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« Looking back at Ehrlich | Main | The BBC and its experts »

Diary dates, hit or miss edition

Mark Lynas points us to an event at Bristol's Cabot Institute tomorrow.

Cultural cognition vs. consensus messaging: Challenges of climate communication in a polarized world

2 June 2015, 6.00 PM

Dan Kahan/Stephan Lewandowsky

3.31 Coutts Lecture theatre, Wills Memorial Building

The debate will be moderated by Dr Adam Corner.

Mark reckons this is an event that is not to be missed. Each to their own I suppose.

Details here.

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Reader Comments (19)

Dan Kahan is much more logical than Dr Lew and seems to be an honest scentist, reporting things he doesn't expect. From time to time he teeters on the edge of understanding the sceptic position and actually Dr Lew might push him over the edge. However having Adam Corner moderate won't help. It depends on whether Dr Lew breaks their credibility meters, which knowing him is entrely possible.

Jun 1, 2015 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I'm going...

Jun 1, 2015 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Should this be rebranded as a conference on how to be a professional liar? They seem to have no other expertise, but there again, should we trust whoever wrote their CVs?

Those looking to rebuild the public's trust in climate science, could learn a lot by attending, in how to destroy your own credibility.

Jun 1, 2015 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Let us hope for some full Lew paper, a public spouting of his 'wisdom' is always welcome.

Jun 1, 2015 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

knr, but what, and how, should you wipe, after contact with Lew paper? It is a serious contaminant in science.

Should Personal Protective Equipment be worn for this "indoctrination" day? Obviously Greens cover their eyes and stick their fingers in their ears, whenever confronted with actual science.

Barry Woods, if you are going, try lobbing a few facts about. The whole venue will have to be closed for emergency decontamination.

Jun 1, 2015 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

At your link are CVs of the participants. Lewandowsky mentions his blogging on a cognitive psychology site (twelve articles in 2 months!) but forgets to mention his other blog at shapingtommorowsworld where he writes specifically on the subject of his talk – communicating climate science. Nor does he mention his three articles on the subject, or the article coauthored with Michael Mann where he insinuated that climate sceptics are anti-semites.
It's almost as if he didn't want people to know what he thinks.

Jun 1, 2015 at 5:03 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

geoffchambers, the title of the propaganda is "Cultural Cognition vs Consensus Messaging". The emphasis on "science" is clear, for anyone who chooses to see it.

Next week it is "Assertive Cushion Fluffing", for Green journalists, with nothing better to do.

Jun 1, 2015 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Just an occasion for Lewandowsky to sell his stuff, which otherwise is uninfluential (as science).

Jun 1, 2015 at 6:00 PM | Registered Commentershub

Talk talk talk. With this amount of hot air, why is it so damned chilly?

Jun 1, 2015 at 6:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

Heh, the good and bad cops join forces to hunt the psychological crime of skepticism. For a fulsome re-analysis of Kahan's excellent survey results, which in fact clearly demonstrate a biased 'climate culture', see:

clip follows:

"The ‘crime’ in question being psychological dysfunction expressed within the climate domain. I say dysfunction because, while we all have ‘behavior’, even the good cops are arriving at the conclusion that there must be something ‘wrong’ with skeptics, i.e. behavior that is abnormal. Our example bad cop calls it conspiracy ideation and many bad cops and some good ones too implicitly compare skeptic behavior to the (abnormal) denial of the Holocaust, via their use of the ‘denier’ term. Our example good cop has plumped for 'dualism'. Yet the endless search for this crime is vain. There is no abnormal behavior, so there is no ‘crime’. While investigations remain rooted in the bias of climate culture, itself driven by emotive misinformation on the certainty of catastrophe, they will nevertheless keep on searching and turn up only more puzzlement. Meanwhile despite best intentions, the good cops are propagating almost as much myth as the bad cops. They are both just a short step away from saying that the skeptics are crazy; an accusation made throughout history at those who don’t share blind bias."

Jun 1, 2015 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Kahan thinks consensus messaging, promoting the 97%, is a waste of time and money. Surveys show it has no appreciable impact, he says. So there may be enough disagreement with Lew to cause interest. But Kahan is still convinced that other means must be sought to engage / persuade the public wrt orthodox climate change policy.

Barry Woods: probably hopeless to elicit a real response but, if you get a chance one possibility is to ask Lew why, now that he's conceded in his latest paper with Oreskes that arbitrary memes *can* sway the whole climate science community, does he believe that the highly emotive crop of CAGW memes are *not* doing so?

[Note: For Kahan, the only way he can explain science aware skeptics being *more* polarized, *more* skeptical, is to suggest that millions of Americans are suffering from 'knowing disbelief' (or 'duality'). While this can happen in very specific circumstances, it is highly unlikely to be a mass effect. His evidence to date does not demonstrate a mass effect, although he continues to promote his flawed 'Kentucky Farmer' example as though it is evidence of such].

Jun 1, 2015 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

I wonder, if they managed to communicate perfectly, what are they expecting to see? The public write a blank cheque? A new society where we embrace the ideas of the communist era or become enthused about asceticism? I don't think these guys have thought beyond the message.

They'd improve dramatically if they actually started communicating with the public rather than pontificating from on high.

Jun 1, 2015 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

There were som typos. Fixed it:

"Cultural cognition vs. consensus messaging: Challenges of climate communication in a world with mucho polar ice."

Jun 1, 2015 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterOlaus Petri

Dan Kahan is likely to stick closer to his data and to avoid statistical flimflams. However, I am with Tiny and Andy. Kahan's research has its own significant limitations. The primary one, as evidenced in his description of his "Ordinary Science Intelligence" is that he simply refuses to consider the notion that some skeptics simply see dramatic flaws in what he deems to be basic scientific facts about global warming. This is principally manifested in the way he phrases his key questions. For example, in he attempts to show that a low likelihood of agreeing with the statement There is "solid evidence" of recent global warming due "mostly" to "human activity such as burning fossil fuels." is based on people's ideological orientations.
It is a crappy question - semantically, logically and empirically. Moreover his analysis fails to look at the responses of those who have the most "Ordinary Science Intelligence". I suspect that he is getting response from people who have not read the question carefully. I suspect that most readers here would score off the charts on his OSI index. For example, how many readers here would not be able to correctly answer the following basic math word problem: "A bat and ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?" Only 13% of his respondents were able to answer this question correctly!! If he took the time to ask respondents why they answered his question the way that they did, I am betting that the responses of many with high "Ordinary Science Intelligence" would undermine his thesis.

Jun 1, 2015 at 11:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie1815

Cultural cognition and consensus massaging. (

Jun 2, 2015 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterBeth Cooper


Jun 2, 2015 at 12:37 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

"Professor Kahan and his collaborators have investigated public dissensus..."

Sounds ominous.

"(Lewandowsky's) research has been funded continuously since 1990 by public agencies in 5 countries."

Sounds hopeless.

Jun 2, 2015 at 1:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterBetapug

They will never make any progress on this because they don't have the first idea who they are dealing with.

Bound by their own cultural perceptions, they think that skeptics are essentially similar people to themselves who have somehow got the "wrong" message, and need to be led back to the fold.

They wouldn't be able to comprehend the existence of people who dislike being sent "messages" about what to believe by self-appointed elites. It simply wouldn't compute for them.

Jun 2, 2015 at 2:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Kahan and Lewandowsky in a discussion/debate moderated by Corner?! I'm so glad that my geographical distance precluded my even contemplating attendance.

Those who may have missed it might be interested in my take following an (admittedly futile) attempt to engage Kahan almost two years ago. Oh, my ... almost two years ago?! It seems to me that the older I get, the faster time flies! ... but I digress ... Here's the link (Warning: it's a somewhat long read, but in the opinion of some, well worth the perseverance!)

Response to Dan – the “best available evidence” man – Kahan

Jun 3, 2015 at 4:01 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

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