. Does “research on memory and belief formation”. Has a decent head of hair. Clean shaven. Inexplicably wears flannel while being an academic.

Neither man appears to have had any training in thermodynamics or physics of any kind. Of course, I’m only going by the public record, comprised of an earnest, backbreaking, 30-second internet search. Which, as you will see, both men could very well agree is sufficient.

Why investigate these two? Easy. They are co-authors of the peer-reviewed paper “A representative survey experiment of motivated climate change denial” in Nature Climate Change.

A title like that leads you believe these guys must know something about the flow of a differentially heated fluid on a rotating sphere. Or at least about orbital mechanics and fluctuating solar insolation. In not those, then at the absolute bare minimum they must be aware of how bad climate models are and the problem of the multiplication of uncertainties.

Yet, strange as it seems, and I welcome correction, these guys seem to know about none of these things. Even though they write authoritatively on them.

How to explain this paradox? Easy. Experts in our Expertocracy.

Opening Abstract sentence: “Climate change is arguably one of the greatest challenges today.”

They do not mean that “arguably”. Arguably in that sentence means that the question of “climate change” is up for argument. Which, in their minds, it is not. We know this because they authoritatively open the paper with these words: “Human activities caused the recent warming of the Earth.” No “arguably” here. Well, let’s not go too far with that. The sentence is, not arguably, a cliche, and they used it unthinkingly. Here’s the remainder of the Abstract:

Although the scientific consensus is that human activities caused climate change, a substantial part of the population downplays or denies human responsibility. In this registered report, we present causal evidence on a potential explanation for this discrepancy: motivated reasoning. We conducted a tailored survey experiment on a broadly representative sample of 4,000 US adults to provide causal evidence on how motivated cognition shapes beliefs about climate change and influences the demand for slanted information. We further explore the role of motives on environmentally harmful behaviour. Contrary to our hypotheses, we find no evidence that motivated cognition can help to explain widespread climate change denial and environmentally harmful behaviour.

Registered report. Tailored survey experiment. Slanted information. Reeks of self importance. Skip it.

Here’s the funny part. After swearing man caused (all?) recent warming, and expressing wonder that “Despite the near-unanimous scientific consensus on this matter” some people still doubt The Science, our authors say this:

For this project, we focus on the potential explanation that climate change denial stems from motivated reasoning patterns. The literature of motivated beliefs posits that the belief formation process is often guided by the desire to maintain certain convictions or to hold a positive self-view, rather than by a desire for belief accuracy.

Now tell me, Messieurs Stoetzer and Zimmermann, given your lack of basic understanding of atmospheric physics, and thus your complete reliance on third party sources to tell you what to think about the subject, how you yourselves avoid the motivated beliefs process?

What makes you immune from confirmation bias? How do we know you are not falling pray to propaganda that preaches every conceivable thing will go bad when “climate change” hits? Aren’t you motivated, at least professionally, to think this? After all, you’ve written this and other works that take this for granted. Be embarrassing to admit you were wrong at this late date, would it not?

In other words, what makes you right and your critics, like myself, wrong? Mere consensus? Granted, in ignorance of anything else, that is the way to bet. For instance, suppose none of us know anything about optical coating of tempered glass. Our best bet is to ask the Optical Coating Society of America, or some such place, and trust them. We may still suffer from our decision, but it’s better than guessing.

But you in writing this paper cannot claim ignorance. Nor do I. You guys believe, I think, because your fellow Experts believe.

Anyway, “climate change” has no fixed meaning. For a handful it means thermodynamics. For others it can mean just about anything. Including the myriad Expert “solutions”, which to most are plainly ridiculous, if not apocalyptically stupid. Like “Let’s block the sun!” Nobody can, or should, believe in “climate change” unless it is first rigorously defined, to include the “solutions”.

I won’t pester readers with the methods (which involve playing money games; sheesh) and, yes, regressions the authors used, because these are so dull they might cause coma. Instead, I give you their conclusion: “Contrary to our hypotheses, we find no evidence that motivated cognition can help to explain widespread climate change denial and environmentally harmful behaviour.”

Shame.

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Categories: Statistics

18 replies »

  1. Here in Michigan, we are having a relatively mild winter. Most people rightly consider this a blessing. But there are also those apocalyptically stupid climate change doomsters who fret that this is a curse from the Global Warming of Doom. These doomsters vote for political hacks who needlessly increase our cost of energy and restrict our transportation freedoms. When you are dumb enough to call a blessing a curse, then you become the curse.

  2. It does answer a question that has been, until the theory of Motivated Belief, impossible to believe: why some people bought Edsels.

  3. Here in Alabama, we are having a relatively cold and slightly dry winter. It is much like it was in the 1960s and 1970s. This old Southerner dislikes cold weather. When I was young, I could put up with it. Of course, a nicely mild February would make this winter closer to “normal” he he.

  4. “Be embarrassing to admit you were wrong at this late date, would it not?”

    Is you crazy? Dey ain’t got no shame. If their strongest held beliefs were found to be false tomorrow, they would just pretend they never said or wrote anything about it and move on to whatever the new fashionable cause will be tomorrow.

  5. It’s all been said before but until there’s direct action with say a farm tractor nothing will change.
    There are many templates they use: CREEL Commission, GlADIO, JFK RFK MLK, anthrax attack, 911, Lusitania,
    OKC, Reichstag fire, blown up apartments in Moscow, WMD hoax, Swine flu hoax, ZIKA hoax, Covid hoax,
    cyber attacks, electricity outages, empty store shelves, riots, looting, race tension, Stock Market crashes,
    inflation, deflation, price fixing, and so much more. The basic method is to panic the herd and sidestep the
    stampede. All done on our dime.

    Stab from the past…
    2nd Smartest Guy in the World
    Original Social Engineering Sin
    https://www.2ndsmartestguyintheworld.com/p/original-social-engineering-sin

  6. This appears to be a positive indicator. The authors do not question their own possible motivated belief, leave out the possibility that the failure of warming predictions over the last few decades might be a reason for skepticism, as well as all the other hypocrisy around being lectured by people who fly private and live in big houses. Such lack of self awareness may mean that defeating this attempt to control us and take our resources will be as easy as saying no and laughing at them.

  7. Science has become a battle of the meaning of words and phrases more than it is about interpretation of data.

    The climate has always changed but the new meaning of climate change as according to the scientists is its changing the wrong way…what is the right way is the next obvious question?

  8. I work and live surrounded by soy-faced, NPR-tote-bag-carrying, humorless people to whom Climate Crisis! is a religion, along with Covid Crisis!, Trans Crisis!, Capitalism Crisis!, Racism Crisis!, and of course Trump Crisis! To these very useful idiots, the fact that I won’t wear a mask, drive an electric car, refer to my wife’s niece as “he”, or vote Democrat will always be an incomprehensible mystery. What’s to be done? Sheep of the ilk I describe, regardless of what level of graduate degree they possess, are incapable of an individual thought, let alone a rational one. I deal with them by just keeping as much distance as possible.

  9. Have not read the study, but I know most economists frown upon guys who do “behavioural” stuff. Usually they just take some surveys, fit some regression on the results, and then they cite each other’s “studies” to pump their rankings. Again, I do not know these two people, I’m speaking in general.

    @MikeW
    We have not had any real winter here in Austria for the past 3 years. Last significant snow and cold was in the 2020/2021 winter. Then nothing. It’s the beginning of February and we have 10-15 degrees. This is the new normal in Central Europe. Is it man-made? I don’t know. It sure feels weird. At least Putin cannot play his game of freezing us, I guess.

  10. “Contrary to our hypotheses, we find no evidence that motivated cognition can help to explain widespread climate change denial and environmentally harmful behaviour.” I suggest a reason for that: perhaps folks who don’t buy the global warming hoax are motivated to pursue truth, rather than confirmation of their dogma.
    Besides, not one so called “climate change denier” actually denies climate change, they only deny that CO2 is the climate control knob.

  11. These days when I hear the terms consensus or peer review I automatically think of the three stooges agreeing to anything.

  12. “you are not falling pray to propaganda” may not be the word Mr. Briggs meant but “praying to propaganda” seems to describe what many people are doing.

  13. @John M: “These days when I hear the terms consensus or peer review I automatically think of the three stooges agreeing to anything.”

    I have occasionally spoken with Climate True Believers about their reliance on consensus and expert opinion. I ask them, “Suppose you wanted to know whether Roman Catholicism is the One True Church. I think we would have to agree that the Jesuits know more about the Catholic faith than anyone else. If twenty Jesuits wrote a paper and had it reviewed by twenty other Jesuits, and concluded that yes, the Roman Church is the One True Church, would you believe them? No?”

  14. How could Briggs be confused by this?
    How could he ask, “what makes (Stoetzer and Zimmermann) right and ..critics, like myself, wrong?”

    The answer is so obvious as to be painful.

    They looked it up in the Definitive Book of Super Right Stuff that Cannot Ever be Denied! (that title really should be underlined, sorry)

    Sadly most of us here never got a copy of that book either, so it’s not just Briggs who’s missing one. But having a copy makes life so so so much easier. No need to read or think or learn how to calculate. No need, William, to learn anything about thermodynamics whatsoever.

    You just look it up.
    What causes climate change?
    People. In particular Western People. In special Particular Western Toxic Sexist Racist White Male People who drive gas-guzzling cars and eat steak.

    What is rape?
    Anything unwanted.

    Are men & women the same?
    Yes, absolutely. And any observed or documented differences are due to the systemic, cross-generational impact of Patriarchal Oppression.

    Can women become men and men, women?
    Sure they can. A simple declaration will do, along with a publication of preferred pronouns.

    Can a white woman become a black woman?
    No way at all. That’s effing impossible and racist of you to even ask that question. That’s simply a physical absolute; racial transition is completely & utterly unthinkable.

    Is Race real?
    No, of course not, it’s a social construct with no meaning.

    Is Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity a good thing?
    It’s the bestest thing of all.

    I don’t have a copy of the book myself. I’m just guessing. We should ask Stoetzer and Zimmermann just to be sure.

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