Belief and what drives it

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by arfa brane, Apr 25, 2015.

  1. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Its an open question if this additional energy is significant. The point is that in itself, the temperature increase by CO2 alone is not very big. To create a catastrophe out of this, you need something more - some instability so that the CO2 increase gives additional effects. If one believes the computer models which try to show that such effects appear is already more a question of ideology. What really happens with the climate is, of course, yet another question.

    Ok, if you really believe such nonsensical catastrophic scenario like extermination this, you are probably beyond the reach of rational argumentation. At least I would not try.

    So publish it and become a famous climate scientist. Once your private theory is even more catastrophic than the mainstream one, it will be welcomed. So you have good chances.
    The classical mass media. TV, radio, newspapers. The internet contains, of course, also representations of these mass media, but also a lot of independent stuff. Scientific literature I don't mean when I say "media". It would be more accurate to write "mass media".
    No. I have not made any own study of the three particular questions you have mentioned. Thus, I cannot say anything about this. Because all three claims are from a domain of "political science" - a scientific domain under the pressure of strong political groups. Thus, to find out the truth, even only about what science really says about these questions, you need a lot of time - you have to study the original scientific literature. There is no cheaper way to reach this result.

    My private tests have been restricted to different questions. It may be, of course, pure accident that these questions were those which have been presented wrongly in the mass media, and all the other "facts" about climate change are really facts, or the dangers is even underestimated by the mass media. Believe this if you like. I don't. There is no cheap way to find out who is right.

    Not exactly, but close. Of course, if all the media consistently claim that 2+2=4, this does not make 2+2=4 false (it only raises suspections SCNR). So, there has to be a little bit more.
    This little bit more is the emotional element. If very different media reports, about very different questions, have all the same emotional message, then one can be certain that all these are lies. Because this is nothing what happens in real life. Real life happens without caring about our emotions. Thus, one should not expect that all what happens in real life will lead to the same emotional response. There may be tendencies - one group of the society may have a greater problem with criminality than another, for example. But these will be tendencies, and if, say, consistently only one group in guilty of crimes, we can be sure that its a lie - even if it may be true that this group has a greater problem with criminality.

    Similarly climate science. The climate certainly does not care about human emotions. If it changes, some changes will be good, other bad. Some will be good for some people and bad for other people. There may be an overall tendency - warming may be, in general, more harmful than cooling, but I would guess the other direction, cooling more harmful than warming, is more plausible. Ok, part of the overall tendency is that change has always problematic aspects, old investments can no longer be used and become worthless, for example. There are losses related with the necessity of adaptation, even if the change itself may be positive.
    But, nonetheless, there are many different aspects of climate change, and some of them will be positive. But if we read the mass media, all of them are negative, and usually not simply negative, but catastrophic. So, they are lies. Even if, by simple probability theory, half of the claims said to be negative will be, indeed, negative even if there is no connection between the media and reality at all, and, given that some relation exists, and, moreover, great changes will indeed be always problematic, we can expect that the description of these really negative aspects will be full of lies too, all directed toward exaggeration.
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    No, it isn't.
    There's no private theory involved. Simply a recognition of risk, a recognition shared by many other people - most of whom seem more worried than I am, btw.
    What I described is improbable, not nonsensical. There are three or four different ways it could happen as a result of AGW, none of them considered likely by experts, none of them considered impossible. The actual probability is controversial, but everyone agrees that anything higher than negligible is a serious concern. The fact that you regard it as nonsense reveals ignorance.
    So none of my sources, then. Cool.
    Ok, then don't. But you do:
    No, they aren't. They are all three matters of physical fact - the stuff that doesn't change when the ideologies change, remember?
    So physical facts become lies if presented emotionally.
    So by presumption the effects of AGW will not be overwhelmingly disastrous, because anything that happens in reality always has significant and newsworthy good aspects as well as bad.

    I think you may be carrying this "both sides" propaganda beyond even its originating think tank denizens' hopes.
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  5. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    In this corrected form, I have no problem with your claims, the original formulation has created the impression that you consider this as the probable scenario, and this is what I consider as nonsensical.
    There is no contradiction. "Political science" makes also claims about reality, about physical facts. The difference is that in a normal science one can, as a layman, simply read popular literature to obtain a reasonable picture of what happens. In a domain of political science, this possibility does not exist. The mass media only lie, the scientific literature usually does not lie, but works in a skewed way (good scientists go away, politically correct papers can be much more easily published, they have more grants, conferences and so on), so you have to become a specialist yourself to find out what happens.

    No. Emotional presentation is an indication that we have ideological nonsense, not physical facts.
    Given that in principle already a single effect can lead to a really big disaster, this is not what I have presumed. The point is that we have a large range of possible consequences, all actually equally newsworthy because their seriousness is equally unknown, but, if judging from the media, they are all negative. This is clearly nonsensical, and a sufficiently strong indication that they lie.

    Yes, I know, there is a danger that they lie only in 99%, but the 1% where they have not lied is the one which really has catastrophic consequences. But such is life - a liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The three things I mentioned are reasonably depicted in popular science literature all over the place.

    Posted right in front of you are physical facts which are sometimes presented emotionally. Do they lose their status as facts when so presented?

    That is not true. They are not equally newsworthy, their seriousness is not equally unknown, and the one does not imply the other anyway.
    How is that clear? It doesn't even appear to be true.
  8. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    What Schmelzer seems to have constructed is a wheel in perpetual motion. Since Schmelzer is chained to this wheel, there's always a position of denial--it's the media presenting negative stories that makes something a lie, emotional stories are obviously made up to get people to believe things.

    Since, of course, mankind faces no serious threat, all those negative stories about asteroid impacts or mass extinctions in the earth's history, jeez louise, who thought that up?

    It must be helpful too, to be able to decide when a story is emotional, that is, to be able to form a belief based on the emotion the story conveys or appears to convey. Then there is no need to examine what you believe about the story, because emotion is sufficient for people like Schmelzer.

    Besides, the wheel is going round again.
  9. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Of course, they are depicted. But reasonable? This is a question I can answer only by reading scientific literature.
    No. The question is if they have this status. This is a question I can decide only by studying scientific literature.
    There may be some differences, but this does not change the general picture. If you think it is wrong, ok, your choice. I have made the check considering the quite trivial question of CO2 being useful for plant growth. A point made in dissident literature, and I have not seen anything which questions this seriously. Except that beyond some large limits for some classes of plants it does not give additional effects.

    I have never seen this in the popular media. May be you have seen a lot of mass media articles about the positive influence of CO2 on plant growth?
  10. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    A quite interesting technique of defamation is not to talk with the opponent himself, but in some generalizing, abstract way about him.

    This allows to use general accusations without a necessity to justify them.

    I have, of course, suggested to use the emotional character of the media presentations in general as one indication, as evidence, that there is an ideological interest behind the whole media campaign. I have given also another indication, namely that all the media products are one-sided (all consequences of the climate change are negative). What you make out of this? A sufficient criterion to throw away every single article. Because to use this as a sufficient criterion to reject the content of the article completely would be obviously quite stupid, and you obviously think so too, I consider this as an example of defamation.
  11. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    You don't think the media campaign is just about selling newspapers? And, you think there is good news about climate change, but we aren't hearing about it?
    But there are plenty of articles that aren't published by companies who want to make money, there are scientific reports about an expected rise in sea level, and an expected rise in global average temperatures, more storms and so on. They don't really say there are benefits expected for humans or for most other land mammals.
    You think I'm accusing you of being stupid for rejecting something you are rejecting? You think that's defamatory? How old are you?
  12. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    No. In this case, they would not continue to write over long periods of time all the same boring things, at least some of them would write something different, simply because with content different from the competitors it would be easier to sell newspapers.

    Of course, say is not really a mass media article.

    No, I accuse you of misrepresenting my position, and not because you misunderstand it, but intentionally, with the aim to present me as stupid, and this is defamation. It is defamation completely independent of my age.
  13. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Well, Lubos is clearly a climate change skeptic. He characterises the science as the "church" of warming, not a great start.

    He also talks about confidence levels as if climate science was a well-funded one, when science has spent more on particle accelerators, for instance. The confidence levels aren't "great", but the data we have is all we have, there are large uncertainties about when it will start to get really bad (depending on how you define that), there are large numbers of people who just don't get the message and prefer to deny there's any problem. The biggest blot on the Lubos blog is that he just isn't a climate scientist.

    Meanwhile all the oil companies have contingency plans, most governments have some kind of strategy. I would guess the Netherlands is quite interested in the scientist's predictions.

    Then, we have people like you, who can't really articulate what they find so, erm, revolting about the whole thing.
  14. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    You have asked if there are good news about climate change. My thesis is, and you know this, that good news about climate will be published only on sceptics sites, and not in the mass media. So, where I have to look if there is something like "good news"? You guess it, on a web site of climate change sceptics. So I take a look at Lumos site to see if he writes something actual about the climate, and this is what I have found. Any problem? The news itself is quite good, given the following rant against the site it will not be a site you read, thus, it is the closest thing I can reach to meet the "you aren't hearing about it" criterion.
    And he does not pretend, does not write scientific articles. But he is a scientist, even if only a string theorist, thus, knows more or less what one has to care about if one has to evaluate scientific articles. Which is what one needs if one wants to extract information from a political science.

    By the way, sceptics or not, it is not very probable that they will falsify data from literature, so
    sounds not unbelievable. My point of posting it is the unit: Cº per CO2 doubling. A remarkable unit, and it tells that it is a doubling of CO2 which leads to a fixed growth of temperature is correct. (I had already mentioned this, and somebody wanted a reference to this.)

    Possibly. But are the Netherlands able to get them? (The politicians couldn't care less - they care about winning the next elections, and, given that a danger is always useful for a politician, real or invented does not matter, it is predictable what they will do - give money to those scientists who predict a really big disaster, so big that to prepare for this one has to give the politicians extraordinary totalitarian power.)

    Not clear? I think lying is a revolting behaviour, and if I find sufficient evidence that all the mass media are doing this, and in a consistent way, I think this is not only revolting, but also very dangerous.
  15. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Yes, yes, you find lying is disgusting.

    Have you really demonstrated that the mass media is lying, though? Have you articulated what it is about climate change, not what's on the news about it, that upsets you as much as it seems to?

    My interpretation is the mass media isn't too sure what to do with the story--the public gets bored with the same old news. Politicians too, don't look all that determined to do anything much, perhaps because what they need to do will mean they won't get re-elected.
  16. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Here in the forum? No, and I don't plan. To really demonstrate particular lies is a dangerous business, in particular if the liars are not simply individual journalists, but the liars are part of an organized media campaign which needs the support of the big media concerns. To do this in a forum where I post under my real name would be stupid.

    I don't have to care about what "seems" to you. I have explained you some useful techniques, which allow to identify mass media campaigns which are full of lies from information, which is, sometimes, also distributed by the media. Feel free to use them or to ignore them.

    By the way, this points to another danger. If one name a media campaign full of lies, one predictable reaction is to suspect (or pretend to suspect) that I have a personal interest in the particular question. In the case of climate science, this accusation is quite harmless, feel free to believe I'm upset because I like hot climate and hope for some warming. If it is too cold, I use the question "where is the promised global warming?" openly as a running joke. But this is an exception rather than the rule, usually it can be quite harmful to be accused to be a supporter of those which the media campaign has chosen as the bad guys.
    They obviously don't care too much about a bored public - as a free press would do.

    And the politicians are not completely stupid, they probably know that it is a media campaign and who has ordered it, so they also know that actually doing something is only a waste of money. What they have to do for reelections is to talk about it, and doing harmless symbol politics, and they do.
  17. wellwisher Banned Banned

    What drives belief is connected to the complementary functionality of the two sides of the brain. The left brain is more differential and sequential/rational. The left side of the brain allow us to see reality in terms of its details and how these details are arranged sequentially and/or logically, with 2-D logic; cause and effect. If we were doing a fact check, the left side of the brain is what will be used to check the details and logic. Language structure is also processed in the left brain, since words are composed of combinations of differential letters/sounds forming larger sequences defined by grammar.

    The right side of the brain, is complementary and will process the same data, but it does so differently. This side of the brain is spatial or 3-D and attempts to integrate data; to a center. The left brain is the perimeter of a circle; details, while the right brain is at the center of the circle. Both have function and use; complements.

    This right side of the brain also processes emotions and intuition. When you meet a new person, the right brain will unconsciously integrate their body language, what they say, the inflections of their voice, etc., into a gut feeling about that person; first impression. This feeling bring all this data together into a focus. It is uses a fast 3-D language and may not be easy to explain, in details.

    Because the right brain is not the side of the brain that processes the word and sound sequences of language, sometimes a right brain feeling is being generated, but one is unable to explain it with words, since the left brain is not being used for the assessment. The right side of the brain, is where belief and faith comes from. The gut feeling comes from the core of a 3-D assessment, that the right brain is generating. This side of the brain is not where language structure is processed, making it hard to communicate in a rational way. The gut feeling can be right, but it can be hard to spell out; answer without a logical solution.

    There is another layer to these dynamics. The brain also has personality firmware, which is the operating system of the human brain, that defines human nature. There are various levels of firmware, with each level geared to different tasks. Sometimes there is a transposition of firmware, where the firmware being used to assess a situation, is the not the best for that situation. This can lead to a 3-D result and conviction, but one that is not appropriate; blind faith.

    As an example, the lounge lizard will tell the women he meets, what they wish to hear. The vulnerable woman is not listening and fact checking the content of his line of bull. Rather she is listening to the music of his practiced lines and voice, in light of his practiced body language. He can give her misinformation; sweet little lies, because she is not analyzing the data with the correct firmware; meaning. Rather, she is using firmware connected to relationship and therefore analyzing something different. She may be fooled due to the wrong tool, even though she felt a strong sense of conviction.

    The center of her assessment was more concerned with his skills to relate, properly. The center was not geared to the content of the data is presenting; shifting through misinformation. Rhetoric works the same way, where the music of the words, body language and an image of a likable and confident personality is being assessed, by firmware, instead of using a more appropriate firmware, connect to data content; different gut feeling. The first can create a feeling of faith, in the messenger, without ever looking seriously; right brained, at the message. One will feel the same feeling of conviction and intuition, either way, but these are not the same in terms of data; wrong tool.

    When I complain about liberalism and feminism, I believe they both of these feel a strong centered conviction and faith in their beliefs, but the wrong firmware tool is being induced and used; emotions before thought. The prestige and celebrity of the messenger, often outweighs the logic of the message itself; lounge lizard effect. Atheism feels the same about religion, with that faith a right brain assessment instead of left brain science. The liberal affect is the same thing but with transposed firmware induced by right brain triggers; image.
  18. river

    So in the end how can belief be controled ? Both logically and Reasonably
    Spellbound likes this.
  19. river

    Inotherwords , what can one do , in order , not to be controlled ?
  20. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    And there we have it, ladies and gentlemen.

    Asking certain people to examine their beliefs and how they came to believe what they believe is pointless, a big waste of time.
    But I'd like to thank wellwisher, possibly river, and certainly Schmelzer for providing some good examples. Maybe a little scary, those examples, but hey.
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So read the scientific literature as others have, discover as other have that these are physical facts reasonably presented in the pop science literature, and then answer the question directed toward you and your claims:

    Does an emotional presentation of these physical facts by mass media invalidate their status as physical facts?

    As you point out, a trivial question, not as newsworthy as flooded New York subways. Also - and this is relevant - a complex one. The effects of boosted levels of CO2 on plant growth are not simple, as CO2 is not normally a limiting nutrient - so the effects of fertilization are indirect. Preliminary studies seem to indicate time dependence in some large plants - an initial surge of vegetative growth, followed by retrenchment and pause as the rest of the plant catches up, with the long term effects hard to establish.

    There is also the central issue of ecological tradeoffs: many plants enjoy competitive advantages based in part on their strategies for handling CO2, balancing these tradeoffs has structured many ecosystems, and boosting CO2 can tip that balance. So the news might be that boosting CO2 is good for poison ivy and sumac, bad for C4 grasses and other sumac competition on hillsides and in dry meadows. Or maybe the other way around?

    And in crops there is yet another critical issue: nutrient content.

    So maybe the mass media story you are not seeing - probably because it isn't newsworthy, and it's hard to cover - would be if it existed yet another negative, emotional account of troubles from CO2 boosting.

    So you haven't made the check you think you have made, and it wouldn't have the implications you ascribe to it anyway.
  22. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Of course not. But in the few test cases where I have looked into the scientific literature, I have discovered that the scientific results are not reasonably presented in the pop science literature.

    The emotional presentation is, together with the constancy over time and some other criteria, only an indication, one which one can easily establish even without going the hard way of reading the scientific literature. Such indications are useful guides, not more.
    What is complex here? The details, the question how good more CO2 is in which situations and enviroments and which amounts, will be, of course complex. They will be, of course, studied, because in a greenhouse one can use, artificially, even more CO2, and in this case the question how much is optimal is an economic one. The main question - positive for plant growth or negative - is simple.
    This is, of course, also an interesting question, and worth to be studied. And here one would again, expect half good news half bad news. But we can be sure that the mass media will present us only the bad news.
    It certainly would be. Because the media present only negative stories about this.
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Not these, you haven't.
    In this case they led you astray for some reason.
    No, it's not. CO2 is positive for plant growth sometimes, neutral some times, and negative some times.
    Again, that would be a mistake, of course. You have no reason to expect anything like an even balance between good and bad news. From a sudden massive buildup of a waste product of industrial civilization in the air and water everywhere, good news might be expected to be rather scarce, actually.

    Like the Macando well blowout, BP's massive dump into the Gulf of Mexico: there is probably some good news to be found, but it's not expected to be 50/50 with the bad news.

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