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Discussion > Bogged down in Nomansland

I'll admit that googling around "New Ecological/Environmental Paradigm Scale" filled me with about as much joy as trying to get a handle on Gaia worship did last year. It seems as if the world is full of strange and well-intentioned ideas. As an example, here's one item I found that strikes me as being sited somewhere in the boundary between NEP and Gaia,

I definitely agree that a serious, critical and objective public debate about this topic viewed as a social phenomenon would be very worthwhile and interesting.

Jul 14, 2012 at 3:07 PM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

The amount of talking at cross purposes, first in my original discussion with Corner, and now here, makes me wonder whether I’m not the world’s worst communicator.

Mike Jackson.
Yes, the topic suggested by Philip Richens is an interesting one, but I’ve agreed to discuss with Corner the research he does, not the research we think he should be doing. For the same reason, I won’t be discussing L Ron Hubbard with him. I just thought it was an amusing analogy to drop in here. Context is everything.
I’m beginning to think that our forced exclusion from the debate is leading us to behave like the sectarian nutters Corner thinks we are. Lawyers in a courtroom; philosophers in a seminar; even rival football fans in a pub: they all manage to argue the toss without feeling the overwhelming urge to annihilate their opponents, forcing them to recant and adopt their own opinions forthwith. Corner showed some interest in finding out what we think. Can’t we return the compliment?

I find it intensely interesting that sociologists have found that 79% of people think that the balance of nature is very easily upset, 74% think that the earth is like a spaceship with very limited room and resources, etc. These beliefs came into being, as Geronimo noted above, while we were asleep and the NGOs were active. It’s Corner and his colleagues who are asking these questions and interpreting the answers. I think it’s time we stopped worrying about exactly who emailed what to Corner’s colleagues and took up his offer of a reasonable discussion of what he’s up to, and what it means. We might learn something.

Jul 14, 2012 at 3:12 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Hi Geoff,

Remember that many of the people commenting here have scientific backgrounds, and - quite reasonably I think - object to being treated as objects of study simply because they criticise aspects of the IPCC's position on climate science. Let me remind you how Adam's blog post started,

There is a growing body of academic literature that seeks to understand, explain – and even overcome – climate change scepticism. But is it getting to grips with scepticism, or missing the point? In this unusual exchange ... Adam Corner ... and Geoff Chambers ... discuss research on the psychology of scepticism.

Possibly I am taking this paragraph in a way not intended? I hope so anyway.

I imagine that a debate about the New Ecological Paradigm would avoid this problem, because it would focus instead on the conflicting paradigms (NEP vs DSP) in an objective and non-personalised manner. Is this what you have in mind, or is it still missing the point?

Jul 14, 2012 at 5:30 PM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

Philip Richens
The social sciences study people, and i’m sure commenters here are intelligent enough to accept that the fact of having a science PhD doesn’t somehow exempt you from being studied. But yes, I’m sure that you’re right that people with a hard science background are more likely than most to object to being the object of the social scientist’s attention, particularly when their scepticism has been picked out as somehow in need of explanation.
I’m glad to see that there has been none of the cheap sniping at the “soft” social sciences which there was on the original thread. Anyone who accepts that there’s a political and ideological problem beyond the purely technical one of establishing a reliable figure for climate sensitivity must surely accept that the social sciences have a role to play.
I do think Corner was missing the point rather in our discussion. Remember, it arose out of his Guardian article in which he used the findings of his research into belief and evidence among 200-odd female undergraduates in order to explain the scepticism of people like you and me - incorrectly, I believe. That doesn’t invalidate his research. It just means that it requires careful interpretation, and those of us outside the small world of climate-related social research surely have the right to have our say. This process isn’t advanced by beefing about government funding or Corner’s personal political commitments.
Yes, discussion of the New Ecological Paradigm will take us far from the mundane question of whether we’re just white conservative grumpy old men, into philosophical realms where BH commenters can expostulate to their hearts’ content, demonstrating their razor-sharp reasoning powers in the Elysian Fields of pure epistemological speculation. Hope to see you all there.

Jul 14, 2012 at 6:16 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

oh dear.. rather a misrepresentation as far as I'm concerned.

I rang Bridgette Nerlich at Nottingham Uni, because she was a co-(public funds) funder of Talking Climate.. I didn't bother with Nick Pidegon, (other funder) as he was Adam co-author and had worked with George Marshall before.

I rang because I was concerned that Nottingham Uni (and Cardiff) was providing PUBLIC funds and working with people and organisations that are both activists and lobbying organisation.

I asked, whether Nottingham was aware of these activist organisations.

I also tried to explain, that public funded universities trying to communicate climate change would be best not to get involved with COIN and PIRC (partners in Talking Climate) because the public (and sceptics) would most probably percieve these as activist organisations and I explained why?

Very early on in the Talking Climate debate I offered to have a private chat with Adam Corner and he follwed me and I dm'd him my phone number

Perhaps you can imagine my concern when I find out LATER, that I had emailed my personal details to someone closey involved with people (socially and professionally) that take DIRECT action, who are no friends of sceptics. I gave my details in good faith, and I had introduced myself to Corner as a WUWT guest author.

So I was horrified to find that Corner was a placard waving green party activist at Copenhagen (tweeting about deniers, also marching on the Houses of Commons with the FOE, for climate justice.

My bigger concern was finding out that Coner was now a director of the PIRC, a co-director being Christian Hunt, (Carbon Brief editor - I wrote about the Carbon Brief at WUWT) Christian is ex-greenpeace and has taken direct action, being arrested at Kingsnorth and the Houses of Commons, also at PIRC is Richard Hawkins (greenpeace, climate camp etc), also arrested alongside George Monbiot at another coal protest. Alongside Adam at COIN is Alex Randall (former Kiribati's climate rep at Copenhagen, mate of Christians, and Alex is Adams co-author on one of his papers)

Richard Hawkins I also find being part of the Talking Climate blog, alongside George Marshall - founder of Rising Tide, founder of COIN and a veteran Greenpeace/Rainforest Foundation campaigner.

George Marshall being the activist that Michae Mann got George Monbiot's email address from(see climate gate emails), George Marshall's blog www.climatedenial being included on Realclimate blog roll from it's very early days (2006)

and both Adam Corner, Richard Hawkins were part of the PIRC funded Climate Safety blog, absolutely no friends to anybody sceptical

What made me ring Nottingham was the video of Adam Corner taking part in a public debate, stating he was a reseacher, NOT a campaigner. I tried to explainto Bridgett and Adam Corner in a phone converstion, how on earth would he think he would be perceived, by the MP Peter Lilley on the panel or Lord Lawson / Benny Peiser in the audience or the public, if all the above had been mentioned at the public debate.

I did say anyone in the audience could have googled or seen tweets on smartphone and asked Peter LIlley in the Q/A session.. "question for Peter Lilley MP, Dr Adam Corner says he is a researcher, not a campaigner.... " and then introduced the above.

Adam is policy advisor to COIN (behind Talking Climate) whose founder George Marshall, is reponsible for Deniers - Halls of Shame, including one with Lord Lawson in it.

I contacted both Peter Lilley and Benny Peiser/Lord Lawson, and asked if they were aware of Adam's background/COINS/PIRC activisim, they said not, just took him at face value as a resercher. I did consider it quite naughty for Damian Carrington at the debate, not to mention that Adam cCorner also wrote for the Guardian.

I tried very hard to explain that I not seeking to attack anybody (which I could have easily written a sensationist piece for WUWT) but to genuinely try to talk across the huge gulf of misunderstanding.

Adam choose to think that this was a 'threat'. I went at pains to point out that this was not the case,as an example I have written frequently to Marc Morano to try and get him to stop publishing scientist (and Leo Hckman's) email addreses, because of the resulting abuse they recieve. And that I especially wrote again at the time of Heartland, beacuse Peter Gleick and Katie Hayhoe email addresses were being published, and I was VERY concerned rthat Peter's professional tradegy did not to into a personal tradegy. I also wrote to Heartland itself, asking if they cold use any influence they might have to tone down the rhetoric, because I was concerned about Peter's welfare.

(anybody here should know why I'm not exactly on Peter Gleick's Christmas card list, but I was concerned at the time, as Peter disappeared of Twitter and Revkin was writing about professional tradegy)

I did considered writing about Adam and that debate - WUWT headline could have been-
"I'm NOT a campiagner - but what about the placard at Copenhagen !'

and about COIN/PIRC, I took advice form 2-3 people both on the consensus side and sceptical side of the debate, because I was concerned about reaction if I published ( they all said stick to facts, fair enough topic) I choose NOT to because it would just fill pre-conceptions of sceptics if some dumb americans sent Cardiff/Nottingham/Adam ugly emails.

Adam clearly things his 'personal activities' are seperate from his work.

I clearly tried to explain very patiently Ithought, that is ridiculously naive, as he has a public face, especially alongside an apparent conflict of interest with PIRC and COIN (director and policy advisor) both activist and lobbying organisations.

Adam Corner is not just a researcher, he has a public profile writing for the Guardian, New Statesmen, etc. He appears at debates (including the Royal Institution alongside Myles Allen - post climategate defending the scientists) - His involvement, and Cradiff/Nottingham's with these groups is materially relevant, as would the situation be if roles were reversed.

The fact that the subject of eco-phsycology at the moment is motivated reasoning and idealogy amongst sceptics, is utterly ironic in the inability for those involved to look in the mirror.

I tried to explain (privately) that the public perception of him amongst the public and those sceptics involved in that debate, would be that he was a 'liar' - I'm NOT a campaigner, he said.. to the public and to Members of Parliament. and it did not need an a phsycologist to understand why.

If any of the above is 'embarrsing' to Adam or his colleagues, well it is all factual, so may I ask why it is embarrasing.

How would anybody not get the perception that Talking Climate was just another activist blog that had got hold of some public funds to push their activist agenda. Again, this is how I think it would be percieved amongst the public and those MP's, perhaps it needs phsycologist to explain to the public why this perception is wrong?

I am increasingly (sadly) inclined to consider Marc Morano correct, it is a political battle against activists and that facts need to be shown the light of day and that Geof is probably wasting his time.

Jul 14, 2012 at 10:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Additionally. I have found absoultely no problems at all talking with any actual climate scientists! and count some as very good personal and family friends.(nobody you lot would know, but one of them edited IPCC TAR)

It is all about trust and goodwill. I have interviewed BOTH James Delingpole and Leo Hickman for WUWT, and both have trusted me not to misrepresent them

and for example, Mark Lynas might be considered by many to be a total activist (ie he wrote about sceptics being on a par with holocaust deniers, 2006) he is intellectually honest, we've corresponded, met, had lunch, and I even know where he lives!! - he had a bad back so I gave hime a lift into Oxford to meet Jonathan Jones for lunch. So I utterly refute any allegations of 'sceptics' (ie ME) smearing Adam or anybody.

Trust and mutual respect is essential.

I have gone out of my way to try and engage debate, corresponded with Roger Harrabin, Peter Gleick, Katie Hayhoe, Leo, Mark Lynas, and many others. I even have a thank you email from Richard Black, when I defended him being attacked by Joe Romm's Think Progress!

and I did point out to Adam and other that I get abuse from commentators at WUWT and even Bishop Hill, and I have written for both these blogs! (Guest logon at WUWT)

Anyway it's summer holidays now, three young children off school for 7 weeks.

I'm taking a break.

I'm NOT a campaigner

Jul 14, 2012 at 11:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

I'm in two minds. On the one hand, there's the impulse to prosecute the war, regardless. On the other, well, there's curiosity. What on earth makes these people tick? When even climatologists are often circumspect and not given to alarmism, what is it that automatically predisposes many social scientists to assume the worst-case scenarios, when it comes to climate change and the environment? The promise of a two-way dialogue is fascinating indeed, even though my internal cynic suspects that it won't quite be "on the level" as far as Dr Corner is concerned (and, in turn, Dr Corner might see that as a good example of a sceptic's "bunker mentality".)

On balance - it's a good idea. Whatever happens, we'll learn something. Maybe we'll learn that such dialogues are unlikely to get us anywhere. Maybe we'll learn that our suspicions are, by and large, correct. Or maybe we'll learn that non-sceptics have excellent reasons to believe what they believe (NLP has some interesting notions about belief systems and how they can be consistent and logical, however bizarre they may appear to an outsider.) Whatever happens, though, one way or another, it will give us useful data.

And if he is concerned as he says he is about the widening communication "gap", Adam Corner will be just as curious about what makes CAGW sceptics tick. I would be, if I were in his position.

By the way, re the business of the phone calls to his colleagues, like Martin A and Hilary I find this very odd. If anyone had negative feelings about Corner's engaging with commentators on Bishop Hill strong enough to motivate him/her to intervene via his colleagues, surely the likelihood is that he/she would be an outraged warmist rather than a sceptic?

Jul 14, 2012 at 11:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

The above post by Barry Woods shows me the difference between most "warmists" and most "sceptics".
When reading posts / blogs on the "warmist" side I mostly come away with a feeling that there are things unsaid, held back and questions evaded. My own opinion of the best way to resolve a difference of opinion is that both sides put everything on the table, for all to see and then the two sides discuss what they see.
Barry Woods put everything on the table, totally honest and left it to others to make a judgement. If everyone could do that the world would be a better place.

Jul 15, 2012 at 12:15 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Excellent post.

Trust and mutual respect is essential

The main problem, the way I see it, starts when you have a group who start thinking they can sweep the opinions of a bunch of people completely off the board and not deal with them (at all). For the climate activist, such a notion brings comfort that they do not have to expend effort trying to come to terms with the other players in the debate.

So, while I can see Geoff's point that even PhD holders can be subjects in a study, what is objectionable is the implication that skeptical opinion is worth only as an object of study, and will not hold its own in the circle that studies it from above.

Jul 15, 2012 at 6:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

The fact that the subject of eco-psychology at the moment is motivated reasoning and ideology amongst sceptics, is utterly ironic in the inability for those involved to look in the mirror.

@ Barry, very well said - this is key.

Jul 15, 2012 at 8:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Barry, good for you. And yes there is something very dodgy about an activist researching the psychology of opponents (never his own side) with public funding. It is not a very ethical thing to do. In fact it stinks.

However, the subject of this post is the terms. I do not believe in preset terms for a conversation. It recalls to mind the peace talks at Panmunjon, or the Paris talks to 'end' the Vietnam war, where the shape of the table was a major sticking point. Corner should come out and deal with the world as it is, not go running to Mummy every time he is challenged. His complaints are pathetic.

Of course what Geoff decides to do with the private continuation of the conversation is up to him, but Geoff is not responsible for Barry checking out the funding situation, nor can Corner attribute that to the blog, he is in the public eye by his own choice.

Jul 15, 2012 at 10:20 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

"This is what I’d like to discuss with Corner, in public if possible. Does anyone find that interesting, and will you promise to be good and not frighten him away?"

Well I'd find it interesting, and posters here should remember the old Southern USA saying, "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." (Film, "Gone With the Wind" I believe is my source).

Another interesting point for me is that both Dr. Corner and Dr. Bain appear to have made no contact with sceptics, and in Dr. Bain's case he appears to have not had any contact with anyone who could explain science to him, he believes the only people who can discuss the technical aspects of climate science are climate scientists. They both might benefit from having contact with the many physicists, scientists, mathematicians and engineers who haunt the internet trying to get a word in edgeways on the issue.

Jul 15, 2012 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

They would benefit. But they are not interested. The science is settled is their starting point and rock.

Jul 15, 2012 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.



In your introduction, you write: There are sceptics who don’t like this research, who don’t like government funding for this research …. , who don’t like … social science.. Count me in. I will try to elucidate.

In a later contribution, you applaud the absence of cheap sniping at the soft social sciences, but I fear it is difficult to avoid the thought that these sciences are necessarily shallow and cheap criticisms may be sufficient. The impossibility of establishing causal links between input stimuli and resulting beliefs in the brain of the individual, and by summation of the crowd, seems to condemn the science to impotence. 42 comes to mind. On the other hand, I recall being told that while it was impossible to predict individual reactions, crowd behaviour in the face of an advertising campaign could readily be forecast. Precisely. In the soft social sciences observations may be made and conclusions, frequently of significance to unrelated objectives drawn in the absence of proper understanding of the processes involved.

Further, governments and organizations with funds at their disposal generally have things to do or objectives to achieve – a mission, these days, now typically described in a statement.. It would be unusual for science or religion to be significant to those organizations in comparison to matters that bear upon the mission.

The shallowness of the science and the irrelevance of science to those disbursing funds, coupled with the undoubted importance of empirical observations to a wide range of objectives seems to indicate, rather strongly, that the funding of the soft social sciences is usually intended to advance unrelated objectives. Particularizing, it seems abundantly clear that Adam Corner’s funding ( or that part of it that is the issue at the moment) is intended to advance the warmist cause. Is this cheap? Below the belt?

Two points arise.

Firsly, as government policy advocates the warmist cause, it is perfectly logical that Adam Corner receive funding from the government. Those who object should widen their attack to include the government’s espousal of that cause.

Next, contributions to the blog have brought me to understand that large numbers of people are funded to pursue social science of one sort or another.

So, is anyone aware of any social scientist whose work is funded by government and advances climate scepticism? Maybe it is just my bias, but I would imagine there are but few. A minority would indicate (a) the bias of those providing funds, or (b) that the social sciences are predominately practiced by those who are the more easily persuaded to the warmist cause. This would be because it is not too much of a stretch to find a connection between, on the one hand, those who choose to separate themselves from the public and invest themselves with the power to observe and maybe manipulate it and, on the other, ancient far left governments and their exploitation of their proles together with the green ‘church’ and the exploitation of the current public that they have replaced it with on the moral high ground.

I confess I find social scientists discomforting and recall a social scientist remarking that the feeling was commonplace. It is not difficult to guess why. The social scientist examines behaviour (generally without permission) and attempts to establish causal linkages that the subject cannot himself know. At the individual level this is forced intimacy; at the level of the crowd the observer is seen to invest himself with superior abilities. Thus, social scientists inevitably seem somewhat supercilious, certainly to me and possibly to most.

From the foregoing critique of the content of the soft social sciences, I expect you will appreciate that I find your interest in pursuing discussions with Adam Corner somewhat uncharacteristic. However, of far more importance, I regret I doubt that the discussions will help the sceptic cause. If you expect your discussions to help you advance the cause and the need for secrecy does not prevent it, I would be most grateful if you would explain.

I also deplore the manners you report. We must proceed by making friends and influencing people


I would be extremely pleased of you would be good enough to peruse the above and let me know if you think my views are extreme.

Jul 15, 2012 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle


Those who object should widen their attack to include the government’s espousal of that cause.

Your logic is faultless but the above suggestion seems impossible. They just do not want to hear, helpful suggestions, the content of recent scientific papers or any criticism that goes against their position.

Jul 15, 2012 at 2:18 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I thought about what you said.

Does this mean that academics, even government-employed ones, do not have a right to practice advocacy? This is not to deny the conflict of interest that may arise in their position, but surely they have a right to advocate for any position as individuals?

I agree with this part as well:

I clearly tried to explain very patiently Ithought, that is ridiculously naive, as he has a public face, ...

...but for a position of someone as Corner, what other option does he have?

I could give a simple, straight answer: no one in the pay of the public purse, either directly or indirectly, ought to be associated with any form with advocacy. But would that be a 'ridiculously naive' thing to ask for too? I don't know.

The inherent difficulty in answering this question implies that Barry didn't do anything here, and rather, the conflict is inherent in the situation which Mr Corner put himself in.

Jul 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM | Registered Commentershub

Shub, it is not a question of advocacy, if that were so there would be little problem. But he is not being paid with my money to investigate the science of climate change, he is getting that money to investigate you and me, as if we were somehow infected by some disorder resulting in our scepticism. He doesn't seem to be investigating what makes people believe blindly in dubious theories. The funding is thus politically motivated. That is why it stinks. Is it too far to draw a parallel with the psych wards in the old USSR? Probably, but that's how it starts.

Jul 15, 2012 at 5:37 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Barry Wood: "They would benefit. But they are not interested. The science is settled is their starting point and rock."

Of course you're rigtht, but I've been an engineer for all my working life, and always take on board the latest scientific fad with a pinch of salt, as most scientific, engineering and mathematical people do. For instance the latest CERN experiment that's shown the possibility that they've found the Higgs Boson is very interesting, but for me I'd need a lot more than the one experiment to prove it. For psychologists it seems to be the opposite, once scientists have said they've found it, then it's true. I believe there's a study into the gullibility gene in there somewhere.

Jul 15, 2012 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

"... it provides an empirically rich discussion of a interesting group of largely well-motivated people who nevertheless engage in climate change denial."

"Climate denial is a mental disorder"

Mass delusions are self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating. Psychologists studying "climate change denial" are caught up in the global warming delusion, no different from journalists, politicians and educators. They make their own contribution to its perpetuation.

The Great Delusion will eventually come to an end but I don't think that holding discussions with psychologists who study "climate change denial" will have even the slightest effect on when it finally ends.

Jul 15, 2012 at 6:36 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

My point is Adam Corner stood up in front of the public and opponents in a debate and said I'm a researcher, I'm NOT a campaigner.

Advocacy is a lesser issue if people are upfront about it. Ie my point being like James Hansen

My other point is pubically unded organisations working with activist/lobbying organisations COIN/PIRC that wish to push their own agendas, especially problematic when these organisations and members have been instrummental in causing a polarised debate and demonising sceptics. Ie Deniers Halls of Shame. GEORGE Marshall Rising Tide.

GEORGE Marshall also being Talking Climate, who had the blog post how to talk to a denier,by George. Who deleted my comment that his own blog linking to the Deniers Hall of Shame.really makes me feel that he is less than sincere.

Jul 15, 2012 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

I sincerely apologise for the following:

I can understand anyone who has been pubically unded having a warped view of the world.

Jul 15, 2012 at 8:19 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Don't worry. We knew what you meant.

Jul 15, 2012 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterfairy nuff

After seeing Barry's comments - and assuming that this sequence of events was the actual source of Corner's "complaints" - I'm having even more difficulty reconciling the impression conveyed by Corner's "smeared to my colleagues" claim and subsequent implication that somehow the "BH gang" was responsible for this.

Geoff, I think you suggested that whatever might have transpired had resulted in Corner having been "joshed" by his colleagues. Surely this is a far cry from being "smeared" to the extent that it required him to "run around mending bridges"!

In the absence of any specific evidence from Corner, I'm left with the impression (perhaps uncharitable) that this is simply a variant of the "hate mail ... death threats" claims that have turned out to be non-existent. Or even the more recent Karoly-generated fantasy of having received a "threat of legal action " from Steve McIntyre!

My reading of Corner's work suggests that it suffers from the same deficits as Bain's. As I had noted in the discussion at Judith Curry's almost a month ago, and which (slightly modified) I note again below.

Corner - not unlike Bain - might benefit from giving some consideration to:

a) the extent to which AGW (as opposed to CAGW) is even a reasonable point of divergence on which to hang the rest of your thesis.

b) how might you more accurately reflect the wide spectrum of views of [skeptics]

c) the extent to which “motivated reasoning” on [your part] might have biased your study, thereby weakening the validity of your results.

d) sharing with your readership the empirical evidence you [have] examined prior to establishing the underlying premise (for the sake of brevity, let’s call it: “it’s happening faster than we thought, and action is required, now … so how can we best communicate this?”) of your study.

To my mind, until and unless these "social scientists" are prepared to address such questions, then I believe we can add them to the growing list of scientists and journalists who need to make up their minds what they really want to be when they grow up: Scientists? Journalists? Or activist-advocates?

Jul 16, 2012 at 12:09 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.


In tmy piece, logic was not complicated by facts born of experience. There should have been a IMHO somewhere.
The matters that confront the politicians that make up governments range across the full range of human activities and in the vast majority of case will be totally foreign to their experience. But we surely should expect them to have the skill to proceed – effectively – without the benefit of the understanding of a practitioner. The issue is how they are to be motivated. Politicians are not free of pressure –they are beholden to the electorate both nationally and locally and can be stirred into action by the prospect of voter reaction. Blinding them with science will not achieve that. The trick is, I think, for the expert, scientist, whatever, to cast off that role and find some angle of his speciality that will affect the man-in-the-street (which, also being one, he will fully understand) and influence his vote, and regale the politician with that.
The tale told does not have to be correct, relevant, or anything else but persuasive. After all, government’s espousal of the warmist cause must have come about from the promotion of some extremely distorted interpretations of climate science. There seems to be no reason why equally fallacious arguments should not persuade governments to reverse course.


You tread the same path as I but with far greater eloquence.


May I still hope for an answer to the questions about what motivated you to enter the discourse with Adam Corner? That you did so suggests tactical intent and I am interested in learning where you expected the exercise to go. To me, it seems unlikely that anybody would wish to investigate public perceptions, etc, as pure science without conceivable use. But I do accept that you may think differently. I would just like to know.


Come on – I need to know.

Jul 16, 2012 at 5:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

"You tread the same path as I but with far greater eloquence."

You old smoothy.

Jul 16, 2012 at 9:02 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda