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How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby AdamB » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 11:25:14


The Climate Science Special Report that the Trump administration released last Friday is straightforward and relentlessly sobering. Scientists from 13 government agencies agree that the long-term global warming trend is “unambiguous” and that human activity is responsible. There is, they tell us, “no convincing alternative explanation.” Meanwhile, the president whose administration released the report maintains that climate change is a hoax and he and his EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, resist efforts to address it. What’s going on? How is this possible? Short-term economic self-interest (i.e., greed) is the driver for the energy industry, its supporters and their propaganda. But it’s the psychological factors, and the biology in which they’re grounded, that sustain denial. If we’re going to mobilize Americans to address climate change, we first have to understand what they’re thinking and why, and then help them change their minds. The belief that human activity is not causing global


How Greed, Fear, And Our Own Biases Blind Us To The Reality Of Climate Change
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Re: How Greed, Fear, And Our Own Biases Blind Us To The Real

Unread postby Ibon » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 11:55:03

Dohboi, are your reading this? A democracy is representative of the majority sentiment, not science. Trump won.

This is totally on topic to the discussion of climate change. Just saying. I don't agree with the position. Maybe.
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby Plantagenet » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 13:41:56

If we’re going to mobilize Americans to address climate change, we first have to understand what they’re thinking and why


We've got President Trump and many of his followers saying climate change isn't a big problem, and we don't need to do anything about it right now.

Before that we had President Obama and many of his followers saying climate change IS a problem, but the solution is the Paris Accords which don't do anything about it right now.

With both the Rs and the Ds saying we don't need to do anything about climate change right now, its no surprise that many Americans think climate change isn't a big problem and they don't see the need to do anything about it right now.

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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 16:11:32

Under Obama the fracking industry went exponential, while he sang along with the PC climate chorus.
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 16:19:24

More than a little scholarly info on the topic here.

http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/ab ... -americas/

Bottom line: humans are idiots. Don’t deny it.
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 16:36:16

Just to not me how opinions have changed (or not) below are the percentages for 2009 and the 2016. And the delta from the Yale study.
Cohort 2009 2016 delta
Alarmed. 18. 18. 0
Concerned. 33. 34. +1
Cautious. 19. 23. +4
Disengaged 12. 5. -7
Doubtful. 11. 11. 0
Dismissive. 7. 9. +2

In short, not a lot of movement, but more polarization.


Here is the link to be origional report. The demographic analysis starts on page 125. It’s interesting to. It’s that dismissives are pretty convienced they know all they need to know and appear to be closed to any new info.

It dismissives are not really the problem, they are a distinct minority. A much bigger problem is the tiny increase I. Alarmed and concerned in the past 7 years. Apparently we are not collectively learning very much.

http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/wp ... ericas.pdf
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 16:54:58

The main bias is being focused on the present and near term wellbeing and not the longer term
You can ignore reality but not its consequences
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 20:19:21

True, you even see that here. People are deeply concerned and want to correct climate change. They also want a robust economy and growth. Mutually incompatiable.

I’m still hopeful Donald will be a great pro climate President by crashing the world economy.

Happy Thanksgiving. :)
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby AdamB » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 20:35:03

SeaGypsy wrote:Under Obama the fracking industry went exponential, while he sang along with the PC climate chorus.


Under Obama US CO2 emissions stabilized and have begun to decrease. Let's hear it for the power of natural gas as a bridge fuel and an industry that knows how to get it better than anyone else in the world!

As for the rest of the world...well....maybe if they were struck by a dose of American exceptionalism we could have some hope, globally speaking.
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 20:57:40

Actually the US CO2 emissions peaked in the early & mid 70's dropped a bit & stabilised from Reagan until about 2008 then dropped a bit more since. More to do with vehicle fleet efficiency than anything else.
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby AdamB » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 22:11:55

SeaGypsy wrote:Actually the US CO2 emissions peaked in the early & mid 70's dropped a bit & stabilised from Reagan until about 2008 then dropped a bit more since. More to do with vehicle fleet efficiency than anything else.


Well this is good across the board then! The more the US implements increased EV utilization, a continuing transition to natural gas for power generation and increasing CAFE standards, the less the world needs to worry about us in any of their "gee lets pretend we can convince the Chinese to promise to pretend to stop emitting more CO2" COP scenarios.

This really is one of those "we're all in 1 boat" scenarios, and as much as folks want to focus on pliable countries, like the US, it doesn't solve the real problem of growing emissions coming from the other places.
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 23:43:11

I weary of saying this, over and over. You are supposedly adults yet the simplest thing about how the world works escapes you.

Politicians lie Left or Right, conservative or liberal, libertarian, Randites, Communists, whatever - the words that come out of their mouths are for pandering votes, nothing more.

When a politician has been in office for a while, you can determine their true beliefs from their voting record on legislation. You will easily see whether they are conservative or liberal, and also be surprised. The Clintons for example were Conservatives, Obama was a Moderate, and Trump has no record, he's an anomaly.

Nobody does this analysis for you. In any election, go to votesmart.org, and do your own analysis. Or continue to vote like a fool.
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 24 Nov 2017, 10:51:43

Newfie wrote:Just to not me how opinions have changed (or not) below are the percentages for 2009 and the 2016. And the delta from the Yale study.
Cohort 2009 2016 delta
Alarmed. 18. 18. 0
Concerned. 33. 34. +1
Cautious. 19. 23. +4
Disengaged 12. 5. -7
Doubtful. 11. 11. 0
Dismissive. 7. 9. +2

In short, not a lot of movement, but more polarization.


Here is the link to be origional report. The demographic analysis starts on page 125. It’s interesting to. It’s that dismissives are pretty convienced they know all they need to know and appear to be closed to any new info.

It dismissives are not really the problem, they are a distinct minority. A much bigger problem is the tiny increase I. Alarmed and concerned in the past 7 years. Apparently we are not collectively learning very much.

http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/wp ... ericas.pdf



IMO there is a sound reason few people are alarmed. In fact I would go on to say the 11 percent alarmed today are not the same 11 percent of the population that were the alarmed in 2009. Other than those in places like this website who are well nigh obsessed with doom of one fashion or another I believe probably 10 of the 11 percent alarmed are young adults just starting to make their way in life. These are the people who have had a limited exposure to the national media and its grossly overblown statements that are very rarely actually based upon facts. If you are a news watcher then by the age of 30 you will be exposed to literally hundreds of media accounts of how something is going to kill you/give you cancer/injure your children. During that same 8-12 years of early adulthood nearly all of those histrionic pronouncements of imminent disaster will have been proven wrong, sometimes by a huge margin. Looking back I can still remember the hype from 3 mile island, and then Chernobyl and then Fukushima, and yet in all the time between those individual events and now nearly every doomsayer prediction was proven totally in error by the facts of reality. For a more prosaic example after the Tsunami in Southeast Asia there were a string of stories about the next Cascadia plate rebound which will some day cause a tsunami to hit Portland, Oregon in the same fashion. Or the earthquake during the World Series in Oakland, California that lead to the hundreds of predictions about the next California Big Quake. Or the very small eruption of Mount Saint Helen's a few years ago that lead to a string of movies like Dante's Peak and Volcano. IOW by the time you reach about 30 years old you come to realize that most doom predictions are no more accurate than any Hollywood movie and you really should not base life decisions on those predictions.

In the real world outside of the Internet that means people start discounting every doom story whether there is science to back it up or not. Some day the Cascadia fault will break loose Tsunami-ing Portland Oregon, and some day the Next Big Quake will hit San Fransisco and break a lot of things and kill a lot of people, and Some Day Yellowstone Caldera is liable to erupt again causing two or three years of Volcanic Winter and devastating about a third of the land territory of the USA and a quarter of Canada as well. All of these things, and Climate Change as well, will happen some day. It is wise to not live in what you know will be a badly damaged place when these natural disasters happen, but other than choosing where to live there is not a heck of a lot you can do about it.

Humans dominate this planet for two reasons. People love to talk about intelligence because they see that as what makes us different than other species, but without the other factor it wouldn't make us world dominators. Species all over this planet at every level of complexity come in two basic types, specialists and generalists. Specialist species develop successfully to exploit some resource that no other species is using early on. A lot of insects are in this category but there are also mammals like the Koala Bear that specializes in eating Eucalyptus trees to the exclusion of everything else. Specialization can get you a very long way, for example when Eucalyptus forests were widespread and there was no competition the Koala Bears boomed in numbers by exploiting that resource alone. But it also breeds fragility, because they are so tightly specialized Koala Bears are symbiotic with their trees and if the trees die so do the Koala. The other evolutionary strategy is generalization and is epitomized by the omnivorous animals that can eat plants or animals to get their essential nutrients. Bears and Swine are both examples of this capability as are Humans. Coupling omnivorous diet with high intelligence means humans have been able to spread everywhere on the planet where food sources exist. The only reason Humans were not already living on Antarctica when the Europeans discovered it in the 19th century was because of the difficulty crossing the Davis Strait. If some crazy time traveler had dropped an Eskimo whaling village from the Arctic Coast on the Antarctic Peninsula any time in the last 15,000 years they would have been able to meet all their same nutrition/clothing/shelter needs with the resources available in Antarctica as they have access to on the Arctic Ocean coast. We quite literally could have spread from coast to coast north to south if the Paleo-Indians had managed to build strong enough boats to cross from South America to Antarctica.

Adaptable species spread far more easily than specialized species. If the koala Bears had developed human like intelligence the best they could do would be to plant groves of Eucalyptus trees in territories where the trees could survive and thrive. We know they could have spread them somewhat because Humans have planted them for lumber and the useful plant oils they produce in places very far away from where they evolved. But no matter how smart they might be an Intelligent Koala would still be trapped into a tree farming lifestyle which would make developing metallurgy or any other technology beyond stone shaping very difficult. In comparison humans will eat literally anything they can digest and many things they can't which today is mostly limited by cultural biases. You can liver quite healthy on nothing but insects if you choose to do so, but very few humans do so even today. Or slime mold, or garden slugs, or any of a hundred other foods that my cultural bias labels as nauseating.

So until Climate Change actually takes the next step away from the current condition 89 percent of Americans surveyed will not be alarmed by it. After the next climate step takes place most people will be alarmed at first, but depending on how big the step is most of us will still be alive in the short term after the step and trying to think up ways to adapt and make an opportunity out of the changing ecosystem around us. Heck for the people living in Phoenix, AZ there is a reasonably good chance the next step in climate change will create more cloudy days and more regular rain events rather than the brief monsoon season they experience today, meaning their climate will be improved over what it is today. Millions of people living in the very dry desert are only able to do so by shipping in a lot of food and water so on the other hand if their sources are disrupted they might all have to move somewhere else. In the most likely case for most people the immediate impact of the next climate shift, which could take place today or 50 years from now, will be small and they will be able to adapt or move after it happens. This means staying alarmed about it is counter productive on an individual basis.
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 24 Nov 2017, 11:22:19

KaiserJeep wrote:I weary of saying this, over and over. You are supposedly adults yet the simplest thing about how the world works escapes you.


Kaiser, when you denigrate your opponent you do not show a sincere interest in communicating. You show an interest in one upmanship. Which is a sign of intellectual insecurity. And I did not say that to denigrate, I sincerely mean this to enlighten you.

A little imagery perhaps.... We are all sitting around the fire and each of us throw in a little tinder to make the fire burn hot and true. What you are doing is trying to capture the flame and own it. You only burn your fingers in the theater of public opinion.
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 24 Nov 2017, 11:50:39

Tanada wrote: This means staying alarmed about it is counter productive on an individual basis.


Someone with a phobia does not respond to rational arguments because the source of the phobia is not lack of knowledge but rather an unrealistic fear. Trying to rationally explain away people's alarmist position is just as likely to fail because the exaggerated feeling of being alarmed has to do more with a deficiency of character than it does lack of information.

The deficiency of character in the collective today is easy to identify with a number of adjetives; narcissistic, indolent, lazy, materialistic, hedonistic, pain avoidance, hard work avoidance, etc. etc. etc.

These characters are a lot better markers of exaggerated alarmist positions rather than lacking a sense of history or knowledge.

We are a deficient culture. It happened because we put materialism and consumerism and status through wealth above the virtue of hard work, service and self sacrifice.

We are fearful because we know deep inside we lack the character to pull up from our boot straps and persevere in the event of any external hardships

We are collectively just like the cartoon characters in that Wall-E movie.

What is interesting is that this indolence and narcissism does not split with divisiveness along any party or ideological line. In North America It is ubiquitous across all races, ideologies, political party affiliation, urban / rural split etc.

It is the one thing that binds and joins us together in brotherhood, being pathetic narcissists and hedonists.
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby asg70 » Fri 24 Nov 2017, 12:14:59

Ibon wrote:We are collectively just like the cartoon characters in that Walleye movie.


Wall-E you mean? I would agree with this.

The crazy thing is we're introspective enough to rush to the movies in droves to see a story about fat slobs addicted to screens and polluting the planet into a garbage dump and yet we do nothing about it. Same deal with Avatar, Idiocracy, Mad Max, Blade Runner 2049, etc... It never seems to get beyond an intellectual exercise.

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I mean, what's been the net result of all of this apocalyptic cinema? President Trump.
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby kiwichick » Fri 24 Nov 2017, 12:26:33

Apologies if this has been mentioned already........as a species we have , I would suggest, a Bias or partiality to reproduce......and more people .....especially in high emission countries.......equates to more GHG emissions

For example there is still cultural pressure on young couples to have children ....and as soon as the first one has arrived the questions start about when are you having the next one......" because you don't want him/her to be an only child "

And yet the biggest influence on most peoples lifetime GHG emissions is the number of children they have
https://www.npr.org/2016/08/18/47934976 ... ate-change
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Fri 24 Nov 2017, 12:37:52

kiwichick wrote:Apologies if this has been mentioned already........as a species we have , I would suggest, a Bias or partiality to reproduce......and more people .....especially in high emission countries.......equates to more GHG emissions

For example there is still cultural pressure on young couples to have children ....and as soon as the first one has arrived the questions start about when are you having the next one......" because you don't want him/her to be an only child "

And yet the biggest influence on most peoples lifetime GHG emissions is the number of children they have
https://www.npr.org/2016/08/18/47934976 ... ate-change

True, and SO counterproductive.

I understood in the 80's, as someone who had decided not to get married and have kids (because that wasn't for me, and the world was definitely overpopulated already), that most people wouldn't like that. How dare I want to be different, in "the land of the free". (I was told by various supposed "friends" that I would roast in hell, that I was wasting my life, that I was selfish, etc. for choosing not to get married and have kids. You'd think that somehow by not conforming, I were hurting THEM).

But for crying out loud, here we are 30 years later, where progress on acceptance of a wide variety of people being different to VERY different has supposedly occurred, the population has grown a lot along with the problems that causes -- and here we STILL are with the pressure to reproduce.

It's absolute madness. It's the same selfishness as the "I want every material and experience I can possibly earn AND borrow the money for" attitude that pervades the first world, whether rich or "poor".
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 24 Nov 2017, 13:18:08

No, it's not madness at all. It is 100% normal primate behavior, from the most successful great ape species, Homo Sapiens Sapiens. You HAVE heard of the two branches of Antropology, which are the Physical/Biological, and the Cultural? Both have lessons to teach about the human race and how we resemble and differ from other animal species. But when it comes to the other primates, all pretty much behave with some subset of human behaviors.

Your cultural bias against accepting human behavior as primarily the instinctual behavior of a primate is a holdover from the centuries of science, literature, and religious writings that preceeded Anthropology, and it takes years of conscious effort to overcome such bias. But it is of vital importance to do so. Because you see ultimately culture is absolutely owned and totally dominated by biological instincts.

I was reminded of this when I visited my hometown recently. 90% of my classmates never left town, even for travel. They live contentedly in the territory of their ape tribe and extended family - a small MidWestern town in Illinois. They even feel superior to us rogue apes who left town and lived elsewhere, they are certain of the superiority of their lifestyle.

These instincts can be overcome, after a broad education and with years of effort. Something less than 1% of the humans achieve this IMHO. The other 99% will never even try to do so. Primate biological instincts are the ultimate form of bias.
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Re: How Our Own Biases Blind Us To Climate Change

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Fri 24 Nov 2017, 13:35:28

KaiserJeep wrote:I was reminded of this when I visited my hometown recently. 90% of my classmates never left town, even for travel.

I'll call BS on that. What's your sample size?

Of everyone I know in a moderate sized red state mid america City, and all the surrounding (say within an hour) small towns, I know of NO ONE who "never left town, even for travel".

I don't like to travel. I find it stressful. I never fly now that my (former) job doesn't require it. I travel less in fact than ANYONE I know. And yet I still travel to nearby towns (say within a two hour radius) to visit friends and relatives, or just see things and enjoy the day, from time to time.

Now with the (to me) miracle of cheap satellite navigation systems like Garmin, simple travel by car to places you haven't been is MUCH easier and less stressful, since you don't have to worry about getting lost or even disoriented for more than a handful of seconds. I don't find this claim (NEVER leaving town by 90% of a group of people) at all credible, unless you, literally, took the short bus to school and your classmates aren't within a standard deviation or so of the normal, functioning adult US population as far as functionality.

(Red font mine, to emhpasize the claim I believe is total BS).

...

If you had claimed that they never moved away from their home town, I would find that credible. 90% would still seem very high -- but wouldn't seem completely improbable in, say, a community that is almost all farmers and related jobs that support farmers, like the local stores, etc.
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