Land o’ Goshen!
Lloyd Pye pointed to this article, and it confirms so much:
I do highly recommend to any and all a read of this. It will both undo all your preconceptions about science (the ones we were taught in school, in particular) and teach you something about problem solving.
It talks about part of our society that we, those who think differently, all butt our heads up against – the insistence by the rest of the world that we are wrong and they are right.
What it tells us is that as outsiders in the interplay of ideas, we have a role to play – the interested outsider that just doesn’t accept their blinkered way of seeing things and who insists that they pay attention to reality itself, not the expectations of their logic and conformity-think.
Oh, I love articles like this!
They are so few and far between, but they make me feel so ON TARGET, that my endeavors and inquiries in life have made some sense, after all – that I am not just an iconoclast, but that iconoclasts are good!
What it really says is that we have a perspective that they don’t have, the ability to not hit the <DELETE> key when we see something that seems anomalous.
REALITY DOES NOT HAVE ANOMALIES.
Everything in reality is REAL.
It doesn’t seem to US that something so obvious should need to be said, but to THEM it needs to be said.
In one 2003 study, he [Kevin Dunbar] had undergraduates at Dartmouth College watch a couple of short videos of two different-size balls falling. The first clip showed the two balls falling at the same rate. The second clip showed the larger ball falling at a faster rate. The footage was a reconstruction of the famous (and probably apocryphal) experiment performed by Galileo, in which he dropped cannonballs of different sizes from the Tower of Pisa. Galileo’s metal balls all landed at the exact same time — a refutation of Aristotle, who claimed that heavier objects fell faster.
While the students were watching the footage, Dunbar asked them to select the more accurate representation of gravity. Not surprisingly, undergraduates without a physics background disagreed with Galileo. (Intuitively, we’re all Aristotelians.) They found the two balls falling at the same rate to be deeply unrealistic, despite the fact that it’s how objects actually behave. Furthermore, when Dunbar monitored the subjects in an fMRI machine, he found that showing non-physics majors the correct video triggered a particular pattern of brain activation: There was a squirt of blood to the anterior cingulate cortex, a collar of tissue located in the center of the brain. The ACC is typically associated with the perception of errors and contradictions — neuroscientists often refer to it as part of the “Oh shit!” circuit — so it makes sense that it would be turned on when we watch a video of something that seems wrong.
So far, so obvious: Most undergrads are scientifically illiterate. But Dunbar also conducted the experiment with physics majors. As expected, their education enabled them to see the error, and for them it was the inaccurate video that triggered the ACC.
But there’s another region of the brain that can be activated as we go about editing reality. It’s called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, or DLPFC. It’s located just behind the forehead and is one of the last brain areas to develop in young adults. It plays a crucial role in suppressing so-called unwanted representations, getting rid of those thoughts that don’t square with our preconceptions. For scientists, it’s a problem.
When physics students saw the Aristotelian video with the aberrant balls, their DLPFCs kicked into gear and they quickly deleted the image from their consciousness. In most contexts, this act of editing is an essential cognitive skill. (When the DLPFC is damaged, people often struggle to pay attention, since they can’t filter out irrelevant stimuli.) However, when it comes to noticing anomalies, an efficient prefrontal cortex can actually be a serious liability. The DLPFC is constantly censoring the world, erasing facts from our experience. If the ACC is the “Oh shit!” circuit, the DLPFC is the Delete key. When the ACC and DLPFC “turn on together, people aren’t just noticing that something doesn’t look right,” Dunbar says. “They’re also inhibiting that information.”
The lesson is that not all data is created equal in our mind’s eye: When it comes to interpreting our experiments, we see what we want to see and disregard the rest. The physics students, for instance, didn’t watch the video and wonder whether Galileo might be wrong. Instead, they put their trust in theory, tuning out whatever it couldn’t explain. Belief, in other words, is a kind of blindness.
“A kind of blindness.”
Wow. This explains the disconnect in the global warming debate. One side sees a certain bit of evidence and it does not compute, so they hit the <DELETE> key, allowing only the sides of the argument in that agree with what they think is the reality. Anomalous facts aren’t let into the argument that might possibly take place in their heads.
I am talking there of the global warmers themselves, not my side. Should I be applying it to my side, too? I admit that what they say goes in one ear and out the other – because, in my mind, I’ve heard those arguments before and they don’t rate another listen. Did I hear them the first time? Did I really weigh their evidence properly? Did I give it a fair hearing?
In my case, I believe the answer is “YES.” I went into the whole AGW subject just interested to see how they ruled out possible non-human causes of warming. I had no reason at that time to say that warming isn’t happening. I didn’t find the studies that ruled out other causes (solar irradiance, cosmic rays, Milankovitch Cycles, sunspots, natural variability). I wasn’t terribly shocked at that. Science has followed wrong concepts and jumped to conclusions before; I just accepted this as another case of that. Yes, there were studies that provided evidence suggesting that the globe was warming. But evidence is not proof. There has to be a lot more than a few bits of evidence. I long ago weighted their evidence and found it lacking, at least to me. I read their arguments, and there were so many caveats, I was amazed that someone hadn’t called them out on it. (Well, someone HAD, I just didn’t know it at the time. And the someone was an outsider, someone who could look at the evidence and ask tough questions.)
So, I am comfortable applying this article to those who side with the idea that humans are releasing so much CO2 into the atmosphere that we are dangerously changing the climate. But not to my side. I see us as the ones asking tough questions, and them being the ones who get uncomfortable and telling us we shouldn’t be asking those questions, since they are the experts.
But as specialists, they all speak the same language and make the same assumptions.
The climate researchers even deny facts are facts, when they aren’t in agreement with their preconceptions. They hit the <DELETE> key. Michael Mann (Mr Hockey Stick) convinced Keith Briffa at the UK Climate Research Unit (CRU) to terminate his proxy history right where the modern readings disagreed with their overall conception of what reality was. It couldn’t be the theory that was wrong, so it had to be the anomalous data Briffa brought to the table. So the “wrong” data had to be expunged. Briffa’s trace was ended, right where it merged with other ones, in 1960 – but, unlike the others, Briffa’s never came out the other side. His “wrong” data was not allowed to be represented.
The troubling thing about it was that they considered it to be normal to throw out data that didn’t fit. They did it so often, they can’t believe there is such a big fuss about it. Phil Jones, the top man at CRU seems to be a bit schizophrenic about it all. One side of him recognizes that the belief system they operate under isn’t as convincing as they make out, but the other side defends their conclusions, anyway. It seems his DLPFC has been overridden by some of what has happened – but not enough for a clean break. Not yet, anyway.
The followers of AGW – and they are legion – are <DELETE>ing pretty much every argument they hear, that asserts that the CRU people were playing with the data in ways that are not warranted. Their DLPFCs are working overtime, since CLimategate showed them to be doing what Dunbar shows scientists have a tendency to do: ignore results that don’t fit their theory. It isn’t science, and Dunbar points out that it is not science – that there is something wrong with such an approach.
He points out that you can’t deny reality. Results of real experiments, of real field measurements, of real thermometers, of real urban heat islands, of recent tree rings not agreeing with the theory – all these cannot be ignored forever. Why not? Because sooner or later the science as they are applying it, will fail and will be seen to fail. And then the shit is going to hit the fan.
Those of us on the outside think that time may as well be now – before governments injure the world economy to a major extent. And if it is not true, it will all have been done for nothing.
Like in the article, the outsiders – the so-called skeptics – think that the sides should all sit down and have a discussion about the whole thing, so their questions can get asked, and so the other side can hear their concerns and deal with them if they are real. It is the belief of the so-called skeptics that these questions were never allowed to be heard before, and that the questions, if addressed, will correct errors that have happened due to the excluding of some of the data and improper adjustments of possibly all of the data.
As long as the AGW researchers see numbers that don’t fit and then delete them from reality, the so-called science of climate change will be an unreal science. It may have a consensus, but as long as all the people inside their bubble think the same way, they will have a blind spot and will keep going down an avenue of research that leads to incorrect conclusions.
Yes, they claim that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of studies that support their arguments. But amazingly, they think that there are NONE that argue the other side. Their <DELETE> key pretends that even entire studies simply don’t exist. And with studies arguing both ways, where is the science that is trying to reconcile the two realities? The “anomalies” are not unreal. They are just facts the warmers don’t want to accept as anything more than experimental errors. By thinking of them as mistakes, they give them second-class status, if that. It really isn’t even second class, not when it is sent to the dustbin.
When is all of the evidence going to be considered?
When will the blinders come off?
Did you notice the part in the article where Dunbar talked about entering results in a lab book? That is what scientists do with every experiment, with every data processing. They do that so they can go back and see what they did on that particular day – because sometimes it is something done long ago that makes today’s work make sense, so they need to be able to go back and find it and then try re-doing it in light of new information or new results. So scientists enter everything in lab books.
Briffa, Jones, Mann et al – where are their lab books? If they are under the gun about their own assertions (in their Climategate emails) that they were doing “tricks” to the data, their own organizations – universities and government departments – should be asking to see those lab books, so someone can review and show that the numbers were NOT fudged. In science, one CAN prove a negative – because it is in the lab books.
And if they did not keep lab books and record their procedures? Well, THAT is a “Holy shit!” moment, because then, folks, they are not scientists. It just simply isn’t science if you don’t even know what you did.
So, in my subject title above, it was intended to be talking about scientists, real scientists.
Perhaps the title could have been: Scientists, and how “they” actually operate.
This also applies to so-called “alternate researchers,” and their treatment by scientists, which is VERY much how they approach so-called global warming skeptics. But this post is plenty long enough for now. That will need to be another post.
Just as Thorsten Veblin posited long ago that being perpetual outsiders was good for Jewish people, as a stimulant for their mental and scientific and other achievements,alternate researchers and climate skeptics are good for science.
The Jewish people have, in that outsider capacity, been a stimulus for the rest of the world. Not the only stimulants, but certainly big contributors. In that same way, I have always seen alternate researchers as being necessary iconoclasts for the theories of establishment scientists. But both groups – alternate researchers and climate skeptics – are currently treated as pariahs.
At least so far.
More later.. . .
. . . . Steve