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Discussion > Grauniad: Are climate change sceptics likely to be conspiracy theorists?

Actually - perhaps far from shell shocked - he merely worked it into his presentation, and gets a few laughs 'anybody tweeting' from his audience.. you get a screen capure in one of his slides, with exalted company (delingpole and Booker)

saw him speak at the Walker Institue a little while back..

Sep 16, 2012 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Alex
Rapley is obviously a man to watch. Like Emmott, he’s a scientist willing to put his head above the parapet in defence of the Cause (or in exchange for an FRS?).
It’s good to know that when he was at the Science Museum he was “shaken by the furore that greeted attempts to educate visitors on climate science”. Everyone remembers his catastrophic on-line climate change survey. Less attention was paid to the fact that his climate change exhibition was hastily assembled by a PR firm on orders of the then minister Ed Miliband, in time for the forthcoming election.
When the head of a major cultural institution licks the boots of power like this, you can expect the worst. Luckily, the worst they can do to us in a democracy is indulge in some Lewandowsky-like nudging to lick us into line.
Omnologos, Barry, have you got links?

Sep 16, 2012 at 12:42 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

It would be interesting to read Chris Rapley's recent paper "Climate science: Time to raft up", which was discussed on Climate Etc. at the beginning of the month. Costs £12 to look at, for non-subscribers, but someone at SCEF has provided some excerpts:
http://scef.org.uk/news/1-latest-news/269-the-nature-of-alarmist-delusion

"A first step is to understand how the dismissal of climate change is tenable when the evidence to the contrary is so extensive and compelling."
"Much has been published on this by social scientists and psychologists". "A great deal is known about why people reject the messages of climate science."
"According to Daniel Kahneman in his 2012 book Thinking Fast and Slow (Penguin), the human mind can believe almost anything."
"We are influenced by the views of those with whom we identify, and whose esteem we seek."
"Once a mindset is established, dissonant facts are met with resistance."
"However, anxiety alone does not account for the fervour of those who are dismissive. An association between climate-dismissive attitudes and people with an individualistic outlook and libertarian politics suggests an ideological root to such beliefs."
"When faced with implacable disagreement, non-experts must decide who to believe. The issue of trust is therefore paramount. And therein lies a problem."
"I propose that, as a public statement of our ideals, climate scientists should agree and commit to principles of professional conduct."
"The climate-dismissive think tanks and organizations have been effective".
"They deliver simple messages that are crafted to agree with specific value sets and world views."
"... In contrast, the climate-science community delivers messages to policy-makers and the public that are often highly technical and detailed."
"We need to appreciate that the things we climate scientists don’t agree on - nuanced disputes at the frontier of our field - are not relevant to policy-making."
"Similarly, I believe that the Internet provides the forum for like-minded and motivated climate scientists from all disciplines to mobilize and transform the impact of climate science on the public and politics."
"The warning signals from the planet are clear."
"Now is the moment for our community to adopt the rallying cry of sea kayakers confronted with conditions too challenging to handle alone: “Time to raft up!”

Sep 16, 2012 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Alex. 3 of my Twitter followers sent me a copy, when I moaned about the £12
I'll email it to you

Sep 16, 2012 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Barry
and me please!

While waiting for the Rapley article, we can read the one response in Nature:
Marcelino Fuentes said:

Rapley says that there is an association between libertarian politics and "climate-dismissive attitudes" but the study he cites in support of this assertion says nothing of the sort.
He writes:
“An association between climate-dismissive attitudes and people with an individualistic outlook and libertarian politics (5) suggests an ideological root to such beliefs." (5) Poortinga, W., Spence, A., Whitmarsh, L., Capstick, S. & Pidgeon, N. F. Global Environ. Change 21, 1015?1024 (2011).
I have checked Portinga et al.'s paper and it doesn't mention any association between climate-dismissive attitudes and libertarianism. The words "libertarian", "liberty", "freedom", "markets", "capitalism" or similar do not appear anywhere in the paper. The study was clearly not about finding possible associations between libertarianism and attitudes towards climate change:
"Political orientation was measured with the question ‘Which political party are you most likely to support?’ and response options showing the main UK political parties (Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Green), along with ‘other’, ‘prefer not to say’ (combined for the analysis) and ‘would not vote’."
Co-author Whitmarsh was also co-author with Adam Corner of a paper which found that Green voters were more likely to be climate sceptics than supporters of any other party. OK, there were only 13 of them, and the sample was largely made up of Welsh teenage girls, but all’s fair in war and climate science. And if 10 moon landing deniers are enough for Lew, why should Corner & Whitmarsh be so shy about trumpeting this extraordinary scientific finding?
Whitmarsh and Corner are very junior bods in the psychology department at Cardiff University, trying to make a livng in a harsh world. Rapley is ex-head of the Science Museum, and professor of climate science at University College London.

Sep 16, 2012 at 8:07 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

There’s a recent interview with Rapley at
http://www.sciencewise-erc.org.uk/cms/interview-with-professor-chris-rapley/
which shows him in a rather better light:

Q: You’ve voiced concerns about both climate change and population growth – how do you go about engaging the public in these complex and highly contentious topics?
Rapley: One of the challenges, I think, is language. If we use terms such as ‘warmist’ and ‘denier’ then we’ve done two things. We’ve tribalised each other, making each other enemies and we’ve also laid down the rules of engagement. We’re on separate sides of a divide and the purpose of the exercise it to prove each other wrong. It’s very natural for us to fall into these ways, particularly in the UK, because we are taught, right from the school debating societies, that this is the way to engage on such subjects. Your job is to win. That’s fine as a sort of blood sport. But it’s not a very good way of solving problems. A much better way is to hold a dialogue where you’re open minded not closed minded, where you recognise we can probably agree on 60% and then begin to make sense of the rest together. So getting the language and the mode of engagement right is key.

Sep 16, 2012 at 8:58 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

He's a bright fellow with plenty of capability for insight. Am sure we'll hear lots of good from him as soon as pension age or a peerage come, whichever first.

Sep 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Did any of you guys catch the end portion of Chris Rapley's longish monologue in Nature magazine, where he recommends skepticalscience.com and realclimate.com to his readers?

[edited after reading back to see Alex had posted on it]

Sep 17, 2012 at 1:39 AM | Registered Commentershub

Shub
Yes, I’ve read it, and I take back what I said about seeing Rapley in a better light. He is not interested in dialogue or lstening to sceptics. He is against debate, “which reinforces partisanship and the impression that established facts remain unresolved”.
We are “the naysayers”, the “voices of dismissal” who are “trumping the messages of science”. His sole source of information about us seems to be Oreskes and Conway. We are suffering from doubt and anxiety due to Climategate and “the rise of the dismissive think tanks”.
There is no mention of sceptic blogs at all, and the internet comes in only as a parting shot, his One Big Idea:

I believe that the Internet provides the forum for like-minded and motivated climate scientists from all disciplines to mobilize and transform the impact of climate science on the public and politics. Such an approach could build on the work of existing climate-science websites and initiatives, such as Skeptical Science, Real Climate, Carbon Brief, and of course the IPCC, to develop a more coherent, prioritized and tailored set of messages than are currently available.
The warning signals from the planet are clear.
Note: no dialogue, no listening; just a set of messages which are “coherent, prioritized and tailored”.
Has he heard of Climate Audit, WUWT, The Hockey Stick Illusion? If he hasn’t, he’s invincibly ignorant. If he has, and is deliberately ignoring their existence, then he is indulging in mendacious propaganda.

Sep 17, 2012 at 6:11 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Don't be so naive Geoff. There's a different Rapley for every occasion. That's what a career-minded boy's got to do.

You wouldn't believe how much more scientific he sounded at the Institute of Physics.

Sep 17, 2012 at 6:17 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

How did he come to the conclusion that everyone agrees about 60% of the issues? Which 60%? Which issues?

This is just the old tactic of trying to neutralise your opponents by pretending to be the most reasonable person at the table. Humbug.

Sep 17, 2012 at 7:03 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

"We need to appreciate that the things we climate scientists don’t agree on - nuanced disputes at the frontier of our field - are not relevant to policy-making."

Dear Rapley
What if the frontier lies just within our frontyard?

If we know little of something to begin with, the frontier is necesasarily not very far away.

Sep 17, 2012 at 11:07 AM | Registered Commentershub

I wrote 10 tweets in response to the Rapley "Time to raft up" article, on Aug 30th:

Chris Rapley recycles the usual climate myths, delusions... (1/10) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v488/n7413/full/488583a.html … @carbonbrief @jameswilsdon @icey_mark @dougmcneall
Rapley mentions right-wing 4 times, attempt to imply all sceptics right-wing. Doesn't it occur to him lefties biased other way? 2/10
Rapley claims that the sceptics have an effective communication strategy (how many sceptic comments are there in Nature?) (3/10)
Rapley cites Oreskes nonsense twice as an attempt to explain scepticism (but at least he says it's simplistic) (4/10)
Rapley still thinks "climate scientists need to master ways to communicate their results effectively" - the communication delusion (5/10)
Rapley wonders "Why don't they get it?" cites Oreskes. Groupthink. Has he ever spoken to a scientific sceptic? Or read climate etc? (6/10)
Rapley says there are dangers in advocacy or activism - then says "must engage with newspaper editors and politicians in person" (7/10)
Rapley claims sceptics persistent, consistent, spread by media, but climsci message fragmented. Of course, it's the other way round. (8/10)
Rapley thinks the answer is yet another climate propaganda website like realclimate. ROTFL. Read http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/12/the-denizens-of-climate-etc/ … (9/10)
Rapley says “Time to raft up!”. What McIntrye calls 'circling the wagons'. How well has that worked so far? /rant /lunchbreak (10/10)

Sep 17, 2012 at 12:34 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

I am looking at the utter trash the Lew guy has posted up his SS blog. Is this guy for real?

I mean, look at this:

"...computing a Pearson correlation across all data points between the moon-landing item and HIV denial reveals a correlation of -.25. [...] Both are highly significant at p < .0000...0001 (the exact value is [10^-16], which is another way of saying that the probability of those correlations arising by chance is infinitesimally small)."

I'll tell you. Everytime you guys waste time arguing statistics, it'll turn out that there is a warmist on the other side who doesn't know the ABC of statistical inference-making.

You can't teach someone statistics and then show them they are wrong.

Sep 17, 2012 at 7:08 PM | Registered Commentershub

10 to -16?

Sorry Bish, but if that is true, then Lew is a cretin.

Sep 17, 2012 at 7:12 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

I arrive late on this thread but I think this lot are right when they say there is an ideological divide.
The people on BH read stuff, pull it apart and investigate its innards and then give it both barrels if it does not make sense, I call this pragmatism.
The opposition have a completely different ideology, they say things designed to have an effect. The effect they require maybe on their bosses or the government or the average man in the street, there is no requirement for it to make sense as long as it has the required effect.

Sep 17, 2012 at 10:00 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Shameless plug alert ...

For my take on Lew's Latest Lurching Lapses™ pls see:

Lewandowsky booster, Bostrom, invokes 10:10 no pressure “defense”

Looks like Lew needs to get in touch with Adam Corner, pdq, so that he can "correct" his July 27 post at the Guardian

Sep 18, 2012 at 5:39 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

omnologos,
That is 10 raised to the power of -16.

Sep 18, 2012 at 9:48 AM | Registered Commentershub

Shub - I know. What I am saying is that nobody with any understanding of 'p' would take a 10 to -16 seriously.

Sep 18, 2012 at 10:06 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

I hadn't paid attention to the Lew paper. Is he really saying that a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.2 means something? (goes to look)

Sep 18, 2012 at 10:17 AM | Registered Commentershub

Adam Corner was promoting Talking Climate blog's launch at Defra:
http://sd.defra.gov.uk/2012/02/bridging-the-gap-between-climate-change-research-and-practice/

"For too long research in climate change has remained disconnected from the individuals and organisations who put it into practice. This must change, says Adam Corner, introducing Talking Climate, a new website to communicate research on climate change."

This artcile was also in the Guardian (of course) as well:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/climate-change-research-business-practice


"A joint initiative between the Climate Outreach and Information Network, the Public Interest Research Centre and Nottingham University School of Sociology & Social Policy, Talking Climate attempts to bridge the gap between research and practice that faces climate change communicators, sustainable development practitioners and academics who want to communicate beyond the ivory towers"


So a joint intiative, with too activist/lobbying organisations..
One of which Corner is a policy advisor, the other he is a director.. gets access.

those academics in ivory towers (don't sigbn up with COIN (whose founder is responsible for Rising Tide's Hall of Shame - also founder,), and is on the Advisory board of the CaCC

Nor should academics sign up with the PIRC, where at least 2 directors, are ex greenpeace, both previouslyy arrested for taking direct action, about climate change.. plus good old Tim-Helweg Larsen, behind Zero Carbon Britain report, and has a nice Rising Tide interview, which culminates in George Monbiot, running around a welsh coal field in a polar bear costiume (trying to get arrested)

Good old Franny Armstrong (10:10) used to be a PIRC director, and apparently got the idea from 10:10 from there...
http://www.pirc.info/projects/tenten/
She was inspired by the Climate Safety report (now blog) where Adam and Richard Hawkins (runs it) contribute (hawkins being PIRC director, and arrested alongside Monbiot at a cola mine)

And Richard Hawkins (PIRC) and George Marshall(Rising Tide, COIN, CaCC), are nor running the Talking Climate blog (funded by Cardiff/Nottingham Uni)
http://coinet.org.uk/news/2012-01-27/talking-climate-launched

(COINS outreach project to the Occupy movement is fun, didn't Monbiot toddle down to one as well, Monbiot is on the COIN advisory board, and Michael Meacher is a patron))
http://coinet.org.uk/
http://coinet.org.uk/about-us/governance/trustees-patrons-and-advisory-board

A colleague of Corner's at COIN (and one of Adama -co-author on one of his papers) is Alex Randal, who reresented (Un Fair PLay) Kiribati at Copenhagen.

And people wonder why sceptics think, their are too many activist scientists.. but no, not a valid reason to be sceptical ;-) ;-)

But Remeber, Adam Corner stand up in public, speaks to Peter LIlley Mp, the audience (including Benny Pesiser, Lord Lawson) and says:

"I'm a researcher, NOT a campaigner, I study PUBLIC attitude to climate change'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cLPpOS2BpH0#t=820s

que link, greenparty candidate Adam waving Act Now, placrd marching at Copenhagen
Or a pic of him at Friends of the Earth (Cardiff) and hsis write up of a climate march atthe House of Commons. (and a dozen other links, but I can't be bothered.)

So Adam think he can keep his personal activity seperate form his work (OK, fine)
Lets us put, green party, Foe, Banner, etc aside.. (public might laugh, if live tweeting at that event)

but all the above COIN, PIRC is professional.

the people I mention took him at face value(academic) Benny just laughed when I told him all the above.
I just googled GWPF, found contact page, rang number, Benny answered!! (very small organisation, obviously!!)

Sep 18, 2012 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods