back to article The 'echo chamber' effect misleading people on climate change

Trick-cyclists in America have come out with research which could explain why the debate on climate change continues to rumble on, even though there is a solid consensus on the facts of the matter. Essentially, according to the researchers, people tend to live in "echo chambers" as far as climate matters go, seeking out …

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"US National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center"

Is that really a thing?

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Go

National Socialist Environmental Synthesis Center?

Eco-nazis!!! Run for your lives!!

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Anonymous Coward

Sigh...

The Apollo missions to the Moon were not interrupted by the protestations from the Flat Earth Society.

Why not transition from the Endlessly Debate phase to the Actually Get On With It phase?

Blaming the loony 'Skeptics' and 'Deniers' for the inadequate progress is somewhere between delusion and fraud.

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Re: Sigh...

Considering that the "Skeptics" and "Deniers" control the funding for these things... kinda' tough, you know. IMHO, a Skeptic can change belief... a Denier will take it to their grave. Luckily, our CongressCritters are, for the most part, getting on in years.

The same applies to those CongressCritters who are religious fundies and keep NASA tied in knots for certain projects. There's others, but you get the idea.

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Flame

Re: Sigh...

What exactly are "these things"? Pro-alarmist climate "science" gets funded just fine and seemingly needs no proper statistical evaluation to reach publication in even formerly respected journals such as Science and Nature. Most authors still genuflect to climate alarmism, at least in the abstract -- the only part of the paper most non-scientists even look at.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sigh...

There seems to be plenty of money being spent. It's just not being spent efficiently. Frankly, there's a mindless contest to see how much money can be spent... e.g. "My e-car is more expensive than your e-car." Or "My 100MW solar plant cost $5 billion, because obviously there's an infinite amount of money available. So $50/watt is fine..."

Waaay past time to stop blaming the 'deniers' and 'skeptics'. They're a noisy distraction, not an obstruction. The blame lies solely on poor project management skills in the top level management of the whole effort. The basic human condition of not being very clever.

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Re: Sigh...

In the States, the heads of various science committees in the Congress ultimately control the funding. There's a ton of deniers present as both heads and members of these committees.

There's also many fundamentalists (for lack of a better term) who believe that NASA and any group using money for paleontology or looking back into space further than 6000 years is a waste of money.

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Re: Sigh...

I've met 2 astronauts who have actually seen , from the moon , that the earth is indeed a sphere . They resent being called "flat earthers" for simply being good enough scientists , along with many of their NASA peers , to reject this ever more thoroughly debunked global statist stupidity that an extra molecule or two per 10k of air of the source of carbon to carbon based life is anything but a boon to the biosphere .

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Re: Sigh...

What do you mean by "an extra molecule or two per 10k of air"? What is 10k?

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Re: Sigh...

An extra molecule or two?

Can we have some real scientific details instead please?

Do you live in the 1800's when the ocean was an inexhaustible dumping ground, and other resources could NEVER get scarce by human consumption? Like whales, cod, etc.

I bet the people on the Easter Islands weren't really all that concerned either, with trees being counted in the hundreds still.

People do not like to cut back or limit their consumption. But why not at least acknowledge that there may be a cost down the line, instead of just pretending there couldn't possibly be one?

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Re: Sigh...

The endless debate exists because of the fact that climatologists will not admit that the "Science" they use to state their case isn't science, but glorified guess work. Using a computer model to predict what climate change will take place is pointless when you have no detailed understanding of a) All the factors that effect climate and b) how those factors interact, to pretend as they do that is science is to ignore the last five hundred years of progress.

The models (More than 40 plus at last count) can't even be used to replicate past climate behavior, so how can they be used to predict future behavior? And the claimed accuracy of their prediction 0.1C, is beyond ridiculous, especially when based on 150 year old data? Could you read a an old style thermometer to a tenth of a degree accurately day after day?

The Financ sector based trillions of dollars of transactions on computer models. The models confidently predicted that a "credit event" would be the ultimate "black swan" event, occuring once every six or seven million years, so the finance sector confidently ignore every instinct and fact that pointed to a crash and came within a hairs breadth of sinking the entire world economy.

When the climate "liars" are exposed, after costing developed economies trillions of dollars in lost jobs, high energy costs and "aid" to developing countries, what terrible damage will they have done to the single most beneficial manner of thought in human history, Science?

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Re: Sigh...

Of course their is a cost. But what point is their in the West shivering in our homes will India and China increase their emmission faster than we reduce ours whislt expecting the West to pay for their move to clean technology. Isn't it bad enough that both countries have made stealing technology and ignoring patents a major industry.

But Climate "Liars" or "Criers" ignore or are ignorant of basic sciencitifc principles. Try making accurate predictions for a non-linear system with a dozen variables, and you will fail. Climate must have thousands, most of which will interact in ways which will do not understand, until we do we Climate change is nothing more than guesswork, support by simulations or models that have proven to be consistently inaccurate at predicting future climate and unable to model past changes. Guess work based on elaborate models, is still guess work!

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Holmes

Duh!

...people tend to live in "echo chambers" ... seeking out information and advisers who agree with what they already believe. Thus, they may persist in deluded views regardless of what others think.

That's why I come to El Reg. To be challenged. As well as reassured.

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Joke

Re: Duh!

That's why I come to El Reg. To be challenged. As well as reassured.

Which challenge is that then?

This is/won't be THE year of Linux on the desktop?

Microsoft make great/awful software

If your point of view is different to mine, you should be <insert punishment>

My iDroid is better than yours, because <insert reason>

You are obviously a shill for <insert company>

It's not really challenging when it's the same thing over and over. And pretty much the same echo effect because the minds are closed.

(Semi joke/semi serious note)

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Trollface

Re: Duh!

Which challenge is that then?

Being challenged on my assumption that posting here would lead me to being challenged for starters.

Troll icon because...

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Re: Duh!

"Being challenged on my assumption that posting here would lead me to being challenged for starters."

Nope. Too much inception if we go down that route.

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Facepalm

On a larger scale it's been repeatedly established in recent surveys that most people don't agree with the idea that climate change is mainly caused by human activities.

Because a population-wide survey is the proper way to know whether something is correct, as opposed to doing a scientific study, right? …Right?

I mean, I also harbour doubts on the question, but that's because I doubt the quality of scientific studies done so far, not because the majority of the population thinks this way or the other.

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Boffin

Truth

Uh uh! If enough people say something isn't true, it becomes not true.

Especially if they say it lots of times, with vigour. Has the internet taught us nothing?

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This was a study about peoples belief in climate change it was not a study about climate change

HTH

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Well, when the argument is "The consensus is that..." It helps to know what the consensus is.

I agree that the majority held view has no bearing on the science, if that were true than the sun would have revolved around the earth until Galileo.

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but

When the scientific studys start to contradict themselves who do you ask for 'the truth'??

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Coat

"...the sun would have revolved around the earth until Galileo."

It was an Earth-shaking discovery, don't you know?

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I'm not so sure that "majority consensus" is not relevant with this one. Not the blogging consensus (where people are trying to look smart and trendy) but the real consensus, where people observe and act on those observations. In essence, the majority consensus is the result of millions of separate observations and conclusions. The basic question here is, how many people actually observe any significant warming (or cooling) that appears to be outside the normal variability or has any characteristics that reliably identify it as "man made". Further, among those who observe anything whatsoever, how many see any dangers in it?

All those observers and all those unbiased observations might actually be providing a better consensus than the politically-influenced climate scientists.

I'm sure I will get some down-votes for this, but the fact is that a lot of people are making observations and they simply do not see any serious problem. A few (in the grand scheme of things) scientists whose lifeblood of grant money, see a problem that requires more grant money to solve and a tax regime to supply that money. Regardless of the "climate skeptic" stuff, we should always be skeptical of anyone chasing more tax dollars.

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Boffin

Humans are defective

I'm sure I will get some down-votes for this, but the fact is that a lot of people are making observations and they simply do not see any serious problem.

That’s because humans are seriously flawed. From an alarmist perspective, the rising temperature, the rising sea levels, the rising acidification of the oceans; Future Me is quite inconvenienced by the decisions of Present-tense Society.

But Present-tense Society is like, I can’t afford the $30,000 for an electric vehicle, or $15,000 for solar panels, the payoff time is forever, I’ll just keep putting a liter of carbon into the air for my daily commute and hoping my electricity will turn green just because. I can’t afford new car payments; the main reason I don’t burn gasoline is because I can’t afford a used car, either. (Also, downtown, the “freedom” of driving a car is the “freedom” to crawl bumper-to-bumper looking for a parking space. No thanks!) I don’t see the problems that my use of energy is causing.

Same reason almost nobody’s behavior changed, following the Edward Snowden revelations. We’ve “always known” that the Five Eyes spy, so we’ll keep doing what we were doing before. We techies need to be making decisions on these sorts of things for the rest of the population, so they can concentrate their decision-making energies on stuff that matters to them.

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A population-wide survey is the proper way to know whether something is believed to be correct, and goes to show that the average voter also "doubts the quality of scientific studies done so far." A skeptic's view of Climate Change is the only logical one while CO2 concentrations continue to soar but temperatures stubbornly refuse to increase in the 17 years since the climate model's first predicts "Runaway Global Warming"!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Humans are defective

Decade, '...a liter of carbon...'

I'm not sure volume is the best measurement scheme.

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The majority of climate researchers accept that man is warming the world through greenhouse gas emissions. The evidence is quite convincing.

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Re: Ratfox

Because a population-wide survey is the proper way to know whether something is correct, as opposed to doing a scientific study, right? …Right?

Wrong: The point about that is to illustrate the articles main thesis, that what people believe is more a function of social organisation peer pressure and so on, than it is of the truth necessarily.

Without coming down on one or another side of the argument I would like to perhaps add clarification.

Science is ultimately one hopes about ascertaining - if not the Truth - at least a model of things that is not measurably inconsistent with it, whatever it may be.

Politics seeks to arrive at a group consensus of moulded opinion, such that what people believe becomes far far more important than what the truth actually is.

E.g one can see that studies that elicit the conclusions that '97% of people believe...' are in fact market surveys - political marketing, not science.

Whereas a study that claims 'in the last 27/21 years temperature changes did not correlate at all with CO2 increases to a 97% confidence level' is in fact trying to be science, in that it asserts a claim that can be refuted by data and its purpose is at least superficially to elicit truth in the world as opposed to what people believe to be the truth.

Climate science is an unholy mix of political marketing and some basic science: Its important to distinguish in which camp any of the statements made, lie.

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Quite so. Either way you cut this it's worth remembering that consensus != science; it's closer to faith.

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"The evidence is quite convincing."

No it isn't .

A geologically unremarkable 0.3% variation in our temperature associated with a 40% increase in the molecule which bounces along only a few times the minimum level to support life and whose most recent 10% increase is associated with no detectable increase in temperature , is not convincing .

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Convincing evidence? Eh?

The evidence being a complete lack of rise in temperature despite a significant increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide? The fact that all of the models have failed to get anywhere near a reasonable forecast? The fact that extreme weather events have declined in frequency despite the forecast that they would increase?

Not to mention the actual benefits which do come from increased carbon dioxide - reforestation, better, faster growing crops - and those which would come from increased temperatures - fewer deaths from cold (which massively outnumber those from heat), less use of energy producing natural resources to warm us.

The bunch at CERN have stated that even though they have found results in line with predictions to a very high degree (in 2102 they were talking about 7 standard deviations-reliable) they were not claiming certainty until further research is done.

Sorry, reality deniers, when the results don't support your theory, it belongs with phlogiston, phrenology and homeopathy. In the dustbin.

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Re: Humans are defective

Nor is "carbon" the right word

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"The basic question here is, how many people actually observe any significant warming (or cooling) that appears to be outside the normal variability or has any characteristics that reliably identify it as "man made". "

That's just preposterous.

Do you really think that global warming would result in something like "ahh, this summer was a lot colder/warmer than I expected, so perhaps this global warming thing could be real, we better use less petrol, dear" before the long term effects were irreversible?

Do you realise the range of temperature zones humans can inhabit, vs. the small average change needed to make global warming a disaster?

The reason we have SCIENCE is so we don't make these mistakes.

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Gonna be fun to watch the comments and excuses and blame shifting over the next few years.

Watch and weep

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Paris Hilton

Why?

When it gets warm enough, again, clothing will become a thing of the past.

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Re: Why?

Ever been to a Wal-Mart in the States? You would regret that wish real fast....

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Re: Why?

Heard of UV, Sunburn and skin cancer? Think again.

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Angel

Re: Why?

We've heard of those things here in Australia, that's why we slip-slop-slap.

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Simple hatred of science and liberals drives the denial.

Republican leaders in the pockets of Big Oil are paid campaign contributions to slow down any change, just like Big Tobacco did for 50 years to stop cigarette legislation.

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Why liberals?

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Headmaster

@W Donelson Re: "Simple hatred of science and liberals drives the denial."

It is ironic that your posting so perfectly demonstrates the echo effect they refer to. Whilst it is obvious that some of the opposition to the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis comes from people driven by hatred of science or liberals, it is also perfectly possible to disagree with that hypothesis without being motivated by such views. In other words I suggest you stop arguing that anyone who disagrees with you is a villain.

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FAIL

Simple hatred of science and liberals drives the denial.

I love science. But I don't believe in MMGW, simply because it doesn't exist - there is no credible science to show that it exists and none of the models work if you run them with historic data. Warmist predictions have been wrong the whole of my life and they continue to be wrong year after year.

Show me anything that credibly even approaches real scientific consensus on the issue and my mind remains open. Unfortunately, global warming has more in common with religion that it ever had with objective science.

The longer warmists persist with panicky predictions that fail to occur, the fewer people will believe them next time. 30 years ago I was warned that if I continued driving we'd have the climate of Portugal by now. Well, I continued driving, and low and behold, no climate of Portugal; No significant change at all in fact.

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Anonymous Coward

> I love science. But I don't believe in MMGW, simply because it doesn't exist - there is no credible science to show that it exists and none of the models work if you run them with historic data.

I would add further to that.

A lot of the vociferous debate about climate "science" is about "deniers" and "believers", but almost no debate is about what is being denied and I blame a lot of the established terminology surrounding the issue. Do you believe in climate change or are you a climate denier? Well, for one, I don't disbelieve in "climate": we demonstrably have one. I don't disbelieve that the climate is changing: it has always changed. But what is really at the heart is who or what is currently driving it and I think there is still some uncertainty in this area as there always should be in any relatively new scientific field.

Secondly, we're still not forgotten "climategate". Remember that?

- the much lauded, then roundly panned, hockey stick graph which can apparently be produced by the underlying model with random data

- the secrecy surrounding the model used, no peer review for them

- the alleged leaked emails proclaiming that the source data should be disappeared or at the very least suppressed from release because others might use it to refute or challenge their findings, no reproduction of the findings there either

- the "loss" of key underlying data

Everything that follows from that sorry episode is tarnished by those shenanigans.

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To be a skeptic is a good thing. For example, skeptical of any new OS until after Service Pack 1. Yet, in the climate arena, if you're a skeptic and question... usually both sides of the argument, you get lumped either into the "denier" or "believer" turf. There is no middle ground in their minds. Reality... yes there is. There's always a middle ground in these debates until proven. Science is usually not hard, fast, unchanging answers. The situation changes as do the methods of research.

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Political Bullshit

I am a scientist with a degree in chemistry, not the pseudoscience of so-called "Climate Scientists" and I am skeptical of the claims of global warming for a very simple reason. Science is about putting forward a hypothesis and then testing it by making predictions based on your theory, then checking those predictions against the real world observations. Since 1998 the IPCC climate models have all predicted various rates of warming, the average being 1 degree warmer by 2015. The actual warming over this time is zero degrees, in spite of record increases in CO2 concentration over this time. Clearly the correlation of global warming with CO2 concentration has been disproved, and the hypothesis must be rejected. I am impressed with the logical thinking of the general public who have grasped this fact far better than the Climate Science community.

"Simple hatred of science" and socialist world-views appear to drive the Warmist point of view, which is a political one, rather than a scientific conclusion.

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WTF?

slowing change

To be fair, you got so caught up in denialism that you forgot about all the Democratic leaders and President paid by Big Alarmism to slow down/stop new oil and gas exploration, put restrictions or bans on fracking, pay big subsidies to wind and solar power equipment and power producers, and so forth.

I always thought de Nile was driven by Isis' tears of sorrow over the loss of her husband, Osiris.

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Re: Political Bullshit

Does anyone else hear the echo?

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Boffin

Why not liberals?

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Re: Political Bullshit

'Socialist world views'.

That pretty much nails you politically, and compromises your 'scientific' position in the same way you attempt to paint climate science as politically compromised.

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Re: Political Bullshit

"Since 1998 the IPCC climate models have all predicted various rates of warming, the average being 1 degree warmer by 2015"

nope.

"The actual warming over this time is zero degrees"

also wrong

"Clearly the correlation of global warming with CO2 concentration has been disproved"

bad logic

"I am impressed with the logical thinking of the general public who have grasped this fact far better than the Climate Science community."

It really makes no sense. Why would a field of experts around the world be convinced that CO2 emissions are driving up global temperature if it's so obviously wrong?

I am afraid you are in a position of error and you can't see that you are.

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