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Monday, March 28, 2016

Cognitive dissidence: Quiet, if confusing, on the denier front, and a peep at Hansen (2016)

Sou | 1:04 PM Go to the first of 11 comments. Add a comment

It's still quiet if a bit confusing on the denier front. Judith Curry admits to being a knowing dissident. She says she's suffering cognitive dissidence in one of her mixed up articles where, apart from that, she commits to little if anything as is usual with Judith. While it was probably a Freudian slip, it's a great term, isn't it. One that sums up disinformers rather well.

Other people seem to be afflicted by cognitive dissidence as well, arguing for the sake of arguing.

Over at WUWT, Bob Tisdale wants to know what Presidential hopefuls are going to do to protect the US populace against weather-related disasters (archived here), which he admits are happening now.

Bob doesn't say what he wants them to do. He does indicate what he doesn't want them to do. He doesn't appear want them to provide any more funds for research that would allow a better understanding of weather and climate, saying that he doesn't value all the new knowledge that's come to light. I gather he doesn't approve of action to mitigate climate change to prevent worse weather disasters. Many of his fans are upset with his "open letter". They reckon that the US federal government shouldn't be doing anything to help US people prevent or recover from weather disasters. They are probably fearful of being locked up in chains and being sent off to FEMA concentration camps.

In what looks like an example of binary thinking, Eric Worrall is arguing that if "greenies" didn't care so much about climate change, then there'd be a lot less whales being killed. Maybe he's right, and maybe he's wrong. Perhaps he thinks that people aren't able to be concerned about whaling and concerned about climate change all at the same time. The good thing is that Eric is concerned about the Japanese slaughtering whales (archived here).

I nearly forgot to mention that Tim Ball has an article at WUWT in which he says he's not just a climate science denier, he's a general science denier. He is promoting some silly book full of falsehoods about DDT, the ozone layer, acid rain, hazardous waste, asbestos and more (archived here).  Shades of Velikovsky.

Anthony Watts' used Eric Worrall to whistle up another lynch mob to falsely defame Professor Michael Mann again (archived here). The comments are more than sufficient grounds for a defamation suit against Anthony Watts, WUWT and dozens of Anthony's "anonymous cowards".

A peep at Hansen et al (2016)

Anthony Watts says (archived here) that he agrees with something that another blogger, David Appell wrote about the newly published paper by James Hansen and a host of other prominent scientists. (Anthony didn't make much comment other than that, so I don't think that his copying and pasting the big slab from David Appell's article could be considered "fair use".) The main point of concordance, which I think is worth reporting, is that probably neither of them have read the paper. David Appell said "I haven't even read the new version of Hansen et al in detail yet", and Anthony Watts isn't in the habit of reading scientific papers.

I don't agree with either of them that it's not worth taking notice of.  If you read anything this week, make it this one. The authors include a "who's who" in climate research: James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Paul Hearty, Reto Ruedy, Maxwell Kelley, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Gary Russell, George Tselioudis, Junji Cao, Eric Rignot, Isabella Velicogna, Blair Tormey, Bailey Donovan, Evgeniya Kandiano, Karina von Schuckmann, Pushker Kharecha, Allegra N. Legrande, Michael Bauer, and Kwok-Wai Lo. From the abstract:
The modeling, paleoclimate evidence, and ongoing observations together imply that 2 °C global warming above the preindustrial level could be dangerous. Continued high fossil fuel emissions this century are predicted to yield
  1. cooling of the Southern Ocean, especially in the Western Hemisphere;
  2. slowing of the Southern Ocean overturning circulation, warming of the ice shelves, and growing ice sheet mass loss;
  3. slowdown and eventual shutdown of the Atlantic overturning circulation with cooling of the North Atlantic region;
  4. increasingly powerful storms; and
  5. nonlinearly growing sea level rise, reaching several meters over a timescale of 50–150 years.
These predictions, especially the cooling in the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic with markedly reduced warming or even cooling in Europe, differ fundamentally from existing climate change assessments. We discuss observations and modeling studies needed to refute or clarify these assertions.
I would argue that this paper is ignored at our peril. The future it writes of is soon, not far. It's within decades, not centuries. There are parts that other scientists dispute, and I might write more of that at some time. However the topic and the warnings in the paper, together with the impressive author list, are more than enough to warrant its attention. It's long, with 52 pages including about 11½ pages of references, so you'll need to set aside some time to digest it.

References and further reading

Hansen, J., Sato, M., Hearty, P., Ruedy, R., Kelley, M., Masson-Delmotte, V., Russell, G., Tselioudis, G., Cao, J., Rignot, E., Velicogna, I., Tormey, B., Donovan, B., Kandiano, E., von Schuckmann, K., Kharecha, P., Legrande, A. N., Bauer, M., and Lo, K.-W.: "Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming could be dangerous", Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 3761-3812, doi:10.5194/acp-16-3761-2016, 2016. (open access)

Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries - article by Justin Gilles at the New York Times


  1. As Sou can attest, I also suffer enormous cognitive dissidence when I post while pissed .
    I am not suggesting that Dr Curry was drinking when she knocked out another short and bad intro to somebody else's article but I do know that attempting two conflicting majors - science and science denial must take its toll.
    We shouldn't judge. For Judy, just turning up to work must trigger dissident dissonance.

  2. Searching through the comments (Ctl-F, not reading after looking at a subsample of nonsense) I note not a single person has picked up on the stupidity of the term "cognitive dissidence". While I was never much into cognitive dissonance research, at least I know how to spell it!

    Part and parcel of Curry's "scholarship"?

    1. Nice catch. I have read a good bit about cognitive dissonance and totally missed the "dissidence". I never could spell and just saw what I was expecting to see.

    2. Cognitive Dissidents? Standing firmly in opposition to the acquiring knowledge and understanding through examining the evidence and thinking logically about it. Sounds a lot like our hard core climate science deniers!

  3. Many readers at WUWT seem to think that David claimed that the Hansen paper is bullshit. He only claimed that calling the paper part of the scientific canon is bullshit. This is true for any paper that is freshly published. I fully agree with that.

    Stoat does as well in his characteristic charitable way: so we all agree that anyone saying James Hansen’s Bombshell Climate Warning Is Now Part of the Scientific Canon is an idiot.

    1. What struck me about Watts' comment about Appell and Hanson was that he described the incident as a "schism on the Left". Apologies if he has made such ideologically explicit remarks before, but this is the first time I've noticed him effectively admit that he's not engaged in some disinterested search for truth, but rather a battle to vanquish "the left".

    2. BillH, every disagreement among scientists is a "schism", while the rest of the time they're all thinking and walking in lockstep and any dissidence is punished.

      It's not consistent, but whatever.

      It kinda seems like the skeptics see the world through the lens of reality TV shows, with everything being overexaggerated drama. Scientists can't have honest disagreements, or even just open questions - it's all plots and groupthink and drama.

    3. BillH, Fear of communism is a strong under-current of denier-think. Many science-deniers are cold war warriors continuing the fight. This antagonism goes back a long way. I was an avid read of Quadrant and the IPA Review a few decades ago. I lost interest when they got stuck into Rachel Carson, running their distorted DDT story. They never let facts get in the way of a polemical rant and they never change their tune, regardless of the indefensibility of their argument.

  4. Agreed. David, as I do, thinks it paints a worst case scenario, and it may benwrong or exagerated in prts or all of its conclusions. But itnis a scientific paper based in real empirical possibilities and should be considered, especially since the consequences suggested are so dire

  5. Reminds me of those psi experiments where people would try to guess what card another person was looking at in another room. These cards had simple geometric figures on them eg circle, square, triangle and so on.

    To show any psi ability a test subject would have to get above the level of just what was random.

    It was pointed out if you got them ALL wrong you must know the correct symbol on the card!

    Deniers have this same psi 'gift'! They cannot even get a correct answer randomly by guessing. There is no randomness in their dissidence due to their dissonance. Bert

  6. I purposely left out the word cognitive as I consider most deniers to lack that ability. It is the few who invent the absolutely wrong memes that have the psi ability. Some of these may have even used to understand a bit of science and have brilliant careers in totally unrelated fields. Bert


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