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Living In Denial: Special Report From New Scientist

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Given how 'denial' is so often talked about on Hpc, particularly in reference to bubble psychology, I thought this special report on the subject from New Scientist magazine, entitled 'Living in denial', may be of interest.

http://www.newscientist.com/special/living-in-denial

'How corporations manufacture doubt'

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627606.200-living-in-denial-how-corporations-manufacture-doubt.html

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Articles mostly garbage. I find the absolute religious certainty of governments and envirofascists far more intimidating than any corporate FUD campaign.

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Given how 'denial' is so often talked about on Hpc, particularly in reference to bubble psychology, I thought this special report on the subject from New Scientist magazine, entitled 'Living in denial', may be of interest.

http://www.newscient...iving-in-denial

'How corporations manufacture doubt'

http://www.newscient...ture-doubt.html

It's Scientists who are in Denial!

If anyone out of their 'fields' questions their dogma and tunnel vision in pursuit of their quests - they get all upset and throw their toys!:lol:

Especially when they have the support/ears of Govt ministers and big business!

They glorify themselves as earthly gods with their peer 'reviews' (an historical conveyer belt of lies!) after releasing a bit of info - saying "eureka the answer"

But alas, it is a lie, they have only uncovered another miniscule fraction of one part of the universe (until someone comes along and uncovers the next bit!)

Edited by erranta

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It's Scientists who are in Denial!

If anyone out of their 'fields' questions their dogma and tunnel vision in pursuit of their quests - they get all upset and throw their toys!:lol:

Especially when they have the support/ears of Govt ministers and big business!

They glorify themselves as earthly gods with their peer 'reviews' (an historical conveyer belt of lies!) after releasing a bit of info - saying "eureka the answer"

But alas, it is a lie, they have only uncovered another miniscule fraction of one part of the universe (until someone comes along and uncovers the next bit!)

I'm not in denial.

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Articles mostly garbage. I find the absolute religious certainty of governments and envirofascists far more intimidating than any corporate FUD campaign.

So, when you reply "envirofascists!" to an article about corporations deliberately spreading FUD about global warming research, I presume that you're being ironic? ;)

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I'm not in denial.

I am.

Seriously though, the liberal use of the term denial in scientific debate has become a little too common of late. It is akin to calling someone a witch in the 16th century. Now a lot of the people in some of the denialist camps are whackos and corporate stooges, or people with an axe to grind, but denialist is a way of just completely shutting down debate regardless of how sensible it is, regardless of how shaky some of the claims that are being made by orthodoxy are, especially given some of the serious political, environmental and health issues that are in concern. It is a way for the corporate stooges and axe grinders on the "correct" side of the debate to deflect scrutiny from themselves.

There is a strong conservative tendency in science, which can come as quite a shock when you are a young person coming into research. For many plodders this is actually helpful to their career. It is very easy to publish papers and results that support current paradigms. It is much more difficult to publish challenging ideas, even when they are well supported - they threaten people who have built careers and egos on old foundations.

My own experience has been that the crappiest epsilon science I did always found a home in a journal quite quickly. The methodology is sound, and no one's toes were trodden upon. The really good ideas (as evinced by the ones that were published having huge SSI counts and spawned follow up research) were always a tough fight. This aspect of science was probably the one that was the last nail in the coffin for me, and I still have a few really good ideas sitting in my filing cabinet that I just don't have the energy to fight for. I should have taken more notice of Thoma Kuhn when I was doing my philosophy degree, and ingnored Feyerabend and Popper etc.

Edited by D'oh

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What strikes me is the asymmetry in the positions of the proponents and the deniers. So if one side says sea levels will rise by 100m, those who say it will not are called the deniers. Yet one could equally argue that things will stay the same and it the sea level risers that are in denial. Thus whoever makes the proposition is the one assumed to have stated a truth. This is contrary to scientific method where positive proof must be provided. It is never the case that something must be disproved else it is true. I am reminded of the theist argument requesting that since one cannot disprove God, he must exist.

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Barely 6 months since Climategate showed the outright scientific fraud at the heart of climate science, and we get articles like this. A number of "scientific" magazines are slowly trashing their reputations by agreeing the AGW con.

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Guest sillybear2

The health effects of tobacco are sadly all too provable, only an idiot would deny this, but stating that the sea level will rise by 100m in 100 years is unverifiable, they may well be right but questioning the likelihood of this possible outcome is completely different from questioning a definitive link between tobacco and cancer. People who try and link this to climate change because "it's all science" are in a different kind of denial.

Edited by sillybear2

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I am.

Seriously though, the liberal use of the term denial in scientific debate has become a little too common of late. It is akin to calling someone a witch in the 16th century. Now a lot of the people in some of the denialist camps are whackos and corporate stooges, or people with an axe to grind, but denialist is a way of just completely shutting down debate regardless of how sensible it is, regardless of how shaky some of the claims that are being made by orthodoxy are, especially given some of the serious political, environmental and health issues that are in concern. It is a way for the corporate stooges and axe grinders on the "correct" side of the debate to deflect scrutiny from themselves.

There is a strong conservative tendency in science, which can come as quite a shock when you are a young person coming into research. For many plodders this is actually helpful to their career. It is very easy to publish papers and results that support current paradigms. It is much more difficult to publish challenging ideas, even when they are well supported - they threaten people who have built careers and egos on old foundations.

My own experience has been that the crappiest epsilon science I did always found a home in a journal quite quickly. The methodology is sound, and no one's toes were trodden upon. The really good ideas (as evinced by the ones that were published having huge SSI counts and spawned follow up research) were always a tough fight. This aspect of science was probably the one that was the last nail in the coffin for me, and I still have a few really good ideas sitting in my filing cabinet that I just don't have the energy to fight for. I should have taken more notice of Thoma Kuhn when I was doing my philosophy degree, and ingnored Feyerabend and Popper etc.

Here's a book you might like: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scientific-Irrationalism-Origins-Postmodern-Cult/dp/1412806461/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274688160&sr=1-4

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The health effects of tobacco are sadly all too provable, only an idiot would deny this, but stating that the sea level will rise by 100m in 100 years is unverifiable, they may well be right but questioning the likelihood of this possible outcome is completely different from questioning a definitive link between tobacco and cancer. People who try and link this to climate change because "it's all science" are in a different kind of denial.

Has anyone actually claimed that sea level will rise 100m in 100 years? Or is this the standard denialist strawman argument?

Even the complete disintegration of the GIS and WAIS would struggle to add 20m to sea level, and that is extremely unlikely to happen in the next 100 years. And it is very strongly acknowledged (if you actually read the science instead of making up what you think it says) that there are big uncertainties in ice sheet response to global warming.

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Has anyone actually claimed that sea level will rise 100m in 100 years? Or is this the standard denialist strawman argument?

Even the complete disintegration of the GIS and WAIS would struggle to add 20m to sea level, and that is extremely unlikely to happen in the next 100 years. And it is very strongly acknowledged (if you actually read the science instead of making up what you think it says) that there are big uncertainties in ice sheet response to global warming.

Ha Ha! Here we go.

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Ha Ha! Here we go.

Yes, I think inventing stuff to support your argument is, indeed, the mark of a denialist. A sceptic makes rational arguments.

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Guest sillybear2

Has anyone actually claimed that sea level will rise 100m in 100 years? Or is this the standard denialist strawman argument?

Even the complete disintegration of the GIS and WAIS would struggle to add 20m to sea level, and that is extremely unlikely to happen in the next 100 years. And it is very strongly acknowledged (if you actually read the science instead of making up what you think it says) that there are big uncertainties in ice sheet response to global warming.

You can pick whatever arbitrary figure you like, 10m in 50 years, 50m in 200 years, the point is it's still completely unverifiable so therefore treating these prophecies as gospel is unscientific.

As thod said "What strikes me is the asymmetry in the positions of the proponents and the deniers. So if one side says sea levels will rise by 100m, those who say it will not are called the deniers"

:lol:

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Yes, I think inventing stuff to support your argument is, indeed, the mark of a denialist. A sceptic makes rational arguments.

I think the OP was chucking out a big number for rhetorical effect, rather than actually quoting a scientific paper.

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denialists and conspiracy nuts are more likely to believe people are lying to them simply because they are more likely to lie to other people themselves. They're just projecting their own actions/motivations onto other people. It's the same as how naive trusting people are often taken for a ride because they assume everyone else is trustworthy and benevolent.

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Barely 6 months since Climategate showed the outright scientific fraud at the heart of climate science, and we get articles like this. A number of "scientific" magazines are slowly trashing their reputations by agreeing the AGW con.

Oh change the bloody record, for ******s sake. No matter how much you long this to be true does not make it so.

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Guest sillybear2

denialists and conspiracy nuts are more likely to believe people are lying to them simply because they are more likely to lie to other people themselves. They're just projecting their own actions/motivations onto other people. It's the same as how naive trusting people are often taken for a ride because they assume everyone else is trustworthy and benevolent.

The reason appeal to authority doesn't work so well anymore? WMD and 'conclusive' dossiers about unknowable unknowns!

Edited by sillybear2

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You can pick whatever arbitrary figure you like, 10m in 50 years, 50m in 200 years, the point is it's still completely unverifiable so therefore treating these prophecies as gospel is unscientific.

As thod said "What strikes me is the asymmetry in the positions of the proponents and the deniers. So if one side says sea levels will rise by 100m, those who say it will not are called the deniers"

:lol:

The underlying theories are perfectly verifiable and have been verified, and so the prediction that sea levels will rise by some amount carries weight. In the same way, we can predict on the basis of our knowledge of solar physics that the sun will expand to become a red giant star in the distant future. This outcome is, of course, unverifiable, but, like rising sea levels, can be predicted on the basis of sound theory.

Edit: And no, if one side, typically film makers or newspaper editors, says sea levels will rise by 100m, those who say it will not are called scientists.

Edited by snowflux

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The underlying theories are perfectly verifiable and have been verified, and so the prediction that sea levels will rise by some amount carries weight. In the same way, we can predict on the basis of our knowledge of solar physics that the sun will expand to become a red giant star in the distant future. This outcome is, of course, unverifiable, but, like rising sea levels, can be predicted on the basis of sound theory.

Edit: And no, if one side says sea levels will rise by 100m, those who say it will not are called "scientists" rather than "film makers" or "newspaper editors".

No, it's all based on models. A HPC regular like yourself should be aware of the weaknesses of computer models. Maybe not.

Edited by Pick It Down

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The underlying theories are perfectly verifiable and have been verified, and so the prediction that sea levels will rise by some amount carries weight. In the same way, we can predict on the basis of our knowledge of solar physics that the sun will expand to become a red giant star in the distant future. This outcome is, of course, unverifiable, but, like rising sea levels, can be predicted on the basis of sound theory.

No, this is nonsense. Human beings cannot predict the future behaviour of complex systems like the climate, which is nothing like the standard life cycles of stars. The nearest analogy I can think of as a complex system is the global economy, which of course we also cannot predict using models and theory.

Which isn't to say that AGW is or isn't happening, just that we greatly overestimate our competence as a species.

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Guest sillybear2

The underlying theories are perfectly verifiable and have been verified, and so the prediction that sea levels will rise by some amount carries weight. In the same way, we can predict on the basis of our knowledge of solar physics that the sun will expand to become a red giant star in the distant future. This outcome is, of course, unverifiable, but, like rising sea levels, can be predicted on the basis of sound theory.

Hubble has produced pretty pictures of red giants, we know our sun will eventually deplete its reserves of hydrogen and go the same way in a few billion years time, but do you want to place a bet on the precise date and nature of events? The same applies to the hysteria over sea levels, which we're perfectly able to mitigate against anyway even if their guesses prove correct.

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No, this is nonsense. Human beings cannot predict the future behaviour of complex systems like the climate, which is nothing like the standard life cycles of stars. The nearest analogy I can think of as a complex system is the global economy, which of course we also cannot predict using models and theory.

Which isn't to say that AGW is or isn't happening, just that we greatly overestimate our competence as a species.

Exactly, they can't predict the weather 5 days ahead yet seem to think they can predict it 100 years in the future. It's madness.

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