Apocalypse Again? Daniel Kalder on current trends with an assist from RL

With 2012 (the movie) out, I’ve been getting lots of phone calls from journalists dusting off their rollodexes from the 1990s. Among them, Kalder asked the most interesting questions, and has written the most interesting piece (that I know of). It’s published in the Spectator, but not at their site. This is from his.

THE END OF THE WORLD IS HERE (AGAIN)

Daniel Kalder

Last weekend Roland Emmerich’s wrathful CGI God was at it again, killing billions in the name of the Holy Box Office in the film 2012. Having already caused carnage with aliens, an ice age and Godzilla, this time Emmerich took his cue from the Ancient Mayans, whose ‘long calendar’ purportedly stops in 2012. But not only is the End nigh, it’s hugely profitable- 2012 raked in $225 million globally in three days. With numbers like that it’s no surprise that a multitude of apocalypses are in the pipeline: whether humorous (Woody Harrelson battles the undead in Zombieland) or depressing (father and son trek across a post-apocalyptic wasteland in The Road) it’s boom time for doom time.

It is surely no coincidence that imaginary catastrophes are flooding our cinema screens at a time when the news itself seems exceptionally apocalyptic. Secular prophets armed with statistics and graphs warn us daily of a new Deluge, coming as punishment for our crimes against the planet. The President of Iran leaves a chair vacant at cabinet meetings for the Hidden Imam, chases the bomb and threatens to wipe nuclear-armed Israel off the map. And speaking of nukes, only a few months ago Taliban forces advanced very close to Pakistan’s own atomic arsenal. Then there’s the plague: H1N1 is spreading across the globe, making a lot of people a bit ill, and leaving a very small minority dead. But if H1N1 doesn’t get us, perhaps economic meltdown or- better yet- overpopulation will, as a scramble for resources sets off apocalyptic wars. And while governments seek solutions, some declare that our situation is hopeless. Interviewed in the Spectator this February, James Lovelock, doyen of the Green movement said: ‘If there were 100 million of us on the earth, we could do almost anything we liked without harm. At seven billion I doubt if anything is possible or will significantly reduce fossil fuel consumption; by significantly I mean enough to halt global warming.’

So: are we doomed? And if so- why are so many people so excited about it?

It’s almost been forgotten, but ten years ago the world teetered on the brink of a different apocalypse. The so-called Millennium Bug, a glitch in our computer systems, was going to plunge us back into the Dark Ages at the start of the year 2000. Instead, nothing happened. The curious thing was that Russia and Italy, which had taken no preventative measures against this catastrophe, were as unaffected as the USA and the UK, where government had spent billions averting doomsday. Oops.

The current H1N1 hysteria recalls the budding Black Deaths of BSE, SARS and Avian Flu, none of which killed people in the quantities promised by experts and the media. Global Warming was preceded by Global Cooling, but it was difficult for the slow doom of climate change to compete with the much more imminent apocalypse of Mutually Assured Destruction. It wasn’t until the Soviet Union began to unravel and fears of nuclear war receded that the threat of the rising tides really took hold.

In the 1960s the Cuban Missile Crisis sparked fears of a nuclear Armageddon that did not come. Step back to late 19th century France and we find Honore de Balzac declaring: ‘I expect a catastrophe… I really believe in the end of everything’. In 1898 Kaiser Wilhelm entered Jerusalem on a white horse, dressed in white and wearing a gold crown, thus identifying himself with the first of the four horseman of the Apocalypse: ‘And I beheld, and lo a white horse; and he that sat on him had a bow: and there was given unto him a crown, and he departed as conqueror and to conquest.” (Revelation 6:2). Cue World War I, and millions of deaths.

The apocalypse was also present in the middle of the 19th century. Between 1850 and1864 China was ravaged by the Taiping Rebellion, in which a self-proclaimed messiah fought a war to establish heaven on earth, leaving 20 million dead in his wake.

That’s 20-35 (!) million, although about 10 million may have died in millennial wars conducted by Muslims in the western provinces. I have a chapter on this in my upcoming book.

Twice in 1844, a Baptist preacher named William Miller led thousands to await the Second Coming on hilltops across America.

Actually he only did it once in 1843, it was his followers who redated to 1844.

Christ did not return. And we can go much further back, to 7th century Arabia where Mohammed announced that the Last Judgment was just around the corner, or 1st century Jerusalem where the followers of Christ also lived in eager expectation of this event, or Central Asia circa 1300BC where we find Zoroaster declaring that the End is Nigh. One thing unites all these prophets of imminent apocalypse: not one of them has been proven correct thus far.

But that has had little effect on expectations.

The attraction of the apocalypse to artists is easy to understand: what could be more dramatic, more grandiose, more inspiring a subject? Thus mediaeval artists adorned cathedrals with powerful images of the Last Judgment, and a thousand years later HG Wells re-imagined Doomsday as an invasion from Mars. JG Ballard, who personally destroyed the world three times in his catastrophe novels of the 1960s, argued that humans take pleasure in the contemplation of violent disaster, which not only liberates us from the tedium of a law-based society, but also inspires the best art, the greatest ideas. But you need more than the thrill of doom creeping up your leg to establish a global religion or two, and to keep people believing when the promised apocalypse fails to arrive.

Perhaps it’s the very word that makes the allure of the End so tricky to grasp. In our irreligious age ‘apocalypse’ conjures up images of global catastrophe and mega-death. But that is the human apocalypse, made by man and inflicted on man. Prior to our seizing the power of global destruction from the hands of God in 1945, the scenario was very different. ‘Apocalypse’ is derived from the Greek apokaluptein which simply means to uncover, and originally referred to a set of books whose Jewish authors claimed to be revealing hitherto concealed revelations from God. Daniel and Revelation are the most famous and the most influential examples of this prophetic genre. Both contain terrifying visions of satanic worldly powers destroyed by a wrathful Deity – hence the association between catastrophe and ‘apocalypse’. But Daniel also speaks of the coming Kingdom of God which shall endure for all eternity. Revelation concludes with a vision of the Heavenly City, in which the righteous shall live forever in the presence of God. Revelation also offers the faithful the hope of the Millennium, an interim period before the absolute end, when there shall be heaven on earth.

The religious apocalypse then is profoundly optimistic: the faithful are promised that justice will be done, that suffering shall end, and that eternal felicity shall be theirs. God is in control, and He shall reward them at the End of Time. Thus in his famous study The Pursuit of the Millennium Norman Cohn stressed the attraction of the apocalypse to the oppressed and downtrodden, who stand little chance of seeing an end to their pain in this world. For them, the End is beautiful, a thing to be desired.

Modern apocalyptic scenarios such as Climate Change or overpopulation are very different. They are based not on sacred texts, but rather empirical evidence. They also lack a redemptive framework and are thus profoundly pessimistic: without God to guarantee rebirth, we are faced with a terrible future. A nuclear war will destroy us all,
leaving cockroaches to inherit the earth. Climate Change will cause war, famine, disaster, death. But if the modern apocalypse is so bleak, then why is it still so seductive? Is it simply a result of the power of scientific discourse in our age? But if so, then why do doomsday scenarios appear to be multiplying so rapidly? Dr. Richard Landes of Boston University is an expert on apocalyptic movements who has spent forty years thinking about the End:

    ‘Our love for the apocalypse is connected with our sense of our own importance. To live in apocalyptic expectation means that you are the chosen generation, that in your time the puzzle of existence will be solved. It appeals to our megalomania: we all want to believe we’re special, that God has given us a front row seat for the most important
    events in history. The West meanwhile is fundamentally an apocalyptic culture. We received it from the missionaries who went north to convert the European tribes. There’s always an undercurrent, which comes to the surface periodically. If it seems more intense now it’s because modern society is built on the idea of constant change, and so we need to constantly think about the future. But as we are an apocalyptic culture, this stirs up thoughts of apocalypse- we keep coming back to it, like an acid flashback. Scenarios like the Millennium Bug or Global Warming have special secular appeal because they are situations we created ourselves, and so we think we can solve them.’

However the End is not unique to Western culture; Islam also has powerful apocalyptic traditions. For Muslims centuries and not millennia are the significant markers of time, and thus it was no coincidence that when the 14th Islamic century began in 1979, there was a series of apocalyptic events. The messianic Shiite revolution in Iran is the obvious example, but 1979/1400 also saw a violent revolt in Mecca led by a self-proclaimed messiah, and uprisings in Nigeria which left 10,000 dead. And while a group like al Qaeda may not seek to bring about the literal End of Days, they are nevertheless a thoroughly apocalyptic millenarian movement, which seeks to establish paradise on earth, by first destroying the old, corrupt world. And while such dreams are fantastical, if even a tiny group got its hands on a nuclear device the results for the rest of us would be apocalyptic in a very real sense.

And so here we are, caught between different Ends, with a horde of alternative apocalypses waiting in the wings. You know, maybe Roland Emmerich has the right idea. After all, when doomsday actually does arrive, we certainly won’t be able to do anything about it- so why not have a bit of fun with the apocalypse, why not profit from the End? Since Al Gore assumed the mantle of prophet his net worth has increased at least 50 times over. He’s certainly having a nice doomsday.

But Gore’s success also underscores a final, crucial point. Regardless of the scientific debate, Climate Change is already an undeniable reality in as much as it has a huge effect on government policies that affect us all directly. And nobody would argue that Christianity and Islam were without an impact, even if believers are still waiting for the foretold End. Thus, whether or not the prophets are correct, apocalyptic belief is never without consequences. One way or another, we are always living in the shadow of the End Times.

From The Spectator December 2009

130 Responses to Apocalypse Again? Daniel Kalder on current trends with an assist from RL

  1. [...] Augean Stables » Apocalypse Again? Daniel Kalder on current trends … [...]

  2. Sergio says:

    Dear prof. Landes,

    First, let me say that I find your blog excellent. I
    find your analysis of the middle-east conflict very
    insightfull and elucidating (I discovered your blog
    from prof. Lozowick’s blog) and I’m looking forward to your new book.

    Regarding the issue of apocalupse, I’d like to mention that here is Brazil there was a short-lived millenarian
    peasant movement against the central government, led by a self-styled prophet and Christ-looking preacher called Antonio Conselheiro; it was eventually crushed by the army during the War of Canudos (1896-1897) with thousand deaths.

    There’s also a strand of millenarism in the history of Portugal (the country that colonized Brazil) based on the tale of King Sebastião, which went missing in the
    Battel of Alcacer-Quibir (1578) and whose return is eargerly expected ever since.

    What about non-western cultures: do they have some kind of apocalyptic mythology?

    Regarding christianity, is it true that Saint Augustine had to write against suicide as the faithful
    tried to speed up the path to heaven?

    Best wishes and congratulations,

    Sergio

  3. Ray in Seattle says:

    Interesting article. I liked your bit on the “Love of Apocalypse” but I’m uncomfortable with the underlying theme which seems to be something like:

    Look at all the Millenarian movements over the ages. See how human psychology makes us vulnerable to the claims of those with fantastic claims who have a motive to defraud us. Al Gore is using the same psychology to defraud us with his equally fantastic AGW claims.

    I think the author fails (deceptively) to distinguish between scientific attempts to predict the future for the betterment of mankind – and the long list of crackpot political / religious nuts trying to become more important (and wealthy) in the eyes of the rubes.

    The problem with his thesis is that history is not lacking for natural and man-made disasters that could have been prevented or mitigated with some better (scientific) foresight. The problem is that predicting the future is not easy. It is especially problematic when well-meaning efforts to do so become politicized. The AGW debate is a real-time view of how this works. Kalder’s article is a perfect example of deceptive politicization.

    I believe there is a substantial scientific consensus on the existence of AGW. I also think that Al Gore sincerely believes that it is worthwhile to mitigate the worldwide damage that it may cause. I think the jury is still out on the actual extent of danger that AGW poses and what we should do about it, if anything. These are topics currently undergoing serious debate in the scientific community. As it should. I think AGW deserves serious (scientific, not political) attention by anyone who wishes to leave a better world for future generations.

    I agree that his article is interesting – most of it – although there were hints early on that it was leading to some political point. He discusses a fascinating historical / psychological topic but at end he blatantly harnesses it to his anti-Gore, anti-AGW agenda – and IMO he uses your credibility to bolster his thesis. I feel defrauded.

  4. Daniel K says:

    I am very sorry you feel ‘defrauded’, Ray- that was certainly not my intention. The word limit on the article, which provides an overview of several centuries worth of doom-mongering precluded a more detailed discussion of Global Warming.

    If I may, I’d like to point out that I do point out in the piece that the ‘scientific apocalypse’ is based on empirical evidence and not ancient texts. However as most of us (myself included) are not qualified to evaluate this evidence we accept it on the same grounds that our ancestors accepted scriptural prophecy- as the word delivered on high from authorities with access to arcane knowledge. This is undeniable. It is also hardly a surprise that this in turn provokes responses in us that were conditioned a long time ago.

    To say so has no bearing on the truth or falsehood of AGW. It is another issue entirely.

    In fact I accept that the majority opinion in science is pro AGW. However as a reader of Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn I also acknowledge that the scientific consensus is shaped by a lot more than some theoretically neutral adherence to empirical evidence and that this consensus frequently changes.

    As for Al Gore, however I admit I am guilty as charged. When it comes to environmentalists I greatly prefer James Lovelock who is 1) a scientist and 2) doesn’t peddle fantasies of rolling back damage that- if the theories are correct- has already been done.

  5. Daniel K says:

    I also think that many of the ‘crackpot religious nuts’ you mention may well have been nuts, but were perfectly sincere- at least as sincere as Mr. Gore, if not more so as many of them were willing to suffer or even die for their beliefs. There is no doubt in my mind that William Miller, mentioned in the article, was absolutely sincere for example. Christ, Zoroaster, Mohammed, Balzac and even Kaiser Wilhelm were all complex figures, with apocalyptic beliefs.

  6. Thanks for the report; I am looking forward to your book. I have wondered if our current fascination with the End Times is being reinforced by the trend toward enhanced narcissism among the well off. Between guilt over our privilege, the over-investment in the self and identification of the apocalypse with our own mortality (having removed the Deity from the equation), we are left with a fascination and desire for the end. I am hoping your book will help me address some of these questions.

  7. Tomc says:

    You can say what you want about Al Gore – but he’s not qualified to say what he says. He does not know how to prove AGW, and he sure as hell doesn’t know how to disprove it.

    I have a Phd in mathematics. And I’ve looked at the models and the data. And what I’ve learned (in 3 years of graduate-level statistics) tell me this data proves nothing. It barely proves that late 20th century is -slightly- warmer with even a 90% confidence interval. It does NOT even prove there has been any warming at 95% confidence interval. I seldom find problems with using 98% confidence intervals in data I use.

    Of course, this was not enough. Reading through historical data (articles from before 2003) predictions fail. A uniform warming trend was predicted … it cooled. It was vastly outside the error margin.

    The prediction after the initial years was that warming would pick up after 2006. 2007 at the latest. It’s gotten worse.

    Then you look at the models. And guess what one finds ? The derivative of the model is *strictly* positive. Those models would literally predict warming if you told it the sun went out. No matter the input data, barring falsification of historical data, these models cannot be made to predict cooling. If God came down and reduced co2 levels to those of 2000 years ago in a second it would still get warmer.

    Strictly theoretically speaking (this is why everyone hates mathematicians) there is no way to prove anything will happen to the climate even in the medium term, even in the short term you cannot create a complete model. I’m sure you’ve heard, somewhere or other, that a flap of the wings of a butterfly in the amazone forest might be the cause of a new ice age. You heard that because it’s true.

    It can be proven that there exists no such thing as a model that predicts climate trends better than “tomorrow is probably going to have exactly the same weather as today”, except a “full-knowledge” model (in which you simulate every flap of every butterfly in every part of the globe), which is now even considered to be impossible in theory (and obviously it’s impossible in practice).

    So what is my prediction ? Global average temperature on earth in 2100 is going to be EXACTLY the same as that in 2000, which was exactly the same as that in 1900. And I can prove theoretically that I’m giving the best possible prediction.

    Sorry, but AGW (and GW) is policy being pushed on researchers. Not that there’s any shortage of willingness to find this exact result.

    It pains me to see how many simple conclusions are being censored due to idiotic “societal” sensibilities. It’s not just climate research. Last I heard of several results of AI not published (having to do with AI “entities” (simulated animals) consistently choosing to have fights amongst themselves, in which at least a few of them die). They still talk about the fact that things like genocide and scorched earth are a survival tactic just like any other in classes, fortunately, but no more when talking to newspapers. We’re even downplaying the necessity of death in order for evolutionary algorithms to work for idiot’s sensibilities.

    And you should realize that exact and theoretical sciences are much more resistant to societal pressures than the humanities. There the “clearly we all love eachother” junk is ubiquitous and (nearly) unchallenged. I talked with a psy prof recently. He stated the problem such : everyone (in psychology) still knows perfectly well that there is no better tactic to get a kid to learn than to tell him convincingly he’ll die miserably in the gutter if he doesn’t, which is mostly the truth anyway, but nobody can say it anymore. In truth’s place there’s the self-esteem worship that’s come to suffocate everything.

  8. Eliyahu says:

    Sergio,
    that’s interesting about King Sebastian. Something like the Shi`ites Hidden Imam. We should point out for those not up on geography that Alcazarquivir [al-Qasr al-Kabir = the big castle] is in Morocco. So the Spaniards and Portuguese were fighting the Moors way back in 1578. Actually, the conflict goes back to the early 8th century, about 711 CE, I think, when the Arabs and Berbers [called Moors] invaded the Iberian peninsula. It has really been a constant or rather continual –off and on– struggle ever since. Portugal captured an enclave on the Moroccan coast, Ceuta [passed to Spain under the united kingdom], as early as 1415. Despite the passage of 600 years, Morocco now demands it back. There is no sense that 600 years is too long a time out of Morocco’s possession for Morocco to now demand it back. Yet, the year 640 CE, when the Arabs completed the conquest of the Land of Israel, 1308 years before the restored State of Israel in 1948, is –it is said– too long a time passed for the Jews to still have a right take back the Land of Israel.

    The Barbary [North African] pirates were raiding and attacking the coasts of southern European countries for centuries into the early 19th century, until the French conquest of Algeria basically stopped that piracy. So the European colonial conquests in North Africa were not conquests or occupations of innocuous countries that had never harmed the Europeans.

    Be that as it may, this also shows that the southern European countries and North Africa were in constant contact from ancient times, sometimes warring against each other, usually trading, sometimes making pirate raids, often engaging in cultural and intellectual interchange, etc. The European conquests in North Africa cannot be compared with Europe’s colonial conquests in other parts of the world which had not had prior contact with Europe.

    Michael Oren’s book on American-Arab world relations has the virtue of looking back at the time when the young USA fought wars with the Barbary pirates. Is that episode still taught in the US high school textbooks?

  9. Cynic says:

    Tomc,

    Maybe you have already come across the following?
    Swiss ETH: Glaciers melted in the 1940’s faster than today

    The most recent studies by researchers at ETH Zurich show that in the 1940s Swiss glaciers were melting at an even-faster pace than at present.
    ………….
    The new study, published in the journal ‘Geophysical Research Letters’, confirms this requirement. This is because, taking into account the data recorded for the level of solar radiation, the scientists made a surprising discovery: in the 1940s and in the summer of 1947 especially, the glaciers lost the most ice since measurements commenced in 1914. This is in spite of the fact that temperatures were lower than in the past two decades.

    There is still so much to discover and understand about our weather and yet our arrogance gets the better of us.

  10. E.G. says:

    From my vantage point, the most interesting phenomenon is that those “secular” religions keep the tradition of placing Man as the main responsible for the world’s troubles. And the attribution of culpability that is inherent to such beliefs.
    Of course, each variant of those “secular” religions finds some Humans are more sinful than the rest of the doomed Humanity. So for the sake of salvaging the whole kind and its well-being they spread hatred. And often advocate mass ignorance.

  11. Ray in Seattle says:

    Daniel, Thanks for your response. I took the time to read your article again more carefully and noticed some things I missed previously. But let me take issue with some of your content if you would permit.

    Humanity has done pretty well by science over the last century. Our lives are longer and generally healthier. There’s less pollution, at least in the US and Canada where I spend my life. Our food is cleaner and labeled by regulation now so we know more about what we’re eating. These were all changes recommended by scientists predicting a healthier future as a result. They were adopted against the strongest objections of Republicans and the large corporations that fund their campaigns – objections that often predicted a bleak future of soviet style oppression.

    Medicine, transportation and communications have all made huge advances and our standard of living is enormously higher than when we were kids. Most of those improvements are the result of scientific predictions that were tested, published and debated – with the best ideas finding investors and their way into the consumer market. It’s a system that works for everyone.

    But your article is almost entirely about the psychology of apocalyptic movements that “all turned out to be wrong”. At the end you suggest that maybe the smart thing is to have fun and profit from this human frailty – like Al Gore whose “net worth has increased at least 50 times over” since he has “assumed the mantle of prophet”.

    Al Gore doesn’t pretend to be a scientist. He’s a politician with a history of battling economic interests that oppose regulations that could make our lives better. Through legislation he’s promoted (along with others) he’s saved people’s lives and measurably improved the lives of millions of others. Just as one example, lung cancer rates and deaths have declined sharply over the last 30 years in the US. This is based on legislation supported by scientific evidence that was vigorously opposed by big tobacco (and most Republicans) over decades. Yet now, smoking has greatly declined and continues to drop as lung and bronchial cancer rates continue to improve. We can all go to a restaurant now without having to consume someone’s filthy smoke with our meal.

    It has been the business interests that have predicted apocalyptic calamities if we impose sensible restrictions on their ability to poison us and our environment. It is their predictions that have proven wrong. It is the scientists’ predictions of better and healthier lives if we do impose those regulations that have generally proven correct.

    So I hope you can understand why I felt defrauded. It was not that you were being untruthful. It was the technique of setting up a discussion about a valid scientific topic – even using Prof. Landes’ quote to add credibility and import to the “academic-like” discussion – and switching to Al Gore’s motives at the very last; his supposed “profiting” from our human fascination with doomsday predictions.

    I’ve read a few of your articles now to see if I could figure out why you did this. You weave a slightly disjointed narrative that has me searching for connections between the paragraphs. I like that. It draws me in to the article. I guess I was just having trouble finding a logical (rather than emotional) connection in the main part of this article to those uncomplimentary remarks about Al Gore’s motives at the end. Of course, they do connect back to the title. That seems to verify that your purpose was to discredit both Gore and AGW all along which you are certainly entitled to do. I just think it was a rather pusillanimous way to do it.

  12. Sergio says:

    Dear Eliyahu,

    Thanks for your comments. By the way, Sebastinism was an intrinsic part of the Canudos affair; by the way, one reason for the violent reaction to that essentially peaceful movement was the perception that it favored a restoration of the recently deposed monarchy.

    Regarding Ceuta, it is interesting to know that Spain has
    a wall there to protect against undesirables. So much I guess it is yet another example of spanish hypocrisy and self-righetous posture (a Torquemada syndrome?) while maintaining this “colony” with an “apartheid wall”.

    Regards.

  13. Sergio says:

    Sorry, delete the ‘so much’ in the above…

  14. Eliyahu says:

    Sergio, the whole EU [Union Europea] is hypocritical, especially when it comes to Israel. I think that you were referring to Spain and the EU’s hypocrisy over Israel’s anti-terrorist barrier, which they like to call an “apartheid wall.” That barrier in Ceuta –I think it’s a double fence with a path in between the two (or three?) wire fences [tell me if I'm wrong]– is meant to keep out migrants.

    The Europeans [especially Spain, the UK and a few others] are especially hypocritical when it comes to accusing Israel of being colonialist or being a colony. Those Euro states were very happy to have colonies and some may regret have given them up. The UK still has its Gibraltar colony which they have no intention of giving up, plus their two sovereign air force bases on Cyprus which take up a fairly large part of the island’s territory and a few other colonies here and there, no doubt.
    Boa Fortuna
    Eliyahu

  15. Eliyahu says:

    What I forgot to point out above is that Portugal took Ceuta in 1415 while the Arabs/Muslims still held Granada, which we may call a colony, at least in its origin as a kingdom emerging out of the Arab-Muslim conquest of Iberia. Spain took Melilla in 1490, I think, two years before they conquered or “reconquered” Granada. So the first European colonies in an Arab or Muslim land were established while there was still an Arab/Muslim colony in Western Europe.

    Actually, we could go back to the Crusades when the Western European states, roughly speaking the Roman Catholic world, took the Levant [the coast of Syria, Lebanon, and Israel] from Arab-Muslim rule. However, these places had only been conquered by the Arabs/Muslims about 460 years before the Crusader conquest of Jerusalem in 1099. At that time, the population of the Levant –as defined above– was still a non-Muslim majority. The Crusaders themselves reduced that non-Muslim majority by slaughtering most of the Jews in Israel.

  16. Ray in Seattle says:

    Great find EG! Thanks for the Sunday morning brain workout. It’s all a good read but this is the para that seems most interesting to me.

    So perhaps people intuit that they are going to be asked to make sacrifices that won’t work and this leads them to instinctive opposition to those urging them to take climate change seriously. At this point social psychology takes over. People are determined to be consistent. Leon Festinger’s Theory of Cognitive Dissonance shows how people will desperately attempt to make facts fit the theories that they hold already. Since they do not want to accept the political agenda that is being promoted alongside the climate science, they react by rejecting the climate science itself.

    I suspect this explanation is pretty close but I’d emphasize the non-conscious nature of what’s happening. Also, I have a little problem with the cognitive dissonance thing as you know. I don’t feel so comfortable with the premise that . . people are determined to be consistent. I don’t think human brains have any trouble holding wildly unrealistic, reality-defying theories in their minds. At times it seems some people crave them and if one set of incredible beliefs is thoroughly discredited they’ll find another set as soon as they can. I’m sure we both know intelligent people who drift from one new-age religion to another every few months.

    The effect is the same in my view – and people do desperately attempt to make facts fit the theories that they hold already but I see it as the brain, at the non-conscious level, rejecting or not even considering supposed facts that threaten their strong beliefs. It’s a non-cognitive reaction like pulling your hand away from a hot pot handle. It’s more like their brain can’t possibly consider the truth of such facts but can easily accept any counter arguments – the rejection of counter-evidence and the easier acceptance of supporting evidence – in direct proportion to the emotional strength of the theory they hold. I think the intellectual brain functions at very high level in such situations – creating any possible justification for rejecting the counter-facts and replacing them with others that support their theory or agenda – but, all motivated non-consciously.

    Interestingly, this feels like objective reasoning and when we do it we strongly believe that those who disagree with us are “stupid, liars,” or my favorite, “not capable of critical thinking”. We instinctively attack the person in reaction to their threatening our identity. I think this is the way our brains work. (Our strong beliefs are a major component of who we believe ourselves to be and our species’ has evolved a need for a large tool-kit of such beliefs for our survival – and so we instinctively defend them against all threats.)

    Knowing about that part of human nature I think helps us be more objective but wherever we have a strong emotional attachment to a belief we never really know if we are being objective. I think the best approach is to keep exposing our beliefs to the test of reality. Or, you can go further and challenge people who have opposite beliefs to test yours in public debate – which I think is one of the great values of forums like this.

    That doesn’t mean that one person will win the debate and everyone will agree – hah! – but I think if you do this often enough and really try to open yourself logically to arguments that contradict your own – then you eventually will either edit your beliefs or you can justifiably become more confident in them as having some basis in reality. I think you can make judgments on the basis of the quality of the arguments offered against your own over time – even more so than expecting some definitive logical resolution.

    But as long as those strong emotions exist we’ll never be able to claim true convergence between our beliefs and reality. That convergence may actually be there but we become not qualified to judge it. Our ability to approach reality in these situations is asymptotic at best.

    Just some thoughts emerging from my first cup of coffee – that could be full of crap because over time I have developed a pretty strong emotional attachment to them. I suggest that we develop an emotional attachment to any belief that lives in our brain for a long time and becomes a useful lens for seeing the world. Thanks for posting.

  17. Ray in Seattle says:

    Immediately after my last comment I ran into this and offer it as a very good illustration of what I was trying to get at. Enjoy!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBHEsEshhLs&feature=player_embedded#

  18. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    Glad you enjoyed Finkelstein’s piece.
    Before opening your Youtube link (thanks in advance), let me point out that the recorded fact that people (at least in Western cultures) want to appear consistent does not mean that they actually are. Hence the discomfort felt when dissonant situations are acknowledged (i.e., made/become conscious).

    (O/T belated Christmas present:-) http://sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/50295/title/Trawling_the_brain )

  19. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG says, ” . .let me point out that the recorded fact that people (at least in Western cultures) want to appear consistent does not mean that they actually are.”

    I agree. We usually want to appear consistent. Western rationalism and all that. In some cultures (Arab/ME) it’s hardly important at all. How dramatically you proclaim your victimhood seems to be what really matters in winning an argument there. That’s why Israel/Jews are the “colonialists”, “imperialists” and “oppressors” who engage in “massacres” and Arabs/Muslims are always the “martyrs”.

    I attribute that difference to the Western belief that consistency means that you are smart and more likely to be believed. So we do edit our statements to “appear” that way and we avoid arguments that are too easily spotted as inconsistent. I’d also say though that the need to appear consistent is usually not as strong as the need to defend our identity beliefs against threats. If we have to make the choice we tend to go with that latter.

    Hence, someone caught in an obvious inconsistency needs other tactics. I’ve had people tell me that my views are such egregious violations of reality and all that is decent that it would be degrading to the rules of discourse for them to discuss it with me. I get that from pro-pal lefties a lot.

    The most common response though is to go ad hominem. It’s hard to point out someone’s inconsistency when they are calling you an ***hole and an idiot who lacks “critical thinking skills”. ;-)

  20. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG says, “Hence the discomfort felt when dissonant situations are acknowledged (i.e., made/become conscious). ”

    OK now here’s where I’m not so sure . . but it seems likely to me that the discomfort has more to do with being caught publicly than it does with their holding inconsistent views.

    I have often seen people react emotionally when their inconsistent views are exposed publicly – which is a form of humiliation that Westerners would experience. And their reactions are often what you’d expect in response to humiliation. i.e. anger, ad hominems, etc.

    I have seldom heard of people anguishing privately over discovering inconsistencies in their own beliefs. I doubt that happens very much because our minds protect us from seeing those inconsistencies. What have you observed along these lines if I could ask?

  21. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    Many inconsistencies are discovered in public situations (even when the public is the research assistant/polling agent facing the individual). But I confess I’ve been embarrassed by my very own self discovering my inconsistencies… And I know I’m not alone. As Charlie E. put it, it’s a cultural thing.

    And yes, it can be humiliating, and it does often give way to emotional reactions (rationalization instead of rationality), in order to make the dissonance disappear. Unless we accept that we sometimes hold incompatible, even contradictory values or opinions, or beliefs simultaneously. And that, to some extent, once we’ve realised that this is the case, we can clarify things. Still, internal conflict is more often the rule than the exception.

  22. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational” provides a lot of examples and explanations.

  23. Sergio says:

    Elyahu,

    And what about that fantastic medieval tale of a “Prester John” leading a christian kingdom in Africa or something?

    Regarding Europe, they still seem to have a problem with the Jews, particularly from a lef-wing perspective; besides the proverbial “schadenfreude”, I guess many europeans find it liberating to “criticize” jews (whoops, that is zionism) to alleviate the burden of the holocaust from their shoulders. And, quite frankly, given the pathetic and ridiculous record of european history, it is quite amazing they take themselves so seriously.

    Now, Spain is quite a case, isn’t it? The inventors of racial antisemitism ‘avant la lettre’, with their “limpieza de sangre”, a decadent empire with the ill resolved issue of a bloody civil war, still they claim to be the judges of morality. They would be more credible and consistent if they immediatly returned the stolen Andalusia to their “rightfull owners” first.

    All the best,

  24. Cynic says:

    E.G.,

    OK now here’s where I’m not so sure . . but it seems likely to me that the discomfort has more to do with being caught publicly than it does with their holding inconsistent views.

    If you will permit my subjective reason. It is not the publicity but the fact of losing (damn if only I’d put a 2 instead of a 7 %”>*&#*##@) that is upsetting.
    In my case I will acknowledge the facts, I will not reject them, I will not try and change them to conform to my narrative but I will not be very happy about it and not necessarily graceful about it either :-).

    My experience is that the more I lie to myself the deeper it gets.
    Does that make me different? Don’t answer.

  25. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    We usually want to appear consistent. Western rationalism and all that.

    I think that rationalism went West when Derrida appeared on the scene.
    Nothing seems to be rational anymore because everything has become relative.

  26. Cynic says:

    I should have said that it appears that we even deconstruct on a micro level – “depends what ‘is’ is”.

  27. Cynic says:

    Sergio,

    It seems that those “ill resolved issues” are hidden behind the façade of morality as they project their sins onto others.

  28. Cynic says:

    E.G.,

    Re your link to “Trawling the Salmon” in #19 above. Is this a type of Climategate deja vu?

    An Atlantic salmon that responded to human emotions would have been an astounding discovery, guaranteeing publication in a top-tier journal and a life of scientific glory for the researchers. Except for one thing. The fish was dead.

    Would there have been all that lovely moolah from “trap and trade” as well?

  29. E.G. says:

    Hey Cynic,

    The dead fish was for Ray (and I wasn’t even trying to emulate Rahm!). fMRI is the new thermometer in town.
    It’s a nice toy but…

  30. E.G. says:

    Search “magical thinking”.

  31. Ray in Seattle says:

    Hey, it’s always fun to get dead fish thrown my way. ;-)

  32. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    Remind me to test your coherence by sending you a few dead fish for your next Christmas tree. A Red Herring will be particularly nice, don’t you think?

  33. Eliyahu says:

    Ray, I basically agree with your #17. But I think that there is a constant interplay between the conscious and the unconscious. I think that “cognitive dissonance” works as it does because of the unconscious emotional attachments to ideas, notions, thoughts, and beliefs.
    Cognitive dissonance produces an emotional strain which, as you suggest, becomes more intense the more strongly held a belief is –and the more strongly it is challenged.

    Yes, man is not a rational creature. Capable of reason, yes. But not always rational. Maybe not even rational or reasonable most of the time.

    The problem is that mindbending is a practice of many world govts. And I think that the UK is a master of such practice. The UK govt, through the bbc and other media, promotes beliefs among the public that it desires, all the while overtly seeming to either oppose or not share the promoted notion. So people there may perceive their govt as opposing or promoting the opposite of what it promotes. This is a very clever
    way of promoting overtly unacceptable or dubious or immoral notions. For example, and this is what bothers me, UK media like to claim or insinuate that the “Israel Lobby” or “neocons” or “Jewish neocons” or a “neocon cabal” forced the US and UK into war against poor Saddam Hussein in Iraq, who was a hero of Arab national [pan-Arab] liberation, etc. But the UK govt itself doesn’t say that and indeed Blair and his faction in the cabinet and Commons wanted to go to war. Likewise, Bush and his administration wanted to go into Iraq, rightly or wrongly. But since the war was unpopular, or, in the USA, became unpopular, it became an easy way out to blame it on “Jewish neocons” working for Israel. John Mearsheimer, who did so much to spread such beliefs, admitted their falsehood in an interview on NPR. He said that when Israel [Sharon was PM at the time, 2002] found out about the plan to attack Iraq, Israeli officials sought to persuade the Bush administration that it would be better attack Iran, if the US was going to attack anybody, since Iran was more dangerous, more likely to be able to produce a functioning nuclear bomb, etc. The Israelis could not persuade the Bush crowd. Be that as it may, 2 points emerge: 1- Israel learned of the decision to attack Saddam Hussein and produce regime change after the decision had been made; 2- Israel could not persuade the Bush crowd that Iran would be a better target than Iraq. Mearsheimer attested in this NPR interview as I wrote above. None of this kept him from repeating the “Jewish neocon” cabal or the “Israel Lobby”-controls-DC argument subsequently. As we know, it appears in his book, The Israel Lobby. So he is a conscious liar. Nevertheless, from reading various American and British websites and blogs, especially the basically anonymous comments, I note that many many people believe in the Jewish conspiracy theory or the notion that the Israel Lobby controls DC. All that Obama and Mitchell and Hilary say or have said about Israel and the conflicts that it is in and what Israel must do make no effect on many many True Believers in what I will call the walt-mearsheimer theory. Obama’s Cairo speech, so warmly pro-Arab, pro-Muslim, so lukewarm towards Israel, does not change their belief in Jewish or Israeli control of White House policy.

    Anyhow, the danger is the unreason running rampant nowadays, covertly encouraged by govts.

  34. Cynic says:

    E.G.,

    The dead fish was for Ray (and I wasn’t even trying to emulate Rahm!). fMRI is the new thermometer in town.
    It’s a nice toy but…

    What’s the f for? faux?

  35. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    It stands for functional.
    But do look up “magical thinking” – it may provide some insights.

  36. Ray in Seattle says:

    Eliyahu, Thanks for your reply. Such comments (and similar from others) are one reason why I think this is the best forum on the web. You say,

    But I think that there is a constant interplay between the conscious and the unconscious. I think that “cognitive dissonance” works as it does because of the unconscious emotional attachments to ideas, notions, thoughts, and beliefs.
    Cognitive dissonance produces an emotional strain which, as you suggest, becomes more intense the more strongly held a belief is –and the more strongly it is challenged. . . Yes, man is not a rational creature. Capable of reason, yes. But not always rational. Maybe not even rational or reasonable most of the time.

    I couldn’t have said it better. I explain this strain between the rational and the emotional by positing a brain that is driven by emotion signals that induce behavior. I define reasoning as a behavior that can be induced for various purposes – but, like any other behaviors, always to improve the net emotional outcome – making us feel better. One common purpose is . .

    a) solving survival problems rationally. Another is . .

    b) justifying behavior that may seem questionable to others (but increases our net emotional benefit anyway). This is rationalizing, as in, “I took the candy because I didn’t have any and he had so much. It wasn’t fair. I was seeking justice”.

    I think most of us have little problem using the former for problems for which we have no strong emotional stake – like figuring out how to work the TV clicker.

    And some, like (most) scientists and (some) academics, spend a lot of time in rational pursuits for its own sake. But I suggest that is because they have spent much of their lives developing a strong emotional attachment to scientific objectivity. And so they have become a “scientist” – an identity that includes that characteristic. They become strongly motivated emotionally to honor that identity which includes a very formalized and consistent use of reason in their work and an attempt to guard against emotional conclusions. That’s the key, I think. Our strongest beliefs become part of our identity and become determinative in behavior decisions where our identity is threatened.

    This explanation may not be accurate at all. But it does give me a conceptual framework for understanding some things, like behavior in conflict. I believe that in conflict our identity is most threatened (our life is the most salient component of it) and the brain approaches a psychological state whereby reason can only be harnessed to justify the harm we cause to our opponent or to think of even more effective ways to harm him. It becomes almost impossible to ask ourselves if there is not a more peaceful way to end the conflict.

    This is not black and white of course – and some societies have nurtured an emotional attachment to the idea of peace over war. (It becomes a component of their cultural identity.) Those societies will be able to avoid hostilities in some cases. But if their opponent has no such emotional attachment to peace – and instead embraces and glorifies war and violence and the humiliation of their enemies (their cultural identity) the only resolution may be war to the end.

    This is where cognitive egocentrism becomes a deadly burden for the more peaceful society and a weapon for the more warlike. The peaceful society may have to decide at some point to either deny its own identity and turn to all-out war or face destruction at the hands of its enemy – who is honoring their cultural identity to the fullest and is therefore wholly committed to its destruction.

    Cognitive egocentrism causes the peaceful society to underestimate the fierceness of the hate their opponent holds for them while it cause their warlike opponent to see any reluctance to wage war as a weakness that can be exploited and assures their victory over their target who is reluctant to robustly defend themselves.

    Well, so much for your first two paragraphs. I need to think a while about the rest.

  37. Ray in Seattle says:

    Barry Rubin is one of my favorite writers/thinkers on the ME conflict. In this latest article I think he illustrates just how powerful identity beliefs can be – even in the minds of professional experts who supposedly are not affected by such things. He suggests, “Perhaps the problem is that they are experts on “terrorism” but don’t really understand Middle East politics”. I think Barry suffers from the common Western tendency to explain such anomalies as the result of inadequate cognition.

    The cognition was actually functioning at high-capacity – creating justifications for the conclusion demanded by their identity beliefs. I’d suggest that in this case they have two beliefs that compose important parts of their identity,

    a) they like to see themselves as experts paid to analyze events rationally and objectively while disregarding emotional factors in their conclusions. Their checks confirm for them their apparent success – but their employers are really paying them to confirm their (the employers’) own cognitive egocentrism.

    b) they therefore have acquired that belief – that people in ME Arab societies would respond just as any westerner would to the same existential challenges and opportunities.

    I suggest that a) and b) together virtually guarantee that their rather weak identification with rational objectivity as a component of their identity – which is worn as a decoration more than held as a conviction – will have almost no effect on their conclusions.

    Theirs’ is probably not the cognitive egocentrism of West-hating lefties which is more a weapon they wage in their politics – but a more honest professional one, similar to that held by many journalists – a world-view/conceit that helps them believe that they understand the world better than their readers for whom such deep topics are “beyond reach”.

    And so, when inexplicable behavior needs explaining – non-consciously they don’t notice, they discount, they actively ignore – the glaring evidence that contradicts their cognitive egocentrism – the mental construct with which they assure their career and future income. I’d say that subscribing to such beliefs feels very good for them on several levels.

    BTW – I bet I know who Rubin’s reader was who “sent me an article asking me if it made me feel like laughing or crying.”

  38. Ray in Seattle says:

    Eliyahu, I have re-read that part of your comment starting at: “The problem is that mindbending is a practice of many world govts.”

    I can’t find anything in there I disagree with. Your last sentence however, where you attempt to explain the cause of it all does create some unease: “Anyhow, the danger is the unreason running rampant nowadays, covertly encouraged by govts.”

    And here too I think you, like Rubin, have been swayed by the cognicentric paradigm whereby “reason” is responsible for behavior. And whereby self-destructive reality-defying behavior is the result of “poor reasoning”.

    And again, I’d suggest that it is instead caused by strong identity beliefs subjugating the intellectual power of “reason” to rationalize and justify those beliefs, spread them to others and act on them.

    As you said, many people hold those beliefs about Israel. John Mearsheimer holds them very strongly. He used his intellect to concoct a book about them. I suggest he had no doubt about the truth of what he wrote. Such is the power of strong beliefs. It doesn’t cripple “reason” in the mind but harnesses it in support of those beliefs.

    I see this as a largely non-conscious process which is where I may differ a bit from Stu’s thesis. The effect is much the same as the “cognitive war” that Stu proposes. But I see little overt deception at the strategic level – no coordinated conspiracy at high levels. It’s probably attempted at times but other Arab cultural beliefs make those unlikely.

    There certainly is deception at the tactical level. Mearsheimer is a true believer in the “evil that is Israel” – Carter perhaps in the “Innocence of the poor Arab”. There is no outrageous interpretation of reality either would not harness in support of those beliefs while being certain they are supported by the soundest logic – logic arising from their own minds. And it would feel to them just like what they imagine “critical thinking” feels like.

    At the cultural level, transformations such as those required for true Israel / Arab peace, usually require a seriously life-threatening, life-ending, life-changing cultural calamity. This would be like being utterly defeated in war and left with nothing but a physical and moral wasteland like Germany was at the end of WWII. Germany and Japan are no longer racist totalitarian powers; they are both peaceful democracies. Unfortunately, it took some 48.2 million deaths to get there.

    There may be measures short of those that could bring about such a cultural transformation in the Arab world. But that would require me to pretend that they would behave like Westerners in a similar situation – that they actually see peace as a worthwhile alternative to War With the Jews. No matter how much I’d like to buy into the cognitive egocentrism that would justify that view – I doubt it.

    There is some possibility that decades of ever worsening results for them will eventually cause them to give up on their Quixotic goals and become docile toward Israel. Unfortunately, the West is insulating them from much if the consequences in the name of humanitarian concerns – which will only prolong the “resistance”.

    But if such a fanciful transformation ever took place Arab Muslims would then use their “reason” to support the beliefs about Israel that the new reality would demand – because they would then be a different people than they now are.

    But you will need to appeal to much more than their “reason” to get there. Such a weak behavior-influencing force has no chance at all against strongly-held cultural identity beliefs such as those held by the John Mearsheimers and Jimmy Carters of the West. And their beliefs give at least token support to the notion that peace is better than war. Reason has even less effect against the stronger beliefs of Palestinain Arabs and most of the Arab / Muslim world that see peace with one’s enemies (except by victory and their subjugation) as a humiliation that must be rectified no matter how long it takes.

    I’m writing this not to argue with you about human nature but because I see appeals to “reason” directed at Israel’s enemies or attributing Israel’s dilemma to the “poor reasoning skills” of her enemies – as misdirected and counter-productive – and because I think that open discussion of these views, even if I’m wrong, will be beneficial somehow.

  39. E.G. says:

    Double standards is an example of inconsistency.
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3832631,00.html

  40. Cynic says:

    E.G.,

    It stands for functional.

    So an ordinary MRI so loved by House is not?

    As for magical thinking the evil eye ptu, ptu, ptu must be appeased.
    For automagically occurring incidents the davka word is applied.
    And now a potion for those filters if you please? Inshallah?

  41. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    From your #40 comment:

    And here too I think you, like Rubin, have been swayed by the cognicentric paradigm whereby “reason” is responsible for behavior. And whereby self-destructive reality-defying behavior is the result of “poor reasoning”.

    I find this can be applied to the Climategate business in which many are shocked in that they expected the “scientists” to apply reason according to ‘scientific method’ to the data, whereas it was a case of the data being applied to reason (if you’ll permit that prose-etic license).

    I think it was Ludvig Fleck said something about truth and belief; something akin to:
    Observations can be altered by belief and some with a strong belief will see their observations as reinforcing that belief even if others don’t find it so.
    (This seems so elementary from daily experience with people and young children in particular :-))

    So it seems that some people will accept that the first observation may be a little imprecise but the next and following observations are adjusted (now what was that term used by the CRU crowd?) until the established behaviour, the formative effect on the mind and intimacy create acceptance for the new awareness

  42. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    With regard to people like Mearsheimer and Goldstone, for that matter, there is no integrity.
    They are out for the promised spoils.
    Likewise the media produces stuff like all those distortions about Palin for example. Nothing truthful but purely to hurt and assuage their angst.

  43. Eliyahu says:

    Ray, thanks for your thoughtful replies. However, I think you have misinterpreted or misunderstood me in paragraphs 2 & 3 of your comment #40.

    I believe that emotion usually trumps reason. As to unreason, I believe that unreason is deliberately fostered by govts that are interested in having an ignorant, feeling but unthinking rabble as their subjects, rather than knowledgeable, thinking citizens. That’s one reason for why education has so much declined in various Western countries over the past 50 years. So the danger is the attempt of various and sundry govts to make their populations more susceptible to emotional appeals, more easily herded by demagogues, more easily incited, manipulated, led about by the nose and so on. I agree with you on the primacy of emotion as a driver of behavior. That is part of the reason why certain govts want a population that is ignorant and largely incapable of reasoning. The policy of working towards that goal has succeeded to a large extent, I believe. Unreason is a great danger, as I said. But it has increased over the years because it has been fostered in various and sundry lands by govt policies, in my not so humble opinion.

    Now, as to jimmy carter and mearsheimer. I think that carter is like a cunning snake. Don’t trust him. Don’t turn your back on him. I think that he knows that he lies but does his lying out of deep-seated emotional impulses and attitudes/passions. He would hate Israel even without the big bucks that he gets from Arab govts and rich Arab individuals.

    Likewise, mearsheimer knows that he lies. He is a professional political scientist, formerly highly regarded in his field. He was also a State Dept consultant. The State Dept has policies that it wants to promote in the Middle East. So it was convenient that Mearsheimer and Walt write a book [or "non-book"] that promotes those policies. The w-m tract, “The Israel Lobby,” got a lot of negative reviews, even from academics who don’t like Israel. In my opinion, the State Dept has had a pro-Arab policy in regard to Israel for many many years, at least since 1947. The notion that Israel or a pro-Israeli lobby controls US policy toward Israel is ridiculous. I could pile up dozens of events, policies, official statements, and official acts and covert acts of US govt departments and agencies that show that US policy is indeed hostile to Israel [Consider: "Settlements are an obstacle to peace"]. But many people really believe in what the walt-mearsheimer tract says, implies and insinuates and will continue to do so, because, as you suggest, they are personally/emotionally invested in such beliefs. I should point out that the w-m argument is also a long-standing neo-Nazi position, that is, to claim that the US govt is ZOG ["Zionist Occupied Government"]. This is a form of paranoia that is useful for policymakers. Now, ignorant people, incapable of reason are dangerous if they are successfully formed into a mob. You get the point, I’m sure.

    In the case of the two “analysts” that Rubin discusses, it seems that they may be motivated by vanity and/or what they perceive as US foreign policy needs.

  44. Eliyahu says:

    continuing #45:

    I think that cutesy foolosophies like post-modernism aid in the process of fostering unreason. PoMo is very fashionable now among academics. So don’t look to the academy for reason or the reasonable.

  45. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic says, “I find this can be applied to the Climategate business in which many are shocked in that they expected the “scientists” to apply reason according to ’scientific method’ to the data, whereas it was a case of the data being applied to reason (if you’ll permit that prose-etic license).

    I’m not sure I follow your argument but I think you are saying that AGW is an example of scientists’ emotions overcoming their reason.

    I’m no climate scientist so I can’t look at the raw data myself and expect to draw any conclusions. I have looked at the conclusions and predictions of a pretty wide range of respected scientific organizations who have looked at the data.

    I could certainly be wrong, but my sense is that the great majority of such respected scientific bodies have reached a pretty solid consensus that . .

    a) the earth is warming unusually fast

    b) this is probably being caused by human activity

    c) this will cause some serious problems

    d) we should try to mitigate the problems if we can

    It’s possible they could all be wrong. No-one can actually predict the future with 100% accuracy. And I admit that I have an emotional bias in favor of the predictions of respected scientists. I would mention though that scientists’ predictions do seem to hold up better than politicians’ and those who gain or lose money from their decisions.

    I do find it quite unbelievable that the world’s most respected scientists and climatologists are engaged in some global conspiracy to increase taxes and poverty and slow the growth of free-world economies for some sinister reason.

    I am much less sure about what and how much we should try to do about it. But a prudent tax-paying voter must weigh the probabilities as he sees them and act accordingly. Time will tell how right or wrong the scientists are. I can guarantee you though that the universe won’t give a damn either way ;-)

  46. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    see:
    http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110010763

    and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period

    Now, the medieval warm period was not man made, was it? Or do you think Gothic Cathedrals somehow have an influence on the sun?

    My problem with Gorebal Warmening is first and foremost the attribution of a cyclic phenomenon occurrence to Human activity (causality), quite similar to what a millennium ago was happening to some women (witches) and Jews (plague spreading).

  47. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, You say that you object to the attribution to human activity of cyclic effects. If you look at the graf at the Wiki link you offered me I notice two things just at the first glance.

    a) The Medieval warming following a rise of about .4 deg C over about a thousand years.

    b) The current warming seems to be about .8 deg C over about 100 years with models showing a continuous climb at about the that same rate.

    Medieval rate (MR) = .0004 deg C/yr

    Current rate (CR) = .008 deg C/yr

    CR = MR * 20

    Or, the current climate change rate is 20 times what the world experienced during the Medieval warming – which scientific studies have shown was a N Atlantic phenomena, not a global temperature change as we are seeing today. Still, I think that people who live cities along coasts today would be quite happy facing what the Vikings had to deal with and the amount of time they had to adjust.

    OTOH I have no expertise on this so my lay opinion based on a Wiki graph doesn’t mean squat. I’m just looking at the graph you linked me to. A climate scientist might say my analysis was naive. A very interesting Wiki page I found by searching for “Climate Change Consensus” states:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_consensus

    Climate Change Consensus describes the public debate over whether there is a scientific consensus on climate change.

    According to the results of a questionnaire-based statistical survey published by the University of Illinois, 97% of the actively publishing climate scientists agree that human activity, such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation, is a significant contributing factor to global climate change[1], and the overwhelming majority of scientists who work on climate change agree on the main points[2][3][4][5]. Environmental organizations, many governmental reports, and most of the non-U.S. media[citation needed] agree with the scientific opinion on climate change, which substantiates human-caused global warming. While there is a high degree of consensus within the scientific community regarding the causes, there is no unanimity regarding the specific consequences of this warming.[citation needed]

    However, many are unaware of the consensus[6], and some deny there is a scientific consensus[7], dismiss it altogether[8][9], and/or highlight the dangers of focusing on only one viewpoint in the context of what they claim to be ‘unsettled’ science.[10][11][12] Others maintain that US government scientists have been stifled or driven underground.[13]

    In addition, recently,

    In October 2009, the leaders of 18 US scientific societies and organizations sent an open letter to members of the United States Senate stating, “Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.”[70] The letter goes on to warn of predicted impacts on the United States such as sea level rise and increases in extreme weather events, water scarcity, heat waves, wildfires, and the disturbance of biological systems. It then advocates for a dramatic reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases.

    The letter was signed by the Presidents or Executive Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Meteorological Society, American Society of Agronomy, American Society of Plant Biologists, American Statistical Association, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, Botanical Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Ecological Society of America, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Society of Systematic Biologists, Soil Science Society of America, and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.[71]

    I note your skepticism but based on the significant consensus of scientific opinion and the fact that most denialists claims have been effectively refuted makes me stick with my opinion that there is a pretty high probability that the consensus in favor of AGW as a threat to be seriously considered is correct.

    I also think this public dispute offers a rich data set for discussions about belief, reason and emotion.

  48. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    Have you seen (UK Channel 4)”The Great Global Warming Swindle”?
    If not, google it.
    I have no expertise (or enough knowledge) in the area, but some issues raised in the film (including the consensus) made a few bulbs flicker in my mind.

    And I think that calling this controversy “public” is not exactly describing the social phenomenon. At least not on this side of the pond.

    P.S. Glad you ended up finding out how to use the blockquote instruction!

  49. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    I’m not sure I follow your argument but I think you are saying that AGW is an example of scientists’ emotions overcoming their reason.

    Very much so.
    To be blunt the “scientists” involved in climategate had to prove AGW! It becomes very emotional when considering the money, tenure etc., and maybe after being immersed in the lie for so long they came to believe it (wasn’t it Goebbels who said something about telling a lie many times …?)

    From doctoring the data, omitting data, choosing data to fit the narrative etc., into accusing skeptics of being “deniers”, talk about becoming religious.

    It really started having repercussions way back in 2003 when Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick started analysing the graph that Mann et al produced and discovered that they could input any rubbish and get the same result even though Mann refused to disclose the computer program and data used to produce it.

  50. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    I’m no climate scientist so I can’t look at the raw data myself and expect to draw any conclusions.

    That’s what some skeptical scientists wanted to do but the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia that built the IPCC’s case of Gorebal Warmening AGW destroyed the raw data they had used when confronted with the British equivalent of freedom of access to info, after they had refused access to that data for some time.

  51. Cynic says:

    E.G,

    P.S. Glad you ended up finding out how to use the blockquote instruction!

    Please give some instructions cause I always seem to mess that up.

    Ray,

    There has been a lot of criticism of the data depending from where it was obtained. The earth bound stations have been shown to be badly situated, and not evenly distributed around the globe, in so called urban “heat islands” the more trusted is now coming from satellite readings.
    Hansen and NASA have been discredited from that point of view.

    There are a lot of links to find more accurate data.
    Here’s one
    German Physicists Trash Global Warming “Theory”

    In a recently revised and re-published paper, Dr Gerlich debunks AGW and shows that the IPCC “consensus” atmospheric physics model tying CO2 to global warming is not only unverifiable, but actually violates basic laws of physics, i.e. the First and Second Law of Thermodynamics. The latest version of this momentous scientific paper appears in the March 2009 edition of the International Journal of Modern Physics.

    The link to the pdf doc.

  52. E.G. says:

    Elementary, my dear Cynic!

    Instead of i or b put blockquote (at the beginning and at the end of the quoted text) with the usual “grammar”.

  53. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, EG: I would prefer to believe that AGW was not happening and that there was no threat. Also, I do not want to get into an argument about the scientific justification for or against because I am not qualified.

    That leaves me to observe the political battle that rages. It is similar to some others. It works something like this:

    a) Scientists develop a consensus on a topic that may require a governmental policy to deal with it.

    b) Those policies may affect the profitability of some segments of the economy.

    c) There soon appears several well-funded “grass roots” pseudo-scientific orgs that claim the science is faulty, that scientists are liberal dupes, etc.

    d) The RW blogosphere sees an opportunity to join the battle and increase their relevance and click-throughs.

    e) Soon every RW gadfly worth their salt has become an “expert” on the science of global warming and can quote lengthy passages from each other and provide links to essays that “prove that Gorebal Warmening” is a hoax . . just like they could prove other examples of Al Gore’s vast evil character such as Gore said that he discovered Love Canal, invented the Internet, etc.

    f) Some scientists are attacked and their reputation threatened by politically driven groups.

    g) They react defensively and some of them attack back which brings the dispute fully into the political realm.

    h) “Scandals” appear that are claimed to completely destroy the scientific consensus.

    i) Soon the public is confused, afraid and doesn’t know what to think. The politicians see there is no public consensus and so they avoid any sensible actions that might mitigate the problems, leaving it for the next administration, etc.

    These are much the same dynamics that have been used in the past to derail health care reform, shut down restrictions on tobacco sales, prevent higher mileage requirements on new cars, regulate the financial industry (as in derivatives) . . basically all the RW causes.

    My (admittedly not thorough) examination of this particular political battle tells me that it is very much part of the same dynamic and is being pursued for the same political (and psychological) reasons. If it walks like a duck, etc. However, I may be wrong, as anyone who takes an objective position must accept. I am therefore open to counter evidence.

    There is a great deal of politically driven justification from the anti-warming right for their position. You have provided some links to this already but you’ve just scratched the surface. If you really wish to convince me that your thesis is credible (you seem to want to do that) that won’t work. You must show me some real scientific evidence that is carefully and obviously untainted by such motives. And it must be of significantly greater import and gravity than that listed in the consensus that I linked to. i.e. I’m looking for documented scientific credibility for your position, not to pretend I can evaluate the arguments myself and reach some conclusion. I wouldn’t spend too much time looking for it though as my experience so far tells me there is not much.

    So, why don’t we talk about the psychology of identity belief that drives such disputes. It is the same as that driving the anti-Israel politics in the West and I find that much more interesting.

  54. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    The only interesting thing I found out regarding Gorebal Warmening (except that brilliant expression) is the explanation for the emergence of Gothic Cathedrals – their present chilliness is hard to understand without acknowledging the outside heat at the time, combined with the Church’s zeal and the epidemics and famines. Otherwise, I’m quite impermeable to the highly politicised and financial-driven discourse. Probably because I’m quite familiar with the false consensus phenomenon.

  55. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG says, “I’m quite impermeable to the highly politicised and financial-driven discourse.”

    Are you? Your delight with the “brilliant expression” suggests otherwise. ;-)

  56. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    So now PC implies culpability about aesthetic judgement?
    Wow, that’s even below Eurabian lows!

  57. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    There’s a difference between conformity and credence.

  58. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, I hope you take this branch of the discussion as playfully and un-seriously as I am. I am surely not playing any PC card and wouldn’t even if I was serious.

    Perhaps it’s just coincidental that your aesthetic tastes find their deepest satisfaction in the mocking of the foremost spokesman in support of AGW science.

    I think if I was taking your position though I’d avoid mentioning it so as to keep the discussion as unemotional and fact-based as possible. Instead you seem to delight in repeatedly tossing it out there. That seems more like what someone would do who felt a threat to their ideological beliefs and was defending them.

    I guess because of my perspective about how the emotionally-driven brain defends its identity beliefs I’ve learned to watch for these red-flags. But as you say, maybe I’m seeing red-flags when they really aren’t there. ;-)

  59. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    I confess I have a strong emotional attraction for bons mots and brilliant neologisms (some mistakenly assume it’s an intellectual penchant but they’re unfamiliar with Serotonin neurotransmission processes).

    I’m glad you’re not colour-blind, and use many of your identity-believed skills to identify the beliefs connoting delight between my monochromatic lines.
    You really should follow the exchanges between Cynic and me more closely if you wish to complete your vexillological study.
    :-D

  60. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    With regard to your #55, there never was a consensus about AGW.
    Those scientists who were skeptical in the beginning started feeling the heat in lost grants etc., because it was already politicized in the shape of the IPCC and groups like Enron hoping to score of the “Cap & Trade”.

    It wasn’t several well-funded “grass roots” pseudo-scientific orgs that claim the science is faulty but well known scientists in the field who were skeptical of the claims. There never was a consensus to start with.

    And of course Al Gore had jump in and start selling junk Carbon Credits/Offsets playing on the fears of the masses. This only aggravated the situation when it became apparent that this was selling indulgences.

  61. Cynic says:

    Forgive me for I have sinned. I forgot to explain that for many of us this was where Al became the Reverend Al.

  62. Ray in Seattle says:

    Guys. I take no personal offense at the mocking. I’m only pointing out that if you want to make a case against AGW, it would be a stronger case if you presented some evidence that was not politically tainted / motivated. It’s as if I were to argue in support same-sex-marriage by saying that Sarah Palin is a vile homophobe. It’s a non sequitur that makes my opinion irrelevant to anyone looking for a rational argument.

    Here’s an interesting diavlog I viewed on the topic. It’s interesting to see how both of them are motivated by their ideology – to me anyway. I think I understand better the anti-AGW side after watching it.

    http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/25282

    David Corn and James Pinkerton are both writers and spokesman for their (liberal / conservative) ideology. They both send up lots of red flags and both their arguments are grounded in ideology more than facts.

    Still, Pinkerton makes a good point IMO re: nuclear energy. David’s main point is the same as I was stating here – it seems very unlikely to me that all these scientists are engaged in a conspiracy to slow economic progress in the West. After watching this I see now that the conspiracy you fear is more nuanced. It is that liberals ideologically hate consumption and so are eager (not troubled anyway) to sacrifice consumption (economic growth and prosperity) for the sake of reduced global warming.

    See, these are the real beliefs that the ideologues on each side are promoting or defending. The science is a side-show. The ideologues could care less about the science and have little or no ability to understand it but they use it to make ideological points – because our culture venerates science – it arouses emotions in us – and so it becomes a useful (emotional) weapon. As do shots at Al Gore for the more conservatively inclined.

    If you really are interested in the scientific justification for GW and AGW spend some time here. You will find layers of careful procedures that guarantee as far as possible the consideration of all credible data with a special effort to make sure any data that questions the consensus is fully and fairly evaluated. This is how real science is done:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/

  63. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    I’m not mocking you. Just trying to point out where the cynicism comes from because what was supposed to prove AGW has proved to be deception, omission and exaggeration.
    The ridiculous was reached when the EPA declared CO2 to be a pollutant; the food of plants and thus all other life on earth.
    The blatant hypocrisy of many and the utter gall to think that for a few dollars they could grant absolution.

  64. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, Please read this carefully. I did not think you were mocking me. You were mocking Al Gore. And I have no problem with that. Really.

    You do not understand science. Science does not “prove” anything. Science deals in probabilities and tries to establish those probabilities through methods and procedures that filter out ideological beliefs and allow us to get as close as possible to objective reality. The IPCC report doesn’t prove anything. It is all about probabilities.

    I don’t think you (or anyone else) has “proved” that the IPCC report is “deception, omission and exaggeration”. I don’t think there’s been any credible case made for that by anyone. The arguments against it are ideological – although some of those have been made to seem scientific (of course).

    All credible scientific evidence that contradicts the published findings of the report were considered in producing report. To claim that the report is “deception, omission and exaggeration” you need to show that they deceptively omitted evidence and exaggerated their results. Please give me a link to your best evidence of this. Note: Saying that Reverend Al believes in AGW and he’s a known liar is not evidence ;-)

    You say that “The ridiculous was reached when the EPA declared CO2 to be a pollutant; the food of plants and thus all other life on earth.”

    Let me explain. We have a law, the Clean Air Act. It states:

    §7251(a)(1) of the CAA: The administrator shall prescribe by regulation standards applicable to the emission of any air pollutant from any class or classes of new motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines, which in his judgment cause, or contribute to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.

    The USSC held that the EPA’s only wiggle room under this statutory command was to decide whether carbon dioxide either caused or contributed to air pollution in ways that endangered public health. Otherwise it had no discretion to back off. And it is hard to deny that carbon dioxide might contribute something to global warming.

    Arguments based on the fact that CO2 is food for plants are therefore not logically relevant.

    Cynic: “The blatant hypocrisy of many and the utter gall to think that for a few dollars they could grant absolution.”

    Cap and trade is a legislative suggestion for reducing the effects of GNG pollution. The idea of absolution is a trope of those ideologically opposed to GNG regulation by any means..

  65. E.G. says:

    Well, we observe a self-appointed and selective Church (Scientific Supreme Authority) that behaves like its 17th Century model vis-à-vis what it suspects to be heresy (see: Galileo). The common Human being, scientifically challenged (as the saying goes) inter alia thanks to the efforts made by the Supreme Authority’s colleagues during the last years, is given the choice between converting to the new Green religion, or merely conforming to its dictates. Otherwise – s/he’s an outcast, a horrid denier (and note the conjunction with Shoah denial).
    Welcome to the post-scientific era, where questioning is Verboten. Where there’s only one hypothesis to be confirmed, and any other evidence silenced. Thou shalt not publish anything out of (the Party’s/Church’s line.
    And this is only the Academic political arena.
    The National and International ones, using taxpayers’ money to finance and fund policies advocated by the GoreBaal Churches is yet another issue.

    So if Ray opines that it’s my emotional attachment to scientific (Galilean-inspired) norms and values that drives my thinking – let him opine. Whatever he means by “identity-beliefs” pushing any other kind of beliefs via some unspecified transmitters is a lovely metaphor at best. The point is that there’s no real debate, no veritable controversy. There’s a doctrine being shoved uncritically into people’s minds and directing their behavioural patterns. People are being told that unless they do this and that, it’s Apocalypse tomorrow.

  66. Ray in Seattle says:

    I’m trying to help you make your case but you won’t have any of it. Here’s some more help ;-)

    Statement by Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
    Change on stolen emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University
    of East Anglia, United Kingdom

    Bern, 4. December 2009

    Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) firmly stands
    behind the conclusions of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, the community of researchers
    and its individuals providing the scientific basis, and the procedures of IPCC Assessments.
    Comments on blogs and in the media about the contents of a large number of private emails stolen
    from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, have questioned
    both the validity of the key findings of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) and the integrity
    of its authors. IPCC WGI condemns the illegal act which led to private emails being posted on the
    Internet and firmly stands by the findings of the AR4 and by the community of researchers worldwide
    whose professional standards and careful scientific work over many years have provided the basis for
    these conclusions.

    The key finding of IPCC AR4, “The warming in the climate system is unequivocal [...] “, is based on
    measurements made by many independent institutions worldwide that demonstrate significant
    changes on land, in the atmosphere, the ocean and in the ice-covered areas of the Earth. Through
    further, independent scientific work involving statistical methods and a range of different climate
    models, these changes have been detected as significant deviations from natural climate variability
    and have been attributed to the increase of greenhouse gases.

    The body of evidence is the result of the careful and painstaking work of hundreds of scientists
    worldwide. The internal consistency from multiple lines of evidence strongly supports the work of the
    scientific community, including those individuals singled out in these email exchanges, many of whom
    have dedicated their time and effort to develop these findings in teams of Lead Authors within the
    production of the series of IPCC Assessment Reports during the past 20 years.

    The IPCC assessment process is designed to ensure consideration of all relevant scientific
    information from established journals with robust peer review processes, or from other sources which
    have undergone robust and independent peer review. The entire report writing process of the IPCC is
    subjected to extensive and repeated review by experts as well as by governments. Consequently,
    there is full opportunity for experts in the field to draw attention to any piece of published literature
    and its basic findings that would ensure inclusion of a wide range of views.

    In compliance with the procedures of IPCC, the conclusions of AR4 have undergone scrutiny in the
    form of several stages of reviews by peers and governments, have been revised and refined to take
    into account these review comments, and have finally been approved word by word by the
    governments of the world.

    Every layer in the process (including large author teams, extensive and multi-step reviews,
    independent monitoring of review compliance, and plenary approval by governments) plays a major
    role in keeping IPCC assessments comprehensive, unbiased, open to the identification of new
    relevant literature, and policy relevant but not policy prescriptive. Therefore, no individual scientist in the IPCC assessment process is in a position to change the conclusions, or to exclude relevant peerreviewed papers and scientific work from an IPCC Assessment Report.

    In conclusion, IPCC WGI firmly stands behind its unique procedures and behind the scientific
    community and their collective work which has been, and continues to be, the basis of unbiased,
    open and transparent assessments of the current knowledge on the climate system and its changes.

    Prof. Thomas Stocker Prof. Qin Dahe
    Co-Chairs, Working Group I

    All you have to do is provide some credible evidence that these guys are wrong.

  67. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    The IPCC report doesn’t prove anything. It is all about probabilities.
    I don’t think you (or anyone else) has “proved” that the IPCC report is “deception, omission and exaggeration”.

    The report that they put out was from their political wing which ignored what some of the scientists (those involved in weather, climate, astrophysics and not political science etc).
    That was the driving force to basically screw the West’s standard of living by cutting production, raising the cost of power etc., while China, India and other countries proceed merrily on their way to making up even more than the reduction of CO2 in the West.

    Maybe I’m as you say
    You do not understand science. Science does not “prove” anything. Science deals in probabilities and tries to establish those probabilities through methods and procedures that filter out ideological beliefs and allow us to get as close as possible to objective reality.

    But I’m not that gullible anymore, after all these years :-), to just swallow what the politicians say.

    In conclusion, IPCC WGI firmly stands behind its unique procedures and behind the scientific
    community and their collective work which has been, and continues to be, the basis of unbiased,
    open and transparent assessments of the current knowledge on the climate system and its changes.

    Which was based on Mann’s “Hockey Stick” graph and East Anglia’s Crude machinations in producing evidence.

    Just look at the mess the UN is with regard to Haiti right now, what they did in Indonesia at the time of the Tsunami and you want me to swallow their line without verification which cam impoverish us all?

    Just looking at the Spanish mess, running after wind blown energy, seeing that they have given themselves 19% unemployment one discovers that a researcher publishing figures on their windmills has a Spanish bull on his head – this man gored or alive!

  68. Cynic says:

    Hmph! Seems the evil eye didn’t like what I wrote. :-)

  69. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, Thanks for your comments. I think this discussion can be useful. You have one set of beliefs and I have another regarding climate change. We both can’t be right. When I have discussions with anti-Israel commenters I often reach the same impasse.

    So, how does one determine whose position is closest to reality. Whose views were arrived at by consciously striving for objectivity while being suspicious of conclusions that feel good but lack quality evidence. Whose position is the result of strong ideological belief that can not tolerate the existence of evidence that contradicts it?

    Rather than claim my views come out better on that score than yours in this case – I will instead do some more research (especially now that you’ve got me interested in this topic). I’ll think carefully about the position I have arrived at. I will try hard to see if I have followed my ideological beliefs* rather than my reason in reaching these conclusions. I will look more carefully for evidence of propaganda and ideological drivers of the IPCC report.

    If you are interested in doing the same thing, here’s an article I ran into this morning. It’s possible that the writer is ideologically or monetarily motivated to make AGW deniers look like dupes of big polluting industries. Or, he may be more right than wrong. You might want to check it out.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/31633524/the_climate_killers/16

    And again, I encourage you to posts links to any high quality evidence supporting your views that is not ideologically driven or tainted.

    * My ideological beliefs on this are somewhat pro-science, based on my past personal experience with scientists I know or have known who typically have a great respect for the truth – esp. in their field of expertise. I also am very suspicious of big money interests who claim they know the absolute truth when that truth just happens to make them richer. But since I know and admit to those potential biases now I know where to be more careful as I do this.

  70. Daniel Bielak says:

    Ray, I appreciate very much your integrity (your intelligence and mindfulness).

    I have, at this time, the same views about climate change that you do. However, at this time, the most dangerous threat to the well-being of the world is, and I think that you also, as do I, understand that it is, the covert and overt Islamic-Supremacist modern political movement.

  71. Daniel BIelak says:

    “…the covert and overt Islamic-Supremacist modern political movement.”

    Rather, the most severe danger that is being posed to the well-being of the world is the ignorance that is currently had by the majority of “the members of” the contemporary political Left in Western countries about the covert and overt Islamic-Supremacist modern political movement, and, as part of that severe danger, and involved with that ignorance, is the ignorance that is currently had by the majority of “the members of” the contemporary political Left in Western countries about the nature of Israel, and is the ignorance had by the majority of “the members of” the contemporary political Left in Western countries about the factual history of, and the current reality of, the situation that Israel is in, and is the bigotry that is currently had by “the members of” the contemporary political Left in Western countries toward Israel.

    That ignorance and bigotry is fed mainly by ignorant, prejudiced, corrupt, Western Mainstream Media journalists, importantly, some of whom are Stockholm-Syndrome-affected Jewish people, and is fed by ignorant, prejudiced, bigoted non-Jewish anti-Israel academics and intellectuals in Western countries, and, very influentially, is fed by some very vocal, and ignorant, delusional, and, in some cases, deranged and malicious, Stockholm-Syndrome-affected Jewish anti-Israel, or wrongly-unjustly-and-immorally-”critical”-of-Israel, academics and intellectuals in Western countries.

  72. Daniel BIelak says:

    Correction:

    “…and is the bigotry that is currently had by “the members of” the contemporary political Left in Western countries toward Israel…”

    …and is the bigotry that is currently had by the majority of “the members of” the contemporary political Left in Western countries towards Israel…

  73. E.G. says:

    Cynic and Ray,

    If there’s something humans have trouble with, it’s probabilistic thinking and inference. There’s a huge body of literature, since at least the 1970′s that documents people’s systematic failures to proceed through the theoretic logical sequence. And these include scientists.

    Forecasting is one such probabilistic inference, and meteorological forecasting is an exception to the general rule. The explanation for this exception is that these experts’ receive constant and immediate feedback to their predictions that is integrated into their learning and expertise curves. Most if not all other predictors don’t have this opportunity.
    Risk assessment is a very risky business.

  74. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, Here is some evidence for your view – if you haven’t seen it yet. Not evidence that changes my view but it could. We’ll see how this develops. The news just broke it seems.

    “Good news for the world: bad news for official climate science body ”

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geoffreylean/100022501/good-news-for-the-world-bad-news-for-official-climate-scientists/

  75. Ray in Seattle says:

    Daniel BIelak says, “Ray, I appreciate very much your integrity (your intelligence and mindfulness).

    I have, at this time, the same views about climate change that you do.”

    Isn’t it funny how that works? ;-)

    Actually, I appreciate your comments. I generally agree with your opinion that the Western anti-Israel left is a danger to the world. I would not blame it on ignorance however. I see it as the result of their beliefs. Ignorance can be corrected by providing accurate information – a matter of education. Their beliefs are part of their identity. Unless we can figure a way to make them become someone different than they are now – then they will keep those beliefs and they will continue to be a serious and probably growing problem for Western democracies.

  76. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, Re: #75 and along those lines:

    Every behavior decision that any animal makes is a prediction of the future that its life depends on to some extent. It’s a prediction that the behavior will benefit that animal more than any other choice it could have made. If an animal consistently fails to make good predictions – whether that’s because it has an inadequate brain or it’s because its environment has become chaotic and unpredictable – generally it will not live to reproduce.

    Billions of years of evolution have given animals elaborate brains to help them make more consistently accurate predictions. Human brains are the most elaborate. They allow us to theoretically predict complex phenomena like the climate and what effects it could have on us and our economic systems years in the future.

    An earthworm’s neurons may tell it to go to the surface to avoid drowning in the water-logged soil after a downpour. Sometimes there’s a bird waiting to eat it and sometimes there isn’t. The point being that no animal can ever be certain about the future but we still need to use our brains as best we can to optimize our chances.

  77. Daniel BIelak says:

    “Isn’t it funny how that works?”

    Touche ;-)

    “I would not blame it on ignorance however.”

    I mean ignorance also in the the Buddhist sense of the term (lack of understanding at a fundamental level). :-)

  78. Daniel Bielak says:

    “I mean ignorance also in the the Buddhist sense of the term (lack of understanding at a fundamental level…”

    …most importantly, lack of mindful awareness of one’s own mind, and lack of understanding of the nature of the mind.

  79. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Ray, E.G., Cynic and Daniel Bielak,

    AGW is a difficult challenge to the human mind : it is a slow catastrophe, if such an oxymoron is possible. It is also extended to all the planet, so that regional variations are possible, which may contradict the global trend.

    Let me give an example of a debate which is not completely resolved. There are some observations deduced from the analysis of sediments in mountain lakes that the exit from the last glaciation has not been a regular increase in temperature, but, instead, a series of oscillations : warming, followed by cooling followed by warming and so on.

    Why is that? The thawing of large glaciers liberated cold water, which modified the climate and the feedback of warming was cooling. But cooling which was local in time. If I remember correctly, the oscillations had a period of 30 years or about. At that time, the life expectation of humans was less than 30 years, so that one generation remembered that the climate was cooling down, and the next remembered that the climate was warming up.

    These oscillations are a scientifically established fact.

    Now the debate : if we assume that Greenland ice is going to thaw, then large quantities of sweet water will invade the north Atlantic Ocean. Being sweet, it will stay on top of the salt water, and may possibly disrupt the global circulation of oceanic currents.

    To my knowledge, the climatologists have ruled out the possibility of a very serious cooling down, but they have not ruled out the possibility of significant local cooling down. Are we seeing that with the large number of recent and extreme climatic events in the British Isles ? I cannot say, and every observation relating extreme climatic events to climate change is dubious – because extreme events happen, even without climate change. But we will probably know in 30 to 50 years, since climate change can be observed only in the long range.

    Now, regarding prediction, I’d says that some things can be scientifically predicted and some cannot. Here is my favorite example : supppose I fill up a five liter pail with water and that I throw its contents into my tub, assuming I have closed the evacuation. Then, I am pretty sure that I have added five liters of water to the contents of my tub. But in the present state of physical and mathematical knowledge, I cannot calculate the motion of water when I am throwing it. It totally exceeds the capacity of computers and the capacity of our numerical methods.

    I’d say that meteorology is about the detailed calculation of the motion of water and climate science is about the quantity of water transferred from the pail to the tub. It is stilll a very difficult problem, because, instead of having just a pail and a tub, we have many pails containing many different things, and the tub – earth – is a complicated system of interactions. In particular, there are still many open problems regarding the interaction between the atmosphere and the oceans.

    What is highly disturbing is the layer of ideology generously spread over the real question of climate change. Al Gore made a transparently ideological movie. The anti-AGW from the Wall Street Journal and their friends are no less ideological. To my eyes, conflict of interest is no less a reality than AGW, and we are not much better at handling conflicts of interest that global warming.

    I just do not like the green propaganda, just as I dislike any kind of propaganda, which pretends that it knows better than me where my interests are.

    If we think of alternatives to oil and coal as our main sources of energy, we are in a mess : controlled nuclear fusion is not going to work in any foreseeable future, for lack of materials which can bear the enormous heat of the process.

    Nuclear fission can be an alternative, but it has problems of its own, because it requires a functioning state structure, and a peaceful society – otherwise, it becomes quite dangerous.

    We are left with wind, sun, tides, animal and vegetal energy. And we are not very good at exploiting them: they are not concentrated sources of energy, so that we have to collect these types of energy from large areas, and then, there is competition between feeding humans and producing energy.

    Therefore, it is simply sensible to save energy and to decide that we do not want to be so dependent from oil producing states, most of which are not peaceful democracies.

    It is also sensible to save energy, since its increasing price may well penalize the industries who use lots of energy, when they compete with industries which use less.

    It is interesting that large international conferences on climate like Kyoto or Copenhagen do not succeed: it means that the incentive to adjustment is not yet important enough to change behaviors.

    Gouverner, c’est prévoir (governing is foreseeing) says an old french proverb. I’d say : let us keep our industries competitive relatively to their energetical cost, because we know that the price of energy will increase in the long run. Nobody needs an international conference to implement this kind of decision. If it is good for us and good for the earth, we will reap the benefits.

  80. Daniel Bielak says:

    Ray,

    “Unless we can figure a way to make them become someone different than they are now – then they will keep those beliefs and they will continue to be a serious and probably growing problem for Western democracies.”

    We must present the reality of the current situation to the many people who do not yet hold a deeply ingrained anti-Israeli, nor, involved with that, anti-Jewish, belief (who do not hold such beliefs as a strongly held part of their self-identity belief).

    To do so we must do the following things.

    We must present audio-video presentations that present the factual history of the situation, and that present the factual current reality of the situation, and that, in doing so, present the true narrative of the current situation.

    We must present audio-video presentations that present the reality of the nature of Israeli society.

    I have been compiling a list of web links to such audio-video presentations (which include, among other things, documentaries).

    The following is the unedited, incompletely typed list that I’ve been able to make so-far.

    (It is very painful and difficult for me to communicate by writing because I am disabled by severe Obsesive-Compulsive disorder)

    The Factual History of, and the Factual Current Reality of, The Situation

    “Relentless: The Struggle for Peace in Middle East”, (Video) Documentary by HonestReporting
    Part 1 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SjPDnx5oi4
    Part 2 of 6:
    Part 3 of 6:
    Part 4 of 6:
    Part 5 of 6:
    Part 6 of 6:

    “The Case for Israel: Democracy’s Outpost”, (Video) Documentary by Alan Dershowitz
    The Case

    “The Trojan Horse”, (Video) Documentary by Pierre Rehove; about the contemporary manifestation of the “Palestinian” movement as manifested by the organization the PLO/Fatah/Palestinian Authority
    http://www.veoh.com/videos/v17400528DThBhmcA

    “Hostages of Hatred”, (Video) Documentary by Pierre Rehove; about UNRWA and the approximately 700,000 Arab refugees from the 1948 Arab war on Israel and the, currently, approximately 4 to 5 million, descendants of those refugees (who are today all called the “Palestinian”-Arab refugees).

    “The Forgotten Refugees”, (Video) Documentary by the David Project; about the approzimately 800,000 to 1 million Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries in the Middle East to Israel during and after the 1948 Arab war on Israel.

    “Matthias Kuentzel”, (Video) Documentary about the genocidally anti-Jewish ally of, and integral cooperator with, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi German regime, Amin Al Husseini, who founded what Arab leaders eventually began to call, in the 1960′s, the “Palestinian” movement (My comment: Amin Al Husseini appointed his protege, Yasir Arafat, as his successor of that movement, with whom he founded Fatah, in the late 1950′s; The PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) was created in 1964 by the KGB agency of the Soviet Union and Nasser, then the President of Egypt; The KGB created, named, armed, trained, and funded every so-called “Liberation” milita in the world that was created in the 1960′s, 1970′s, and 1980′s; Yasir Arafat with his group, Fatah, violently took over the PLO in the 1970′s)

    Israeli Society

    “Tel Aviv, the gorgeous city in Israel”; (Video) a slideshow of photos of people and places in Tel Aviv
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzd8WIcoOs8

    Peace is a hug away: Free Hugs in Jaffa, Israel

    Compassionate Listening in Palestine and Israel; One of dozens of Jewish-Arab “Peace” and “Dialogue” organizations that have created throughout the past several decades by, and that are organized by, Jewish Americans and by Jewish Israelis
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZM69RV6OjI

    “Bracha Cohen – Ma Sabav”; (Audio (Video)) One of my favorite songs by Jewish Yemeni Israeli singer Bracha Cohen (Studio recording); Bracha Cohen sings the song in Arabic; The video is posted, with text in Arabic, by a Jewish Yemeni Israeli; I love Jewish Yemeni Israeli music; Jewish Yemeni Israeli music is popular among non-Jewish Yemenis in Yemen who, even though trade with Israel is illegal in Yemen, manage to get recordings of Jewish Yemeni Israeli Music; I have seen some friendly comments, by non-Jewish Yemeni people, on youtube video pages of Jewish Yemeni Israeli music videos; I have also seen bigoted antipathetic comments, by non-Jewish Yemenis, about Israel and about ethnicly Jewish-European Israeli people, on Jewish Yemeni Israeli YouTube video pages, in which those non-Jewish Yemeni people claim Jewish Yemeni Israeli people to be their Yemeni brethren; “If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.” Albert Einstein, Address to the French Philosophical Society at the Sorbonne, April 6, 1922
    <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjH0Nc6CtxU”

    “Bracha Cochen in the transparent Studio”; (Video) Video clip, from Israeli music TV program, of interview with, and performance by, Jewish Yemeni Israeli Singer Bracha Cohen, whose name is misspelled in the title of this video on YouTube; Bracha Cohen is very popular among Jewish Yemeni Israelis; (the sound quality of this video is very poor);
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-YQmiCq-FU

    “Milim Yafot Me’eleh translated with English subtitles”; (Audio (Video)) One of my favorite songs by The Idan Raichael Project; Idan Raichel, a Jewish Russian Israeli, who writes the songs of, and leads, The Idan Raichel Project, a musical collaboration project with core members who include, and a musical collaboration project which works with guest musicians who include, Jewish Israelis of various cultural backgrounds (including Jewish Ethiopian and Jewish Indian and Jewish European), and non-Jewish Israelis of various cultural backgrounds, and non-Israelis of various cultural backgrounds; Idan Raichel was inspired by the music that he heard that the underprivileged Jewish Ethopian Israeli kids that he worked with when he was as teacher in Israel listened to
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcqjsKkYvO0

    (“Ariel Zilber – A Smoke Curtain (אריאל זילבר – מסך עשן) (A Smoke Screen?)”; (Video) Song by popular Israeli singer-songwriter Ariel Zilber; Ariel Zilber became a religious adherent of the Jewish religion, Judaism, and became politically active with political views that, in Israel, are considered as being “Far-Right-Wing” (but which are views that are actually “normal”, “human”, views, and that, by standards that have been set by almost all non-Jewish people (and by all non-Jewish European, and by all non-Jewish Middle-Eastern people) that have ever been in even remotely as dire situations as that which Israeli people are in, are “reasonable” views that are being held by normal human beings, some Jewish Israelis who hold political views that are called “Far-Right-Wing” political views, who are members of a country, Israel, which is under an, and whose people are under an, overwhelming, psychologically traumatic, intendedly genocidally, military, terroristic, diplomatic, and propagandic seige, though that are views that are not wise views, and that are not beneficial views.)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VFuAC0lr9I

    “Arabs supporting Israel”; (Video) Video by an Israeli Arab / Arab Israeli, who speaks out supporting Israel, and who, in this video, refers to himself being “an Arab living in Israel”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbrIWyEhl8A

    “Muslims in Israel”; Video of Muslim Arab Israeli fans of Muslim Arab soccer team in Israel
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YoJp9NryA4

  81. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    A belief is a probabilistic judgement.
    And the world (or the context within which and about which such judgements are done) is not only uncertain but also ambiguous. So the problem is not only the calculus per se, but the interpretation of what the indicators actually mean, and their relative importance.

  82. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    WRT your link in #76 here are two articles concerning the IPCC’s chairman Rajendra Pachauri

    Preposterous Pachauri

    In which Viscount Monckton lists 18 points of disagreement.

    What links the Copenhagen conference with the steelworks closing in Redcar?

    The Corus steelworks in Redcar, North Yorkshire, the town’s main employer, is to be closed
    What is the connection between Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian railway engineer who has been much in evidence at the Copenhagen climate conference, as chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and an Indian-owned steel company’s decision to mothball its giant Teesside steel works next month, ripping the heart out of the town of Redcar by putting 1,700 people out of work?
    ……………
    The real gain to Corus from stopping production at Redcar, however, is
    …………..
    In India, Corus’s owner, Tata, plans to increase steel production from 53 million tonnes to 124 million over the same period. By replacing inefficient old plants with new ones which emit only “European levels” of CO2, Tata could claim a further £600 million under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism,
    …………..
    Tata, having gained up to £1.2 billion from “carbon credits”, will get its new steel plants – while the net amount of CO2 emitted worldwide will not have been reduced a jot.
    And the connection with Dr Pachauri? Directly there is no connection at all. But it just happens that Dr Pachauri’s other main job, apart from being chairman of the IPCC, is as director-general of the Tata Energy Research Institute, funded by Tata, which he has run since 1981.

    The manner in which these types are trying to “conduct business” is responsible for the skepticism and cynicism.

  83. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG/83: I agree with that. Is there a larger point you wish to make that I should take from it?

  84. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG/83: I would emphasize that what makes a belief into a component of behavior choice is the non-conscious emotional strength with which it is held. A person’s statement of their beliefs is often unreliable as such statements are usually made for social reasons.

    For example, politicians often express a devout belief in God because they can’t get elected without doing so. Yet, many politicians engage in behavior, such as extramarital affairs, that are quite inconsistent with their claims.

  85. Ray in Seattle says:

    Daniel, Thanks for the links to all the very interesting videos. I’ve seen some of those but there’s many in there I haven’t.

  86. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    Well, that predictions are error-prone and scientists are far from being bias-free. And this, before even considering any “ideological” or (internal to a specific scientific community) political influence.

  87. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG/87: Again I agree. Going further I would say that bias is the same thing as an emotionally held belief. Bias is actually how we choose behavior. Most people have a bias in favor of objective reality where their physical safety is concerned. There are not many religious people who would test their faith by jumping from a tall building believing that God would save their life. They save their religious faith for less demanding tests.

    Most scientists I have known have a strong bias in favor of views that are supported with evidence that is not tainted by ideological motives – especially in their field of expertise. It’s an important part of their identity. Most of those scientists hold political and/or religious beliefs as well that may not be so objectively true. Their worth as a scientist depends on them having a stronger emotional attachment to their bias for scientific objectivity than for any political or religious convictions they may indulge i.e. if they are truly a scientist then they would not allow their political or religious beliefs to taint their scientific conclusions. Among scientists there’s a range of quality in this respect but in the US I think that 80% to 90% of scientists are pretty good at it. I’d appreciate any scientists’ opinions on this.)

    I think that most scientists understand that. Those who show signs of allowing political or religious beliefs to taint their scientific conclusions are generally not trusted. For example, there are evangelical Christians in the US who have obtained degrees in biology and who use their academic degrees to give credibility to their anti-evolution beliefs. They have made themselves into educational Trojan horses. I’d say that ME Studies has quite a few Trojan horses who hold biases that are not in favor of objective reality. I suspect that the Indian scientist Murari Lal is also a Trojan horse who managed to put himself into a position where he could do a lot of damage to scientists who were warning of dangers he and his donors did not want society to accept. (We’ll see if my guess is right over the next couple of weeks.)

    This is not the fault of science or education – it is what happens in a free society where freedom of thought is honored. That freedom creates the opportunity for ideologues to attack the truth. The great majority of scientists and academics know who the ideologues are.

    Elevating one’s belief in (bias for) objective, evidence-supported reality in one’s mind is a thankless endeavor. Reality is a cold mistress who offers much pain and little pleasure. Who wouldn’t rather believe that we could protect ourselves from earthquakes by having a stronger belief in God?

    Almost every society holds many nonobjective biases (cultural beliefs) and will look at suspicion at anyone who doesn’t share them. Society will seldom reward those who warn of dangers that turn out to be true. They are more likely to burn them at the stake. I admire anyone who sees the value in it and can do it consistently.

  88. Ray in Seattle says:

    About professional objectivity. My experience in college is that at at least 2/3 of the instructors I had under were quite professional and held an objective view of the subject they taught. Of the other third, either I am not sure or for a few I am sure they did not. This latter group maybe was one in ten or one in twenty of the whole.

    But, I studied physics / math / engineering where there is not too much room (or motive) for nonobjective ideology to exist. I still took a few elective courses in philosophy, psychology, political science, history, etc. though not many (my loss looking back). But this is where the 10% of ideologues were generally found.

    I’d be interested to ask RL what his opinion is on these numbers from his side of the professor / student divide. I could be way off.

  89. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    I’m afraid you’re needlessly complicating things.
    A biased judgement is the outcome of a suboptimal inference procedure. As an analogy, it’s the inaccurate result of a miscalculation (e.g., you forgot to divide the sum and continued applying the formula to the wrong number).
    Of course it’s usually unintentional, and most of us are not even aware that we err or how we err (the error is relative to the theoretical model of probabilistic inference).

    There is systematic and anecdotal evidence regarding scientists’ statistically challenged state (across disciplines and nationalities). And things don’t seem to have improved in the past 20 years, to put it mildly.

    I recall a relatively recent debate when some social scientists were advocating publishing not only the Alpha value (probability that the hypothesis rejected is in fact true) or level of significance, but also the Beta one (probability that the hypothesis accepted is in fact false). Few journals adopted the recommendation.

    So without even involving people’s (or scientists’) attachment to values, ideologies, social factors etc., research shows that we sometimes hit and sometimes miss, especially when making predictions (don’t forget that the world today or yesterday, that serves as the base for the prediction, is not necessarily the world in which the predicted state will occur: it changes independently).
    In short, our statistical lack of sophistication leaves lots of room for all sorts of poor assessments and inaccurate forecasts. The picture is less gloomy because we often learn from our mistakes – but that doesn’t immunise us from making unheard-of ones… or just repeating past mistakes because we didn’t see the similarity between the new situation and the old one. And there’s also the luck factor (a coincidence, a conjunction of conditions that makes a situation happen this or that way).

    Try reading Philip Tetlock’s papers or books. He’s clear and uses multiple perspectives.

  90. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, I’m having trouble seeing what you think we disagree about. I think I disagree with your view that “A biased judgement is the outcome of a suboptimal inference procedure.” Are you saying that a bad guess about the future was a biased guess – but a good guess was not?

    To clarify my point and to give you a clearer target (if you are indeed disagreeing with me) I am proposing that all behavior choice – which is an attempt to predict the future – is driven by what you call bias (emotional belief). I suggest that’s what directs behavior – the non-conscious emotions that we attach to beliefs.

    I think you see cognition as the driver of behavior. I don’t. I see cognition as a service that sometimes allows us to deconstruct the problem domain well enough so that our biases can be effectively applied to it.

    In the case of AGW I think that has been the attempt. Ideally, with the best possible predictions people’s biases (emotional beliefs) – regarding current economic prosperity vs. future environmental and economic dangers can be applied to inherently political democratic decisions.

    But I observe that cognition is more often used for other purposes, such as to camouflage one’s biases so their behavior decisions and views will appear to be more acceptable – such as ME academics who use their degrees to hide their political agendas.

  91. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    We mainly have a terminology gap.
    A guess (or a bet) is a kind of probabilistic judgement. A bad guess or a biased judgement is one that is inaccurate, whether the outcome (that actually occurs) is above or below the predicted or expected value.
    An old Simonian statement is that the theoretic probability assessment procedure is theoretically nice but absolutely impossible to exert, given Human capacities. Thus, most if not all human judgement is biased (vis-à-vis the canonical theory) or, as he termed it, boundedly rational. Instead of the theoretical algorithm, the highway to accurate and precise outcome prediction, we use heuristics (rules of thumb) that do not guarantee that the “journey” will end at the best, most desired, location (the optimal judgement). Simon’s main concern was about the limits of the human cognitive system. He did acknowledge the interference of affect in cognitive tasks.

  92. Ray in Seattle says:

    OK, but that seems like more than a terminology gap to me. His view seems firmly entrenched in what I call the cognicentric paradigm, whereby reason and rationality (good cognition) represent the ideal by which human behavior is guided – and emotion is the spoiler that interferes. Very Platonic. And very wrong IMO. If that’s where we fundamentally disagree – and it seems to be the case – are you prepared to argue that position? ;-)

  93. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    That’s Simon from the 1950′s. Not that he’s been proved wrong, but your recent conversion to the emotive cult doesn’t make you more right (see: dead Salmon).

    Dear old Herb was highly critical vis-à-vis the theoretical paradigm. He really deserved his Nobel, because he opened the door to much valuable research (including his own) on how individuals actually proceed. This is one quite unique area where the theoretical-empirical comparison can be made.
    I have no idea what drove you to develop your hypothesis about “emotional drives” orienting all and any behaviour, but it’s not empirically grounded as yet. Judgement and decision making are first and foremost cognitive activities. There’s little if any doubt that affect intervenes (or interferes) in these activities, though the ways it does so are not very clearly elucidated.

  94. Daniel Bielak says:

    Much of the discussion here about how views are formed and about the nature of views is difficult for me to concentrate on, and to, as a result, have understanding about, but I think that everyone who posts on this forum understands well enough about how views are formed, and about the nature of views, to be able to think about how to, and, as a result, to understand how to, and then to discuss how to, present the true narrative about the current situation to people.

    I am just putting in my contribution, which I hope may be beneficial.

  95. Daniel Bielak says:

    “Much of the discussion here about how views are formed and about the nature of views,…”

    I do, though, understand that this forum serves as a forum for discussing those things, and that doing so provides a relief to those who do that, so I apologize for having, maybe, done a harmful thing by posting my previous comment.

    I hope, though, that my previous comment may be of some benefit.

  96. Daniel Bielak says:

    I also wish to express my appreciation for this forum, and for all of the commenters on this forum.

    I am pretty much house-bound because of my condition, and I am socially isolated because of my condition, and this forum provides me with a relief.

  97. Ray in Seattle says:

    Daniel, I appreciate your feedback and welcome all your comments. I am the one here most guilty of bringing up the topic of how views are formed.

    It is exactly because of incorrect (cognicentric) views on this that I think Israel is doing so poorly in the battle for public opinion. Based on many online discussions I have had I suspect that many Israelis have strong cultural beliefs regarding the importance of reason and cognitive processes in human behavior. I think cognitive egocentrism causes Israelis to believe that calm, well-reasoned argument and objective evidence will eventually sway the world to agree with them. Yet, they seem to be losing ground.

    My intention is to explore the causes of this unfortunate outcome and discuss ways to reverse it – based on a better understanding of how brains really work.

  98. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG says, “I have no idea what drove you to develop your hypothesis about “emotional drives” orienting all and any behaviour, but it’s not empirically grounded as yet.”

    There’s actually quite a bit of empirical evidence for this. I discovered it by educating myself over the last 4 or 5 years on the current research in neuroscience. There are many experiments that confirm what I suggest.

    There is a whole set of case studies for example, where patients have developed tumors in the orbito-frontal-cortex that affect their ability to experience emotion. One of Antonio Damasio’s patients who was quite intelligent (in the 97th percentile) showed no drop in IQ or cognitive function after the tumor was removed. Yet, he lost the ability to make even simple decisions.

    Damasio hooked him to a lie detector (that measures emotional response) and showed him highly arousing pictures like a severed foot, naked women, etc. He showed no response. He could not make the simplest decisions, like what restaurant he’d like to go to for lunch.

    These repeatable tests with many subjects and in different contexts led Damasio to develop his Somatic Marker Hypothesis which is now fairly well known in psychological circles as the conceptual framework for explaining the importance of emotion in human decision making. It does not take cognition out of the picture but says cognition and emotion work together. It shows why, no matter if cognitive input is available or not, decision making can’t work properly without emotion.

    There is much literature on this but here is a very accessible one page description of the hypothesis.

    http://www.bookrags.com/tandf/somatic-marker-hypothesis-tf/

    My ideas are just a guess, based on my computer science background – as to how the behavior decision process incorporates both cognition and emotion. But my views about how it works are not so important as the realization, now backed up by repeatable research since 2000, that emotion is critical to the process.

  99. Ray in Seattle says:

    RL has just posted a new thread “Haiti and Israel”. That image of the IDF is very powerful. No-one looking at it can prevent the truth it conveys from entering their mind. Words are very poor conductors of truth because they have to by interpreted by a logical mind and digested and then made to fit amongst other beliefs that are already there.

    Images and other direct emotional means don’t suffer that limitation. I love that picture. The world needs to see a thousand more.

    (PS – Watch the progressive left start to howl at the moon over this. This will hit them where it hurts.)

  100. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, The basis for my views on behavior and emotion come from several years studying the current research on the topic. A central theory forming my views on this is Antonio Damasio’s “Somatic Marker Hypothesis”.

    It proposes that experience in life creates emotional tags for behavior in the context of stimuli – positive or negative according to the effectiveness of the behavior in increasing their well being in the past. Those tags provide an intuitive guide to behavior that requires no cognitive input.

    That’s why the best quarterbacks can pick the one open receiver out of four or five out there running their patterns when there are four defensive linemen about to take their head off and there’s no time to think. It’s why some few chess masters can beat the best computer programs. They’ve both trained their intuitive minds – not their cognitive mind – to play football / chess. It’s intuition guided by somatic markers – with the ability to use cognition as a resource when it could help.

    Rather then me try to explain the theory here is a decent one page overview I found that does a pretty good job. Google will get you much further if you’re interested.

    http://www.bookrags.com/tandf/somatic-marker-hypothesis-tf/

  101. Ray in Seattle says:

    Here’s the abstract of an article on the Somatic Marker Hypothesis that underlies my views on behavior and emotion.

    Modern economic theory ignores the influence of emotions on decision-making. Emerging neuroscience evidence suggests that sound and rational decision making, in fact, depends on prior accurate emotional processing. The somatic marker hypothesis provides a systems-level neuroanatomical and cognitive framework for decision-making and its influence by emotion. The key idea of this hypothesis is that decision-making is a process that is influenced by marker signals that arise in bioregulatory processes, including those that express themselves in emotions and feelings. This influence can occur at multiple levels of operation, some of which occur consciously, and some of which occur non-consciously. Here we review studies that confirm various predictions from the hypothesis, and propose a neural model for economic decision, in which emotions are a major factor in the interaction between environmental conditions and human decision processes, with these emotional systems providing valuable implicit or explicit knowledge for making fast and advantageous decisions.

    Full paper:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=somatic+marker+hypothesis&aq=0&oq=somatic+marker+&aqi=g1

  102. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    I invite you to treat yourself to some Tetlock reading. I think it’ll clarify things for you.

  103. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    There’s no controversy between us about the affective appeal most media rely on when communicating.

    You may find these readings useful:

    Trust, Emotion, Sex, Politics, and Science: Surveying the Risk-Assessment Battlefield

    The Affect Heuristic

  104. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG said, “I invite you to treat yourself to some Tetlock reading. I think it’ll clarify things for you.”

    You mentioned him earlier. I went to Amazon and read some reviews of his latest books. I appreciate all reading recommendations. However, I’m here to engage ideas. If you think his ideas are germane to the discussion then I expect you to be able to explain why – as I did in 100, 102 and 103.

  105. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, Despite the annoyance I expressed earlier the two links you offered in 105 are appreciated. I had the “Chapter 23″ bookmarked some place but the Slovic pdf was one I have seen cited but never got around to reading. Thanks

    You say, “there’s no controversy between us about the affective appeal most media rely on when communicating.”

    Yes, as any good salesman knows as soon as you start “explaining” why someone should buy your widget, you’ve lost the sale. Also, sales trainees are admonished to “Sell the sizzle”. The successful ones remember it.

    These are modes of communication that are thoroughly integrated into Arab culture which is pretty much all sizzle and no steak. Israeli culture seems averse to them. Truth may be discoverable through reason by some whose minds are trained for it but most will look to their emotions first because even if they are wrong at least they will feel better for a while.

    ***********************

    I write that above and then I remember walking along some street in New York where every other store sells the coolest electronic gadgets you’ve ever seen like digital audio recorders and lap tops and whatever you want. They have stuff hanging from cords from the ceiling and dripping over the shelves and counters. And it’s all !!!ON SALE!!!. And the salesmen’s name is very sure to be Manny or Benny or Sherman and these guys are the world’s masters at this. You can’t get out of there without spending way more money than you planned and you love every minute of it. It’s a puzzle. Life’s a puzzle.

  106. E.G. says:

    http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/tetlock/Vita/Philip%20Tetlock/ByYear/Books.html

    Go to “publications”
    in 2001-2003:

    Thinking the unthinkable: Coping with secular encroachemts on sacred values.

    Proscribed forms of social cognition: Taboo trade-offs, blocked exchanges, forbidden base rates, and heretical counterfactuals.

    There are many more…

  107. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    You sometimes seem to be re-inventing the wheel. I hope the links (and slight orientation) will be useful time and effort savers.
    And I believe you’ll enjoy the reading.

  108. Ray in Seattle says:

    You seem to be sending me links that affirm the conclusions that I’ve been trying to justify here. I’d be even more interested in reading someone who disagrees with me. Like comments written by you and your reasoning – to whatever extent that we do disagree.

  109. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, One thing you seem to want to convey – correct me if I’m wrong – is that Tetlock’s suggestion that “experts are often wrong” applies to AGW.

    The stock market is confounding because human capriciousness drives it and human perceptions feedback into it. The climate is not affected by what we think about it. It’s affected by measurable physical events – like the annual track of the earth around the sun and earth’s axis tilt and the jet stream and and deep ocean currents and CO2 in the atmosphere, etc. But it’s a very complex system and it is difficult to accurately model it. Still, I’m sure cavemen knew that when the snow melted and some blossoms appeared on trees that summer was on its way.

    So, we’ve been modeling climate for several hundred thousand years. And we’ve been planning our lives around our predictions, perhaps flaking some fresh spear points to prepare for the coming hunting season. Such planning has resulted in modern societies and medicine and 3D movies and lap tops where I can sit at my desk and have a real time conversation with some interesting person in England over my morning coffee.

    Tetlock’s ruminations about stock forecasting are no more relevant to climate than Daniel Kalder’s calling up the demons of apocalyptic prophesy – except to conservatives who don’t like the idea that liberals may be using their tax money to mitigate its worse effects.

    As I said before, no one can predict the future with certainty – but we are very dependent on our ability to do the best we can and hedge our bets accordingly. That’s not liberal or conservative. It’s common sense.

  110. E.G. says:

    It took me a long while to (approximately) figure out what you are advocating. I have difficulties with the vocabulary you use, and am more used to a more analytical style (hard to do that on a forum).

    It’s not easy to self-educate, especially without some guiding lines (e.g., Academic courses). But it’s fun and exciting.

    Let me know what you think about Tetlock’s ideas.

  111. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    I sent you the links about Tetlock instead of writing, to your request, why his work may be interesting for you.

  112. Ray in Seattle says:

    Yeah, I have trouble understanding you too.

    What does . .

    “I sent you the links about Tetlock instead of writing, to your request, why his work may be interesting for you.”

    . . that mean? It hardly seems like what someone who is used to a more “analytical style” would write.

  113. E.G. says:

    BTW Ray,

    Weather and Climate are linked but not overlapping concepts.

  114. Ray in Seattle says:

    BTW EG, I suspect the overlapping of the concepts of weather and climate was lost on early hominids. ;-)

  115. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, You have made several demeaning comments today which I have overlooked, realizing from past experience that it seems endemic to your style of disagreement. Nonetheless, I feel the discussion sliding precipitously off in that direction and I’d like to head it off. I suggest we stick to our beliefs and opinions about the topic – not each other.

  116. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    Please excuse me for having spared the time and attention to provide you with sources you’re not familiar with and thus aroused your aggressive emotional behaviour. Mea Culpa.

  117. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    U.N. Panel’s Glacier Warning Is Criticized as Exaggerated

    “Actually we don’t know much about process and impacts of the disappearance. That’s why we need an international effort.”

  118. Daniel Bielak says:

    Ray,

    Thank you for your kind reply to me. I appreciate it very much.

    (I spent several hours writing this comment and I am not able to review this right now because of my condition, but I feel compelled to post it right now because I feel compelled to post it as soon as possible. I hope that my posting it now, even though, because of how my condition is affecting me right now, I think that it might not be beneficial to so, may be O.K.)

    I completely agree with all of your observations.

    I completely agree with your observation of how Israelis ineffectively communicate when they are trying to verbally defend themselves.

    I completely agree with you about the direct strong effect of images on emotions and on beliefs.

    Speaking just about how Jewish Israeli representatives of the Israeli government communicate ineffectively, Jewish Israeli representatives of the Israeli government, in the rare instances when they try to verbally defend Israel, spend many paragraphs worth of speech and writing just trying to counter each of some of the constantly invented specious false accuations that are constantly made against Israel instead of doing what is necessary, which is to address the perverse, obscene, false narratives that are promoted by the specious false accusations, which are false narratives that can each be completely dispelled with a few sentences of honest, accurate, and clear speech.

    Jewish Israeli representatives of the Israeli government never do the most necessary thing, which is to address the perverse, obscene, false general narrative about the situation which is a false narrative that can be completely dispelled with a few paragraphs of honest, accurate, and clear speech.

    The process of how the mind percieves subjects, and develops narratives about subjects (how structures of reference, structures of understanding, form in the mind, which are manifested physically in the brain) has been studied by, and has been talked about by, the (politically Liberal) linguist, George Lakoff, who refers to that process as being, the formation of “frames” in the mind, and he has talked about how things can be, and are, “framed”, by communication, to people by people.

    Jewish Israeli official representatives of Israel, and, in general, almost all Jewish people who try to verbally defend Israel, are, in the case of Jewish Israeli official representatives of Israel, and Jewish Israeli people in general, completely inept at communicating the situation that they are in to others, and are, in the case of non-Israeli Jewish people, completely inpet at communicating the situation that Israel is in, to others.

    Jewish Israeli representatives of Israel, and, in general, Jewish people who try to verbally defend Israel (and, in general, throughout history, Jewish people who have tried to verbally defend themselves when they have been falsely accused), are utterly, what I am calling, “socially inept”.

    There are two factors that are involved in that “social ineptness”, and that cause that “social ineptness”, and which are conditions that are experienced by “socially inept” Jewish people. Those two factors are the following.

    O two subtypes (one subtype that is experienced by non-Israeli Jewish people, and one subtype that is experienced by Israeli Jewish people) of a deep, profound, and particular type of Stockholm-Syndrome that almost all Jewish people experience to varying degrees (which involves, and which is caused by, several factors which involve each other)
    O in many cases, not perceiving very significant “social-signal”-sending-involved, “social-signal”-perceiving-involved, “symbolism”-involved, inference-involved, aspects of human social interactive communication

    The following are the factors that are involved in, and that cause, the Stockholm Syndrome that almost all Jewish people experience, as a psychological coping mechanism, to varying degrees and which are factors that involve each other.

    O being severely traumaticly psychologically/emotionally wounded by being members of a very small group of people (a vey small ethnic group) whose members, as a group, have been mispercieved, disliked, hated, falsely accused, persecuted, repeatedly mass-tortured, and repreatedly mass-murdered, throughout history (a psychological woundedness of which aspects are passed down from wounded generation to successive generation, environmentally (by social interaction), from wounded parents to their children)
    O being constantly and continuously overwhelmingly psychologically beseiged (by living in a horrible surreal situation of being members of a very small group of people (a very small ethnic group; Jewish people) whose members have been mispercieved, disliked, hated, repreatedly falsely accused of horrific crimes, persecuted, repreatedly mass-tortured, and repeatedly mass-murdered, by, in general, the members of the much larger ethnic groups (non-Jewish European people and non-Jewish Middle-Eastern people) among whom the members of the small ethnic group live, mainly, and have lived, mainly, throughout history, and who have utterly usurped the traditional religion of, and as part of that, the cultural, historical, narrative of, and the religious, mythical narrative of, and, in the past, only in theory, in general, and recently, in one case, in general, (non-Jewish European people), in practice, in general, the culturally-held moral principals of, the members of the small ethnic group, and whose modified forms of the traditional religion of the members of the very small social group explicitely cosmicly villify the members of the very small social group, and who, during periods of time when they were not, and are not, greatly harming the members of the very small social group, sanctimoniously believed themselves to have been, and sanctimoniously believe themselves to be, virtuously and nobly “tolerating” the members of the very small social group.
    O having deep empathy
    O as a result of those factors, being emotionally needy (desperately wanting to be loved by people who are not members of the very small ethnic group which they are members of)
    O as a result of those factors, being emotionally timid (being very fearful of being disliked by people who are not members of the very small ethnic group which they are members of)
    O strongly holding culturally chauvantistic views, and, partly involved in that, strongly holding egocentric, views (which are culturally chauvanistic views and egocentric views that are reinforced, as a psychological coping mechanism, as a result of, and are shaped by, those other factors)

    The following are the factors that cause the lack of perceiving very significant “social-signal”-sending-involved, “social-signal”-perceiving-involved, “symbolism”-involved, inference-involved, aspects of human interactive communication.

    O being psychologically/emotionally overwhelmed by being psychologically/emotionally beseiged
    O by, I think, having, in many cases, very low-level Aspergers Syndrome

    “If one has a wound on one’s hand, and one holds poison in that hand, one will be harmed. If one has no wound on one’s hand, and one holds poison in that hand, one will not be harmed.”
    - My paraphrasing of a quote by the Buddha (the “Enlightened One”) that is part of a teaching that the Buddha taught

    The wound that Jewish people, in general, and as a group, are afflicted by, that Jewish people, in general, and as a group, by healing themselves of will heal themselves of all of the other wounds that they are afflicted by, is lack of right mindfullness, and lack of right discernment, and communicating without right mindfulness and without right discernment.

    In order to heal themselves, and in order to make the situation better, Jewish people must develop right mindfulness, and must be mindful, and must have right discernment, and must discern, and must communicate honestly, accurately, and clearly, with right mindfulness, and with right discernment.

    In order to make the situation better, we people who understand the situation must accurately, clearly, and discerningly, communicate the factual history of, and the factual current reality of, the situation to the world.

    In order to make the situation better, Jewish people who understand the situation must reach out to, and join together with, and work together with non-Jewish people who understand the situation, and, especially, with Arab people who understand the situation, and with Iranian people who understand the situation, and with ex-Muslim people who understand the situation, and with truly reform-Muslim people who understand the situation, to communicate the situation to the world.

    In order to make the situation better, Jewish Israeli people, including Jewish Israeli representatives of the Israeli government, must begin a concerted effort to reach out to, and communicate with, and must join together in friendship with, and honestly, accurately, and clearly, communicate the situation to, Arab Israeli people, and must work together with Arab Israeli people to communicate the situation to the world, and, involved in that process, and as part of that process, Jewish Israeli representatives of the Israeli government must pro-actively listen to, and communicate with, Arab Israeli people about all of the needs of Arab Israeli people, and must pro-actively work to fulfill all of the needs of Arab Israeli people.

    Shalom (“peace” and “serenity” in Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people),
    and
    Metta (“loving, kind, universal friendliness” in Pali, the language of the oldest, and orally passed-down, and written, recordings of the teachings of the Buddha)

  119. Daniel Bielak says:

    To everyone,

    I hope that you will read my previous message to Ray.

    Shalom (”peace” and “serenity” in Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people),
    and
    Metta (”loving, kind, universal friendliness” in Pali, the language of the oldest, and orally passed-down, and written, recordings of the teachings of the Buddha)

  120. Daniel Bielak says:

    Some futher explanation about the following writing that I wrote:

    “…O strongly holding culturally chauvantistic views, and, partly involved in that, strongly holding egocentric, views (which are culturally chauvanistic views and egocentric views that are reinforced, as a psychological coping mechanism, as a result of, and are shaped by, those other factors)…”

    Further Explanation about Some Aspects of the Stockholm Syndrome that Very Many Jewish People Experience to Varying Degrees

    (All of the following writing that I have written is based on excerpts from essays that I wrote earlier about this subject, and which are essays that I have not posted.)

    The following is an expression of the internal psychological narrative formed by the mind of someone who is Jewish who is strongly experiencing the form of Stockholm-Syndrome that very many Jewish people experience to varying degrees.

    …”We are (I am) good. {My mind can cope with the surreal horrible situation that we are (I am) in by believing that} We have the ability to make non-Jewish people who hate us (who hate me) stop hating us (stop hating me) and hurting us because {as my mind believes, as a psychological coping mechanism, that} if we (if I) change our behaviour then non-Jewish people who hate us (who hate me)) will stop hating us (will stop hating me) and hurting us, and it is the fault of those other Jewish people who do not accept what non-Jewish people who hate us (who hate me) say about us, and who are Jewish people who do not behave the way that non-Jewish people who hate us (who hate me) say that we should behave {and, as a result, I hate, and verbally attack, those other Jewish people, who I do not as strongly fear to be disliked and hated by, in order to show those non-Jewish people who hate us (who hate me) that I am ‘good’ so that non-Jewish people who hate us (who hate me) will stop hating me, and, maybe, my doing so will contribute to making non-Jewish people who hate us stop hating also Jewish people who aren’t me)}”…

    The following is some more explanation.

    …What also is involved in the beseigement-syndrome, in the minds of Jewish people experiencing it, in general, is the relieving of their minds, as a psychological coping mechanism, with the feeding of egocentricity in feeling that they are superiorly ethical and just (with the feeling that they are extremely self-critical which they feel is, what in being so, is what constitutes being ethical and just), and they feel that they are behaving in an extremely and superiorly ethical and just way, because they feel that they are, and they feel therefore that they are, superiorly “Jewish”, because Jewish people, in general, visceraly feel horror and anger towards injustice, and value ethicality extremely highly, in general, as part of Jewish culture and, therefore, as part of one’s personal-identity as being Jewish (and they value, as the main part of ethicality, self-criticism, extremely highly – but, in many cases, unfortunately, do so in an unmindful, egocentric, harmful way, and as part of that, do so to a harmful, wrong, degree, even when it truly is criticism of their own self, or, what is more often the case, when it is criticism of other Jewish people with whom they are self-identifying with – that is, even when it is not criticism of other Jewish people whom they are self-identifying themselves as being very different from, which is criticism which those Jewish people who engage in it view, wrongly, as being “self-criticism”)…

    The following are links to papers about this Stockholm Syndrome. My understanding of this phenomena, which I have, in the past, experienced in my own mind, was clarified by my having listened to the audio of a video recording of a talk about this subject that was given by the author of the following papers. The concepts that the author communicated in particular parts of the talk that I listened to, that were parts that clarified my understanding about this phenomena, are, I think, communicated well in the following papers.

    “The Psychology of Populations under Chronic Siege”, by Dr. Kenneth Levin
    http://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-046-levin.htm

    “Diaspora Jews Embracing the Indictments of Their Enemies”, by Dr. Kenneth Levin
    http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=381&PID=470&IID=1458

  121. Cynic says:

    Daniel Bielak,

    You wrote above #121
    In order to make the situation better, Jewish Israeli people, including Jewish Israeli representatives of the Israeli government, must begin a concerted effort to reach out to, and communicate with, and must join together in friendship with, and honestly, accurately, and clearly, communicate the situation to, Arab Israeli people, and must work together with Arab Israeli people to communicate the situation to the world,

    Now as Ray has so often pointed out in comments about the problem with beliefs and emotions and overturning them, along with a cultural indoctrination against Jews going back some 1400 years which orders Muslims not to take Jews for friends, how would the Jews “reach out” when the Muslims don’t want to be “touched” by them, and communicate when the Muslims turn a deaf ear.

    Surely the evidence of the behaviour of Israeli Arab leaders of past years is visible enough to convey the fact that they don’t want Jews in their lives and unfortunately that is the very fact that they face living in Israel?

  122. Daniel Bielak says:

    Cynic,

    I agree that, I think, many of the, or maybe, even, almost all of the, Israeli Arab / Arab Israeli representatives in the Israeli parliament are bigotedly and maliciously hostile toward Israel, and that they bigotedly, maliciously, harmfully, and seditiously, rail against Israel.

    Also, I think that some of, or many of, but, I think, not the majority, yet, of, young Muslim Arab Israeli people are beginning to become radicalized with Islamic-Supremacism by the Islamic-Supremacist political movement, and are becoming very hostile toward Israel.

    However, I think that the attitude of most Arab Israeli people toward Israel and towards Jewish Israeli people is more complex and is not deeply, nor fundamentally, nor intransigently, hostile.

    I think that very many, and, I think, the majority of, Arab Israeli people, including Muslim Arab Israeli people, would appreciate, and would welcome, Jewish Israeli people reaching out to them, and would be open to coming together in friendship with, and in community with, Jewish Israeli people.

    Jewish Israeli people must engage in an concerted effort to come together with Arab Israeli people in friendship, and in community, and as fellow members of the Jewish country, Israel.

    It is an heroic effort that is necessary for the well-being of Israel.

    It is an effort whose necessity has arisen from grave danger, and it is an effort whose possibility of engaging in presents a great opportunity.

    The following are links to audio and video recordings which have influenced my views about this.

    “Khaled Abu-Toameh Interview on the Dennis Prager Show (March 19, 2007)”, (Audio); Khaled Abu Toameh, a Muslim Arab Israeli journalist, talks about how he feels about being a citizen of Israel and about how he thinks that Muslim Arab Israelis, in general, feel about being citizens of Israel, and about their attitudes toward Israel, and about why Arab Israeli representatives in the Israeli Parliament who rail against Israel are elected by Arab Israelis. (Khaled Abu Toameh says that those Muslim Arab Israeli representatives in the Israeli Parliament behave that way because, and are elected because, Arab Israelis do not feel that their needs are fully responded to by the Israeli government. I know that all Israeli citizens, including, Arab Israelis, are equal according to, and under, and by, Israeli Law, and I think that the needs of Arab Israeli citizens, may, in fact, considering the whole situation, be responded to relatively well by the Israeli government, and I know that the government of Israel, compared to how governments of all other countries that have ever been in even remotely as difficult situations as that which Israel has continuously been in have acted, has acted in an unequaled, unsurpassedly good, and unsurpassedly generous, and unsurpassedly beneficial, way, but it is very important for Jewish Israeli people, including Jewish Israeli representatives of the Israeli government, to pro-actively reach out, with loving, kind, friendliness, to, and communicate honestly, accurately, and clearly, about the situation, to, and communicate mindfully and honestly with, Arab Israeli people, and to do so with mindful, beneficial, compassion towards oneself, and to do so with mindful, benefical, compassion towards all Jewish Israeli people, and to do so with mindful, benefical, compassion towards all Arab Israeli people, in order to come together in beneficial communal friendship with, and partnership with, Arab Israeli people, and so that Arab Israeli people will feel that they are welcomed as, and accepted as, being full members of Israeli socety).
    http://www.standwithus.com/audio/Khaled_Interview.asp

    “Arabs supporting Israel”, (Video) video by a young Arab Israeli speaking out in support of Israel
    Part 1 of 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbrIWyEhl8A
    Part 2 of 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1rSbJ6g2_4

    “Muslims in Israel”, (Video) video of Muslim Arab Israeli fans of a Muslim Arab Israeli soccer team; in the video, the fans are rowdy, and the fans speak in Hebrew, and, I think, one of the members of the soccer team speaks in Hebrew, and some of the fans, one of whom shouts “Allah Akbar”, hold up an Israeli flag, and one fan wraps himself in an Israeli flag.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YoJp9NryA4

    “Peace is a hug away: Free Hugs in Jaffa, Israel”, (Video) video of Jewish Israelis offering hugs to people in the Muslim Arab Israeli city of Jaffa, and of Arab Israelis in Jaffa warmly reciprocating; I see, from viewing some of the videos by the poster of this video, who is Jewish Israeli (and who, I think, may have been one of the people in the video), that the poster of this video has some mildly-Stockholm-Syndrome-affected delusional views, but those delusional views are not severe, and she cares very much about Israel, and those delusional views that she holds do not take away from what, I think, is the truth that this video conveys, which is what, I think, is the truth that many Arab Israeli people would like to come together in friendship with, and in community with, Jewish Israelis, and would warmly reciprocate the loving, kind, offerings of friendship that would be made by Jewish Israeli people reaching out to them.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRyA3CXIk4Y

  123. Daniel Bielak says:

    Correction:

    “…Jewish Israelis offering hugs to people in the Muslim Arab Israeli city of Jaffa…”

    …Jewish Israeli people offering hugs to people in Jaffa, a city whose population includes many Muslim Arab Israeli people…

  124. Daniel Bielak says:

    In a comment that I posted previously, I wrote the following which is incorrect.

    “…the Buddha (the “Enlightened One”)…”

    The following is correct.

    …the Buddha (the “Awakened One”)…

  125. [...] recently posted the article that Daniel Kalder wrote about apocalyptic in the Spectator. Now he’s published the interview [...]

  126. [...] WinslowRelated blog postsAugean Stables Apocalypse Again? Daniel Kalder on current trends …Willis on Santer et al 2006 Climate AuditVon Storch et al [2006] Climate AuditAnthonares Blog [...]

  127. ludaxx says:

    I infrequently make opinions, nevertheless I read through a number
    of commentary here on Apocalypse Again? Daniel Kalder on current trends
    with an assist from RL | Augean Stables but had a couple of basic questions for you if you don’t mind. Could it be just me or do a number of of these remarks appear as if they could be coming from really moronic persons? And, if you’re writing articles on some supplemental websites,
    I wish to keep up with you. Would you post a list of all of your social networking
    pages including linkedin account, Facebook url page or twitter feed?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>