More on Group Think

Willy, in a comment thread on Hurricane Noel, illustrated my point about “Group Think” so beautifully I couldn’t have done it better myself.

His comment was nothing but a cut & paste from Media Matters, reviling man-made global warming skeptics. When I asked him if he could think for himself, he said:

Instead of attacking the Media Matters, why don’t you discuss the substance of my comment? Media Matters isn’t offering an opinion here, it is stating facts. You got a problem with facts?

“My comment”, which was almost all directly cut & pasted from Media Matters. What I find interesting is the labeling of people like Patrick Michaels and Roy Spencer as “shills”. All of this, of course, coming from a website that is nothing but a shill for a political ideology! Talk about your balls.

And, what’s worse, is Willy doesn’t see any problem here. Who needs to think when Media Matters does it for you? Who needs to independently review the data? Who needs to listen to what anyone says, so long as it’s first filtered through a heavily-biased source?

Group-think. For a political ideology that stressed individualism and critical thinking, it sure does a good job of suppressing it.

I think “Life of Brian” says it best:


6 Responses to “More on Group Think”

  1. November 9, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    Notice everyone, he has a problem with me quoting facts from the Media Matters website, but instead of addressing the quoted facts, he belittles me and Media Matters. A true authoritarian tactic.

    Maybe we can get back to the science…

    Here’s an excellent article on a Yale/Stanford study that examines the potential parallels between the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum and today’s unprecedented CO2 rise.

    Maybe you can generate a study up there Barron County to refute what the scholars at Yale and Stanford are saying.

    From the article:

    “The PETM is a stunning example of carbon dioxide-induced global warming and stands in contrast to critics who argue that the Earth’s temperature is insensitive to increases in carbon dioxide,” said Pagani. “Not only did the Earth warm by at least 9°F (5°C), but it did so during a time when Earth’s average temperature was already 9°F warmer than today.”

    “By examining fossils and ancient sediments on the sea floor, we can see that something very unusual happened to Earth’s carbon cycle,” Caldeira explained. “At the same time the climate near the North Pole became like Miami. We can tell it didn’t take all that much carbon to make this change in climate.”

    During the PETM, ocean acidification likely caused a mass extinction of phytoplankton by reducing the availability of carbonate ions necessary for marine organisms to build calcium carbonate shells and exoskeletons. Many scientists are concerned that history could repeat itself, especially with current studies showing a steady increase in ocean acidity. In September 2005, a team of scientists writing in Nature warned that by 2100, the amount of carbonate available for marine organisms could drop by 60%. In surface ocean waters, where acidification starts before spreading to the deep sea, there may be too little carbonate for organisms to form shells as soon as 2050. The loss of these small organisms would have a disastrous impact on predators — including salmon, mackerel, herring, cod — that rely on them as a food source and could spell trouble for other species.

    “Our carbon dioxide emissions are risking biological, chemical, and climate changes of a magnitude that has not been seen for more than 50 million years”

  2. November 9, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    Since we are speaking here of “Group think” … here are some Right Wing Authoritarian Tendencies.

    Right wing authoritarian conservatives are more likely to:
    * Make many incorrect inferences from evidence.
    * Uncritically accept insufficient evidence that supports their beliefs.
    * Uncritically trust people who tell them what they want to hear.
    * Use many double standards in their thinking and judgements.
    * Be dogmatic.
    * Be zealots.
    * Be hypocrites.
    * Be bullies when they have power over others.
    * Believe they have no personal failings.
    * Avoid learning about their personal failings.
    * Be highly self-righteous.
    * Be involved in organized religion.
    * Use religion to erase guilt over their acts and to maintain their self-righteousness.
    * Trust leaders who are untrustworthy

    From a review of J.Dean’s: “Conservatives without Conscience” a great book on understanding the new religious right wing authoritarian movement:

    “As Dean convincingly demonstrates, the characteristic which defines the Bush movement, the glue which binds it together and enables and fuels all of the abuses, is the vicious, limitless methods used to attack and demonize the “Enemy,” which encompasses anyone — foreign or domestic — threatening to their movement. What defines and motivates this movement are not any political ideas or strategic objectives, but instead, it is the bloodthirsty, ritualistic attacks on the Enemy de jour — the Terrorist, the Communist, the Illegal Immigrant, the Secularist, and most of all, the Liberal.”

  3. 3 Matt R.
    November 11, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    Ad hominem attacks have no place in public debate. Painting conservatives, or any people for that matter, with a broad brush is bad thinking.

  4. 4 docattheautopsy
    November 12, 2007 at 4:42 pm


    You managed to cherry pick a paper that cherry picks the an abberation in the historical record of CO2 on the planet.

    Notice on the graph in the paper that before and after the spike there’s not an anomaly, which means the temperature spike was caused by anomaly. Because there’s not an artificial inducer from a terrestrial source (or, there’s no mankind there to spew CO2 into the atmosphere), there must have been some kind of inducing event to cause planetary heating.

    The entire supposition of the paper that CO2-induced global warming caused the 9 degree spike is absolutely unusual and atypical of the historical record. A more likely culprit in the temperature changes would have been a change in solar radiance or a wobble in the planetary orbit that pushed earth closer to the sun until the orbit corrected thousands of years later.

    If the PETM illustrated a CO2 warming event, then ANY CO2 increase would cause a warming event, and the entirety of the historical record shows that not to be the case.

    So, in this case, the author of the paper would have had to be a conservative, because he “made many incorrect inferences from evidence”.

    As for the rest of your ad hominem attack, as Matt R. pointed out, it can easily be reversed to shine on you.

    That, my friend, is called “projection”. So beware, Willy, you’re quickly approaching my troll tolerance.

  5. 5 William
    November 13, 2007 at 12:19 am

    Actually Doc, the generally accepted theory for the cause of the PETM is volcanism, likely related to plate techtonics.

    However, this Harvard study suggests an earth impact to be the cause:

    The bottom line is that the PETM was triggered by, as you say, an atypical event. As the scientist interviewed stated, “We can tell it didn’t take all that much carbon to make this change in climate.” Once the chain of events begins, a domino effect will ensue. What we’re seeing today, is that chain of events, partially or possibly wholly triggered by fossil fuel burning.

    Where we agree is that there probably is nothing practical to do at this point to stop it.

  6. 6 docattheautopsy
    November 13, 2007 at 9:33 am

    Eh, I’m not sure I’d attribute the PETM to volcanism, simply because modern era volcanism has been shown to decrease solar input to the planet. In addition, the atmospheric changes from volcanism are short lived– the PETM would have outlived any single-event volcanism by thousands of years.

    An earth impact would be a more likely explanation, or a solar event.

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My name is Doc. Welcome to my blog. If you're visiting from another blog, add me to your blogroll (and I'll happily reciprocate). I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry and live in Wisconsin. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. My email is docattheautopsy at gmail. (No linking to deflate the incredible spam monsters).



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