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Comments

Terry@TBay

Hey ShakeandBake,
You've just been Cognitively Dissonanced.

Read
http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp
and
http://tinyurl.com/22tjuc

Vint Cerf seems to disagree with you.

Randy Martin

Yes Scott,

I can see why your upset about that Bill Maher show incident and that other guys response. There is a difference between saying "I understand" and "I agree".

I "understand" what you stated in your blog. I may or may not agree with it...but I "Understand" it.

That is what I feel is the major problem with all this "crap" out there. Too many people taking things "out of context" and then, (while not understanding - because they never spoke with the person who said this out of context thing) saying that what someone said is "this" or "this". All it does for me is show how stupid they are for opening their big mouth before testing and verifying the words that they are about to say.

You would think that these Panelists and commentators would be smart enough to ensure that what they say is as truthful and verifiable as possible BEFORE they speak. All they really do is "change" the information and "spin" it to fit their needs. Thats what that richardbell608 did. He didnt call you and ask you what you meant... he didnt research your words, or your opinions on this subject. He just took your words and changed them to fit what he wanted to do at the moment - which is rant negative about that economist guy.

Like I said, there is a big difference between saying "I understand" and "I agree". I can understand what someone says, I might not approve or agree, but I can least understand.

Paul

I just read RB's comment, it took me 10 minutes from my life, and I want them back!! Now!!
However... then I started thinking about the subject of this blog entry (RB: slowly read the title... again...)...
Scott, you should have added "quod erat demonstrandum"
beneath his comments.....

Adrian D.

Richard Bell:

Your rant is quite pointless. The assertion that warming is human-caused was made without evidence. Scientists are not looking for evidence. They just turn around every few years and say "We're more sure than ever."

Go ahead, try to find some evidence, research, or something of that order. It's not there. I am not impressed with "consensus"; it looks to much like "decree."

Richard Bell

Scott, I am the author of the Daily Kos item (republished from Putting the Heat on Lomborg-http://www.postcarbon.org/putting_the_heat_on_lomborg) which you refer to in this blog piece. I did not mean to make you out to be a supporter of Lomborg's because of your comments on Lomborg's appearance on the Maher show. I meant to draw attention to the information that was missing from your remarks and far too many presentation of Lomborg's work, information without which readers and viewers cannot understand why Lomborg's work is unreliable. Let me explain.

My concern about your description of the interview is that you adopt a position which unintentionally leaves the reader with a false understanding of the nature of the scientific debate about global warming. The reason I use the term false is because Adams (and Lomborg) presents the debate as if there were two more or less equal sides, when there are not.

Here's the quote from your thoughts on the interview on the Maher show (http://billmaher.com/?page_id=209) with the equal side phrase in CAPS:

"The Danish economist’s argument doesn't fall into the established views about global warming. He wasn't denying it is happening, or denying humans are a major cause. But he also wasn’t saying we should drive hybrid cars, since he thinks it won’t be enough to help. He thinks we need to make solar (or other alternatives) more economical. That’s the magic bullet. His views don’t map to EITHER POPULAR CAMP on this issue, and it created a fascinating cognitive dissonance in Bill Maher (a fan of hybrid cars) and his panelists."

There is only one popular camp, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (http://www.ipcc.ch/). Yes, there are climate scientists who disagree with the conclusions of the IPCC. But from the early 1990s on, the scientific consensus that global warming was happening, and that human activities were driving global warming, has only strengthened as more research has come in. If anything, the IPCC's positions are conservative precisely because these positions represent a consensus that is based on the peer-reviewed work of a horde of scientists from many disciplines, a process which by definition excludes more extreme but less well supported findings.

So to present Lomborg's views in a realistic context, you, and many other reporters and reviewers, should have noted that Lomborg, a statistician who has no credentials in any of the major scientific disciplines which bear on climate change, strongly disagrees with the findings of the IPCC that global warming is an extremely serious problem which humanity needs to deal with on an urgent basis.

With such an introduction, we might then reasonably ask why Lomborg is uniquely qualified to dismiss the work of the most collaborative global scientific research project that has ever been done. Yes, it's possible that all those scientists could be wrong and Lomborg could be right. Sometimes a single individual can overturn our understanding of some phenomenon. But the climate change debate is taking place in the most open, most transparent manner possible. And Lomborg is not participating in this peer-review process. His claims are made in a popular press book which has not been subject to the intense scrutiny that falls on the work produced by the IPCC.

For an example of why peer review matters, take a look at this section of an interview (http://www.postcarbon.org/q11_so_lomborg_not_giving_whole_truth_about_what_s_happening_polar_bears) that journalist Kevin Berger did in Salon. Berger did his own literature review of Lomborg "killer" claim in the opening chapter of the book that polar bears are not in trouble. What Berger did was what is normal procedure in the scientific peer review process, a thorough review of the scientific literature to see if there is other research that supports or undercuts the claim Lomborg was making.

Berger discovered that contrary to Lomborg's claim, there were a number of findings which Lomborg had access to that severely undercut Lomborg's claim. Berger even shows how Lomborg edited a quote from one of these publications in such a way as to eliminate a phrase that would have damaged Lomborg's claim. With his own peer review research in hand, Berger bears down on Lomborg in a way that Bill Maher and his equally ill-informed panelists were incapable of doing. Lomborg is distinctly uncomfortable responding to these questions, and his answers as to why he made the editorial decisions he did are unsatisfactory.
(You can read the full Berger interview here: (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/08/29/bjorn_lomborg/index_np.html?source=rss)

I challenge anyone to read this Berger-Lomborg exchange and not come away understanding that Lomborg's claim was, from a scientific point of view, deceitful, and consciously so, given the edited quote. By supposedly vanquishing the myth of the endangered polar bears in the opening chapter of his book, Lomborg sought to frame the rest of the arguments in his book with a "well, they were wrong about polar bears, and Lomborg showed us they were wrong, so when Lomborg says they are also wrong about (fill in the blank), Lomborg must be right again."

But now that we know, thanks to Berger's excellent research and persistent questioning, that Lomborg ignored evidence and twisted the words of evidence that contradicted his claim, we have reason to question every other claim in the book. Lomborg may very well be right about some of the other claims he makes, but the readers of a book that is allegedly based on science should not be expected to have to go to the original sources to find out whether the author is telling them the truth or not.

The publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, should be ashamed for inflicting such a shoddy piece of work on the American people, for putting into print a book that even a few hours of Googling would have exposed as deeply flawed, for not ensuring that a book on such a critical topic was not written in such a way as to confuse and sully the debate, with the readers none the wiser.

Thanks for listening.

Mark

"It is just the hard mathematical science of statistics. It is just statistically impossible that the uncanny synchronicity of, for instance, the eye's design could have just fallen into place under any circumstances without some 'help from above.'

Posted by: Steven McDaniel"

You're well out of date. IIRC it took about 20 years for someone to come up with an explanation.

Look at the simple spider eye. Then the more complicated eyes of snakes, then ours. Look at the light sensitive pits on pit vipers (much easier to create and a lot less effective than a proper eye).

There's a large specrum of eye (of which the human one isn't the pinnacle by a long shot) and at no point is there a "half eye".

Maybe you should try evolving.

Mark

"Finally - a site filled with intelligent people who know that argument solves nothing. As to the Polar Bear and Penguins - does anyone miss the dinosaurs???

Posted by: Nancy b"

WHo'll miss you? Does that mean that it's OK to allow something to continue that will kill you?

I would hope not.

Mark

"If semi-automatics were outlawed, you'd only be allowed to own revolvers or bolt-action rifles. He was further adding confusion to the debate through his own ignorance of the facts behind it, and clearly never cared.

Posted by: WCE"

And why is only owning a revolver or bolt-action insufficient? Against the government, you need a few MBTs. Against Bambi, if you need to fire off a clip to down it, you need to work on your shooting.

Andy Watt

"If semi-automatics were outlawed, you'd only be allowed to own revolvers or bolt-action rifles [OK, now you've demonstrated you know the difference as well. Well done!]. He was further adding confusion to the debate through his own ignorance of the facts behind it, and clearly never cared." ["the facts behind it" - well, he did say you didn't need a machine gun to kill bambi... I presume you could use a revolver or a bolt-action rifle to kill bambi?]

Dissonance in action... I wonder if this fella can dance?

Mark

Yup, EVERY time someone disagrees with you, it's because they misunderstood you.

Nomi

From Mokkery:

"That’s not cognitive dissonance. It’s cognitive dickheadedness."

Ha!

Richard Bell

Scott, I am the author of the Daily Kos item (republished from http://www.postcarbon.org/putting_the_heat_on_lomborg) which you refer to in this blog piece. I did not mean to make you out to be a supporter of Lomborg's because of your comments on Lomborg's appearance on the Maher show. I meant to draw attention to the information that was missing from far too many presentation of Lomborg's work, information without which readers and viewers cannot understand why Lomborg's work is unreliable. Let me explain.

My concern about your description of the interview is that you adopt a position which unintentionally leaves the reader with a false understanding of the nature of the scientific debate about global warming. The reason I use the term false is because Adams (and Lomborg) presents the debate as if there were two more or less equal sides, when there are not.

Here's the quote from your thoughts on the interview on the Maher show (http://billmaher.com/?page_id=209) with the equal side phrase in CAPS:

"The Danish economist’s argument doesn't fall into the established views about global warming. He wasn't denying it is happening, or denying humans are a major cause. But he also wasn’t saying we should drive hybrid cars, since he thinks it won’t be enough to help. He thinks we need to make solar (or other alternatives) more economical. That’s the magic bullet. His views don’t map to EITHER POPULAR CAMP on this issue, and it created a fascinating cognitive dissonance in Bill Maher (a fan of hybrid cars) and his panelists."

There is only one popular camp, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (http://www.ipcc.ch/). Yes, there are climate scientists who disagree with the conclusions of the IPCC. But from the early 1990s on, the scientific consensus that global warming was happening, and that human activities were driving global warming, has only strengthened as more research has come in. If anything, the IPCC's positions are conservative precisely because these positions represent a consensus that is based on the peer-reviewed work of a horde of scientists from many disciplines, a process which by definition excludes more extreme but less well supported findings.

So to present Lomborg's views in a realistic context, you, and many other reporters and reviewers, should have noted that Lomborg, a statistician who has no credentials in any of the major scientific disciplines which bear on climate change, strongly disagrees with the findings of the IPCC that global warming is an extremely serious problem which humanity needs to deal with on an urgent basis.

With such an introduction, we might then reasonably ask why Lomborg is uniquely qualified to dismiss the work of the most collaborative global scientific research project that has ever been done. Yes, it's possible that all those scientists could be wrong and Lomborg could be right. Sometimes a single individual can overturn our understanding of some phenomenon. But the climate change debate is taking place in the most open, most transparent manner possible. And Lomborg is not participating in this peer-review process. His claims are made in a popular press book which has not been subject to the intense scrutiny that falls on the work produced by the IPCC.

For an example of why peer review matters, take a look at this section of an interview (http://www.postcarbon.org/q11_so_lomborg_not_giving_whole_truth_about_what_s_happening_polar_bears) that journalist Kevin Berger did in Salon. Berger did his own literature review of Lomborg "killer" claim in the opening chapter of the book that polar bears are not in trouble. What Berger did was what is normal procedure in the scientific peer review process, a thorough review of the scientific literature to see if there is other research that supports or undercuts the claim Lomborg was making.

Berger discovered that contrary to Lomborg's claim, there were a number of findings which Lomborg had access to that severely undercut Lomborg's claim. Berger even shows how Lomborg edited a quote from one of these publications in such a way as to eliminate a phrase that would have damaged Lomborg's claim. With his own peer review research in hand, Berger bears down on Lomborg in a way that Bill Maher and his equally ill-informed panelists were incapable of doing. Lomborg is distinctly uncomfortable responding to these questions, and his answers as to why he made the editorial decisions he did are unsatisfactory.
(You can read the full Berger interview here: (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/08/29/bjorn_lomborg/index_np.html?source=rss)

I challenge anyone to read this Berger-Lomborg exchange and not come away understanding that Lomborg's claim was, from a scientific point of view, deceitful, and consciously so, given the edited quote. By supposedly vanquishing the myth of the endangered polar bears in the opening chapter of his book, Lomborg sought to frame the rest of the arguments in his book with a "well, they were wrong about polar bears, and Lomborg showed us they were wrong, so when Lomborg says they are also wrong about (fill in the blank), Lomborg must be right again."

But now that we know, thanks to Berger's excellent research and persistent questioning, that Lomborg ignored evidence and twisted the words of evidence that contradicted his claim, we have reason to question every other claim in the book. Lomborg may very well be right about some of the other claims he makes, but the readers of a book that is allegedly based on science should not be expected to have to go to the original sources to find out whether the author is telling them the truth or not.

The publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, should be ashamed for inflicting such a shoddy piece of work on the American people, for putting into print a book that even a few hours of Googling would have exposed as deeply flawed, for not ensuring that a book on such a critical topic was not written in such a way as to confuse and sully the debate, with the readers none the wiser.

I wrote the original piece because I have been a Dilbert reader for so long, (the Washington Post forces me into the finance section every day) and I know how much people respect your views.

Thanks for listening.

Dan K

Every time I read a post like this one it makes me want to start up a blog on my site, just so I can write something crazy that scott said (often quoting paragraphs that don't seem to have anything to do with what the heck I'm claiming was said) just so scott will like people to my site and say look at this lunatic... I'm willing to be crazy if I can sell you a used car! (I don't sell used cars... but I'm still willing to be CRAZY)

ShakeAndBake

>I always wondered why Al Gore never
>defended himself from the attack “He said
>he invented the Internet.”

Really? Let's see.

Perhaps because there is videotape of him claiming a large amount of influence over the creation of the internet, when that influence actually amounts to zero.

And perhaps because that videotape exposes him to be a lying, self-absorbed, opportunistic weasel who was caught up in the moment of his own imagined grandiousity in the utterly deranged hope it would impress people.

And perhaps he wishes he had never been so blindingly stupid on camera, and wishes the whole thing never happened, and has sworn himself never to mention it.

Do you think there's a chance all that may have been a factor?
Any chance at all?

WCE

I stopped watching Bill Maher after seeing him go off on one of his smug rants, this one aimed at us "gun nuts". "People, please!!! You don't need a machine gun to kill Bambi!!!"

He's one of those smug liberals who are proud that they don't know the difference between a semi-automatic and a machine gun. If semi-automatics were outlawed, you'd only be allowed to own revolvers or bolt-action rifles. He was further adding confusion to the debate through his own ignorance of the facts behind it, and clearly never cared.

Borjan

All of the above is proof of why people have hard time finding someone who understands them enough to spend the life together.

Monster Truck

But Scott, you stated in your post you could tell an economist from a non-economist after five minutes of conversation. Then, it seemed to me, you implied you'd recognized Bill Maher as an economist with your special sense. So the revelation that he isn't an economist certainly delivers a blow to your claim about having that special sense, doesn't it?

Second, you certainly gave the impression that you countenanced his "looking at it from all sides", and some of these other people you're criticizing are basically denouncing his views as ignorant and misleading ramblings, not balanced and not based on fact. While their reading of your post seems to have been very casual, there is most certainly no cognitive dissonance involved.

I also think you erred--very slightly--to the extent that you did not state explicitly that you had no expert knowledge on the background material Lomborg was drawing on and that you were merely commenting on the quality of his argument and the inability of the others to understand it.

Dick

"Once a misunderstanding gets out of the bottle, there is no fixing it."

Scott, why are you so shocked by a tactic that has been a prevalent component of the media for decades? Misleading soundbites and spin to support a personal agenda are forced upon us many times each day. This was just a simple blog entry. If you want to make the 6/11PM news and every newspaper in the country, just try making a comment regarding "personal responsibility", or try to differentiate between legal and illegal immigration, or better yet, take a pro-choice position on something you would not even consider for your self (e.g. homosexuality, abortion, drug use, etc.) but consider it absurd and unenforceable to outlaw.

Mokkery

That’s not cognitive dissonance. It’s cognitive dickheadedness.

dan z

It's funny how you try to make your point about Cognitive Dissonance, yet your readers attribute the opinion of 10 people out of over 1,000,000 daily readers that Daily Kos has as the entire community's position.

Rich T.

The guy who wrote that blog is either not very bright, or, as you correctly note, suffers from CD in this case, because he is so emotionally vested in his perceived truth.

Just call things as you see them, and let the CD fall where it may!

Chris

Hey Scott.

I'm sure someone has said this (I haven't got the time to read all of these comments), but fuck'em is they can't take a joke.

sajin

Scott said about Al Gore's "inventing the Internet" story:
"Once a misunderstanding gets out of the bottle, there is no fixing it. He didn’t have a chance."

I was just reading the book "The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life" by the physicist Paul Davies, and came across a similar story, where the press misunderstood his comments discussing Martian meteorites and black-smoker ecosystems on Earth where tube worms live in the most inhospitable conditions. The next thing he knew, he was being quoted as saying that "white worms had been discovered on Mars!". He says he did his best to hose the story down, but it never quite went away ;-)

As an aside, I've read several of Paul Davies' books about astrophysics and the origins of the universe, but this book has an amazing description of the fundamentals of DNA, RNA and microbiology that was a complete eye-opener to a layman like me. It also explained how scientists have evidence pointing to a single common ancestor for all extant life on earth, which had always seemed to me before to have "bogus" written all over it (I would have expected independent "forests" of life rather than a single tree of life).

Nimrod

Haha. That IS jaw-dropping. Look at the quote he took from you. All you did was explain what Lomborg was saying.

And your post was ABOUT cognitive dissonance. Too much.

Minister of Silly People in Green

Your right. It's always harder to change a person's perception, than it is to set it initially. Kind of like Newton's first law of motion, "An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by a net force." Similarly, "an idiot with a bad idea will hold on to the bad idea unless acted upon by a 2x4."

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