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Discussion > Bogged down in Nomansland

My recent discussion with the psychologist and Guardian writer Adam Corner which went up at his blog Talking Climate and at the sceptical blog Harmless Sky cause a lot of discussion (200+ comments here at BishopHill, 700+ comments at Judith Curry’s Climate Etc, etc).
We intend to continue the exchange. I particularly want to discuss the New Ecological Paradigm, a tool used by social scientists investigating public attitudes, and he’s happy to discuss this and other subjects.
However, Corner is unwilling to continue the conversation in public because of the reaction he got at Bishop Hill, which included people phoning his colleagues and criticising their association with him.
He says:

“I don't mind defending myself, but I found it pretty objectionable to have to run around mending bridges with people I work with...it has left me, sadly, a bit reluctant to run that gauntlet again, if all that happens is that I am smeared to my colleagues.
Yes, if I am in public I should expect attention, criticism etc - but I can't help feeling that I made things quite a lot worse by waving a red flag in front of the Bishop Hill gang. In short, it made me think 'why bother when all I get is this?'
So I'm not sure where that leaves us...”
I’m not sure, either. Clearly, some BH readers are sufficiently irritated by Corner’s work to want to sabotage any attempt at dialogue. This is in sharp contrast to what happens with Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards.
I can see some partial solutions, none of them really satisfactory. Comments off; a tight moderation policy; comments “by invitation only” to people interested in the specific subject: none of these would solve the problem of someone getting upset and causing aggravation to Corner.
I’ve got questions I want to ask about social science research into attitudes to climate change. There are sceptics who don’t like this research, who don’t like government funding for this research, who don’t like government, who don’t like psychologists or social science. You can’t ban them from expressing their views. All you can do is plead that they stay polite and on topic.
It seems to me that the blogosphere is actively discouraging discussion across the warmist / sceptic front line. Something different inevitably attracts interest, generates traffic, and hence conflict. The greater the interest, the greater the conflict, and the more likely someone is to overstep the mark.
Corner and I can continue our discussion in private, then each report back to our respective “sides” on the discussion. How boring is that?
Any solutions?

Jul 13, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Sorry, it looks like another climate communicator has had enough. 'You just can't talk to THOSE PEOPLE!' What two consulting adults do in private is their own business, but it seems that Corner cannot deal with the rest of us, so better if you do what he wants and don't come back and tell us. Write him a letter. That's private. It seems the internet is not needed here.

Rereading this it looks huffy. I have no argument with Geoff or his actions on this issue. I just don't want to deal with Corner on his terms.

Jul 13, 2012 at 10:23 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Rhoda, if his terms are polite discourse then that's the only way I want to deal with him. I'm struck by these psychologoists they appear to write reams and reams on communicating with deniers but haven't met, or talked to any, so it's extraordinarily disappointing when one does to find there are people who will abuse him publically, or ring his colleagues. He, like Bains, does appear to regard people who are sceptical of the abilities of scientists for foretell the future as a sub-species, and yes that's annoying, but if we then hurl abuse at him rather than engaging it will only confirm his views that we are a sub-species.

Jul 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Hi Geoff,

I'm very pleased to hear you aim to continue your discussion with Adam, and I hope it goes well. It’s difficult not to feel sympathy with the problems he describes – I think people do need to concentrate on being as polite and reasonable as they can (even if I know how easy it is to fall away from the ideal!). Perhaps it might be worth asking about Paul Bain, who also came in for a lot of criticism here and elsewhere, but has I think succeeded through perseverance in convincing many people of his good faith and good intentions.

My experience, both here with RB and elsewhere, is that it is very difficult to prise answers to even comparatively straightforward physics questions, if those questions stray too far from the IPCC line, so I'll be surprised and mightily impressed if you do find out anything terribly exciting from your discussion. I hope you prove me wrong about that, and in any case you hopefully can build some bridges.

I hope I’m not being unfair to imagine that an expert with Adam’s background is obliged to take the basic physics on trust? And that this is probably true of the majority of experts who support the IPCC position. It is also quite striking that a number of the academic scientists who are in a good position to take a strong personal stance on the basic science, are quite sceptical of at least some of the IPCC case. Therefore, if you're in the market for topics to discuss with Adam, something I'm certainly curious to understand is how he views the professional scientists falling into that group.

Jul 13, 2012 at 1:48 PM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

Geoff, you are nothing if not persistent for which I give you immense credit. But ...
"Information cannot communicate with a closed mind."
I like to think my mind is still open to the idea that there has been an anthropogenic element in climate change (all climate change) because it seems unlikely that the human race would not over the centuries and millennia have had some effect on the planet it inhabits.
I am not going to have it so far open, however, that my brains fall out which is what, it seems to me, Dr Corner and others would wish.
I have just returned from a trip to Jo Nova's blog and her letter to Paul Bain who, it seems, takes an opposing view which is that my mind should be welded shut — but with the beliefs of the "climate science" community firmly fixed inside. I am not a scientist and therefore I am not qualified to hold an opinion on climate science and am expected to doff my cap and touch my forelock and grovel before the experts.
Sorry. I've met "experts" before. To add another quote to the one above: "The louder he spoke of his honour [or in this case his qualifications or expertise] the faster we counted the spoons.
What is essentially lacking, Geoff — and I've got to the point — is at the very least a teaspoonful of humility; and acknowledgement that they just might be mistaken. There are reputable (by my standards) scientists out there with views that differ from those of the mainstream climate community and as long as those differences exist I for one am not going to be bullied into changing my mind.
And bullying is what it is. Never an explanation. Never the unvarnished truth. Always the assumption that we can be told any lie ('97% of climate scientists believe ...' is just one small example) and - shock! horror! if we don't immediately believe it.
So I'm afraid I don't see much of a future in discussing with psychologists the reasons why I am a sceptic if they are approaching the subject with closed minds of their own. If Dr Corner is starting off with the assumption that climate change is as the "experts" (which experts, by the way?) claim it is and that I am wrong and anything I say is proof that I am deluded then he doesn't really care about my reasons; all he wants to do is change them which means he has ceased to be a psychologist and become just another tool of the Big Climate Consensus.
And that is why the benefit of the doubt which I gave him initially lasted about 15 minutes — until he started dumping comments that didn't accord with his world view! Some psychologist!

Incidentally, immediately to the right as I write this is a Twitter comment:

Environmentalists have lost the debate. It's time they owned up.
I think that expresses my own view fairly well except that as far as I am concerned, environmentalists never bothered to join the debate and to the extent that they did they lost it 25 years ago!

Jul 13, 2012 at 2:26 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

It’s unfortunate that someone rang his colleagues (do we know for sure this was a BH reader and not someone from Judy’s or even Twitter?) and I condemn such actions without reservation. These things do absolutely nothing to advance our position and everything to retard it. All it does is confirm already held prejudices. Most importantly, it’s totally undemocratic and against all the values of free speech, whereby any of us should be able to voice their opinion on any subject without fear of interference or retribution of any kind. Having said that though, we must also accept a measure of responsibility for the things we say and we must understand that, sometimes, the things we say will provoke a response and we will be asked to justify what we’ve said. We can only do this by properly engaging with those in whom we have provoked such a response. Often, during the course of that engagement, we will have to deal with displays of emotion. This is the very nature of human discourse. Sometimes the displays of emotion are deliberate and designed to provoke a similar response. Sometimes they are purely knee-jerk reactions to something we’ve said. How many times has your three year old daughter told you she hates you because you said no when she asked for an ice-cream? When faced with these emotional displays, we have a choice. We can choose to let our fear of these displays (for that is what it is) convince us to walk away and end the discussion, or we can choose to stay and attempt to get past these displays (and our fear of them) and arrive at a conclusion of the engagement satisfactory to all parties. Even if that conclusion is simply an agreement to continue to disagree, we will at least have a better understanding of one another’s position.

If Corner thinks he can state his views on the psychology of sceptics without ever really attempting to find out if his views are right or wrong, or without being prepared to defend them, then that’s fine by me. His choice. The very nature of free speech. But by so doing, he and I both know that those views are based then on nothing more than conjecture and, therefore, need not be taken seriously. Geoff, whilst I fully understand your reasons for wanting to continue the discussion with Corner and your interest in the subject generally, I cannot foresee any fruitful results here. I honestly don’t believe that he really wants any kind of discussion with those that might not agree with him. Right from the start, he has seemed to me to be an unwilling participant. The rules he set for the terms of engagement, coupled with his strange moderation at his own blog, his reluctance to adequately answer questions put to him and his seeming desire to use any sign of what he could construe as an insult, whether it was one or not, to walk away from the discussion altogether, all point, to me at least, to him being someone not happy in what they’re doing. I think the reasons for this are several, but the main one would be that I genuinely don’t think he truly believes what he is saying. At least, not with enough conviction to want to have to defend it. On top of that, you, yourself Geoff, frighten him. You are obviously intelligent, articulate, very well read and have a very, very good understanding of his profession. He didn’t expect that. Now, having got involved in the initial discussion with you before he really understood who he was dealing with, he appears to be looking for an out but is unsure how to do it without losing face.

I think the only choice you have is to agree to his terms of continuing your discussion in private, though it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he eventually backs out of even that. Highly unsatisfactory I know, but I don’t see any other alternative. We can only hope that one day we will come across someone with similar views to those of Adam Corner who will have the conviction and maturity to not run away the moment someone calls them a charlatan (which they will, this is the blogosphere fgs) and is prepared to stand up, explain and defend those views.

Jul 13, 2012 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterLC

Jul 13, 2012 at 10:02 AM geoffchambers

.... because of the reaction he got at Bishop Hill, which included people phoning his colleagues and criticising their association with him...

.... Clearly, some BH readers are sufficiently irritated by Corner’s work to want to sabotage any attempt at dialogue.

Geoff,

Something here does not seem to me to add up. It seems, from the account, that at least two people made the effort to investigate Corner's colleagues' contact details and then made phone calls to least two of his colleagues.

If I were one of Corner's colleagues and I got a phone call out of the blue, from someone I did not know, who then said something like "What do you think you are doing, associating with the likes of Alan Corner?", I'd hang up on the caller, maybe having first suggested they seek psychiatric help. I find it very hard to believe that his colleagues would take note of such a call in any way seriously.

Corner then had to "run around mending bridges with people I work with" - after they had had a call out of the blue, from someone they did not know, who then proceeded to bad-mouth their colleague?

There is something that simply does not add up. I can't say what but it does not make sense to me.

I think it is too soon to conclude firmly "Clearly, some BH readers are sufficiently irritated by Corner’s work to want to sabotage any attempt at dialogue" without more information.

It's too simple. It does not pass the smell test.

Jul 13, 2012 at 6:10 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I do not believe that any regular poster on BH has made any phone calls.

Jul 13, 2012 at 6:35 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Oh come on. It's not the first time.

And it's happened since, IIRC.

There are some extreme views routinely on air here. No point in denying it.

Jul 13, 2012 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I remember the Eric Wolff incident and checked back to remind myself.
But I'm siding with Dung on this: I likewise doubt that any regular poster on here would be emailing or phoning scientists, no matter how much we may disagree with them.
The trouble is that if Dung and Martin A and I carry what we are saying to its logical conclusion then we are implying that Corner is lying which is an accusation we should only make with a deal of good evidence behind it.
Unfortunately the whole climate change debate has been poisoned by the intransigence on both sides and (at least from where I sit) the dedication of the extreme eco-activist lobby to have their way regardless of how sound the science is.
Anyone who thinks I'm exaggerating should sit down with all the IPCC's Assessment Reports (not forgetting the Summary for Policymakers) and just check the differences between what the headlines and the press releases say and what the Reports say!
In that climate (pun not intended) it is hardly surprising that some people on both sides of the fence start doing some things they might, in other circumstances, have eschewed.

Jul 13, 2012 at 8:21 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"Oh come on. It's not the first time."

BBD - I reject your assertion.

On the posting you pointed to, BH himself posted:
"I gather on the grapevine that Dr Wolff has had some fairly unpleasant emails as the result of his exchanges here."

Dr Wolff later commented in the same thread:
"... I was surprised to then be "chased" by one commenter sending an aggressive mail to my email address. However, neither the email or the blog posts have been in any way threatening, and I certainly have not (and did not want to) initiate any complaint: I am guessing one of my colleagues has been sensitive on my behalf, and Andrew has then been even more sensitive..."

So it was one single email rather than "some".

The sender of the email himself then commented:
"... I did not intend discourtesy. I do think my questions are as valid as the things you said were agreed...."

So, even if the one email contained questions that were posed agressively, that falls far wide of being described as "some fairly unpleasant emails". Furthermore, the sender of the email was quite willing to identify himself.


So the Dr Wolff story has no bearing whatever on the allegation of some people phoning someone's colleagues and making trouble for them.

Jul 13, 2012 at 9:15 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Jul 13, 2012 at 8:21 PM Mike Jackson

Mike - I can think of all sorts of explanations and I have no idea whatever which one applies, so I dissociate myself from what you said.

The point I was making was that the simple explanation that Geoff seemed to have accepted on face value did not seem to me add up. I was making no implication as to other possible explanations.

Jul 13, 2012 at 9:25 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

There's always parsimonious logic :-)

But whatever the case, we all seem to agree that what happens on the Hill stays on the Hill (sorry ;-) )

This is a rare point of agreement. We should be happy :-)

Jul 13, 2012 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD

More appropriatly "What happens on the mile, stays on the mile" because that was "The Green Mile" ^.^

Jul 14, 2012 at 6:57 AM | Registered CommenterDung

BBD: "There are some extreme views routinely on air here. No point in denying it."

You'd have to explain to me what an "extreme view" is, I think you hold extreme views in my definition of what extreme view is, but I don't find you ill-mannered, and for that matter neither bitty or ZDB are ill-mannered, or aggressive. Robust yes, but ill-mannered never. So it is with the other posters on here, sometimes robust, but seldom ill-mannered. If you want a comparison go to realclimate and ask why they're certain CO2 has caused most of the warming in the latter part of the 20th century. There they always ill-mannered.

BTW. You're going to have to help me a bit with your view that "conservation of energy" stabilises temperatures at the top of the atmosphere, which stops runaway positive feedback you also said that it is caused by outgoing radiation equalling incoming radiation - isn't that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics? Or have I completely misunderstood your post?

Jul 14, 2012 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

"The trouble is that if Dung and Martin A and I carry what we are saying to its logical conclusion then we are implying that Corner is lying which is an accusation we should only make with a deal of good evidence behind it."

He won't be lying per se, he'll be using the events to amplify the harm, it's quite a common practice. People, rightly, don't like getting phone calls/email from people criticising them in an, what they see as, aggressive fashion. Didn't Rob Wilson claim he'd received nasty emails and then cut the discourse when someone put an FOI request for them. My guess is they weren't that nasty, just people putting their points forcibly, young Rob, without the wisdom of years, decided to put the denizens of this thread on the back foot by exaggerating their nastiness, and it backfired.

Just a quick point about the wisdom of years. Someone once asked George Bernard Shaw about wisdom coming with age and his response, I believe, was extremely inciteful he said something to the effect:

"If one starts out wise then it is certain that your sagacity will increase with age. If, on the other hand, you start out as a fool, then it is certain your folly will increase with age."

I'll bet we can all think of examples, ourselves included, who fall into those two categories.

Jul 14, 2012 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Thanks for the thoughtful comments. We’re all agreed, I think, that you can’t legislate for the blogosphere or change its nature. I think we all change over time as we adapt to it, and a politer blogosphere might gradually emerge. When I first started commenting, I could be quite rude, since I felt I was talking to three or four people who shared my opinions, and didn’t realise that hundreds of others who didn’t agree with me might be listening in. As we get more savvy, a kind of blog etiquette emerges. The problem is that each new arrival has to learn it for himself.
Several people have made Rhoda’s point, here and privately, about Corner apparently dictating terms. My wartime truce analogy obviously encourages this idea. I don’t see the problem. I was happy to answer his questions. He’ll answer mine about some aspects of his research, though it probably won’t be on a blog with comments.
Likewise, I don’t understand the moral outrage surrounding Corner’s work, or the fact that it and the blog which discusses it receive government funding. Given the importance of climate change to our energy policies, it would be wrong not to conduct research into public attitudes.
Philip Richens says he’ll be surprised if I find out anything interesting, and many commentators on the original thread wondered what’s the point, since I’m not going to convince Corner of the sceptical case. This was a football match in Nomansland, not the Treaty of Versailles. It’s not the final score or who won that counts for me.
My point in starting this discussion was the wider one about whether there’s something in the nature of the blogosphere, or at least this kind of lively blog, which makes discussion wih those of opposing views difficult or even impossible. It’s a rough-and-tumble, feelings are going to get hurt, and the only opposing views heard are likely to come from the kind of uninteresting troll who is looking for aggro. If this is the case, I fear we’re doomed to continue our agreeable conversations among ourselves, while the world carries on regardless. In other words, we’ll become a sect.
I don’t actually disagree with the analyses of Mike Jackson and LC. There are circumstances when I’d say much the same. But not in discussions with Corner. You don’t discuss reparations during a football match. Not even at half time.

Jul 14, 2012 at 9:26 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Geoff you're right to keep up the discourse, what surprises me about these psychologist chaps is the neither Corner, nor Bains (with whom I've exchanged emails) seems to have made any effort to understand the sceptic positions, or positions, as we're a broad church. They, to me at least, seem to assume we're wrong in every way and their job is to figure out a way of changing our minds, which isn't what I'd describe as intellectually rigorous, or very practical. Surely if you want to change someone's mind you'd best be sure you understand what's in it before embarking on what will inevitably be a fruitless exercise. But it doesn't seem to bother them, certainly Bains' point was that he was looking for areas of policy that everyone could agree is a "good thing", but without knowing what the sceptical positions are it's impossible to find those areas. I doubt there is a sceptic alive who wants to deforest the Amazon, pollute the atmosphere, dirty the seas, wipe out species, or who's not concerned about the overfishing going on in most oceans of the world. There are wide areas of agreement, but having embarked on their campaigns while we were sleeping the environmentalist NGOs have already pushed European governments at least, into adopting energy policies bordering on suicidal and disfiguring out landscapes with useless windmills. These are the issues exercising sceptics, ultimately whethet the scientists are right, or wrong, the rest of the world will burn fossil fuels until a cheap alternative comes along, so we, in Europe are committing economic suicide for no good purpose. That's my view anyway, and I'll bet it's not what Corner thinks we think.

Keep up the discourse, nothing bad can come from talking to him, maybe the penny will drop and he'll be more thorough in his research, although it's funny that psychologists can't understand why the oiks won't bow to authority.

Jul 14, 2012 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Geoff, I'm having considerable difficulty reconciling the "logic" and "linking" of Corner's concerns:

His first paragraph:

“I don't mind defending myself, but I found it pretty objectionable to have to run around mending bridges with people I work with...it has left me, sadly, a bit reluctant to run that gauntlet again, if all that happens is that I am smeared to my colleagues.

The assumption seems to be that one (or more) of "us" is guilty of having "smeared" Corner to his colleagues.

Why in Gaia's name would any one of "us" badmouth Corner to his colleagues?! It makes absolutely no sense! What could possibly be gained from it?!

Sounds more like a Mann, Jo Abbess, Greenpeace [or even one of the pseudonymous trolls that pop up here from time to time] pressure/intimidation tactic to me ... "Hey Corner colleague, did you know that Corner is talking to one of those evil skeptics? This is verboten! futerra says they're irritating, but not important, so we should all be ignoring them! Why are you diverging from the Rules of the Game?"

Yet Corner continues:

Yes, if I am in public I should expect attention, criticism etc - but I can't help feeling that I made things quite a lot worse by waving a red flag in front of the Bishop Hill gang. In short, it made me think 'why bother when all I get is this?'

What "red flag"?! What "gang"?! This sounds to me like an exercise in conflation and an attempt to convince you that "we" are the problem (and the "cause" of him having to "run around mending bridges with people [he] works with")

Sorry, Geoff, I agree with Martin ... this just does not compute! And if I look at his most recent article, it does not appear that he has learned anything from your interactions to date.

His Climategate conclusions, for example, are quite puzzling (but come to think of it, in light of the above, perhaps somewhat revealing):

Climategate – the illegal release of private emails from the University of East Anglia – has also been crit­ical, but not for the reasons most people assume. It did not have a wide­spread impact on public opinion – but it has almost cer­tainly cre­ated a reluct­ance to engage among cli­mate sci­ent­ists and other sci­ence com­mu­nic­ators. Anyone who puts their head above the parapet knows that they may be sub­jected to a bar­rage of criticism. [emphasis added -hro]

Notice any echoes, folks?!

But I found his concluding paragraph somewhat amusing:

Without a focus on better com­mu­nic­a­tion, the danger is that the gap between the sci­entific and the social con­sensus on cli­mate change will con­tinue to grow.

Communicating climate change: where next?

You might suggest to Corner that he take a look at Judith Curry's latest post. It's a draft of a paper she's been invited to write on "the topic of consensus in climate change".

If Corner were to read it with an open mind, I think he could learn a lot!

Jul 14, 2012 at 10:07 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Martin A - 9.25 pm
Probably a bad piece of phraseology on my part.
In the context of the "closed mind" stances on both sides of the argument the next stage down the line from "there is something that simply does not add up." is the jutting jaw and "you calling me a liar?"
Apologies.

Jul 14, 2012 at 10:52 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Remembering some neighbours of my Grandfather, I looked up the number of soldiers who died on Christmas day 1914. 79 in France or Belgium according to the war graves people. Some football match that must have been. Or course the CWGC does not record Germans, so we don't know the score.

Jul 14, 2012 at 11:00 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Hilary Ostrov
I think what happened is that a commenter here got upset by the considerable establishment backing enjoyed by Corner and the “Talking Climate” group and raised it as an ethical question with Corner’s colleagues by telephone or email. They would probably consider such a call “out of the blue” as pretty bizarre, and raise it with Corner. Corner has probably suffered no more than a bit of joshing for associating with weirdoes, but as he says: 'why bother when all I get is this?'
You say:

Why in Gaia's name would any one of "us" badmouth Corner to his colleagues?! It makes absolutely no sense! What could possibly be gained from it?!
Why Indeed? But I know people want to do this, because they’ve said so, on blogs and in private. There are people who’s idea of treating with warmists is to reveal their nefarious practices, hidden funding, networks of contacts etc. It’s the mirror image of the Big Oil funding argument we’ve been battling against for years. It’s daft, but it happens.
The same internet research which turns up Corner’s contact list will also reveal that he and his colleagues at Cardiff and Nottingham Universities are quite small cogs in a much bigger academic machine. We sceptics do not even figure in his job description, which is about researching the psychology of belief. If he can pull in a few thousand from the DECC to finance his work, that’s good for his career. If his boss gets odd phonecalls from someone who’s upset by something they’ve read on a blog, that’s bad.
Why anyone concerned by the CAGW story should think it useful to badmouth a Research Associate in the Psychology department at Cardiff University is beyond me. I can see why it happened though. Our dialogue attracted attention, discussion got emotional, and someone went ape. My question is: do we have to stay low-key, only talk among ourselves, and not treat with the opposition in order to avoid this kind of messy outcome?

Jul 14, 2012 at 11:11 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

There’s been a lot of enlightening comments here about what the sceptics’ position really is, eg geronimo:

...There are wide areas of agreement, but having embarked on their campaigns while we were sleeping the environmentalist NGOs have already pushed European governments at least, into adopting energy policies bordering on suicidal and disfiguring out landscapes with useless windmills. These are the issues exercising sceptics ... and I'll bet it's not what Corner thinks we think.

Another thing that has been happening while we were sleeping is that social scientists have been exploring our attitudes to the environment, and discovering wide agreement among the general public with statements such as:
-The earth is like a space ship with very little room and resources
-If things continue on their present course, we will soon experience a major ecological catastrophe
These statements are part of a battery of propositions known as the New Ecological Paradigm Scale, which seem to arise from the post-Kuhnian musings of Paul Ehrlich in a book he co-authored in 1974. It’s a bit like waking up and dicovering that half the world has been convinced by the philosophy of L Ron Hubbard or Carlos Castaneda, and that our politics has to be adjusted accordingly.
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?

Jul 14, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Jul 14, 2012 at 12:01 PM geoffchambers

Does anyone find that interesting, and will you promise to be good and not frighten him away?

I find it surprising that a psychologist, of all people, should engage in public discussion on the internet, about contentious matters, and then be shocked that people respond in ways that do not accord with his preconceptions.

But I think you are still making a dubious assumption ie that it was BH posters who phoned his colleagues. Hilary has given what, to me, is a more plausible explanation. Even if every single BH poster promises "to be good", that still leaves a bunch of other people who may well respond in ways Corner does not approve.

Jul 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Geoff
I'd like very much to be good and watch and perhaps join in a civilised discussion with anybody.
But I'm prepared to bet that if you quoted

It’s a bit like waking up and discovering that half the world has been convinced by the philosophy of L Ron Hubbard or Carlos Castaneda, and that our politics has to be adjusted accordingly.
I strongly suspect Dr Corner would either a) not have the faintest idea what you meant by it and/or b) not see that the example was in any way relevant and deny that there was any similarity or connection with his stance on global warming.
Another, and tangential, thought occurred to me in the wee small hours which I'll throw in for what it's worth.
A quote from Philip Richens
It is also quite striking that a number of the academic scientists who are in a good position to take a strong personal stance on the basic science, are quite sceptical of at least some of the IPCC case. Therefore, if you're in the market for topics to discuss with Adam, something I'm certainly curious to understand is how he views the professional scientists falling into that group.
Certainly this would be an interesting topic for discussion but since the climate has persistently refused to behave in the manner that the catastrophists claim it should perhaps equally interesting would be how Dr Corner views the professional scientists that fall into the group of those who persist in claiming that it has or at any rate will in a minute, or next week, or next year, or a decade.

Jul 14, 2012 at 2:42 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson