The emotional reaction to science

CSICon is going on right now, and that may be where this facebook post originated, on the “Center for Inquiry” page.


It’s kind of ironic, because it’s an emotional reaction to a scientific study, anecdotally proving the study is correct. I know of no study that shows that if facts are presented in some sterile and perfect manner, the result will be that people alter their thinking and express their awareness of the reasons for altering their thoughts without an appeal to any emotions.

Seems to me another arena where a little deeper thinking and appreciate of the
Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide, helps create a benchmark that tamps down our tendancies towards self-certainty and disregard for understanding established facts.

We humans are bound to be biased and emotional - recognition is half the battle.

Appreciating the difference between physical facts and human assumptions is huge.

PS. It happened again. This posted with your quote, then a beat later it refreshed and removed the quote, so I went back in and second time around it usually allows the quote to remain.

A couple posts responded with the typical “give me a link to the study”.

It discusses “motivated-reasoning” which is pretty well studied.

“The key question is not ‘Why do they disagree with the science?’ but rather, ‘Why do they want to disagree with the science?'” Hornsey says.

Answering that will probably require doing something people in our increasingly polarized political climate are loathe to do: Less talking, more listening.

People communicating the facts often do so with the implication that the target is a bad person at worst, or uneducated at best, Campbell says. But an adversarial approach isn’t likely to change minds.

Again that smack up again RealPolitik.

The climate science skeptical community has been all about adversarial everything, use of malicious slanderous attacks, intimidation, blight acceptance of any distortion and misrepresentation of clearly explainable facts and justifications and back story.

But, the defenders of science dare never get offended and righteously outraged by the calculated malicious tactics of "opponents’ who demand that we paint scientist and enemies and untrustworthy.

Human nature has less to do with that public programming, with no one wants to fact, because it’s a nonstarter, I guess.

Even those first sentence you shared

No a mention of deliberate lying and slander.

Why do we so willing accept demonstrable lies and below the belt slander? That’s a question worth asking.

This is the problem. The confusion of where the lines need to be drawn. Scientific methods are designed to take the emotional elements out of the arguments. They put evidence over feelings. If you aren’t doing that, you aren’t doing science.

But non-scientists aren’t doing science. If we were all experts, then the word wouldn’t have any meaning. The people who put robots on Mars know that they are rounding off the equations and only doing what is good enough to get the job done. They are also aware of the principles, but they aren’t the experts for them.

Motivated-reasoning is about the REACTION to science, not the science itself.

I wish articles like this would cover more of the liberal bad reasoning, like being against GMOs and pesticides. Nothing is a consequential as AGW denial, but at least it show that it’s a human weakness, not a conservative conspiracy.

Pushed by billions of dollars worth of lying propaganda over the decades.

It’s a strange mix of idealism and pragmatism you seem to be trying to offer - but it comes of a rationalizations more than reasons.

Ironically I like to think I’ve thought deep and hard on this human nature stuff over the decades of trying to communicate climate science with the self-serving/rationalizing minds of all sorts and have actually been able to reduce it to a few coherent lines, that I dare say are factually correct, and no one has taken the trouble to confront any it, thus I appreciate it hasn’t put to the test. Still … it does underscore the source of human folly.

Earth Centrism
Because Earth is our ultimate touchstone with reality and ourselves.

This insight leads to a realization that, for this complex living Earth that we experience, to exist at all, is proof positive that our Earth evolved down one particular pathway, no matter what we people imagine one way or the other.

*Ours is to figure it out and appreciate - not to presume to define it!

We appreciate that we are evolved biological creatures born of Earth’s processes, as expressed through its singular Evolutionary Pageant.

We appreciate the profound divide between physical reality, that is matter, biology, laws of nature, on the one hand, and on the other, our thoughts unfolding within our amazing minds, (or more descriptively, within the realm of our “human mindscape").

By and by, along came one particular clade the eutherians, small nocturnal insect eaters who gave birth to the class of mammalian animals, which begat the primates, which begat hominids, which begat our modern humankind species.

Every stage required new refinements and developments within the complex sensing/body/brain system and the mind they collectively produce - refinements that are dependent on previous refinements and lessons. Your Being is the sum total of all the days of Evolution that went into producing the human form you possess and live through, while your mind reflects the sum total of all the days you’ve lived and experienced.

I believe a genuine understanding of oneself starts with the realization that we are an evolved biological sensing creature, and that our consciousness is fundamentally the inside reflection of your body/brain dealing with itself and the environment/circumstance it is embedded within.

This understanding leads to another inevitable realization, namely that our “Gods” are in truth creations of our minds, tailored by our self-serving egos. Which is okay, if one doesn’t take their God, or themselves, too seriously.

“I Am, therefore I Think”

Yes delusional thinking happens on both side and for much the same reasons, we take ourselves way too seriously and we fail to respect the reality that
We Need Each Other To Keep Ourselves Honest.

But unbridled Ego has become the most celebrated icon of our ME, ME, ME First age.

I reckon.
by coincidence I’m about to leave for the local college Philosophy Club, tonight’s topic,

  • Oct 24 - Are Voters Rational?: Nonrational Influences that Affect People’s Political Viewpoints with Paul Debell, Professor of Political Science/Philosophy

I’ll be stepping outside the pub :wink:

As you can imagine, I’m not your typical attendee.
I come with thoughts to barter - spent the past couple hours reducing and improving, though much more is needed. But given time constrains I think it’ll do:

Considering our dysfunctional public dialogue in 14 verses,

( From a witness for climate science. - December 30, 2018)

  1. Uncertainties vs. known Physical Certainties

It is a disservice to constantly allow trivial uncertainties to become the focal point of the public discussion.

In real life when we get mired or overwhelmed by increasingly complex situations, we stop, back off a little, get reoriented with the big picture, reacquaint ourselves with what we do know for certain, then move forward again. I’m not saying ignore uncertainties, keep them in perspective, but first honestly understand the fundamentals scientists have documented!

  1. Map vs. Territory Problem

Earth scientists are Cartographers mapping out the geophysical realities of our planet, the Territory if you will. They do the best they can with the data they have available. Too often we get trapped into assuming that until scientists can define all aspects with statistical certainty, we’re allowed to disregard all that can’t be absolutely positively ‘proven.’ That’s madness in an unforgiving world.

  1. Sloppy usage of “Natural Variability”

Every component and aspect of our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine is warming and energizing.

Too often ‘natural variability’ gets used as a sort of defense against acknowledging the obvious. Weather systems are not caused by manmade global warming, but every last one of them is certainly impacted by increased heat, energy, atmospheric moisture. Comparisons to yesteryears offer little guidance for understanding this brave new (415) PPM CO2++ world we have created for ourselves and children. It’s the atmospheric insulation; and every current weather extreme is a reflection of that reality.

  1. “Seepage”

Allowing dishonest shrill voices to force scientists into following the contrarian script rather than focusing on conveying our physical reality to the public.

As Prof. Stephen Lewandowsky put it: “…even when scientists are rebutting contrarian talking points, they often do so within a framing and within a linguistic landscape created by denial, and often in a manner that reinforces the contrarian claim. This ‘‘seepage’’ has arguably contributed to a widespread tendency to understate the severity of the climate problem.”

Check out his paper:

Seepage: Climate change denial and its effect on the scientific community” -

1 the scientific community has adopted assumptions or language from discourse that originated outside the scientific community or from a small set of dissenting scientific voices.

2 those assumptions depart from those commonly held by the scientific community.

Greg Laden - May 15, 2015

  1. “Global Warming” vs “Climate Change”

Give credit where credit is due.

Bottomline: Increasing CO2 is causing increasing atmospheric insulation, this is driving increased retention of heat, radically changing our climate. Be clear Anthropogenic Global Warming is the cause and driver of the increasingly intense cascading Climate Changes we are witnessing.

  1. Responsibilities of Scientists vs Responsibilities of Citizens and Students

Scientists are dedicated to their work, given their education and accumulated knowledge, their time is very precious and we need them focusing on their respective tasks. They are not the ones to fight for the recognition that their work is rational, objective, factually, and morally authoritative. They’ve done the difficult task of accumulating, digesting, reporting, and filing the substantive evidence, presenting it to a community of educated peers (publication and debate and follow studies. Passing that muster speaks for itself. Scientists should not have to answer to under-educated malicious contrarians and their fabrications & slander - that is a citizens problem, a voter problem. Who’s to defend them and the knowledge they share with society?


( We need each other to keep ourselves honest. )

  1. Define the Debate, A to Z -

Constructive Argument is based on real facts, with the ultimate goal being a collective better understanding of the issue at hand. Such as a Scientific Debate demands, one honestly represents one’s opponent’s position. Striving to understand your opponent’s position well enough to reject or modify it with the merits of your own facts and reasoning, is the point of the exercise. If one fail to convince it means something, and its our challenge to honestly figure out why. It may hurt, but it’s a learning experience for the intellectually honest. Mistakes have always been necessary learning opportunities for the stout.

Z Lawyerly Debate, winning is all that matters, facts are irrelevant obstacles to hurdle. Being skilled in rhetorical trickery is a prerequisite. Objective learning is not the object. Amorality, misdirection and theatre are its hallmarks. Enough said.

  1. Intellectual Confrontation

The fact is, climate science awareness is being actively stifled by ruthless individuals with bottomless bank accounts and octopus news outlets and a growing army of passionate politically active recruits of the two pronged Koch/Bannon brainwashing efforts. They have sold a lazy public a pack of lies that have become the comfort zone of all too many today.

How can the misinformation this juggernaut force feeds the public be neutralized without direct intellectual confrontation by masses of informed, concerned, engaged students, and citizens, everywhere it pops up?

It’s not about attacking people, it’s about attacking the maliciously deceptive words, and presenting the factual story in an engaging manner. It’s about teaching each other how our physical planet operates and how much we depend on it!

  1. Call out False Claims & Lies

When someone makes a malicious false claim, relentlessly demand evidence for said attack(s) - expose those who refuse to produce evidence for their malicious claims. Examine and expose the props they substituted for substance.

Dissect and confront their tactics rather than being played by them!

  1. Better than Skepticism ===> Critical Thinking Skills

The term “Skeptics” has been poisoned by theatre and the grotesque double standard of the GOP.

Critical Thinking Skills is a clear descriptive that explains our process.

  1. Confront Trash Talk with Rhetorical Jujutsu

Contrarians depend on personal attacks to distract the discussion from their bankrupt “science”. Learn to recognize the game, turn it to your favor, be prepared to point out the juvenility of the tactic, while forcing the discussion back to the real world facts your contrarian opponent won’t have. { }

  1. Faith-based Thinking - God or EGO?

Possessing the hubris to fancy that we petty, jealous, fearful, prideful, self-serving humans can access and understand the real God of Light and Time, Life and Love, leads to a profound disconnect from our planet’s physical reality, and an immoral absolutism.

Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide, and the fundamental fact that our Gods are created from within ourselves, heart and mind.

  1. The pain of our brave new world

Face it, or not, we are like children being inextricably torn from our mother for all time. Our brave new world is arriving, it will be traumatic, and it won’t be wished away. Our existence is transitioning into an ever more deadly game of Russian Weather Roulette and cascading consequences. Delusional thinking and disregard for scientific understanding and rational constructive dialogue will only make the coming decades that much worse. Why are we all still allowing it?

  1. WE THE PEOPLE, have the right to demand honesty and truthfulness when hearing what real experts are trying to convey, without being flooded with the constant deceptive and fraudulent cross-screaming of the propaganda machine of unhinged self-serving corporate masters of the universe and their astro-turfing machines.


Confronting Science Contrarians: d) Considering our dysfunctional public dialogue in 14 verses.

Oh funny that, just flashed on “Dilbert”, great example of a low life who thinks it’s perfectly normal and okay to lie about science.

Oh and I could pile on, but other plans.

Hope it goes well. Let us know

It was interesting. Good speaker, good participation, nothing resolved beyond us being emotional creatures with a tendency to justify ourselves after the fact. Hobbits and Hooligans and all that. Heck maybe I should sleep on it and try to put together a little report, just for the mental exercise of it. I did make some notes. But, now I’m fading. later

I was going to get back to you on that.

From my notes, we discussed:

Is voting rational?

Which brought us to defining “rationality” Action in accordance with fact, honest, truthful,

Political action emanates primarily from one’s personal perceptions.

Bounded rationality
Self-interested goal-directed seeking
Psychologies shift in the 1990 away from math fetishizing
Black and White (Converse 1964)
Hobbits and Hooligans (Brennan 2016)
and so on.

Coolest personal discover was learning about “TheDecisionLab” which DeBell talked about as a great source for information on bias. He was not kidding.

> List of Cognitive Biases and Heuristics - The Decision Lab

But the thing my thoughts keep going back to is the general feeling of futility and hopelessness at changing any minds, culminating in his asking: Okay so when’s the last time any of you have had your minds changed, or been able to change anyone else’s? And everyone was stymied.
No one objected, no one was able to point out that they could separate Learning From Facts from the needs of their EGOs and Vanity.

Seems to me I can think of all sorts of times my opinions have been changed by new facts.
I’m as vain as anyone, I can be shockingly gullible and wrong, I have my pride, heck even got the hot head in me, though I’m not proud of it and try to keep a lid on it, but there it is. Point is, I believe in myself and I got passions, but christ almighty when I’m wrong about something, with the facts presented and an explanation about why I’m wrong and what I’d been missing - that’s that. Might hurt my ego, might piss me off, heck might take a little time to soak in if it’s important. It’s called learning.

If understanding is one’s life is a personal mission, honesty is a requirement.

DeBell spoke of the Hobbits and Hooligans and Vulcanes

So what would these other labels look like?

EGO focused, facade building and defending
INTROSPECTIVE, allowing facts to drive convictions, aware that there’s always more to learn.
Having the ability to face mistakes and learn from them, driven by a desire to learn yet more, perhaps for its own sake, guess that could be for personal, esthetic reasons, emotional fulfillment.

I’ll have to look that up.

Its important to note that minds do change. It rarely happens in a moment, but it happens.