The material in these Lew and Crew papers is very much in tune with material at the cultural cognition blog, at least as discovered in my brief sorties there. For instance the clip below from Dan, which I found from a link in the comments at DK1 (my number references added): ‘Cognitive-dissonance avoidance will steel individuals to resist empirical data that either threatens practices they revere  or bolsters ones they despise , particularly when accepting such data would force them to disagree with individuals they respect . The cultural judgments embedded in affect will speak more authoritatively than contrary data as individuals gauge what practices are dangerous and what practices are not . And the culturally partisan foundation of trust will make them dismiss contrary data as unreliable if they perceive that it originates from persons who don’t harbor their own cultural commitments . This picture is borne out by additional well-established psychological and social mechanisms.’
I couldn’t agree more! Applying this to the climate domain, we find:  In just one example of many, empirical evidence on ‘The Pause’ was acknowledged very late and very grudgingly, even then with implausible caveats that (in so many words), “it doesn’t really make any difference”. This powerful resistance is because the data gets very close indeed to invalidating the climate models (a core scientific ‘practice’ underpinning climate orthodoxy itself). Plus  it bolsters the arguments of the despised skeptics and bolsters the despised practices (e.g. fossil fuel consumption) that are opposed by climate culture.  A very wide range of environmental topics are tied to the central narrative of imminent (on decadal to one century scale) catastrophe, and accepting skeptical data upon any of them these days, has come to be seen by climate culture as a betrayal of (depending upon country and affiliations), government leaders and policy, many celebrities, scientific leaders and bodies, moral leaders (the Pope may be the latest), even one’s children and one’s grandchildren plus most of the life on Earth and the planet itself. This is a far more cogent barrier to acceptance than mere disagreement!  Climate cultural judgments based on misinformation about the certainty of catastrophe are underwriting dangerous practices that are draining economies worldwide, increasing the price of energy (causing consequent poverty and excess deaths), plus enabling the bio-fuel debacle. The latter is both harming the environment and also hitting the poor by pushing up the cost of food production (hence yet more hardship and a potential increase in starvation). Meanwhile the practice of emitting CO2 is defined as very dangerous, when there isn’t yet evidence that the danger ranks (relative to all the other dangers we face anyhow), or even has net downsides (there are upsides to increased CO2 and warmth and some economists for instance argue this side up). And ; Could there be a better description of how the culturally biased Consensus network treats skeptics? Including (once) respected scientists who are brave enough to offer data that challenges the Consensus line in any way.
A failure to acknowledge the climate culture results in these kind of concepts (with which psychologists are very familiar), from ever being applied to the Consensus in their analyses.
At the beginning of this post I said: ‘The ‘crime’ in question being psychological dysfunction expressed within the climate domain’. I say dysfunction because, while we all have ‘behavior’, even the good cops are arriving at the conclusion that there must be something ‘wrong’ with skeptics, i.e. behavior that is abnormal. Our example bad cop calls it conspiracy ideation and many bad cops and some good ones too implicitly compare skeptic behavior to the (abnormal) denial of the Holocaust, via their use of the ‘denier’ term. Our example good cop has plumped for dualism. Yet the endless search for this crime is vain. There is no abnormal behavior, so there is no ‘crime’. While investigations remain rooted in the bias of climate culture, itself driven by emotive misinformation on the certainty of catastrophe, they will nevertheless keep on searching and turn up only more puzzlement. Meanwhile despite best intentions, the good cops are propagating almost as much myth as the bad cops. They are both just a short step away from saying that the skeptics are crazy; an accusation made throughout history at those who don’t share blind bias.
It’s worth noting that there isn’t abnormal behavior within the Consensus either; cultural hi-jacking and the enforcement of consensuses is practically as common in humans societies as sleeping and eating, and certainly more common than the common cold. All the climate psychology cops need to do is to turn around; it’s behind you!
My time is pretty pressured so it’s taken me quite a while to get this cranked out, some months after the Climate Etc post that alerted me (September 2014), which itself was after the featured Dan Kahan posts (June to August). I haven’t revisited Dan’s investigation to see how it’s going lately, so this is essentially a snapshot in time, yet not I think with diminished relevance for that. Unless Dan has had a St. Paul style revelation in the interim, I guess the same principles exist and hence my same disagreements. I’ve read very little Dan Kahan material indeed before this time; have to say in peeking at the Cultural Cognition Project while putting this together, I’ve become very impressed with the huge efforts he’s investing in this area plus his deep knowledge, despite I think that in the climate domain those have both been seriously deflected by cultural bias. In an attempt to stay focused and also to make best use of my available time, I’ve stuck mainly to absorbing DK1 / DK2, many of the comments there including all of Dan’s, plus more briefly the support at DK3 / DK4 and a couple of other pages as linked. I had to resist following up most of his many very interesting and spider-like links that are so tempting to explore at the Cultural Cognition Project.
Andy West : www.wearenarrative.wordpress.com
Next page for Appendix 1…