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By Keith Kloor | November 15, 2012 10:03 am

This frame is from one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while.

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  • Joshua

    Keith – I don’t think you should have written about this subject.

    I would suggest that instead, you write about motivated reasoning.

    Have I ever suggested that before?

  • Matt B

    Ha ha! Whatever you write you suck, KK! that is unless you 100% agree with me……..but hey i luv ya!

  • Tom Scharf

    Hilarious.  Don’t miss his “My Dog the Paradox” if you own a dog.

    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/dog_paradox

  • steven mosher

    An hero

    giyf if you are not familar with “an hero”

  • Joshua
  • steven mosher

    Joshua: category error and confirmation bias.
    You ever notice how people who believe that motivated reasoning find it whereever they look.
    weird.

  • Barry Woods

    6# Except in the mirror. The Guardian tame psychologist that writes about climate change (Adam) write about motivated reasoning and ideology in sceptics..http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/jul/27/climate-sceptics-conspiracy-theorists He got a bit upset, when it was suggested that maybe it applies to others aswell. http://www.flickr.com/photos/cardiff_friends_of_the_earth/4190476939/in/photostream  

  • Mary

    The Oatmeal is remarkable in many ways. Using his gig to raise all that money for cancer research (or bears, I forget now), and then the museum, was just astounding.

    Such a neat demonstration of the reach and impact of the work he does. That’s gotta be way more rewarding and tangible than YouTube comments.

  • Joshua

    You ever notice how people who believe that motivated reasoning find it whereever they look.

    What, you mean when Keith notices it and writes about it in a piece something like this?:

    (add prefix for this site)/2012/11/14/obama-promises-to-talk-more-about-climate-change/

    Or when Keith notices it and talks about libruls believing junk science about GMOs?

    Or like you show when you make inaccurate generalizations about “skeptics?”

    You know, steven, if you didn’t confuse speaking about motivated reasoning with questioning peoples’ motives, it might be easier to take it seriously when you discuss motivated reasoning. Maybe you should read up on it?

    The evidence shows that the cognitive and psychological aspects of how we all reason reflects phenomena such as confirmation bias and motivated reasoning. It’s only when people acknowledge those phenomena that they can begin to control for it. But I know you think that you are the people you agree with are above motivated reasoning. Just goes to show, eh?

  • Howard

    Joshua:  That’s all well and good, but these human factors are very small in comparison to the system two capabilities of each individual.  Someone like you with a weak scientific system two is much more self-suggestible than someone like Mosher who is primarily influenced by his well developed system two calculation ability.  Sure, he is an arrogant controlling pedantic prig who may have teabagger sympathies, but those personality traits don’t seem to influence his evolving AGW scientific persona.  You need to recognize that the evidence shows that you are very very weak science thinker.  It’s a little pathetic seeing you repeatedly hide behind your verbal, liberal arts cleverness.  This makes the deniers twitch and is appreciated by the alarmists, which may give you false hope that your contributions are significant.  Now, in all fairness, that does not mean you have nothing to contribute.  I am forever grateful for your librul aught input and insight as it explains both the deniers and chicken little.  However, this contribution is just an interesting aside and not the main aspect.   Your link to the nbc story and equation with GW is below pedestrian and quite boring.  Your problem is that you are blind to your own predilections to fully understand and practice the real teaching from someone like Kahneman.

  • Joshua

    Someone like you with a weak scientific system two is much more
    self-suggestible than someone like Mosher who is primarily influenced by
    his well developed system two calculation ability.

    Interesting. Apparently you read you some Kahneman, yet failed to take in what he said about the flaws of “experts” and system two thinking (such as “availability bias”)..Let alone what he says about something like mathematics actually standing as a substitute for system two thinking. A big part of Kahneman’s focus are the biases common to system two thinking and the blindness of “experts” to flaws in their approach to analysis.

    Despite your fawning over steven’s brilliance, his comments are often filled with obvious flaws. Just look at the thread at Judy’s where he constantly stated false generalizations about “skeptics.” They completely undermined any valid arguments he was making. There are many, many more examples. Have you considered what it means when someone you think is capable of such exalted thinking makes such fundamentally flawed arguments? 

    Guess not, huh? Irony rears it’s ugly head once again, eh?

  • Barry Woods

    comment about motivated reasoning stuck in the filters?  (someone with a high public profile, Guardian, Ecologist, New Scientist platform, and speaks at the Royal Institution, & multiple public panel debates))

  • Howard

    Joshua:Well, since Mosher keeps adjusting his opinions as he continues to work the problem, it is obvious that he is not inhibited by his *social* side.  Also, I never said Mosher is brilliant.  he is likely very clever and is quite dogged for sure.  He has gone all-in to figure out for himself what is going on with aspects of AGW.  No matter what one thinks of his online persona, he has earned respect.  Unlike myself, who is just a moronic kibitzer like your.  However, what is clear to me is that you have no concept or ability to identify the subculture of autodidact technical people with and without fancy degrees who instinctually avoid the pitfalls of both system one and two thinking and know how to get real-world $hit done.  These people, like Mosher, are real experts, the 5-percenters who solve problems from the bottom up.  Not the phony experts who fall into all of the dead-ends of problem solving because of insecurities fostered by unbridled pride and hubris (in case you didn;t know, vanity is the underlying “motivation” for idiotic groupthink).  The AGW business is a very new field that is only partially understood.  It’s a proto-science.  The GCMs are at the epicycle-stage of development.  See the model tuning paper and discussion over at Lucia’s.  It’s not yet “physics”.  Lots of the popular scientists who are the faces of climate science are better at working the publish-grant political system than truly understanding nature.  That is quite obvious in their defensiveness and closing of ranks about disclosing methods, data and code.  It also explains their hysterical hatred of Dr. Curry and her focus on uncertainty.  People who know how to get $hit done are not afraid of audits or questions, because that is a chance to educate themselves and others.  They also don’t cleave to groups or authorities.   You keep hiding behind the social issues because you lack the experience in solving real world problems from scratch. 

  • Joshua

    Howard –

    Well, since Mosher keeps adjusting his opinions as he continues to work
    the problem, it is obvious that he is not inhibited by his *social*
    side.

    So if I have continuously readjusted my opinions, would that make it obvious that I am not “inhibited by [my] *social side*? And I think that you might want to check with him as to whether he has kept “readjusting his opinions.” Which opinions is it that you believe he has adjusted? I’ve seen people claim that he has changed in his perspective, but to me it looks like it has remained fairly constant.

    Also, I never said Mosher is brilliant. 

    I was being deliberately hyperbolic, but point  taken.

    However, what is clear to me is that you
    have no concept or ability to identify the subculture of autodidact technical people with and without fancy degrees who instinctually avoid
    the pitfalls of both system one and two thinking and know how to get real-world $hit done
    .

    Well, there really is no way for me to refute argument by assertion, is there, particularly if it is about what is “clear to you? ” 

    These people, like Mosher, are real experts,

    Mosher makes obvious, fundamental flaws in his reasoning, and shirks accountability for his errors. I don’t confuse assessments of his personality with assessments his reasoning, and I always try to be careful to discount my assessments of anyone’s personality with the awareness that the slice of them that I try to infer from blogosphere comments is basically meaningless. I’ve never met the man, and I try hard to avoid feeling confident in assessing the personality of people I’ve never even met. I think it would be very, very foolish to do otherwise.

    The AGW business is a very new field that is only partially understood. 
    It’s a proto-science.  The GCMs are at the epicycle-stage of development.  See the model tuning paper and discussion over at
    Lucia’s.  It’s not yet “physics”.  Lots of the popular scientists who are the faces of climate science are better at working the publish-grant
    political system than truly understanding nature.
     

    IMO, the mistake make here is in isolating one debate, and specific participants in that debate, from the full context of human cognition and psychology. The information we have shows that the influences of cognition and psychology are inherent in our reasoning processes, and that they lie beneath the particulars of any given debate. I believe that it is possible to mitigate those influences through openness and acknowledgment of the problems. As long as people refuse to do that, they may well get lucky, but I would bet against their reasoning. Mosher has never shown anything (that I’ve seen) that looks to me like accountability for the well-established influences that bias how we all reason. In fact, he derides the very science that establishes the evidence that show those biases, and implausibly excuses only himself and those he agrees with from an assumption of influence from those biases.

  • steven mosher

    “Mosher makes obvious, fundamental flaws in his reasoning, and shirks accountability for his errors.

    Gosh.

    I suppose a recounting of the errors in my book that I accepted on the spot would contradict what numbnuts says.

    1. The error regarding Phil Jones joke about post dating a paper. Pointed out by Gavin Schmidt. I admitted then and now that I was wrong.

    2. The error about Briffa using mikes trick, pointed out by Arthur Smith. I admitted then and now I was wrong.

    Pretty much any error people have pointed out and called to my attention I have looked at.

    You are welcomed to site any errors I have failed to acknowledge.

  • steven mosher

    “Mosher has never shown anything (that I’ve seen) that looks to me like accountability for the well-established influences that bias how we all reason.
    #############

    On the contrary. As I pointed out to you the experiments ( mostly perceptual) that you have pointed out are conditioned on the assumption that someone, namely the experimenter, can see the truth. The fact that he can see the truth allows him to find bias.

    My point is this. Bias is always a possibility. We are to some extent wired to find confirmation of what we believe. Science is un natural. We have proceedures for controlling ( not eliminating ) bias. Those controls include but are not limited to sharing data and methods (code).

    The point is Joshua we have never seen you adjust your opinion. We never see you evaluate the science as science. We see you consistently find what you want to find. Bias in skeptics. Go figure, you are biased to find that. I find bias in skeptics. I’ve written about that. I find bias in believers. I’ve written about that. I tend to focus on the latter.
    Why? because climate science is basically right and I think we owe it to ourselves to make it better.

  • steven mosher

    “Sure, he is an arrogant controlling pedantic prig who may have teabagger sympathies, but those personality traits don’t seem to influence his evolving AGW scientific persona. ”

    teabaggers can go to hell. I have no patience for social conservatives. No patience for the anti abortion crowd, the anti gay marriage crowd, the war on drugs, the criminalization of private behavior, prayer in school, evolution in school,
    any of that crap.

  • steven mosher

    In”And I think that you might want to check with him as to whether he has kept “readjusting his opinions.” Which opinions is it that you believe he has adjusted? I’ve seen people claim that he has changed in his perspective, but to me it looks like it has remained fairly constant.”

    Opinions adjusted.

    1. The number of sites required to estimate the global average. in 2007 I though the number was huge, Now I think its small.

    2. The importance of adjustments to the temp record. I used to think it was important, now after study I know its not.

    3. The importance of UHI. I used to think it was huge. Now I think its minor.

    4. The importance of micro site. At first I thought it was huge. Then I thought it was small.
    Now, I’m awaiting data to decide.

    5. Models and sensitivity. I used to think models were important tools for sensitivity. Now, I tend to side with Hansen.

    6. Hansen. I used to think he was biased and unfair. Recent communication with him and that opinion has changed.

    Should I go on?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #17,

    What’s your view on the “don’t spend more than you earn, and borrow trillions on the taxpayer’s tab to pay for it” crowd?

  • steven mosher

    “In fact, he derides the very science that establishes the evidence that show those biases, and implausibly excuses only himself and those he agrees with from an assumption of influence from those biases.
    ##############

    Huh? looks like you are too biased to miss all the comments I made about the difficulties in removing ones own bias or even seeing ones own bias. I guess you are too biased to find them.

    We are, as the research you point suggests, all infected by bias. However, as I pointed out to you that research is predicated on the notion that an unbiased position exists. namely the position of the researcher who made the finding.

    Bias exists. It cannot be eliminated it can only be controlled for. I’ve mentioned the tools and protocal too many times.

    Why do you think I request all the data
    Why do you think I request the code as run.
    Why do you think I ask all side to abide by this protocal?

    Because bias is always possible. If you looked at what I do, you would see that the attempt to control for bias necessarily entails my admission that bias exists as a real possibility.

    But, you are too biased to even consider that I might agree with you that bias can inform our thinking.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Ben Chen

    comment about motivated reasoning stuck in the filters? (someone with a high public profile, Guardian, Ecologist, New Scientist platform, and speaks at the Royal Institution, & multiple public panel debates))

    And nexiq usblink is good for cars.

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About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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