Thursday, January 04, 2007

Why now?

For (John Fleck), those (Tim Lambert) seeking (Dave Roberts) to (Matthew Nisbit) understand (Real Climate Gang) the (Andrew Dessler) recent (Chris Mooney) outbreak (Junk Science for Rabett's sakes) of (Free Republic) whose (an amusing little not think tank at George Mason) got (RPielke Sr.) the (James Hrynyshyn) middle (jsq) (Revkin, Vranes and Pielke all over the place), a simple answer to a simple question.

Thank you for your attention.

(Oh yeah, check this one out)


Anonymous said...

"When this form [balance] is overused, it also inevitably tends to highlight the opinions of people at the edges of a debate instead of in the much grayer middle ground, where consensus most likely lies. ...“For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD.” -- Revkin

... and for every biased, scientifically illiterate journalist, there is an even more biased, scientifically illiterate journalist.

It's no mystery why scientists don't like journalists. The journalists screw up what they tell them every time -- without fail.

Sometimes they do it out of sheer ignorance. Other times they do it on purpose. But they screw it up nonetheless.

James Hansen is right: scientists have been silent to long. It's time the public heard their words from their own mouths without the usual innacurate "journalistic "translation" ("framing", "balance", etc).

EliRabett said...

A lot of it is training and preparation by the person being interviewed. There are a few important points IMHO: do not contradict yourself, deal with the main points, not the niggles and exceptions (don't even mention those), provide a lede which reinforces your main point, couch things positively.

People can be trained in these techniques, and I would hazard a guess that the folk like Singer, Ball, etc. have received that training from public affairs pros. Folk like Gavin Schmidt mostly acquire it on the fly which leads to some very bad initial failures that poison the well.

Wadard said...

Nice technique to get a message across!

Anonymous said...

"A lot of it is training and preparation by the person being interviewed."

That helps to be sure, but let me say from personal experience that those things are not "sufficient" -- not by a long shot.

My experience is that journalists are squarely to blame here.

Many (not all) seem to think that because they can't understand a scientific subject, somehow no one out there in the public will understand it either -- or even care if they get some things "not quite right."

What they don't realize, of course, is that there are a lot of scientists and engineers in the general public who know one hell of a lot more than they do about science and who do care.

When I see journalistic jibberish regarding science, I throw it in the trash where it belongs -- and my trash bin is full of it.

Quite frankly, I think the journalists are largely (if not primarily) to blame when it comes to the state of the "debate" over climate science.

They have this cockeyed idea that it is their duty to present a "balanced" view on everything. This has greatly skewed the whole debate about global warming and done the public a great disservice. These journalists have been presenting both sides (the scientists' side represented by IPCC and the Exxon Mobil side) for ten years now as if they were somehow equal and worthy of equal space in their publications, on their blogs, etc.

This is total nonsense to anyone who knows anything about science, of course.

Now Revkin comes along with the "answer" -- claiming that we (in the public) have been missing the "silent middle" -- which he and other journalists created by virtue of what they chose to cover, for God's sake!

The whole thing really ticks me off to the point of saying "To hell with these journalists". They should either educate themselves about science or not write about it at all because as it stands, all they are doing is screwing things up and poisoning what otherwise might have been a perfectly reasonable conversation about a very important problem.

Revkin talks about the "overuse of balance" when what he really should be addressing is the "use of balance" at all when it comes to writing about science. Not only that, he draws the wrong conclusion: If you have two PhD's at the extremes, that does not mean you throw out both simply because they do not lie in the middle. The fact is, the correct answer sometimes is at one extreme and this is true not only of the science, but it can also be true of the policy, which depends heavily on the science in cases such as this one.

Anonymous said...

What is a personality disorder?
[from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, 1994, commonly referred to as DSM-IV, of the American Psychiatric Association. European countries use the diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization.]
An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectation of the individual's culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment.

A personality disorder is a pattern of deviant or abnormal behavior that the person doesn't change even though it causes emotional upsets and trouble with other people at work and in personal relationships. It is not limited to episodes of mental illness, and it is not caused by drug or alcohol use, head injury, or illness. There are about a dozen different behavior patterns classified as personality disorders by DSM-IV. All the personality disorders show up as deviations from normal in one or more of the following:
(1) cognition -- i.e., perception, thinking, and interpretation of oneself, other people, and events;
(2) affectivity -- i.e., emotional responses (range, intensity, lability, appropriateness);
(3) interpersonal functions;
(4) impulsivity.


Narcissistic Personality Disorder

While grandiosity is the diagnostic hallmark of pathological narcissism, there is research evidence that pathological narcissism occurs in two forms, (a) a grandiose state of mind in young adults that can be corrected by life experiences, and (b) the stable disorder described in DSM-IV, which is defined less by grandiosity than by severely disturbed interpersonal relations.
The preferred theory seems to be that narcissism is caused by very early affective deprivation, yet the clinical material tends to describe narcissists as unwilling rather than unable, thus treating narcissistic behaviors as volitional -- that is, narcissism is termed a personality disorder, but it tends to be discussed as a character disorder. This distinction is important to prognosis and treatment possibilities. If NPD is caused by infantile damage and consequent developmental short-circuits, it probably represents an irremediable condition. On the other hand, if narcissism is a behavior pattern that's learned, then there is some hope, however tenuous, that it's a behavior pattern that can be unlearned. The clinical literature on NPD is highly theoretical, abstract, and general, with sparse case material, suggesting that clinical writers have little experience with narcissism in the flesh. There are several reasons for this to be so:
-- The incidence of NPD is estimated at 1% in the general population, though I haven't been able to discover the basis of this estimate.
-- Narcissists rarely enter treatment and, once in treatment, progress very slowly. We're talking about two or more years of frequent sessions before the narcissist can acknowledge even that the therapist is sometimes helpful. It's difficult to keep narcissists in treatment long enough for improvement to be made -- and few people, narcissists or not, have the motivation or the money to pursue treatment that produces so little so late.
-- Because of the influence of third-party payers (insurance companies), there has been a strong trend towards short-term therapy that concentrates on ameliorating acute troubles, such as depression, rather than delving into underlying chronic problems. Narcissists are very reluctant to open up and trust, so it's possible that their NPD is not even recognized by therapists in short-term treatment. Purely anecdotal evidence from correspondents and from observations of people I know indicates that selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, such as Prozac, aggravate narcissists' grandiosity and lack of social inhibition. It has also been suggested that self-help literature about bolstering self-esteem and getting what you want out of life or that encourages the feeling of victimization has aggravating effects on NPD thinking and behavior.
-- Most clinical writers seem unaware that narcissists' self-reports are unreliable. This is troubling, considering that lying is the most common complaint about narcissists and that, in many instances, defects of empathy lead narcissists to wildly inaccurate misinterpretations of other people's speech and actions, so that they may believe that they are liked and respected despite a history of callous and exploitative personal interactions.

[from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, 1994, commonly referred to as DSM-IV, of the American Psychiatric Association. European countries use the diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization.]
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy.[jma: NPD first appeared in DSM-III in 1980; before that time there had been no formal diagnostic description. Additionally, there is considerable overlap between personality disorders and clinicians tend to diagnose mixes of two or more. Grandiosity is a special case, but lack of empathy and exploitative interpersonal relations are not unique to NPD, nor is the need to be seen as special or unique. The differential diagnosis of NPD is made on the absence of specific gross behaviors. Borderline Personality Disorder has several conspicuous similarities to NPD, but BPD is characterized by self-injury and threatened or attempted suicide, whereas narcissists are rarely self-harming in this way. BPD may include psychotic breaks, and these are uncharacteristic of NPD but not unknown. The need for constant attention is also found in Histrionic Personality Disorder, but HPD and BPD are both strongly oriented towards relationships, whereas NPD is characterized by aloofness and avoidance of intimacy. Grandiosity is unique to NPD among personality disorders, but it is found in other psychiatric illnesses. Psychopaths display pathological narcissism, including grandiosity, but psychopathy is differentiated from NPD by psychopaths' willingness to use physical violence to get what they want, whereas narcissists rarely commit crimes; the narcissists I've known personally are, in fact, averse to physical contact with others, though they will occasionally strike out in an impulse of rage. It has been found that court-ordered psychotherapy for psychopaths actually increases their recidivism rate; apparently treatment teaches psychopaths new ways to exploit other people. Bipolar illness also contains strong elements of grandiosity. See more on grandiosity and empathy and its lack below.]The disorder begins by early adulthood and is indicated by at least five of the following:

Translation: Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a pattern of self-centered or egotistical behavior that shows up in thinking and behavior in a lot of different situations and activities. People with NPD won't (or can't) change their behavior even when it causes problems at work or when other people complain about the way they act, or when their behavior causes a lot of emotional distress to others (or themselves? none of my narcissists ever admit to being distressed by their own behavior -- they always blame other people for any problems). This pattern of self-centered or egotistical behavior is not caused by current drug or alcohol use, head injury, acute psychotic episodes, or any other illness, but has been going on steadily at least since adolescence or early adulthood.
NPD interferes with people's functioning in their occupations and in their relationships:
Mild impairment when self-centered or egotistical behavior results in occasional minor problems, but the person is generally doing pretty well.
Moderate impairment when self-centered or egotistical behavior results in: (a) missing days from work, household duties, or school, (b) significant performance problems as a wage-earner, homemaker, or student, (c) frequently avoiding or alienating friends, (d) significant risk of harming self or others (frequent suicidal preoccupation; often neglecting family, or frequently abusing others or committing criminal acts).
Severe impairment when self-centered or egotistical behavior results in: (a) staying in bed all day, (b) totally alienating all friends and family, (c) severe risk of harming self or others (failing to maintain personal hygiene; persistent danger of suicide, abuse, or crime).

1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

Translation: Grandiosity is the hallmark of narcissism. So what is grandiose?

The simplest everyday way that narcissists show their exaggerated sense of self-importance is by talking about family, work, life in general as if there is nobody else in the picture. Whatever they may be doing, in their own view, they are the star, and they give the impression that they are bearing heroic responsibility for their family or department or company, that they have to take care of everything because their spouses or co-workers are undependable, uncooperative, or otherwise unfit. They ignore or denigrate the abilities and contributions of others and complain that they receive no help at all; they may inspire your sympathy or admiration for their stoicism in the face of hardship or unstinting self-sacrifice for the good of (undeserving) others. But this everyday grandiosity is an aspect of narcissism that you may never catch on to unless you visit the narcissist's home or workplace and see for yourself that others are involved and are pulling their share of the load and, more often than not, are also pulling the narcissist's share as well. An example is the older woman who told me with a sigh that she knew she hadn't been a perfect mother but she just never had any help at all -- and she said this despite knowing that I knew that she had worn out and discarded two devoted husbands and had lived in her parents' pocket (and pocketbook) as long as they lived, quickly blowing her substantial inheritance on flaky business schemes. Another example is claiming unusual benefits or spectacular results from ordinary effort and investment, giving the impression that somehow the narcissist's time and money are worth more than other people's. [Here is an article about recognizing and coping with narcissism in the workplace; it is rather heavy on management jargon and psychobabble, but worth reading. "The Impact of Narcissism on Leadership and Sustainability" by Bruce Gregory, Ph.D. "When the narcissistic defense is operating in an interpersonal or group setting, the grandiose part does not show its face in public. In public it presents a front of patience, congeniality, and confident reasonableness."]

In popular usage, the terms narcissism, narcissist, and narcissistic denote absurd vanity and are applied to people whose ambitions and aspirations are much grander than their evident talents. Sometimes these terms are applied to people who are simply full of themselves -- even when their real achievements are spectacular. Outstanding performers are not always modest, but they aren't grandiose if their self-assessments are realistic; e.g., Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay, was notorious for boasting "I am the greatest!" and also pointing out that he was the prettiest, but he was the greatest and the prettiest for a number of years, so his self-assessments weren't grandiose. Some narcissists are flamboyantly boastful and self-aggrandizing, but many are inconspicuous in public, saving their conceit and autocratic opinions for their nearest and dearest. Common conspicuous grandiose behaviors include expecting special treatment or admiration on the basis of claiming (a) to know important, powerful or famous people or (b) to be extraordinarily intelligent or talented. As a real-life example, I used to have a neighbor who told his wife that he was the youngest person since Sir Isaac Newton to take a doctorate at Oxford. The neighbor gave no evidence of a world-class education, so I looked up Newton and found out that Newton had completed his baccalaureate at the age of twenty-two (like most people) and spent his entire academic career at Cambridge. The grandiose claims of narcissists are superficially plausible fabrications, readily punctured by a little critical consideration. The test is performance: do they deliver the goods? (There's also the special situation of a genius who's also strongly narcissistic, as perhaps Frank Lloyd Wright. Just remind yourself that the odds are that you'll meet at least 1000 narcissists for every genius you come across.) [More on grandiosity.]

2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

Translation: Narcissists cultivate solipsistic or "autistic" fantasies, which is to say that they live in their own little worlds (and react with affront when reality dares to intrude).

3. Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

Translation: Narcissists think that everyone who is not special and superior is worthless. By definition, normal, ordinary, and average aren't special and superior, and so, to narcissists, they are worthless.

4. Requires excessive admiration

Translation: Excessive in two ways: they want praise, compliments, deference, and expressions of envy all the time, and they want to be told that everything they do is better than what others can do. Sincerity is not an issue here; all that matter are frequency and volume.

5. Has a sense of entitlement

Translation: They expect automatic compliance with their wishes or especially favorable treatment, such as thinking that they should always be able to go first and that other people should stop whatever they're doing to do what the narcissists want, and may react with hurt or rage when these expectations are frustrated.

6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends

Translation: Narcissists use other people to get what they want without caring about the cost to the other people.

7. Lacks empathy

Translation: They are unwilling to recognize or sympathize with other people's feelings and needs. They "tune out" when other people want to talk about their own problems.
In clinical terms, empathy is the ability to recognize and interpret other people's emotions. Lack of empathy may take two different directions: (a) accurate interpretation of others' emotions with no concern for others' distress, which is characteristic of psychopaths; and (b) the inability to recognize and accurately interpret other people's emotions, which is the NPD style. This second form of defective empathy may (rarely) go so far as alexithymia, or no words for emotions, and is found with psychosomatic illnesses, i.e., medical conditions in which emotion is experienced somatically rather than psychically. People with personality disorders don't have the normal body-ego identification and regard their bodies only instrumentally, i.e., as tools to use to get what they want, or, in bad states, as torture chambers that inflict on them meaningless suffering. Self-described narcissists who've written to me say that they are aware that their feelings are different from other people's, mostly that they feel less, both in strength and variety (and which the narcissists interpret as evidence of their own superiority); some narcissists report "numbness" and the inability to perceive meaning in other people's emotions.

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him

Translation: No translation needed.

9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes

EliRabett said...

Wanna carrot doc?

Anonymous said...

with or without 1080?

Anonymous said...

Tim Lambert seems to have chosen the 1080.
My comments are no longer permitted on his sites.
I do not understand his motives

Anonymous said...

I have surveyed many blogs
I observe the following
1. Fundamentalist AGW positions dressed up as science
2. Dispassionate observers who are willing to consider and continue to moderate their views as new evidence comes to light
3. The opposite of (1)

I observe the same suspects recirculating their views wrt to 1 and 3

I observe that 1 ridicules 2 and 3
That 2 ridicules neither and
That 3 ridicules 1.

Hence my post wrt personality disorders.

Category 2, by definition, do not have personality disorders.

Category 1 and 3 are by definition more prone.

Insight into the ways of the self is de rigeur wrt the advancement of this issue and indeed all other political and scientific issues.
This insight is by definition largely absent in those that have personality disorders.
Now I know that I am blacklisted by Tim Lambert.
If Tim Lambert is possessed of any integrity then he would allow all relevant material - including this - to be posted.

He has a choice to continue with his invective against those that disagree - or to open his mind to the possibility that he might be wrong.
It is simply not sufficient to refer readers to sources of "scientific" information unless Tim Lambert has the ability to fully comprehend the information presented in these references.
Currently he creates much more heat than light - as do his insecure acolytes.
It is a fact that there is no scientist who has the intellect to fully understand the mathematics of the non-linear dynamics associated with GW or has a firm grasp on the subject
They may well argue that the science has improved and is now more secure but the ranges offered for putative temperature increase are so broad as to be useless.
Now if Tim Lambert or Eli Rabett or any of their sycophants understand what they are talking about - please do a two thousand word essay on the topic and cease citing references that they have no real comprehension of.
I will read it with interest to the end.
I am category 2.

EliRabett said...

I take Tim's point.

Anonymous said...

What is his point/

Anonymous said...

no reply as yet - so I will elaborate

As I read numerous other commentaries and "blogs" re this issue - I am refreshed by the absence of smart alec and obscure rhetoric which characterises Tim Lambert's and this blog.
I am pleased to read "blogs" wherein the participants are not afraid to reveal their identities - rather than assume pseudonyms.
I am refreshed by the courteous and dispassionate discourse that I find.
I have been naive in entering this and Tim Lambert's blogs.
Regardless of the outcome wrt to the debate wrt to global warming - this blog and Tim Lambert's have performed a disservice to the debate.
You have both assumed that a dichotomy exists and used perjorative language to denigrate decent people who sincerely wish to understand the issues.
Irrespective of the discussion re global warming - you both have a great deal to learn with regard to communication and the fundamental aspects of the human spirit.
I don't really wish you well, so much as to hope that you recognise the destructive nature of your communication style.
It does not serve to build bridges and progress understanding but simply to alienate many intelligent and concerned people.

Anonymous said...

Is your name Joshua or Eli?
I do not understand why anyone in discussion groups would choose to conceal their indentity.

EliRabett said...

It took a long time for Samuel Adams to come to the surface of Boston politics, even though his father was a powerful figure in the caucuses and the General Court. One reason for the delayed "arrival" is that Adams is almost alone in history as a man who sincerely desired anonymity. His major writings were signed not "Adams" but "Determinatus," "Candidus," "Vindex," "Populus," "Alfred," "Valerius Poplicola," "T.Z.," "Shippen,", "a Bostonian," "a Tory," "E.A.," "a Layman," "an Impartialist," "a chatterer," -- even later, when he could have gained great credit by acknowledging his full opus, he would not take the trouble. The writings had done their work; that was what he wanted. He often ended his letters with the command "Burn this," and he took his own advice by consigning nearly all his correspondence files to the flames, leaving behind a relatively small amount in the hands of others or in public print.

EliRabett said...


Three Men of Boston (Paperback)
by John R. Galvin

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Rabett

I am unaware of the musings of the fellow to whom you refer.
It seems that you are saying that he may have achieved fame during his lifetime if his identity was known - but recognised that his genius was a gift rather than something that he attained through personal striving - and that he chose to act as conduit for truth rather than as an owner.
I reveal my identity as a consequence of habit
I don't enjoy publicity and have largely avoided it.
Unfortunately it is a requirement of the print media in NZ that if a person wishes to express an opinion they need to be identifed by name address and phone number.

WRT "blogs" it makes me easy to track.
I don't mind this. I do not enjoy being denigrated - but I have done my fair share and expect to be responded to in kind until I desist.
This has been a useful exercise for me.
WRT GW - since my initial salvoes I have read widely on both sides of the debate - and in between.
I have learnt a great deal about climate physics.
The causes of GW are highly complex, not fully understood and the proposed solutions are not clear.
For example creating carbon sinks via the planting of more trees grass or whatever is by no means well thought out. Different plants clearly have major differences in capability to act as carbon sinks. Further research is required in this area.
Similarly there have been some perverse economic incentives which have resulted in the clearing of forest to produce sugar cane for biofuels.
With regard to emissions - despite protestations to the contrary - I do not believe that newly industrialised countries - China and India - etc are likely to reduce CO2 emissions to what the AGW folk believe to be an acceptable level.
Among those that support an anthropogenic cause - there is clearly substantial difference in projected temperature increase.
This is a reflection of incomplete science – there can be no other explanation.
This will remain a bugbear for people concerned re worse case scenarios –as they will naturally perceive that no action can be too radical.
The most radical action would cause severe economic contraction – with associated adverse effects on medical care and the consequences of increased morbidity and mortality.
The ultimate intent of any policy is to provide the greatest good for the greatest number. The dead have no interest in these policy intents.
Medical science has never been subjected to the same degree of media and public interest (for obvious reasons) but the system with which doctors deal is arguably substantially more complex than the earth's climate.
I have seen a number of consensus opinions come and go - but these have received little media attention.
That said the consequences of GW - if substantial and significantly anthropogenic
are clearly potentially much more severe than morbidity arising from errors in medical science.
Hence the aggressive promotion of the precautionary principle by folk whose understanding lies at the more extreme end of projected temperature increases.
After the reading I have done I do not believe that it will be possible to achieve consensus on this issue until the science is more advanced - and more observations made.
This will involve an ongoing experiment with all of our lives.
On a more prosaic level there are major health problems - particularly the catastrophic rise in obesity - which are likely to cause early mortality on a massive scale.
This epidemic has major economic implications for all Westernised countries - and also the Asian continent.
We are seeing dramatic reductions in life expectancy in some areas in Japan and a major trend to the adverse consequences of adopting Western dietary and lifestyle patterns in Asians.
I have campaigned aggressively in NZ wrt this epidemic (as have many other doctors).
The science is absolutely secure.
We have had zero impact on government policy despite the scientific clarity.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Montgomery

Anonymous said...

It has become clear to me following the reading of numerous blogs that many “Blog Owners” display a callous disregard or, blind ignorance with regard, to the travails of the common man/woman.
From their cosseted Ivory towers, steeped in all the privileges that have been endowed up them by virtue of being born into wealthy Western Countries they judge what is best for the planet while completely lacking any insight into the circumstances which have permitted them to be in the position from which they preach.
It should, but will never, come as surprise to the TL’s and ER’s of this world that the vast majority of the human race live in circumstances wherein they do not give a toss as to environmental consequences of their struggle to exist.
It was recently reported that Al Gore spends $600 per week on power consumption.
Whether this is true or not is almost irrelevant.
What is relevant is that the wealthy are scared witless with regard to the environmental consequences of the actions of the human race because they have, by virtue of longevity and Godlessness the most to lose.
In order for real change to occur, Tim Lambert and his ilk need to understand that the poor actually value their lives and love their families as much as the rich.
Until this is recognized and acted upon it is safe to assume that there will be no change in greenhouse emissions, the use of environmentally damaging chemicals and so on.
I do not recommend inaction.
I do recommend compassion.

EliRabett said...

Andrew, concern trolldom is an old and not much honored sthick. Try it elsewhere, you may have better luck.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Why do you bother?
Engage in debate.
Nobody is interested in your "droppings" - I have resd them on other blogs.
Stop trying to be clever and engage in honest debate.
You will be happier to be a fallible member of the human race than an "always right" clever guy.
Your antics are absolutely transparent.
I feel genuinely sorry for you.