1. GMU Econ Society blog

2. Top ten Jackie Chan fight scenes?: How can they leave off Jackie against the monks?

3. More on speculation and oil prices as a bubble; very thoughtful analysis

4. Solving the climate change attitude mystery

5. Does religion make people happy?


I have to say that I agreed with the poster on the "climate change mystery" thread who said he was amused/disgusted by this question of, "What pathology do you have that causes you to disagree with me?"

There are strong arguments on both sides, and so it doesn't surprise me that people who get more deeply into the climate change science focus on the strong arguments that reinforce their views and/or their political conclusions. E.g. someone who just reads the newspapers might humbly say, "Wow there are PhDs on both sides saying they are right; I can't judge!"

But if a Democrat spends time at, he or she will see all of the "denier" objections picked apart. And if a Republican starts reading Roy Spencer or this book, he or she will see the IPCC models and conclusions picked apart.

Bob -- I think it's a bit disingenuous to suggest some sort of scientific equivalence between the overwhelming majority of climate scientists and global climate change skeptics.

For instance, here's what wikipedia says:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas concentrations"[1] via the greenhouse effect. ...These basic conclusions have been endorsed by at least thirty scientific societies and academies of science,[4] including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.[5][6][7] While individual scientists have voiced disagreement with some findings of the IPCC,[8] the overwhelming majority of scientists working on climate change agree with the IPCC's main conclusions.

Is the scientific consensus always correct? No, but that's certainly the way to bet.

If you're going to make policy, shouldn't it be based on the scientific consensus, and not the views of the skeptics? After all, there are also "skeptics" who think the scientific consensus is too conservative.

The burden is on the skeptics of all types to prove their case to their fellow scientists, not merely to people with ideological or political agendas.

Does a college education make it more likely that you will switch parties because of your position on issues, while the less educated stick with the party they were raised with? Maybe the cause and effect is actually the reverse, that is college educated people who believe in climate change become Democrats, and those that do not become Republicans.

Bob -- I think it's a bit disingenuous to suggest some sort of scientific equivalence between the overwhelming majority of climate scientists and global climate change skeptics.

Well, I tried to choose my words carefully; I said "there are strong arguments on both sides." I stand totally behind that. If you think the skeptics are merely saying, "I don't trust no dumb computer!" then you should read more. I really liked The Deniers. These weren't two-bit academics in a community college in the Midwest, some of these people are leaders in their respective areas of expertise. And they weren't even all saying, "This is garbage," they were just saying, "The part of the 'consensus' that overlaps with my area of expertise is totally wrong." But when you see that pattern over and over in different areas of the issue...

Also, Yancey Ward raises a good point. There are some people who really are deniers in the sense that they same the earth isn't even warming, or that humans aren't necessarily responsible for the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere. From my amateur research, I think these people are wrong.

But where I personally part ways is the people who claim that unless we do something drastic (and soon), humanity will suffer terribly. I don't buy that at all.

a student of economics (and others),

You are fighting the wrong war when you claim the fight is between those who claim AGW (actually you are even more vague, which is part of your problem here) is occurring and those who deny that AGW is happening.

There is indeed a consensus there, although I truly despise the word consensus being used to shut off argument; good science is about trying to poke holes in the paradigm, and to shut off debate with the word "consensus" is disturbing.

However there is far from a consensus amongst PhD climatologists on the issue of whether or not AGW justifies the hysteria of nonscientists like Al Gore, or whether or not "something needs to be done now". Here is a review of the book that you so blithely dismissed in your ignorance of where the battle of ideas is taking place now. Here is a key quote from the review:

Gore would have you believe that these dissidents are marginal players in the scientific community. Solomon shows otherwise. In his new book, The Deniers (Richard Vigilante, $27.95), which is a compilation of his National Post columns, Solomon profiles 34 global warming dissidents who boast impeccable scientific credentials and, in some cases, mind-boggling accomplishments in the field of climatology. By my calculations (supplemented with a bit of Googling), Solomon’s “deniers† have published nearly 4,000 articles in peer-reviewed journals and well over 100 books. A list of their academic honors and high-level appointments would be longer than this entire review. The dissidents often have much more impressive qualifications than the climate catastrophists.

Since environmentalism has been taken over by the radical left, it is not surprising that educated Republicans don't want to believe the Earth is warming.

Essentially, when it became clear that Marxist central planning was a miserable failure at improving the lives of the working class, those people had to latch on to some other justification for their preferred economic system. So, at the end of the Cold War, you see the radical left entering the ranks of environmentalism (which was, prior to that, generally not a left/right political issue).

Much of the "solutions" being proposed for man made climate change are essentially Marxism re-branded. The radical environmental movement is primarily focused on ending free-markets, except this time they claim it is for the environment as opposed to the working class.

Republicans can sense that environmentalism has become a political tool to promote the agenda of the radical left... however, Republicans have long ago abandoned any liberal values for a purely reactionary anti-leftism. Republicans are no longer defenders of free markets, and instead have decided to focus their energy on culture wars and nationalism.

Republicans can't offer any alternative solutions to global warming, because they no longer have any real ideology anymore. So their strategy is to look at what the left is doing, and do the complete opposite - claim that global warming isn't happening.

There's no mystery as to why college-educated Republicans come out on the opposite side of college-educated Democrats on this issue, and the difference is far less among the non-college educated. If you get through college and are still (or become) a Republican, you must be highly skeptical of academic authority. If you remain or become a Democrat, you probably have high respect for academic authority. (I do not opine on whether one reaches a better opinion by being respectful or by being skeptical of academic authority). There is no such filter if you haven't gone to college. Since very few non-specialists know the actual scientific arguments for and against, the main political argument for anthropogenic global warming is the weight of academic authority on the issue. Thus people come down on the issue based on their respect for or skepticism of academic authority.

I would love to have the comment sections for posts like this saved for 10-20 years. NASA astrophysicist shows that the global warming models violate evergy balance laws because of a failure to provide a limit for atmospheric thickness in the differential equations. Who is more likely to be aware of that research? College-educated Republicans.

The best statistics minds in the world look at the statistical models used in the infamous hockey stick and other climate research and note: 1) the statistical tools were not used properly, and 2) the climate scientists have shown no interest in getting help to fix their errors. Who is more likely to be aware of this? College-eductated Republicans.

James Hansen, head scientist cheerleader for AGW and recipient of large sums of cash from George Soros and other lefties, has been caught fudging the temperature records in an effort to create the appearance of an extreme warming trend. Wonder who is aware of that?

Some people are willing to swallow whatever claims they hear from Al Gore, James Hansen and those scientists who have billions of dollars in annual grants dependent on creating fear. And some people think for themselves and look at the actual science. I wonder why those groups disagree.

The climate change attitude doesn't seem to be that much of a mystery. It's only a mystery if you believe that there really is a scientific consensus on climate change. The consensus is a manufactured myth.

Second, Republicans/Conservatives are more likely to go into scientific fields whereas Democrats/Liberals tend to gravitate to social sciences and humanities.

I know many engineers, scientists, etc., and to a person they are skeptical of the global warming hypothesis.

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